Famima!

By Kube Kenji

Famima! Volume 2 Chapter 2

Famima! Volume 2 Chapter 2

The next day, Kazuki parted ways with Sabrina when they arrived at the school lobby.

He sat down in his seat and let out a sigh.

In the end, I wasn't able to sleep because I kept thinking about that red-haired girl....

But there wasn't any point in thinking about her, because there's no definite proof of her being an assassin.

I might not meet her again anyway.... Hmm, I should just ignore it.

Kazuki firmly made up his mind.

Ding dong dang dong.

Ding dong dang dong

As the bell for homeroom rang, their teacher walked in.

"Ehh—, I know this is sudden, but I'll introduce your new classmate. Now, come on in."

"Yes!"

The one who walked into the classroom was none other than the red-haired girl from yesterday.

Wa—it!

Why is she here when I just made up my mind!?

"Hiing."

The red-haired girl stood on her tippy-toes on the platform. She had a smiling expression when she first walked into the classroom, but now she looked like she was about to cry.

Hoping that he was seeing things, Kazuki rubbed his eyes and looked the girl over once more.

Wavy red hair tied back with a band...

Extremely short...

A small bag on her shoulder...

An expression that reflected her true feelings....

"My name is Clarice Calina. I was born in Italy. Please call me Clarice."

...and that characteristic manner of speaking.

It was quite unfortunate, but there was no mistake.

Things fell into place face too well to regard it as a coincidence.... Then, was she really an assassin targeting Sabrina?

But if she was looking for a chance to assassinate Sabrina, she should've transferred into Sabrina's class....

"Huh!? The target isn't here!?"

The girl named Clarice looked around the classroom on her tiptoes.

Isn't that really suspicious!?

Kazuki's suspicions grew deeper inside him.

Even if she got the class wrong, it would be simple for her to find Sabrina if she transferred to this school.

The only thing he could do right now was stop the transfer itself.

"Ma'am!"

"What is it, Ootaki?"

"No matter how I look at her... I don't think she's a middle school student...."

Kazuki spoke.

"W-What are you saying!? Riche is a great middle school student no matter what... right?"

Why is she questioning it!?

Riche seemed to be taken aback like she was just hit in her weak spot.

Even though cutely calling herself "Riche" was fitting for her, it made her seem even younger.

"Clarice, maybe saying that is a bit of a stretch..."

"N-Not at all! Riche has crucial evidence of her being in middle school!"

"Crucial... evidence?"

If she was infiltrating the school, she must have prepared some fake proof beforehand.

Clarice smiled arrogantly.

Seeing her grin, Kazuki bit his lips.

"Riche is even able to do her times tables!"

"Miss, that girl is a primary schooler without a doubt!"

The crucial evidence that Riche brought forth went up in flames. No, she bombed.

"Huh!? Why!? Did you find out that I have trouble with the seventh row!?"

"You would normally finish the times table in year 2."

"Really!? This isn't good! Does Riche have to repeat primary school again?"

Tears have gathered in Riche's eyes and she was hesitating.

The whole class's atmosphere became cold.

Good.

With that, she shouldn't transfer anytime soon.

As Kazuki let out a sigh of relief, like so...

"But that doesn't matter, does it?"

An unexpected person extended a hand towards Clarice.

"Ryouta!? ...What do you mean, 'that doesn't matter?'"

"I meant exactly what I said. It doesn't matter. She doesn't need to be the same age as us, if she's as cute as Clarice."

"No, no! Being in the same year usually indicates being the same age!"

"Now you're talking, Miyamoto!" "That's it!" "I'm aiming for Clarice now!"

"Huh!? Everyone is cheering for her!?"

Kazuki's opinion was swept away by the other boys' voices.

It seemed like Kazuki was in a bad position.

"Since she transferred to our class, it must mean that she's the same age as us. Are you saying that you can't accept Clarice just because she looks young? Appearance varies from person to person!"

"Yeah, yeah!" "Even you can say some nice things sometimes, Miyamoto-kun." "Ootaki-kun is an enemy to all women!"

"Even you girls are against me?"

For some reason, even the girls were agreeing with Ryouta.

Rather than saying he was in a bad position, he was surrounded by enemies.

Kuu... something doesn't seem right.

All I said was something obvious....

Then I need to pull out my trump card!

I need to ask the only other person with common sense, like the class presid—

"...Uuu—."

When he looked towards his savior, Saki, she was glaring at him with a grumpy facial expression.

...That's right.

She was a compassionate person with a warm heart.

Without understanding the situation, Kazuki was bullying Clarice in Saki's eyes.

Uuu... there is a deep reason for this.

However, he couldn't explain the situation.

Kazuki could only accept Saki's "Uuu—" willingly.

He lost his last hope.

However, Kazuki wasn't throwing in the towel just yet.

"Miss, something really is wrong here. Something must have gone wrong, please check again."

"Hm—mm. It's not like I don't understand where Ootaki is coming from, but—"

"Miss... Can't Riche stay...?"

Sparkle sparkle.

Sparkle sparkle.

Clarice looked up at the homeroom teacher with innocent eyes.

She was reminiscent of a drenched and abandoned puppy inside a cardbox that sat in an alleyway in the rain.

"Ootaki, it's not good to judge a book by its cover. Report to the student guidance room after class."

"That's so unfair!"

There was no hope left for him to hold on to.

Clarice's look compelled one to think "I must protect this girl."

Her aura of converting anyone to an ally was a powerful strength.

"Clarice is one of us now!" "Do your best! Don't lose to someone like Ootaki!" "Welcome to second year class six!"

"Everyone... thank you so much!"

Being moved to tears, she desperately wiped her eyes with a small handkerchief and bowed her head.

As she did, the class started to cheer for Clarice.

Right now, their class was truly united as one.

And at the same time, Kazuki ended up being all alone.

"...Too bad."

The loser, Kazuki to be precise, slumped down in his desk.

Clarice opened her mouth to speak while the class was in a celebrative mood.

"About Riche's seat, she would like to sit next to Ootaki-kun, if possible!"

""Ehhhh!?""

The class yelled out in surprise.

Even Kazuki didn't know what Clarice's true intentions were.

A normal person wouldn't want to sit next to him, after he was so against her joining the class....

Don't tell me, she was planning to extract some information about Sabrina from me!?

Kazuki started piecing together her true intentions.

"But it's dangerous if you sit by Kazuki..."

Ryouta said as he placed his hand on Clarice's shoulder without hesitation.

"Hold on, Ryouta. It sounds like I just became a terrible villain."

"Ryouta-san, she already knew that. But Riche has something she must do. So she can't run away from Ootaki-san."

"Clarice...."

Ryouta slumped down in his seat soullessly.

"If you're willing to go that far, then I won't stop you eith... sniff."

sniff

For some reason, the homeroom teacher covered her eyes.

"Hey Clarice. What do you mean by 'something you must do?' What do you mean!?"

And... Kazuki was brilliantly ignored.

Clarice approached Kazuki step by step.

And as she did, everyone in the class applauded her.

"Do you best, Clarice!" "We'll help you if anything happens!" "We're forever by your side!"

Everyone sent their support.

"Ootaki, brace yourself if something happens to Clarice." "If you make her cry, consider yourself an enemy of all women." "Don't get enamored with yourself just because Sabrina is obedient to you."

Unlike her, Kazuki received all sorts of unreasonable threats.

Clarice stood in front of Kazuki. She looked like she was already about to cry.

"Umm... Ootaki-san, please... take care... of me."

"Ah, yeah. Same here..."

Kazuki wasn't able stop Clarice's transfer.

On top of that, she ended up sitting next to him.

W-Well, it might be better if she sits close to him, so he can spot anything suspicious early.

This should be ok... yeah.

There wasn't any other way of accepting this for Kazuki.

2

"Onii-chan, what is going on here?"

Sabrina, who was working on her printouts, asked Kazuki about Clarice, who was in the seat next to his.

"Ah, this is Clarice, she transferred in today."

Shine.

Shine.

He thought he saw Clarice's eyes light up for a moment after she looked at Sabrina.

Uu... something feels strange all of a sudden.

This girl, was she really an assassin aiming for Sabrina?

If she was indeed an assassin, shouldn't he distance her from Sabrina...?

This situation was dangerous for both Sabrina and this girl.

However, if she really was an assassin, she wouldn't reveal her identity so quickly.

"N-Nice to meet you, Sabrina-san. M-My name is Clarice Calina and I'm an assassin!"

Ehh──!?

Assassin!?

Then she really is an assassin!

She even admitted it herself!

"Assassin...?"

Sabrina's cold and lethal glare overwhelmed Clarice.

The tension was visible in the air between them.

"How do you know my name? I haven't mentioned it yet... and when you say 'assassin,' what do you mean?"

"Whoa! Uaaaaa..."

—I will dispose of him instantly.

Kazuki had a flashback of Sabrina's crystal clear response when he asked her about a hypothetical assassin.

This is dangerous....

If Sabrina realizes this girl is an assassin, she will take action instantly.

I don't want Sabrina to do that....

I need to stumble through this somehow!

 "Ah, I-I may have told her your name earlier. Also, when she said 'assassin,' she meant she came to a Japanese school to receive 'qualification.' Right, Clarice!?"

"Fueh? I-If you s-say so, then that sounds about right."

Sounds about right.....

Was she really going to be okay?

"Is that so? But, I believe I've seen you somewhere before."

"I- I- I- I- I- I-I think you're mistaken! I don't think we met yesterday in the garden."

"Ah, now that you mention i—"

"They say there are three people in the world who look exactly alike! Maybe that's it!? You know, a coincidence... coincidence!!"

Kazuki cut Sabrina off.

Sigh....

Why did I have to help this girl?

"Si. If you say so, then it must be so, Onii-chan.  Then Clarice, nice to meet you."

Somehow, Clarice ended up addressing Sabrina with "san," while Sabrina addressed her normally. What's even stranger, it fit perfectly.

"I'll get a new seat for you Sabrina, so sit here."

"Si."

Thinking that it would be better to separate the two for now, Kazuki placed himself in the middle and sat Sabrina and Clarice's seats apart from each other.

They barely escaped being caught....

That aside, this girl really is an assassin....

While he did feel it would probably be okay to let her be, although he thought it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye on her, if she was good enough to call herself an assassin.

During the first period, Kazuki's class had self-study.

While everyone in the class was busy solving mathematics printouts...

Stare.

Stare.

Staaaaaare.

Staaaaaare.

Staaaaaaaaaaaaare.

Staaaaaaaaaaaaare.

While solving the printouts, he noticed Clarice staring intensely.

To be precise, Clarice was staring at Sabrina, who was sitting next to Kazuki.

It's so obvious!

Why is she staring so intensely, when assassins are supposed to be secretive and inconspicuous?

Though... she doesn't seem to be able to properly do her job.

At this rate, she's going to be caught by Sabrina—.

"Onii-chan, Clarice has—..."

"Whoa."

Did she find out already?

I have to do something to stop the worst possible outcome!

"...been staring at you."

"No, you see Sabrina, there's something wrong here. There's a reason that is deep as the ocean... and huh?"

Clarice is looking at me...?

I see!

It seems like Sabrina thinks Clarice was really looking at Kazuki.

That's a relief. After he noticed that, he thought he could fumble his way through this situation.

"In the first place, what is your relationship with Clarice, Onii-chan?"

...Unfortunately, it wouldn't be that easy.

Sabrina was giving off a menacing atmosphere.

"R-Relationship? It's, it's nothing like that. After all, she just transferred here today. You're misunderstanding things, Sabrina."

"...Si. I see. I understand."

Click.

Click.

"Who—aaah! Then why are you secretly trying to open your toolbox!?"

"I must remove all uncertain obstacles."

"Then that's not 'I understand' at all! I told you, you can't make a ruckus!"

Kazuki quickly closed the briefcase that was just about to be opened.

If he were just a moment later, his classmates and Clarice may have ended up seeing the illegal firearms inside the "toolbox."

He looked around... but thankfully, no one seemed to notice as they were too busy solving problems.

Kazuki let out a sigh of relief.

"...Now, while they're bickering... Riche will grab all the chances she can!"

Troubles came one after another.

Surprisingly, Clarice (on the opposite side of him) was trying to remove a handgun from her bag.

"Hold ooooooooooooon!"

"What? —Hiiing!!"

Kazuki dived towards Clarice and fell down.

He pinned her down in a manner not unlike an embrace, knocking over tables and chairs in the process.

Taking advantage of the opportunity, he pushed the handgun back into the small shoulder bag.

"... Fhew. That was dangerous."

"W-W-W-W-What are you doing!? It hurts. You're heavy~."

"Ah, sorry."

Kazuki scrambled to get off of Clarice, who was squirming from the sudden incident.

His classmates must have noticed the loud noise, because they were all looking at Kazuki with accusing glares.

Damn it, I'm not the one at fault here....

But first and foremost...

"Onii-chan."

There was a bigger problem, Sabrina.

Sabrina's shadow fell on Kazuki as he kneeled on the wooden floor (away from Clarice).

"...Yes?"

"What are you doing?"

"M-My foot slipped, so...."

"To me, it appeared you were pushing Clarice down on purpose, Onii-chan."

"Uu... t-that's not it. No way.... Ah ha ha."

Kazuki was unable to laugh properly while being overwhelmed by Sabrina.

"What are you planning... looking at my Onii-chan... and enchanting him?"

"Eh? Do you mean Riche? Riche wasn't looking at Ootaki-san, but Sabrina—."

"Me?"

"Ah!?"

Riche covered her mouth with both of her hands.

"You were— doing what to me?"

"No... that's...."

"So you can't answer me? You seem to be even more suspicious."

"So... Um...."

Clarice was completely frozen and wasn't able to talk properly.

This was dangerous....

If things continued like this, this girl would spill the beans.

As Kazuki prepared himself to be beaten half to death, he interrupted the two of them.

A teardrop rolled down Clarice's face.

Then, she started crying like a burst dam.

"Hiing.... Hiiing.... Hick."

"—Eeep."

"H-Hey, Onii-chan...."

"You went too far. Be careful, Sabrina."

After patting Sabrina's head, Kazuki started to help Clarice.

"...Ah."

Sabrina tried to tell something to Kazuki, but she lowered her head.

"Are you OK, Clarice?"

"I'm fine~. Riche won't cry over something like this~. Uuu."

...and yet she was crying a lot as she said that.

Kazuki wiped her eyes with a handkerchief.

"S'ank you~."

"Now, blow your nose as well."

"Yess~"

Sni—ffle.

Sni—ffle.

Even when Kazuki produced a handkerchief for her, Riche blew her nose on Kazuki's uniform.

Why!?

...Is what he thought, but now wasn't the right time to say it. He wept in his heart and accepted it.

"...Ootaki-san is so nice. Riche has never met someone as kind as you."

"Don't exaggerate. This is just being normal."

"It's not. If that's considered normal, then Ootaki-san is a great person."

"Clarice..."

Sparkle, sparkle.

Sparkle, sparkle.

How innocent.

She looked up at him with sparkling eyes.

"Uu..."

"Riche respects Ootaki-san now."

It seems like he ended up taming her.

What was going on with this girl....

She was a clutz, a crybaby, and didn't give off the impression of an assassin at all.

He should contact Sofia-san as soon as possible... but what will happen...?

Ding dong dang dong.

Ding dong dang dong.

The end of class bell rang without Kazuki deciding on how to proceed.

*        *        *

*        *        *

Sabrina looked at Kazuki soothing Clarice from a distance.

Onii-chan....

You've been behaving strangely for a while.

Why are you only caring about Clarice?

What does Clarice mean to you, Onii-chan?

I feel like you're hiding something from me, Onii-chan.

But why—?

The frustrating feeling of uncertainty spread through Sabrina's heart.

Saki came closer to them.

"Ootaki-kun, did you finish the worksheet? I'm collecting them now—"


"... Ummph."


Bite.

Bite.

Using the feelings she wasn't able to direct elsewhere, Sabrina bit away at Saki.

"Kiyaaaa. Ouuuuuch. Sabrina, what's wrong~!?"

3

"Sigh..."

Kazuki sighed deeply.

Although Clarice continued scheming, none of her attempts were discovered thanks to Kazuki's efforts.

To other people; however, his efforts appeared to be pranks played on Clarice, so his reputation hit rock bottom.

"Ughh.... I'm taking such a loss from this."

The day was finally over and he was about to go back home with Saki who had chores to do at the cathedral again.

Today has been a long day, but he could finally go home....

However...

"Please wait. If you're going home, then Riche would like to walk together."

At that moment, Riche appeared and suggested they all go home together.

So that was how she was going to play....

"So Clarice's home is in this direction as well? Ootaki-kun, Sabrina, are you two okay with this?"

"O-Of course."

He actually wanted to refuse to avoid trouble, but that would be seen as strange to Sabrina and Saki who were unaware of the situation.

Kazuki had no choice but to agree.

Clarice hesitated and looked up at Sabrina.

"Umm... is that okay, Sabrina-san?"

"...Si. It doesn't matter.

After a short deliberation, Sabrina agreed.

Sabrina seemed to be at loss as to how she should deal with Clarice after first period earlier that day.

So after this and that, the four of them ended up walking home together.

".... (Sta-re)."

".... (Sta-re)."

"Uuu."

"... (Bite)."

"... (Bite)."

"Kiyaa~."

On their way back, Saki and Sabrina were both emitting sparks as usual.

However, there was no way that Kazuki would notice because he had to keep an eye on Clarice.

"Wait for a chance and attack..."

Whoa.

Was she plotting something bad again—?

Kazuki kept glancing at Clarice while she was deep in thought.

She must have noticed his gaze, because Clarice turned her head slightly towards him...

Smile—.

Smile—.

...and gave a faultless smile.

She must have smiled because their eyes met.

There didn't seem to be any other explanation for it.

Hm—mm.... Was this girl really an assassin?

It didn't seem very likely....

"Must kill... must kill..."


Yet that seemed to be the only possible explanation for it...


It was impossible for Kazuki not to worry.

And then, they finally arrived at the street where he bumped into Clarice the first time.

"Huh? Clarice is going that way?"

"Ah, yes. ...Ah, is everyone else going in a different direction? Hii-ng, missed the chance again~."

"Chance?"

Saki tilted her head.

"I-It's nothing, just talking to myself. Ah, that's right! If it's okay with you, please come visit my house. It's near here."

Clarice suggested something that Kazuki didn't expect.

She seemed to still be waiting for a chance to ambush Sabrina.

There was a good chance of Clarice's house being an enemy hideout. Clarice's companions might be there.

Going somewhere like that would be walking right into their trap.

He had to turn this down somehow.

Hence, Kazuki tried to speak as naturally as he could.

"But wouldn't it be a hassle for us to come over without any notice?"

"Not at all. There's nothing to be concerned about. Please come over, please."

Clarice grabbed Saki's hand and shook it up and down.

This was dangerous.

Kinoshita was kind....

"Hm-mm, if you're going that far, then maybe just for a mome—."

"It's decided then! Now, now, let's go, go! I'll lead the way~."

"Ah, wait, wait! Clarice!?"

As I expected....

Clarice headed off first while pushing Saki from behind before Saki even finished talking.

Hmm-mm....

If Sabrina was the target, then that girl didn't have to bring Kinoshita along....

But if she had her companions hiding in waiting somewhere ready for an ambush, then they might take Kinoshita as a hostage.

He couldn't let that happen....

"Sabrina, you can go back first if you want."

He had to at least let the target, Sabrina, escape....

"No. That's dangerous."

"Dangerous you say..."

Maybe Sabrina also notic—.

"If I go back first, then Saki and Onii-chan will be left alone on your way back home."

...Maybe not then.

Things could take a turn for the worse if he wasn't careful, so Kazuki tried persuading Sabrina over and over again, but she wouldn't budge. So in the end, everyone decided to visit Clarice's house.

From the outside, the house appeared to be an old two story townhouse.

The walls were slightly dirty and there were a few cracks here and there. The metal staircase was so rusted, they spent a moment wondering if it was safe to walk up.

This... is the hideout?

But this was.... No, maybe the appearance was just a red herring.

Even in movies, assassins would lay in ambush in places like these.

Maybe he really should've declined.

It wasn't too late. He should be able to leave now.

"H-Hey, Clarice—."

"Here, come in."

"Please excuse me~."

"Whoa! Hold on Kinoshita!"

It couldn't be helped, but Saki entered without hesitation.

Kazuki scrambled after her.

"Eh?"

And he was dumbfounded.

The room was an old one; just as it appeared to be from the outside.

There wasn't anyone or anything inside.

The only thing there was a small bag  (that appeared to be Riche's) lying on the edge of the wooden floor.

There weren't even curtains on the windows.

"Welcome. It isn't much, but welcome!"

When they walked into the room, Clarice offered a seat.

"Clarice, umm... do you live here... by yourself?"

"Yes. I live by myself, so there's no need to worry. Ah, but the downstairs neighbor gets angry if you make too much noise, so please be careful. Eh heh heh!"

"You live by yourself!? ...Um, what about your parents?"

"Riche's parents? Father and Mother passed away when Riche was young. Afterwards, Riche lived in an orphanage."

"Oh no...."

Saki wasn't able to continue talking.

"But someone brought me in. So that's why I was able to study here in Japan. Ah, there isn't anything to drink even though I invited you. Hii—ng, what should I do."

As Clarice walked around welcoming them, she wrapped her hands around her head.

"I'm sorry. I'll buy something right awa.... Huh, won't you sit down, everyone?"

"Huh? Ah, rig......ht"

Saki looked away by instinct when Clarice looked her straight in the eyes.

Ahh....

At that moment, Clarice slumped her shoulders in a lonely manner and laughed.

"I'm sorry.... It seems like I've troubled you."

People who lived alone for a long time were sensitive to other peoples' sadness.

So that's why they tried extra hard not to show any sadness.

They would desperately act bright and smile all the time.

Kazuki, whose parents were never around, knew how Clarice was feeling as a loner himself.

So...

"Thank you for today. Even coming all the way here is—."

"Can I sit here?"

Kazuki cut Clarice off.

Leaving his bag on the floor, he sat cross-legged on the floor in a really relaxed manner.

He smiled at Clarice who still appeared to be troubled.

"Ootaki-san...?"

"I want to hear about Italy from you, Clarice. Italy is Sabrina's home country after all. You want to listen as well, don't you, Sabrina?"

"Si. You're right. If Onii-chan says so, then just slightly."

"Sabrina-san...."

Sabrina followed Kazuki and sat.

"Um, Clarice, sorry!"

"I was just a bit surprised. Um, sorry. I hurt you, didn't I!?"

"It's okay. Riche knows how Saki feels. So Riche doesn't mind."

"Clarice~."

Saki hugged Clarice with teary eyes.

Seeing those two, Kazuki sighed.

"Clarice, I'm a bit thirsty, so something to drink would be nice."

"Y.... Yes!"

Clarice removed some paper cups from her bag and headed to the kitchen to get some water. She wiped her eyes as she did so, but Kazuki pretended not to see it.

The three of them heard various things from Clarice.

About her life in Italy...

About Italians...

About Italian cuisine...

Clarice happily talked about anything they asked.

She had fun talking, so Kazuki, Sabrina and Saki enjoyed listening.

"Ah, it's already getting dark. I should head home now."

"Hawha, is that the time already!? I ended up missing the chance because of all the talking~."

Half crying, she looked towards Kazuki... or more specifically, Sabrina, who was stuck to Kazuki.

"Clarice, did you have something to do?"

"Yes. But... today was fun, so I'll leave it at that."

Clarice appeared to be troubled, but she quickly loosened her expression.

"...I'll walk you downstairs."

Clarice smiled brightly.

However, Kazuki knew that smile was a fake one.

Thinking about it normally, spending the night alone in this room would be lonely....

...There was no way she wouldn't be lonely.

So...

Kazuki naturally sent Sabrina and Saki downstairs and stayed with Clarice.

And asked...

"Hey Clarice. If you're okay with it, why don't you come over to my house?"

"Ehh—?"

This girl was an assassin.

Even he thought that purposefully inviting her to his own home was idiotic...

If Sofia found out, she would certainly kill him...

However, he couldn't leave her.

"But, if there's a 'mission' you must fulfill... I won't force you to come. Don't you agree that we wouldn't be able to live comfortably if you have a 'mission?'"

Kazuki looked straight at Clarice.

Then, Clarice looked at Kazuki after realizing something.

"Ootaki-san... are you serious?"

"I'm just saying that you should postpone your 'mission' if you can. It's up to you, Clarice."

"Up to... Riche."

Clarice fiddled with her fingers and restlessly looked left and right.

"Hmm, I see.... I should do it tomorrow, if I can. It's unfortunate, but I'll give up on the 'mission' for today. Now that I think about it, I feel like I can start again tomorrow."

After hesitating like that, Clarice answered shyly.

"Yep. It's decided then."

As he walked down the stairs, Kazuki told Sabrina and Saki that Clarice would be staying at their house.

"Onii-chan... what's going on here?"

"Sorry for deciding all by myself, Sabrina. But I thought Clarice would be lonely here all by herself. Plus, don't you want to listen to more of Clarice's stories?"

"...And you're okay with that, Onii-chan?"

"Yeah, I'm okay with it."

Sabrina bowed her head and clenched her fists.

"...Si. If Onii-chan is okay with it, then I don't have any issues with it."

"Thanks, Sabrina."

Things seem to be strange, but Sabrina agreed to it.

"Um, maybe I really am being a bother?"

Clarice asked nervously when she saw Sabrina wasn't accepting it so easily.

From that, Kazuki felt that Clarice had never been welcomed anywhere in her life.

"No way. It's just Sabrina and I in our house, so you don't need to worry."

"But...."

"We want you to come, Clarice. Right, Sabrina?"

"...Si."

"Really.... Then I'll do as you say."

Clarice smiled happily as she said that.

"Could I see you for ju~st a moment!"

Saki cut in as she inspected the situation.

"Um, y-you see, could I also stay over at Ootaki-kun's house?"

...

......

.........

............

"Whaaat?"

Kazuki couldn't believe his ears.

K-Kinoshita's going to stay over at my house!?

Ehhhhhhhh!?

That's- what's going on!?

"S-Sorry, I didn't hear you properly, could you repeat that!?"

"Eh!? S-So. um... can I stay over at Ootaki-kun's house as well...!?"

He wasn't hearing things.

Kinoshita's staying over at my house!?

W-Why?

Why is she doing that!?

"I want to hear more of Riche's stories... can I?"

"Hm-mm, should I say you're welcomed or welcomed.... Um, that's... what should I do...?"

After hearing Saki's sudden question, Kazuki was in a state of panic.

"No."

Then, Sabrina curtly replied in Kazuki's place.

"I accepted Clarice. However, Saki is not allowed."

"Ah, why!?"

"Si. Because Saki is Saki."

"Sabrina, that's not a proper reason!"

"... (Sta—re)."

(Sta—re)

"Uuu."

Sabrina and Saki exchanged glares again.

"Ah, uuu... what's going on!?"

"...That's weird. The shaking won't stop!?"

"Even Ootaki-san!?"

Kazuki suddenly felt a chill and Clarice was wriggling next to him.

"I heard everything!!"

""Izuna-san!?""

Kazuki and Saki yelled at the same time. Surprisingly, the person who appeared was Izuna.

"Why are you here...?"

"Na ha ha. They say wherever there is an incident, there is a nun."

"They don't! A nun doesn't fit that image at all!"

"Well, whatever. I was actually looking for Saki. She said she would be coming but never showed up, so I was worried. I followed her scent here."

"Ah, I'm sorry. I should've texted you. Wait!? Do I smell?"

Saki quickly distanced herself from Kazuki and smelled herself with tears glistening in her eyes.

"Na ha ha. That's enough jokes for now. I'm Izuna Tachibana, nice to meet you."

Izuna introduced herself to Clarice.

"I'm Clarice and I transferred in to Ootaki-san's class. Nice to meet you too."

Clarice politely introduced herself to Izuna.

"Yeah, Riche. I overheard all of you."

"You did?"

"That's right Kazuki-kun. I understand that you're worried about leaving Riche by herself, but you're all in middle school. I can't let middle school students have a sleepover unsupervised."

Hmmm...

She was certainly right.

Nothing should happen, but it could still be dangerous without a guardian.

A guardian, huh....

Kazuki thought about his useless parents.

Where could they be at right now?

All he knew was that they wouldn't be at home.

Maybe he should give up on the idea for today....

"So! I'll sleep over as well✩"

"Ehh?"

Izuna winked.

Things should be fine if Izuna stepped in as their guardian.

"But, will that be okay?"

"Of course it's okay. So, you come as well, Saki."

"Eh? But..."

"It's O—K. It's even more fun with more people, right Kazuki-kun?"

"Well, yeah."

"You're okay with that as well, right Sabrina?"

"... Si. That's okay. But Izuna, you must properly keep your eyes on Saki."

"Why am I being treated like a stray dog...?"

"Now then, let's all go to Kazuki's house!"

"Riche will go and get ready."

"Then we'll wait here."

"Ah, I'll go home and come back prepared."

"But Saki really is bold~."

Saki blinked her eyes after hearing what Izuna said.

"To be fine with going over to a male classmate's house to sleep, you know~"

"Ah—."

Finally realizing how bold her action was, Saki was shocked and covered her mouth.

Kazuki and Saki's eyes met while she was like that.

Saki blushed instantly, her ears going bright red.

"Kiyaa—aaaa!"

Saki ran away fleetingly.

Halt.

Halt.

But she stopped and turned around from a distance away.

"Um, could I just head over to Ootaki-kun's house after I finish preparing?"

"Y-Yeah..."

...Yet she still planned on coming.

Going with the flow, they all decided to sleep over at Kazuki's house.

How did things end up this way....

Well, this should be fine... right?

Kazuki quickly became worried.






______________________________________________________________________
References 

1. Clarice is spelt "クラリーチェ" in the book, and is pronounced "Kurariiche," which is why she's calling herself "Riche". 
2. Both "assassin" and "qualification" are pronounced "shikaku."  
3. Kazuki said "welcome" in Japanese first, and in English the second time.









References