Suzumiya Haruhi:Volume8 Editor in Chief★Straight Ahead!

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Editor-in-Chief★Straight Ahead!


Haruhi said flatly, thrusting the manuscript back.

"It's no goo~d?"

Asahina-san raised her voice to a near-scream,

"But I really, really thought about it......"

"Yup, no good. Totally. It doesn't strike any chords."

Leaning back on the chief's desk, Haruhi took the pen that had been on her ear into her hand and continued,

"First, this introduction is too common. 'Long, long ago, in a certain place......' whatever; that's such a stale and ordinary way to start a story. Give it a little more twist. The beginning part should go for the catch, okay? First impressions are crucial."


Asahina-san nervously said,

"I thought that was how fairy tales are......"

"That mindset is obsolete!"

Haruhi handed out the rejection with a thoroughly self-important air.

"The transformation of ideas is necessary. If you remember hearing this or that somewhere, think about the opposite first. Then you might just give birth to something new."

This feeling like we were rapidly straying from the point was the result of Haruhi's thought system. It's not like the pick-off motion of a pitcher that let a fast runner get on first base, and I don't think it'll be good if you just do the opposite, either.

"Anyway, this is rejected."

After making it a point to write "retake" over the copy paper of the manuscript with a red pen, she lightly tossed it into a cardboard box beside her desk. Within the box that had been originally loaded with oranges now was a mountain of wastepaper she had decided to send to the incinerator.

"Write something new."



With shoulders drooped, Asahina-san dejectedly returned to her seat. She was just too pitiable. The sight of her gripping her pencil, arms wrapped around her head, brings out burning compassion and sympathy.

On a whim, my eyes shifted to the perfectly nondescript corner of the table, and there was, precious for this clubroom's scenery, the figure of Nagato-not-reading.


Though it was Nagato keeping silently frozen as she stared at the notebook computer's display, touching the keyboard and entering something, freezing up again, and then hitting keys with a tap-tap. So, she's become an ornament again.

What Nagato was using was a notebook computer we had taken from the Computer Club as a prize for a game competition. Incidentally, similar things were in front of Koizumi and me, and with nothing much to think about, the CPU cooling fan was already spinning noisily to cool its brain down. The sight of Koizumi's fingers moving rhythmically and the sounds as he punched keys annoyed me like hell. So he's settled on what he was going to write, isn't that nice.

Although Asahina-san, who had shown such a silly prejudice against machines, had been writing on copy paper by herself, she now came to a complete stop as if she had synchronized with me.

Ah yeah. Even though I have nothing to write, should I be typing something?

"Okay, all of you as well!"

Haruhi alone was abnormally cheerful.

"Hurry up and hand in your manuscripts, if we don't start the editing, we won't make it in time for publication! Get into gear! You can write quickly if you just give it a little thought, can't you? Because you're not making an entry for a literary prize in long story writing or anything."

From Haruhi's cheery face bloomed a self-confidence that had sprung from somewhere I didn't know, as usual. She seemed like she was going to strike her prey at any moment.

"Kyon, you aren't moving your hands at all! Just glaring at the computer screen like that won't make your article! Anyway, write something first, then print it and show it to me, and if I think it's amusing then it passes, and if I don't then it's rejected, okay?"

My sympathy for Asahina-san transformed into self-pity. Why do I have to do such a thing? Not just me, but Asahina-san, who was moaning beside me, and even Koizumi, who was facing me while smiling; shouldn't the few of us be raising the signal to mutiny?

Well, even though SOS Brigade Chief Suzumiya Haruhi's special characteristic was not listening to what you were saying, why was she willfully getting into a role like this?

My eyes moved from Haruhi's itching-to-slap-people's-manuscripts-down-the-cardboard-box smile, to the armband on her arm.

On the armband that was usually labeled Brigade Chief, and formerly Great Detective and Ultra-Director, a new title was written in big letters with a magic marker.

This time, it was "Editor-in-Chief."

The beginning goes back a few days.

It was a day in the third school term, and the footsteps of the end of the year were gradually hitting my ears. I wish there could've been a little warning at least, but it had come out of nowhere on a lunch break that should've been peaceful.


The one who said that was Nagato Yuki. Beside her, for some reason, was Koizumi Itsuki's slender form. I've never even had a micron of a feeling that this pair would be coming side-by-side to my classroom, and although it was I who had taken a break from digging through my bento to come to the corridor, I just wanted to hurry up and return to my own desk.

"What’s that about a summons?"

I could only think of my current situation. After Taniguchi, who had just returned from buying and was carrying a variety of breads and a melon sour drink, said "Kyon, your companions are here," I went out and there were these two standing around. Though it was an unexpected pairing, I couldn't think of any partner that would be suitable for Nagato to be acting as a couple with.

I took in the sight of the alien girl who had been expressionlessly standing there after stating that single mysterious word at the beginning, gave up after waiting for three seconds, and looked at Koizumi's handsome face.

"Care to explain?"

"Of course, that's what I came here for."

Koizumi craned his neck into classroom five and inquired,

"Suzumiya-san won't be returning anytime soon?"

She had rushed out right after the fourth period ended. She should be munching away at a table in the cafeteria right about now.

"That's convenient. I'd rather this doesn't reach her ears."

I have a feeling that I wouldn't want this news to reach my ears as well.

"That’s true."

Koizumi's voice was lowered in a serious tone. In comparison, you seem like you're happy.

"Well, it's up to the person whether or not it's something to be happy about."

"Hurry up and say it, already."

"An official writ came down from the President of the Student Council. It's an order to appear at the Student Council room after school today. In short, it is a summons."


I understood in an instant.

"It finally came?"

A summons from the President of the Student Council―――it's not that I didn't know my own place that I would think of asking "What for?" In this one year, the SOS Brigade has, regardless of whether it was inside the school or outside, raised up a storm, as I, being too much of a good person, feigned ignorance to its misdeeds. What do we have first? The case of the computers that were hauled from the Computer Club? No, that should've been settled by the game showdown at autumn last year. As I hear it, the President of the Computer Club had unconditionally withdrawn the complaint they had filed at the Student Council after their defeat.

Was it because of that nonsensical film? That was done quite some time ago, and the Student Council must have had elections after the school festival. Did the current President remember the tasks that the previous President had left for him just now? Or could our personal descriptions have just recently arrived at North High from the neighboring shrines that we had rounded? We visited too many temples here and there for the start of the New Year.

"There's no helping it."

I shrugged, gazing at the absentee chief's desk, the rearmost one by the windows.

"Haruhi would be really happy to go off at the President. Depending on the other side's attitude, this just might turn into a brawl. As Koizumi is the mediator, I'll leave it up to you."

"You are mistaken."

Koizumi denied eloquently.

"The one being summoned is not Suzumiya-san."

So is it me? Come off it, that doesn't make any sense. Just because Haruhi has so much resiliency that it's like a spring made of whale whiskers, it would be at the height of injustice if I, still just hearing about it, had to bear the full brunt of it all. Though I know that the Student Council is just the school's radio-controlled puppet, I can't help but be disappointed that they'd go so far as acting like cowards.

"No, it isn't you, either."

Looking happy for some reason, Koizumi was getting increasingly invigorated as he said,

"The one being summoned, is Nagato-san alone."

Say what? Isn't this just getting more and more absurd? Although she’d make a competent lecturee as she quietly listens to whatever you say, there won't be any sense of accomplishment since there's little doubt that she will just stick to her silence.

"To Nagato? The Student Council President?"

"Your object and subject are correct. That's right, the President has designated Nagato-san."

Nagato's face showed no thoughts for herself as she stood there distantly. When she got hit by the beam of surprise that fired from my eyes, her bangs just gave a little sway.

"What do you mean? What business could the President of the Student Council have with Nagato? It can't be that he wants to employ her as secretary of the Student Council?"

"They already have a secretary, so that's wrong, of course."

Just say it already. Do you speak in that arrogant way because the nature is carved into your DNA?

"Forgive me. Now then, I shall tell you what I know. The reason why Nagato-san was summoned is simple. Aside from an interview about the Literature Club's activities, it is for discussing the question of the club's future continuation."

"Literature Club? But what―――"

I was about to ask what the relation was, but I caught on to his lines.


Nagato was gazing at end of the corridor without moving.

The white face that once wore glasses was as outwardly silent as that time. I still can't forget when she slowly raised her expressionless face in the clubroom where Haruhi had jumped into as she dragged me along.

"I see, the Literature Club, huh. So that's how it is."

This must be about how the SOS Brigade has been holding the Literature Club room as its headquarters for a while now. The only official member of the Literature Club has been Nagato from the beginning, while we were merely freeloaders, or some otherwise illegal occupants. Haruhi probably thinks that we had long ago acquired the rights to the place, but the Student Council will surely assert a different universal and standard opinion.

Koizumi probably read my expression and said,

"The memo was for the President to be able to have a talk personally after school. It came to me first. Then I passed it on to Nagato-san."

Why did it go to you?

"Because it would probably be ignored if it were addressed to Nagato, don't you think?"

On the other hand, you have as little to do with Literature Club activities as me.

"That may be, but it isn't as simple as you say. Things could get very difficult. Since we're not members and we've done nothing even closely related to literature in the Literature Club room, it wouldn't be surprising if it weren't just the Student Council that feels suspicious...... No, it's already become common knowledge, so I should say that it's been overlooked until now."

Koizumi, who had spoken sensibly, wore a smile that made me wonder whose side he was on.

They may be accusing me of being one of the leaders, but why has it come now? Like a lazy landlord who doesn't repair a leaky roof, hasn't the Student Council been leniently ignoring the SOS brigade as well?

"The Student Council from before was like that. However, the current President seems to be more complicated."

Koizumi smiled, showing his white teeth, and glanced at Nagato from the side.

As expected, Nagato gave no reaction, and just moved her eyes from the end of the corridor and focused them on my feet. It somehow seemed like she was saying sorry for the trouble.

And of course, Nagato has never given me any problems. It’s been decided. As far as I know, there is only one person who scatters trouble into the air whenever she moves. These messes have―――.

I said, exhaling into the empty air.

"Always been brought about by Haruhi."

Since the day she had shouted that "This club room is our club room from now on!"

"Please keep this a secret from Suzumiya-san."

Koizumi said.

"Because I think it will only make things worse. So after school, please go to the Student Council room so she doesn't find out."

"Yeah, I got it." I was about to say, before I barely caught on.

"Wait a sec. Why do I have to be the one to go? I'm not a person that gets carried away so easily that I would thoughtlessly march over there even though I wasn't invited."

Of course, if Nagato had wished for me to accompany her I would have been happy to go, but Koizumi has no business asking me. Besides, wouldn't the other party be terrified if Nagato came alone, I thought.

"The other side is well informed. That's why I was appointed as the messenger. Though I could go on and act as Nagato-san's representative altogether, I'm worried that there might be some trouble later, as being an agent isn't part of my job. Well anyway, to put it simply, you are Suzumiya-san's representative."

"Can't Haruhi go, herself?"

"Do you really mean that?"

Koizumi popped his eyes in an exaggerated manner.

I snorted in response to his bad acting. If you say you understand it, then even I can understand it. If a bomb-girl like that is thrown at the Student Council, I don't think it will end with a simple explosion. Considering the concern she had shown for Nagato at the winter lodge, if she found out that a summons had come for Nagato from the Student Council―――she'd fly off just at the "for Nagato from the Student Council" part, she won't just smash the door as she charged to the Student Council room, she might even push ahead and attack the staff room or the principal's office by mistake. Though that might make her feel better, it will undoubtedly be me whose stomach is hurting later. Unlike Koizumi, I don't want to change schools without any personal reasons.

"Well then, let's do our best."

Koizumi had known my answer from the start, and let loose a smile as he said,

"I'll tell the President. Let's meet at the President's room after school."

Though he showed attitude while Haruhi was away, Koizumi lightly moved his long legs as he went away from classroom five. Afterwards, while watching Nagato walk away to follow him until I could no longer see her small figure, I really felt that the end of our one year had begun.

Whatever has been said, perhaps Koizumi and Nagato were completely content with the SOS Brigade's reputation. While acting as a group, the number of things we were keeping from Haruhi was increasing on a monthly basis.......

No need to get sentimental.

Thanks to that, I didn't get to ask Koizumi why he was going on normally as the Student Council President's carrier pigeon.

By the way, with Haruhi's superb perception, she had noticed my suspicious behavior―――though she was totally unaware―――by the break after the fifth period.

A sharp object had been insistently poking my back, and when I turned to look at the seat behind me,

"What are you being so restless about?"

Haruhi said as she twirled a mechanical pencil in her fingertips,

"You look like you've been called out by someone."

For such a time, I had planned something that one-hundred-percent cannot be found false.

"Yeah, Okabe asked me to see him. He specifically told me to come during the lunch break."

I answered with a nonchalant look.

"It seems to be a request to talk about my grades. Depending on the results of my end of term exams, they may even arrange to notify my parents. About how I should reform myself right now if I'm thinking about going on to university or something."

Though I don't have enough heart and all that to reform myself, and I cannot change what isn't there, what I say isn't always utter nonsense. Taniguchi had said something that sounded roughly the same but with different words, and the conclusion I got from the information sharing was that our homeroom teacher was worried about one of his students' future and that he was a teacher for whom a fraction of sympathy was enough.

But then, because I'm near someone like Taniguchi, who's so easygoing that even I just go along thinking it's okay, the feeling of tension is diluted. I sometimes think that Kunikida maintaining decent grades was stranger.


While Haruhi propped her elbows on her desk and rested her chin in her hands,

"It's suspicious that you would get such grades. And I thought you were listening in class as diligently as me."

She said, and gazed outside the window. The briskness of the streaming clouds showed the strength of the wind.

I don't want to be lumped in with your brain. The occupant of my head has nothing to do with space-time distortions, information explosions, or that damned grey space. Compared to Haruhi's unprecedented variety, it is about as cute as a miniature dachshund.

"Listening without understanding is nothing but a waste of time."

I said instead. Though I said it without any confidence.


With Haruhi's eyes still fixed on the scenery outside, she said to the windowpane,

"If you like, I could help you with your studies. I won't mind, we'd just be repeating the lessons anyway, and if it's World Leaders, I'm confident that you'll get more from my teaching method than class."

"They suck, those people," Haruhi muttered to herself, then gave me a glance before quickly looking away.

While I thought about how I should answer,

Haruhi muttered to herself, then gave me a glance before quickly looking away.
Haruhi muttered to herself, then gave me a glance before quickly looking away.

"Also, Mikuru-chan has been flapping about, too, hasn't she? This school, although it's prefectural and gives a strange impression, acts like a college preparatory school, so this season is hard on the second years as well. They're real busy with special classes, trial exams, and all that. And the school trip was nothing but a complete disaster. If that was the case, they should just have the trip sometime within the year. They'll just have to have the school festival in spring instead of autumn. Don't you think?"

She spoke briskly, then appeared to be watching the streaming clouds again. It seemed like she was waiting for my answer, so I said,


I went along and watched the clouds as well.

"I just want to go on to the next year safely."

If, by chance, I do get held back a year,

"Hiya, Suzumiya-senpai."

"Ah, stupid Kyon, go buy me a sanshoku bread. I'll pay you later."

Resentfully, it ended up like one of our ordinary clubroom conversations. I can avoid the penalty if I could make Haruhi prepare a question guide for the term exams. Wait, it would also be good to add Nagato to the manufacturing staff. I believe we can sell the end-product at five hundred yen per copy. We could make a small fortune. My fellow failure Taniguchi can buy one with a thirty percent special service discount.

"That won't do."

Haruhi dismissed my profitable proposal.

"You won't really learn anything that way. That's just a short-term thing. You'd go all panicky if the questions were just a little off. If you don't build up your knowledge by getting a perfect understanding of things, you'll just end up being tricked by some bad folks. Well, relax. If you seriously keep at it for half a year, even you can be in Kunikida's level."

You don't need to be that fired up about it. An image comes to mind of Haruhi all-too happily letting me have it with a "Wrong! Why can't you understand such a simple thing? Stupid, stupid, stupid!" through a megaphone every time I bring up an answer that I've figured out as I sweated nervously, and while I was telling myself not to picture such a scene,

"Just ask me about the things you don't understand and I'll teach you. The rest will take care of itself, somehow."

"If it'll just happen somehow, then why hasn't it happened already?"

Did I just say such an irritating thing out loud? Yes, I sure did.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?"

Haruhi turned to the front with lips that seemed like they were about to explode, and boldly thrust her chest forward.

"Because I won't allow a scandal such as a dropout coming from my SOS Brigade to happen. If it does, the Student Council or whatever might go 'Oh, look at this!' and come forward with a complaint. That's why, so you don't miss this chance, you must motivate yourself even just a little. Got it?"

After spitting out such unusually sharp lines with a dexterous expression of frowned eyebrows and a smiling mouth, Haruhi kept scowling at me and frowned until I expressed agreement with her demand.

The end of the school day had come.

Having left the classroom, I acted like I was heading off to the staff room and parted with Haruhi, then went directly to the Student Council room. Since it was right beside the staff room, there would be no need to make a detour to hide my destination, and I should arrive without any problems.

Even so, when it comes down to it, some feeling of tension was still coursing through my body.

I had no idea what sort of face the Student Council President had, even though I had seen him somewhat during the Student Council elections after the school festival. Now that I think about it, though I remember hearing every candidate's speech in the auditorium, as a perfectly non-affiliated voter, I wrote down the most ordinary name on the ballot, and promptly forgot about it. Just what kind of guy became president? In any event, I'm sure it's a sophomore, since someone you call President is probably a higher year student. Someone with more dignity than the Computer Club's President, I'd think.

While I was hesitating in front of the Student Council for a moment,

"Oh, Kyon-kun! Whacha doing?"

Coming out of the staff room, a long-haired lady had bumped into me. It was Asahina-san's classmate and honorary consultant of the SOS Brigade, which made it subsequently clear that she was no ordinary second year girl.

Even if she has to raise her head to somebody, this person would still make him fall.


At my varsity group-level enthusiastic greeting, she went,

"A-haha! Hiee!"

Tsuruya-san raised a hand with a hyper-looking smile, and fixed her eyes on the door I was standing next to,

"What have we here! You have some business with the Student Council?"

I went to this place just to hear what this business is. That doesn't mean I have something to do at the Student Council.


Tsuruya-san, who approached in that vigorous way of walking that closely resembled Haruhi's, drew her mouth close to my ear as I teetered backwards. She then said in voice that was quiet for her,

"Hmm? By any chance, are you spying on the Student Council?"

Tsuruya-san's face was in point-blank range, like some serious spies were listening in. This person, who is unforgettable for her cheerful giggles no matter what was happening, wore an expression that I could not recognize on her. For some reason or other, I felt that it was necessary to give an explanation.

"Umm, well, you see......"

What can I say, Tsuruya-san. If I were a spy following somebody's secret order, I shouldn't be getting into such trouble right now.

"That's true."

Tsuruya-san stuck out her tongue,

"Yeah, sorry for being suspicious. I just happened to hear some things. There are rumors of mysterious people creeping around the dark side of the Student Council, working in the shadows, didn't you know? It also seems like many things happened after the presidential election before. Sounds like a bunch of lies, don't you think?"

First time I’ve heard of it. It's hard to imagine that a shabby prefectural high school’s elections for President of the Student Council would have such things happening behind the scenes, so it's all probably a false rumor. Though Haruhi would love it if there really were such a conspiracy story on our campus.


It was my turn to ask her. There were things I didn't know that were probably already well-known to her.

"Do you know what kind of person the President is?"

Though I had wished she could tell me something about the guy,

"I don't know much, myself. We're not in the same class. He's an arrogant but good guy, and he seems to have a pretty sharp head on his shoulders. If you talk about the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, he gives an impression similar to Shiba Yi. It looks like the slogan he proclaimed was for the improvement of student independence. The previous Student Council had just seemed like hishimochi-in-the-sky."

It bothered me that I couldn't immediately picture his real character even with the comparison to a famous historical figure, and I was suspicious about whether her mochi-metaphor was accurate or not.

"Anyway, why were you at the staff room, Tsuruya-san?"

"Hm? I'm on day-duty today. I came here to deliver the daily reports."

After answering casually, Tsuruya-san patted me on the shoulder and said in a big voice,

"Kyon-kun, keep up the good work! If you get into a fight with the Student Council, I'll give you a hand! And Haru-nyan and the others are all on your side, of course!"

That's really encouraging. However, I don't want it to go that far. I wonder what kinds of tricks Haruhi, who'd be ecstatic at discovering a formidable enemy, will employ; just thinking about it is wearing out my brain. I already feel like thinking of something else.

"Laters", Tsuruya-san waved, having finished saying all that she had wanted to say, and departed briskly.

Like always, this person gets to the point even without saying anything. She is a match for Haruhi when it comes to the power of conceptualization. She's probably the only student in North High who could form a combination with Haruhi and show comparable power. Where she differs from our troublesome brigade chief is that she hasn't completely left behind all common sense.

However, judging from the thinness of the wall and the door, I can't help but think that Tsuruya-san's last shout must've passed right on through to the inside. Haruhi-like behavior must be lying dormant within her somewhere.

Well, I can't just go changing my mind now.

To avoid any adverse effects, I knocked politely first.

"You may enter."

The voice resounded abruptly from inside. You may enter; so there really people who speak like that among the high school students. And it was such a cool voice that it could be used to dub a veteran actor in a foreign movie.

I opened the sliding door, and my body was plunged into the Student Council room for the first time in my life.

Although the Student Council room boasts a somewhat wider area than the Literature Club room, it wasn't very different from any other clubroom in the old shack. Without an exclusive desk where a triangular pyramid with something like "President" written on it was placed, it looked bare compared to our clubroom. It would be simpler to just call it a meeting room.

Koizumi, who had arrived before me, gave me a greeting,

"Thank you. It's good that you could come."

Standing by the entrance, and lined up with Koizumi like she was also waiting for me, was Nagato.


Nagato sagely darted her eyes to the windows, and before them was the President.

The President...... huh.

He was a tall student, I realized. He was looking outside the windows for some reason, and he was unmoving as he held his hands together at his back. The setting sun coming in from the south-facing window served as backlighting, making his form ambiguous.

There was another person; this one a shadow sitting in a corner of the long table. It was a female student, her face hidden as she opened a notebook, looking like she was getting ready to take down the minutes with the mechanical pencil in her hand. It seems like this person is the secretary.

The President still hasn't moved much. What could be so interesting about the scenery outside; the tennis court and the empty pool shouldn't be visible, but the profound silence stretched on.

"Mister President."

After a moderate pause, Koizumi called out in his much-too exhilarated voice.

"All the people you have invited are now gathered here. Please proceed with your business."

"Very well."

The President turned around slowly, and I was finally able to assess his face. He was an exceptionally slender, glasses-wearing second year student. Though it was in a different way from Koizumi's budget-idol face, he was a pretty handsome bastard. It seemed like all of his thoughts were focused on a desire for improvement; there was a cold-blooded look in his eyes that made one think of a young career person, and I reflexively thought that he was not here to make any friends.

Expressionless, though in a different way from Nagato, he continued,

"Though I think you may already have heard from Koizumi, I will say it once more. I wanted you all to come here. Regarding the Literature Club's activities, the Student Council is giving its final notice."

Final, how? Has there ever been any sort of notice until this moment? Even if there were, it seems Nagato hasn't been complying meekly to your invitations, which is the reason we were able to make the clubroom our home base.


Nagato was without any reaction or concern as the President coldly spoke.

"Currently, you have been reduced to being a Literature Club in name only. Do you agree?"

She's no good except for reading quietly in the clubroom, as I thought.


Nagato was silent.

"You are already at a level of not even functioning as a club."


Nagato looked mutedly at the President.

"I will state it clearly. We, the Student Council, cannot see any reason for the current Literature Club's existence. These are the findings of our continuous all-aspect investigation."


Nagato was keeping still.

"Therefore, we are announcing the indefinite suspension of the Literature Club. You are to promptly vacate your clubroom."


Nagato was quiet all the same. Though I knew why.

"You are Nagato-kun, huh."

As the President coolly caught the unyielding Nagato's eyes,

"You leave non-members in your clubroom, and neglect your duties by doing nothing about it. Besides that, what have you been doing with the Literature Club's allotted activity budget this year? Are you saying that the filming of that movie was an activity of the Literature Club? According to our investigation, the credits for that movie in question said that it was produced by an illegal group, the SOS Brigade; there was no mention of the Literature Club's name anywhere. And generally speaking, the film itself was made without the permission of the school festival's executive committee."

It pains me to hear you say that. Koizumi and Nagato may have willed it to stop right from the start, but ending Haruhi's tyranny was my sworn duty. All for the sake of Asahina-san, who had been made the heroine by force.


You couldn't tell what Nagato was thinking to herself from her profile. Though that's just an amateur's observation.

Either the President is misunderstanding her non-reaction as a sign of obedience, or he is just not shaking off his arrogant manner.

"Tentatively, as a step in the Literature Club's suspension, you will be prohibited from entering the clubroom until new members join in the next school year. Are there any objections? If you do, you should speak up. I'm all ears."


Though not even a hair on Nagato was moving, if it were Haruhi, Asahina-san, and Koizumi, they might've understood. And, if my colleagues could understand it, then it would already be obvious even to me. I know that much from the atmosphere.


Nagato, who had sunk into silence,


She seemed to be quietly angry.

"Hm. No objections, then?"

The President moved the tips of his lips in disgust. Though there was no change in his cool expression itself,

"In the Literature Club, Nagato-kun, there are no members other than you. You are the de facto head. If you would consent, for the preservation of the clubroom we will start the immediate removal of all foreign objects by taking out all items unrelated to club activities and disposing of them, or having them stored here. Retrieve the personal effects that you have left there at once."

"Wait a sec."

I interrupted the President's one-sided declaration. Before Nagato's silent anger reaches the critical point,

"Saying that all of a sudden is too much. Neglecting us until now, and then springing this on us without any warning isn't fair."

"You, of all people, should say that."

The President poured a cold look on me, going "Heh" with his lips in an annoying smile.

"I had the club establishment application you've submitted shown to me. It was so bad, it was funny. If we approved every association that gave such random details, this school would see no end of it."

That despicable, smart-ass upper classman pushed up his glasses in a dramatic gesture,

"You should study your words some more. You, especially, should be working on your studies in general. I don't think your grades are good enough that you can play around after school doing nothing."

Just as I thought. The President has been planning to scrap the SOS Brigade from the beginning. That stuff about the Literature Club was a simple ruse. At least Haruhi the ultra-director wrote Nagato into a scenario that was somewhat excusable.

"Saying that you will join the Literature Club is useless now."

The President said, forestalling me even though I haven't even thought of it.

"Look. For argument's sake, even if you could pass the year as official Literature Club members, you couldn't do even one thing that can be recognized as a Literature Club activity. Just what would you do?"

The President's glasses were flashing for no reason. Are those special effects?

"We may have appeared tolerant. You were talking about the SOS Brigade? It was formed without authorization, and utterly does whatever it pleases. Not only did you light fireworks on the rooftop, you threatened teachers, loitered on campus in lascivious clothing, inexcusably cooked Nabe within a fire-prohibited building, and just been a big problem otherwise. Just who do you think you people are?"

I knew that what he was saying was generally correct. It was certainly bad. But I think they still should've conferred with us to get a single word in at least. I don't think they'd approve no matter what I would have answered, but I just can't go with whatever they say.

"You have a dirty mouth."

I was taking Nagato's fury for my own,

"If that's how it is, then you should have called out Haruhi and talked to her directly. Why'd you summon Nagato if you were just going to shut down the Literature Club?"

However, my counterattack seemed to have finished earlier than I had estimated.

"Of course."

The President was not shaken at all. Rearranging his arms to look cool, with an expression like that of an elite section chief who had just finished reading a written review plan submitted by a blundering subordinate, he continued,

"Because there is no such thing as an SOS Brigade within this school. Am I mistaken?"

Has it really come to this, I thought.

No matter how much the Student Council or the executive office had persisted, they couldn't take down the SOS Brigade. Because, on paper, such a brigade could not exist in this school. That's about as true as saying that losing more of what you don't have is like how anything multiplied by zero becomes zero. Fumble around and it won't be limited to just not getting the result of multiplying a negative by a negative; if you poke the girl called Suzumiya Haruhi the wrong way, you won't know where she'd fly off to.

Like aiming at a split with a hooking ball and crushing the ten pins in the neighboring lane, her personality was unreadable.

Even if you attack her with a straight ball, she's just going to smash a high-speed foul into your team's dugout; doing so is just useless, and as for the Student Council and their conclusions, they were probably filling up a moat when they had drawn up that plan first.

Specifically, that the SOS Brigade has been illegally residing in the clubroom section on the third floor of the Old Shack, which was the Literature Club's clubroom.

If the Literature Club is forfeited and gets downgraded, the SOS Brigade's site will automatically disappear as well. We could only stay there regularly because Nagato, the one-and-only Literature Club member, had said "Okay," though perhaps no human being other than Nagato would've replied so when asked to "Lend me your clubroom."

If the Literature Club is terminated, as it is, Nagato would no longer be a Literature Club member, and the room where she could quietly read books everyday would disappear, and the five of us would lose the place where we could gather together after school.

What an excellent strategy. I would commend it. The bad thing is, because of what we had done, Nagato gets the roles of both the victim who gets the short end of the stick, as well as a co-conspirator.

What's difficult with the situation on this side is that even I know that a counter-argument cannot be constructed; at the very least, the one to wave that flag would be Haruhi, and though I have to question whether the President realizes it, it's perfectly clear that a Nagato-call was folded within.

So Nagato must be reaching her limit as well.


The silent pressure building up within this petite figure in a sailor uniform was well known to me. Just what would happen if she were to release all that. Although the world would by no means be reconstructed, perhaps she could fly off with the President's memory and turn him into a puppet. Or perhaps, like Asakura, she could manipulate data and change this clubroom and the President along with it into something different. The memory of how Nagato Yuki went wild, during that game war versus the Computer Club last fall, came back to me forcefully.

As the Student Council President moved away and posed with his back to the setting sun, I was nervously wondering whether I should tell him what it really was,


And while the invisible, pregnant atmosphere kept silent, it disappeared.


The crystalline aura (at least it felt like it) that was emanating from Nagato was disappearing like a lie. By chance, when I had looked at Nagato's face, her unblinking gaze was directed at someone other than the President.

I turned to look as well.

Kimidori-san gave a gentle smile, and her eyes met mine before she swung them over to Nagato.
Kimidori-san gave a gentle smile, and her eyes met mine before she swung them over to Nagato.

The female student, who was looking down at the meeting minutes as she moved her pen, and whom I had guessed was a second year girl acting as the secretary, slowly lifted her face.


That stupid sounding voice was mine.

Why was this person here? Her name didn't immediately come back to me...... ah, I remembered. It was summer. There was a strange incident a short while after the end of Tanabata. And then, though I had not forgotten what I had seen, I'd rather say that with that meaningless incident.......

"Is anything the matter?"

The President said in a voice that was all business,

"Ah, I haven't introduced you. She is my Student Council's top executive, and is acting as our secretary―――"

The female student's hair moved lightly as she took a silent bow.

"This is Kimidori Emiri-kun."

The giant kamadouma came back to my mind with thunderous sound effects.


Starting from the SOS Brigade website's abnormality, a problem consultation about the Computer Club President going AWOL led us to an alternate space, and though she was one of the people caught up in those debilitating events within that chain of stupidity, she was pretending not to recognize us at all as she set herself in a corner of the Student Council.

Kimidori-san gave a gentle smile, and her eyes met mine before she swung them over to Nagato. Their eyes appeared to thin a little. Adding to that, it seemed like they were even giving each other looks. And even more, it looked like Nagato gave a small, reluctant nod.

What? Was there some kind of telepathy going on between these two?

Now that I think about it, that incident was even stranger than I had considered. Though she had said she was the Computer Club President's girlfriend, I later learned from the guy himself that he didn't have one. Well, although Kimidori-san had come to the SOS Brigade for a consultation for some reason, I felt certain that Nagato had known. However, for them to stare each other down after happening to meet in this place, I can't think that this was just a coincidence.

Like a Partisan Boy Soldier hearing the sounds of Stuka Dive Bombers flying in formation, I was struck by a scare,


A sound like a balloon bomb exploding boomed from the back. My heart smashed against a rib and almost leapt out of my chest as I was completely left in the lurch,

"Hold it right there!"

Raising a battle cry as she swung the Student Council room door wide open, there was no mistaking the master as she released a voice that easily exceeded 100 decibels. The voice that made rippling vibrations on my eardrums kept going on.

"You quack of a Student Council President! What do you think you're doing, shutting away three of my loyal servants in such a place! I would've found out sooner or later, but if it was something so interesting, you should have told me first! And what did you do? You couldn't have been bullying Yuki, could you? It'd be okay if it were just Kyon, but if it's Yuki, I totally won't allow it! I'll beat you senseless and toss you from the window to the pool!"

Jumping in with a threatening poise like a mama cat that had picked up her kitten, ah, only one person fits the profile.

Although there was no need to turn around, I looked back to see the expression on that person's face. I knew it. It was my violent and lively classmate, whose whole body was radiating a happiness that just screamed, "I've found something interesting!"

"You can't hope to keep me out of this. I am the supreme leader of the SOS Brigade, after all!"

As Haruhi banged out her with her big mouth, she spotted the last boss in an instant. The huge pupils which seemed to be crammed with whole clusters of galaxies locked onto the lanky figure holding down his glasses.

"Are you the Student Council President? Alright, I'll take you on, head-to-head! It's the Chief versus the President, so the purse should be equivalent. You got nothing against that, right!?"

How did you know we were here? As I was about to state this naïve question,

"Hey, Kyon! Shouldn't you be doing something instead of just standing there, watching quietly? Don't hold back just because it's the Student Council President. If we all jump him and tie him up, that should be it. I'll put him in a lock, so you get the rope ready!"

Those eyes were going to burst with lava and flare up to make a caldera any time now. In contrast to this,


Nagato did not move an inch, like a frontline commander ignoring the arrival of reinforcements she had not asked for, and kept staring at Kimidori-san like a dormant volcano. However, instead of jumping the Student Council President or going off to search for some rope, I spied the expression on the person who was exposed to this intruder's threat.

It was a strange sign. The President's brows were knotted, and he was turned toward somewhere beside me with accusing eyes. It was at Koizumi, and for some reason, he seemed to shake his head a little. He had a bitter smile on his lips, and it seemed to me like these two had just completed some wordless communication; let's just forget I ever noticed anything.

"And what was that! If you're going to summon somebody, I should be the first priority! You people may be the Student Council and all that, but how could you leave me, the Chief, out!?"

"Please calm down, Suzumiya-san."

Koizumi nonchalantly placed his hand on Haruhi's shoulder,

"Let's hear the Student Council's side first. We were still in the middle of our discussion."

He suspiciously tried to meet my eyes. Damn you, just what do you want me to do?

The one thing I do know, is that our Excellency, Chief Haruhi, had gallantly come running for us in our predicament,

"Now that it's come to this, I'm declaring total war! Because, for your information, we take on any challenge from anyone, anytime, anywhere! The SOS Brigade is made up of nothing but women (and men) of valor, who are invincible and know no mercy or fear. Even if you cry or kneel on the ground, we will not forgive you!"

It seems like she's just making the situation more complicated.

Tsuruya-san, who had declared she would participate in the war in advance, Nagato, who was right at the verge of rage, and, as a bonus, Kimidori-san, who had made her unexpected return here; this much would've been complicated enough.

Incidentally, even Koizumi and the President were part of the picture for some reason.

"And Kyon, just what do you think you're doing? Only Student Council Presidents should take on Student Council Presidents. It should be the easiest thing to realize that he's not our enemy character. Don't do battle here; take the fight somewhere else. Just glare at him with a more resolute attitude!"

The Student Council versus the SOS Brigade, huh.......

If only someone, somewhere would step on the switch for this event that I'd rather avoid. By no means do I want to think I have to be the one.

While looking at Haruhi, who, for some reason, seemed to be as delighted as she was angry, I had to consider if I should just go with the flow from here, though, in any case, the conviction swirling around in my chest wasn't that much.

"Ah, well."

Is, well, something natural to be murmuring, I'd like to think.

And in fact, they've just let out some not-so-good thing.

Haruhi, whose job had changed from Brigade Chief to Editor-in-Chief, was commissioned to turn us brigade members into instant authors and compose some quasi-novels, which is a situation as unprecedented as the Jupiter Ghost being completely targeted by Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.

The Student Council versus the SOS Brigade, huh...
The Student Council versus the SOS Brigade, huh...

Haruhi, like a short-fused street fighter who had come to the battle grounds after coming across a letter of challenge that had been sent to someone else,

"Come now, you corrupt President! Attack me any way you want! No referee stoppage so no holding back, and we'll be going with the nashi-nashi rule with no rope break, got it!?"

Spouting off in an overbearing voice as he stood by the window, the Student Council President thrust out a finger with a snap.

At the same time, the President, without hiding the annoyance on his face, said,

"Suzumiya-kun. Though I do not know what sort of hand-to-hand combat you practice in your spare time, I have no intention of helplessly entering a battlefield that the opponent had prepared. The rules you talk of are at the pinnacle of barbarism. Repulsive. And most of all, for the Student Council, fights within the school are impermissible for any reason. Do remember this."

Haruhi, without looking away from the President,

"Well then, what contest do you feel like? Wanna play Mahjong? Even if you bring out your ace pinch-hitter, it won't matter against me. How about a computer game competition? It's an offer you can't refuse."

"There will be no Mahjong, and no games."

As the President elaborately took off his glasses and wiped them with his handkerchief, before putting them on again,

"I had no intention of holding a contest, or such, from the start. Do you think we have as much free time as you do to go playing around?"

As Haruhi lifted her foot to valiantly charge forward, I stopped her by grabbing on to her shoulder.

"Wait a sec, Haruhi. Who told you we were here?"

I asked, and she turned to me with a glint in her eye that exposed her fighting spirit.

"I heard it from Mikuru-chan. And Mikuru-chan said she heard it from Tsuruya-san. When I heard that it seemed like you were called by the Student Council President for something, it struck me. Yuki and Koizumi-kun weren't in the club room as well. Huh-hmm, I immediately knew that the Student Council had moved at last. Since he knew that he'd lose to me for sure, he thought of attacking a weak spot. It was obvious he would use such a cowardly, small-time scoundrel move."

The President was unperturbed even when he was called a small-time scoundrel. The tall figure of the sophomore gazed in annoyance at Haruhi, before he once again looked at Koizumi with a complaint in his eyes,

"Koizumi-kun. Would you please explain it to them. The reason why I had invited Nagato-kun."

"By your leave, Mister President."

Though Koizumi, the carefree-smiling lover of exposition, had opened his mouth in order to enlighten us,

"There's no need to explain anything."

Haruhi swiftly refused.

"After all, you've probably just served us false charges in order to destroy the Literature Club. If Yuki is no longer a club member, then we wouldn't be able to use the club room, right? You thought that since Yuki was an obedient, goody-goody girl, you could simply wheedle her out, but that won't do with me. If the SOS Brigade is such an eyesore for you, you should've just come and said it to us up front, not that sneaky manoeuvring from the side!"

Haruhi got excited by her own line. At any rate, her intuition was as expected. Under these circumstances, if you think that Koizumi would be disappointed that he wasn't able to explain away,

"I thank you for minimizing the time needed to explain. It is as you have said."

Koizumi didn't lose his smile as he feigned relief,

"However, we were still in the middle of our talk. Perhaps the President has more to say. Any way you look at it, forcing the Literature Club, an officially recognized club, to suspend its activities with no grace period at all is unreasonable. Although I don't think the Student Council has that much authority, what is it that you are proposing, Mister President?"

He finally explained it. Seeing that he was feeling the mood to watch such a transparently cheap play, the President acted more and more like an honor student.

"Of course, we in the Student Council do not want such a useless disturbance to occur. If the Literature Club had held activities fitting for the Literature Club, there wouldn't have been one complaint in the first place. What we see as a problem, is that there has not even been one such activity."

"Do you mean that we could alternatively change our club activities instead of the forced suspension?" Koizumi responded at once.

"It is not an alternative, it is a requirement."

The President, in a troublesome manner,

"Even if it's just once, you must hold an activity befitting the Literature Club. If you do that, then the indefinite suspension of club activities will be temporarily frozen. We will even allow your continuance in the clubroom."

Haruhi put down the leg that she had been raising. However, with a face and voice that remained combative,

"It's good that you understand things. While you're at it, aren't you going to recognize the SOS Brigade? Just go straight to making us a club and we'll act like a study group. And then you can make allocations for our club expenses, can't you?"

That was written in the student handbook. But the President, who could grant a two-rank special promotion to the brigade and it still wouldn't be a club, without losing his sharpness,

"I know of no such brigade. There's no way I can authorize the club activities of a brigade which officially does not exist, nor can I make more allocations from our meager budget."

The President, who was slowly putting his arms together, met Haruhi's scowl directly. To prove that he was not bluffing, the President didn't sweat one drop. Just where was this composure coming from?

"I don't want to hear anything more about any brigades in front of me. The topic right now is the Literature Club. I have no interest in finding out what sort of brigade you all had formed without permission. Even though I don't know about it, if it reaches my ears, it will only become a problem for the Literature Club. More than that, you can just go on without giving me any discomfort."

Though it would've been good if we had just gone away, no matter what kind of sleight of hand I use, it would just be a matter of time before Haruhi assaulted the Student Council room. No doubt she'd leap into action before the day is over. And I'm certain she'd be dragging me by my necktie as she went.

"But of course, not everything can be called a Literature Club activity. Holding a reading circle in the clubroom, writing book reports on the chosen book for the day―――copying grade schoolers won't make the cut. I, at least, wouldn’t allow it."

"So what would you do?"

The glint in Haruhi's eyes didn't fade as she inclined her head a little.

"Kyon, aside from reading books, what does the Literature Club do around here? Any ideas?"

"Not one."

What I said had come from deep within my heart. You should ask something like that from Nagato.

"There is only one requirement."

The President said, ignoring our conversation.

"You have to publish an organ. According to our records, even though the past generations of the Literature Club were always stricken by a shortage of members, they were still able to issue one volume every year. This activity is most likely to give you exposure. The Literature Club, self-explanatorily, is a club that infuses art into the creation of sentences. You don't get a story from just reading."

So that means Nagato hasn't been doing what a club member is supposed to at all for the last year. She’s done nothing but read since whenever. ......Oh that Nagato.

My head shook involuntarily. I did not want to remember that bespectacled Literature Club member who wore a troubled face in front of an outdated computer at a time like this. Seeing her in my dreams at night is enough.

"I disapprove."

Seeming to misunderstand my behavior, the President wore an even more disapproving face, himself.

"Do not forget that this is the minimal concession. By all rights, we could have announced this plan during the Culture Festival. I want you to feel a little obligation to me for waiting so long. Then again, if it were anyone other than me, you would probably go on free interminably."

Setting myself and Nagato aside, only Haruhi would want to go on free.

"I cannot let that happen. I won the election for President of the Student Council by pledging for school reformation. As you have known, the Student Council then was just the Student Council in name, and there was no room for student independence. Following the plans that had been drawn up in the staff room, I made serious on what I had said like a body of air."

The President delivered such a rousing speech indifferently.

"I wished to break away from that situation. Students wanting more items to be added to the cafeteria menu while getting better value for their purchases; even such trivial matters have to be discussed, and I thought that by negotiating on the side of the school, the way to realization would follow."

Though I’m grateful that he's working so hard for the sake of the students, how about listening to a single student's wish to be recognized as a 『Club』 or 『Study Group』 instead of a 『Brigade』?

"I am making serious reformation my slogan. If I formally approve such an unserious brigade, my reputation would crash to the earth. I will not accept it."

The President, after rejecting my request,

"The term is one week. One week after today, you must finish publishing two hundred copies of the Literature Club magazine. Otherwise, I will recommend that the Literature Club be suspended, and you must surrender the clubroom. No complaints will be considered."

Anyway, about that journal. Is it something like an anthology?

"Fine, then."

Haruhi accepted simply. Nagato should be the one saying that, not you.

Nagato would speak nothing, of course, but even if it might’ve been better for Haruhi to respond since there was nothing more to say, I feel that Nagato's silence here was different from her usual, taciturn disposition.


Nagato had been staring at Kimidori-san the whole time, and they both did not turn their eyes away at all. Nagato was expressionless, and Kimidori-san had on a weak smile.

Looking happy for some reason I didn't understand, Haruhi didn't seem to recognize Kimidori-san, the SOS Brigade's first and only client, at all. It seems like she's been so busy glaring at the President, that her thoughts hadn't even turned to the secretary. Maybe she doesn't remember her face. She never saw that kamadouma.

Haruhi, with a face like a mathematician that had just proven a proposition,

"A journal, a club journal, huh? Is it something like a doujinshi? People writing stories, essays, columns, poems, and stuff?"

"The contents are not of my concern," the President said. "You may use the printing room as you wish. You may write whatever you wish. However, there is a second part to the requirements. We will establish a time table for the production of the journal, and you must follow it. And though it should go without saying that distribution will be free, you must follow this as well. Promotional activities and personal deliveries are not allowed. That includes going out as bunny girls, among other things. Not one person should stubbornly neglect this, because if all copies are not out within three days, a penalty will be imposed."

"What kind of penalty?"

Haruhi, who was a sucker for penalty games, leaned forward with glittering eyes.

The President, in an annoying manner,

“When that time comes, we will inform you. But you will want to be prepared. We can start with performing volunteer activities, indefinitely. As I have repeatedly said, this is a concession."

The arbitrary destruction of a home giving way to conflict would be unfortunate, the President seemed to be thinking. Even if you haven't read the history of the Akou clan, it's easy for anyone to guess. Furthermore, the opponent was Haruhi. I can't think that the President is pleased with himself even in his own head. The pitiful school itself would run away.

Although I'm leaving whether this is submission or a concession to future judgment, this "Organ Publication" is just a way of evading the matter on the Student Council's part. And even if you call it an organ, it's in no way related to Koizumi's background, so it should just be a journal. Or maybe Literature Club publication. You say you're seeking the fruits of artistic writing borne of our club activities, but just how are we to do that? Who's going to do the writing? Even more, why do I see Haruhi looking strangely delighted?

"Well, isn't that interesting!"

Haruhi showed a smile like a child who had just learned a new game.

"An organ, a journal, or a doujinshi is okay. We'll do it even if you say there's no use in trying. For Yuki's sake. She'll be troubled if the Literature Club is no more. That room already belongs to me, and what I hate more than anything is when something of mine is taken."

Haruhi's arm wasn't on me, but was stretched around the nape of Nagato's neck.

"Well then, if that's been settled, we will go into a meeting without delay. Yuki, I'll credit your name as publisher in the copyright page. I'll be taking care of everything else, of course, so don't you worry. First things first, let's all go and investigate how to publish an organ!"

Haruhi held the back of Nagato's collar,


She lightly pulled on Nagato, who had been standing quietly, as if Nagato were a balloon, opened the door with a bang, then started running with a force like the initial velocity of a rifle bullet.

Though I saw Nagato floating on only her tiptoes when I looked over my shoulder, the sight disappeared in an instant; Haruhi, who had come bounding into the Student Council room like the wind, grew into the power of a typhoon before she passed.

"Such a noisy girl."

The President, who had spoken such a sensible impression, shook his head, and swung his eyes to the nearby table.

"Kimidori-kun, that is enough for you as well. You may leave."

"Yes, Mister President."

Kimidori-san meekly bowed her head in assent, closed the minutes, and then quietly stood up. After returning the notebook to the bookshelf, she nodded lightly to the President before starting to walk.

As she passed by, she gave me a quick bow. Without meeting my eyes, she exited through the door that Haruhi had flung open. From that last, soft flutter of her hair, came a most wonderful smell. It was gone before I knew it.

As I was thinking about the connection between Nagato and Kimidori-san, the President snorted through his nose and spoke.

"Koizumi, close the door."

Sensing the complete change in tone from a while ago, my eyes went back to the President. Koizumi closed the door, and the President, after confirming that it had been locked, pulled a nearby pipe chair to himself and sat down roughly, then threw his legs over the table.


However, it was still too early to act surprised. The President frowned while searching around in his uniform pocket, and just as I was thinking, he was bringing out a cigarette and a lighter, put it to his lips and lit it, and did he just start puffing out smoke?

It was an act that you'd never think the President of the Student Council would do. As I was feeling like I had discovered the scene of an arson that was committed by a fireman,

"That'll do, Koizumi."

The President left the cigarette in his mouth as he took off his glasses, and, instead of a cell phone, brought out an ashtray he had been keeping in his pocket,

"Even if the plans changed a little, it happened just as you said. But it is a real pain, having to act like an idiot. Put yourself in my position. Talking continuously in that damned serious voice is tiring."

The President left the cigarette in his mouth as he took off his glasses and brought out an ashtray he had been keeping in his pocket
The President left the cigarette in his mouth as he took off his glasses and brought out an ashtray he had been keeping in his pocket

Tapping the ash from his smoldering cigarette into the ash tray, the cool expression that the President had maintained until then changed completely.

"What's with being Student Council President anyway. I don't want to be something like that. It's nothing but trouble. Moreover, all I'm doing is making an enemy of that girl with the over-active brain. Talk about a stupid job."

The President, who, in an instant, had completely turned prickly, pushed the cigarette, which was giving off some nasty fumes, to the side of the ash tray to put it out, then he pulled out a new stick and turned to me.

"Do you smoke?"

"I'll pass."

I shook my head, and as I finished, I took the opportunity to give Koizumi's smiling profile a stabbing look.

"Is the President one of your associates?"

Probably, I thought. I tried to make a strange sort of eye contact; if you're going to talk about the Literature Club, you shouldn't go through Koizumi and company and just go straight to calling on Nagato. I don't have to think much; there should be no reason for me to take the Student Council's side.

Koizumi caught my look, and showed off his smiling face in reply.

"If you call him an associate then he is an associate, but he's an associate in a difference sense from Arakawa-san and Mori-san. He isn't necessarily a part of the 'Organization'."

Koizumi glanced at the President, who had been puffing the smoke of his second cigarette up to the ceiling,

"He is our agent within the school. To talk a little bit about his motives, he provides us assistance in exchange for certain conditions. If Mori-san and I are part of the inner sanctum, then he is of the nave."

It's okay no matter how many you people are, but how'd you get the President of the Student Council to do that for you?

"You could say that it is the result of tremendous effort on my part. I made him, half-hearted as he is, stand for candidacy, strove to make him the leading contender with the recommendation of the previous Student Council President, and gain the favor of the constituency, and after getting the votes of the majority, we worked on our electoral campaign to get an even bigger advantage, until finally we succeeded in putting him up as president. It was rather laborious work."

What an appalling story.

"For his success with the presidential polls, the necessary cost was about the same as the expense for a trifling political party to run in the snap elections for the House of Representatives."

The story went beyond appalling, and was now causing the life to drain out of me.

"According to Koizumi's story."

As the President coughed up smoke in irritation,

"Before that idiot girl Suzumiya thinks up something strange or something like that, it was deemed necessary for me to become president. Because of this, I was made to take on this role and wear a face suitable for the Student Council President. Could there really be a story so ridiculous? I was even made to wear those glasses for show."

The story had become even more appalling than before.

"After comprehensively investigating the image of what Suzumiya-san pictures the President of the Student Council to be, we found him to be the one most fitting in this school. Under the circumstances, we did not consider his nature. Looks and atmosphere alone were material."

And he was also careless enough to be convinced by Koizumi's explanation.

Tall, handsome, and bespectacled; it was irrelevant that he was a pompous upper-classman. He was also taking the unpleasant duty of filling the Haruhi-type bad guy position as the Student Council President that was using his station to charge a bevy of false accusations on a tiny cultural club.

Indeed, that is what Haruhi has been waiting for: a quick and easy villain.

However, the fact that you went to all that trouble to produce a Student Council President to Haruhi's satisfaction, means that Haruhi isn't so omnipotent after all. If she really was an almighty and all-knowing god, you wouldn't have to work so much or anything. And working hard for all that maneuvering; isn't that exactly what you did?

"But because of our exertions, a president that suited Suzumiya-san's wishes was produced as a result, and since that was still her desire, can you not say that it was realized through her being almighty? Since, consequently, that is still what happened."

He's rationalizing again. Only Tsuruya-san can outrival Koizumi's mouth.

The President put out his cigarette in irritation,

"Anyway, Koizumi. Next year, you better declare for candidacy and become Student Council President. If you're saying you want to prevent a situation where Suzumiya or someone declares for candidacy, this time you should just do it yourself."

"Well now, what shall I do? I've been relatively busy, and I've got a feeling that the Suzumiya-san of these days wouldn't be a problem even if she became Student Council President."

More like a big problem. If Haruhi personally sets out to subjugate the school, what are you going to do? I have a premonition that we're going to be dragged into a troublesome situation somehow. She may be planning to SOS Brigade-ize North High's entire student body. That girl, she might just assume that every student is the Student Council President's subordinate. The whole school will become alternate space.

Well, I don't think Haruhi's going to get the seat of the President of the Student Council as long as the voting is done honestly, so I guess it's okay. I still believe that North High students have common sense, if not good sense. Unless Koizumi does something strange, no matter what kind of election activities are done, Haruhi probably won't get to reign at the top of the whole school.

As I let out a sigh,

"In other words, Koizumi, this is another one of your scenarios. The Student Council plotting to scrap the Literature Club―――or pretending to be, you have again sowed the seeds for that girl to kill some time."

"But it is only a seed."

Koizumi blew into the smoke that had been hanging in the air,

"What happens from here on is unknown. If we get to the settlement date for the club journal, and we haven't finished, or if we are not able to meet the requirements......."

He nimbly shrugged his shoulders.

"When that time comes, we'll just come up with another game. Your brain alone would suffice."

Participating as an observer is okay, but if it's a position where I have to question myself on problems that I've been saddled with, then I'm sorry. Generally, how will doing such a thing benefit me?

"About my acting as the Student Council President," said the delinquent President. "I do it because it is delicious. First is the grades. That was the biggest incentive that Koizumi used to persuade me. And you said that I'll have an edge on my college exams. You better not forget that."

"Of course I remember. Naturally, we are making arrangements for this to happen."

The President turned to Koizumi with eyes that looked like they were interrogating a suspicious person and, hfff, let out a breath through his nose,

"I should hope so. Being the President of the Student Council is just too much work, but I've come to understand a few things these past few months. The Student Council from before was really just a bunch of useless suits. It didn't matter if they were there or not. Meaning, we can play around with things as much as we want."

That was the first smile the President had shown. Though it seemed to have a bit of vileness, it was a much more human expression than his calm and cool mask.

"Respect student independence; that's such an empty slogan. Just how do you interpret that? My interest is particularly piqued by the budget. Now that is yummy to lay your eyes on."

The President was getting more and more surprising. That's just like what Haruhi would expect. He's a villain, all right.

"Though a little abuse of authority is permissible," Koizumi said calmly, "please don't get carried away. Even though we are covering for you, there is a limit."

"I know that. I won't goof up like getting cocky with the teachers, or I'll lose my hold on the executives' sympathy. We should create an adequate reason to sweep out the noisy remnants of the old Student Council. Then there will be no one to defy me any longer."

The President was really getting into it. While he was talking nonsense, for some reason I felt a strange force pulling me in. I feel uncomfortable saying that this guy's okay, but.......

Suddenly, Tsuruya-san's face came back to my mind as alarm klaxons went off. What she said to me when we bumped into each other in the corridor was now clear. That girl possessed such keen intuition, that she had perceived that the current President of the Student Council had a hidden side. The Student Council's spy―――wasn't me, but Koizumi, Tsuruya-san. And he was not just a spy; he was the mastermind.

Though I'm not particularly concerned about how the President is taking advantage of his post and his predisposition for evil, if, by any chance, Haruhi realizes this, she might propose an immediate recall and recommend Tsuruya-san to be the next president. And I have a hunch that Tsuruya-san would charge right in alongside her with a burst of laughter. If that happens, Koizumi and I will automatically be pulled in to Haruhi's side, and the President will be overthrown.

I wish you luck with your shadow endeavors, Mister President. Just do as you please in the places that we do not see.

Well, you probably planned on doing so even if I didn't say it, and even though you'll be playing a role that will frequently go against Haruhi, I hope you don't make a mistake in choosing your angles.

I got beside Koizumi after we left the room, and as we walked along the school corridor on our way back to the clubroom, I remembered something that I had to ask him.

"As I understand it, the President is under your personal supervision. Then what about the secretary? That Kimidori-san, is she one of your colleagues?"

"You are mistaken."

Koizumi, like it was nothing,

"Kimidori-san had taken the secretary post before I even knew it. Truth is, she was already there when I had become aware of her, so I didn't concern myself about it. At the early stages of the present Student Council, we had felt like we should appoint a different student as secretary. When we investigated it later, the records showed that she has been the secretary from the very beginning. In everyone's memories as well. No one, including the President, had questioned it. Even if they had falsified everything, it was a falsification beyond common sense."

If it is beyond common sense, why don't you speak with a little more surprise?

"My surprise is to such an extent, that if something more surprising were to happen, I might have cardiac arrest."

As we leisurely walked on, Koizumi turned his face to the window in the corridor,

"Kimidori Emiri-san is one of Nagato-san's colleagues. There's no mistaking that."

That's just as I thought. Kimidori-san coming to us with a request at the time of the kamadouma; that's just too much of a coincidence. If it was just that, I might have been convinced that the whole thing was just arranged by Nagato and that everything was good, but considering the current situation, our encounter back then was no accident. Thinking about what kind of colleague she is worries me.

"There was also the case of Asakura Ryouko. There is, however, no need to worry about that point anymore. It seems like Kimidori-san and Nagato-san have a somewhat closer connection. At least they haven't shown any hostility between each other."

I have an idea why. It didn't appear like they were on good terms. But it didn't seem like it was going to get worse.

"We in the 'Organization' wanted to evaluate our intelligence gathering capability a little. Though they weren't that many, the 'Organization' contacted some TFEI's similar to Nagato-san, in an attempt to understand their intentions. While they were by no means cooperative, we were able to make some deductions based on bits and pieces of conversation. It seems like Kimidori-san was dispatched by a school within the Integrated Data Sentient Entity which is different from Nagato-san's. However, it is different from Asakura Ryouko's; we know that they aren't aggressive."

I, having listened to Koizumi talk about that gossip, also had the same hunch, and since nothing was going to start anytime soon, neither Koizumi nor I were anxious.

Despite knowing that even aliens must have diversity, for sure Kimidori-san is one. She seemed to warn Nagato, who had become absolutely furious in the Student Council room, to inaction, so she might be from a peaceable school.

"That may be so. We concluded that there was no need to be overly conscious of her. What I think, is that Kimidori-san is Nagato-san's chaperone. I do not know since when, but it seems she has settled into that role for now."

Koizumi spoke with his voice sounding like he was in the middle of an expedition to climb a mountain, so I left it at that. As for Nagato, various memories of her were inside me. If I could, I'd just go on keeping more and more of those things to myself. Even though we're all members of the SOS Brigade, I'd rather not explain things to Koizumi often. But I could play back my memories any number of times even if I just recall things by myself.

For some reason, I silently hurried on my way to the clubroom, and Koizumi also kept his mouth closed as he followed.

If you input weird information in rapid succession, what you hear afterwards will surely remain.

Therefore, I didn't forget.

That Haruhi, who had flown away after snatching Nagato, was probably inside.

I went into idle thought about the outlaw President of the Student Council and Kimidori-san.

As I opened the door to the Literature Club room, Haruhi's thunderous voice brought me back from my daydreaming.

"You're late, Kyon! And Koizumi as well. What were you doing? Dangit, time is limited! You'd better start moving quickly!"

She seemed so happy, it was like there was no limit to it at the moment. Haruhi had that look on her face that she gets, without fail, whenever she has decided to set her sights on whatever goal.

"We've been frantically looking for the club journals the Literature Club had made. I asked Yuki but she said she didn't know."

Nagato was sitting on an isolated seat by a corner of the table. What she had been staring at, was the screen of a notebook computer the Computer Club had left us.


Asahina-san was fidgeting as she stood in her maid costume with a worried look on her face.

"Is someone going to make a book? Is it us? If so, what might we be writing......?"

I didn't forget that either. Haruhi was going blindly into the making of the Literature Club's journal as the Student Council President had told us to do. For Nagato's sake. Nagato was the only member of the Literature Club, and the truth was that she had another face as the member of an illegal school organization that had been possessing their clubroom despite being outsiders. But since the chief of the brigade gave her the okay, it had become the collective responsibility of the SOS Brigade to make the club journal. So ultimately, a part of that responsibility will be certainly dumped on my head, and more than that, we wouldn't be able to complete the club journal if somebody doesn't write something, and that somebody does not exempt any brigade member, including me.

"Now then, pick one."

Lying in Haruhi's palm, were four folded scraps of paper. The paper lots were like those used for classroom seating assignments. Though I was doubtful about what these lots were going to decide, I picked one up with my fingers. Haruhi grinned just as I did.

Koizumi looked amused, and Asahina-san was nervous as they each took a scrap of paper into their hands, and as Haruhi passed the last lot to Nagato,

"You will be writing what is written there. That will then be placed in the club journal. Once we've settled everything, you will immediately take your seats! It's time to start writing!"

As an unpleasant premonition went through the top of my head, I opened the paper lot that was made from a cut-up notebook page. Haruhi's handwriting jumped out like a freshly-sliced fish that was served as-is.

"Romance story."

Came from my mouth as I read it out loud. I was immediately plagued by agony. A romance story? Me? I have to write such a thing?

"Right you are."

Said Haruhi, with a smile like a tactician that was taking advantage of a person's weakness,

"It's been decided fair and square by lottery. I won't accept any complaints. Well then, what are you doing, Kyon? Get in front of the computer right now."

I looked around, and there on the table were an adequate number of notebook computers that had been left in startup status. Although time and effort aren't needed to prepare well, can we write quickly when you've only just told us to write?

While I was considering the scrap of paper in my hand like it was a grenade with the pin pulled out,

"Koizumi, what did you pick?"

I asked as I looked for a way out, but while I was thinking that we could possibly switch,

"Mystery...... is what I got."

Koizumi answered with his refreshing smile as before; his face did not look particularly worried. Then Asahina-san, with her face embarrassed as usual,

"For me, it's a fairy-tale. Fairy-tales are aimed at children, so, um, will a bedtime story do?"

You don't have to answer that even if you heard me. But, from a mystery to a fairy-tale? Between those and a romance story, which would you prefer?

I turned my attention to Nagato. As Nagato quietly opened her scrap of paper, she noticed my look, and lightly turned her wrist to show me Haruhi's lively handwriting. What she had written there was "fantasy horror."

Though I didn't know what the difference was between a fantasy horror and a mystery,

"I'm relieved that it's not a romance story at least. Because if it were me, I don't think I could write something like that."

Koizumi said, as if he were trying to tweak my nerve, and made an obvious show of being relieved. I want to know the secret to how you can act so relaxed.

"That is simple. In my case, there were the mystery games that we conducted in the summer of last year and winter of this year, which I could treat as real events and novelize. After all, those were my scenarios from the start."

Koizumi coolly turned to the table, and loosened his expression as he began working on the notebook computer. Nagato lowered her eyes to the liquid crystal while keeping perfectly still. She could've been pondering what a fantasy horror was, or maybe she was just thinking about Kimidori-san.

There was no need for explanations, but panic marks were swirling within Asahina-san's eyes as she went all nervous, and I was probably the same. Then I thought about it more. There were only four scrap paper lots. And the SOS Brigade had five members.


I said, standing like an image of the two Deva kings after inhaling some laughing gas,

"What are you going to write?"

"Oh yeah, what I'm going to write."

Haruhi sat at the chief's desk, and raised an arm band that had been prepared in advance.

"But you see, there's a much more important job for me. Listen up. A lot of work goes into the making of a book. There has to be someone who will handle all the supervision. And I'll be the one who's going to do that."

Haruhi, after swiftly putting on the arm band, declared as she puffed out her chest in pride.

"For one week starting today, I will be temporarily sealing my role as the Brigade Chief. Since this is the Literature Club, a different position is appropriate."

The brightly shining new arm band told the whole story.

And thus Haruhi arbitrarily selected herself to be the Editor-in-Chief, ignoring the bewildered Asahina-san and me as she flamboyantly spoke.

"Okay then, everyone! Get to work at once! You'll be writing anyhow, so no grumbling! And it better be amusing!"

Haruhi laid back in the chief's seat as she stretched out her legs, and lorded over the miserable brigade members.

"Of course, if I don't find it amusing, then it's no good."


In the week following that day, we stationed ourselves in the Literature Club room, and for that matter, we were diligently working on a Literature-Club-like activity.

Running bravely on the forefront was Asahina-san. Although it's been decided that a fairy tale suits her, if someone were told to write without warning and that someone started writing without any objections, then it would be simple for anyone to become a fairy tale writer.

Still, Asahina-san was a hard worker. With an earnest face, she would read from a mountain of books she had borrowed from the library, stick post-its anywhere and everywhere, and then diligently push her pencil.

Haruhi, meanwhile, was grinning as she gazed through a doujinshi she had borrowed from the Manga Club as a resource material.

Asahina-san was steadily submitting manuscripts, and Haruhi steadily kept on rejecting them.


As Haruhi hummed, she continued to read the manuscript that Asahina-san, who was growing weak, had submitted who knows how many times,

"It's a lot better, but it still lacks impact. Ah, that's it, Mikuru-chan, go and add in some drawings. Make it feel more like a picture book. People will be attracted with just one quick look, and you'll bring out the flavor that text alone cannot."


Asahina-san seemed to weep at the additional, unreasonable demand. However, to overturn something Editor-in-Chief Haruhi has suggested even once is no ordinary feat, so Asahina-san gave in once more and wearily started drawing.

The all-too sincere Asahina-san, went to the Art Club and attended a lecture on sketching, then continued on to the Manga Club to study how to write four panel comics, showing perseverance without saying anything more, and since making tea is naturally difficult, I had to silently sip on tasteless green tea that Koizumi and I had made, and passed the time in inactivity.

And so, there's no romance story yet. But if it were a cat observation diary, I'd have as much material as I need.

Only Koizumi was harmoniously making progress with his pen, as Nagato occasionally hit some keys. Though her high speed touch typing during the game war was unbelievable, it seems like she wasn't having much success transforming the information in her head into words. I began to think whether there were some reason for her silence, but all the same, the fantasy horror that Nagato was writing was pulling on my interest, so I peered into her display,


Nagato quickly turned the notebook computer sideways, protecting the display from my eyes, and expressionlessly looked up.

Come on, just a little bit.


Nagato said in a small voice, and every time I tried to look, she would change the angle with perfect timing. No matter how many times I tried, it was impossible. That just got me a little more interested, and a little while later, I tried jumping out from behind Nagato, but I could not surpass Nagato's reflexes, and finally,


Nagato pierced me with a silent look from the side, and I was easily repelled. Returning to my own seat, I went back to monitoring the white screen of the word processor where not a single character had been written―――.

Well, the events that were unfolding in this club room, were how these past few days had felt like.

Things came to something of an impasse, but even though it had become a sort of flying sensation, a change of pace came at the same time as Asahina-san gave an advanced introduction of her fairy-tale picture book.

Having been continually rejected by Editor-in-Chief Haruhi, and then having drawings added under orders, Asahina-san's work continually troubled her, so when I saw her agonizing over word selection, I had to throw in my suggestions, and finally, it was completed after the Editor-in-Chief put in her own revisions.

Well, I'll give it a look for the time being.

It was not so long ago, but it was a story from before the present.

Deep in the forest of a certain small country, there was a lone mountain cabin.

And there lived Snow White together with the Seven Dwarves.

Snow White had not been driven out, but had run away from the castle by herself and come here. Life in the castle was not so interesting to her, it seems. Since it was a small country and she was their princess, they had decided to make use of her by arranging a marriage of convenience. Isn't that detestable? Snow White thought so, too.

However, she was slowly getting tired of living in the forest as well.

Thanks to the Dwarves, I don't have to worry about food, clothing, or shelter, and I've become good friends with the animals in the forest, but I wonder if the castle is doing well by itself, she came to think.

Those egotistic words just jumped out, but the castle was filled with nothing but good people. On the date when the arranged marriage was supposed to happen, the Small Country had to take hostages and form alliances just so they could get strong enough to survive.

At around the same time, a mermaid who was swimming in a beach near the forest, had just rescued a prince who had been left abandoned on a shipwreck.

The mermaid moved the Prince to the shore, but the unconscious Prince just kept on sleeping. He didn't wake up no matter what she did. The worried mermaid then made up her mind to take him to where Snow White was.

Snow White had been her friend since the time she had gone to the forest. And the mermaid remembered that Snow White had said, "If you find something interesting, bring it to me!"

The mermaid asked the Good-Natured Witch to change her fish tail to legs, and she carried the unconscious Prince to the Dwarves' cabin.

But even when she saw the Prince that the mermaid had brought, Snow White wasn't delighted much. What she thought of as interesting was a little different. A prince that just kept on sleeping was not something she found that appealing.......

Although having to take care of someone was exciting at the beginning, Snow White was becoming more and more bored with it. Because he never opened his eyes at all. She was getting tired of looking at his sleeping face.

I wonder if he'll wake up if I hit him hard, she started thinking, when an express messenger from Snow White's castle had come.

This is what the messenger said. Our neighbor, the Great Empire, has mobilized a vast force to cross into our borders, and lay siege to the castle, and the way things were going, it's going to fall soon, if it hasn't fallen already.

How dreadful.

When Snow White heard that, she left the Prince, who never woke up no matter how long they waited, in the care of the mermaid, and left the forest with the Seven Dwarves. The first place they went to was a craggy mountain. There, the Tactician who had become a hermit lived by himself. If the tales were true, then he would not associate with someone unless they had visited him three times, but Snow White ordered the Dwarves to capture the Tactician, and she appointed him their Chief-of-Staff. The Tactician smiled bitterly, and with a "Well, okay I guess," he gave his allegiance to Snow White.

Thus the number of Snow White's party grew to nine, and as soon as they had climbed down from the mountain, they gathered volunteer soldiers in the towns and villages where the Empire's forces had not yet been to. They were totally unable to assemble enough people to match the Great Empire's troops, but all the same, Snow White raised an anti-imperialist banner and set out for the castle. They defeated the Imperial Forces that had been sent to intercept them one by one, and garnered a series of victories in various places, until they finally recaptured the castle, after which they pursued and annihilated the retreating Imperials, then went on from there by making a counter-invasion and overthrowing the Empire in the blink of an eye, and the country became a part of her own dominion. How surprising.

It did not end there. Snow White, the Tactician, and the Seven Dwarves, formed a big army and ran through all of the countries in all of the land, and using various strategies and conspiracies, they were able to unite the continent. The Age of the Warring States was ended, and they were visited by a period of peace and harmony.

Snow White, having nothing more to do, left the rest to the Tactician and went home to the forest. Though she was no longer concerned about the arranged marriage, returning to the castle would just mean getting bored everyday. Playing freely in the forest was better.

Snow White came back to the cabin along with the Seven Dwarves, and was surprised to see that the Prince was still sleeping. She had completely forgotten about him.

Ah, during that time, the mermaid had been taking good care of the Prince.

Snow White grabbed an apple the Forest Bear had brought while visiting, and used it to hit the Prince on the head.

"That's too much sleep already, now wake up!"

It is said that the Prince opened his eyes, three days later.

What happened to everyone after that, no one knows.

Still, I feel certain that everyone became happy. And I wish that they all did.

......How do I say this, that was just so like Asahina-san; even though it was a fable of jumbled up fairy-tales mixed in with war stories, the feeling of desperation reaches through to us like it was our own. This was already more than adequate. Which parts Haruhi had her hand in, I leave to your imagination.

Okay, enough about Asahina-san's worries, the problem now is how the task that's been given to me is still untouched. That plot to make me write a story was unreasonable from the start, but if you add in the romance theme, then it moves way past unreasonable and goes straight into the world of foreign concepts. Just what can I do?

On the other hand, it surprised me how Haruhi had engaged in activities that were relatively appropriate for Editor-in-Chief.

Between us four, the number of pages for the manuscript was running short, and Haruhi, who had brought up that we were lacking variety, finally resorted to outsourcing for some writers.

The very first to become victims were Taniguchi and Kunikida, and then continued on to Tsuruya-san and the Computer Club President getting the position of holding the deadline that Haruhi had established.

It seems like everyone had become Associate Brigade Members as far as Haruhi was concerned, but they were all totally unrelated to the Literature Club.

Though I didn't have any time to feel sorry for myself, I'd still prefer it if the responsibility of having to write would just disappear. But I don't think Haruhi would ever let it pass if I ran away from my article.

As the time limit that the evil-acting Student Council President had set drew closer and closer, Taniguchi let out, "Why do I have to write an Interesting Days essay or whatever!" in a resentful voice, and, "Now, now, Taniguchi. That's better than my twelve-part Subject-by-Subject-Study-Aids column, isn't it?" Kunikida's easygoing voice struck my ears while we were waiting for morning homeroom one day.

Haruhi, who had come to school later than me, thrust some copy paper at me without saying good morning.

"What's this?"

"Yesterday, Yuki submitted her manuscript when it was time to go home."

Haruhi made a face like she had swallowed some dental filling that had broken off along with some toothpaste,

"I read through it carefully at home, but it's a pretty strange story. Even though fantastical horror is still horror, I had trouble evaluating it. And it's only as lengthy as a short-short story. Here, you read it for a bit."

If it's the article Nagato had written without saying anything, then I'll read it as much as I can.

I took the copy paper from Haruhi, and started following the printed text with my eyes.

『Untitled 1』 Nagato Yuki

I am a ghost, said the girl when we met about xxxx before.

When I asked for her name, "I do not have a name." was her answer. "Since I do not have a name, I am a ghost. You are probably the same." the girl continued.

That is correct. I am also a ghost. If a being is able to converse with ghosts, then that being must also be a ghost. Like I am now.

"Well then, shall we go?"

She said, and I followed. The girl's steps were so light, she looked completely alive. "Where will you go?" the girl asked me, as she stopped moving her feet and turned around.

"You can go anywhere. Was there a place you wanted to go to?"

I was lost in thought for a moment. Where have I gotten to? What is this place? Why am I here?

As I stood still, I couldn't help but gaze into the girl's dark eyes.

"Weren't you thinking of going to xxxx?"

White things were falling from the sky. Numerous, tiny, fluttering, aqueous crystals.
White things were falling from the sky. Numerous, tiny, fluttering, aqueous crystals.

The girl had discerned my answer. When I heard those words, I finally understood what my own role was. Yes. I was on my way there. How could I forget? For this important matter, I had a reason to live and exist.

It is something I must not forget.

"So, that's that, then."

The girl smiled happily. I nodded, and expressed my thanks to her.

"Good bye."

The girl disappeared, leaving me by myself. She had probably returned to her place. And in the same way, I had to return to my place.

White things were falling from the sky. Numerous, tiny, fluttering, aqueous crystals. They fell to the earth and vanished.

It was one of the wonders that filled time and space. In this world, such wonders were common. I stood absolutely still. The passing of time had lost its meaning.

Those wonders of bound cotton continued to fall, one after another.

This shall be my name.

And with that thought, I was a ghost no more.


I raised my face after reading that much.

Before morning homeroom, students were arriving steadily; a familiar scene that was spreading throughout the classroom. Ordinarily, Haruhi would be gazing outside the window in the seat behind me, or poking at my back with a mechanical pencil, but this time, Haruhi was stretching out her neck as she peered into my hand, looking troubled, and my face was thoughtful as I chased letters on the copy paper with my eyes.

Well, I was probably making a face that closely resembled Haruhi's.

And it was all because of what had been written. Being made to read that first thing in the morning is more than a little difficult, I feel.

As I recall it, the lot that Nagato had drawn was 『Fantasy Horror』.

Having lifted my eyes from Nagato's story, I turned sideways to face Haruhi's profile.

"Hey Haruhi, I might not be familiar with fantasy or horror, but are recent fantasy horrors like this?"

"I'm not familiar with it, either."

Haruhi put her hand on her chin, and tilted her head like an editor who was facing a writer that, in her judgement, had written something troubling.

"It feels like a fantasy, but it's not much of a horror. But, hmm. Doesn't it feel very Yuki-like? Maybe, Yuki gets scared at that stuff."

If there was something that made Nagato feel scared, then I'd probably be terrified the most and the worst if I were to see it. I really don't want something like that to appear. Even if it's just inside a story.

"By the way, you."

As I viewed Haruhi's confused face with fresh thought,

"If you didn't know anything about Fantasy Horrors, why did you make her write such a thing? You should've considered that when you were deciding on the genres."

"I did consider it. A little."

Haruhi confiscated the first sheet of copy paper from my hands,

"I felt that a simple horror wouldn't be interesting, so I added fantasy to it. That's the result when I deliberated on which genres to write on the lots. A mystery, a fairy-tale, a romance story―――if you consider these, all that's left is horror, isn't it?"

You missed Sci-Fi. Moreover, I don't think you spent any more than three seconds to deliberate on the genre selection. You probably just scribbled down what you randomly thought of one by one.

Haruhi gave a slight smile,

"I thought I'd make you all write something different through miscasting. Since Sci-Fi is Yuki's specialty, that wouldn't be any fun, don't you think?"

I jerked involuntarily, but an invisible hand patted me on the chest. Setting aside whether or not it would be Sci-Fi, Nagato could write something cosmic without blinking an eye. Since she was an alien, anyway. Though I thought that Haruhi might have noticed something, the many Sci-Fi books in Nagato's collection probably made it obvious even to Haruhi, so it isn't strange that she would know Nagato's specialty.

No, wait. If that was the case, then the same would be true for mysteries.

"Yep, if I could help it, I wanted Mikuru-chan or you to write the mystery. Seeing what kind of crazy thing you'd submit would've been interesting. But if it was sci-fi, it would've been allowed even if it wasn't wild, is why. So I had to cross it out even if it broke my heart."

Though I wanted to retort about how biased that was, even if I made something out of the contents of the lottery or the results, the time won't be reset. At this stage, the order to write a 『Romance Story』 that I had been saddled with won't be cancelled, and for that matter, even if I could've written a mystery, fairy-tale, or fantasy horror, they're not that much better than a romance story. If only it were sci-fi, then I could've used some of my experiences as a basis. But then, I don't think I should let Editor-in-Chief Haruhi know about any of my actual experiences as it is.

As Haruhi flapped Nagato's fantasy horror short-story about,

"Well, it's good that Koizumi-kun got the mystery. Of course, if there isn't at least one thing that could be read respectably, then we wouldn't have a club journal. If we made everything too original, then the readers will run away."

This girl, she seems to be planning to go right on to changing the Literature Club journal into a periodical. The urgent thing right now is to fight the Student Council President's plot until the end. There's something we have to remember. The SOS Brigade doesn't come in a package with the Literature Club, and is just living off of it.

"I know that. There isn't one thing that I have to ask you to teach me, in or out of school. Because I am the Brigade Chief, and you are just a single Brigade Member."

Haruhi showered me with sharp looks,

"But that's okay. Yuki's story has a continuation. Go read the second page."

I dropped my eyes to the remaining copy paper in my hand, and began reading the article that had been printed with a pretty, Ming (typeface) font that made me think of Nagato's handwriting.

『Untitled 2』 Nagato Yuki

Until then, I had never been by myself. I was one of many. I was a part of the set.

My group was bound together like ice, eventually expanded like water, and finally diffused like vapor.

And a single particle of that vapor, was me.

I was able to go anywhere. I went to various places, and saw various things. But I did not learn anything. There was only the act of seeing, for that was the only function allowed me.

For a long interval, I was like that. Time was pointless. All the phenomena in that artificial universe held no significance.

But in time, I found meaning. Proof of my existence.

Matter attracts matter. This is the truth. I was drawn in, because it possessed form.

Light, darkness, contradiction, and common sense. I had encountered, and connected with each one. Those functions were not in me, but perhaps I might not mind having them.

If I were allowed to, I would have them.

As I continue to wait, will those wonders keep on falling?

Those tiniest of wonders.

The second part ended with that.


I twisted my head, as I read it over and over. It was hard to call it horror or fantasy horror, and it didn't even really feel like a story; if anything, it seemed more like an autobiography. Or maybe her thoughts; it also felt like she had simply listed down whatever words came to her mind.

Nagato's story, huh.......

As I was reading through it, I thought of something else. No matter what I did, I would never forget anything about that December of last year. And at the heart of that, is the other Nagato. At that time, when Nagato was in the Literature Club, could she have been writing a story? With an outdated computer, all alone inside the clubroom.......

Whatever she was thinking about my silence, and the thoughtful look on my face, Haruhi seized the second sheet of copy paper from my fingers,

"And now for the ending, page three. The more I read it, the less I understand the story. So I'd really like to hear your impressions."

『Untitled 3』 Nagato Yuki

A black coffin remained in the room. There was nothing else.

Above the coffin in the middle of the dark club room, sat one man.

"Good day."

He said to me. He was smiling.

Good day.

As I kept standing there, a white cloth alighted from behind the man. In the middle of the darkness, the cloth was enveloped by a pale light.

"Pardon my lateness."

The white cloth said. Or rather, the person who was wearing the big, white piece of cloth. Through holes cut out where the eyes would be, black pupils were looking at me.

It seemed like the one inside was a girl. I could tell from her voice.

The man laughed in a low voice.

"The recital has not yet started."

The man did not move from above the coffin.

"There is time, still."

The recital.

I was remembering something. What was I going to present here? Quickly, now. But I could not remember.

"There is time."

The man said. He was smiling at me. The apparition of the white girl danced around happily.

"We will wait. Until you remember."

The girl said. I gazed at the black coffin.

There was only one thing; I remembered why I was here.

My place was within the coffin.

I had come from there, and I had come back here so I could return. But the man was sitting on the coffin. As long as he doesn't leave, I cannot go in.

However, there was nothing in me to present. I wasn't qualified to join the recital.

The man started singing in a low voice. Synchronizing with the white cloth's dance.

As long as he doesn't leave, I cannot go in.

"Hmm. This is pretty disturbing."

Dropping the third page on my desk, I sympathized with Haruhi.

As I'd expected from Nagato, she even writes cryptically. It felt like she had completely ignored the fantasy horror theme, and it turned out more like a poem than a story.

"But it doesn't look like your ordinary poem."

As Haruhi piled up the three pages of copy paper, and stuffed them into her bag,

"Hey Kyon. To me, it doesn't seem like Yuki just wrote this without thinking. Really, it made me feel like it was reflecting Yuki's inner self. But the ghost and coffin, what do you think those are metaphors for?"

"How should I know."

I answered, but the truth was, I felt like I was able to read into it on some level, somehow. I don't think the 『I』 from the story could be anyone but Nagato. But as for the other characters, the 『Ghost Girl』, the 『Man』, and the 『Apparition Girl』, it seemed like the ghost and the apparition are the same person, but somehow again, the man seemed to be Koizumi, and the girl gives a feeling like Asahina-san. Perhaps she had modeled the characters after people who were nearby at the moment. Haruhi and I may not have come out, but as far as the desire to make an appearance, I was not too self-conscious about it.

"That's okay, isn't it?"

I gazed outside the window, and as I looked down at the empty tennis courts,

"It's a story that Nagato wrote in her own way. Trying to read the author's inner thoughts from a story, is just troublesome. Such a question is only good for Modern Literature."

"Oh, well."

Haruhi also looked out the window. There wasn't any snow falling out of season, but with eyes that looked as if they were observing flurries, she turned to me, smiling like a spring flower.

"For Yuki's part, I'm okaying this. Who knows where it will go if I tell her to retake it. Koizumi-kun seems to be doing well in his writing, and Mikuru-chan's picture book seems to be going as planned."

That smiling face was transforming from the Brigade Chief to the Editor-in-Chief.

"And then? How about you? I haven't received your prologue yet, but when are you going to finish?"

I was hoping that she'd forgotten, but I was wrong.

"I'm telling you."

Haruhi smiled eerily,

"You better write a proper story. Of course, I'll reject it if it isn't romantic; no horrors, mysteries, or fairy-tales. And don't try to deceive me in some strange way."

I looked around the classroom in search of salvation.

Truth is, I haven't written a single line. Which should be no surprise. What'll happen if I don't write something that looks like a romance story? That question was now running around inside my body faster than my resistance against the influenza virus; I had thought of hiring Taniguchi and Kunikida, fellows who had also not written a single line, as my reinforcements, but my own two friends, who had kept sneaking peeks this way as they huddled covertly some time ago, averted their eyes together, and at the time when I was crossing myself as it seemed like Haruhi was going to crush the allied troops, the chime that signaled the start of class had rung at last.

So, I was able to avoid the up-and-coming burden for a short time; although I couldn't totally escape, I had succeeded in putting it off for a good couple of minutes anyway.

But you, about the romance story.

As I pretended to take the period's lessons diligently, I was thinking as deep as a sunken ship that had fallen in the Challenger Deep.

Well now, what to write?

After classes, when I went to the club room to escape Haruhi's manuscript demands,

"How about writing something from your real experiences?"

Koizumi said as his fingers glided over the keyboard of his notebook computer non-stop.

"Has romance ever gotten you all tangled up? If so, it would be practical to just write it as it is, and stick to declaring that it's fiction. I recommend that you write it in first-person perspective. In your case, it shouldn't be a problem to transform your usual thinking into writing."

"Is that sarcasm?"

I replied negligently, before I turned my eyes back to work gazing at the screen saver being displayed on the notebook computer screen.

The club room had become a place of temporary repose. The reason being, Haruhi was not at her desk.

Haruhi, who had been planning on waging total war with the Student Council, displayed such shrewdness that I wanted to attach "Demon" to a portion of the "Editor-in-Chief" arm band, and was now running around here and there.

Her very first targets were the nearby classmates, Taniguchi and Kunikida. As soon as homeroom ended, Haruhi swiftly captured Taniguchi who had thought of escaping from the classroom, and with "I'm going home" and "You can't go home" the rebellion was unfurled, and with Kunikida, who had been watching the failed getaway, also in hand, she forcibly sat them down, and then pushed a sheaf of blank loose-leaf paper in front of them as she made a declaration.

"There will be no going home until you finish writing!"

With her face looking strangely delighted, what was it, I don't know if she'd woken up to a new hobby of inflicting pain.

Taniguchi kept pouting and complaining, while Kunikida slowly shook his head as he grasped his mechanical pencil. Though Kunikida was somewhat composed, Taniguchi looked seriously annoyed, and I could see that everything Haruhi was doing was leading him to missing the bus ride to heaven in the future, so to speak. I know the feeling. If they didn't immediately write an interesting essay as Haruhi had said she was expecting, they couldn't even think of escaping.

"Just what is this interesting days essay, anyway?" Taniguchi said.

"Kyon, your days are probably all interesting. You should be the one to write this."

No way. I'm already full up with my own work.

"Suzumiya-san, isn't twelve parts too much for a column?" Kunikida leisurely said, "Can't we go with five parts at most? English, Math, Classics, Chemistry, and Physics are my specialties, but I'm poor at Biology, Japanese History, and Civics."

That many specialties is plenty, so I'll also be anticipating your manuscript. Twelve columns of Subject-by-Subject-Study-Aids. If these are really helpful, there's nothing I'd want to read more.

Haruhi said to the captive twosome,

"I'll be back in one hour. If you have nothing at that time...... You understand, don't you?"

After making the clear threat, she dashed out of the classroom. She must be busy with other things, this Editor-in-Chief of ours.

On the other hand, I have to add that there were also people with free time who had willingly accepted Haruhi's writing commissions.

One of those people, needless to say, is Tsuruya-san. The upper-classman who was, perhaps, as skillful in everything as Haruhi,

"You okay to write something?"

At Haruhi's abstract request, she readily and quickly gave her consent,

"When's the deadline? Okay, I'll make sure to finish by then! Wahaha, how interesting!"

She answered with a smile. Just what is she planning on writing?

And there was another person, or should I say, a group of persons. The Computer Research Club. In addition to the course of the fixed computer game war, they had also called on Nagato now and then, and the original Brigade Chief, who had leapt into the Computer Club that she had completely changed into the SOS Brigade Second Branch in typical Haruhi fashion, got their definite promise to write a 『Complete Reviews of the Latest Computer Games・The Game-Breaking Primer』, something totally unfamiliar to me, before coming back. For some reason, everyone in the Computer Club, from the President and below, seemed to be fairly eager. Incidentally, since I haven't played any legitimate games on the computer, I wasn't interested one bit.

Her very first targets were the nearby classmates, Taniguchi and Kunikida.
Her very first targets were the nearby classmates, Taniguchi and Kunikida.

Haruhi's work did not end with that. Haruhi had thought of making the cover of the club journal a little better, so she took off on foot to the Art Club, asked who the best, most expert club member was at drawing, and coerced a one-page drawing from that person, and since it wasn't flowery enough with only text, she had thought that an illustration was also necessary, and she placed a rush order with the Manga Club. I thought it was just too much trouble, but unfortunately, since I wasn't synchronized with how much other people were troubled, I left Taniguchi and Kunikida in the classroom, and headed for the club room.

Haruhi's figure was nowhere in the club room. She must still be running around school for the aforementioned reasons, and although I should feel greatly relieved by that, the time I spend staring at the screen saver is far from relaxing.

"Hnn, hnn."

Sitting at the table with a grim expression on her face, was the rare sight of Asahina-san in her sailor uniform.

At this time, Asahina-san's chic picture book fairy-tale was not yet finished, so all I can see was her figure leaning her head over the table as she moved her pencil over the paper, and I had to become the tea server myself.

Beside her, Nagato was maintaining her usual air. Around that figure, who looked like an avid reader type with a hard-cover book open before her, the sense of a finished task was drifting about.


With the three-page short short that she had submitted to Haruhi, it was judged that her own duties were concluded, and she had completely returned to being the Nagato of before. The invisible aura she had formerly displayed in the Student Council room seemed like it was just a lie.

And if it were a lie, I must honestly confess that I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be worried by such a Nagato. What feelings did Nagato have when she wrote such a strange pseudo-story, or wasn't she thinking anything by letting Haruhi see it, or how I wished she would make an author's note on just what kind of story it was; there were many questions I wanted to ask her, but rather than talk about it in front of Asahina-san and Koizumi, I'll just have to wait.

When it's just the two of us, I'll grab the chance.

I took my eyes off the Literature Club member who was in her Normal Mode as she expressionlessly read a book. There were only two computers running on the table. Like its owner's lips, the notebook computer in front of Nagato had its lid shut like a shellfish and had been put away to the side.

If I could, I wanted to do that, too. My body, which was feeling remorse for wasting the Earth's limited resources, should just immediately turn off the switch of the computer that had been given to me. Powered up as it was, it was just a waste of energy, and while I was at it, I wanted to turn off the switch to my head and go into a deep sleep at once.

I was giving a sigh as I was thinking all of that, when Koizumi chimed in.

"There's no need to think about it so deeply. You should just write the facts."

It must be easy for you to put what's already in your head to writing, but I can't think up something from scratch. Tell me about your romantic experiences, will you. I could write a lovely story with you as the leading part.

"I'd rather hold off on that."

Koizumi rested his touch-typing hands, and turned to me with a questioning smile. And with a soft voice,

"You really have nothing? In all your life up till now, to be a captive of love, and to go out with a girl? No, maybe not this first year of high school―――since you can't write about that, how about something from before? What about middle school?"

As I looked up at the ceiling and consulted my past memories, Koizumi's voice grew softer and softer,

"Do you remember what I told you during the grass-lot baseball tournament?"

How could I, you're a bastard who talks about a lot of things. I won't even try to keep your lines memorized in detail.

"Since Suzumiya-san desired it, you became the fourth batter; I think you remember our chat about that."

I looked suspiciously at Koizumi's gentleman-like smile. That again?

"Yes, that again. In short, your drawing of the lot for the romance story was not by chance."

I, too, have long been doubtful of the odds in lotteries. I know that you can make someone draw a particular lot even if you're not a magician.

I glanced at Nagato; she didn't seem to be particularly listening. And Asahina-san looked like she was doing her best to make friends with the pencil and the eraser.

"That is to say, I think Suzumiya-san wants to know about your previous romantic patterns. And so, she had made one of the genres a romance story. An unreservedly romantic experience―――since she's never had one, Suzumiya-san had expressed some hesitation."

Just where is there anything like hesitation within her? She's the kind of person who just bowls you over without any restraint or greeting.

Koizumi smiled lightly,

"It's in that part of her that we call the heart. Yes, Suzumiya-san looks like a person who knows exactly where that thin line lies. But it was probably unconscious, and assuming it were, then we can add that her senses are brilliantly keen. In fact, she has never acted like she would step into our hearts with her shoes on. Or at least she's never acted that way to me. Well, on the other hand, I could only go into Suzumiya-san's mind a little bit."

And I've only gone about twice, now that you mention it.

"But I'm still not conceding the line that she is a girl without restraints."

I said; I could offer that much resistance, at least.

"Otherwise, she wouldn't have kicked down the door to enter the Student Council room, or commandeer the Literature Club in the first place. Or made me write such a thing."

"That's okay, isn't it? This is enjoyable work. An activity to protect a small and weak club; high school students making a resistance against the big and powerful Student Council......."

Koizumi had become rather eerie as his refreshing eyes got this distant look in them, before he regained his smile.

"The truth is, I have fantasized about such a school-life. More and more, I am acknowledging Suzumiya-san's divinity, and at times I've felt like I wanted to kneel down and worship her. Because she has granted me my dream."

That was through your own scripting. If you're pulling the other end of the string, then how is that the realization of your dream? But I appreciate the effort.

"Nevertheless, your drawing of that lot was not of my manipulation. Let's go back to what we were talking about before. What I'm saying is, it's easy to understand that Suzumiya-san is hoping you will write something like your philosophy on love. And if I may say so, I'd like to know that as well."

Koizumi, in a bit louder voice,

"From what I've happened to hear, wasn't there a girl you were close to in Middle School? How about something like that episode?"

So you keep saying. But there's totally no such story.

As I narrowed the space between my eyebrows, and rubbed it with my fingers, I stole a glance at the faces of the other two people in the clubroom.

Asahina-san was focusing all of her heart at working on her illustrated fairy-tale, and it didn't look like our conversation was reaching her ears.

As for Nagato―――,

Though she also seemed to be concentrating all of her optic nerves on reading, I couldn't be sure about the sensitivity of her ears, and besides that, I really don't think it's possible to hide something from Nagato no matter how much I lower my voice.

That main thing is, why was I getting this guilty feeling? How did Kunikida, Nakagawa, and all my other classmates in middle school come to such a strange misunderstanding all together? It's nothing short of a mystery.

"At any rate, I don't plan on writing that story, either."

I declared. To that bastard whose eyes were smiling in amusement in particular―――hey Koizumi, what's with the knowing look? Because it's all wrong. And it isn't because it's something I forgot from the past, either. It's a real meaningless story, anyway.

"Let's leave it at that, then."

Though what he said irritated me, Koizumi went on and gave a new suggestion without stopping.

"So please, hurry up and recall one thing from your memories that you could write about. Just how many of those could there be? Somebody you dated somewhere, or a confession from someone."


I was about to say, but I stopped with my mouth half-open. Seeing that, Koizumi's smile grew wider.

"There is something? Yes, of course there is. Along with Suzumiya-san, it's a story that I want to know, incidentally. Please write about that."

Since when did you become Assistant Editor-in-Chief? You should just be diligent and go novelize the case of Shamisen's disappearance as well. I can decide what I'm going to write by myself.

"Of course, the decision is yours. I'm simply an observer; the most I could say would be an adviser. I just felt like speaking on Suzumiya-san's behalf right now."

Koizumi shrugged his shoulders, finishing up his conversation with me as he turned his fingertips back to his own notebook computer.

I began thinking.

Sorry Koizumi, but you still guessed wrong. Within your imagination, there might've been something about a middle-school-me having truly middle-school-student-like boy-girl relations whirling around, but, though I'm not proud of it, no one has ever confessed to me or anything like that even up to now, and I've never given one, either. My first love was my cousin Nee-chan whom I didn't see for years, but that Nee-chan had ended up eloping with some good-for-nothing guy. Though that was somewhat traumatic, it was also a long time ago.

There have been no confessions, much less any dates.

I gave a sigh as a scene floated on the insides of my eyelids.

It was a scene from about a year before, when the graduation ceremony for middle school was ending, at that period of time just before I came into this school. With not so much as a mosquito's leg of thought that my high school life would be so hectic; it was the carefree, lethargic spring break at the end of middle school.

Originating from the time my little sister brought the telephone receiver to my room, it was a short episode that was barely caught within the cracks of my brain.

After staring up at the ceiling for a while, I lightly snorted my nose and moved my hand to the notebook computer's track pad.

The screen saver flew away somewhere, and the restoration of the text editor that I had been neglecting brought back the white screen.

As I sensed Koizumi making a foppish smile from the side, I tried hitting a key.

Well, I was just breaking in my fingers. When I got bored in the middle of my writing, I immediately deleted the whole paragraph.

Thinking of the task as sifting out gold dust from the deep pool of memory with a sieve, I transmitted the sentences I had composed in my head to my fingertips, and began writing the introduction.

For the time being, let's just do this by feel.

『It was before I entered high school; a time when I was just passing through what remained of the last spring break of middle school......』

It was before I entered high school; a time when I was just passing through what remained of the last spring break of middle school.

Though I had already received my middle school diploma, I still didn't feel like I was going to be a high school student, and if I could, I'd keep that status forever, I remember thinking.

As a result of being sent to private tutoring by my mother since I entered third year, getting through the entrance exams without a hitch was, well, easy enough. However, when I went there for a preliminary inspection before the exams, I thought that having to go up that slope that just went on and on for three years of high school would get really tedious. Come to think of it, in relation to the division of the school districts, I had some good friends in the municipal next to my neighborhood, but because they'd decided to go to far-away private schools, I felt my feelings of loneliness would worsen whether I liked it or not.

At that time, I had no idea I would be meeting a strange girl as soon as high school started, and never saw my name getting on the member list of some bizarre brigade even in my daydreams, so as I looked back at my middle school days, I was somewhat anxious about the unknowns of high school life, which, in short, is the reason for my eagerness.

And so, I buried that loneliness that had taken over a large part of my heart, kept sleeping lethargically up 'till noon, opened the game tournament that was supposedly the farewell party for the people going on to other high schools, then went on to watch a movie―――which was fun and all, but passing day after day like that got tiresome before long, so, after having brunch, I just idled away that early, pre-April afternoon in my own room like a cow.

After sleeping, waking up, eating, and then lying on my bed to sleep again, the ringing melody of the house phone started up and reached my ears.

Having no extension in my room, I left it for my mom or sister to answer, but a moment later, my sister came into my room carrying the cordless phone.

It felt like she's been doing this for a while now, but whenever she came to me with the phone in her hand, this peculiar feeling would well up inside me.

However, though I might be repeating myself, the me of that time was still pure, and my experience points were overwhelmingly insufficient.

"Kyon-kun, phone~"

My sister gave me a strange smile,

"Who is it?"

"It's a girl~"

My little sister pushed the receiver to me, grinned widely, twirled her body around, and then left my room with a hop, step, and a jump.

Strange. Usually, she wouldn't budge from my room until I drove her out, so why was she in such a hurry?

Anyway, just who could this be? As I scrolled across the main menu in my mind for the face of the girl who could've called me, I pushed the talk button on the receiver.


A moment passed,

"......Yes. Um......"

It was a girl's voice for sure. However, my search mode didn't finish as I couldn't recognize who it was. But it was a voice I had heard somewhere before.

"It's me. Yoshimura Miyoko. Good afternoon. Are you feeling well right now? You're not busy, are you?"


As I started thinking, the scrolling in my head came to a complete stop. It was no surprise that she sounded familiar, since she was someone I had met many times. I just had difficulties realizing it since she had said her full name. It was Yoshimura Miyoko, nicknamed Miyokichi.

"Ah, it's you. Yeah, I'm not busy at all. Too much free time, actually."


She said with heartfelt relief, making me feel hesitant. Just what did she want with me?

"Are you free tomorrow? The day after tomorrow is also good. But it won't do if it goes into April. Would you lend me some of your time?"

"Um, you're asking me?" (※1)

"Yes. I'm sorry for saying it so suddenly. Tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Are you going to be busy?"

"Not at all. I'm free all day for either one."


She let out an honest, whispering voice that once again sounded like it had come from the bottom of her heart,

"I have a favor to ask of you."

Miyoko shifted to a nervous voice in some way, and continued.

"The whole day tomorrow will do. Would you please go out with me?"

As I gazed at the gap in my door to chase after the shadow of my sister who had just left,



"With you?"


Miyoko lowered her voice,

"Just us two. Is this no good?"

"Nope, there's nothing wrong with that."


I heard her give an exaggerated sigh of relief again, and with a voice that sounded like she was working hard to restrain her cheerfulness,

"Well then, I'll be looking forward to it."

I could picture Miyoko's figure bowing through the telephone line.

After that, she proposed a time and place for the meeting, worrying about whether they were convenient for me, while I simply said "Got it" and went along,

"I'm sorry. For calling so suddenly."

"It's okay. I wasn't doing anything, anyway."

After responding vaguely to that girl who was modest to the end, I hung up. If I didn't end it right there, I was sure Miyoko would go on giving thank-you's indefinitely. Yoshimura Miyoko, nicknamed Miyokichi, was that kind of girl.

To return the phone to its original location, I exited to the corridor. As soon as I did, I found my sister waiting there while looking giddy for some reason, so I pushed the extension onto her.


My younger sister laughed out like a fool, waving the receiver around as she went away. As I worried about my little sister's future, I recalled the calmness of Miyokichi's voice. (※2)

And then, the next day.

I don't plan on writing too much about the details. It would be troublesome to say even a single word. This is a story, not an activity report or a ship's log. Much less my diary or something like that.

Being the writer, I will do whatever I like. I can do that, can't I?

On that day, as I went to the appointed location, I saw that Miyokochi had arrived earlier and was waiting for me as I walked hurriedly to meet her. When she noticed me, she turned her face towards me and gave me a bow.

"Good morning."

After greeting me with a very thin voice, she set the sash of her hand bag on her shoulder, and then raised her head, making her ponytail swish around. She was wearing a light blue cardigan over her flower-pattern blouse, and for the bottom, she had on slim, seven-tenths length jeans. It suited her slender figure well.

I gave her a "hey" as something of a return, before I slowly took in the surroundings.

We were in front of the station. This would become familiar when we make customary use of it as the gathering point for the SOS Brigade. However, at this time, it would be several months later before I become attached to that ambiguous brigade, and I had no idea that I would be pushed around by my chin because of a Brigade Chief who would break into this world and reign supreme, so I just gazed normally around the vicinity. There should be no reason to think that there'd be trouble if someone were to see me and a girl meeting as a pair. Wouldn't you think that way, as well? (※3)


Miyokichi said with a trace of nervousness on her elegant face.

"There's someplace I want to go to, is that okay?"

"That's fine."

So we went. If I didn't plan on going, then I would've just broken it off yesterday through the phone. And there was no reason for me to flatly refuse Miyokichi's request.

"Thank you."

To not make it overly polite, Miyokichi only gave one bow at a time,

"There's a movie that I've been wanting to see."

Of course, she didn't have to worry about it. I'll even buy her tickets.

"There's no need for that. I will pay for myself. Since it was me who had unreasonably asked you to go."

After stating it clearly, she beamed. It was what you would call a smile that knew no impurity. An innocent smile that differed in meaning from my little sister's.

Incidentally, there were no movie theaters in the area. Miyokichi and I turned to the station, bought passes, and took the train. The movie that she wanted to see wasn't in the cinema complex or the big theater; since it was a minor affair of an up-and-comer, it was just out as a small, single-hall preview.

At the intervals when we were shaking in the train, she would hold onto the town guide and gaze outside the window the whole time, but she would sometimes remember to look up at my face, and give a quick bow.

It wasn't that we were both totally silent, since we did have our conversations, but I won't write anything about that. We just chatted about random things. I remember talking about what school she would be going to after that spring, and about my little sister. (※4)

It was the same when we arrived at our station and walked to the movie theater. However, it seemed like she was getting a little nervous. That nervousness went on until we arrived at the theater and made it to the front of the ticket counter. (※5)

Though it was almost time for the next showing to begin, the queue for the ticket counter was empty, showing how low the attendance for the film was. After glancing at Miyokichi, I turned to the glass window where an old lady seemed to be idling away,

"Two students please."

I said.

......After writing that much, I lifted my fingers from the keyboard, leaned back on the pipe chair, and stretched out widely.

Because I wasn't that accustomed to it, it can't be helped that my shoulders went stiff. As I turned my head from side to side,

"This is pretty well written, isn't it?"

Koizumi smiled as he interestingly said,

"Please write that way until the end. Though the truth is, I'm happy with just being allowed to read it at all."

You'll regret it, Koizumi. You can bet on it. I've got to say, it won't be something you'd enjoy reading. It'll be far from being a romantic story.


Koizumi said as he picked at the liquid crystal of his notebook computer with his finger,

"I am intrigued by what you have written. The text should contain even a little of what the writer is inside, shouldn't it? The voice that we can hear oozing from between the lines is nothing less than the author's voice. More than Nagato-san or Asahina-san's writings, it is your story that makes me anxious."

There's no need for you to trouble yourself over it. Since when did you start working as something other than Haruhi's mental health expert? Isn't psychoanalyzing me outside of your duties?

"Considering that Suzumiya-san's mental condition changes depending on you, that is something you can't declare unconditionally."

You're a bastard as always.

Dropping out of the exchange with Koizumi, I swept my gaze over the room. Haruhi had not yet returned, while Asahina-san was still in the middle of making her drawings.

"Hnnnn, hnnnn......"

The airy upperclassman, Asahina-san, was turned toward a piece of paper with a bewildered expression on her face, as she childishly grasped her pencil, drew a wobbly line, erased it after a little thought, and then again going,


Without raising her head, she continued working enthusiastically. Although Asahina-san's picture-book style fairy tale has already been introduced, she, at the time, was actually just starting it. Looking at the finished product, you could really say that her efforts were fruitful. It had become a work that was very much in character with Asahina-san.

And accordingly, for the one who had already finished her own work,


At the end of the table, Nagato was quietly reading a book in her usual spot. After submitting that untitled super-short trilogy, the light-and-slight-as-can-be Literature Club member had completely zoned the cheerfully-skipping-about Haruhi and the groaning Asahina-san and I out, making the effort to read as soundlessly as she could.

If it were up to me, I would at least request some author's notes for Untitled 1, 2, and 3 from Nagato, but I somehow felt like it would be better not to ask for anything; what I should be worrying about right now is the "Romance Story" that I had just started. Though I had busted my gut writing that,

"It's boring. Rejected."

With that single word, I would not have been able to do anything had she summarily tossed them straight into the garbage. However, writing something while thinking about what would please Haruhi would also irritate me. Why can't I just forget about her when it's such a useless thing?

As I was starting to get more and more angry, the refreshing smile came again from the side,

"That's not true, is it?"

It seems like he's rebuking my soliloquy. As Koizumi continued his touch-typing without lifting a finger from the notebook computer,

"If you wrote a document about a past experience, from before you met me or Suzumiya-san, I feel that Suzumiya-san would be interested in reading it."

Being able to write while having a conversation is no mean feat, but how can you be so sure?

"For example."

Koizumi seemed to get somewhat happier,

"Haven't you thought about wanting to know about my past? What I was doing and where I was before I transferred to this school, or what I think about as I pass the days by; don't you feel like getting a glimpse of that?"

Well, you....... If you tell me which one it is, I'd like to hear it. If it's a nonfiction piece about the daily life of an esper, then I'd be jumping with excitement to read it, if I were still a grade school student. What happens within the 『Organization』as an institution, is something that stimulates my intellectual curiosity even now.

"Even if you do get to know it, you will just be disappointed. It won't be a very interesting episode. As you also know, I am an esper who is restricted by place and time."

Koizumi went on saying,

"However, it is certain that I pass my ordinary days different from ordinary people. Someday, when things have cooled down, I'll think about whether I should write my autobiography. If I do write one, I'll put your name in the dedication."

"You don't have to."

"Is that so? In that case, I would certainly think about giving you a complimentary copy, at least."

Without answering, I stretched out my hand to ask for tea. The teacup in my hand was already empty. Since Asahina-san was devoted to working on her picture book, I had no choice but to bring in a second cup by myself, and as I stood up to do so,

Bang, the clubroom door opened, letting in the authoritative girl.

"What's up, everyone? How's everything going?"

With strangely high tension, Haruhi walked hastily into the clubroom and took her seat at the Brigade Chief's chair, then after tossing a bundle of paper at her desk, she turned to me with a mysterious light in her eyes.

"Ah, Kyon, if you're bringing out tea, then get me one too, please. Mikuru-chan is in the middle of her work, and I'd hate to interrupt."

There was no way I'd awkwardly oppose her like a stinking kid for this. As my little symbol of defiance, I gave a sigh upon hearing her, before I poured hot water into the teapot, filled up Haruhi's cup and mine with tea, then turned into a temporary waiter as I brought them to the Brigade Chief’s seat.

Haruhi was in a good mood as she took a sip from the teacup,

"What's this? It's just hot, light-brown colored water. Change the tea leaves, the tea leaves!"

"You do it. I'm busy."

Since I was, in fact, busy, this much mutiny should be forgivable, even if the chief would be grateful. You can't say that serving tea is a higher priority than making the club journal.


Haruhi grinned widely,

"You wrote something, did you? Finally? Well done, well done. Just in time for the deadline. It wouldn't do if we didn't go into the layout work soon."

As I sipped on the tea that I had poured myself, I searched for the source of Haruhi's good mood. For some reason, it seems like the pile of A4 sheets that she had dropped at her desk was the main cause.


As Haruhi sharply sniffed out my gaze,

"These are the completed manuscripts. From the people I had commissioned. Everyone really did their best. But since Taniguchi said he couldn't write no matter what, I gave him an extension until tomorrow. And Kunikida was half-done. They're diligent, so they should be submitting them tomorrow."

As she hummed, Haruhi plucked each sheet one by one to check through the manuscript,

"This is the illustration I had requested from the Manga Club, and this one is the rough sketch of the front cover I had requested from the Art Club. And these are from the guys at the Computer Club. It seems like they worked on so many pages. What they wrote was pretty bland, but, well, that's okay. Their enthusiasm shines through, and if people who understand this read it, they'll find it interesting, I'm sure."

Indeed. In short, it seems like she's found happiness in the steady advancement of the creation of the club journal. Making a tangible thing from nothing, the process as we steadily approach completion, is something that even I find enjoyable. It's sort of like assembling a plastic model, or being on the path that brings you to the last boss in an RPG. That should be fun. I've never been in the situation of a plastic model part or non-player character, myself.

"What are you mumbling about?"

Haruhi gulped up her tea in an instant, and as she toyed with her cup, she showed me a satisfied smile,

"Hurry up and get back to your seat, and like, keep writing. With the outsiders from the Computer Club working hard like this, you're looking bad with your reputation for goofing-off. By all rights, this is a match we had accepted ourselves, after all."

Haruhi was in high spirits from having found a rival organization that was formidable. To get her mad, I almost wanted to tell her about the Student Council President's true character right then. I wanted to talk about it while I had the chance. About the false charge he had set against Nagato being a Literature Club member in the beginning, so that you, being a curious onlooker that had suddenly rushed in from the side, would end up taking leadership somehow. Until you put on that Editor-in-Chief armband.

I glared at Koizumi's profile, and started thinking about what chapter we were on in the confusing plans for Haruhi's boredom. With the lone island definitely being the first, was the jinxed snow mountain the second part? No, wait, there was Kimidori-san's kamadouma―――or was that Nagato's?

As I reminisced about that nonsense, a knocking sound echoed in my ear.

"Pardon the interruption."

Opening the door without waiting for a reply, the tall figure invaded the clubroom.


I was probably the only one who heard the sound that was like piano wire being cut by a nipper.

Just like the mid-boss of a shooting game, the Student Council President had suddenly appeared.

And behind him to his side was Kimidori-san.

The President was in diligent mode with his glasses sparkling meaninglessly, and as his eyes slowly traveled the room,

"This clubroom is pretty good. More and more, I'm thinking that it is being wasted on you."

"What did you come here for? Did you come back to get in the way of our work?"

Haruhi switched to bad tempered mode faster than a special effects hero's transformation. Folding her arms as self-importantly as the President, she stayed right in her seat.

The President met Haruhi's murderous look attack head on,

"Think of it as observing the enemy's movements. I have no intentions of becoming your perennial foe and a wall that you'd have to climb over. Though I only came to see the situation, I have a responsibility since I presented the requirements. To confirm whether you were working diligently or not, I had thought about making the rounds. Hmm. From what I've seen, it seems like you've been pretty busy with your work. That's all well and good, but you don't always see the amount of effort translate directly into results. Let's just say that you should never ever neglect your diligence."

Though I wanted to say it myself, the Brigade Chief (presently, the Editor-in-Chief) responded ahead of me.


Kyururi. It was like I heard the sound effect for Haruhi's eyes transforming into inverted acute triangles.

"If you came here to be sarcastic, then tough luck. I won't fire any comebacks at such a weak opening."

"I don't have that much free time."

The President snapped his finger in a forced gesture. Though he looked like he was going to shout "Garçon!" anytime now, the shrewd Student Council President was not calling for a server,

"Kimidori-kun, the things."

"Yes, Mister President."

Kimidori-san held up the bundle of booklets she had been carrying in her arms, and advanced gracefully in front of Haruhi.

Turning her eyes back to the pages of the hard-cover she had on her lap, Nagato kept perfectly still.


While Kimidori-san's smile widened, giving the impression that she had not even noticed Nagato,

"Here you go. Reference materials."

She presented the multitude of musty old booklets to Haruhi.

"What's this?"

Haruhi didn't hide the annoyance in her face, but since she was someone who would take anything you gave her even if it were cursed, she nevertheless accepted the old booklets, and raised her brows conspicuously.

As the President toyed with his glasses in a cynical gesture,

"Those are journals that the old Literature Club had produced. Use it as a reference as much as you can. Considering how you think up such distinctive theories, there was a likelihood that you would misconstrue what literature, as a word, means. No need to thank me. If you feel any obligation, then turn it towards Kimidori-kun. The one who took the trouble to look around the bookshelves in the archive room was her."

"Hmm, thanks. Though that doesn't really make me happy."

Wearing a face like the feudal lord of Kainokuni who had been given salt even though they weren't running short, Haruhi dropped the bundle of booklets on the Chief's desk with a thud, and then, looking like she had found what the messenger's face was reminding her of for the first time,

The President snapped his finger in a forced gesture. Kimidori-san held up the bundle of booklets she had been carrying in her arms, and advanced gracefully in front of Haruhi.
The President snapped his finger in a forced gesture. Kimidori-san held up the bundle of booklets she had been carrying in her arms, and advanced gracefully in front of Haruhi.

"Oh, you....... Eh, you're in the Student Council?"

"Yes. Just this year."

Kimidori-san replied gently, gave a bow, and then returned to the Student Council President's side with graceful steps. Haruhi, like she couldn't care less,

"How's your boyfriend doing?"

The boyfriend Haruhi mentioned was no other than the Computer Club President.

"I'm really grateful for that time."

Kimidori-san's smile didn't waver one bit,

"But, we've already broken up. Thinking about it now, it feels like we really didn't have much of a relationship from the start; it's all a distant memory."

Even though she had answered in a roundabout way, I had a hunch that I knew the reason. I'm sure the Computer Club President would also agree with me. He wasn't even aware they were going out. He was only getting punished for checking something like the SOS Brigade site. Well, it was somewhat pitiable, I guess.


Nagato flipped to the next page of her book.

At that point in time, it felt like Nagato and Kimidori-san were having an Actively-Ignore-the-Other-Person Battle with each other. However, since Nagato was usually like that whoever the other person was, it was probably just me. Most recently, it felt like I had been made to wear strange-colored glasses.

"Hmm, is that so?"

Haruhi made a funny shape with her mouth,

"Well, you're young. Lots of things happen."

So you say, but you're even younger―――I had no plan on throwing such a vulgar comeback. Ignorance was the standard here. Besides, Kimidori-san's real age was probably about the same as Nagato's. It was doubtful whether she had seniority. Could she have been a second-year student just by chance, I thought.

However, we can't talk about something like that right now. Judging from Nagato's response, Kimidori-san was not an enemy. I nonchalantly studied Asahina-san from the corner of my eyes. She had known that Nagato was an alien officer despite her slightness. Her astonishment when she was first brought here showed that. If I were to sense that she was that worried again, then that would justify the racing of my heart.


"Hmm, ah. Err, huh-hmm."

That lovely upperclassman, in all her fuss as she drew her picture book with all her heart, did not even notice the two intruders that had come into the clubroom, it seems. Should I be admiring her powers of concentration, or should I be worried about how she was steadily getting closer to being the dojikko? If it's the latter, then that's just the result of Haruhi's training.

In the time that I was standing there blankly, Haruhi and the President had been trading verbal attacks back and forth.

"It seems like you've been working on the story digest."

The President said with a nihilistic voice.

"But can you really write anything decent?"

"I'll keep saying it as many times as I need. Tough luck."

Came Haruhi's resolute voice.

"I'm not worried one bit."

Haruhi wore a face that was so full of confidence, I wanted to investigate which wormhole it was all springing from,

"You don't have to teach us or anything; writing a story is simple. Even this stupid Kyon can do it. Because, most people can write characters, can't they? If you can write characters, then you can write sentences, and then you can just connect those sentences. You don't need any special training to write characters. We're already high school students. So there's no need for something like practice when you're making a story. You just have to write."

The President slid his glasses up,

"I can't help but admire the optimism of your viewpoint. However, that's just too childish."

Though I generally have the same opinion, I wish he was a little more discreet about stirring up Haruhi. Even if that line was assigned to someone like the President, all of us here would have to bask in Haruhi's burning aura.

Sure enough, Haruhi's eyebrows rose steadily until they were shaped like sharp knives,

"I don't know how big you think you are. But! Even if you really were all that, I really hate people who think so high of themselves. And if you act that way even though you're actually no good, then that's even worse!"

If it's a mouth-off, then she's someone who doesn't get left behind. The way things stand, it seems like they'll just fling words at each other indefinitely. At any rate, the President seemed more self-important than Haruhi. Though this was just another performance, acting cool while Haruhi was burning with anger nearby was no small feat. The President, and Kimidori-san, as well.

"Mm. Even if I was not particularly important. You are measuring a human being on whether or not he's proud, aren't you? If I had something to be proud of, it would be that I am in this position as the result of a fair election. And so, how did you come to be sitting on that seat? Oh, honorable Brigade Chief?"

As expected, I should tell Koizumi that he'd chosen a real man of talent; this President was the owner of one thick core. A person who could face Haruhi and grandly make sarcastic jabs; there must be no one else in this school but him.

However, Haruhi is the best at being Haruhi. I'm the one who's saying it, so it's no mistake.

"There's no use in provoking me."

Instead of getting angry, the boss of an illegal organization within the school let loose an ominous smile.

"The Student Council might want to destroy the SOS Brigade at the same time as the Literature Club, but you won't be able to."

Haruhi gave me a quick glance. What's with those eyes?

Her sparkling pupils immediately moved to pierce the President.

"Because I will absolutely not move from here. Do you want me to tell you why?"

"By all means," the President said.

Haruhi, if her voice were made of microwaves, spoke with a volume that made me feel like it was more efficient than any kind of microwave oven.

"Because this is the SOS Brigade's clubroom, and the SOS Brigade is mine!"

She said what she had wanted to say, and after having said what he had wanted to say to Haruhi, the President, and Kimidori-san who was accompanying him, left.

"Ooh, how irritating. What did he come here for anyway, that Stupid President."

Haruhi pouted her lips while grumbling, and flipped through the pages of the old Literature Club journals that Kimidori-san had brought.

Because of Haruhi's war cry, Asahina-san had finally noticed that visitors had come, and though she was about to prepare tea in a panic, it was already too late, but thanks to that, I was finally able to refresh my heart with Asahina-san's delicious tea, and I could make progress with my writing............nope, didn't happen.

For some reason, once my spirit was dampened, I also lost my will. More so, because, of the theme that was decided through lottery, and my own past episode.

But I can't talk about that, either. Haruhi's morale, which had been set ablaze by the President's appearance, had now ended up burning the clubroom up to the ceiling.

"Okay, everyone."

Haruhi opened her mouth like a duck's and said,

"Now that it's come to this, we'll make that Club Journal even if we have to die, and even more, we'll make it so amazing that it'll sell out. We will not spare even one copy, and take down the Student Council. Got it?!"

A Club Journal is something you distribute, not sell, and though I wouldn't mind dying for something like that, even if I don't die for violating the deadline, it seems like I'll be subjected to punishment games until death. Really, even though it's his role, isn't the President overdoing it? And Koizumi too; is this an occasion for you to be wearing such a satisfied smile?

"As for me," Koizumi whispered to me as he usually did. "I am exceedingly satisfied. Because as long as Suzumiya-san's eyes are turned towards routinary occurrences, I can stay outside those spaces of ours."

That's fine by you, I guess. But what happens to me then? I just wish they would forgive us for rushing into a school conflict with the Student Council. Though I knew that the President was just pretending, Haruhi, who didn't know, had no idea what she had just started. Should we be unable to pass the President's conditions for making the club journal this time, Haruhi wouldn't just obediently surrender the clubroom. If I'm going to be besieged in a place like this, I wouldn't want to end up being held responsible for provisions.

"You're thinking about it too much. What we need to focus on right now is completing the club journal. Then it'll happen somehow. If it doesn't―――"

In that gently smiling face, a scheming expression suddenly appeared,

"Let's start another scenario. A siege battle; that would also be good."

According to Tsuruya-san's perceptive eyes, the Student Council President gave off a feeling like Shiba Chuutatsu, but for her, I wonder who would be Koizumi's match? Someone like Kuroda Kanbe?

As I was feeling like the lord of Takamatsu Castle when their water supply had been cut off, I prayed that Koizumi, who seemed like he had an aspiration for campus conspiracies, wasn't serious about hatching that scheme.

As it turns out, I was not able to complete my manuscript that day. Since the time the intruders had entered, I wasn't able to progress by even one character.

Fortunately, when Haruhi had finished checking my manuscript so far, she left the clubroom in a rush. Did she think of a new outside source, or did she set off to give out pep talks......?

Haruhi returned just in time as the chime signaling the end of the school day had started, and Nagato closed her book right then in perfect harmony. Like Koizumi, who was making good progress on his writing, and Asahina-san, who was industriously doing her best, I stood up with my bag in hand.

Contrary to my expectations, Haruhi did not tell us to bring our notebook computers home and continue writing there. Though she might have just forgotten because of her seething anger, I was still grateful.

Next year, if a first-year student who wanted to join the Literature Club were to appear, would that person be automatically included in the SOS Brigade―――was what I thought about on the route that everyone takes on the way home from school, as my body was hit by a cold breeze that seemed like it had come down from a mountain, though I was sure it was just the breath of spring, until I arrived at home.

With that, it was after school the next day when I started writing the continuation of my autobiography-like story.

Let's see, how far was I able to write? Ah yes, up to the point where I was buying tickets.

Well then, let's resume from there.

After being admitted without a hitch, Miyokichi and I went to our seats in the middle of the single-hall theater; it was hardly what you would call spacious. Regarding how small the attendance was, the number of people entering was so sparse that it was virtually empty.

As for the kind of movie, it was one of those gory horrors. To be honest, it wasn't a genre that I liked very much, but just for that day, I couldn't help but listen to her wishes. At any rate, her tastes didn't seem to fit her quiet looks. Did she really want to see it that much?

During the show, she turned into an eager movie fan as she showed an appreciation for the screen, but here and there, during the scary scenes that were characteristic of horror films, she meekly gave a little start, turned her face away, and grabbed my arm once, which calmed me down for some reason.

But other than that, her eyes were glued to the images, and she looked so serious that if they were to see her with that much concentration, even the film makers would be satisfied.

At first glance, if I were to reveal my impressions of the film point-blank, it would go something like "This is a B-movie, isn't it?" which is something I couldn't just say. Though I don't think I lost anything by watching it, I didn't gain anything, either. I couldn't even recall learning anything from advanced reviews at all; they must not have done much work on their advertising.

Why could she have picked this movie?

I asked her,

"An actor that I like appears in it."

She replied with a bit of embarrassment.

The ending credits hadn't finished scrolling when the curtains closed, and we exited the theater.

It was past noon by then. Are we also going for lunch somewhere? Just when I was thinking if it was time to go home, she said in a voice that sounded nothing but humble,

"There's a shop that I want to go see, but is that okay with you?"

When I looked at her, she was circling the corner of the open page on her guide book with a red pen. The store was in an area that we could walk to from here.

After I considered it a bit,

"It's decided, then."

I answered, and started walking according to the simple map printed on the magazine page. As silent as ever, she walked diagonally behind me. We must have talked about a few things, but I don't really remember.

After walking for a while, we arrived at a cozy-looking tea shop. Seeing the stylish facade and interior, it seemed like it would take an extraordinary amount of courage for a guy to enter by himself; he'd feel like a fish out of water. I had unconsciously frozen at the front of the store, but when I came to look up at Miyokichi's worried face, it felt natural as I pushed on the manually-opening wooden doors.

As I had expected, most of the customers occupying the store were girls. It was spectacular. For some reason, I felt relieved at how many mixed couples there were.

The waitress who had led us to our seats, looked at Miyokichi and me with a smile, brought glasses of water with a smile, and finally asked for our order with a smile.

After scanning the menu for thirty seconds, I ordered a Neapolitan and an iced coffee, while she got the deluxe cake set. It seems like she had decided on what to order from the beginning, From among the ten types of cake the waitress had brought as samples, she pointed at the Mont Blanc without hesitation.

"You're okay with just the cake set?"

I expectedly asked.

"Won't you still be hungry with just that?"

"No, I'll be okay."

She straightened her back, put her hands on her knees, and said with a tense face.

"I don't eat much."

Was her unexpected response. Maybe because I had been looking at her steadily, she lowered her face. Panicking, I rushed to explain myself, and felt that way until I had succeeded in getting her to smile again. Thinking about it now, I said such embarrassing things that it had made me sweat. It would be useless to write something like, uh, she was totally cute just as she was. But, Miyokichi was indeed a beautiful girl. I would think that about half of the boys in her class must be enamored with her.

Once they had arrived, she took about thirty minutes to nibble on her Mont Blanc and sip her Darjeeling Tea. As for me, I finished my meal quickly; it took just enough time for the ice in my iced coffee to melt.

I had quite some time in my hands, but I still couldn't understand her, and as I threw some random subjects at her, she would just nod or shake her head....... Well, considering it now, I don't think I paid that much attention to it. I was just a bundle of sensitivity back then. And probably all nervous.

I was going to pay for the tea shop bill. But she wouldn't listen, insisting to the end that she would pay for her own share.

"Because I'm the one who wanted to go out today."

She said as her point.

Having finished settling our accounts, we started walking around in the bright sunlight. After the horror movie, and that gorgeous little tea shop, where did she want to go next? Or was it time for her to go home?


As we strolled, she went silent for a long while. And some time later,

"There is this one last place......"

The place she revealed in a small voice, was my home.

After all of that, I took her back to my home, and with my little sister, who seemed like she had been waiting for us to arrive, the three of us played games together.


Having written that much, I stopped my fingers.

The only other people in the room were Koizumi and Nagato. Haruhi was running around as usual, while Asahina-san went out to the Art Club for a final check on her drawings.

As I scrolled to the beginning of the article I had written, Koizumi's face came into my field of vision from the side.

"Have you written to the end? Or is there more?"

"No idea......"

I answered, but despite what I said, it felt like that was enough. If you think about it, what was the point of writing that stuff so diligently? For the Literature Club's sake, and, by extension, for Nagato's sake―――you could be enthusiastic about that, but it was all just a way for the SOS Brigade to continue keeping this clubroom as its headquarters, and just one part of the plan to alleviate Haruhi's boredom. With Koizumi pulling the strings behind the curtains, the president, who held abuse of authority deep within his gut, was Koizumi's pseudo-puppet. So to speak, this case was just one big roundabout put-up job.

At the same time, I had a feeling that Koizumi was hoping to avoid the second stage turning into all-out war against the Student Council. But mostly, it was Nagato who was at the forefront. I think I would want her to enjoy a peaceful student life as much as she could. I'd like to believe that I'm not the only one whose heart is set at peace when gazing at Nagato quietly reading a book in a corner of that clubroom.

"Well, that's fine, isn't it?"

Setting my jaw, I showed it to Koizumi.

"Before I show it to Haruhi, I want to hear your opinion. So read it."

"Then I shall read it, gladly."

As I looked at the thoroughly-absorbed Koizumi's face, I manipulated my touch pad.

The notebook computers that had been provided to Brigade Members were connected through a LAN, with the desktop computer on the Brigade Chief's desk acting as the server. With a little fiddling around, I was able to initiate the printer that had been placed in a corner of the clubroom, and it began spitting out the printed-on sheets.

A few minutes later.

Koizumi smiled after he finished reading, and made his comments.

"Well, I thought I was the one who was supposed to work on the mystery assignment."

As I had thought, was he able to see it?

"What do you mean?"

I said, feigning ignorance.

"I wasn't intending to write something like a mystery."

Koizumi's smile widened more and more,

"And there's another problem. It also didn't turn out romantic."

If that was the case, then what did I write?

"This is just bragging. About how you went out on a date with a cute girl."

I guess that's how it is if you read it normally. However, Koizumi. You must have noticed something else. In which part did you get suspicious?

"From the beginning. It was obvious, the way you made it. It's impossible to say that it isn't suspicious."

Koizumi set the manuscript in order, picked up a ball pen, and then started putting marks on some sheets. They were ※ marks. That is, he was the one who put in the (※) marks above.

"You're a pretty generous person, aren't you? You put in several clues one after the other. Even the most thickheaded readers should be able to see up to (4※)."

As I kept acting like I didn't know anything, I clicked my tongue, and turned to the side. I thought that by looking at Nagato's unmoving figure, I could calm my heart down. Though my eyes were set at ease, Koizumi dealt a final blow to my ears.

"The way it stands, isn't it missing the conclusion? Therefore, I have a proposal. Why don't you add one or two lines after this? The part that will give out the secret, so to speak. That shouldn't take a lot of work."

As I had thought, it'll be better that way, huh?

I resented having to follow Koizumi's advice, but at that moment, I had felt like I should just listen to him. If it's about psychoanalyzing Haruhi, then this guy's the expert.

But, wait a sec? Why should I be worried about Haruhi's book review? She was the one who had brought up that nonsense about writing a romance story, but the one who actually had to do that nonsense was me, the same as Asahina-san and Nagato. If we're going to assign blame here, it should be on Haruhi, who had arbitrarily taken the position of Editor-in-Chief.

As I gazed at the liquid crystal display, Koizumi let out a chuckle.

"I don't think you have anything to worry about. Since I could recognize, it's unlikely that Suzumiya-san wouldn't. Before you could get to cross-examining......ah."

Koizumi reached into his blazer pocket. It was sounding off like an insect buzzing.

"Excuse me for a sec."

Koizumi pulled out his cell phone and took a glance at the screen,

"It seems I have some minor business to attend to. I'll be stepping out for a bit. No, you can relax. It's just a report I have to make regularly, not one of those cases."

As if to support those words, Koizumi kept a smile on his face as he left the clubroom. Contrary to expectations, could he, himself, be going out to meet some schoolgirl somewhere, in the shadows? Considering how clever Koizumi is, it wouldn't be strange if he's been doing something so normal in some place we didn't know about.

And so, that left only me and Nagato, who was still immersed in her reading.

Nagato never lifted her face. I felt like I should say something, but I was lost in the middle of my thoughts. Should I just accept it and write in that unnecessary addition?

In that silence, I closed the file for the pseudo-romance story that I had written, and opened up a new text file. A pure white screen was displayed on my monitor.

For the time being, shall we see what I could write? As Koizumi had said, let's finish it in two lines.

I hit the keys with a tak-tak-tak, and since my revision wasn't at all lengthy, I put in the command to print it as it was.

As I gave the sheet of paper that had come out of the printer a thorough look, I had wanted to just go and delete the whole paragraph. This is no good. It'd be embarrassing even if it were a folk-tale.

I folded up the sheet that had ended up becoming my closing page, and stuffed it inside the inner pocket of my uniform's blazer.

Then, at that same moment,

"Taniguchi ran away again. Tomorrow, he'll be writing even if I have to tie him up. You too, Kyon. If you don't complete it soon, the Editor-in-Chief is gonna get angry."

Haruhi had entered the room.

And then my manuscript, which Koizumi had left on top of the table, caught her eye.

No, wait! I pleaded in vain as Haruhi plundered the printed-out sheets with god-like speed. She then sat down in her own desk, and started reading slowly.

My thoughts were split between "Oh god" and "I hope I get a swift death so I can go get myself reincarnated quickly" as I watched our power-mongering Editor-in-Chief's face.

Haruhi was grinning widely at the beginning, turned expressionless somewhere in the middle, though her expression had faded away as she passed through a number of sheets, and when she finished reading the last page, her expression changed again.

Oh my, how unusual. I never knew I had it in me to make Haruhi's jaw drop.

"That's it?"

I nodded quietly.

Nagato was saying nothing as she kept her eyes fixed on a page of her open book. Asahina-san was out somewhere. Koizumi had left for some reason. There was no human being anywhere who would give Haruhi any unnecessary information.

And so―――.

After dropping my manuscript on her desk, she turned to face me again.

And, she was smiling in a way that I didn't like. The same way Koizumi did.

"And where's the conclusion?"

"What conclusion?"

I played dumb.

Haruhi smiled so sweetly that it was eerie,

"There's no way it ends with that, right? And that Miyokichi girl, what happened to her after that?"

"Who knows, maybe she's living happily somewhere?"

"Liar! Who are you trying to kid?"

Haruhi joined her hands on Brigade Chief's desk, and just like that, she jumped over the desk and soared toward me. In no time at all, she had grabbed me by my necktie. That idiotically strong girl; was she trying to choke me?

"If you want me to release you, then start talking! And be honest!"

"What should I be honest about? It's a story. And a fiction at that. The I that's written here isn't me, it's just a character in the first-person perspective story that I wrote. And so is Miyokichi."

Haruhi's smiling face drew closer and closer, and she held my neck with more and more power. This is bad; I really am in danger of suffocating.

"Just you keep lying."

Haruhi continued in an overly refreshing tone,

"From the beginning, I never thought you could write a whole made-up story. At most, you might've been able to transcribe something you remember hearing from someone you know. By my intuition, I can tell that what I read here was based on a true story. And that it's yours."

Haruhi's eyes sparkled glaringly.

"So who's Miyokichi? What kind of relationship did you have with her?"

As my necktie got tighter and tighter, I finally confessed the truth.

"She occasionally comes to my house and eats dinner before going home."

"That's all? Don't you have something more to say?"

I reflexively checked the chest of my blazer. That action was enough for Haruhi to notice.

"AHA! So you've hidden the rest of the manuscript there, huh? Hand it over!"

Just how sharp was her nose? I couldn't help but feel a sense of admiration. However, just as I was about to speak my words of praise, Haruhi had went on and resorted to force.

As I was struggling, she thrust her right leg between my thighs and executed, as I remembered from somewhere, a brilliant inside leg trip.

"Umph!" I lifelessly raised my voice.

Putting all her weight on my body, Haruhi then pushed me down to the floor. Haruhi rode me like a horse, getting in the mount position. She was trying to slip her hands inside my blazer. But I still resisted somehow.

"Yuki, lend me a hand here! Go grab Kyon's hands!"

As she said that, Haruhi had started taking my blazer off. Hey hey hey, shouldn't you be ashamed of yourself!? Is stripping Asahina-san not enough for you, you perverted girl!?

"Hey! Stop it!"

I turned to Nagato as my eyes sought help, but when I confronted her delicately expressionless face, I got the impression that she was puzzling about what she should do.

Before I knew it, Nagato had opened the cover of her computer.

From when was that again? Since she had the skill to hack into the Computer Club's computer and rewrite their program, peeking into my computer would be an easy victory for her. But, umm, what would she see?


Nagato didn't help either of us, and just watched over me and Haruhi's ground battle with calm eyes.

And then, after that,

"I'm back―――EHHH!?"

Enter Asahina-san. She sure has perfect timing. Just what was she thinking when she saw me on my back, and then Haruhi on top of me as she continued her reverse sexual harassment,

"I, I'm s,sorry! I didn't see anything! Honest!"

She shouted misguidedly as she ran away.


While Nagato kept waiting watchfully.

"Didn't you hear what the Editor-in-Chief said? Now, hand it over!"

And Haruhi smiled ferociously.

As Haruhi handled me with both hands while in the guard position, a prayer went out from my heart.

Koizumi, you're the only one I can rely on, now! Hurry back!

About that last sheet that had been printed. Besides being hidden in the inside pocket of my blazer, this was what was written on it.

By the way, Yoshimura Miyoko, nicknamed Miyokichi, was my little sister's classmate, as well as her best friend, and at that time, she was a ten-year-old, fourth-year student in Grade School.

Enter Asahina-san. She sure has perfect timing. Just what was she thinking when she saw me on my back, and then Haruhi on top of me...
Enter Asahina-san. She sure has perfect timing. Just what was she thinking when she saw me on my back, and then Haruhi on top of me...

Even one year ago, Miyokichi had such an adult-like appearance, that you wouldn't think she was my little sister's classmate. Her height made me skeptical about how she could be a light eater, her figure was good, the expressions you would suddenly see on her were good, and it was all at such an extent that she looked about as grown-up as Asahina-san. With such un-grade-school-student-like looks, the person at the ticket booth of the movie theater and the part-time ticket collector would probably overlook it.

Though even if they did notice it, it would be a question of whether she would be stopped each time. They'd sell you tickets at the student price even if you don't present your student ID.

The movie that we went to see had received a PG-12 designation due to the Eirin. That is to say, it was required for children younger than twelve to be accompanied by a guardian. I was okay, since I had already turned fifteen.

The problem was Miyokichi. Even though she knew perfectly well that her own appearance couldn't be seen as less than twelve.

However, she couldn't bring herself to go alone. Since her parents were relatively conservative in character, they wouldn't understand a gory, B-grade horror movie, and she'd be told off if she said she wanted to go see it―――was the explanation I heard from her.

But the only friend she could invite was my own little sister, whom you couldn't see in anything but early grade school, even up to now. The movie's showing would be for most of that March, and then it ends. She would lose her chance to see it if she didn't hurry.

So she thought through it. Which person could she go together with that they were likely to sell tickets to, normally?

That was me.

I've always been fond of small children from a long time ago, if I do say so myself. With most of my cousins being younger than me, I think it became a habit after being made to look after everyone when we were all gathered in the countryside.

Of course, having to deal with my little sister's friends was an everyday occurrence. Among those was Miyokichi, so she also knew me pretty well.

The big brother of a friend who was always in the house where she often went to play, and a guy who seemed to have a lot of free time during spring break. It turned out that I was someone who came to mind as being in the circle of friends of some fourth graders.

She thought that way as well. On the occasion of that movie, it also comes as a place that would be difficult for a kid to enter alone. And along those lines, she had selected that tea shop. The waitress at that time turned out to be pretty pleasant. It was a shop that a grade schooler standing on her tiptoes would feel awkward to enter alone, and even I, as a Middle School student, still felt nervous in that position. With Miyokichi and me at that tea shop. Even from the eyes of outsiders, we couldn't have been seen as anything but brother and sister.

Currently in fifth grade, and soon to be sixth grade, Miyokichi, Yoshimura Miyoko. If you wait five more years, you just might become a rival for Asahina-san.

Though somewhere, at Haruhi's look, I had stopped talking.

And now, it will be the post-fin from here.

We managed to finish the Club Journal by the deadline. It was just a booklet printed on copy paper that we stuck together with a gigantic, industrial-sized stapler, but as for the content―――removing any bias I may have―――you could say that it was fairly substantial.

Of particular excellence, was the Adventure Story that Tsuruya-san had written. Every single one who read her romp of a short story entitled "Hard Cheese! The Tragedy of Boy N" had to hold his side in laughter. I, myself, had laughed so hard that tears came out. That there was such an amusing tale in this world―――I had this feeling for a long time after that. The only one who read it and didn't even move a muscle on her face was Nagato, but that slapstick story in Tsuruya-san's lively writing style was so funny, that I wondered if even Nagato would secretly read it in her own room and let out a few giggles.

Though I've thought about this a little, I felt again that it was true. Could she be some kind of genius? That person.

As for the other SOS Brigade affiliates, there were things like the terrible and uninteresting days essay written by Taniguchi, Kunikida's trivia-like study column, four-panel comics drawn by someone in the Manga Club; thanks to Haruhi eagerly running everywhere to commission writers and demand manuscripts, it had turned into something that was plenty thick for a Literature Club journal, and though it took some time and effort to bundle and staple each copy, the two hundred copies we prepared sold well in one day without us having to do any advertising. Maybe all of Haruhi's running around for outsourcing had inadvertently turned into advanced publicity, I thought.

But that Haruhi, after saying "I'm gonna write something, too!" only contributed a short piece aside from the self-important editorial postscript.

Entitled "Save the world by Overloading it with fun: Section One ・A Memo on the Formulae for Looking at Tomorrow," the article was loaded with figures or symbols which, according to Haruhi's explanation, are to be considered for the perpetual continuation of the SOS Brigade, and though that just seems like something she would say, I, at least, could not make any sense out of the text.

Order in chaos, is a figure of speech that expresses this uncertainty, and while it carries with it the impression that the contents of Haruhi's head had just spilled out on it, so to speak―――.

However, what surprised me was how Asahina-san looked like her legs were about to give out after reading that pseudo-article.

"But that's....... If that was how it was......."

Since she had looked so shocked and her eyes so wide open that it seemed like those cute pupils of hers would pop out, I asked her why, but Asahina-san replied,

"I can't talk about it much since it's classified information, but......"

After giving her refusal,

"This is the central foundation of the time plane theory. In my time period......erm, for people like me, it is the very first thing we learn. But who the originator was and which time it came from, has always been a mystery...... That it would turn out to be Suzumiya-san......"

She was speechless after that. I went along with her and said nothing, although coincidentally, a wild idea had sprung into my mind.

Haruhi would probably be bringing home at least one copy of the club journal we had made. And that club journal, you can't say that there won't be any chance it would catch that Hakase-kun-like, bespectacled kid's eye. Haruhi was that boy's special tutor, after all. Although Asahina-san and I had already given that Hakase-kun a lot of cues, I guess that wasn't all of it. Would Haruhi become the root cause, after all? Even if she didn't, it would probably be a mix of various elements. The number of questions I wanted to ask Asahina-san (big) had just increased by one again.

After completing the distribution of the club journal on that same day, Haruhi purposefully marched to the Student Council room to give that report. And it goes without saying that an aura of pride was flooding from her body.

The Student Council President couldn't even move his eyebrows at Haruhi's break in and matching introduction, and as his glasses simply shone,

"A promise is a promise. I will approve the continuation of the Literature Club. However, there is more to be concerned with yet regarding the SOS Brigade's existence. Do not forget that there is quite some time left on my term of office."

Leaving us with that crystal-clear parting remark, he turned his back.

Taking that as a declaration of defeat, Haruhi returned triumphantly to the clubroom, and danced victoriously with Asahina-san in front of Nagato as she watched indifferently. Ah well.

At any rate, I've told you about that one disturbance as everything ended. After that, there was nothing left but to wait for spring to arrive in full.

As it is, if nothing more were to happen, we would all move on to the next grade. If I had to say, it would probably be about spring break by the time Haruhi perpetrates something for the remaining events.

It's hard to say if it's been a long or short year. This is a secret, but I'm putting a circle on one spot of the calendar on April this year. The same day on April as last year's Opening Ceremony.

Even if somebody were to forget, or even if Haruhi herself didn't remember, I will remember the anniversary of that day without fail.

The day when I first met Haruhi. The day I'm confident I will never forget my whole life.

Provided I don't lose my memory.

(End of Editor-in-Chief★Straight Ahead!)

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