Rather than a sequel, it’s the outcome to this time’s story.
The following day, both my little sisters, Karen and Tsukihi, who still maintained their innocent beliefs that an unchangeable ‘justice’ still remained in the world shook me awake. Reluctantly rising out of bed, I headed to school. I have yet to buy a replacement bicycle, so I commuted to school on foot. Well, perhaps it’s healthy. Then, on a whim, before heading towards my own classroom, I stopped by the audiovisual room. Neighboring the audiovisual room—
As it if was the most natural thing in the world—
There was no unoccupied classroom.
Rather, unlike the floor plan was drawn in Ougi-chan’s notebook, there was a small corner room. However the audiovisual room was nothing other than the audiovisual room, and it was not particularly longer than any of the other rooms.
So it was a supernatural phenomenon after all—is what I thought, now I’m not so sure. In the end, it was an error in Ougi-chan’s survey of the school. While drawing out the floor plan of the building, she fabricated an empty space upon her own mistake.
There was nothing here.
Nothing was here.
The “hidden room” and the “sealed room” and the “criminal identification.”
And the “unexpected truth” and the “class meeting” and the “majority rule”.
They are all part of the unchangeable past.
Well, even then I should probably relay this information to Ougi-chan. I never got her contact information, so let’s get it through Kanbaru this time. With these idle thoughts in my head, I left for my own classroom.
On the way, I passed by the faculty room. …Komichi Tetsujou is no longer here. That said, she did not resign from her job driven by her guilt, nor was she fired for acts of academic honesty. She is currently pregnant and on maternity leave—a joyous occasion. Loved by her students, she was congratulated as she walked out of the school. Because she is estimated to be unable to return until her childcare leave is over, she will only return to school after my graduation, so in all likeliness, the two of us will never meet again.
I have no particular feelings regarding this fact.
That’s because in all honesty, from the moment I saw her raising her hand so high, she was no longer a teacher or an adult in my eyes.
I don’t know whether I knew the truth consciously or subconsciously. However, if there was a *reason for being unable to talk about her as a teacher*, this was definitely it. I absolutely was not trying to cover for her like Ougi-chan said I was. If I told Ougi-chan, she’d surely give me a half-hearted retort like “Oh really? So that’s how it was? Thank you for your time.”
Walking at a steady pace, I passed the faculty room. Then, I arrived at my current classroom as a third year. And just when I was about to enter the classroom, I almost bumped into Hanekawa.
“Ah. Good morning, Araragi-kun.”
“Oh. Morning, Hanekawa.”
“Araragi-kun, I think entering the classroom wouldn’t be the best decision as of now.”
With the palms of her hands, she pushed me away from the classroom as if she was driving me out—it was a cute gesture for a high school girl. Having backed away a few meters, Hanekawa whispered into my ear.
“Araragi-kun. Have you noticed that there’s an empty seat in our class?”
“Hm? Mhm. Yeah, I’ve noticed the seat… but I’ve always thought it was just a spare. So what about it?”
Still not catching her train of thought, I replied stupidly—empty seat?
“What, when you came to school today, was there a ghost or something sitting there? For your information, ghosts won’t even surprise me anymore, you know?”
“What took the seat was not a ghost. It was a person, okay? Someone who hasn’t come to school for so long and suddenly decided to attend today.”
“Oh really… is that so. Then that’s the student’s seat, right? I’m surprised we had another classmate. But how did you come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t enter the classroom right now?”
“Because it’s Oikura-san.”
From here on, Hanekawa predicted the tragic development in my mental stability and proceeded to speak in a gentle, worried tone.
“Oikura-san. I heard over the course of two years, she had been studying at home. It’s almost as if she’s attending school in Tetsujou-sensei’s stead… I’m pretty sure you two didn’t have the best relationship, right?”