In the quiet classroom, Yukinoshita and I both had our noses stuck in a book. If that was all we were doing, it would have been the usual scene. What made it unusual and different from normal was that we had plans after this.
“Hey, Yukinoshita. Club activities are cancelled for today, right? Well, even if they weren’t, I’d probably just be reading this book anyway.”
Yukinoshita flipped a page lightly in her paperback novel and answered without looking in my direction. “Indeed. We’re celebrating Yuigahama-san’s birthday after this, so we can’t hold Service Club activities today. Any complaints?”
“Not really. I actually feel lucky to have a break. I truly am glad Yuigahama was born into this world! Thanks to her, I can get out of club activities.”
“I can’t tell if you’re being serious or petty…” She sighed. “As usual, you are the shallowest human being in existence.”
Yukinoshita closed her book in disgust. But if she was disgusted, so was I. You fail to understand, Yukinoshita, my dear. You fail to understand.
“Being deep isn’t a good thing, you simpleton!”
“I thought it is, though?” Yukinoshita said dubiously, just as I expected she would.
“A deep river has fast currents and you can’t see the bottom, so you can’t step in it safely! On the other hand I, through my shallowness, am a gentle and open-hearted person with my feet squarely on the ground,” I said, chuckling with a bit of pride.
Yukinoshita looked bewildered. “I wonder why… it’s almost as if you’re an upstanding individual.”
“I wonder why… it’s almost as if you’re saying I’m not an upstanding individual…”
Was that not strange? I think I’m quite put together, thank you very much. But Yukinoshita cocked her head slightly.
“Hm? There’s not one thing that’s upstanding about you, is there?”
“Why are you tilting your head cutely? Your words are so nasty I’m getting cognitive dissonance,” I said.
“My apologies,” Yukinoshita answered unconcernedly. “Lying is not part of my personality.”
“You’re apologising for the wrong thing… now you listen up! Besides the fact I have no friends or girlfriend, my basic specs are high,” I declared once again.
Yukinoshita pressed her hand against her forehead as if she had a headache. “That’s a fatal flaw for most people… well, whatever. I also object to the prevailing wisdom.”
“As you should. To assert the importance of friends and a girlfriend is to deny the individual spirit. There are friendless geniuses out there who are still upstanding and influential by society’s standards. I mean, you’re the number one-ranked genius girl who can do everything, and even you don’t have friends.”
“I-I do have one friend…” Yukinoshita argued blushingly.
That one friend she referred to was a girl I knew of as well.
“Ah, Yuigahama. But you know, ‘friends’ is a plural term, so by definition you need more than one. Therefore you have no friends!”
“Splitting straws again, I see…”
Just as Yukinoshita was about to make fun of me, the door of the clubroom opened.
“Yahallo! So whatcha talking about?”
The person who had just appeared with a dumbass greeting was Yuigahama Yui.
“Why hello, Yuigahama-san. And oh, Hikigaya-kun is irredeemable trash who just said he’s an upstanding individual.”
Upon hearing that, Yuigahama clapped and burst into uproarious laughter. “Ahahaha! No way!”
“Don’t just shut me down! Calm down for a second. Allow me to explain my brilliance point-by-point. First, I have a nice face. Plus one point.”
“Your eyes are rotten. Minus one point.”
“And wow, you’re saying that about yourself…”
“Damn! Okay, so… I’m in a good school. Plus one point.”
“You might be held back a year. Minus one point,” Yukinoshita said coolly.
“…a-ahaha,” Yuigahama laughed anxiously. “I might not be one to talk. I’m on probation.”
W-well, up until now my arguments were a bit, you know. You could say it was relatively abstract or that a lot of it was my personal opinion. This time I would exert my persuasive powers by pointing only to the facts and to the absolutes.
“Then how about this? In the humanities course, I’m ranked third in Japanese. Plus one point!”
“However, with nine points, you’re last in maths. Minus one point.”
“Ohhhhhhhh. I got twelve points… I’m on probation.” Yuigahama was half in tears.
What else, what else…?
“Nrrrghhhh… a-also… I have a deep love for my sister.”
“But that’s just you being a siscon.”
The two of them looked at me with eyes that screamed: perverts should die.
“Minus two points,” said Yukinoshita.
“Isn’t this grading system rigged?! Shit! What else…? I-I give up. Nothing comes to mind…”
I thought hard, but I drew a complete blank. As I labored over my indecision, Yukinoshita turned to me with a benign smile.
“You’re done, I take it? I could think of some more.”
“What… was that?”
So she had more bad things to say about me… what, did she have a Heaven’s Memo Pad or something (1)? Yukinoshita secretly averted her eyes and murmured something softly.
“For instance… you celebrated Yuigahama-san’s birthday properly. Plus one point… just kidding.”
“Huh? Did you say something?”
“Not really,” Yukinoshita deflected my question coolly as she stood up from her seat. “Now then, we ought to get going. I used fruits on this cake. We’d best eat it while it’s fresh.”
Yuigahama and I stood up from our seats after her.
“Yay! Cake! Yukinon, what sorta fruits did you use? Watermelon?!”
“If that’s the first thing you think of, it seems you’re still clueless about cooking…” Yukinoshita muttered.
(1) A reference to the light novel series Kamisama no Memochou (lit. ‘Heaven’s Memo Pad’). In this story, amateur detectives solve crimes with limited resources and genius intellect.