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Like Hell I’m Gonna Get Captured! - Chapter 13

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A few days have passed since Sekka has joined our family.
I've been playing with Sekka ever since. Not just playing, I've also diligently been brushing her.
It's come to the point where if I don't brush her every day, I feel uncomfortable, so I have been making sure to do so.

Also, things have changed since Sekka has joined our family.
That is, I now study every day in the living room.
Now, I know you're probably thinking, 'What's wrong with your room?' But try studying with Sekka sleeping on your lap;it's so blissful that you feel like you're melting!

’’Sora-? What'cha you looking at?’’

Nn? Oooh.

Hearing a voice, I raise my head and see Kiho in front of my eyes.
It seems like I somehow entered my own world. Maaann, that was no good of me! When I think about Sekka, I lose sight of my surroundings.

After raising my face, when I look around the room, the guys are averting their faces while blushing.....What? Well, I don't care.

’’I was looking at pictures of Sekka.’’
’’Oohh! Secchan! Let me see let me see!’’

When I let her see, 'So cuteee,' says Kiho while relaxing her expression.
I know right? She's so cute right? Our Sekka is the cutest in the whole world. Differing opinions? There's no way I'd acknowledge those right.

’’Kiho-chan, please do not lose sight of why you spoke up in the first place.’’
’’Nn? Ooohh! Right, right!!’’

It's Kaede-chan. Seems like there's more important business than our house's neko to talk about.
Even if it's the cute Kaede-chan saying that, I can't believe it.

’’Sora! During lunch break, do you want to practice for the Ball Tournament?’’

Ball Tournament practice? What. Diligently practicing she says. Ball Tournament she says.

’’So long as we practice, we can win! I got three other people too, so let's practice!’’
’’Nn-, well, I guess it's fine, but I'm not very good you know?’’
’’I no longer believe you when you say things like that!’’

.......How meannnn.
I'm not being modest, I'm normally bad! As long as I'm under the basket, I can't get the ball in.

’’No really, I'm actually pretty bad.’’
’’Yeah yeah. In that case, we just have to practice until you're good!’’

I have a feeling that I'm being roughly bullied into this.
Damn. Even though I'm actually trash. Fine, I can still get the ball in the basket if I'm far away. I just have to not get close to the basket.
I'm only doing basketball because I find it less objectionable than volleyball, but Kiho's being so determined. How depressing.

Lunch break. We hurry and eat lunch and then arrive at the gymnasium.
When we enter the gym, there are other members along with the three females. Why is Houzouin and Tatebayashi, and also Senior League Japan's #1 and Zenchuu Scoring King here. There's also another guy I don't know.

’’Ey. Ya'll late.’’

Tatebayashi, as if impatiently waiting, says that when he sees us entering.
No, why are you even here in the first place. I'd like an explanation.

’’Why are you guys here.’’
’’Ah? Kaburagi told us we might as well practice together and invited us?’’

Kiho does too many unnecessary things.

’’And so I thought, why not have an actual match to seriously practice!’’

.......Well, it was probably something like that.

’’But yeah. That appearance is a little...right?’’
’’Pretty bad.’’
’’.....Sure is bad.’’
’’It's not like I don't like it though.’’
’’N, no. I actually think it's pretty good!’’
’’......What's bad?’’

From top down, Tatebayashi, Houzouin, Senior, Scoring King, Person-I-don't-know, and then me.
For them to reject me out of nowhere, I wonder what's wrong with my appearance.

’’What are you guys saying. This is a jersey! You know, the one that goes under a skirt.’’
’’Pretty bad.’’
’’.....Sure is bad.’’
’’It's not like I don't like it though.’’
’’N, no. I think it looks good on her!’’

And again, a complete rejection.
However, person-whose-name-I-don't-know, that follow up was a complete failure.
I'm not happy that you think wearing a jersey under a skirt suits me.

’’There's no time to change, and if she doesn't wear it then we can see it, so I guess there's nothing we can do about it right?’’
’’Also, she's wearing such a short one. Although, it's not like I feel anything from it being visible.’’
’’I think exactly the same.’’
’’......I think that's going a little too far.’’
’’It'll be a delight to see.’’
’’.......’’

Ooookay. Let's have this match. I'm gunna crush you all. Especially Tatebayashi, and I'm also going to defeat this unknown-name-bastard who's pinching his nose and tapping the back of the head! (Japanese way of stopping nosebleeds)

’’If you all are warmed up, how about we start?’’
’’Just a normal match won't be interesting, so how about a wager?’’

Replies Houzouin in response.

’’How about the loser has to treat the winner?’’

Although that's fine too, if you think about it, aren't we girls too disadvantaged?

’’Although I'm fine with that, aren't we at an disadvantage?’’
’’Eehh? Since you think that, we'll give you a 10 point handicap.’’
’’......30 points.’’
’’Go with 15 points.’’
’’......20.’’
’’......That sounds good. A 20 point handicap, and the loser treats.’’

Oookay. I'm not going to lose!

’’Fufufu, although it gives me the shivers when I think about going somewhere with this guy, I'll have you treat me to something super expensive! You better not decline treating me when you lose.’’

Hm?

’’It doesn't matter;You'll have to go with him somewhere whether you win or lose.’’

Hah. You've tricked me, GLASSES!

’’Fine, if it's like that, I'll just have to beat you speechless.’’

Hm? In that case, you're not going to give us a handicap? You really get on my nerves! (Japanese meme lol)

’’And so with that, this basketball game has become high-stakes.’’ (Sora)
’’Allllllright! I'll definitely win!’’ (Kiho)
’’Fufu, please do your best.’’ (Sora)

Yep yep. I knew that if it's Kiho, she would say that.
Kaede-chan said she would be cheering us on. If we win, I'll make them treat Kaede-chan too.

’’Everyone, do your best.’’

I tell the three quiet people in the back.
Those three aren't showing very happy expressions. I wonder why.

’’Even though I think it's impossible, I'll do my best.’’
’’I'll give it my all.’’
’’Even if we somehow win, we won't be able to go out together after school anyway.’’

Seems these three have given up from the very beginning.
Also, why wouldn't they be able to go out with us after school?

Hearing their story, it seems that since the volleyball club has a practice match, they have to go there immediately after school.
Nn-. Unfortunate. 'I'll definitely win and have you treated to something one day.' Saying that, I get motivated.
After all, they're in a sports club. When I try telling them about the saying, ’’food over romance,’’ their response was as I expected.
By the way, the basis for that theory, as you guys have guessed, is my younger brother, Riku.

The match starts.
Of course, the jump ball is taken by the guy team.
And then, Houzouin a.k.a. Glasses, who was holding the ball, aims for the hoop with a squeak of his shoes. He passes the ball, and then Senior League Japan's #1 scores with a dunk.
No wait, yeah, I explained that pretty badly. It was that so called alley-oop that he scored with.
No wayyy. That's too strange. Isn't that something only members of the basketball club can do? I think I heard that their level of skill was something like that.

’’Now, it's a turnover!’’

Ah, we're starting!
Kiho heads towards the basket while dribbling, and for the time being, I'm running with her.
The three from the volleyball club also are running, and they stand under
the basket. As for me, I stay away, since I wouldn't be useful, and standby at the three point line.
Although I thought someone would naturally pass to me, Kiho, without stopping, plunges right under the basket and dodges Scoring King's block with a double dutch for a two-pointer.

.......It's impossible for them. They're in a different dimension from her.
Isn't the level of this match unsuited for a bet plus basketball game or practice for the Ball Tournament during lunch break?

’’Now we're even at two points pyon!’’

Kiho says, turning towards Senior League Japan's #1.
I see. That point was mortifying in so many different ways, like regarding height.
However, wasn't that sentence-ending somewhat dangerous? Maybe it's fine? Last year's sentence-ending was 'beshi,' so maybe it's no good?
Probably not I think. It's probably safe? But, I kinda don't want to see Kiho saying 'pyon pyon' you know? (Reference to the captain of the Sannoh team, Kazunari Fukatsu, and his verbal tics in the basketball manga, Slam Dunk.)

’’Kiho, nice goal.’’
’’Ooooooohhh! Let's do our best!’’

When I get closer to Kiho to congratulate her, she reciprocates with a bright *Smile!* Ah, it's been awhile since I've last seen that expression.
Still, what the heck. How is Kiho this good I wonder. Was she once in the basketball club or something?

’’Kiho, how are you so good? Did you play basketball before or something?’’
’’I've never been in the basketball club before. I played with my younger brothers a lot, so I became pretty good at this!’’
’’You have younger brothers?’’
’’Huh? Did I never mention them? I have a lot of them!’’

When she tells me she has a lot of them, I imagine of a crowd of mini Kihos climbing all over the actual Kiho's body. I'm not thinking anything bad. Yeah, definitely not bad.

Even after that, with the pressure weighing down on us, the push and pull of offense and defense continues.

’’Sora!’’

Oh, a pass from Kiho has come! Truthfully, it was her first pass. Kiho had been clinching the victory all by herself so far.
Alllright, Papa's going to give it his all! These three points are going to decide the match!
Well, although I shot the ball with all that spirit, it went out.
It didn't even touch the hoop. How strange. I wonder why.

’’Sora! It's impossible for a girl to do a one-hand-shoot from that range! You would have had to train yourself for that!’’

Oh, ooohh-! Is that so. I wonder how I did it in middle school then.
Well, it's fine not to worry about the details.

Afterwards, because the bell rings, the match is over.
We somehow won with a difference of less than 10 points. If I didn't ask for a handicap at the beginning, we may have tied.

No matter who says what, the MVP of this match is obviously Kiho.
Making the best of her quick and short stature and confusing the opponents with high-speed dribbling, she played a huge part with her passes and shoots.
Talking about me now, I somehow made eight 3-pointers. Aside from the miss from the one-hand-shoot in the beginning, I didn't miss a single one! Not only that, they were three pointers!
Maaannn. I really can't score any points besides 3-pointers. I sure was surprised. Kiho was also astonished you know.
Well whatever. No matter what, we won. It's been determined that the guys will be treating us.

’’And so, we look forward to the meal after school.’’
’’Ahhh, yeah.’’
’’By the way, since it seems that the Volleyball club members can't come today, please treat them to lunch some other day.’’
’’.....Ahhh, yeah.’’

In resignation, Tatebayashi sure is quiet.
Ah, wait, he did say that since he had a single mother, he didn't have any money, didn't he? If that's the case, I feel bad making him pay.
I guess we have to force Houzouin do it.

’’Well, should we make Houzouin who started this in the first place pay for everyone?’’
’’Please wait, as you would expect, that's going to be pretty tough on me.’’

C'mon, I mean, didn't you hear that he's working to support his single mother household?
Isn't it kind of painful to get treated by him? In that respect, it doesn't seem to hurt my conscience at all to make Houzouin pay any amount.
I wonder why, this difference in treatment.

’’No. I wasn't opposed to this high stakes game. I'll make sure to treat you.’’

In a small voice, he tells us that he'll definitely pay with his own earned pocket money. An excessive amount of feelings swirl inside my head, and one of them pokes me. ....ouch.

-
(Note: An ’’all-you-can-drink,’’ for the Japanese savvy, is the drink bar.)

After nothing else happens, it's the end of school.
There's no way something would happen, and we're now in a family restaurant.
I order a salad and an all-you-can-drink. Kiho has a parfait and an all-you-can-drink. The Kiho stuffing her cheeks with parfait while smiling is cute. Cute is Justice.
Kaede-chan just has an all-you-can-drink. She's probably being healed by looking at Kiho just like me. She's smiling after all. Cute.

And then, there's the two from the sports club shoveling their large serving of hamburger steak with rice set into their mouths. When I enquire if there is dinner at home, they make a mysterious face and say, 'yeah?'.
I see, I must change these sports club members! My brother included, I'll have them come to the cooking side!

Also, Houzouin and Tatebayashi are quietly drinking their coffee, and person-whose-name-I-don't-know is curled up drinking his cola.
Wait. That nickname is too annoying to say! Well, I don't actually know his name, so I can't do anything about it!
Should I ask him now? But, I mean, to ask after all this time is.... I cannot bear to do something so embarrassing.

’’Hey. Katagiri.’’

Nn? When I was thinking about asking his name, Tatebayashi talks to me.
I'm really busy right now, so I would be grateful if you talk to me later.

’’You. Do you know these three's names?’’

......You're reading the atmosphere so much that you can't read it at all!
Look. They just stopped eating and are looking this way now! Ahh! You're grinning at me again!
Shit. I hate you!

’’Sora. Do you still not remember the names of everyone in the class?’’
’’.......No.’’

......Kiho's nonchalant words stab into my chest.

’’Oh yeah, I don't think we've actually introduced ourselves. I would be a little self-conscious if she did know hah! My name is Imagawa Yoshimasa. Please take care of me.’’

Saying that, I lightly shake hands with Scoring King. How should I say this, his name has this feeling as if he played Kemari soccer.
Also, I'm sorry I've only just now grasped your name.

’’......Sanada Nobushige. Nice to meet you.’’

Bluntly says Sanada-kun while returning to his meal. I understand now. So Sanada is Japan's best warrior huh?
He actually became Japan's #1. Quite amazing. It's not Yukimura, but quite close, I can see his parents were obsessed.

’’Ah, ummm. I'm called Nabeshima Naoshige. I'm often told I don't live up to my name!’’

What's up with that self-introduction. Also, the same Nabeshima as the one in theBakeneko incident?
What would I do if he doesn't like cats I wonder. Surely, we wouldn't be able to become friends. Yeah.

’’Sora-san Sora-san.’’

Kaede-chan briefly calls me after the introductions are over.
What is it Kaede-chan? Isn't too early to tell them about our love? Huh? That's not it? Of course not.

’’Sora-san, who do you like out of all of them?’’

......Like? Like. My taste in sauce? Or Okonomiyaki. (Pun lost in translation. She was talking about 'Konomi,' which means 'like')
Ah, if it's Okonomiyaki, then Hiroshima and Kansai have some good ones. I've seen major disputes of which one of their Okonomiyakis is the perfect one. By like, you mean which one is my favorite.
Actually, since both are delicious, does it even matter?
Nn? Monjayaki? Although I don't not like it, I don't feel anything eating it.

Wait, what kind of conversation is this? Oh, like. That kind of like. I see.....Hmmmmmm.

’’......I understand the term Ikemen, but when we change to talking about 'like,' I don't understand.’’

Hey wait, after thinking about it all this time, I haven't ever harbored feelings of love towards girls, and of course I haven't with guys. I wonder what's wrong with me.
Since I was originally a guy, then thinking about it from the inside, it would be proper to love a girl.
Looking at it from a gender perspective, it would be proper to love a guy.
.....Can I even love a guy? I can't help but feel that's impossible.
But even if I admire girls, I don't feel like it's possible for me to love them.
If I go on like this, doesn't this mean I'll be alone my entire life? That would be a little lonely.

Ah. Stop. I'm about to tear up just thinking about that.
But, like this, becoming about to cry is a form of escapism. I have to properly think about my future after all.
Ahhh, but I'm actually about to cry. Oh no. I have to take into consideration where we are right now.
Allllright. Let's heal myself by looking at Kiho! If I do that, everything will be will be put in harmony!

’’......Are you okay?’’

When I raise my head, everyone is looking at me with faces of worry.
It would seem that I've been brooding too deeply. I have to deceive them.

’’I'm okay, I'm okay! I was just strangely thinking too hard, honestly.’’

When I tell them that deception, they reluctantly say, 'Is that so,' in assent.

’’You're fine! You weren't thinking that seriously. What's important is the inside after all!’’

Nabeshima-kun says in response to my words.
It's very guy-like to take my words at face value, but I was somewhat saved by his idiocy.

’’Fufu, yeah right?’’

Though I smile a little bit, I can't help but feel a little discourteous.
Nabeshima-kun's face becomes a little red, but it doesn't seem like he's mad, so there shouldn't be any problem.

Afterwards, we talk about some noncommittal things and go home.
I mainly heard them talk about Heroic sagas with Ikemens and to what extent they come to be popular.
Although everyone was humble and didn't make a big deal out of it, it was a big deal. I admire how often people don't distrust other people. Truly.

Right now, I'm heading home by myself.
Tatebayashi once again walked me close to my home. He's the type of guy who would surely do that for anyone.
Well, as thanks for listening to his story, I had a cookie put in my hair. Yeah.

Still, it's that.
Love or like huh. I don't understand at all.
It's strange. In my previous life, as a normal person, I should have loved.
I really like cute girls, but that is absolutely different from love.
I wish I had someone, an ancestor, to ask about their stories. Though I say that, who?
Asking mom would be somewhat embarrassing, and my younger brother has no experience with love.
Ah! It would probably be good to ask my neighbor Obaa-san!
Yeah, Yeah. If I ask that person, she's sure to have some stories!
Despite it just being me, I was able to think of something good!



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