EMI: "We need to go get more, then."

NARRATOR: "I open my mouth to say that actually, we're not both needed for such a simple task like finding another pot of Prussian Blue, but Emi's already grabbed my arm and started dragging me off. I wave to Rin, who doesn't seem to have noticed that the two of us are even leaving. Well, she'll notice when she goes for her Prussian Blue and finds out it's still not there. Maybe."


NARRATOR: "Probably not, actually. While I'm busy thinking of how weird Rin is, Emi's been dragging me back to the art classroom. I feel myself starting to run out of breath."

HISAO: "What's the rush?"

EMI: "Huh?"

NARRATOR: "Emi's giving me an appraising look, as if she's trying to figure something out."

HISAO: "It's just that you seem to be in a hurry. I'm not sure I can keep up."

NARRATOR: "Comprehension dawns on her face."

EMI: "You're not out of breath, are you?"

NARRATOR: "There's almost an accusing playfulness to her tone. I'm tempted to deny it, but then I realize that I've been breathing heavy since we stopped. Guess it's kind of obvious."

HISAO: "A little. Not everybody can be in shape, you know. Takes all kinds, right?"

NARRATOR: "Emi frowns. It's not a particularly good frown."

HISAO: "Er, that is... I should... get in shape?"

NARRATOR: "Not that I hadn't already decided to try for that. After that flutter on the track I figure there's a real need to get in some sort of running habit. I was, after all, feeling pretty good until I had my false alarm. Well, actually I wasn't. But it was... fun? Meanwhile, my comment seems to have helped Emi come to some sort of a decision."

EMI: "Well, that's it, then."

NARRATOR: "She gives me a serious look."

EMI: "You're joining me."


HISAO: "I beg your pardon?"

EMI: "In the mornings. You and I are now running partners. I've got a routine all planned out. In fact..."

NARRATOR: "She produces a crumpled sheet of paper."

EMI: "I've got it right here with me."

NARRATOR: "I take the sheet of paper and give it a once-over. Times, dates, and laps, all laid out. A slow increase from just a few laps a day to... My God, does she expect to have me running marathons? And where did she find the time to get this all together? And how long has she been planning this, anyway?"

HISAO: "You've been planning this?"

EMI: "A little. But it's really the nurse's idea! He told me to keep an eye on you to make sure you exercised like he told you to!"

NARRATOR: "A vast conspiracy? Maybe Kenji's on to something here..."

HISAO: "This seems a bit much for just “keeping an eye on me.”"

EMI: "Well, to be honest I've been trying to find a running partner in the mornings for a while now."

NARRATOR: "My God, Kenji! If you could only see the scheme unfolding!"

HISAO: "What do you need a partner for, anyway?"

EMI: "It's easier to keep up a workout if you're not the only one doing it. Isn't that obvious? You're less likely to quit if someone else is counting on you to be there, right?"

HISAO: "I see. And this won't only keep you running, but it'll make sure that I keep running as well. Meaning that I'll be obeying the nurse..."

EMI: "...and I'll be keeping an eye on you just like he asked! You caught on quick, Hisao."

HISAO: "And if I refuse?"

NARRATOR: "I have no intention of refusing, of course. But I've got to at least put up a token resistance to such a masterfully executed plan."

EMI: "Well, if you refused I'd have to pout. And you'd have to live with being the guy who made Emi Ibarazaki pout. You don't want that on your conscience, do you?"

NARRATOR: "As if to demonstrate, Emi begins pouting. It is the most adorable, heart-wrenching thing I've ever seen."

HISAO: "Okay! I'll do it! Just... don't do that! I feel like I just hit a puppy!"

EMI: "So it's settled, right? You're going to be my running partner? Follow the workout? And the dietary plan?"

HISAO: "Dietary plan?"

EMI: "Yeah, the dietary plan! You've got to eat healthy if you're going to get in shape, you know!"

NARRATOR: "I examine the workout routine closely."

HISAO: "I don't see a dietary plan on here."

EMI: "Oh right! I forgot to give that to you!"

NARRATOR: "Another crumpled sheet of paper is produced and handed over. It's somewhat less detailed."

EMI: "I had the nurse help me come up with it."

NARRATOR: "The amount of dedication that the nurse has to keeping me in good health is pretty overwhelming. I don't know many school nurses who would get one of their students to spy on me, much less help come up with a dietary plan. Then again, I guess I'm not in a normal school. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. Then again, this dietary plan seems to cut out just about everything that'll be offered at the festival tomorrow. Hmm."

HISAO: "So when does our running start?"

EMI: "After the festival."

HISAO: "Right after? What if I've had something to eat there? I could get a stomach ache, you know."

EMI: "I meant the day after the festival."

HISAO: "I knew that."

NARRATOR: "Wasn't there something we were supposed to be doing?"

HISAO: "Oh! I guess we should get that paint for Rin, huh?"

EMI: "Oh no! It slipped my mind!"

NARRATOR: "By the time we get the paint and get back to the mural, Rin's already wandered off. Oh well. Emi and I both decide to part ways there, leaving the paint on the ground. Rin'll find it. Whenever she comes back, anyway. Festival's tomorrow. I'm actually a little excited for it. At the same time, the week's left me feeling pretty tired, so I read a little and then go to bed."


Next Scene: Don't Panic