When she entered high school, the way boys looked at Ayano did not change.
However, Ayano also changed the way she looked at those around her.
(That boy is getting a lot of attention from the girls.
He will probably be the center of the class.
The girl who was introducing herself earlier was already making her own group by talking to someone who was notable.
No one here knew Ayano before middle school.
That was why She had to learn new faces quickly.
It was not enough to match faces and names.
She had to get their personalities and their position in the class into her head.
It would be a weapon to protect herself.
Ayano’s eyes were serious.
“I like gentlemen.
See Do you understand this feeling”
“Y-Yes! I understand very well how you feel, Matsuyuki-san!”
Someone who will protect her.
It didn’t matter if it was someone who was easily influenced.
Anyone could be Ayano’s enemy.
And everyone could be Ayano’s ally.
Almost all the boys in the class were interested in Ayano from the start.
Some had the desire to make her their girlfriend, while others were content just to be near her.
The form of interest was different for each person.
(It’s simple when you get right down to it.)
The distance was close, and she called their name in a friendly manner.
It appeared to be the same as before, but She tried not to let them cross the critical line.
That’s all there was to it..
As long as she didn’t make a measurement error, it was as Ayano wanted it to be.
Maintain the “more-than-friends-and-less-than-lovers” status.
That was the only way to have a good relationship as friends.
No one would want to risk ruining a friendship with a beautiful girl.
Won’t you go out with me”
Still, there were exceptions.
Although she avoided being alone with boys, there was one who approached Ayano forcefully.
He didn’t even think about the risk of having his confession turned down and ruining his friendship.
He was a fool who fantasized about a future in which he had a beautiful girl named Ayano just because he was motivated by his overflowing confidence.
(He is my enemy ……, isn’t he)
Ayano agreed with a smile.
But without using the definitive word “like.” She stimulated his pride, which was even higher than usual.
And then she shattered his pride into … pieces.
“T-that’s a lie…that I was wrong…”
Do not let him fight back.
She made it so that people around her would be antagonistic to him by making it worse.
She made her opponent look bad.
Isolate the opponent while increasing your own allies.
That way, whatever he said could not be true.
In this way, Ayano kept defending herself.
By making the other party the bad guy, she silenced their mouths.
Sometimes she even created a cover.
Even so, Ayano’s reputation never suffered a major decline.
Because Ayano had many allies.
Because she had the power of an overwhelming majority.
(You can’t bully a popular person.
They’re all influenced by the opinions of the many.
… They’re all idiots.)
The sense of manipulating others at will.
Ayano was aware that she was probably an evil woman.
It didn’t hurt her heart.
Ayano thought that as long as she didn’t get hurt, it was fine.
“Well then, Matsuyuki, thanks again for your hard work today.”
“Masataka-kun, you’ve done a great job too.”
There were times when Ayano would be alone with a boy at a committee meeting.
Masataka Sano was the only one that Ayano didn’t understand.
She was sensitive to favoritism and dislike, but she could not read Masataka’s emotions at all.
Even when she tried to be friendly, it didn’t change.
She couldn’t even grasp the distance between them.
A boy in the same class.
He was the only classmate, male or female combined, whose emotions were unreadable.
“I was wondering why you became a member of the library committee
“I guess because it seemed like an easy position on the committee.”
“In fact, it wasn’t so,” Masataka laughed.
Ayano found him to be very genuine without any air of arrogance.
Ayano and Masataka were on the same library committee.
Surrounded by other boys in the classroom, the only time Ayano could talk to Masataka was while she was doing committee work.
“Why do you call me by my first name No, it seems to be the same with the other guys.”
“It’s not strange.
It’s normal if you want to get along with someone, isn’t it”
“I don’t think so.
I mean, there are guys who misunderstand you.”
“Could it actually be abou tyou, Masataka-kun
“No, it’s not.”
It was not directly linked to liking or disliking each other.
Perhaps that was why she could joke around with Masataka.
It was like They were friends.
(What do you think of me, Masataka-kun)
Ayano wondered if she could have asked him that straight away.
But she couldn’t ask that now.
Just the thought of being told that he was not her friend made her hesitate to ask.
Ayano had even come to believe that she could read other people’s minds.
For her, now, not knowing that itself was scary.
But there was one incident that made her understand a little bit more about the unknowable Masataka-kun.
“Kentaro, you forgot something again.
I told you so.”
“I know what I forgot.
I know that too, so you don’t have to say so much either.”
“If you understand, don’t make me say the same thing over and over again.”
Masataka was staring at a pair of man and woman.
They were Kentaro Osako and Chinatsu Sugito.
Ayano had no direct relationship with them since they were in different classes, but Masataka had been in the same middle school as those two.
The feelings of fondness and disgust oozed from Masataka as he gazed at those two.
So Masataka-kun likes Chinatsu-san.
I guess he’s jealous because she only cares about his childhood friends.)
Ayano discerned Masataka’s feelings with just one glance.
(But other boys would show some kind of affection towards me, even if they liked me, … but I couldn’t sense any affection or anything from … Masataka-kun.)
Ayano saw something lonely in Masataka’s eyes as he watched the easygoing exchange between Chinatsu and Kentaro, who seemed to be childhood friends.
(…… single-mindedness, right)
If Masataka had confessed his feelings to Chinatsu and been rejected, he would not have turned his back on her and blamed her for it.
At least that’s what Ayano thought.
(Good luck, Masataka-kun.)
Ayano cheered for another person’s love for the first time.
It was a pure feeling as a friend.
When Ayano moved up to the second year, she and Masataka were placed in different classes.
Thinking that she could at least be on a committee, Ayano ran for the same position she had held last year, but it turned out that Masataka was not a member of the library committee.
Ayano… was a little disappointed, or rather, quite disappointed.
Still, people around her did not change, and Ayano continued to act amiably to protect herself.
Ayano, who had only been accumulating such days, reached a turning point.
There was a boy shedding tears in the corner of the library.
There were hardly any visitors that day.
Ayano alone was sufficient for library duty.
“Um, how can I help you”
So it would be better for her to call out to him.
But that was all, and Ayano was not thinking that deeply at this time.
“Eh Ma, Matsuyuki-san!”
Ayano called out to Kentaro, who was suffering from bullying.