Chapter 1.3: Masazumi and Yoshihisa (Part 3)
Translated by Mojo of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Avoiding standing out as much as possible, and acting so that nobody would take interest in him, being treated by everybody the same way, neither good nor bad – this had been Masazumi’s ideal since he could remember. But once he entered middle school, he quickly realized that this was not as easy a lifestyle to maintain as he had once thought.
The upper class kids were considered essential to making a debut in high society. So being enrolled in a boarding school such as this, Masazumi had nowhere to run. The children of noble families would leave their houses and experience life in society for the first time. During their elementary education, it was customary for expert tutors to be called to the houses and give personal instruction to those children. So it had proved straightforward for Masazumi to keep his secret.
However, meeting kids of his own age for the first time at the academy, and then having to spend their daily lives together, Masazumi came to know exactly how much he stood out. It wasn’t enough to just keep quiet, he had to change his whole strategy.
Until now, he had just been shut away in his house and only interacted with his family. As a result, he had no awareness of his unusual beauty. The first time he came to the academy, he gained a reputation for being pretty, and in no time at all his existence was known to the whole school. Wherever he went, curious gazes focused on him, turning his initial confusion into fear. Not knowing the reason at first, he was engulfed in anxiety believing that his secret had already been exposed.
He came from an influential and famous Count family, and his brother was the most talented and well-known person to enroll since the founding of the school. These things were mostly responsible for the special attention that Masazumi received.
He had difficulty being around groups of people.
It wasn’t everyone, but internally many people thought Masazumi was intolerable. Some made blatantly insulting remarks or spread malicious rumours. Though he didn’t really care what people thought of him, attracting public attention and having everything he did scrutinised was incredibly tiring.
However many people hung around him, Masazumi had no intention of changing his solitary lifestyle. If he could just endure one more year, he could graduate, and be released from dormitory living.
At university, he wouldn’t have to worry about people watching him day and night, and he could study the subjects of his choice. This spring, when he had advanced to third year, the weight on his shoulders had become much lighter. In November he would turn eighteen, and finally join the ranks of the adults. He would be able to live overseas according to his plans. After graduation, he had made the decision to live without causing trouble for anyone, and to conduct a respectable life as a fake beta.
He was increasingly grateful for his outstanding brother. Thanks to him, Masazumi would be able to freely leave home.
Originally, his room had belonged to the head of the dormitory, but Masazumi had been using it since the third year of junior high. It was a high class room for two people, their individual spaces separated by sliding doors. The reason he had transferred into this luxurious room was because when some renovations were being done, a new room was added for dorm heads.
In the back of his room, there was a bedroom space furnished with a four poster bed. There was only about four and a half tatami mats worth of space, and the bed and a chest of drawers were the only furniture. There was a window seat, which Masazumi often liked to sit down in and look outside.
Out of the drawers near his bed, he got the medicine which he had to take every morning and evening. He poured some water out of a pitcher and into a glass. The medicine was only a small tablet but if he failed to take it even once he would let off a smell for the alphas to sense. If that happened, they would be able to see through his disguise.
‘Because we are siblings, I don’t respond to your pheromones. But I can recognise that you are emitting an arousing scent.’ – that was what his brother had told him, when they had experimented with the results of not taking the medicine. Takanori made a very serious face while speaking. Every caution had to be exercised to avoid stimulating alphas. If he were pinned down by an alpha who had lost their reason, as an omega, he would have no way of resisting. He solemnly reminded Masazumi of this fact.
If his only worry was only being attacked, he might be able to tolerate it. However, if an alpha were to mark him by biting his neck, he would have to become mated to them. So that they never unwillingly ended up in that situation, most omegas wore a leather belt around their neck to protect themselves. But for Masazumi, who wanted to hide his true nature, wearing something like that was out of the question. His only option was to disguise himself as well as possible.
Once he had taken the tablets, he became a little sleepy due to the side effects. In the mornings, he explained this away, saying that he had trouble waking up. By the evening the drowsiness of the day would accumulate, and if he didn’t have a nap before dinner he wouldn’t be able to endure it. This was the sort of explanation he gave people.
His non-participation in club activities was also due to this. If he inadvertently missed the window of time in which he had to take his medicine, it would be worrying.
To Masazumi, the most unlucky thing was that there were two alphas in his grade. Most years it had been normal to have either a single alpha or none at all, but this year the improbable had happened. One of those alphas was Kase Masamichi who had come to the school in the spring of their second year, so that Masazumi had one extra person to worry about, and the other was Nashiba Takashi.
Nobody had imagined that two irregular alphas would appear in the senior year. Even the Dean had been perplexed. As a result of this increased number, it was unavoidable that Masazumi be placed in the same class as one of them.
It would be a lie to say he was at peace, but Kase was such a nonchalant person, and rarely showed up to class, so being in the same class as him was a relief. Despite the rumors that he was the offspring of some celebrity figure, the truth was nobody knew anything about him. The real problem was the Viscount family’s heir, the reckless and arrogant Nashiba Takashi.
Nashiba clearly hated Masazumi, whose special treatment got on his nerves. Since middle school, he had been venting his frustrations on those around him. In terms of family status, the Viscounts were a grade lower than the Counts, but Nashiba had an increased sense of self-importance because he was an alpha. He failed to see why Masazumi was given such preferential treatment and couldn’t accept it, even personally protesting to the Dean.
In the end, it had seemed like he reluctantly withdrew without finding out anything, but as a result of this, his critical attitude towards Masazumi had grown worse. Self-love was a character trait which many alphas possessed, and although his brother Takanori was one of those who would control their pride, there were many others who considered themselves elite citizens deserving admiration.
Nashiba was obviously the second type. Furthermore, he tended to suck up to his seniors, acting with humility towards them even if they only differed slightly in status. That was another part of his sly cleverness. While Takanori had been in school with them, Nashiba had followed him around, flattering him. Takanori had forced himself to smile but his weariness was evident.
‘Be careful of him,’ he had once advised Masazumi.
With that said, for almost five years he had been treated like an enemy, with Nashiba putting pressure on every flaw of his with incredible persistence. He had never had any choice but to be careful, because he knew how unpleasant it would be if he gave up.
Just one more year. Technically, even, it was only ten months.
Whenever he thought about how the long part of his life spent in the dormitories would also end, a feeling of relaxation would grow on him, he was much less tense than before. Since he had been able to live peacefully thus far, it was hard to think that he could reverse all his progress in the remaining ten months. Especially in this sequence of unchanging days, it was undeniable that he had built some good habits.
His body temperature had been raised a little due to the medicine. To cool off, he placed a cushion in the window, and sat down reclining against it. It was the kind of window that would slide open from the top. Though the sky had been a dark orange color streaked with blue when he was returning to the dorms, now it was completely dark. The dramatic scenery of the sky changed moment by moment, moving as if it was swollen with everything that had happened during the day.
A soft wind blew in and cooled his flushed body. Masazumi, comfortable, shut his eyes and focused on the bliss he felt.
“… That’s true. He’s so pretty, I get a shock whenever our eyes meet.”
“He’s in a different league to us, but I hear that some of our senpais who are in his class are seriously considering making a move on him before graduation.” 1
“No way, that’s impossible. Unless he were an omega.”
Masazumi paid no particular attention to the voices which he heard below him, not realising their significance. He opened his eyes and leant forward slightly from the window. Outside was the elegant-looking fence which had been installed to prevent falling, and peered through it.
His room was on the second floor. He couldn’t see anyone standing outside the building, so he assumed that the amused voices of his underclassmen had come from the kitchen directly below his room. Most likely their window was open as well.
Just overhearing a conversation about omegas was enough to cause pain in his chest, and a sense of dread arose. However, as the conversation continued, it only contributed to Masazumi’s fear.
“But you know, Nirei senpai does seem a little bit like an omega.”
They must have considered that their conversation was indiscreet, as their voices became lower and more restrained. Though Masazumi, straining his ears, could hear well enough.
His emotions shook his conviction, and for a second he thought his heart might stop for real. Slightly feverish and weary, he had a fit of shivers. Goosebumps stood up all over his body and, though he hugged himself with both arms, the shivers wouldn’t die down.
They were simply speculating, and it was only some lighthearted talk that he had overheard, he said these things to himself to calm his disordered heart. But the calmer he tried to become the faster the palpitations got.
“Ehh? I wouldn’t know. I’ve never even seen an omega.” His underclassmen continued talking innocently.
“I’ve had one close to me. My father’s secretary was an omega male.”
“Huh, is that so?”
“So this secretary was super thin, so pale he was almost transparent, and really colorful eyes with long eyelashes.”
“Totally like Nirei-senpai.”
“Except Nirei-senpai is prettier.”
Even breathing was becoming difficult for Masazumi. Pushed to the limit with only a thread left before a nervous breakdown, it was not an inexplicable state of affairs. That thread had been cut and he was losing consciousness. It felt as if he would collapse to the ground. It was becoming harder to think.
“But Nirei-senpai is a beta.” One of the underclassmen pointed out the obvious.
It’s alright, they don’t have any serious doubts, when he thought that he calmed down a little.
“Hey, close the window already. If you leave it open we’ll get told off.”
They closed it with a clack, and the sound of the voices stopped abruptly. Once it had become quiet, Masazumi let out the breath that he had been holding unconsciously and pushed his long hair back. Eavesdropping on conversations about himself was bad for his heart.
There was no way he had been exposed. Until now he hadn’t been, so if he was careful and continued like this then there would be no problem. Saying these things to himself, he got up from the window and placed his hands on the frame to close it. His fingers were still faintly trembling.
‘Omega,’ that word which would push Masazumi into hell at any moment. He didn’t want to be bound to anyone, but to live avoiding that was a Herculean task. There were times when he thought it would be preferable to die an early death. Even if he went on living, he could not hope for anything. From the start, he hadn’t had any expectations of enjoying himself.
However good his grades were, however nice looking he was, his future was nothing short of unstable. There was no guarantee of anything.
In the first place, something like hiding the fact that he was an omega from the world was unrealistic no matter how he looked at it. He intended to hide it until he couldn’t anymore, but at this point, for some reason, he had a bad gut feeling. He had no choice but to feel apprehensive.
Masazumi simply prayed that his life would be uneventful until graduation, and shut his window.