Chapter 1 – Beginning of Destiny
『The Feather of Destiny』
It was a rumour. A white feather, said to flutter down from thin air. It’s said that a part of it is dyed in the colour of cherry blossoms, and that part appears to be a heart shape. Those who pick up that feather will experience a fateful encounter… it seems. I didn’t genuinely believe it. At most, the thought “How lovely” crossed my mind. While I was interested, I hadn’t explicitly gone to find it. It’s only to the extent that I survey my surroundings when it suddenly comes to mind. I did have the girlish thought of wanting to try out the thing called a『destined encounter』. I might have said『want』, but it was actually at the level of a mild expectation, and a hopeful antic.i.p.ation. Something I wish for but know is unrealistic. That was how I treated it in my heart. Or so it should have been, but――. That day, I was exceedingly concerned about the flowers of the flower bed which I’m normally unconcerned about.“… Seems like you’re about to wilt? You aren’t too perky.” Perhaps because it hasn’t been raining recently, the earth is exceedingly dry. There are also weeds growing out. Normally someone should be tending to this, but the flowers that seemed neglected appeared pitiful.“I’ll be watering now.” Even though I had, never done such a thing before. It could just be that I happened to be in such a mood, though. Looking around the surroundings, I found a faucet that seemed to be for the purpose of watering, nearby. There was also a hose perfect for watering attached to it. I promptly pointed the hose towards the flower bed for the sake of watering it, and turned the faucet full-force.“Uwah!?”“Un?” A surprised-sounding voice came from the direction of the hose which was pointing towards the flower bed.“Eh?” Moving my gaze that was on the faucet to the direction of the voice, a slim and tall male student is standing there. Looking at him closely, he’s drenched.“… Ah!” Am I the cause of him getting wet!? It’s not raining, and there’s no moisture in the vicinity. No matter how I think about it, it can only be that I splashed water onto him.“I ap-apologise! I was trying to offer water to the flowers… and ended up letting the water spew out without looking properly.” Putting the hose down in a hurry, I rushed towards the male student. The colour of his necktie is red. I lowered my head at the male student who can be considered a year my senior, a 2nd-year.  He might be angry. What do I do? What do I do if he’s a scary person? I was unable to lift my head as I thought of such things. And as I waited for his response…“Ahaha.”（Ah, a clear and pleasant voice…） Surprised at the pretty voice of the male student, I raised my head wondering what was the laughter I just heard, and… our eyes met.“I was just thinking that it’s hot. It’s become refreshing now.”“… !?” I thought I was going to stop breathing. Soft cream-coloured hair, accompanied by jade-like eyes. A handsome face with a shapely nose, a tall and slim look. The upright figure who gazed over with a gentle smile, appeared like he was sparkling.（H-How cool!) Immediately, I felt my face growing warm. I think even my heart was beating twice as fast as usual. My body stiffened for some reason and I was unable to move. We were stuck in a standstill, with our eyes still looking into the other’s.“You?”“Ah! Yes! I ap-apologise! Oh right, handkerchief!” My head and body finally moved when I was spoken to. I had splashed water on him, so I must do something about it quickly. When I offered the handkerchief I had with me, he reservedly said “I don’t mind this much”. But, water is dripping from his pretty hair, and his face is also wet. This is must be what they call, ‘a man who looks good even when he’s dripping wet’. Wait, this isn’t the time to be thinking about that.“But, you’ll catch a cold at this rate! Even if it’s just wiping a little… excuse me!” Wanting to do something somehow, I placed the handkerchief at his forehead and cheeks. It was only when I started wiping that I realised. My hand was stretched as I looked up at the tall senpai, but… his face is so close! I finally became aware that I was doing something embarra.s.sing.“I apologise for approaching so suddenly.”“Ah, no… I don’t mind.” Looking at senpai who behaved shyly and slightly awkwardly, I felt even more embarra.s.sed and apologetic. I, what am I doing….! Wanting to apologise again, I turned towards senpai. At that moment… I felt a faint presence above. Something is falling? I can tell that something is drawing nearer from the skies. Thinking that someone probably dropped something from the upper levels of the school building, I reached my hand out. So as to not let it fall, I quickly grabbed onto that fluttering something that’s moving unsteadily. It was a white and light thing.“Feather? Was a pigeon flying?” Senpai who was watching my movements mumbled. After hearing senpai’s words, I also shifted my gaze onto the feather I was holding in my hand. It really is a feather. But its colour is white, it’s a pretty, pure white feather. Not a pigeon…? At that moment, I recalled.(Could it be!) When I looked at the feather in full, there… it was. Without a doubt, a heart design.“Amazing… it’s the Feather of Destiny! It exists!”“?” I unthinkingly frolicked, bouncing with a hop hop, due to the surprise of finding out that the rumour was true, and from the happiness of coming into contact with it. I became embarra.s.sed when I noticed a gaze observing my behaviour with curiosity. That’s right, senpai is here…“Ah, I’m sorry. Shouting all of a sudden… Erm, does senpai know about the『Feather of Destiny』?”“No, I don’t. Ah…” When I followed the gaze of senpai, who raised a soft sound of surprise, to the feather in my hand….“Wa!?” The feather was glowing. I couldn’t feel any warmth, chill or anything at all when I touched it, but the feather was certainly glowing. Unable to do anything, I stiffened, and eventually the light faded… and its figure vanished.“It disappeared…”“What in the world… Is it the Feather of Destiny or what you called it?”“Ah, yes. Probably…” It’s a rumour that you often hear in this school, but it seems this drenched senpai doesn’t know of it. It may be a story that guys aren’t very interested in. But having it appear before my very eyes, I was unable to suppress my paramount excitement, and explained to him what I know of the 『Feather of Destiny』.“I see. There sure are wonders in this world. What a lovely story.” The majority of guys will, make fun or be nonplussed the moment you bring up the word 『Destiny』. And then, they’ll finish off by spouting the『You girls sure like things like that』habitual statement. However, he didn’t do that. It could be because he actually witnessed it, but my favourable impression of him raised at how he listened to the story without poking fun.“Does senpai, believe in『Destiny』?”“I wonder. But, when I think that my destined one is out there somewhere… I want to meet her.”“That’s right, isn’t it!” Hearing words I could empathise with, I felt something warm welling in my heart. I didn’t know there’s such a lovely person in this school.“It’ll be nice if you can meet. Your destined one.” When I saw his refreshing smile that was like a prince-sama’s, I thought. That『if only this person is my destined one』. Perhaps, that feather might be something that appeared in order for us to meet each other. If so, as I thought, this person is… my… That was, my encounter with senpai, Kagurazaka Aoi.
() Since then, it became that we often b.u.mp into each other, it naturally became that we get in touch with each other… it became that we hang out together… The distance between us was steadily narrowing. Kagurazaka-senpai was well-liked and of course popular, but he always prioritised his appointments with me and always kept his word. Although he’s kind to everyone, he’s exceptionally so to me, and I believe I’ve the lead on the other girls. Nevertheless, wanting him to grow even more fond of me, I put in effort to become cuter, and worked hard so that we can get along well. I was so enthralled by Kagurazaka-senpai that even I myself was shocked. And then, one day… I hardened my resolve to confess. The place I called him out to is the roof. There’s no one around. With the blue skies above, being alone with senpai in this vast s.p.a.ce. It was as though there’s only the two of us in this world. In this confessing environment I’m blessed with, while trying to calm down my heart that seems like it’s about to break from the nerves, I composed myself and opened my mouth.“I… towards senpai!” My heart seems like it’s about to burst. But, senpai is waiting for my words with a kind gaze. I have to tell him.“Towards senpai, I… towards… senpai… I?” I was a.s.saulted by a feeling like déjà vu as I tried to form my words. Huh, this… it happened before? Confess… to Kagurazaka-senpai… confess… …… Ah. A screen spreads out within my head all of a sudden. Flowing images. There are many figures of girls… no, they’re ill.u.s.trations. At that moment, I recalled.“Kii?” I returned to my senses when my name was called by Kagurazaka-senpai. Kagurazaka-senpai… yes,『Kagurazaka Aoi』is… the『protagonist』’s.“Continue from where you left off?” The screen once again spreads within my head. Within that was,『my figure』that I meet everyday in the mirror, no… to be exact, 『the ill.u.s.tration of me』… Ah… that’s right… I am… I am… !“… s’ nothing.”“Eh?”“It’s nothing!”“Eh? Eh?” I was already running by the time I came to my senses. Mindlessly heading home, bolting out of school, I charged into town. Such a thing… is there really such a thing!?
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