Chapter 9:

Who is Yulan?

52 Hertz

Itsuki Ayane is quite the character. Since day one, she’s been loud, somewhat of an airhead and a very...outspoken student. She is the type to say whatever is on her mind, without grudges or twisted meanings. Whatever she says is sincere, even if it sometimes sounds out of line. Well, she doesn’t just say things. She also does things. Having a knack for tricks and teasing, Itsuki sometimes felt like a walking bomb. You never knew if she was leading you into one of her hundreds of traps and surprises. It seemed that the other students were all already used to her antics, they all laughed and shook their heads as if to say “again?” and went on with their day. On the first day of school, Itsuki’s introduction was very casual.Bookmark here

Itsuki Ayane. Y’all know me. Let’s have another fulfilling year.Bookmark here

She was well known among the students, since the majority had been together for a few years already. Not only that, her family’s stationary store was popular with many girls and even some of the boys would come down to Nakamise to browse the Ayane stationary store on their way. Well, Haruko could see the reason why it was so popular now. The building stood out from the others yet at the same time didn’t. It had the old fashion design of all the other shops, with bright red columns and a white roof. On the sign read: “Ayane Stationary” but someone had scribbled, in red marker, “and confectionary!” under the big letters.Bookmark here

“OI! I”M HOME!”Bookmark here

Itsuki yelled, shoving through the crowds and pulling poor Haruko along. A short and plump young woman with permed hair looked up from behind a busy counter.Bookmark here

“Oh Itsuki! Welcome home. Is that a friend? Welcome, welcome.”Bookmark here

Haruko’s eyes widened as she bowed quickly.Bookmark here

“Ah, pardon the intrusion. Um, it’s not much but here…”Bookmark here

She pulled a bag of sweet oranges from her school bag and handed it to the woman.Bookmark here

“My! You didn’t have to. Please, come in and make yourself at home. Alright! NEXT IN LINE PLEASE! I CAN HELP YOU OVER HERE!”Bookmark here

Haruko looked around. There were people everywhere. Itsuki was tapping on Haruko’s shoulder.Bookmark here

“How the heck do you hide oranges in your school bag all day? Huh? How are they not squashed to death?”Bookmark here

Haruko laughed nervously.Bookmark here

“Come on. Let’s go upstairs. We live upstairs, and mind the store down here.”Bookmark here

Itsuki opened the back door, which had a “staff only!” sign hanging sloppily. The noise of the busy street instantly faded. Itsuki led Haruko to her room while she went to grab some iced tea.Bookmark here

“It’s down the hall, second door to the right. I’ll be right back.”Bookmark here

Haruko stood awkwardly for a moment. When was the last time she visited someone’s house? She needed to be confident! Walking quickly down the hallway, Haruko opened the door Itsuki mentioned with a proud look on her face. There, in the middle of the room, was a short girl with glasses and a bowl cut. She held a big scorpion in her hand and faced the TV. Hearing the door open, she turned around swiftly and dropped the big scorpion on the tatami mats. Haruko yelled.Bookmark here


Itsuki yelled, rushing into the room with the iced tea pitcher.Bookmark here

“??? WHAT IS THIS????”Bookmark here

She grabbed the scorpion violently. Haruko suddenly felt like laughing but kept her mouth shut so as to not look insane.Bookmark here


The little girl gasped as the scorpion wriggled in Itsuki’s hand.Bookmark here

“Ah! Ah! Onee, you’re hurting him!”Bookmark here


“Ah…”Bookmark here

The girl stared at Haruko and pushed up her glasses. Why were her facial expressions so mature even though she looked literally five?Bookmark here

“You have a guest over.”Bookmark here

She bowed slightly.Bookmark here

“Welcome.”Bookmark here

“Okay Yami you can meet her later. We have some IMPORTANT! Business to discuss here so off you go.”Bookmark here

Itsuki said, pushing the girl out of the door and barricading it with a chair.Bookmark here

“Eh HM. HE HM HM.”Bookmark here

Itsuki cleared her throat awkwardly.Bookmark here

“Don’t mind that kid, it's just my baby sister Yami. She has a serious bug collecting addiction.”Bookmark here

“Hah….”Bookmark here

Haruko said in an understanding tone.Bookmark here

Itsuki suddenly looked serious. She poured some tea for the two of them and placed her hands near her mouth, resting her chin.Bookmark here

“Tell me now. Who’s this Yulan guy?”Bookmark here

Haruko choked.Bookmark here

“Th- that’s what you wanted to know?”Bookmark here

“Of course! Why else would I bring you all the way here? I wasn’t going to go shopping with you without even knowing the guy!”Bookmark here

“...Ah… yes that makes sense…”Bookmark here

Haruko sweated a little and avoided eye contact.Bookmark here

“Ohoho Haruko-channn. Don’t look away now. Well if you insist I won’t ask further but…”Bookmark here

“Yulan-san is my father.”Bookmark here

There was a loud silence in the room.Bookmark here

“HUH????”Bookmark here

Itsuki said, jumping up.Bookmark here

“I- I mean, I guess he’s not like my actual father but he’s my mentor.”Bookmark here

“Mentor? mentor? Like… um..”Bookmark here

Itsuki looked troubled.Bookmark here

“Ah, please speak comfortably. There really isn’t much to it. My parents passed when I was five. They say it was a car accident but I don’t know too much about it. Yulan was a friend of my mother and father’s, so he looked after me.”Bookmark here

Itsuki looked dumbfounded.Bookmark here

“S-sorry, I shouldn’t have pried...”Bookmark here

Haruko was exactly afraid of this kind of reaction. There was no need to feel awkward or apologetic, yet people always had the same reaction when hearing about this.Bookmark here

“NO!”Bookmark here

Haruko said loudly, making Itsuki jump.Bookmark here

“I- I mean! Don’t worry about it really! I don’t even think about it, it doesn't bother me at all. Besides, I had a happy life with Yulan-san… even though he’s kind of non-existent.”Bookmark here

“NON-EXISTENT?”Bookmark here

“He is very busy. I haven’t seen him since the beginning of the school year. Still, he should be back for his birthday.”Bookmark here

Itsuki stared at Haruko.Bookmark here

“How old is this dude?”Bookmark here

“Um… I don’t know.”Bookmark here

“You don’t know his age???? Even though he’s lived with y-”Bookmark here

“Itsuki? What’s wrong?”Bookmark here

“Wait. He’s lived with you right? A HIGHSCHOOL GIRL… YOU LIVE WITH THIS GUY AND YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HIS AGE! YOU!”Bookmark here

Itsuki got up once again and put her hand to her mouth, looking like she just learned the world was going to end. Haruko blushed and made a panicked face.Bookmark here

“EH?? NO! NO IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!”Bookmark here




“NO! AH- IT’S NOT-”Bookmark here

The bedroom door banged open, making the chair that was barricading it fly towards the girls. They screeched loudly. Standing in the doorway was no one other than president Kaito, along with the new members Taichi and...Shun.Bookmark here

Real Aire
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