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Short Sharp Shock/Transcript

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Short Sharp Shock
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Just around the corner of the hallway something hits me in the chest with the force of a runaway train.

Hisao "Ouch..."

Opening my eyes, I see a pair of saucer-like green eyes looking up at me.

They belong to the perpetrator, a short girl who bumped into me and has now fallen down onto the hallway floor.

She wears a PE uniform and a very worried frown. The former strikes me as a rather strange thing to have on during a lunch break.

...More striking than that, though, is that she doesn't have legs.

Or she does, but they are not flesh and bone. Her pale and very much flesh-and-bone thighs end in shins and feet made of some black metallic or plastic-like material.

They look disturbingly artificial and unnatural. It almost makes me forget that my chest is hurting.

The girl winces a little, rubs her nose and jumps up.

Twintails girl "Aw man... Hey, are you all right? I'm sorry about that, really!"

Twintails girl "I wasn't looking where I was going, and you just came out of nowhere. Sorry... Sorry!"

She's looking really apologetic, in the hurt puppy way of looking apologetic.

I quickly forget about being angry or anything, since hurt puppies are my weak spot.

Hisao "It's okay. Don't worry about it... ouch..."

I say that, but there's a stinging pain growing in my chest, and I know that this is about the biggest possible danger for my condition.

Don't overexert yourself, don't forget your medication and most of all, don't get hit in the chest.

I try to rub my solar plexus to chase the pain away, holding my breath in an attempt to hear my heartbeat.

It seems normal...

Twintails girl "Hey, should I get a nurse?"

The worried, high-pitched voice of the girl snaps me out of it.

I stare at her for a few seconds dumbfounded, until I realize that I probably looked worse off than I really was, doubled over myself and looking all tense.

Damn, I'm overly worried about my heart.

Hisao "Err... no need, I'm fine."

Meaning to say something in response, I pull myself upright, feeling my sore ribs one last time, and take a deep breath.

She just knocked the wind out of me. Big time. But it's nothing more than that.

Twintails girl "You sure you're okay? I hit you pretty hard."

Hisao "It's okay. I said I was fine, and nothing's broken. No harm done."

Twintails girl "That's good! I was--"

I feel a hand on my shoulder at the same time the girl's eyes widen in horror and whatever she was saying gets interrupted by a very horrified--

Twintails girl "Eep!"

I don't have time to look behind me because Shizune is already shoving me aside and stomping over to the girl, signing furiously at her.

Misha "Miss Ibarazaki, I saw that. Running in the halls is strictly forbidden."

Misha translates, right on Shizune's tail, but her voice is girlishly playful, not full of the divine fury Shizune's arm movements would seem to call for.

Twintails girl "Er, sorry, I was just going to get some stuff, and I was kind of in a hurry."

Shizune "..."

Misha "You've been told this a thousand times before. Your reckless behavior endangers other students, and even worse, it's explicitly against the school regulations."

The girl blushes and starts to fidget nervously like a little child caught misbehaving.

It's so cute I find myself smiling.

Twintails girl "I know that! I-- I, um, I was just..."

Shizune "..."

Misha "Make sure that this will not happen again... although I'm sure telling you this is futile, and only causes me further headache when you choose to ignore the regulations."

Misha "Got that, Emi?"

The small girl sticks her tongue out in response.

Emi "Aaah!"

Emi "I gotta go!"

Emi "Teacher'll have my head! I promised to help with printouts, but I went running instead! Sorry, but I've gotta change and everything!"

Before Misha or Shizune or I can say anything, she's already bolted from where she was a second ago, almost halfway towards the stairwell.

Shizune looks like she's about to go nuclear on the spot, so I smile at her in a vain attempt to calm her down.

Shizune "..."

Misha "Are you okay, Hicchan? That Ibarazaki girl is always like that, causing trouble to others."

Hisao "You know, I'm pretty certain Shizune wouldn't call me 'Hicchan.'"

Misha "Never mind, never mind!"

...

Hisao "Yeah, anyway, I'm okay. Just got the wind knocked out of me."

Shizune "..."

Misha "That's great, Hicchan!"

I wouldn't call that great, but I let it slide this one time.

Shizune "..."

Misha "So, let's hurry, Hicchan~! To have lunch!"

Misha "We promise it'll be great!"

Hisao "I'll take your word for it. What kind of a place is it?"

Hisao "A restaurant, or something?"

Shizune "..."

Misha "It's a teahouse, Hicchan~!"

A teahouse... that sounds kind of fancy.

Shizune "..."

Misha "Why are you looking at your wallet, Hicchan? It's okay, if you don't have any money we'll cover for you~!"

Hisao "That's really nice of you. Thanks."

Misha "It's okay, Hicchan! After all, we're friends, right, Hicchan?"

It's only been three days. Are we really friends that quickly?

Heh. But, hearing that makes me happy.

Shizune "..."

Misha "Ah, it's only for today, though, and only if you accept right now! Do you want to go, Hicchan?"

I start wondering if this is some kind of trap. Is this Misha's suggestion or Shizune's? This is important. I'm still a little apprehensive about the possible motives of a girl whose favorite pastime is the game of world domination.

No, I'm just being paranoid. Actually, they have grown on me already, and I do have to go to town sometime. So why not now, with them?

I've never actually been to a teahouse before. All my expectations are from what I've seen about them on TV. But those are period dramas, and these are modern times. It might just be a regular café, and they're just calling it a teahouse.

Either way, I'm curious about that, too, so there's another reason for me to join them.

Hisao "Sure."

Misha "That's great, Hicchan~! That's great, that's great! Yay~!"

Misha hops up and down briefly to show how happy she is, which causes a few heads to turn towards us. Shizune opts for a polite, tiny clap that lasts for all of two seconds before she goes back to looking stoic as usual.

Hisao "Would it kill you to be a little happier, Shizune?"

Shizune "..."

Misha "Oh? I wasn't aware that Hicchan was a king. Hahahaha~!"

Shizune pushes her glasses up as Misha delivers her message totally without sarcasm. I guess it would sting more if she could say it with the intent Shizune meant behind it, so for once I'm happy to have Misha as a barrier between us.

Hisao "I'm not telling you to jump for joy just because I'm having lunch with you. I'm not that arrogant."

She seems to accept this, and we head for town with Shizune leading the way.

[Go to Detour Ahead]

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