38. The Cold and Kind Blue World
The Flower Palace’s heated swimming pool was located in an annex building a short distance away from the main building. It was in the opposite direction from the hall where the end-of-term ceremony is held, so it was less visible to the public.
If I remember correctly, in the original story, the kids who were instigated to bully by Maria pushed Asami into the pool. They came there to help. However, the situation was a little different this time. It’s not the high-school students who were called out, but the middle-school students.
The heroes who are supposed to help me are unreliable, and the fact that I became the one doing the bullying I don’t remember is bothering me. What the hell is going on here…?
I arrived at the front of the dome-shaped building and took a deep breath to adjust my slightly erratic breathing. I opened the heavy glass door and went inside then saw people on the poolside.
It was a group of three girls who looked like middle-school girls, and Asami, who looked like she was being pressed in from all sides. Moreover the air seemed dangerous and threatening for some reason. There was a pool right behind Asami, and if she took two more steps back, she would fall.
“What are you doing?”
The middle-school girls were startled by my voice, stiffened their expressions instantly, but then looked at me and smiled happily, as if they were relieved.
I was horrified by their smiles. A chilling feeling stirred inside of me, and this time I felt my expression stiffen.
The reason they were relieved that I came was because they thought they were noticed by Maria and they were doing what she wanted.
The moment I rushed to the girls and tried to move Asami away from the pool, a girl with her black hair tied in a high bun pushed Asami’s shoulder.
Immediately, I pulled Asami’s hand and pulled her to the poolside to keep her from falling in. It seemed that I was relaxed at the fact that the result of my daily work was displayed there as well.
Someone bumped into my back, throwing me off balance and causing my body to lean.
I heard Asami’s voice, but I couldn’t reach her hand. There is nothing around me to grab onto, and my heart lept at the sudden floating feeling. Without being able to resist, I was falling into the blue world.
The sounds changed. My ears are covered with water, and I am dominated by the dull sound. The water temperature pricking my skin was cold, and it bubbled then dissolved. I dimly looked at the cruel blue world where the faint light shines through with my barely open eyes.
It’s a little deep for me who is short, but I should be able to stand up if I put my toes on the ground, and yet the memory of my death in previous life runs through me, and I can’t move my body as I want to because of fear.
“…Go!…If not…She will!…”
I wondered who was shouting. Asami?
“…Hey…Are you doing!”
It’s painful. I’m about to reach my limit. I don’t want to die in the water once again. I need to do something quickly. I mean, I can’t even float so help me!
I can’t hold my breath anymore.
When my head was about to fall backwards. Someone grabbed my arm and pulled me up vigorously. I unconsciously hugged it as if I were clinging to the warmth of its body.
My lungs desperately need oxygen, and I repeat my panting over and over again. My lungs feel so painful as if they are being crushed, and the inside of my nose starts to ache. Physiological tears slowly shed.
It was scary. When I thought that I would experience that fear again, my body trembled and I couldn’t move well.
“What are you doing! Aren’t you on your feet!”
I forced my slightly sore eyes open and found him holding me in the pool with a frown on his face.
I was truly surprised that the most unexpected person among the boys came to my rescue. Kiryuu, the man who seemed to dislike me the most among them, jumped into the water. His hair was flattened by the water and he looked a little younger than usual.
“…Are you perhaps not good with water? You’re trembling.”
“I’ve drowned before…Since then I hate it.”
My breathing finally calmed down. My hair and clothes were sticking to my body and it was disgusting. I’m soaking wet all over, and Aoi will probably find out about it. I wonder if he’ll get angry?
“Hold on for a bit.”
Kiryuu put his arm through the back of my knees, holding my shoulders and pulled me towards him. My legs were completely lifted off and I was being supported in Kiryuu’s arms, which caused me to leak out a dumb voice in surprise.
“W-What are you doing!?”
“Don’t worry, you’re light in the water”
“No, that’s not it!”
I-Is this perhaps…underwater princess hug!? Moreover, the fact that the boy was Kiryuu, made me so that I couldn’t speak properly because my brain was in a state of panic.
But since I couldn’t swim, I had no choice but to let Kiryuu carry me like that. Heat rises from the inside of my cold body because of the embarrassment. I’m grateful, but wanted it to be over quickly!
“Trying to help so desperately even though you’re scared of water…What a weird person.”
“Because…if I don’t fall in, Asami will…”
Her uniform could be seen through, and they might have found out that she is a woman. I wanted to prevent that from happening.
“I thought you were the kind of person who could move someone else without having to do it yourself.”
“Is that so?”
“It’s amazing that you’re throwing yourself out to the rescue, but don’t push yourself too hard.”
Perhaps the hero Tengenji should have saved her, just like in the original story, but this time there were some disturbing developments that I didn’t remember, and I wanted to go and see the truth with my own eyes. I wanted to find out who was pretending to be me and pushing Asami into a corner with bullying. In the end, I still didn’t know though.
Kiryuu was unfriendly and annoying with all his thorny remarks, but I was saved because of him. If he had been a little late, I don’t know what would have happened.
“…I only came here because Yuzuru asked me to.”
“I see, so he did.”
It was Kiryuu who Amamiya was calling back there. Kiryuu’s class was closer to the stairs, so it was more likely that he had already left the school building. This is the reason why Amamiya asked Kiryuu to go to the pool.
“Thank you for your help.”
“…It’s nothing really.”His typical reply felt strangely reassuring now.
I raised my gaze and stole a look at his expression. Kiryuu never smiles. But, his expression seemed a little gentler than usual.