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Writer: 日日日 (Akira)
Black Tea Chapter 4
Location: Garden Terrace
Ten-odd minutes later
Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

He~y, I've finally found you... All of you seem to be enjoying yourselves quite a bit, hm?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Wah~ The oni found us~ Haa~kun~ Help me~ He's gonna eat me up~ ♪

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Nnhyaah!?!?! I told you— Ritsu-senpai, you're much more dangerous than the actual oni! Just why are you trying to hide under my shirt!?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

's warm is why... Warmth's the best. This thing we call "life" alllllll boils down to body temperature.

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

Prez~ ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Oh? Tori? And Anzu-chan, as well. Welcome to our tea party... ♪

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Mm. We ended up with more people than we started with and I was getting bored of playing kick the can, so I figured it'd be fine to find a place that let us rest.

Well. I'm getting bored, but I'm guessing this game would still be pretty fresh and fun for you, huh, Ecchan?

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

... "Kick the can"?

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Ah, that's the game we were playing. President bought so many snacks and drinks from the vending machine, and...

There was this empty soda can just sitting there, so after we ran out of things to talk about we decided to play a game as a change of pace. We've been doing these things to have a little fun lately.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Yeah, but kick the can isn't that fun when you only have a few people...

So we quit halfway, and Haa~kun started talking about when he first joined the club.

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Hmmm. And here I was wondering just what you'd all been talking about while you were having fun without me.

But I understand now. So Hajime-kun was reminiscing about what it was like when he first joined the tea club.

That's something of great interest to me, actually. I was hospitalized at the time, so I don't have a clear idea of the details— It's the perfect topic to have fun chatting about over tea.

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Fufu. We weren't leaving you out on purpose, don't worry~ It's just that you were the oni, so we didn't want to get caught, is all.

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

I understand that much. However, mmm... That was awfully sly. I'd assumed you would run somewhere much further away, but here you were hiding out in our usual tea spot.

You were right under my nose the whole time.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Hehe~h, my strategy won... ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Mm, it did. I'll be a good sport and recognize your victory; in the end, it's only a game.

Someone like you, who's terribly averse to putting in any effort, wouldn't go too far; when opportunity allows, you keep to one place.

Honestly, I should have been able to deduce that much. My calculations were lacking; this is my loss.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

That's right. And for our Ecchan who's gone and lost, it's time for a punishment game: let's have him gulp down this brand-new drink~ Even I don't know what it's made of ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

I... wonder if this is really okay to drink...? Its coloration is... incredible, to say the least... Please wait for a moment; I'm checking the ingredients label.

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

President, here~ Have some sweets ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Mm, thank you, Hajime-kun. You're always so thoughtful.

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

......

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

... Hm? Is something the matter, Tori? Anzu-chan, you, too— Please, don't hold yourselves back. At this tea party, there’s no need to stand on ceremony ♪

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

Y-Yeah, sure thing. I was running around everywhere picking up tennis balls earlier, so I kind of am hungry.

(Uuuu...! I want to curl up and purr on Prez's lap, but...! But! Hajime's here, and I want to act cool in front of him!)

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

? Is something wrong, Tori? Ah, here— these particular snacks have an oddly delicate taste... Please, do try some ♪

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

T-Thanks...

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Oh? How fascinating. I think I'd like to try some too, Hajime-kun.

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Of course~ Then, let's do it like we always do~ Open wi~de~ ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Ahhhhh~ ♪

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

(...?! Huh?! Hajime's just... hand-feeding Prez like it's the most natural thing in the world?! Even I haven't gotten to do that yet! No fair, Hajime!!)

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

? Uhm... Has something been bothering you...? Are the sweets not to your liking...?

Tori Himemiya Tennis Dialogue Render

N-No... I'mmmm! Great! It's delicious!

(Darjeeling) Eichi Tenshouin CG
(Darjeeling) Eichi Tenshouin Full Render

(Munch, munch) This has quite the subtle flavor for something invented for modern men with no sense of palate.

This contains reduced salt and fewer calories... It seems the snack industry quite a bit to consider when creating a product.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Ecchan, you wouldn't happen to run a sweets company too, would you? You've got a genius patissier right~ here~ who's gonna totally change the landscape of the sweets industry, so introduce me to some connections if you've got any~ ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Ritsu-kun, haven't you been a little distracted from your idol work lately? Just where did this idea to revolutionize the sweets industry come from...?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Nah, 's pretty much the opposite. I'm pouring myself into being an idol these days; totally different than before.

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

That's true. ... Just take care not to push yourself too hard, all right?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Don't wanna hear that from you, E~cchan~

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Um... This may be a little out of the blue, but I guess you could say I'm curious now... Sort of returning to the previous topic— when did the two of you start getting close?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Close?

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Us? Is that how we look?

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Of course. I remember you both talking about it over tea before... About how tea club was a joint effort between the two of you. When I heard that, I thought there must have been a wonderful story behind how the two of you first bonded ♪

It reminds me of me and Tomoya-kun. Two people who trust each other more than anything... So I presumed the two of you must be long-time friends.

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

No, not at all. I'd say Keito is effectively my only long-time friend?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Yeah, for me 's basically just Maa~kun... Doesn't really feel like I'm close with Ecchan or anything. Actually, my first impression of him was pretty much just the worst?

Tea club was just somewhere we'd waste time messing around in... Somewhere along the way we ended up like this, I guess.

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Mm. Come to think of it, are we friends?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

I mean? I guess knowing if you're friends with someone isn't as simple as becoming someone's boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever... Like, it's not like you confess to someone all, "Please be friends with me!" or something.

There's no clear "before" and "after" with friendship, so I don't really get it that well...

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

Fufu. My upperclassmen have such a mysterious relationship... I can't articulate it very well, but I think that, however you define it, what the two of you have is an especially wonderful thing ♪

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Mm, it truly is a relationship you can't find anywhere else. We enjoy ourselves having tea and sweets; we talk of nothing in particular; and, on occasion, we play around—

Perhaps this is what society would call "friendship"?

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

Nooooo clue, I'm not the kinda person to have friends, so. All I need is Maa~kun and peaceful sleep and I'm good...

... Wait, no, I also need fresh blood... and Knights too, I guess... and I love Haa~kun also...?

Eichi Tenshouin School Dialogue Render

Fufu. Look at you; you've come to care for so many more things than you used to, Ritsu-kun.

When we both met, this tea club was something empty, like a barren teacup. Now, it feels as if it's begun to fill up with something warm and wonderful.

It's all thanks to you, Ritsu-kun. Thank you, for protecting the one place that let me rest.

Ritsu Sakuma School Dialogue Render

's nothing to thank me for. It's what we promised, after all.

Hajime Shino School Dialogue Render

...?

Translation: adriessene
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