Naoetsu High School. The name of my school. The finals have passed and in around a month or two, I'll be graduating and entering the college. But right now, being late as usual, I was rushing through the hallway in school when I collide into the other person; causing the two of us to fall back and eventually land upon the floor. "I'm sorry!" I instinctively said, fearing that I might have collided into one of the teachers or some sort.
No answer comes from the person that I collided with and when I placed the sight of my eyes upon him, I realized that I recognize the person. Aoyama Takumi.
This kind of encounter is weird. Not to mention that this isn't my first encounter with him. Aoyama Takumi. I know about him since he's treated as one of the school's male idols. Quick-witted and highly intelligent, not to mention that he has good looks and also good in sports, it's no wonder most of the girls looked up to him. His lone wolf attitude only make the girls idolize him even more.
Even though I'm sure that he heard my words, Takumi said nothing and quickly got up; leaving me still upon the floor, wondering about why he's acting like that. For some reason, I immediately got up as well and after a moment, made my way to my own class. Was it the correct decision to leave him just like that? No, that was probably a mistake. Why was it a mistake? Because it took me a moment before realizing that there's batch of black feathers scattered around the place where we collided before.
Things went fast when you're already near graduating. The moment you realize it, it's already after school. Hanekawa and I are the only people left in class as we're the class representatives who were asked to think about the thing that our class should do for the graduation ceremony.
"Regarding the graduation ceremony, what do you think we should do, Araragi-kun? It's not top priority since it'll be a while before the actual ceremony, but it'd be better if we're able to prepare for it from now. Let's make a list of all possible options, then choose one by voting in class, alright?"
"Is that really alright? It seems rather democratic." I said to her.
"You say outrageous things as usual, Araragi-kun," I heard her reply, "Or were you just joking?"
Hanekawa Tsubasa. Class representative. Strictly disciplined, always by the book, horrifically serious, and also said to be on good terms with the teacher. The class representative of class representatives. She's like the polar opposite of my girlfriend, Senjougahara Hitagi.
"You're not with Senjougahara-san today, Araragi-kun?"
"I told her that I'd be helping you with the graduation ceremony stuff, so she said that she'll be waiting downstairs."
There was a moment of silence between the two of us.
"Say, Hanekawa.. there's a Junior called Aoyama Takumi in our school, isn't it?"
"Aoyama Takumi...? Did something happen with Aoyama-kun?"
"Well, I'm just a bit curious. I heard that he's quite famous around the school."
"Aoyama Takumi-kun, is it? Ao, written in the kanji blue while Yama written in the kanji mountain, hence Aoyama. Takumi itself is written with the kanji artisan. Aoyama Takumi literally means 'Artisan from the mountain under the blue sky'. Aoyama Takumi-kun is one of the school's male idols as he's idolized by most of the girls in our school. He was also asked to join the current Student Council, but he refused the offer. He's a lone wolf and some tend to claim that he can be found in the rooftop during recess time."
"You're great, Hanekawa. You really know everything, aren't you?"
"You're exaggerating it, Araragi-kun. I don't know everything, I just know what I know."
Even after I heard all that from Hanekawa, that doesn't really make things easier. Something must be up with the fact that there's a batch of black feathers scattered around the place where we collided earlier in the morning. I even heard that during the recess time some teachers are complaining to the janitors that they're not cleaning the place fully and someone must've let a bird or some sort wander around the school building.
"But really, it's unusual of you, Araragi-kun."
"For you to be talking about Aoyama-kun. You're the kind of person who enjoys staying in the back and enjoying some peaceful life instead of having your life like an idol like that, isn't it? Are you regretting the fact that you're not a school idol like Aoyama-kun?"
"No, it's not like that. I'm just wondering if he has his life tough, being an idol means that you're admired by a whole lot of people so you can't let them down, isn't it? Putting that aside, what kind of person is that Aoyama Takumi-kun?"
"Shouldn't you already know about his reputation around the school, Araragi-kun?"
"If you put it like that... well, I guess it's true..."
I remained silent after that, not really knowing of what to say to Hanekawa. What she said is true, after all. With that Aoyama Takumi being famous around the school, there'd be no way I never heard of him.
"Well, if you want me to put it..." Hanekawa's voice caused me to shift my attention back to her, "He doesn't cause any problems and also well-respected by the students and the teachers. I heard that he doesn't speak a lot and only speak when it's necessary and he doesn't seem to have many friends as well. You can say that he's the kind of person who enjoys being alone most of the time."
He really sounds like an incredibly unsociable lone wolf.
"Oh, I just remembered," I said as I got up from my seat, not wanting to continue this odd conversation anymore, "Hanekawa, I got to leave now. I need to do something on my way back, helping Karen and Tsukihi with some stuffs. Is it alright if I leave the rest to you for today?"
"Well, it can't be helped, isn't it? If you promise to make it up for me, then it's fine for today. It wouldn't be good to keep your sisters waiting too."
"Sorry about this. I'll be counting on you."
After telling Hanekawa that I'll be sure to make up for her tomorrow, I made my way out of the class steadily; closing the door behind me with ease.
"Araragi Koyomi-senpai, isn't it?"
The unfamiliar voice caused me to stop and the moment I turned around, I can't help but widening my eyes as the tip of a black quill's already placed only a few centimeters away from it, ready to pierce.
"To be honest, Araragi Koyomi-senpai, I don't really like it when I know people are talking about me behind my back, no matter what kind of thing they're talking about."
I don't really know what to say but I know that at this point, if I move, he's going to pierce my eyes. The expression upon his face indirectly telling me that he's not the kind of person who'd be holding back if he's going to do something like that and knowing about his reputation in the school, no one would believe me if I say that he's the one who pierced my eye. Not that it matters since I have an incredible regeneration power, it's just.. I can still pain. And I don't like that kind of feeling.
"Have you ever heard about 'Curiosity killed the cat', Araragi Koyomi-senpai? Because you want to know too much, the thing that you want to know might end up hurting you. I couldn't blame you completely, for a part of what happened this morning could be considered as my mistake as well. I got the permission from the teacher to arrive a little late from school, telling them that I have errands to do in the morning so I'll be slightly late."
I don't really know why he's telling me all that, but now I better remained silent or else he might choose to pierce my eye.
"I'll be telling you a secret, Araragi Koyomi-senpai, since you already asked so much about me from Hanekawa Tsubasa-senpai. You noticed it too, right? When you collided into me, that a batch of black feathers scattering around. Those black feathers... what kind of bird do you think have such a feather, Araragi Koyomi-senpai?"
"C-Crow, maybe?" I answered hesitantly, still feeling uneasy about the fear that he's going to pierce my left eye with the quill.
"Indeed, it's a crow. It happened around the start of this year. I met a certain crow when I'm visiting my great grandfather. Something happened, and whenever people bump or collide into me, a batch of black feathers would scatter from my body."
A crow oddity?
"I'm sorry that I have to tell you such a story, but I suppose it's necessary to satisfy your curiosity, to make you stop asking people about me. There's also no need for you to comprehend it. It would be a great annoyance to me if you're still acting like a curious cat, Araragi Koyomi-senpai. I might lose my temper and ended up killing your curiosity. I'll be telling you just this once, Araragi Koyomi-senpai. If you're thinking to continue your actions, I'll consider it as an act of hostility and immediately take offensive counter measure."
The tone of his voice... he's serious!
"If you agree to leave it just like this, please nod twice. If not.. well, you can probably guess what's going to happen."
I immediately nod twice.
"Thank you very much, Araragi Koyomi-senpai," I can see a small grin already forming upon his lips, "The next time we meet, please act as if we never talk. And if you could, please try not to be late. It would be inconvenient if you were to bump into me again."
And just like that, Aoyama Takumi left me standing in the hallway; acting as if nothing happened and as if we merely passed by each other. On my way back, before going home, I decided to visit the local library, looking for some information about any kind of crow oddity that might be possessing that Aoyama Takumi. It's not like I paid no attention to his warning, but I can't have oddity lurking around in school. Well, not in my watch, anyway.
Eventually, I found out about one deity only known as 'The Crow'. It's know as a kind of oddity that brings bad luck to the people who mess with it, the kind who would jinx the person that they don't like and whenever they made an appearance, a batch of black feathers would be left around the place as a sign. It could also serve as a warning to people not to mess with such an oddity. Such information comes from an old folklore book, I don't really know if I could do something about it or not. Things would be easier if Oshino-san is still here, really.
At some other books, it's also mentioned that crows are also connected to the Gods, playing a certain role in people's life. I don't really understand the connection, but I remember Oshino-san telling me that "The location mentioned or the creatures involved don't really matter. If such requirements are met, the oddity will appear in the place. Even though one to encounter an oddity, it usually doesn't do any harm. Just by being there, as long the person desire for nothing, the nothing will happen."
But even if Oshino-san said something like that, it doesn't really solve the question why most of the people, mainly the people who become somehow involved with oddities, desire something, whether directly or indirectly from that oddity.
I gave a sigh as I placed the folklore book back into the shelf, scratching the back of my head with my free hand along the way, "I almost understand the whole situation. But there's still something I need to find out before I manage to solve this problem."