As I was talking with my university friends about going on a graduation trip together, my phone kept vibrating. 「One vote for France,」 I said, checking my phone.
I had at least 10 new emails, all in the karate club folder.
They all had subjects like ‘EMERGENCY!’ and ‘REPLY ASAP!’ but so far, the club members only said they were in emergencies when they actually weren’t.
【The prince got off his white horse and is now running wild on a motorbike!】
【Michel has gone mad!】
【A grand harvest this fall?! This is a serious emergency!】
「…??? … What is this…?」 I didn’t really understand any specifics, but I could tell it was about Michel. He’d returned to France right after training camp ended, so he hadn’t been in contact with us.
I knew that even if I asked what happened, I’d only get cryptic responses. So I just replied to all of them: 【I’m busy with plans for my graduation trip so I’ll drop by later.】
I had to go to the clubroom either way, since my textbook for my afternoon lecture was there.
In the span of a few minutes, I got more emails.
【Going to a savannah?】
【What savannah are you going to?】
【You buddies with some wild animals?】
I completely ignored them and returned to my discussion.
Chii-chan had said that it was difficult going on long vacations once you became a working adult, so I wanted to work out a detailed plan and go on one before.
We listed some countries that looked interesting, and began narrowing them down. Eventually, we decided to each find out more information about the narrowed down countries and continue the discussion next time.
My lecture was drawing closer, so I headed to the clubroom.
「Oh, Noda! You’re fiiiiiinally here!」
「We got serious business with Michel! It’s not the time to be hunting zebras in the savannah!」
「Not the time to be battling lions!」
The members loudly ran up to me. With them all packed together, the heat was sweltering.
At the ‘lion’ reference, I wondered if Arioka had exposed me, but the members didn’t go further than that so it must have been a coincidence.
When I asked about Michel, I realized he himself was sitting in the corner of the clubroom.
I took one look at him and was rendered speechless. I took another look, staring at him.
I knew why the members were causing a fuss. Michel’s angelic, halo-like hair had been mowed.
I lost all restraint and stared fixedly at him as he was surrounded by noisy members. Noticing my stare, Michel embarrassedly brushed his head and approached me.
Even with a completely unexpected haircut, Michel was Michel, and he gave me my textbook.
As I took the textbook, I searched for something to compliment his hairdo on.
I didn’t understand why he’d drastically get bobbed hair; there was a chance his hairdresser just messed up, so complimenting him was a must.
「Does my hair look weird?」 Michel opened the door and I instinctively went outside.
「No—! … It’s not weird! It’s just, I was used to seeing your fine, soft hair so… It feels a bit strange, how should I put it…」
When he joined me as I walked out, the female students saw him and shrieked. 「Eeeh, what happened?!」 「What a shock!」 they whispered disappointedly, loud enough for us to hear.
Michel’s hairstyle was quite unpopular. It wasn’t like it didn’t suit him, but it was a long way from his princely image.
「Hey, so… Can I ask you why?」
I glanced at Michel, wondering if he was feeling sad since he was now unpopular with the girls. Our eyes met, as if he’d been looking at me already. Calmly, sweetly smiling Michel seemed like he didn’t care about the hushed whispers.
Was it just my imagination that he’d been looking at me happily?
「I wanted a change of pace. It feels refreshing.」
It wasn’t just his hair, he just felt slightly different from before.
Although he was tall, he wasn’t very muscular—or rather, he looked like an aristocrat who didn’t do much manual work. But in the time I hadn’t seen him, it felt like he’d gotten more muscular and tougher.
「Michel, do you do weight training in France?」
「I go to the karate dojo in Paris every day.」
「Huh? There’s a dojo in Paris too?」 French people and karate felt strangely mismatched.
「Karate’s very popular in France. There are a lot of experts there, so I got to study a lot.」
「Hmm. But you should’ve just taken it slow at least when you’re back home.」 If he wanted to practice karate, he could do that in Japan as much as he liked already.
「It’s frustrating losing to Arioka all the time. I know I’m far behind him, but I can’t quit now.」
「You can’t help that, Arioka’s been practicing for so long.」
Arioka was at national competition level. Michel, having just started karate in university, was no match for Arioka in skill or strength.
「I acknowledge that it’s very difficult.」
Sweetly smiling, Michel took out his phone and showed me pictures of the dojo in Paris.
In his image gallery, there were also pictures of the streets of Paris. To be honest, I was more interested in those.
「It really is so wonderful~」
Paris, the City of Flowers and one of the leading tourist cities in the world, was stylish and fascinating. I wanted to say ‘the Renaissance…’ when I saw those images.
「Sagiri, be careful.」
Michel pulled at my shoulders, guiding me as my eyes were on the phone so I wouldn’t run into people.
Paris, France was one of the strong candidates for our graduation trip destinations. I supported it; ever since my parents had gone on their trip, I’d been captivated by France.
「I suggested France for my graduation trip.」
「Ca sonne bien!」 Michel suddenly laughed, pleased. I was overwhelmed by his enthusiasm as he sparkled, saying that if we did choose France he’d show me all the highlights and how there’s a lot of beautiful places to see.
Even with his haircut, Michel was dazzling.
At the entrance to my lecture, I was separated from Michel. As I went to my seat, my phone vibrated again. It was from Arioka, who seemed to be having his lunch a little late.
【I just got a lot of mails I can’t comprehend. Please verify the circumstances and explain what happened.】
The members had sent several emails even to Arioka, who was busy with his working adult life. They really were a disturbing bunch.