Returnee 71

Chapter 71 Deceitful Dilemma, Part 1

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 The plan to put Akuzawa behind bars relies on getting Satou Hanae to testify that she was r**ed. To make this happen, I need to ensure that she listens to me, but it’s uncertain if I can smoothly expose Akuzawa’s wrongdoing. I don’t hesitate to use Satou Hanae herself for this purpose. After all, I’ve used others for my benefit many times before. However, for some reason, I don’t quite understand why. A vague sense of unease lingers within me. Despite repeatedly reassuring myself that everything should be okay, there’s something bothering me deep down… I feel even more uneasy because I can’t pinpoint what it is.

 Regardless, if Satou Hanae decides to file a complaint, Akuzawa could argue that there was consent. It wouldn’t work in my favor that I followed them all the way to Akuzawa’s apartment. The video depicting Satou Hanae willingly engaging with Akuzawa’s genitals would also pose a problem. When I initially intruded, it clearly looked like consensual activity. If Akuzawa had recorded other instances, Satou Hanae would undoubtedly be at a disadvantage.

 Moreover, can they really believe what Satou Hanae is saying? It doesn’t seem impossible, but it’s definitely difficult. If they investigate right away, there might be a reaction to the drug from Satou Hanae. However, there’s also a chance that the reaction might go away before she starts listening to me.

 Should I go as far as to challenge the testimony of a believer who claims to have seen a car accident? Maybe I can turn the situation around from there. But this happened right after Higashikawa (the cult leader) forced Kusunoki Kenjiro to give a false testimony, saying that Higashikawa was not at fault for the sake of making money. If I now challenge that testimony, people might question its credibility. Even if I manage to overturn it, it’s uncertain if it will lead to Akuzawa.

 Kusunoki Seiichiro won’t admit to asking Akuzawa for something, and if Akuzawa admits that Kusunoki Seiichiro asked him, it would only prove his own guilt. It’s unlikely that any evidence connecting Akuzawa and Kusunoki Seiichiro will come out from there. My goal is not Kusunoki Seiichiro or Kusunoki Kenjiro, but Akuzawa.

 Even if I expose Kusunoki Kenjiro’s lies, it doesn’t seem to have much significance.

 Now, on my way home from school, I sat on a bench in the park with Kyouka, thinking about things. I wasn’t pondering other thoughts while talking to Kyouka. Kyouka seemed in a gray state of [distress], like she was avoiding my question.

 ”What’s the matter? Is something bothering you?”

 I asked after Kyouka stayed silent for a while. It was a bit hypocritical since I already knew what was on Kyouka’s mind. Yet, for now, I had to act like a clueless lover.

 ”No… I’m okay.”

 ”It’s pretty obvious that something’s not right. Anyone can see that you’ve been acting differently lately. I’m here for you whenever you’re ready to talk.”

 Her mother Mizuki must have already talked to her about repaying the debt with a foreigner. Because I’m ordering Mizuki to somehow convince her daughter. My plan was to make Kyouka understand the seriousness of the situation. It might not be the best approach, considering my past experience with Akuzawa, but I needed to ensure Kyouka’s safety. There was a chance that everything would resolve itself when I received a message from Kyouka. However, I couldn’t ignore the possibility that Kyouka might be in trouble, even if it was a slim chance.


 ”Do I seem unreliable?”

 ”No, not at all.”

 ”Then why not talk to me, your boyfriend, about it?”


 ”I understand. If you really don’t want to talk to it, it’s okay. I won’t force you.”

 Even though I don’t feel that way, I can’t say I want to help Kyouka. I acted that way at times, but my true feelings were mixed in, even if just a little.

 ”What if…?”


 ”Sorry… I think I’ll drop it after all.”

 ”What? You’re going to stop after saying that much? It’ll make me more curious.”

 I looked at Kyouka’s face next to me. I didn’t need to see her almost crying face. I knew what she was trying to say.

 ”That’s right. You’re curious. But… what if… what if I say I want you to wait for me for another year?”

 ”Hmm? What’s that about?”

 ”Just a hypothetical situation…”

 ”It’s not because you’ve come to dislike me, right? Is there some reason, some feeling that makes it necessary?”

 ”Yeah. No matter what happens, I won’t come to dislike you.”

 ”I see… I guess so. It would be hard to accept, but in the end, I think I would.”

 ”During that time, even if I ended up betraying you?”

 ”Hmm? Are you saying that Kyouka, who likes me, would betray me?”

 ”If it ended up happening that way. F-for example, let’s say there was a reason, and I had to date another man for just a year…”

 The pink color of [love] and the white color of [trust] are starting to hide the sadness. Kyouka’s words surprised me a little. I thought she would talk about something more unclear if she asked for my advice. I was shocked that Kyouka spoke so honestly.

 After all, when it comes to Akuzawa, no matter how much I asked, she wouldn’t tell me anything. Of course, the situation is different now compared to before. I probably realized that something was wrong with Kyouka a bit too late. But it’s clear that our relationship has become stronger than before. I’m going to keep the truth from Kyouka from now on. I feel a little guilty about it, no matter how much I try to convince myself it’s the right thing to do.

 ”Huh? You’re going out with another guy. How did that happen? Do I have to accept it as your boyfriend?”

 ”Um, yeah. That’s right. It’s normal for you to think that, huh.”

 After that, we both became quiet. It was a bit surprising for me too. After a while of silence, I was the one who started the conversation again.

 ”Um, there’s something I need to tell Kyouka.”

 ”Oh? What is it?”

 ”I’ve, uh, been spending time with Katou Ayano lately.”


 ”She’s not an ex or anything. It started when Sakaki and the others were after Ayano. I helped out, and things just happened.”


 ”Even though I got close to Kyouka, that connection with Ayano continued. I kept it a secret. I’m sorry.”

 Why am I saying this? To make Kyouka feel less guilty about me, even just a bit. From her side, it’s not exactly fair, but maybe this will help her move forward. It might even give her a reason to understand.

 ”No, Shuu-kun, you don’t need to say sorry.”


 ”I kinda sensed something between you and Ayano-san. Didn’t expect it to be like this though.”

 ”I’m sorry. I can’t just agree with what you said earlier, knowing I hid my involvement with Ayano.”


 ”But my feelings for Kyouka haven’t changed. That’s still true.”


 I hug Kyouka tightly and say those words. While doing so, I feel guilty for deceiving Kyouka. However, only half of my feelings are genuine. The love I have for Kyouka shouldn’t be a lie, even if it comes from my belief that she is my partner. Kyouka and I sit on a bench in the park, embracing each other until the sun sets.

* * *

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
Thanks for reading.

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