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Chapter 5 Main Chapters Chapter 6

Interlude 5

On the afternoon of the day Kazuki's plan had been carried out, Mitsuki Sanada mentioned to him that she hadn't seen him in class at lunch, and wondered if he was all right. She had first scolded him for being soaked to the skin and gotten him his spare uniform and made him change before he caught cold and put the wet uniform in the drier, but this question came after all that.

Kazuki didn't want her to know about his plan, but also didn't want to be uncommunicative; she might have a better way to stop the guys.

"You probably saw all those guys in a crowd at my desk." Kazuki stated.

"My fans stole your lunches again, didn't they?" Mitsuki Sanada asked rhetorically.

"They try that every day. It's more than anyone can handle," he responded.

"I wish they wouldn't do that to you." She didn't seem suspicious, and this was usually how she acted when she was going to help him. "I'm afraid it wouldn't help if I were to ask them directly," Mitsuki Sanada continued. "They might start begging me directly for lunches, and if I refused, they'd return to pestering you. I figure you should just leave the room as soon as lunch begins. You can go to my classroom and join me for lunch."

"Wow, I never thought of that. Thank you!" Kazuki smiled.

Mitsuki Sanada smiled back. It would be nice to finally get to eat with Kazuki. Yayoi and the other Mitsuki need never know about this arrangement.

The next day, as soon as lunch began, Kazuki simply left the classroom with his backpack containing the precious lunches. The guys stared oddly at him, but bunched up around the empty desk anyway. They guessed he had gone to the restroom, and would be back soon.

Mitsuki Sanada had told him which classroom she'd be in for lunch. It was far from his own classroom because she was a grade older than he. Kazuki found it with little trouble. She greeted him enthusiastically. "I made you another lunch in case you let them take it from you," she mentioned casually.

"Actually, thanks to your advice, I actually escaped!" Kazuki informed her.

"I'm impressed. You are learning how to deal with them," she acknowledged.

In Kazuki's classroom, some guys had given up and began to eat their own lunches. The United Team Alliance had shown up five minutes ago, on schedule, and joined the crowd in standing about uneasily. Someone asked Kazuki's friend Shiozaki, "He was only going to the restroom, right?"

He received the dismayed reply, "I don't know, he didn't tell us."

"Hey," someone in the crowd suggested, "we're guys. Let's check all the men's restrooms."

"What an astonishing discovery," one of their female classmates muttered to another. "They're guys. I thought they were little boys. Standing around like fools."

Most of the crowd split up and began to check the restrooms on that floor. Others at first remained at the desk, but eventually joined the search.

Though she had completed her high school education several years ago, Mitsuki Rara set foot on the Nanjyo Private Academy grounds. Akane had realized that Kazuki had forgotten his personal digital assistant, which had a report he'd need for a class on the next day. Kazuki had meant to bring it to school, do some more research in the school's library, add to the report, and print it out, but had forgotten it in his room during the morning madness. Upon hearing this, Mitsuki Rara had immediately volunteered to bring it to him during his lunch break, although Akane was in favor of leaving it. Mitsuki had prevailed, for she was always in favor of being nice to Kazuki.

Mitsuki Rara soon realized she had not ascertained where Kazuki's classroom was. She found Dee eating her lunch, and asked her to help. Dee did know Kazuki's classroom, and together they set out to find him.

All of the men's rooms had been thoroughly searched multiple times by several squads of men. The manhunt, or lunchhunt, was unsuccessful thus far.

One of Kazuki's friends had just had an idea.

"Say, maybe Mitsuki herself knows where he is!" Izawa suggested.

"We could just ask to share some of her lunch if she doesn't," agreed Shiozaki enthusiastically.

"Where is her classroom?" asked another fellow in their search party.

"We know that by heart!" shouted the whole United Team Alliance, whose members were the remainder of that search party. They all set off to find her.

Other groups had the same idea, but only knew that Mitsuki Sanada was a grade older than Kazuki, and so decided to check in every single classroom appropriate to that grade. It was taking longer than they had expected.

Yayoi finished eating her lunch. Since she had extra time, she decided to look in on Kazuki. Perhaps she could help him with that report. If not, perhaps she could help him with his poor penmanship by guiding his hand through some writing drills. Mildly surprised not to see him besieged in his classroom by hungry fellows, she decided to see if he was in the library.

By now, the hordes of men who usually were holed up in Kazuki's classroom were wandering the school, searching desperately for Mitsuki Sanada or Kazuki. These men were growing hungry, and began to lurch about, fatigue warring with their desire for food and Mitsuki.

Young women of Mitsuki's grade screamed as one band of these horrifying creatures invaded their classroom. "You're in her class, aren't you?" one of the repulsive beings slurred. "Where's Mitsuki Sanada?" the things moaned piteously. A young man, reeking with sweat from their attempt to find Mitsuki Sanada on the outdoor athletic field, stumbled up to a frightened young lady. The star-crossed young man could only gasp out, "Please tell us!" The young lady waved her arms in front of her, shrieking, "Go away, go away!" The foul odor was not dispelled, and the thing continued towards her. It hissed, "Please," and continued its inexorable advance. The young lady simply stepped to the side, and the thing crashed into the wall, but still it begged, "Please tell us."

Mitsuki Rara and Dee had not been able to find Kazuki in any of the classes in his grade. They were trying to search other classrooms to find him. They poked their heads inside the invaded classroom. Mitsuki Rara asked, "Good afternoon. Please: has anyone seen Kazuki Yotsuga?"

The invaders turned towards them, taking rather longer than usual because of their hunger.

"No one's seen him," Dee sighed. Mitsuki Rara sighed as well, "I hope we find him soon."

The creatures shambled towards the door.

The two ladies bowed and said, "Thank you very much. Have a good day!" and walked purposefully and briskly away, intent on finding Kazuki before lunch was over. All the creatures in the room moved out the door and tried to follow them, but were too slow to see which way they went. The unfortunate band drifted aimlessly, desperately hungry.

Several females of the class they had left muttered, "Stupid underclassmen."

"Here it is!" the United Team Alliance proudly and loudly announced as their search party pulled up to Mitsuki Sanada's classroom, which had been unerringly located. The rest of their search party was rather confused when the United Team Alliance deferred to them with the words: "You go in first."

This confusion was dispelled when Mitsuki Sanada, alerted by the voices of the United Team Alliance, appeared in the classroom's doorway. She crossed her arms, looking angry and disappointed. "We agreed after the first time you gentlemen visited me in my classroom," Mitsuki Sanada rebuked, "that you would not visit me here again. If you would like to talk with me, I'd prefer it if you'd do it one at a time after classes."

"Uhh, we were looking for your cousin," Izawa nervously interjected.

Kazuki remained seated, wondering what Mitsuki was going to do. He didn't want his friends to know that he had escaped their lunch-coveting clutches again. They hadn't seemed angry over the ramen noodles, but they might have been plotting some sort of practical joke as revenge. He knew Shiozaki and Izawa, and he knew they loved practical jokes.

Mitsuki Sanada was about to say something when Mitsuki Rara and Dee appeared. Seeing Mitsuki Sanada, they walked over to her, ignoring the bizarrely dressed crowd outside the door. "Big sister, have you seen Kazuki?" Dee called to her.

Izawa, Shiozaki, the United Team Alliance, and the rest of their search party turned towards them. They knew that Dee was Kazuki's cousin, but who was this other beauty? Why did she look so much like Mitsuki Sanada?

Mitsuki Sanada, astonished to see them, said nothing.

At that moment, Yayoi appeared from the opposite direction. "Lunch is almost over, everyone. Please proceed to your next class." Then she stopped short. "Dee, Mitsuki, what are you doing here?" She meant Mitsuki Rara. Glancing again at the search party, she managed to make them disperse, though there were many wistful glances back at the four lovelies.

"I was trying to find Kazuki," Mitsuki Rara explained, "and I asked Dee to help me. He forgot his computer at home, and we were bringing it to him."

Kazuki appeared in the doorway. "Wow, thank you very much, Mitsuki!"

"Hello Kazuki!" Mitsuki Rara cried rapturously.

"Hi, big brother!" Dee squealed. She insisted upon addressing him as such, though they were technically cousins.

Yayoi joked, "I certainly hope Mr. Yotsuga hasn't forgotten to print out his assignment for my class."

Mitsuki Sanada crossed her arms. "Ms. Schwael, has he even printed out last week's assignment?"

Kazuki gulped. His computer did indeed contain assignments for Yayoi's class he had forgotten to print out.

Mitsuki Sanada eyed him seriously. "You'd better run to the computer laboratory and get them ready before lunch is done."

"But-" Kazuki began.

"You've got a good five minutes to make it back to class," Mitsuki Sanada informed him.

"I can make it there faster than you!" Dee challenged. "We'll race!"

Mitsuki Sanada frowned at her. "You need to make it back to your wing of the school before lunch is over."

"I don't have to get back to work for a while, I'll race him," Mitsuki Rara offered.

Pursing her lips, Yayoi said, "We'll all race together. I can officially excuse your tardiness for teaching purposes. Mr. Yotsuga, this will be a valuable experience in learning the value of planning assignments, and a good workout. Physical education is as important as mental education."

Mitsuki Sanada nodded firmly, absently adjusting his tie.

"Oh," said a deflated Kazuki. Ever since the day he had first met Mitsuki Sanada, foot races had lost the smidgen of appeal they had for him.

Kazuki found himself in front of the line of Dee, Yayoi, and the Mitsukis. At Dee's shout of "Go!" they ran forward.

All four of them actually ended up at the computer lab at roughly the same time. For some reason, the four ladies seemed to be stumbling into each other quite a bit; perhaps they were paying rather too close attention to Kazuki. He printed out all the reports, those for Yayoi, and the one that had begun the whole adventure.

The people in Kazuki's next class were amazed to hear, outside their closed door, Dee shout "We win!"

Mitsuki Rara called down the hall, "Do your best, Kazuki!"

Yayoi encouraged him, "Go as fast as you can. This is the time to use all the energy you've saved."

Mitsuki Sanada pronounced sentence, "Run faster or I'm not helping you with your laundry."

Some seconds later, Kazuki appeared in the classroom, and Yayoi left after she excused his tardiness. He slumped into his seat.

"Where were you all during lunch?" Shiozaki asked.

Izawa chided him, "Didn't you hear Ms. Schwael! He was participating in athletic exercises! It's just not fair! If only she'd ask us to race with her! I'd run anywhere for her!"

"Especially if Mitsuki Sanada's lunch were the prize!" added Shiozaki, and Izawa several times grunted in emphatic agreement.

Shiozaki winked at Kazuki with eyes and voice. "That was a good idea, losing the race to them. No wonder all those older women like you."

Kazuki was still slumped in his seat, panting.

Chapter 5 Main Chapters Chapter 6