Takamura-kun is Cursed

 
 

Takamura-kun is Cursed Chapter 15


……. Is stalking trending rn or something?

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Takamura-kun wa Norowarete Iru.

 - Takamura Mahiro Makes A Choice [1]

 I’m not the only one cursed.
 Sena Tsugumi and Sunohara Chiharu are cursed too. The curse had already continued for about 150 years. In the past, there had been others besides us three who were tormented by the curse. To remove the curse from its root, Sunohara and I, or Sunohara and Sena, has to tie the knot. To remove the curse from only my generation, I just have to exchange a kiss with a partner I'm mutually in love with.
 I thought the curse was cast by an apathetic[1] God on an impulse, but the root of the curse went deeper than I thought it did.
 I'm questioning what is the right thing to do. I totally don't mind remaining as a guy for the rest of my life. Nonetheless, when I think about my offsprings, it may be better that I, who has the possibility to remove the curse from its source, remove it right now.
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"… and, that's how it is."

 For the time being, I discuss this with Sena Tsugumi, a comrade who's also cursed.
 Sena has a complicated expression. He laughs in a troubled manner and spins the pen in his hand.
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"That's… I don't see a common ground. The simplest method is likely for Sunohara-kun and Takamura-kun to tie the knot, though."

"I know right, as expected. That's probably the most orthodox."

 Sunohara and I tying the knot is definitely orthodox, a method that allows everything to end the most cleanly.
 Yet, I'm unable to see such feelings in my heart. Even if I do come to like him, that's probably something far in the future.
 Sena's filling in the class log. His handwriting is like a girl's; pretty and cute. I smell a sweet, soap-like scent from the sleek hair that falls from behind his ear. No matter how I think about it, it's unbelievable that Sena Tsugumi is a boy.
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 Looking towards the corridor casually, I spot Sunohara surrounded by many girls. When I stare fixedly thinking that he's popular as usual, our eyes meet. Sunohara's brows move as though he's slightly shocked, before he gently smiles without warning.
 Ever since that day, Sunohara stops getting excessively involved with Sena and I. He's treating us like normal schoolmates. He doesn't interfere or make a racket. He's simply there. The only thing that changed is his atmosphere that comes in contact with us. He himself has not changed.
 While I don't find that sad, a sensation like being tickled by silk wadding persists on the reverse side of my heart. A slight unease like having worn one's shoe on the wrong side or fastening the wrong button.

"Sunohara-kun doesn't grow beyond 17 years old, does he."

"Ah, he did say that. That he's been 17 years old since about 120 years ago."
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"That's extremely sad, isn't it? I wonder where will Sunohara-kun go and what will he do after his 3 years at this high school?"

 Sunohara Chiharu's been 17 for a long time. No matter how much the people around him age, he alone stays 17.
 Where will Sunohara go after spending 3 years in this high school? As Sunohara alone doesn't age, he can't always stay with the people he befriends in this school. It's suspicious being the only one who doesn't age so he can't always stay in this town too.
 No matter how close he becomes with whoever, he'll eventually end up alone. That's the person called Sunohara Chiharu.
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"The only ones who can remove such a sad curse are Sena-san and I, huh."

"That's right. However, Takamura-kun doesn't have to force himself to like Sunohara-kun, you know? He's the one who made the choice to cast the curse. This may sound mean but you can say he reaps what he sow. Curses, like chickens, return home to roost."
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 It's exactly as Sena says.
 It was Sunohara who cast the curse. The Takamuras and Senas have always been tormented thanks to that curse.
 Still, even so, I think the price he pays for the curse is too awful. Living alone forever, neither being allowed to age nor die, that's, too awful.

"What is Sena-san going to do from now on? Will you like someone other than Chiha and remove the curse?"

"I've been saying this but I like Takamura-kun. That's why, if Takamura-kun comes to like me, the curse will be removed."

 He says that indifferently, without even a smile. In return, I go "Ohf", a mysterious word that doesn't even count as a reply.
 The face of Sena, who lifts his head from the log, is frighteningly chiseled as usual. It almost feels like his large, round eyes are going to suck me in.

"I'm… unable to see Sena-san like that."
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"I know. Besides, I've always thought that Takamura-kun will definitely go the orthodox way."

 Fwmp, Sena closes the log and his eyes look into the distance.

"'Orthodox way', you say… nah, I don't particularly like Chiha either."

"Still, you can't leave him alone, right?"

"That's… true but…"

 Anyone will be unable to leave him alone, considering the circumstances.
 I'd like to meet anyone who can conclude things with an "Oh, really?" when someone tells them "I'm a 140 year-old immortal". Isn't it normal to at least want to do something when you're told that you're the only one who can do something about it?
 Or so I say, but I believe that feelings of love have yet to blossom within me, for Sunohara.

"There's still 3 years before the time limit for removing the curse. Let's save the prince-sama for now."
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"Save him, you say, but how do we do that? The method for removing the curse is…"

 In order to remove Sunohara's curse, either Sena or I have to like him and tie the knot with him. If Sunohara says that he likes me, it'll take no time at all as long as I come to like him. The curse will be brought to an end immediately. Still, a human's heart isn't so simple.
 Hearing my words, Sena tilts his thin neck as though in thought.

"Isn't it fine as long as Takamura-kun likes Sunohara-kun?"

"Something so difficult…"

"Don't they say: "Like the Minano River flowing from Mount Tsukuba's peaks, my love has grown deeper and broader"[2]? I think it's possible to gradually come to like someone."
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 Can I really be so arbitrary? Is it okay to circumvent with this method that pretty much entrusts everything to the future, thinking that feelings of love will eventually come?
 Mayhaps my thoughts show too obviously on my face; Sena chuckles and pats my head. Following Sena's gaze, I see him looking at Sunohara.

"Sunohara-kun is unfair, isn't he? Binding[3] Takamura-kun with the curse."

 I vaguely nod at Sena's words.
 Sunohara's unfair. He's extremely unfair. If he's going to leave us like this, he shouldn't have told us about being alive for 140 years. That way, we won't have to suffer so much.
 This is very selfish but I'd prefer to not know anything about this curse. I prefer to continue thinking that it's the impulse of an apathetic God.
 However, he's probably suffering too. My heart squeezes in pain.
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 After handing the class log to our teacher, I part with Sena in front of the staff room. Lacking the composure to do anything anywhere, I decide to return home immediately.

 I board the outbound train of the Chūō Line from the nearest station. As the train is rather vacant, I may be able to get a seat. Nonetheless, I decide to stand since I'll be alighting soon.
 Casually scanning the area, I spot Sunohara in the same passenger car. That dark brown hair and slender figure is undoubtedly the dum-dum[4] prince.
 Sunohara has probably not noticed me; he's blankly gazing at the view outside. Where is Sunohara planning to go? His house shouldn't be in this direction.
 I can, of course, also pretend not to see him, but my curiosity wins out. Even when we arrive at the nearest station to my apartment, I don't alight and continue observing his movements. I stealthily hide behind cover so that I won't be discovered by Sunohara.
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"What are you doing?"

 I reflexively give a start when a voice comes from behind. Turning back, I see the ash-purple-haired, straw-like Hiwatari Shuu. I pat my chest in relief.

"I'm looking at Chiha."

"Huh? Are you not going to talk to him?"

"I'm not going to talk to him."
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 I continue to observe Sunohara while listening to Hiwatari's dumbfounded voice.
 It's gotten pretty far from the station Sunohara usually gets down from, but there's no sign of him alighting.

"Aren't you gonna alight, Hiwatari?"

"Takamura-san seems to be doing something amusing, so…"

"It's not particularly amusing."
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 Don't tell me Hiwatari plans to come along? I'm against that because, with Hiwatari's large frame, our tailing may get discovered immediately. However, it doesn't seem like he plans to leave so I reluctantly accept it.
 Less and less people are riding the train as we approach the last station. Sunohara has yet to show signs of alighting. He simply continues to blankly and emotionlessly stare outside the window.
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"I wonder where Chiha's planning to go?"

"Who knows. Maybe he is going to his granny's place?"

"How random."
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 The presence of tall buildings grow less and less while private houses increase.
 When we arrive at the station several stops before the last, Sunohara finally alights. Hiwatari and I alight too. Maintaining a moderate gap, we follow Sunohara.

"Hey, how long are you going to tail him for, Takamura-san?"

"You can go back first, Hiwatari."

"Hey."
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 Hiwatari grabs my sleeve. Unthinkingly, my legs stop and I look up at him. Although he's 10cm taller than me, his face looks pretty childlike. Do 1st-year high school boys have such immature facial features? There should be a limit to puberty.

"What?"

"Why is Takamura-san so interested in Sunohara-san? Do you like him?"

 It's a sulky voice.
 Gosh, what are two guys like us doing in the station?

"I don't particularly like him. It's just…"

"Just… what is it?"
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"There are many things I can't tell you."

 Hiwatari looks hurt. Still, I pretend not to notice.
 I mean, will he really believe me if I tell him about the curse or about Sunohara being 140 years old? It'll probably be just a joke.
 I leave Hiwatari behind and chase after Sunohara.
 I've absolutely no idea why I'm chasing after Sunohara this desperately. Nevertheless, I've a feeling that I'll definitely regret it if I don't do this.

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[1] I'm learning a lot of odd things from translating… Original: Oppekepē (おっぺけぺー). It's the title of a popular satirical song in the Meiji era.
[2] The 13th poem of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu. This has an explanation and translation of the meaning.
[3] Implied double meaning. Firstly, putting Mahiro in a bind (troubling him/her). Secondly, binding Mahiro down (making him/her think and feel sorry for him since he/she knows of the curse).
[4] Original: アホの子 (aho no ko). A cute way to refer to people who don’t think too deeply about things and/or behave in a way that doesn’t conform with common sense.