Chapter 1 is finally done with this part. Moving forward, I plan to pick up another novel despite my horrible track record so far and alternate the releases.
The club rooms building was a bit further away from the school building.
I met up with Oshiroi 10 minutes before the appointed time and we headed to room 502 together.
It was a pointlessly sturdy five-storied building made out of concrete, and it seemed to be quite old, as it was missing modern architectural conveniences such as an elevator.
As I had yet to join any club, this was my first time entering this building. On the other hand, Oshiroi was in the Light Novel Club on the second floor, so she often came here; however, it seemed like there was some kind of issue within the club, so she hadn’t showed up much recently. Moreover, she also didn’t know what was on the floors past that.
“Where do you write, then?”
“… Um, mostly at the, dormitory. Because I keep on writing as soon as I get back, it always turns dark before I notice the time… Because of that, I, don’t have many… friends.”
We went up the concrete stairs while having such heartwarming talks. After we went past the third floor, the scenery changed to what should be described as an abandoned building. There were piles of peeled off paint here and there, and the windows that were meant to illuminate the stairs were covered in spiderwebs.
We continued up the stairs while taking short breaks and reached the fifth floor. There were supposed to be six club rooms on this floor, however, there was definitely no sign of any of them being used for club activities at all. Because the hallway’s windows were boarded up here and there, it was mysteriously gloomy. Instead of natural sunlight, the hallway was lit by fluorescent lights installed on the ceiling. With the way they kept ominously flickering on and off, I would have preferred them to not be there.
“502… We’re here.”
A wooden door with a plate that said 502. Underneath it was a rather simple small plate that said “Half-Pricers Club.”
“Come in,” a certain voice rang out from within the room after Oshiroi timidly knocked on the door.
The setting sun’s light enveloped the two of us. Even though we were squinting, we could clearly make out a slender human figure within that gentle yellow light. It was the figure of a girl standing before the wide-open window with her back towards us. That appearance made it seem like she was floating in the twilight sky, fitting for the name of The Ice Witch.
She started holding her elbow with her hand and turned toward us.
“So, you’ve come.”
She stared straight at us with a sharp gaze. It felt like it was stabbing into us, but at the same time, it also felt like it was sucking us in, which made my heart beat faster for some reason. It was not an unpleasant feeling; however, I still felt oppressed by that gaze and tried to break away from it.
But I was surprised right after I tried doing that. It was because of, this room. Since my attention had been focused on her, I didn’t notice the room’s oddities right away. The club room’s flat pile carpet was dyed crimson with stickers that said “50% OFF”. Each seal was no bigger than two fingertips, and yet, an entire wall was covered by them. Furthermore, it looked like it was not just one or two layers of stickers on the wall; I even noticed some parts were peeling off because of old age.
Meanwhile, the opposite wall was completely covered by a giant map of this town. And on that map, there were lines of red and black going everywhere along with numbers that seemed to indicate time as notes for various points.
And then, the biggest oddity that created this ominous air was a ginormous table majestically situated right in the center of the room. It was a wooden table with superb craftsmanship that did not fit the image of something students would use. On top of that, it was big enough that more than even ten people could use it with room to spare.
This club room is strangely spacious, I thought, before realizing the reason when I looked at the ceiling. There was a gap that ran straight through the center of the room. I think this room was originally a long and narrow room, but a wall was destroyed to join two rooms together into a big room.
“On paper, the HP Club is a club for researching and practicing how to obtain half-priced bentos. In reality, it’s simply a gathering place for people who seek half-priced bentos. The club used to have more than ten members, however, there’s only me here now, so it’s turned into something like a personal lounge.
If you want to ask something, I’ll answer it. If you want to know something, I’ll tell you.”
But just when we opened our mouths, she put out her palm which made us close them back up. She was telling us to wait.
“However, I need to confirm one thing. You two might regret learning more about that world than what you already knew.
Living as underdogs that know to give up is an easy existence, living as pigs that don’t even know to give up is an easier existence. You two are underdogs on your way to become pigs. At this rate, you will turn into pigs sooner or later and get to spend every day without a care. True pigs are, sorry, but, they are shameless and disgusting creatures, and you two are en route to becoming two of them.
However, at this very moment, if you come and sit at this table, you two will become dogs. Through wars, you will eventually become existences that are called wolves. But, even if it suffers defeats after defeats, a wolf that has learned the taste of blood even once will never be able to go back as a dog. Furthermore, it will not be able to bear the humiliation of being a pig.
Since you’ve come here, I believe you’ve already made your decisions. But even then, I’ll ask you once again… What, will, you, be?”
Bam, she placed the palm that was facing us on top of the table. The room was filled with an air of tension that did not fit a high school club at all.
Oshiroi’s idiotic remark destroyed the mood that had been building up until now. I let out a sigh and sat down at one of the seats surrounding the round table together with her.
The Witch made a bright smile and sat down on the other side.
“I haven’t introduced myself, right. I’m the sole member as well as the Club President of HP Club, Sen Yarizui. Just in case, the half-priced bento loving idiot bunch refer to…”
“The Ice Witch, right?”
Yarizui let out a sneer and slowly nodded.