"Are you ready?"
There's a beat of silence, and Hikari steadily angles the camera so that it focuses on Karen's determined face. She watches as Karen takes in a breath, as if she couldn't believe what they were about to do. But then she shakes her head and her infamous smile comes out, and Hikari knows that everything would be alright.
"Yeah. Let's do this." Karen whispers determinedly, her grin growing as she starts to put whipped cream on her hand. She places it back on her desk and the two pop their heads out the hallway only to hide behind the door when they hear two figures walking closer. They watch as Kaoruko and Futaba walk into their rooms, hearing them talk about the various gossip going about in the school. When the coast is clear, the two sneak about to look for their target, managing to get past several obstacles. At some point, Hikari stops Karen and gestures towards the common room. She sends her some hand signals and Karen nods.
When they reach the room, they find their target quietly reading. Hikari stops Karen from rushing and sends her some more hand signals. Karen nods and the two proceed to scan the room for any possible anomalies. They share a look when they find a harmless one: Nana, who is humming to herself in the kitchen as she switches between checking her baking and her phone. To make sure their plan would be executed flawlessly, Hikari eyes their surroundings again and is a bit surprised considering how their target was almost always seen with a certain blonde.
The two silently inch forward, Karen making absurd movements along the way. Hikari is somewhat surprised their target hasn't noticed, considering how Karen would transition from an army crawl to a ninja pose then back to an army crawl once more. When Karen gets close enough, she looks at the camera, flashes a peace sign with her other hand, and yells, "Smack cam!" before lightly slapping their target’s face. Lightly, because even she's not dumb enough to actually slap Tendou Maya.
Somehow, the whipped cream doesn't land on Maya's book. However, it's splattered all over her face and on some parts of her hair.
And Hikari records it all. She catches the shock, which turns into a momentary state of confusion, which then finally morphs into a very stoic gaze.
Ah, she knows this expression. How could she not, when she wears this very same look whenever someone offends Karen or Mahiru.
Oh shit .
"Karen. Run. Now." Hikari says and Karen, who takes one look at Maya's expression, nods and quickly takes Hikari's hand with her clean one.
"It was a prank Maya-chan, I'm sorry! I'll pay for the damages!" Karen apologizes with a 90 degree bow before taking off with Hikari in tow. Hikari is still recording and as they run away, she catches the thoughtful look on Maya's face.
Meanwhile Nana is stunned. She can’t believe what just transpired before her eyes. Despite this, she can’t help but giggle at the mess and makes a mental note to ask for the video from Hikari before making her way towards Maya with several napkins. She helps her clean herself up, noting the thoughtful look that was still on her face. Not too soon after, Mahiru runs into the common room, looking rightfully worried. She takes one look at Maya and her face pales. She immediately bows and starts to apologize.
"I'm so sorry, Maya-chan. I don't know how, but they were able to sneak out of studying—"
Maya waves her free hand as she gets rid of the last bit of whipped cream on her face. Surprisingly, she smiles a bit, and Nana remembers talking to Maya about how she never really had a friend, much less a childhood. Now, she has several who teach her much about the new trends, and Nana knows how happy that has made her.
"It's fine. It was a harmless prank, and Karen didn't hit me very hard." She pauses and adds as an afterthought, "If anything, I'm surprised that my book wasn't damaged. Is this the so-called 'plot-armor' Junna talks about?"
Nana lets out a giggle at that. "Maybe it is Maya-chan. Now come on, let's make sure you're all cleaned up."
She grabs some more napkins and makes sure to wet them a bit. Maya is mostly cleaned up at this point, although Nana finds herself wondering why she decided to stay here and not take a shower after the whole fiasco. Her answer comes in the form of one Saijou Claudine, who is carrying the two criminals by their collars. She looks as if she is unamused, but both Maya and Nana know it is the exact opposite.
"I assume these are yours?" Claudine mentions to Mahiru, who proceeds to adopt a very scary expression.
"Yes they are. Thank you, Kuro-chan." Mahiru simply replies and Claudine drops them on the floor. Nana watches as Karen immediately pouts while Hikari just blinks.
Mahiru towers over the two and raises an eyebrow. "Well?"
"Hm?" Hikari replies and Claudine rolls her eyes at the audacity.
"Don't the two of you have something to say to Maya-chan?" Mahiru clarifies and Karen shoots up. She holds her hand out to Hikari, who silently takes it. Meanwhile, Maya watches the two stoically and Claudine rolls her eyes once again, knowing she was just being a drama queen like usual. On the other hand, Nana quickly takes her muffins out of the oven and starts to record on her own phone, eager to find out what happens next.
The two bow and speak in perfect sync, making Nana giggle some more at the ridiculousness of it all.
"We're sorry!" they apologize and while Karen looks justifiably afraid, Hikari does not. Everyone knows that Hikari was difficult to faze.
Maya waits for a moment before letting her smile show. "It's okay, although I advise to stick to less messy pranks next time. I'm sure some of the others would not take a prank like this as lightly."
Karen lets out a sigh of relief and bows once again, voicing her thanks. But just when she thought she was in the clear, she feels a dark, intimidating aura from behind. She slowly turns around and finds Mahiru with an uncommon glare on her face.
"The two of you." Mahiru speaks with a tone of authority and Nana holds in a giggle at how both Karen and Hikari freeze at her tone—she was probably the only one who has that effect everyone, including Hikari. "In the room. Now. We need to talk."
When the two girls make no movement, she sighs and picks both of them up, putting Karen on one shoulder and Hikari on the other. Karen starts wiggling out of fear but Hikari stays put, accepting her fate.
"Mahiru-chan, wait! Mahiru-chan~" Nana hears Karen cry out as Mahiru carries the two idiots to their shared room. She can't believe she caught all of that on camera, she thinks to herself as she positions her phone to where Maya and Claudine are.
"I can't believe they were able to successfully do a smack cam prank on you." Claudine comments as she moves to sit next to Maya, who lets out a soft smile.
Ah, Nana understands now why Maya hasn’t left to properly clean herself. She can’t believe she misses the other teacup next to Maya’s.
"I admit I did not hear them, but at least they didn't burn anything down this time." Maya replies as she picks up her book and continues reading. Claudine scoffs and takes a sip of her tea.
"Only those two idiots would fail at making cereal. I mean, who else would think that it would be a good idea to cook cereal in a pot?" Claudine says incredulously. "And then they decide to put sugar and pepper because they have the smart idea of making it sweet and spicy, but to make things even worse they mix up the sugar with salt. I don't know how Mahiru can deal with them."
"As if you haven't had any foolish ideas before, Miss Tuna Shortcake." Maya retorts and Nana giggles to herself when Claudine turns red. Maya holds in a smirk as she continues, "I mean, who else would think that it would be a good idea to mix tuna with cream puffs?"
Nana laughs when she sees Claudine turn even more red and start to retaliate. She lets the two bicker to themselves for a bit before turning off the recording. She then claps to get their attention, and the two turn around. While the two seemed to be in a heated argument, Nana knows better. It all shows in Maya’s posture—she hasn’t seen her this relaxed in any of her past replays.
"I made some banana muffins! Here, have some." Nana announces as she holds the plate towards them. The two give their thanks as they each take one, and just when Nana thought that she could end her night peacefully, she hears a loud yell—"Banana muffins? I want some!"—followed by fast and loud footsteps.
When she sees Karen and Hikari, she knows exactly what's going to happen next and starts recording once more.
"Karen-chan! Hikari-chan! Get back here!"
Nana can't help but laugh loudly as she records the entire thing. It truly was just a normal night for the stage girls at Seisho Academy.