It was 3 weeks from the upcoming SOS brigade anniversary and I had no clue what to get for our fearless leader still. With all the craziness going around me, why did I not cheat a little and take a peek when I had a chance, and spared me the unnecessary misery? Little did I know at the time, however, that figuring out what present to get would be the least of my worries for what was about to happen.
The day started off pretty normal. Spring was upon us and the weather was nice. After school all the SOS brigade members gathered in the literary club room doing our usual activities, which was not really much to be honest. Haruhi was busy plotting the next activity. Nagato was reading. Ms Asahina was taking turn between serving tea and doing some cleaning around the room in her maid outfit. Koizumi and I were playing chess. All's going well, until we had surprise visitors.
The student council president, who for some reason no one seemed to call him by his name, along with Ms Kimidori, entered the club room. I glanced at Koizumi, thinking I would see a satisfying expression on his face hinting he's brought the fake president he hired to come up with some new crazy schemes to keep Haruhi busy. Instead, he had an unexpected look, which was in itself unexpected to me. Should I start worrying?
Haruhi got up from her chair and greeted them in her typical unfriendly manner towards the president, 'What do you want? Are you here to challenge us again with something demanding and stupid?'
The president calmly began, 'Good afternoon. I will keep this unpleasant visit brief. As the student council president, I hereby exercise my authority as given to me in our written school club regulations, order you to disband the SOS brigade immediately. You are required to vacate this club room as soon as possible. Surrender the keys to the room to Ms Kimidori here.'
Haruhi fired back, 'What? I had never heard of such regulations! There is no way you have such authority.'
'Yes I do. I have a copy of the updated school club regulations here with me. You can have it. Take it and read it at your leisure.' He tossed a folder on the table.
Haruhi fought back defiantly, 'What is the reason for disbanding my club?'
'I don't need one. I already said it. The recently revised school club regulations granted the student council president authority to create and remove clubs as he sees fit. But if you insist -' He tossed the other folder he was holding on the table. Boy was this man prepared. 'Keep that too. Rest assure I have the originals.'
Haruhi picked up the folders, flipped through a few pages, then the other. There's an expression I had never seen on her - she looked... defeated. Looks like he got something real solid there in those folders. I asked Haruhi to hand me the folders but she just stood there, silent. I got up and walked over to her trying to take a peek, instead she closed and threw them to the ground before I got there.
Her head lowered, and finally said slowly. '... So this is blackmail then.'
'Don't be ridiculous. You have only you to blame. If you wish to file for an appeal, you are free to try, but do that somewhere else. Leave this room now. Anyways, this wraps up my reason to be here, and I have something else to attend to. Ms Kimidori, I will let you finish the eviction.'
Koizumi and Ms Asahina were both stunned by what just happened. Partly because we had to be evicted. Partly because no one had ever seen Haruhi looked defeated like this before, without an ounce of effort left to fight back. Nagato, on the other hand, looked calm… okay, that's not fair for me to say. I often could not read her pretty poker face, even when my own thoughts were not flying all over the places.
As the student council president began to walk out of the room, Koizumi finally got up from the chair and followed him. I was hesitant about what I should be doing. I felt I should go with Koizumi instead of staying with Haruhi and the girls for some reason. Perhaps he would need a backup in case a fight broke out? Or perhaps I felt the answers we're seeking weren't in the club room - sure there were two folders with some answers in there but I was sure those were cover-ups for the real reason. Don't get me wrong, even though I did not utter too many words so far, my heart was beating fast, and was I ready to put up a fight if it came down to it. It felt like we had just been attacked, our sacred sanctuary was mercilessly ripped from us. I knew Koizumi was definitely in a fighting mood. He had to feel like his subordinate just betrayed him, someone who was given a harmless acting job and suddenly he thought he was the real deal.
I uttered something to Haruhi and Ms Asahina about staying calm, we'd be doing some man-to-man talk and be right back… then dashed out.
Koizumi caught up with the student council president at the stairs two stories below, and I caught up with them shortly after. Koizumi was furious, which immediately told me that disbanding the club was not one of his schemes, since he had no reason to pretend with just me around. 'What do you think you are doing? Why are you doing this without the organization's approval? You better have a good reason behind this.' Koizumi continued to walk up to his face as the president kept backing away and was about to be cornered. The student council president told him to back off, but Koizumi kept walking.
What the student council president did next was beyond my comprehension, even for a veteran of paranormal phenomenon like me. He created a small-size energy ball in the palm of his right hand, nearly identical to what Koizumi conjured up when fighting the giant cricket, and hit Koizumi in the stomach. However, we were not in a closed space or alternate dimension - we were in normal space as far as we could tell. How was this possible? Furthermore, Koizumi never said the president was an esper to me. Was he one or was he not? Koizumi was completely unprepared, the energy ball hit his abdomen, he stumbled backwards and nearly fell off the stairs.
'How was that possible?' Muttered Koizumi, clearly hurting. That energy ball packed a real punch.
'Koizumi,' the president fixed his shirt and continued, 'Do not challenge me again.' He began to walk away.
Seeing that we were in no position to get the answer at this point, I held Koizumi up and told the president, 'Fine, we are leaving, but don't think this is over. We still demand a satisfactory explanation.' I turned to Koizumi and said, 'Let's go back to the club room. The other brigade members need us.'
The student council president looked annoyed and calmly said, 'I will not waste any more time with you on the matter. We ordered the club terminated, which is within my authority, and that is that.'
Koizumi did not resist my suggestion. I could tell he was injured pretty badly, and he was in no shape for further confrontation. If Koizumi was pulling a trick to try to fool me also for realism, he had to be acting at 150 percent, maybe going for an acting award in order to go this far. I held Koizumi and walked up the stairs - the burden on my shoulders felt unbearable. What were we going to say to the girls? That we not only achieved nothing, but Koizumi got beaten up and humiliated? When we reached the club room door, Koizumi asked me to let go as he wanted to walk inside by himself. He did not want the ladies to worry about him. I couldn't help but have a sense of respect for this guy.
'Well Kyon, to be honest I have no idea what is going on right now, but I will try find out more when I speak with the organization later today. If that man has gone rogue, it is entirely my fault and I take full responsibility. Right now let's calm the girls as best as we can. Shall we?'
I agreed. I opened the door just as Ms Kimidori was leaving the club room, keys in her left hand. She bowed politely and left.
'Wait, Ms Kimidori,' I said, 'Could you tell us anything?'
Ms Kimidori said, 'Sorry I don't have anything to say. Have a good evening.' Were you kidding me? I felt frustrated, but I was not about to turn nasty to a girl though. I supposed it was all the president's evil idea. I did not give up and asked, 'Could you do anything?'
She thought for a moment and said, 'Sorry, but feel free to file for an appeal.' Then she left.
Haruhi was standing near the window and staring out, with her hands on her hips. Maybe she's trying to appear strong. Nagato was standing as well, next to her usual reading chair. She was looking at me. I could not read her expression. Perhaps it was just her 'observing' face...
'Koizumi, are you hurt?' We were caught off guard by Ms Asahina's question. Koizumi definitely was walking funny even as he tried hard not to show it. Haruhi turned around and noticed it too. 'What have you done? Did you get into a fight?' Haruhi sounded concerned.
'Sorry Ms Suzumiya, I took a punch in my guts but I am really okay, please don't worry about me.' Koizumi forced his trademark smiling face. I could see a drip of sweat rolling down his forehead - it hurt him to even smile.
'Mikuru, get the first aid kit please. Koizumi, let me check on you.'
Perhaps Koizumi's injury was a blessing in disguise, I thought to myself selfishly. It took Haruhi's mind off losing her brigade for at least a few minutes. Her nursing personality was definitely way better than her I-was-the-center-of-the-world personality.
I asked, 'What happened earlier with Ms Kimidori? I thought she was supposed to make sure everyone's out of here.'
Haruhi said, 'I told her we needed time to move the stuff out. She agreed after I gave her the keys to the room.'
Haruhi continued, 'The bruise looks bad, Koizumi. What did he hit you with, a bowling ball?'
Koizumi forced a smile and said, 'He just got lucky. I was running down the stairs and I saw him a few steps below me, but then I tripped and my stomach landed on his fist.' What a joker.
Shortly after Koizumi received a treatment with rubbing oid and assured us no ribs were broken, the group discussed what to do with the club items, and we agreed to take the stuff to our homes, with a big omission - Haruhi said we were not to take the computers. I had a suspicion that the folder Haruhi regarded as 'blackmail' contained evidence the student council president obtained when Haruhi got the desktop from the computer club. The irony of 'what goes around comes around'...
We were pretty quiet the rest of the time. Ms Asahina carried her various costumes. Haruhi carried the tea set and cookware, Nagato carried a few books that were added after our occupation, and I had to carry the heater, the sports equipment and another box of miscellaneous items, with Koizumi earning a free ride. As we walked out of the school front gate that day, it felt like we had been expelled from school.