NARRATOR: "She is not in the hallway, to my surprise. I wonder where she managed to run off to in just a few seconds. Would've been nice to talk more. Well, not that I had much to say, except maybe get back at her for calling me a cynic. It's surprisingly late. I already got used to school ending at the same time every day, so I can feel the extra hours in my head. And my gut. My growling stomach reminds me that I am absolutely ravenous. I'm so hungry that I'd dare to try anything the cafeteria staff has deemed edible."

NARRATOR: "Even when I see today's delicacy, fried mystery lumps, my steely resolve doesn't fade. I stuff the dinner down without tasting it at all, which is probably for the best. I don't have much homework to do, but what little I have won't get done by itself, so I stroll toward the dormitories. Preparing for the post-homework lull, I knock on Kenji's door. He responds from the other side, although I can't make out what he said. I try the door, but it's locked. After several seconds, the locks click open and he opens the door."

HISAO: "Hi. Hey, could I borrow a book? The library was already closed after I got away from my club meeting."

NARRATOR: "He is squinting even more than usual and his eyebrows are twitching nervously."

KENJI: "Club? That's dangerous, man. Indoctrination, groupthink, brainwashing, you name it. High school clubs sow the seeds of conspiracy. Do you know how many secret societies have grown from high school clubs? Watch your back and don't get too deep in. You might not come back."

HISAO: "Okay, Kenji. So, how about that book?"

KENJI: "Er, sure, but return them and don't spoil any of my books. No drinks, no food stains, no bodily fluids, capisce?"

HISAO: "Sure. Thanks."

NARRATOR: "Instead of letting me in, he retreats from the door, closing it again. After a few seconds he returns with a stack of three thick books and hands them over to me. Opening the topmost one, a familiar emblem stamped on the copyright page greets me."

HISAO: "Er, your books? These are from the school library."

KENJI: "They are now mine."

HISAO: "You stole these?"

KENJI: "What are you talking about, man? I've been liberating these from the oppressive feminist movement that controls the library."

HISAO: "Please say “oppressive feminist movement” doesn't mean that poor librarian girl, Yuuko. She couldn't even oppress a wet towel."

NARRATOR: "Kenji turns away, mumbling something I can't make out, and closes the door behind him. Before going to my own room, I enter the bathroom. While washing my hands, my eyes catch my reflection from the mirror above the sink."

Hisao mirror

NARRATOR: "I try to look for the grimness Rin saw in me, but it's just the usual me inside the mirror that stares back. I attempt to tell myself that this is what I've always looked like, but I realize I don't remember what I looked like half a year ago."

Next Scene: Self Study