Chapter 2: Income Security and World Ability Users Agency
Class D, the first year of Kitsurin High School, this would be Hiroto’s class. It’s only been about a week since the class started, but the classmates have gotten used to it and are now chatting with each other happily.
In the midst of all this, there is one person who is looking at the magazine so intently that the magazine has holes in it.
”Yooot! Hiroto. What……..another part time job magazine. Did you find anything that looked good?”
Good morning! Domori-kun. Is that a part time job magazine? Oh well. You’ve it tough.”
“Ichigo, Mito-san, good morning. Hmmm, it’s kinda … well, it’s nice to be able to make some money anyway.”
“Hmm. But didn’t you say you have about two months’ worth of savings? I know you’re in a hurry, but why don’t you take your time looking for it?”
“No, it didn’t work out that way…”
“What’s the matter with you that it doesn’t work that way?”
“Oh! Well! It’s going to cost a lot more than I thought it would when I moved in…”
“Hmmm, I guess I don’t know what it’s like to live on my own too, but that’s about it, isn’t it? Well, if that’s the case, I can ask someone I know for help, too.”
“Yeah, I’ll ask you that too.”
Ichigo turned to Shizuka as he put his bag on his seat to the left behind Hiroto.
“Speaking of which, Mito-san. Where’s Shirasawa-san?”
Oh, Matsuri was just called into the staff room. It looks like Matsuri has been chosen as the class president in Class C. She is very busy. Well, it’s really hard for a talented woman, isn’t it? Yesterday, when I peeked in on the kendo club, they were so welcoming.”
Hiroto listens to the story and is truly impressed that Matsuri is a great person. It’s been that way since the day they met. Because she can do everything, people ask her to do it. The person herself has a personality that tries to respond to requests, so she was class president for three years in junior high school and captain of the kendo club.
Seeing her like that, many times he thought that he too needed to be a little better.
But now he needs something ahead of him to be secure. They say that food, clothing, and civility is the key to a good life, and although he”d like to get a part-time job as soon as possible so that he can have a stable life, he can’t find a good one. Even if the hourly wage was good, they were all too far away in terms of location, or the hours didn’t fit. Although he is confident in his physical strength, he looks at some of the physical fitness jobs that require registration, but those are often tied up in the morning, and he can’t work except on holidays, and there are age restrictions.
Nevertheless, Hiroto’s life is still under pressure.
(I’ ve got to do something! But how can some like me, a high school student, can find such a good deal? )
Hiroto held his head back and thought about it. Ichigo and Shizuka looked at each other as they watched them.
Both of them are worried about Hiroto.
When Hiroto was writhing in agony, his homeroom teacher, Takano Mirei, walked into the classroom right on time.
Instantly, the air tensed up and everyone took their seats at the same time. After Mirei’s lean morning homeroom, the first period was gym class.
The girls began to move to the locker room, while the boys stood up to get ready to change in the classroom as they were.
Even Hiroto, who is occupied with his future plans for his life, stood up, exhaled heavily and opened the school’s designated sports bag to take out his gym clothes.
At that time, a crumpled and wrinkled envelope of fine paper fell to the armpit.
What was it? And when he picks it up, Hiroto shouts out, “Ah……..”
It was a letter of invitation from the World Ability Users Agency for a rookie exam. Hiroto remembered putting it in his luggage at random when he was moving over, but he had forgotten about it until now. It seems that he had put it in his school’s sports bag, and since this was the first day of physical education class, he just noticed it now.
Hiroto often stared at the envelope from WIO with a serious face.
Then he roughly put it back in his bag with the eyes of the people around him…….and muttered to himself.
” Well…. this is all I’ve got!”
At lunchtime, Hiroto was on the empty rooftop checking the invitation letter from the World Ability Agency.
The deadline was no problem at all, as it was due next weekend. Having already made up his mind, Hiroto immediately filled out the necessary information. There”s nothing special about it. It’s not much different from a normal membership application form of any kind, the only thing that’s special is that there’s a section on ability that you’re good at. Hiroto reviewed the column of specialty abilities and was a little troubled, then crossed out ‘swordsmanship’ and wrote ‘physical arts’ and took a breath.
”Alright! That’s it. All I have to do is post it….”
“Oh! Hiroto, there you are! You said we’d have lunch together, right? As soon as it’s lunchtime, you’re gone!”
At Matsuri’s unexpected appearance, Hiroto hurriedly hid the application form for the rookie exam behind his back.
“Ah! Sorry. I’ll be there in a minute!”
“What are you doing here? And Hiroto!”
“What did you hide in the back?”
He’s busted……, but she always does this. She doesn’t let the slightest movement go unnoticed and won’t allow it until she has a satisfactory answer. Hiroto gave up. But since he couldn’t tell the truth.
“Actually, I’m trying to qualify for a part-time job and this is the application form.”
“Hah? Qualification for a part-time job? I haven’t heard of that… What is that?”
“No, I wonder how to describe it? It’s like getting a request from a client to solve a problem?”
“What’s that…. I don’t know what the problem is, something is fishy about it. That’s a legitimate job, isn’t it? Besides, what’s the point of having to qualify for a part-time job in the first place?”
“No! It’s a very straightforward job. With these qualifications…. uh, yeah! I’m paid well! Not at all. That’s why I need it! For a living!”
Matsuri flinched a bit at Hiroto’s spirit, which was unusually pressing at times.
“Hmm, hmm. Well, I get it. But! If it’s a shady job, I’ll make sure you stop it!”
It was several times more spirited than Hiroto’s. This time, Hiroto flinched intensely and nodded several times.
“I know it’s not easy, but I’m cheering you on. And if you have a problem, you can always ask for help. In any case, I think Hiroto just has to put up with me.”
Different from the usual, Matsuri doesn’t pry any more than necessary and just smiles in support.
Hiroto felt his heart beat louder for a moment as the smile overlapped with the indigo-haired girl in the back of his memory… an important part of his memory.
“Come on, let’s get going, Shizuka and the others will be waiting for us.”
Matsuri opens the door to the rooftop doorway to rush Hiroto and goes ahead, and he walks after her. But his steps are heavy and his eyes are distant.
“I’m just a nobody… that finds you in somebody else.”
The expression on Hiroto’s face was one of self-doubt and anguish.
A few days after sending in the application form for the rookie exam, there was a tattered mailbox with the candidate ID for the rookie exam from the World Ability Users Agency, along with information about the hotel and other details.
Hiroto checked the contents of the envelope. The date and time was stated to be the beginning of May, during the so-called Golden Week, and it was to be held over three days. To his surprise, lodging, breakfast and lunch were provided by the agency for the gifted.
In the evening of the first day, there will be a briefing and dinner party, and then the next day, there will be an examination, and in the evening of the last day, the results will be announced and there will be another party for those who have obtained a rank.
“The party looks surprisingly fancy. The place is Shinagawa……..hotel?”
For a moment, there was a hint of shadow in Hiroto’s eyes as he confirmed the location was Shinagawa, but Hiroto carefully put the documents away.
It’s been a few weeks since school started. Hiroto was gradually getting into a new rhythm in his life.
He has decided to take the rookie exam for the Ability Users Agency, but he can’t do nothing until then. In the end, I ended up working several part-time jobs.
After school, he would go to his part-time job right away, and on his way home he would buy some cheap food at the supermarket. This cycle was starting to become more and more common.
But of course, life was not easy. It was a life without any free time.
Hiroto was extremely busy, but it wasn’t just because of his part-time job.
This was the same since starting school last week.
The homeroom teacher, Takano Mirei, knew that Hiroto did not have the leisure to spare both in terms of his life and his schoolwork.
However, even under these circumstances, Takano Mirei did not treat Hiroto as a special person. That day, there was a homeroom meeting to decide on the division of roles in the class, and people who did not participate in club activities were given priority to be on the committee or in charge. Knowing the unfairness of his situation and not wanting to participate in any role at this time, Hiroto passed that homeroom quietly and discreetly, not wanting to be a part of it.
Eventually, when all the committee members and staff members were spread out, Hiroto looked relieved. Birei, who had been watching the homeroom, stood up quietly when she saw that all the roles had been taken care of.
”Yes, it’s pretty much settled. For now, I’ll ask you to stay in this role for a year. And! Since there is one person who does not participate in club activities and does not have any role in the club, he or she will be appointed as an assistant to all committee members and staff. That is all.”
After a moment’s pause, realizing what the homeroom teacher meant, a startled Hiroto stood up.
”Wait a minute teacher! Please don’t force the additional roles …….and on top of that! That role is like a jack-of-all-trades! And one can’t refuse it?”
“So what kind of role would you prefer to have? You are one of the people who did not participate in the club and did not run for any of them until the end. Agree? The educational philosophy of this Kitsurin High School is based on participation by all. Since you couldn’t decide on any of those things, I decided it was okay for me to decide on this one.”
The homeroom teacher didn’t move a single eyebrow.
“It’s … but I … well, I don’t have time for that kind of, or …”
“I don’t care. You are a student of this school. Then you have to be a student of Kitsurin High School first. You can do whatever you want with that. But I will not allow you to not participate in anything. Do you understand?”
As usual, her answer is resolute and well-reasoned. Stuck in the middle of a deadlock, Hiroto feels guilty for not raising his hand for any of the roles, and in the end…….he ends up accepting this proposal.
“Yes, I understand…….. So, an ‘assistant, without veto power’?
A person in charge of help……It was an insignificant person who, as the name suggests, helped when the students in the class did some work, when there was insufficient manpower or when they were in trouble.
And he had no veto power at all.
Ichigo and Shizuka call out to Hiroto, who is hunched over in his seat as Mirei leaves, with a look of heartfelt seriousness on his face… but his body was shaking coyly.
“It’s hard work….Hiroto! Fufufu, I really feel for you,ugh! To your wonderful life of having to take care of all of that from now on…….kukk!”
”Really……..pfft, poor……Domori-kun, pfft……”
“…………………. So, can you take over? Ichigo, from the gardener club, and Mito-san from the kendo club.”
Hiroto speaks while suppressing his anger at the two people who come to talk to him with their mouths and stomachs pressed down.(TN: Yep, laughing at a friend is common)
”Kukuk! No, no, no, no, I am not the one to be an almighty helper, you know.”
“Pfft, it”s not going to happen. Pfft.”
“What! What about that inconsistent character? Oh, God! If you have no business with me, go back to your seat!”
“Hoho … is it right to act like that? The Almighty Helper.”
Suddenly, as he says this, Ichigo squeezes his stomach and squats down on the spot.
”Ah! Ow, my stomach! Ouch!”
“What’s the matter? Hakamada-kun, are you okay! Oh my god, what a mess…. Somebody help! Somebody, there’s a doctor here! Isn’t the doctor here!?”
Shizuka screams as Ichigo suddenly collapses while holding his stomach.
“No, it’s okay…….. Mito-san. It’s too late……… Just, in the end………”
“What was the last thing? Hakamada-kun!”
“After school water that pot plant and my class flower shelf and water it and give it some water…..”
” Okay! Stop that trifling! You rotten comedy duo! And that’s just because you want to impose your job on me! You shouldn’t need any help with that!”
“You’re refusing to help . …Maybe I should talk to Meirei-sensei about it?”
“Okay, do me a favor then. And watch your attitude towards your best friend from now on…”
“Is there a best friend in the world who needs to watch his attitude while talking?”(NOpe!!)
“Excuse me, I need to go to the faculty room…”
“No, I get it! My first job as a helper, and my arm is gonna explode! Of course, I’ll watch my attitude! My best friend! Hahaha! (You’re not my best friend anymore. I’d rather……..kill you!)”
“Hahaha! Oh, right! (Are you sure? I’m going to question your attitude! towards me)”
“Hahaha! Yes, that’s right! (Idiots! If you don’t have proof, anything goes!)”
Hiroto and Ichigo poke and prod each other while laughing to the point that their bodies are warped.
” It’ s my fault for laughing so hard, but…….these two are kind of scary.”
Seeing that exchange, which was made possible because of their long-time relationship of communicating without saying it aloud, Shizuka seems to have sensed the atmosphere, although she doesn’t understand the meaning.
“What? What’s going on? Shizuka……..”
Matsuri comes over from the next class and immediately notices the strange air that Hiroto and Ichigo give off.
“No, what can I say……..haha. I’ll explain later……..Matsuri.”
Anyway, from that day onwards, Hiroto began to receive numerous requests for help from his classmates. However……..he never imagined that these requests would later be so popular that he would gain the trust of his classmates.
Whenever a request comes in, Hiroto, who is a good-natured person by nature, will do his job as a “helper” in a very serious manner. Not to mention the hard work, there were some requests that were obviously slacking off, but since there was no way to check and he had no right of refusal, he would accept all requests, regardless of gender.
However, behind all of this, Ichigo has a supreme sense of meddling, bringing work to Hiroto as if he were an intermediary between them. Because of this, Hiroto’s school life has become unusually busy.
Incidentally, every time Ichigo brokers a job, “”Fuhahahaha!”” Their laughter echoed throughout the class.
After several days passed……..the classmates noticed an unexpected aspect about Hiroto.
It turns out that the seemingly simple and unreliable-looking Hiroto has excellent judgment in solving problems. Some of the things he was asked to do required him to negotiate with the teachers, while others, such as the library committee members (the library at Kitsurin High School is large and the work of the committee members is quite difficult), required him to talk with other grades and classes.
However, even with those requests, Hiroto was able to negotiate with them and, moreover, he decided on a way to make them more realistic.
Because of this, in the first few weeks after entering the school, the “plain and harmless classmate” has been promoted to the “surprisingly reliable classmate”.
Then………a situation that even Hiroto couldn’t have expected was created.
The first to change their attitude towards Hiroto happened to be his female classmate.
They began to talk to him more often when it was easy to understand. Also, some of the girls have clearly started to give food to this unexpectedly useful boy who has not yet been noticed by anyone. This becomes more pronounced at lunchtime.
After the morning classes are over, those who are going to the school cafeteria and the lunch group begin to move.
When Hiroto reached into his bag to get his meal, two girls came to his desk.
“Domori-kun, why don’t we eat together? Do you want to have lunch with us?”
“What? With me? Why?”
“Why, you say, I mean, we’re in the same class. Domori-kun, you’re always eating bread. Do you want me to share my side of the barbecue with you?”
“Well, in that case, I should go make you a lunch to thank you for the last time…”
A female classmate who giggles on one side and talks a little shyly on the other.
(Hey, what’s this? I can’t believe this is happening to me.)
The first time in his life that he was being actively spoken to by a female classmate, Hiroto was shaking in full disbelief at the situation.
“Hiroto. Then let’s eat together.”
With a casual look on his face, Ichigo enters the conversation with a refreshing smile. It’s a natural way to enter the conversation.
“Huh? I thought you were in the cafeteria. (Don’t come in here without permission, I can see your ulterior motives!)”
“Yeah, I thought I’d have bread today (Who do you think that helped you? You trying to get cocky my man?”
“Yeah. Then you’d better go out and buy one right away or they’ll sell out. (Fool, I’ll change places in the meantime. Get out of here, you out-of-the-way bandit!)
“Haha, I’ve already bought it, actually. (You’re an idiot. Trying to get all worked up over a girl talking to you a little? You Eternal virgin!)
After a brief moment of silence.
“…what is it? I feel like these two are talking in a completely different way than their conversations and expressions…”‘
“….I wonder if they’re really close?”
In the end, they ended up having lunch with Ichigo as well, but in reality, thanks to Ichigo’s presence, the conversation was lively, and it looked like they were having a great time watching from the side.
Matsuri sits down in front of Shizuka and lets out a low tone voice as she roughly picks at her lunch box.
By the time Matsuri came from her own class to eat dinner with Shizuka as usual, there was already a happy lunch scene like the one we have now around Hiroto’s seat.
“Hm? Yeah, a lot of things have happened recently. Domori-kun’s reputation in our class has been on the rise.”
Matsuri is listening to it in a rather boring way. Seeing this, Shizuka responded with a bitter smile.
”But Domori-kun, somehow have changed……..since middle school.”
“How? I don’t think it’s any different.”
“Hmm, I just remembered a lot of things recently…. The image I had of him in junior high school was that he looked kind and gentle, but he was somewhat unreliable.”
“That still hasn’t changed, I suppose. In fact, I’m not sure how dependable he is.”
“No, I find him to be surprisingly reliable. He’s more responsive than I expected in response to my requests and consultations, and he’s not as passive as he used to be. Did something happen during spring break after graduating from junior high school?”
Saying that, Shizuka tilts her head back.
“What do you mean by something…?”
“How should I put it ….exactly, I wonder? He changed as soon as we hit high school, like not being only kind but…… How can a boy like that change like this all of a sudden?”
“You’re thinking too much. Relax”
“I’m not so sure. According to the girls in my class, he didn’t just help them with their requests, he gave them advice on how to do it next time, and in some cases, he didn’t do everything for them because he thought it would be better to do it themselves, but he stayed by their side until the end. …. there are quite a few girls who are grateful.”
When she says that, Shizuka turns to look at the whole class.
“Because, look at our girls. See, some of the girls are blatantly looking at Domri-kun and the others’ seats with envy, right?”
“Well…..there are a lot more boys who want to be in this seat of ours though.”
Shizuka looks around with just her eyes at the boys, who are looking enthusiastically at Matsuri as if trying to mope in her direction.
“Matsuri. If you don’t bother to look around, someone will take him, you know? If you look closely, his looks aren’t that bad, and if that’s not enough to get you interested in him, those sensitive girls who have an eye for a man will be ready to move on immediately, you see?”
“What are you talking about? I don’t have anything to do with……….. And I don’t………”
Shizuka gently looks at Matsuri, whose speech tends to be small after her flustered attitude, and gives a small smile.
“You dumped him once, didn’t you? Was that fish you let go big?”
“That’s why! I’m telling you it’s not!”
“Haha, okay, okay. I’m sorry. Don’t be so uptight.”
Shizuka, who takes an attitude of “I’m here”, calms Matsuri down and stares at her.
‘What, you’re so serious all of a sudden…’
“Matsuri, your strengths are so close to your weaknesses that it’s easy to understand them. That’s why I can’t leave it aside, because I’m afraid one day you’ ll regret it. Sometimes when your ideals and your emotions clash, you want your emotions to take precedence over your normal emotions, as a big sister in the role I am concerned.”
“Big Sister….. You’re the same age as me….”
“But you’re in trouble, aren’t you?”
“I was surprised too! Just when I thought you turned down Domori-kun’s confession, I heard that you were going out with a stranger named Katayama-senpai or something. And then I was surprised twice when I heard it was a lie!”
“I didn’t say anything about going out with him. I’m just saying it’s a friend, to see how it goes…
“But the other person doesn’t see it that way. Even if you say that it’s just a friend, Matsuri, you should have known better, considering the situation at the time. You’ve completely turned down the proposal on your end to Domori-kun.”
While saying that, Shizuka glanced at Hiroto. Matsuri recognized the end of her gaze, but she didn’t look at it and turned over a bit.
“Well I don’t think I’ll be able to keep this up either. Ah! You know, that’s not what I’m talking about accepting Hiroto’s confession. It’s true that I didn’t feel like going out with Hiroto back then, and…”
“But if you were just going to shake it, you wouldn’t have to lie about it, would you? Maybe that was a little too mean, I don’t know. Though I’m always on Matsuri’s side, as expected, I feel sorry for Domoriu-kun in this case.”
“Yeah I think that was stupid of me. Really………”
“Why did you lie to him so suddenly? You’ve never been that mean to the people who have confessed to you before, Matsuri. In fact, you were even being rather considerate.”
“Well, I don’t know how to answer that…”
Shizuka sighed with a troubled look and gulped down the pack of mixed juice in one go.
Most people think of them as the firm Matsuri Shirasawa and the energetic and cheerful Matsuri’s follower, Shizuka Mito. In reality, however, the relationship between the two may be like Matsuri Shirasawa, who is surprisingly clumsy, and her gentle protector, Shizuka Mito.
“If you ask me, it’s pretty simple, isn’t it? But since this is something that he was also related with, you should quickly tell him regarding Katayama-senpai, who you couldn’t tell him about the other day. Tell him that it was a lie and that you’re sorry. To be honest, Matsuri, you seem to be suffering from this too.”
“Yes I will. I’ll tell him again during the next Golden Week when there are no club activities. I want to apologize to Hiroto….about this for a long time now.”
“Are you sure you’re okay? Would you like me to go with you in any way to give you a reason?”
“No, that’s okay. And since this is something I have to say directly to him, it’s just not worth it…”
“That’s true. That’s the good thing about Matsuri… …….. wasted.”
“Hey! I heard you. What do you mean by wasted, wasted!”
“Haha! Don’t you have really good hearing? For naught.”
Although Matsuri laments that, inwardly she thanks Shizuka for her help. This is how she always comes to a consensus on important matters when she is talking to Shizuka. And yet, Shizuka knows that Matsuri has been very considerate in making sure that things don’t turn dark at the end.
Matsuri says, “I’m a lucky friend to have!” and sincerely believes that she can be proud about it.
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