Chapter 3 – Innocents at the Table
‘It’s hard just to criticise people like this,’ Masazumi thought. But despite this, it was meaningless to stay silent.
“Since he was born on Musashi, everybody knows what he’s like, far more than what they know about me, a newcomer who’s only been here one year. The Testament Union’s also got an idea, having seen Aoi’s grades when he enrolled.”
“Well, he’s an idiot. In the past, he burst into the ceremony hall where the matriculation ceremony was being held, smiling like an idiot while clutching a bundle of lit ceremonial firecrackers.”
“Yeah, he chased all the new students around. The ceremony hall was in panic, but in the end the new students worked together, brought Toori down and launched the fireworks…A moving ending, even if rather forced. Speaking of which, president Sakai gave a closing speech. ‘Everyone, remember this day well,’ he said…like anyone would forget.”
“Well,” Masazumi said, folding her arms.
“…Because he, the Chancellor, was elected to be the student council president, things ended without the Academy being split into two: a faction supporting the student council and another faction supporting the chancellor’s board. Speaking from the Testament Union’s point of view, it’s easier to control the Academy if Aoi is the leader of both sides.”
“That so? Um, right now, it seems that he’s nicknamed ‘Impossible’, but can he really not do anything? Before, he was pretty…no, he was an idiot back then too, but what’s he like now?”
Masazumi tilted her head to the side. Because the shop served snacks and bread, opened early in the morning, and had low prices, this shop was popular with students. Toori and his classmates could be seen here pretty often.
“I see them here quite often, but…you’re asking about what he’s like now?”
“Yeah, Toori had stopped coming for a while, stretchin’ from ten years ago till about a year ago. Before, Toori, his sister Kimi, and a child who lived close by would eat breakfast together here.”
“…That was more than ten years ago? Then, it would’ve been nine years since Toori came last year…”
“That’s right, Toori only started to come here again since last year. When Masazumi-san came to Musashi, when P-01s started working here. Now, he comes every morning, just like he used to.”
“I wonder why?” the shopkeeper’s question floated out from the kitchen, but Masazumi could not answer her question.
“But even if he comes here, he doesn’t have a proper meal; he just buys bread to go, so it can’t be that he wants to get employed here when he graduates…and about that, well…”
“What is it?”
As she stretched her hand out to a piece of bread, she asked this question.
The shopkeeper’s voice could be heard.
“I’d been thinking that there was no way, but I’ve started to wonder.”
“…? What are you talking about, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Hmmm, maybe it’d be easier to get it across to you if I say it like this.”
The sound of frying oil echoed from the kitchen. Audible inside this chain of sizzling noise, was a voice.
“Toori probably likes P-01s.”