Chapter 3

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VOLUME 2

[3rd Discussion ~The Working Student Council~]

“Justice without power cannot be called true justice at all!”

As usual, the president stuck out her small chest and proudly spoke as if she were reciting something she probably read in some book.

I sighed and muttered, “Well, I do get what you mean.”

“Recently, dissatisfaction with the club funding has been pretty depressing…… I understand why you would want to use force, I really do.”

I picked up one of the countless petitions that were scattered on the long table. It was a petition for the men’s tennis club. Since the contents were the usual stuff, I listlessly read it aloud.

“It says, ‘Student council, we want reach enlightenment, so increase our budget.’”

At my words, Chizuru-san laughed exhaustedly as she looked at all the other petitions.

“I’m pretty sure reaching enlightenment has nothing to do with money.”

“How’s the petition you’re looking at, Chizuru-san?”

“Ah, this one’s the men’s basketball club. It’s just one sentence though, ‘Anzai-sensei…… I just want…… to play basketball.’” (1)

“Then just do it already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Suddenly the president cut in.

She snatched the petition from Chizuru-san’s hands and tore it into tiny pieces…… It was an act that would become a problem if she were seen (the disposal of a petition), but for now, none of the members admonished her.

As the sound of the president tearing up the men’s basketball club’s petition like a child defying her parents echoed, the two Shiina sisters who had been silently looking over petitions till now simultaneously sighed.

“What’s wrong?”

I asked Minatsu and Mafuyu-chan. The two of them listlessly shook their heads.

As she massaged the back of her neck, Minatsu faced me.

“They’re all the same damn thing. As usual, it’s all selfish stuff. And yet, they treat us, the ones who compile their budgets, as the evil boss……”

At those words, Mafuyu-chan followed up.

“The budgets are decided at the beginning of the year and the clubs all agree to them at that time …… Wh, why do they say things like this? Mafuyu…… thinks it’s sad…”

After seeing all the selfish opinions, Mafuyu-chan looked completely crestfallen.

I cut in, saying “By the way……”

“What kind of demands are they making?”

At my question, Minatsu was the first to answer.

“I looked over the athletic club petitions, but……”

“Yeah?”

“For the baseball club… they said, ‘We want to take Minami to Koushien…… So please give us money.’” (2)

“You should take her with your own skills!”

“For the soccer club… ‘We want to go find Nakata. Please give us travel funds.’” (3)

“What will you do if you find him?! Just leave him alone!”

“From the girl’s badminton club… ‘Please give us wings.’” (4)

“You can’t be satisfied with just shuttlecock feathers?!”

“And then the track and field club said something like, ‘The drugs for doping have gotten expensive, so we can’t afford them.’”

“Why the hell would the track and field club think such a petition would be accepted?!”

“Haaa……”

Minatsu exhaustedly hung her head.

Mafuyu-chan continued, whispering, “I looked at the culture club petitions, but……”

“Even the culture clubs made petitions?”

“Yes…… unlike the athletic clubs, it doesn’t seem like the irregular problems stem from a pileup of club expenses……”

“So, what are the requests like? The culture clubs should have some pretty direct petitions, shouldn’t they?”

“Th, that’s……”

Mafuyu-chan took a breath, and then with a bitter smile began speaking.

“First, as usual is the Newspaper club. “They just said ‘We’re going to do some research at NASA.’ Just said it… didn’t even ask for anything…”

“I can’t understand why the school newspaper would need to venture into the territory of space……”

“Continuing on, the Manga Research Society has the request ‘We want to go to NatsuComi!♪’” (5)

“Reply with ‘We’ll kill you! ♪’”

“The Mystery Research Society asks, ‘We’ve thought of tricks to achieve the perfect crime, but it takes three hundred million yen. Can’t you do something about this?”

“We need to suspend their activities at this moment. For the sake of Japan. For the sake of the world.”

“Ah, then the Game Club complains ‘give us a next-gen system!’”

“In the first place, isn’t it weird that the Game Club exists?! It shouldn’t have been possible for them to slip under the school’s radar!”

“Ah…… well…. You see, Mafuyu is also a club member……”

“Are you a double agent?! Are you infiltrating the student council?!”

“N, no, well, Ma, Mafuyu…… is just the treasurer…”

“Aren’t you in charge of our budgettttttttttttttttt?!”

“U, um…… well, that’s true but, never mind that……”

“She just let it slide!”

“We also received a petition from the ‘Tanaka Club.’”

“…? The Tanaka Club? What’s that?”

“Um…… it seems like it’s ‘a club to gather everyone with the last name Tanaka and talk with them.’”

“Alright, for now we’ll take back all the funds that club has spent till now.”

“Um, there’s also the ‘Suzuki Club……’”

“Just how lenient is this school’s club screening process?!”

“In addition, there’s the ‘Celeb Club’ that extravagantly wastes its funds, the ‘Leadership Club’ with its oddly self-important members, the ‘Fly in the Sky Club’ with who chase after their dreams, and so on……” (6)

“Alright, I see. Our school’s clubs are withering in their final years.”

It was a disastrous scene resembling a microcosm of the Japanese government.

Though, the student council itself is also pretty easygoing in its activities. It shouldn’t really matter as long as we’re not using the school’s money.

She must have heard our conversation, because I suddenly noticed the president shaking in terror. Even the long table was clattering in resonance with her trembling.

And then……

“If that’s how it is, with the student council’s authority, I declare all the clubs with unusual activities abolished as of this moment!”

The president declared this as if she were spoiled child. Well, it’s not like I don’t understand, but……

I exchanged glances with the Shiina sisters and Chizuru-san scolded the president as she usually did.

“Aka-chan. I am also at a loss about this situation. However, Aka-chan. Shouldn’t we try looking for more solutions before resorting to forceful means? We wouldn’t want to incite any more animosity now would we?”

“Ooh…… th, that’s true.”

As usual, the president was crestfallen at being admonished by Chizuru-san. However, this time she continued to pout.

“But…… Chizuru. You say that, but is there even room for argument in this discussion?

“Oh, why is that?”

“I mean…… club activities are basically things that people do because they like it right? They’re like extentions of their hobbies… well, maybe that’s going too far. These petitions are the same way, but people… their concern with immersing themselves just end up as extremely selfish.”

“Isn’t it the same with how you immerse yourself into the role of student council president?”

“Ooh…… A, ahem. A, anyways! Us giving in, or even compromising with this sort of situation would actually be for the worse, wouldn’t it?! I think they’d take advantage of us even more!”

For the president, it was a pretty well thought out speech. The rest of us hummed in thought.

There was truth in her speech. Well, the easy clubs……clubs outside of things like the Baseball Club and Newspaper Club …… clubs like that “Game Club” or “Tanaka Club” just give the impression of being hobby groups. For those, it really wasn’t clear if we should give them a budget or not… Not to mention the supplementary budget and other things……

However, Hekiyou Academy’s selling point is “Student independence and a tradition of freedom.” The student council’s election system also came from this idea, and even the current student council’s authoritative power as well (It’s hard to come up with a simple comparison, but let’s say that each member has approximately the influence a single teacher has).

As a result, in this school, if I recall correctly…… it’s structured so that as long as you have five or more members and submit at least one activity report every month, your club budget won’t be decreased. By the way, there’s clubs with “research society” or “association” in their names everywhere in this school. In truth, the names were chosen just because of how they sounded, and their funding accurately reflects this.

Be that as it may……

“But Prez. It’s clear that these clubs aren’t related to studies or personal growth, and I believe even their funds are lowered accordingly. Also, they haven’t been properly doing their activity reports, so their funds have already been cut……”

That’s exactly why even though we’ve had such weird clubs till now, there haven’t been any problems. If they don’t seriously do club activities, then their funds will get lowered accordingly.

At my words, the president said, “Well yeah, but……” and continued to look dissatisfied.

“It may just be a small amount of money, but even if it’s ‘reduced funds’ I still don’t like it.”

“Ah…… well, it’s not like I don’t understand.”

“The amount of money isn’t the problem. A school filled with students who only want to play around….. I have a huge problem with a school that consists of giving away school funds.”

“Yeah…… well, that’s how it is.”

For me, I see it as a “compromise.” The president’s standards seem to be a bit strict…… As usual, she was a president who was strict on others and soft on herself.

At the president’s words, Minatsu joined in saying, “That’s true.”

“Even the major clubs have some problems, don’t they? For me, I usually show up to help out the athletic clubs. It’s especially terrible with the girl’s athletic clubs. Well, when they ask for an amateur like me, you can easily guess their level.

“Even before that, most don’t join because they enjoy the sports. I hear a ton of reasons like ‘because my friend joined’ or ‘just because I’m free…… Aside from the serious students, they just chat in the corner of the gymnasium or grounds…… and there’s a lot of them.”

“Minatsu, you tell them off about that, don’t you?”

“No. Sorry Prez-san. It’s not the kind of thing you can just tell them off about. They’ll just say ‘so annoying,’ then up and quit. But it’s also not the kind of thing you can just let go either. I help out and I’m a student council member, but I’m not a club member or one of their friends. At the same time, I didn’t want them to think that I was butting into their business and raising a fuss for no reason.”

Minatsu said this, but she had a complicated look on her face the whole time…… I might be mistaken about this, but Minatsu seemed pretty sensitive to interpersonal relations. Her reasons may have been different from mine, but she must also have been thinking that “It would be better if everyone were happy.” That’s why it actually ends up getting more and more difficult for me to make a move.

The president seemed to understand Minatsu’s side of the argument, seeing as she didn’t say anything like “You should always tell them off! You’re the vice president!” But even so…… a dreary air floated through the student council room.

Mafuyu-chan and Chizuru-san both desperately made eye contact with me, giving the message “Do something about this atmosphere Key-kun /Senpai.” And so without a choice, I diverted the conversation.

“B, by the way, did you have any particular club that you were interested in, Prez? If I recall, you weren’t affiliated with any clubs were you?”

“Hm, yeah, that’s right. I’m the student council president after all.”

“But there’s no rule that says a member can’t be a part of another club, right? Even now, Mafuyu-chan is part of the ‘Game Club.’”

“Well yes…… But for some reason no clubs ever seemed to stick out for me. And Sugisaki, you’re also not in any clubs.”

“Ah, well in my case I don’t really have time for it…… Between studying, part time jobs, and the student council……”

“Ah, sorry.”

Somehow the atmosphere became awkward.

“U, umm…… See for me, this harem is the most comfortable place! My sexual desire can thrive here!”

“…… Well, whatever. That reminds me, Minatsu and Chizuru, you two haven’t joined any specific clubs either, right?”

As the president gave up on me, the two nodded their heads in unison.

“I don’t really have any particular favorite sport…… rather than be tied down by one sport, without exception, I want to play what I want when I want to.”

“In my case, my reason is like Aka-chan’s. There just isn’t a club that strikes me as interesting.”

Upon hearing that, I suddenly wondered what the eternally cool Chizuru-san would find interesting. Without thinking, I asked her.

“So then Chizuru-san, what would be interesting to you? For example, what type of club would you want to join?”

“Eh? I wonder…… Yes, I would probably like to join an ‘S&M Club.’” (7)

“It seems like there’s a club room for that in Susukino!” (8)

“I’d be able to perform sadistic acts, and on top of that I’d get paid…… Yes, that might even be a good job. Maybe I should write ‘S&M Queen’ as my future career.”

“It’s already obvious that you’ll be called in by a teacher.”

“Otherwise…… something like an ‘Akaba Fund Club.’”

“That’s a just a fund, isn’t it?! That’s not even related to clubs anymore!”

“We’ll invite an investor, make money off stocks, then compensate him. It’s a perfect club for me.”

“That’s not something you do with club funds!”

“If you give me 100,000, I’ll give you ten times that back in half a year, you know?”

“In your case, the fact that you would probably do it is what’s scary!”

“Aside from that…… without the Gl**al Defense Force, a ‘Global Invasion club’ would be……” (9)

“Why would you become humanity’s enemy?! Do you want stimulation that badly?!”

“A life without stimulation is the same as nattou without Tabasco.” (10)

“Tabasco doesn’t go on nattou normally!”

“Key-kun, sexual desire is fine and all, but you lack an adventurous spirit.”

“…! F, for some reason, as a man, I feel strangely wounded……”

At Chizuru-san’s disappointed look, I became oddly unsettled. As I felt that, Mafuyu-chan tilted her head and asked “By the way senpai……”

“Do you have any clubs that you have an interest in?”

“Hmmm…… Well, for me, I was in the going-home club in middle school……” (11)

“Is that so? That’s unexpected. Senpai gives the impression of having been in an amazing club.”

“Ah, you see, during middle school, it was just that my stepsister……”

“Senpai’s stepsister?”

“…… No, nevermind.”

“Senpai just set up some curious foreshadowing, but…… That’s fine for now. So then did senpai do nothing during primary school too?”

“Yeah, that’s right. At that time, rather than spend my time after school seriously doing club activities, I simply wanted to hang with friends, doing what I liked.”

“That does seem like you, Sugisaki-senpai. I can imagine you going around flipping skirts.”

“You say ‘like you,’ but just how lowly do you think of me……”

“Oh oh, this is just Mafuyu’s fantasy but if Sugisaki-senpai joined something like the light music club for the sake of becoming popular with girls in middle school, then senpai’s character wouldn’t have become so muddled……”

“Even if it’s me, I’m not that easy to understand!”

“For some reason, that’s disappointing. I have to change the plot of the boy’s love novel that I’m writing now too…”

“Are you trying to make me angry?!”

“In the latest chapter I wrote, the pretty boy who was in the light music club with senpai appeared, and there was a scene where Sugisaki-senpai and Nakameguro-senpai’s relationship gets stirred up……”

“Quit writing that novel already! It’s bullying! I’m being bullied! Also, who the hell is Nakameguro-senpai?! Who am I paired up with?!”

“Nakameguro-senpai is a glasses-wearing, delicate pretty boy. His face looks like a girl’s. You first met by chance when he let out a voice that Sugisaki-senpai mistook for a beautiful girl’s voice.

“ Even though the two lived opposite lifestyles, one day Sugisaki-senpai encountered Nakameguro-senpai being bullied, thought it was troublesome but ended up saving him. Nakameguro-senpai is very serious and kind, and so he said he wanted to pay him back, but since Sugisaki-senpai isn’t honest with himself unless he’s talking to a pretty girl, he refused.”

SnIV2-ill06

“That sounds strangely realistic! It sounds possible! The story flows extremely naturally!”

“Haa…… Mafuyu was also shocked at Sugisaki-senpai’s favorite line, ‘I don’t take handouts from people who aren’t pretty girls.’”

“You were the one who wrote it weren’t you?!”

“By the way, in the next chapter Sugisaki-senpai collapses from a cold, and as a sort of repayment Nakameguro-senpai devotedly nurses him back to health. Upon seeing Nakameguro-senpai like this, Sugisaki-senpai thought he looked extremely moe, leading to Sugisaki-senpai to open his heart up just a little bit. This is also a very nice chapter.”

“That’s an extremely oddly uncomfortable novel! There’s no way I’d get so close to someone that fast, but that’s still unnecessarily realistic!”

“Of course. Rather than love scenes, Mafuyu puts importance on the build up! Boy’s love that gets to the love scene without a proper build up is not true boy’s love!”

“Mafuyu-chan…… Honestly, you’re the one who doesn’t have a well-defined character……”

I wonder if the people who only read the first chapter of the first volume would have their expectations of Mafuyu-chan shattered by this. She was supposed to be the one who had the quiet, weak character…… But now she’s just a fu- (12)

“No, Sugisaki-senpai! If senpai says that then it’ll be bad!”

“You can hear all my narration?!”

I didn’t know the extent of Mafuyu-chan’s evolution.

Now then…… what was I talking about? I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangent……

Right right, club activities, that’s what I was talking about…… How did we get from club activities to boy’s love……?

Since I was out of it, Minatsu set the conversation back on track.

“Anyway, in the end there’s no way we can make people want to take part in club activities. Even if Mafuyu’s boy’s love writing were a part of the literature club, then they would get funded for that.”

Somehow…… I wasn’t satisfied with that at all. Sugisaki Ken hereby joins the president’s side. I really want to strictly and completely inspect clubs.

However, before I could say anything, as expected Chizuru-san spoke her piece.

“It’s true, you could say that club activities are an extension of one’s hobbies. But…… isn’t that how it’s always been? That’s how it’s always been understood. Yet the school accepts this and supports it. Is that not a fact?”

At Chizuru-san’s words, this time the president butted in, saying “But…”

“The goals of club activities are supposed to be the improvement of their abilities and the growth of a sound mind…… or some reasons like that, aren’t they?”

“Yes, I believe that is also one way of looking at it.”

“…… What do you want to do Chizuru?”

“I just wanted to state the facts. I’ll leave the last decision to you, Aka-chan. After all, there is no absolute answer to this. The only thing I can do is to make a speech from an impartial standing.”

“…… Hm…”

The president crossed her arms and thought. Now then…… I wonder what she’ll do this time.

Will she do what she can to listen to the demands of budget increases?

Will she maintain the status quo of reduced funds and gain some animosity?

Or will she deliver the judgment of abolishment to the clubs that are clearly lazy?

She wouldn’t be able to avoid the animosity and being viewed as the bad guy if she picked the last choice, but it was also true that things had gone a bit too far. The people in clubs that just want a clubroom to hang out in and don’t use the money they get from the school may not be serious about club, but they still won’t be happy with it.

But while that may be the case, exercising the ability to shut them down down has its own slew of dangers. If handled badly, word of mouth will spread the infamy of the student council, and we would take some heavy blows.

That’s how scary it is.

In the end, to us…… we also kind of treat clubs like hobbies. We don’t just gossip and we don’t get money, but even so, we look forward to chattering away with everyone in this room.

After the president spent five minutes deeply sorting out her worries, she lifted her head and let out a clear “alright!”

“I won’t do anything. Today’s meeting is over. After this we will go about our usual lazy ways.”

That was all. That was the president’s answer.

No one voiced any objection. Just as the president declared, everyone quickly cleaned up the petitions and began to relax per usual.

“I’ve really gotta increase membership of the Keyboard Alliance……”

“Hmmm. Mafuyu needs to rework Sugisaki-senpai’s backstory……”

“That reminds me, Aka-chan. Did you finish the homework that we got for tomorrow?”

“Ah! N, not yet… Ch, Chizuruuu~”

They each went back to their own things. At least, no one went back to doing work.

I sighed.

…… This is probably why we’re getting told things like “the student council never does anything, do they…” from other students.

But…… “Doing nothing” doesn’t mean we’re not serious.

As the president, she decided that “doing nothing” was “correct” and so she said so. Thus, once the conclusion has been made, there is no longer any need to prolong the discussion. That was how she…… how the girl Sakurano Kurimu was.

She would do nothing in regards to the club funds.

No raised funds, no forced abolishments. Nothing. Everything stays as is. We’ll probably make the students who sent in petitions angry. Of course, for the serious clubs that are lacking funds, we can try to scrounge up some money, but the petitions that were sent to us today weren’t like that.

We also won’t forcibly cut away the lazy clubs. Their budgets are already insignificant anyway. From here on out, if they continue to be lazy, their funds will steadily become nothing. If at some point they finally look back on things and realize what they’re doing, then that’s fine. Rather than forcibly cutting them away, making them angry and having them forget to reflect, leaving them be is definitely the better method. In the end, we kept the status quo. The student council won’t act.

But we efficiently discussed the topic of budgets. We then came to a conclusion.

And so, there’s nothing else to worry about. It’s fine if it’s fair. You might not be able to tell from looking at us…… we may be doing nothing….. but we’ve done what we needed to do.

That’s why.

“Well now, it’s great seeing that my harem is lively today too!”

I began to appreciate the sight of the calm and relaxed beautiful girls.

Everyone, for their own reasons acts how they want to, and then they sometimes come together and laugh.

…………

In the end, you gather a good group of friends, and when a comforting atmosphere is formed, money and location may become insignificant problems.

(Well look at that. Clubs are occasions when people gather, and at that point, we’ve managed to get something important that can’t be bought with money.)

Somehow or other.

Except for the group that fooled around, I wondered if the requests we got this time around could all have been achieved without money, through their own hard work…… could they achieve anything without the student council running the school…… those thoughts ran through my head.

(No no. It’s like I’m the vice president or something.)

I shook my head to shake off the feeling. No good, no good. I want my head to be filled with only beautiful girls!

“Oh? What’s wrong Sugisaki?”

The president turned her widened eyes towards me. I replied with a grin.

“Nothing, I just gained some self-awareness as a vice president, so I quickly got rid of it. Don’t worry! I’m back to being the Sugisaki Ken who loves beautiful girls!”

“Aah, how unfortunate!”

And so.

Today the student council once again did nothing.

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TRANSLATOR’S NOTES

(1) A reference to a line in the basketball manga Slam Dunk.
(2) A reference to the baseball manga Touch. Koushien is the famous stadium where the All High School Baseball Tournament is held.
(3) A reference to Nakata Hidetoshi, a Japanese soccer player who was considered one of the greatest Asian players of his generation
(4) A reference to Akai Tori’s song “Tsubasa wo Kudasai.”
(5) “Natsucomi” refers to “Natsu Komike,” the Summer Comic Market, usually shortened to Comiket. Comiket, held once during the summer and once during winter, is the world’s largest doujinshi fair. Doujinshi are self-published fanmade works, including but not limited to manga, games, and novels.
(6) Each of these club’s names are puns. The “serebu” is pronounced in whole as “celeb (celebrity)” but the last character is “bu” as in club. “Kanbu” means management, but the “bu” is again also the kanji for club. Finally, “sora wo tobu” means to “fly in the sky,” and once again the last “bu” uses the character for club.
(7) Chizuru uses kanji for the word club here. However, the combination means club, and the individual kanji can also each be pronounced as “ku, ra, bu.” At the same time, while the usual kanji for club, “bu,” can be used for companies to indicate departments or sections, the term Chizuru uses can also be associated with sororities and fraternities.
(8) Susukino is a famous red-light district in Japan, in Sapporo, Hokkaido. This series takes place in Hokkaido.
(9) Chizuru references the “Global Defense Force” Playstation game series, known in Japan as “Chikyuu boueigun.”
(10) Nattou is fermented soybeans. It’s known for its rather putrid smell and sticky texture. You usually don’t put anything on it, let alone tabasco.
(11) “The going-home club” is nickname people give to the group who go home right away after school, instead of joining a club.
(12) Before he was cut off, he was going to say “fujoshi,” as in a “rotten girl” who like BL, yaoi, and the like.

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