If you are a person who has experienced being locked up in a mysterious classroom for over an hour with an underclassman you’ve just met, I would like to request some advice. Naturally, my phone doesn’t have service, and I’m having no luck with the internet, so all that’s left for me to do is seek help from outside. However, it seems like I won’t be allowed to do this either.
As I was desperately using both my arms and legs to try and open the classroom door, she inched her way towards me with her tiny footsteps.
She sighed. “Just to clarify, I didn’t mean that you were useless, Araragi-senpai. It’s just… none of the windows will even budge an inch.”
“Don’t worry about it. In this kind of situation, there’s no way I would misinterpret what you just said as calling me useless.”
What a remark to make.
Slightly upset, I muttered, “It’s ‘useless’ on my end too.”
“As expected, Araragi-senpai is useless after all”
“Are you sure you’re not doing this on purpose? You’re making it sound like I’m useless.”
Ougi-chan smiled, as if to show that it wasn’t her intention in the least. Even as she smiled from ear to ear, I got the impression that Ougi didn’t seem like the type to crack jokes, so I decided to take it as a misunderstanding for the time being.
It seems like we have established the fact that we are trapped in this room with no escape. Working as a team, Ougi-chan and I searched around for different ways to escape the confinement of this classroom. I had thoroughly investigated the doors located on the opposing ends of the room while Ougi-chan did the same with the windows.
“The door doesn’t appear to be locked. Rather, it’s glued shut, as if some kind of adhesive was used….”
After grappling at the door for around an hour, I expressed my opinion while stretching out my numbed arm. The fact that the best conclusion I could reach after a full hour of investigating was that ’it seemed to be something’ was somewhat embarrassing for me as a senior, but that didn’t change reality.
Contrary to how I was feeling, Ougi-chan, a transfer student starting her freshman year at Naoetsu High School, proudly stated her observations with a smile.
“As I mentioned earlier, the windows won’t even budge an inch. There is a crescent lock on each window, and the key left in it can easily be turned. Inserting and removing the key is easily done as well. However, even when unlocked, the window can’t be opened. Similar to the door, it seems as if it has been glued shut.”
She had imitated my manner of speaking to the end. Whether she respected me or was making fun of me, I can find out later.
“Is it the same with all the other windows?”
“Yup. Of course I checked them to the best of my ability. I didn’t even cut corners when I double-checked each window. The large window, the high window, the window at the hallway, and the window facing the gym are all fixed in place.”
According to Ougi-chan, they won’t budge.
“The window facing the gym, huh…”
I turned towards the window as I spoke, and looked at what was on the other side. Honestly, the real problem here isn’t the fact that we are confined to this room, but rather that— that on the other side of the window pane.
It wasn’t like there was anything unusual with the scenery. Hell wasn’t invading, dinosaurs weren’t roaming around, nor was there a sea of fire. What could be seen was simply Naoetsu High School’s gymnasium— just Naoetsu High school’s commonplace gym, where the basketball team that Kanbaru had retired from should be practicing right now.
However, we could not hear the sounds of balls slapping the hard ground— possibly because this room might have been soundproofed. Yet, even that was not a problem compared to the scenery outside.
No, the gymnasium was really just a simple gymnasium.
Not a single abnormality about that. The problem was that we could actually see the gymnasium from the school building we were in, which should not have been visible from this angle.
“Normally, we would be able to see the sports ground from here.”
That’s right. The school building that Ougi-chan and I had wandered into was erected beside the sport’s ground, so the club activities that should have been visible was not that of the basketball team, but of the baseball team.
If I had been able to, I would have stuck my head out the window to take a better survey of our surroundings, but due to the fact that the window was stuck tight, this was not a viable option. An ominous feeling was emanating from the everyday gym, which seemed to have nothing unusual about it.
Or was it just my misunderstanding? Maybe we moved with the intention of going to the building facing the grounds, but took a wrong turn, and strolled into the facilities facing the gymnasium— scratch that, as if I would ever be brazen enough to put on such a shameful display in front of an underclassman I had just met! (TN: uuuuuh that’s supposed to be sarcasm if you can’t tell -_-‘)
To begin with, we’re supposed to be standing on the third floor, so the angle at which the gymnasium was showed was unnatural. Unless you stood upon the fifth floor, or at least around the fourth floor, the roof of the gymnasium couldn’t be seen. Now that I’m considering whether I’ve taken the wrong turn, I might as well also consider the possibility of climbing the stairs to the wrong floor…
However, even if the reason for the different point of view was a simple misunderstanding, nothing has changed about our current situation.
There was no way to know which floor we were on without opening the window, and as I was contemplating our current circumstances, Ougi-chan decided to speak.
“I think it’s about time.”
“About time? For what?”
“About time that be decided to resort to brute force, you know what I mean? At this rate, Araragi-Senpai and I will starve. Starve, and dehydrate, and eventually die~”
Starving to death wasn’t an urgent problem at the moment, but rather a far off worry; however, if this situation prolongs, the problem would eventually arise. Well, I am confident I can somewhat hold off hunger, but I cannot say the same for Ougi-chan, whose body is still developing.
“But, what do you mean by ‘brute force’?”
Looking over my shoulder it became quite obvious at what she was attempting to do. Ougi-chan, with both arms, held held one of the classroom desks above her head. As it was around the time for school cleaning, Ougi-chan appeared to be moving the desk off to the side so the floors could easily be swept, but what Ougi-chan had in mind involved activities completely opposite to cleaning.
She shouted enthusiastically as she hurled the desk at the window. She did not throw it at the window to the hallway, but at the one displaying the gymnasium (originally facing the sport’s grounds). Quoting from what she had said afterwards, “It would be dangerous if I threw it at the window facing the hallway. What if someone was walking on the other side?”— that said, there’s not much of a difference even if it was thrown out the building. Actually, from this position (whether it is the third or the fourth floor) the glass and desk flying out the window would probably be even more dangerous to those located below. However, that was a needless anxiety. The desk that Ougi-chan had hurled towards the window had, as if this was the natural outcome, bounced back like a rubber ball thrown against a hard wall, and fell back down, scattering all of its contents— a textbook, notebook, pencil box— out onto the ground. It seemed like the owner of this desk had left a considerable number of textbooks in school, and so the mess illustrated the word “disastrous” quite well. The desk bounced a couple times against the floor, and then stopped, overturned.
Not a single scratch had appeared on the glass.
Incidentally, of the things that fell to the ground, not a single one of them were broken, or even slightly cracked. The result of Ougi-chan’s method of “brute force” was an outcome which showed no results.
“If you’re going to throw a desk, you might as well throw one that isn’t holding anything— If you just thought about the cleanup afterwards…”
That said, instead of forcing yourself to throw a desk, wouldn’t it be better to do so with a chair, a much lighter option? The object to be destroyed was, at any rate, glass, so it was pretty much a given that you can’t shatter it barehanded. Even then, why did a slender girl purposely choose to lift a desk was the topic of debate. However, the answers to my questions were soon to be answered.
Ougi-chan picked up a ball pen from the spilled contents of the desk. With the pen in hand, she walked towards the blackboard. It seems like for the sake of efficiency, she threw the desk at the window and retrieved the pen, killing two birds with a single stone. It was both rational and irritating at the same time. However, as this question was resolved, her next actions raised additional ones. What in the world did she intend to do with that ball pen? scratch scratch. Wait a second, she picked up a ball pen earlier, but shouldn’t you write on a blackboard with chalk…
Ougi-chan did not waste not a single moment. She was scratching fervently at the blackboard with the pen. Normally, a person’s nerves wouldn’t be able to withstand the unpleasant, high pitched sounds of nails scratching against a blackboard, and in an airtight space like this, where sound waves should reverberate off the walls, the sound should be even more unbeara— there was no sound.
Not a single sound echoed across the room.
Regardless of the passion that was put into it, not a single scratch was inflicted on the blackboard as the pen attacked it like a katana during a heated sword fight. Neither did a trace of ink cling to the surface of the board. Maybe my eyes were deceiving me, and the pen was just clawing at thin air.
“—useless, isn’t it? fumu”
“What were you trying to do? Ougi-chan?”
“You see, because brute force didn’t work, I tried to shatter the glass using the effects of high pitched vibrations.”
She said that without the slightest hesitation. She had tried to pull off a dramatic performance by planning to shatter the windows with vibrations, but it seems like it had ended in failure. However, as if she had already taken this possibility into her calculations beforehand, Ougi-chan threw the pen to the ground, maintaining a straight face as she did so.
Attempting to break the glass with the desk, and retrieving the ball pen from its spilled contents afterwards— those were actions of rational conduct. However, making the classroom a mess to this degree was not, and as I considered this, I worked toward restoring the classroom to its original state. Oh, but my desire to clean up the now hazardous classroom— could that also be considered rational in its own right?
After neatly arranging the textbooks and the like back into the desk, a name written among the possessions entered my line of sight— “Freshman, Class 3, Fukadou”.
So this is a freshman classroom? I’d like to believe what’s written here, but… upon entering this classroom, I didn’t exactly check the name plate. I’m not even sure if there even was a plate in the first place. More importantly, Fukadou? Is that a common name around these areas?
“Araragi-senpai. I’m sorry to disturb you while you are laboring away, but could you come here for a second?”
Ougi-chan’s voice interrupted my thoughts. I wanted to tell her that the cleaning was, at any rate, an errand pushed onto me by her reckless course of actions, but at some point, my legs carried me to where I wrestled with the classroom door earlier, and where Ougi-chan stood.
“Ah, that’s wrong, that’s wrong, take one step back please. A little bit to the right, that was a bit too much, move back to the left. Um, a half step back, and can you throw your chest out for me?”
… the instructions were so specific. I had no idea what she intended to do. Well, I had had no idea what she had been doing—throwing the desk at the window, vigorously scratching the blackboard, and the aggressive approaches I thought she had already decided against. There was but one more option that remained for her to try out. Another extraordinarily violent means of escape.
Just when I thought she was bending down, Ougi-chan rammed her elbow into my solar plexus with all her might. My instinctive reflexes kicked in, and the blow exploded splendidly.
The chest that I puffed out as she instructed acted as a spring, and I somersaulted in the air before hitting the hard ground and collapsing on the spot. Barely maintaining my safety, my head narrowly missed the door in midair and I crouched near the floor.
“ka… ha… what are… Ougi-chan… you trying…”
“Fumu. It was useless as expected.”
She said nonchalantly as she gave me, who was breathing heavily on the ground, a sidelong glance. Without a single shred of sympathy.
“I was wondering if the door could be corroded with stomach acid. Physical attacks and vibrations don’t have any effect, so maybe corrosion would work— was what I thought. But it seems like this approach was also in vain. The door just got a little dirty. Even if the door had dissolved, that small amount couldn’t possibly corrode a hole large enough for us to escape—wipe it up later okay?”
So you’re telling me you were aiming for my stomach, not my solar plexus, with your elbow? All so you could make me puke out some stomach fluids? While maintaining that sophisticated look on her face, she made me go through all this to test her nonsensical ideas. This girl…Why do I have to be the one to get attacked by a girl I’ve just met?— what luck … ?
“Aaah, sorry did that hurt?”
She said that brazenly, but it was actually quite refreshing to me who lived in a harsh household environment, a person who was already used to this kind of violence. … I was used to having my stomach injured, what kind of household was that?
Rather than karma, it was just cruelty.
“It’s not that big of a deal.”
I said arrogantly as I stood up, wearing a relaxed mask over my emotions. By putting on a composed, dependable display to an underclassman, her attitude towards me should definitely change.
“Is that how it is? As expected of Araragi-senpai. Well, I would have been fine if you puked out stomach fluids, but that would have been unsightly. Araragi-senpai is the type who would rather throw up stomach acid than let a girl do it, am I right? I think I might have misjudged your character.”
“I am grateful for your consideration. I certainly am the type to throw up stomach acid than let a girl throw up stomach acid.” (TN : LOL wtf is this conversation xD ) (EN: your humor is subpar, TN)
Personalities can’t really be categorized into types, and the type to “throw up stomach fluids” is quite an eccentric way to attempt to do so, but for the sake of answering Ougi-chan, I found the most suitable response and delivered it back to her. It was, after all, hard to tell if her smile was making me out for an idiot or expressing her willingness to rely on a dependable upperclassman.
This uneasiness isn’t going away.
Indeed, she did radiate the same feeling that “that man’s” niece did, though their outer appearance didn’t resemble each other in the slightest.
“Anyhow, neither the windows or the doors will break. Naturally, we aren’t in possession of any tool specialized for this kind of task, so we can’t really tear down the walls.”
“It would be nice if we had some plastic explosives, huh”
The dangerous mouthed Ougi-chan, if you really think about the lack of hesitation when elbowing me, would probably use gunpowder or a bomb of sorts without a second thought if such things were at hand. Anyhow, we can put aside the idea of destroying the walls. There was no mistake in thinking that it was not safe to stay in this room any longer.
“It can’t be helped, this is going to be a drawn out battle. We’ve tried to escape, but our largest problem is mental stress. Let’s wait for outside help, Ougi-chan. Kanbaru should know that we’re in here anyways.” I said in a composed fashion. This was all I could do, say it while wearing a bright smile on my face.
To be honest, with all this time on our hands, it our mental conditions was not a worry at all. It was more to give her a sense of safety, and to be honest, I just wanted to display the size of my heart to her. From Ougi-chan’s perspective, being enclosed in an airtight room with a man she just met put her in a fairly insecure position. Knowing this, even the elbow from before could also be seen as a manifestation of her wariness of danger.
At any rate, it seems like the behavior up until now, has been to test the aptitude of the man standing before her. Or rather, if I was made to choose whether she was testing me or not, I simply could not do it.
Ougi-chan, who didn’t seem to have a single worry in the world, said this with a composed, self-assured tone that she might have been be imitating from me.
“As a big fan of Kanbaru-senpai, I want to hold expectations for her to come to our aid, but it seems like there little hope for that to happen.”
“? And why is that? After school, if two people suddenly disappeared without a trace, even if it’s not Kanbaru, someone would definitely notice. Both your classmates and my classmates would. It would become quite an uproar.”
Though an “uproar” might be a bit exaggerated, because it seems like my classmates might just brush the fact that I wasn’t there off as a result of it happening quite often. Senjougahara and Hanekawa included. On the other hand, Ougi-chan, a transfer student who disappears the moment after she enrolls into the school, would definitely come up in a conversation.
“In the event that someone forgot their school bag in class, it would be understandable that they haven’t left the school yet. In that case, sooner or later, they should arrive.”
“You’re really counting on someone to come and save us from this predicament aren’t you, Araragi-senpai. Even one person who wanders into the classroom by themselves could become our savior, but even then…”
“Sorry, that was rude. That was one of my uncles principles. It has nothing to do with me nor you. Putting that aside, Araragi-senpai, relying on your friends isn’t bad conduct, but you should attempt to solve your own problems beforehand. The reason is—”
Ougi-chan thrusted her finger towards the area above the blackboard, where the clock was fixed into place, and at a moment’s glance, I froze.
The needle of the clock.
From the moment we took our first steps into this classroom— not a single second had passed. Even though more than an hour should have elapsed since we have been trapped in this classroom, in this classroom, not a single second has passed us by.
“Of course, this isn’t because of a dead battery.” Ougi-chan blurted out, grinning from ear to ear.