4 – Approval
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The next day, Ichika woke up even more sleep-deprived than usual. She regretted her decision to stay up, although she likely wouldn’t have been able to fall asleep either way.

She was getting really nervous, and could barely eat her breakfast. Even the generous amount of coffee she poured herself didn’t help much in waking her up.

On her way to school, she met some of the people who usually hung around her. She always tried to avoid them as she didn’t know their names. Obviously the original Ichika would’ve had some idea, but these characters simply weren’t mentioned in the anime, there was no way for her to know.

Today, they were very worried. Understandably so, as Ichika looked terrible. She should really work on fixing her sleeping schedule with the way it had been messed up lately.

Well, she felt that besides being tired, she was fine. There was no need to skip school over such a minor thing.

And so, she tried to continue on with her day as usual. During the first lesson, she almost fell asleep. Luckily, she managed to concentrate a bit more the second hour.

Still, she was relieved when break finally arrived.

This relief didn’t last long, however. As soon as she left the classroom and wanted to look for a place to sit and maybe take a nap, Sakura came running towards her.

Ah, she was too tired to deal with the protagonist. She had to be careful around Sakura, and she really didn’t have the energy to be careful right now.

“Ishiguro-san!” Sakura yelled as she approached. “Come sit with us!”

Startled, Ichika didn’t know how to respond.

Sakura came closer, and lightly tugged on her sleeve. Ichika tried to move, but as she took a step, everything went dark.
Well, she really should fix her sleeping schedule… how come her body was this weak?

Sakura panicked. Well, Ichika hadn’t been looking well lately. It wasn’t her fault, was it?

This girl was really making her worry nowadays.

She hesitated a bit, and decided to call over a teacher. No matter how tempting, she was too tiny to carry a teenager unless she transformed. Maybe she should start working out?

In the end, a teacher helped carry her to the nurse’s office. The nurse stated that it wasn’t anything serious, Ichika just lacked sleep. Her body was quite weak already, so this was enough to make her faint.

She hadn’t known Ichika was that weak. For that reason, she felt a bit bad. Since Ichika hadn’t been sleeping, was she worried about something? Did it have to do with her avoiding Sakura? She did faint after seeing her…

Sakura had wanted to openly befriend Ichika as a way to get her to stop avoiding her. She really didn’t mean any harm, and was shocked when Ichika actually fainted. Out of guilt, she asked if she could stay there and watch over her until she woke up. After all, she really wanted to apologise.

The teacher soon left, and the nurse was called away to help a boy who sprained his leg.

While it felt bad to take advantage of this situation, this opportunity was too good.

Slowly, Sakura approached Ichika, who was still unconscious on the bed. It was time to find out if she really was Anemone after all.

One more time she made sure they were completely alone. When she had confirmed this, she placed her hand on Ichika’s chest and mumbled the magic words she used to summon her own flower. While she hadn’t ever summoned someone else’s flower, it couldn’t be that much different, right?

Well, although placing a hand on your chest was necessary, it felt very embarrassing to do it to someone else. Luckily, the flower was indeed summoned.

It was a purple anemone. This confirmed her suspicions but… it showed a more pressing issue.

The flower was wilting. Sakura didn’t know why, but this was bad. She thought soul flowers only wilted when there was a strong disharmony within the soul. Was Ichika actually really troubled?

Well, in any case, while she couldn’t completely heal this, she could help a little. Slowly, she let some of her flower’s magic seep into Ichika’s.

She noticed the girl moving a bit in her sleep. After a bit, however, she smiled and seemed to be sleeping more soundly. Sakura felt happy seeing her like this.

The soul flower was returned, now looking a bit more healthy.

Sakura decided to stay, though. After all, she had wanted to apologise.

But, seeing the soundly sleeping Ichika, she started feeling a bit drowsy as well.

The nurse returned to find her fast asleep as well, sitting next to Ichika’s bed.

When Ichika woke up, she felt extremely refreshed. Maybe fainting had done her good in the end.

She yawned and sat up. When she saw the one sitting next to her, however, she felt something was wrong. Had she exchanged bodies with someone when fainting!? How come the protagonist was sitting next to her, this kind of romantic scene shouldn’t be wasted on a villain!

Ah, whatever. Maybe Sakura just felt guilty for making her faint and stayed there purely out of the goodwill in her heart, nothing more.

Sakura blinked, and opened her eyes as well.

“Good morning,” she mumbled, her eyes still only half open.

Ichika wanted to scream. That was so cute!!

God help her, why was the protagonist showing her such a cute expression?

Sakura noticed her embarrassment and smiled slightly. Ichika had gotten easy to read lately, she liked it.

However, it didn’t last very long. Ichika quickly got up and made the excuse of having class, leaving Sakura behind as fast as she could.

Seemed like she was still being avoided. Sakura still wanted to know the reason. Maybe it was because of her being an enemy, technically?

That was a dumb reason, in her opinion. Why was she even an enemy? She clearly liked Sakura.

Whatever, she had time to find out. And so, Sakura also got up and returned to class.

Ichika was even more worried now. Tsukiyo would definitely have noticed them both being absent for so long, and probably wouldn’t react well to it…

She tried her best not to think about it. Her way of dealing with her problems was to ignore them until they either blew up or went away. It was a bad habit, certainly, but changing was hard.

Tsukiyo had indeed noticed.

Somehow, she couldn’t bring herself to be mad about it, though.

Instead, she felt pity for her idiot subordinate. Not only had she not realised Sakura was their enemy, she was even falling for her.

This was bad, and would likely end with Ichika being heartbroken. And heartbreak is the worst for work morale.

No, instead she should make sure she didn’t realise until Tsukiyo had a solution.

What could she do, though?

Well, Sakura didn’t seem to dislike Ichika, so there was a possibility of them getting together.

If Sakura was dating Ichika, would there be a possibility of her switching sides?

Well, if Tsukiyo was able to get their greatest enemy to join them, Ririka would surely reward her.

However, maybe Sakura wouldn’t be too happy with their plans of taking over the world. After all, she had been opposing that from the start.

Ririka was the one Tsukiyo worked for. She was the only person in this world Tsukiyo was loyal to, ever since having saved her.

To be honest, Ririka was a bit strange and quite unstable, but it was okay. Tsukiyo would continue to support her no matter what. Even if she wanted to destroy the world, Tsukiyo would help her. Even if she ordered her to commit suicide, she’d gladly do so without hesitation. Her life belonged to Ririka.

That was the kind of person Tsukiyo was, it was all or nothing for her.

She felt that if Sakura really liked Ichika, she should be able to give up everything for her. Maybe not at this stage in their relationship, but if they were to actually start dating.

Maybe she should see if Sakura really was able to do so. She wanted the best for her dumb helper, in the end.

That was how Tsukiyo ended up ringing on the doorbell to Sakura’s house, transformed into Aconite.

The one who opened the door was Sayuri, Sakura’s little sister. Tsukiyo awkwardly asked if Chibana Sakura was home.

“Sakura! There’s a weird cosplayer here for you!”

Of course this didn’t ring any bells, but Sakura came downstairs anyway. As soon as she saw Aconite, she simply closed the door in her face.

“Wait, Chibana-san! I’m not here to make trouble!”

Sayuri had already gone to her room, not interested in her sister’s business.

Sakura opened the door.

“What do you want, then? You know who I am, it’s hard to think you’re not here to make trouble.”

“Well, yeah, but,” Tsukiyo coughed. “I’m just here to ask you a few questions. I’m not so dumb or rude as to attack you in your own home.”

Sakura sighed. “Alright then, come in.”

Despite clearly showing she did not want to put up with Aconite, Sakura still ended up making her some tea out of habit.

After that, they both sat down. Tsukiyo felt this a very awkward situation, and stayed quiet, until Sakura got fed up with this.

“You had something to ask, didn’t you? Just get it over with.”

Sakura’s behaviour was quite different from when she was at school. Well, that was to be expected to a certain extent, but this was too different. She was acting really impolite.

Well, Tsukiyo had barged in without warning. She cleared her throat a bit.

“Well. I assume by now you know who Anemone is, right?”

“Yeah, it was hard not to notice.”

“And, you have seen how she acts around you?”

“Again, hard not to notice.” Sakura shrugged. “I kind of like it though. Why? Did you come here to warn me, or something?”

“Kind of, I guess. I’m not against her forming relationships, but the fact that it’s you could prove troublesome.”

“I guess,” Sakura smiled. “But, don’t you think she can decide for herself? I mean, she isn’t that dumb.”

Oh, Tsukiyo thought, she really was. But she didn’t want to ruin her chances, so she kept quiet about Ichika’s intelligence.

“Even so, I like to think I have somewhat of a say in it as well. She works for me, and I do worry about her. Tell me, Cherry Blossom, do you have feelings for her?”

“Hmm,” Sakura wasn’t quite sure what to say. “I don’t know her that well, though I like what I know so far. To be honest, I’d like to get to know her more, but that’s hard with her avoiding me like this.”

Suddenly, Tsukiyo felt guilty. She was the one who told Ichika to avoid Sakura, after all. It was her fault Sakura didn’t have a clear impression yet.

“In that case, you should think about it more. If you truly like her, I am willing to oversee your relationship, on a few conditions. I guess I’ll give you a chance to get to know her better, but I do expect an answer from you.”

Sakura chuckled, covering her mouth with her hand. “You’re not her mother, don’t worry. I’ll get closer to her, and pursue her if I like her, no matter what your say on it is. No need for you to get involved. Do tell her to stop avoiding me, though. It’s been bothering me.”

Tsukiyo nodded. Best not to argue too much. Her impression of Sakura had improved slightly, even. If she’d give up just because of Tsukiyo she wouldn’t be suitable for Ichika at all.

“Is that all?” Sakura asked.

“Yes. I’ll be taking my leave then.”

Tsukiyo got up and went home, leaving a half empty cup of tea behind.

When she was gone, however, Sakura smiled. This was good, wasn’t it?

Of course, she didn’t need any approval from someone other than Ichika in this situation, but gaining it would help a bit. Hopefully she wouldn’t be avoided after this.

Besides, she was kind of happy others were also able to tell Ichika liked her. Sometimes she worried it was her imagination, but these things confirmed it. Sakura was happy.

I updated a bit later than I was planning, sorry! I've been having some minor writer's block lately, sadly.

Also, I made a twitter, I'll be posting my drawings there: @writingorb, feel free to follow!