Konnichiwa, minna! KilllaKirika here, bringing you chapter 3 of The Disappearance of Osana Najimi! I actually had this written a while ago, but I'm just now getting around to posting it! No more talking, though. I hope this is satisfactory.
Disclaimer: I don't own The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or Yandere Simulator.
I know that nickname. Not many people have heard about her yet - she hasn't even reached Haruhi's ears - but I had started to hear the rumors around her, such as how she blackmails girls and sells panty shots to boys (the latter of which I heard from Taniguchi, who shamelessly claimed to be a customer of hers); no one even knows her real name or her appearance. It wasn't like I doubted Taniguchi in the first place, but talking to the rumored Info-chan over the phone forced me to confront the reality of her existence.
"What do you want from me?" I asked as I finally willed myself to keep walking.
"Oh, not much, really," Info-chan replied. "I just wanted to give you some information on Amai Odayaka."
I had no clue of her exact motives, yet I had a feeling that some information on her would come in handy.
"What about her?" I asked.
"As you can probably guess from your little trip to the Cooking Club today," Info-chan explained, with me deciding not to ask how she knew about that, "she has a crush on him, as do Ayano Aishi and Osana Najimi...well, 'did' in Osana-chan's case, anyway."
Well, what do you know? I was right about how both Aishi-san and Odayaka-san had the hots for that Yamada guy.
"Alright. I want to know one thing," I told her. "Did Aishi-san kill Najimi-senpai because of Yamada?"
"Well, what do you expect out of Aishi-san...or, as I like to call her, Yandere-chan?" Info-chan responded. "She wasn't alone, though. I was there to give her a little push into doing it."
This revelation stopped me in my tracks once again. This girl - Info-chan - was Aishi-san's accomplice?! I considered just hanging up and calling the police on her...but it wasn't like I knew who she was. Instead, I just stood there and listened as she continued.
"Yandere-chan and I had one thing in common: we wanted Osana-chan to suffer. Her, because of her crush on her precious Senpai, and me, for more...personal reasons. For that reason, I struck a deal with her."
"What deal?" I asked.
"I provide information on her target, and she finds a way to get rid of her. Nothing more or less than that," Info-chan explained. "Our deal wasn't supposed to be anything special, but I must confess that things have changed since then. There is a handful of other girls in the running for Taro Yamada's heart, and I am genuinely intrigued to see how Yandere-chan eliminates them all one by one."
"Why are you telling me all of this?" I had to ask her. "After all, I'm trying to stop her, and I'm sure you already know this."
"Well, I have my reasons," Info-chan began to explain. "First of all, you are a witness to Osana Najimi's death. I'm sure Yandere-chan won't be willing to let you go easily with that knowledge, and frankly, I feel the same way. Second-"
"Let me guess. Something Haruhi-related?" I interrupted.
After all, I was used to everything revolving around Haruhi and all of the weird things that came with being around her. The mere fact that I hung out with an alien, a time traveler, and an esper on a daily basis, the whole fiasco with that movie, the endless sumer vacation... That was only a handful of the many strange things that had happened to me over the past year thanks to her, as Koizumi put it, God-like power.
Still, I thought Haruhi wouldn't want anyone to actually die...
Suddenly, on the other end, Info-chan started laughing her ass off, leaving me to stand there and just listen to her laughter, completely dumbfounded. What the hell was so funny? After a while, she regained her composure and continued talking.
"Normally, I wouldn't appreciate the interruption, but I'll let it slide this time. In any case, I guess with all you've been through, of course you'd be able to guess reason #2 so easily! I won't tell you how at this time, but I am, in fact, aware of Haruhi Suzumiya's powers and capabilities, as well as how you've been chosen by her. As such, if something were to happen to you...well, I'm sure you know how that'll end."
Well, no shit that I know!
"Now, here's reason #3," Info-chan continued. She then let out a sigh and explained, "Truthfully, I am in a tight spot. Someone you know, and I won't give you their information, knows who I am, and they have threatened me to keep you safe in any way I can think of. If I don't...well, let's just say that Info-chan will no longer exist."
I thought she meant that her identity would be exposed; the alias "Info-chan" would probably be forgotten once that happens. Well, considering all that she's done, I guess I could see where she's coming from with that issue.
"Still," she finished, "it's not as if I'm encouraging you to stop her, either. What you decide to do with the information I gave you is none of my concern, but I look forward to seeing what decisions you make. I have a feeling that we'll meet again one day, so until then!"
With that, she hung up.
As I finally continued the walk home, I began to think about everything that was going on. Najimi-san is dead, Odayaka-san is probably next, and I'm not safe, either... On top of all of that, I have to keep my mouth shut about all of this as the rest of the club tries to unravel the mystery themselves.
Good grief. What kind of mess did I walk into?
The next day, Aishi-san came to school wearing a bandana.
It was similar to the one Odayaka-san wore except for it being a solid purple color. The way it wrapped around the top of her head, with her ponytail poking out of it, almost made her look attractive.
Almost. Even if Kunikida claims that I'm into strange girls, I would not find a blatant psychopath attractive.
Suddenly, I heard another certain strange girl exclaim my nickname from behind me. I sighed and turned around in my chair to look at her.
"What is it, Haruhi?" I asked.
"We're going back to the Cooking Club today!" Haruhi answered.
Well, isn't this convenient? Going back to the Cooking Club would mean that I'd be at a close enough proximity to Odayaka-san to protect her. I didn't let Haruhi know about what I was thinking, though, and instead chose to ask why we were even going.
"Isn't it obvious, Kyon?!" Haruhi explained. "We still haven't gotten enough information out of Amai and Yamada yet! Even if Yamada's not here today, chances are that we'll at least get some information out of Amai!"
...Why do I get the feeling that that's a load of bullshit?
"...Fine. Amai said that a new member of the Cooking Club came by after we left yesterday," Haruhi begrudgingly admitted. "The new member is going to make some octodogs today, and she offered for us to come and try some."
Just as I thought, she just wants to mooch food off of Odayaka-san for the second day in a row.
What she said, though, did make me glance over at Aishi-san again. The headband that she was wearing really did look similar to Odayaka-san's...and come to think of it, most of the clubs - save the SOS Brigade, of course - have started having their members wearing something to signify their membership...
"Kyon, really? Are we seriously doing this again?"
I immediately turned back to Haruhi, who looked more annoyed than before.
"I'm sorry. What were you saying again?" I asked.
"I wasn't saying anything at that moment! You know, you've been looking at Ayano Aishi a bit too much lately," Haruhi said.
My heart leapt out of my chest when she said that. Was I really that obvious?!
...Wait. The way that was worded could be taken the wrong way.
"Look, you'd better not be falling in love with her or anything! Outside relationships are against brigade policies!" Haruhi warned me.
Okay, first of all, I'm not in love with Aishi-san; I've just been keeping an eye on her to catch any suspicious activity. (Of course, Haruhi had no way of knowing at the moment.) Second, since when was outside relationships against brigade policies? Not that I was planning on getting into an outside relationship, anyway.
"Besides, Aishi is really weird," Haruhi continued, cutting me off before I actually had a chance to protest against her claims. "She's kind of like Yuki in that she doesn't really show emotions that much, but with her, it's like...I don't know. The vibes she gives off are a lot worse."
It was at that moment that her eyes seem to widen a bit, and for a few seconds, she just stayed quiet. Suddenly, she shook her head and looked back at me.
"Anyway, don't bother going to the club room after school today! Report straight to the Cooking Club room, and there will be a penalty if you're late!" Haruhi ordered, seemingly back to her old self.
After that, I turned back around in my seat, continuing to wait until Okabe arrived. However, just for a split second as I turned, I happened to get a glimpse of something that disturbed me ever so slightly.
Aishi-san, her purple bandana still on her head, was now glaring in my direction.
No, that's not right.
She was glaring in Haruhi's direction.
Okay, this is one of those times where I desperately hoped I wouldn't be right, yet all of my hopes and dreams were dashed.
"Everyone in the SOS Brigade, this is Ayano Aishi, the Cooking Club's newest member!"
Odayaka-san cheerfully welcomed the new girl - okay, she's not so new to us. It was, indeed, Aishi-san, who stood there with a stoic look on her face and a plate full of small, octopus-shaped hot dogs in her hands.
Apparently, Yamada wasn't here today - he probably needed a day to grieve - so it was just the two of them, along with the five members of the SOS Brigade. I'm not sure what look I had on my face as I sat at the table and assessed the situation, but I'm pretty sure it was one of shock. The rest of the SOS Brigade also sat around the table, with Asahina-san lighting up the world with her smile, Koizumi darkening the world with his smile, and Nagato...not really smiling at all as she focused intensely on the octodogs. Maybe she was hungry.
Haruhi, on the other hand, seemed to try to keep up a nice appearance, but she glared at Aishi-san when she apparently thought no one was looking. Aishi-san never noticed...or was it more like she was ignoring her?
"Oh, that's right! Kyon-kun and Suzumiya-san probably already know Aishi-san, since the three of them are in the same class and all," Odayaka-san commented. She joined Asahina-san in lighting up the world with her smile and continued, "Well, she made some octodogs for us, so hopefully, it'll bring the three of you, as well as the rest of us, even closer!"
"Enjoy," Aishi-san flatly said, placing the plate on the table.
Now, I'm only going to say this once; the octodogs looked cute. Not as cute as Asahina-san in a maid outfit, but cute nonetheless. Speaking of which, Asahina-san squealed in delight next to me at the sight of the octodogs.
"So cute!" she exclaimed.
"It really was kind of you to make these for us, Aishi-san," Koizumi, who sat on the other side of Asahina-san, commented.
"Yeah... Kind..." Haruhi said, her tone of voice not as cheerful.
"Odayaka-senpai, would you like the first one?" Aishi-san turned to Odayaka-san and asked.
My ears perked up upon hearing this question, and I suddenly remembered what Info-chan had said over the phone the day before.
"...I am genuinely intrigued to see how Yandere-chan eliminates them all one by one."
Was this it? Was this...how Aishi-san was going to "eliminate" Odayaka-san? Did she lace poison into the octodogs? Why the hell would she do that with this many witnesses present, anyway?
Odayaka-san reached her hand toward the plate, grabbed an octodog, and opened her mouth to take a bite. My body was practically moving on its own as I reached out...
...but Haruhi beat me to the punch of slapping the octodog out of Odayaka-san's hand.
As the octodog hit the floor, all of us immediately turned toward Haruhi, each of us having our own variations of surprise on our faces, including Nagato and Aishi-san. Haruhi's facial expression seemed to be one of both anger and suspicion, but after a second, it turned into one that was more neutral, probably because of her noticing that everyone's eyes were on her now.
"Sorry, Amai," she apologized. "I...thought I saw a fly."
"Oh, my! Have flies gotten in to get the food again?" Odayaka-san responded, seeming more surprised than before.
Wait, this has happened before?
"Oh, no! I just thought I saw one. False alarm!" Haruhi exclaimed.
"Well, in that case, how about we dig in? Aishi-san made plenty of octodogs to go around!" Odayaka-san exclaimed, her warm smile returning.
Thus, we each grabbed an octodog from the plate and ate it. Honestly...what can I say about the taste? It just tasted like a hot dog, and while it did taste good, it wasn't really outstanding. Well, at least I'm not poisoned.
"So, Aishi, answer me this," Haruhi asked after she had eaten her octodog and returned her suspicious look to Aishi-san. "Exactly why did you decide to join the Cooking Club?"
So the investigation is continuing after all, huh? In any case, I felt like I already knew the real answer.
She joined to get close to Odayaka-san and then kill her.
Aishi-san, however, just looked down at the floor, her stoic look still on her face, and remained silent. Suddenly, a blush crept onto her cheeks, and she answered the question.
"I...wanted to learn how to cook from Odayaka-senpai, so I can impress the boy I like."
...Actually, considering all I knew, that was an answer I'd actually believe coming from her.
"Well, we may be able to do just that!" Odayaka-san exclaimed. "Tomorrow morning, the rest of the Cooking Club will be gathering here and making snacks to pass around to the other students of the school! Feel free to join us, Aishi-san!"
Aishi-san just responded with a nod.
After a while, we all left the Cooking Club room...but as we walked out, I managed to catch Aishi-san glaring at Haruhi again.
Before I even realized it, I was walking home with Haruhi. No...it was more accurate to say I was walking her home. I kept glancing behind us, yet I saw no sign of Aishi-san, whether that sign would be her black ponytail or the glare she directed at Haruhi.
At least she wasn't stalking her...or right now, us.
"You know, Kyon, I can defend myself."
Haruhi's statement snapped me out of my thoughts. I looked down at her, and she returned my look with what seemed like an annoyed expression.
"Well, there is a killer on the loose, and as a gentleman, I feel it is my duty to shield you from danger," I joked.
"Ha! You, a gentleman! Really, I can't see that!" Haruhi said, laughing as she spoke. "Koizumi, definitely, but not you!"
Hey, I can be gentlemanly if I wanted to.
"Seriously, though," Haruhi continued, her laughing fit having ended, "I may not have been in the Martial Arts Club for very long last year, but Masuta-senpai at least taught me how to defend myself. I can pin anyone who tries to attack me to the ground, no problem at all! I'll be fine, Kyon."
I wanted to trust her.
Haruhi may have done several things that may not warrant people trusting her, me included, but this time, at least, I wanted to trust her.
It was just...the thought of Aishi-san going after her...
I couldn't lose Haruhi again.
I couldn't help but wonder if Haruhi felt something like this when I allegedly got pushed down the stairs back in December.
"Anyway, I believe I've figured it out," Haruhi declared.
"Figured what out?" I asked, secretly dreading the answer.
"Who the killer is! Duh!" Haruhi responded. "I mean, you've figured it out, too, right?! I saw you trying to do what I was doing back in the Cooking Club room!"
If only she knew that I knew from the beginning... Nevertheless, I continued to play dumb, and Haruhi proceeded to explain.
"It's gotta be Aishi! I mean, her behavior today just seemed so suspicious, you know? What if the octodog Amai took at first was poisoned, and she told Amai to go first in hopes of her getting that one? Totally suspicious! Now, we just need to expose her for the psycho she is!"
Haruhi then proceeded to list off potential ways to reveal Aishi-san's true nature as I pretended to listen, sneaking glances behind us while I was sure she wasn't looking. She may have said that she could defend herself, but I still couldn't take any chances.
There was no way I was going to let Haruhi die trying to catch Aishi-san.
Yes, I'm aware of how bad of an ending this chapter has. I couldn't really think of a way to continue the chapter, though, so I decided to just cut it off there. The next chapter should be interesting, though. Look forward to it~!