Chapter 9:

Aina Pare is a Shipsexual Part 1

The Mildpowered Virgins of Novylion High


Hello! How are you? I hope you are doing well. I’m amazingly awesome too thank you for asking. Let me introduce myself. My name is Aina Pare. I’m fourteen years old and I’m an VIII-class student here at Archemperor Novylion Abode of Learning. Yes, I know fourteen is a little old for still being in class VIII. That too at the beginning of class VIII. Some girls in my class are twelve. Twelve! Can you believe that? Such an innocent age. I am a little older than my classmates because I couldn’t get admission into Archemperor Novylion Abode of Learning when I was four years old. And my Mom, being my Mom, was like, if our daughter has to go to school, it’ll be to the best school in Port Shōripur, not some backwater government-run shack. So we tried again next year and yay! I got in! Bookmark here

I’m as normal as an VIII-class student can be. What? That was a joke! I’m totally weird. Ha ha. And, you know, I don’t have a lot of friends in my class. I hit it off better with the seniors in the volleyball team and that’s good because I have to play with the seniors and not my classmates because the tournament eligibility is based on age, not what standard you’re in. Bookmark here

But why don’t I have friends in my class, you ask? It’s so frustrating when all these boys come up to you and act all friendly and they help you with everything and they talk to you so sweetly and crack jokes with you and you feel like, nice, this could be a really good friendship and then bam! One month later they’re calling you at night and saying, hey, listen, Aina, I have something I want to talk to you about… I really, really like you. Ugh! Don’t you hate it when that happens? Bro, we had such a good thing going! But you have to let them down gently, so to say. You have to take care not to hurt their feelings and everything and it becomes such a huge pain! And then the friendship’s all ruined too. They stay connected for a month after the rejection and then they disappear. How rude! Bookmark here

As for the girls in my class, they’re always calling me a ‘try-hard’ who’s always competing with everyone over every little thing and I’m like, duh! I don’t have the luxury of youth like you beautiful bitches. I’ve got to make up for all the months I’ve lost! I’ve got to be the best or nearly the best at whatever I do. Or at least so memorable that future generations sing epic poems about my exploits. In this matter, again, I have better relations with my seniors. They are my seniors so they’ll naturally be better than me at many things and I have to respect that. The only field in which I compete with my seniors is volleyball. And competition and the pursuit of excellence is encouraged and rewarded in sports, so anyone taking offence at my success is not worthy of being mentioned even. Bookmark here

The girls in my class also aren’t too fond of me because I always keep rejecting so many boys and then directing their passions towards other girls. On that count, I plead guilty, milord. This is a problem with me. It’s almost like an obsession. The girls are always annoyed with me and one of them once said to me, ‘I don’t care if you reject every man on this planet. Just don’t use us as handkerchiefs to wipe them off.’ Sheesh. How did it get to this, you ask?Bookmark here

When I was little, I had one whole year where I didn’t go to school but I was big enough then to remember stuff and be aware of stuff. I had nothing to do all day so I just sat around watching cartoons and TV shows and reading manga. I especially loved sitting with my mom, watching daily soaps in the afternoon. Romance was, and is, my favourite genre. And I always had this nagging feeling at the back of my head: if the main hero and the main heroine love each other so much, why don’t they just say so? Why do they have to drag it out for hundreds of episodes? Bookmark here

So, in my little head, I figured out that the main hero and the main heroine don’t actually love each other at all. They’re not the soulmates that we’ve been told they are. The heroine actually loves the hero’s best friend and the hero loves the heroine’s sister. This is how I was introduced to the world of ‘shipping’. Every character in every piece of media, irrespective of gender and sexuality, could be a potential partner for every other character in every other piece of media. I fantasised about these things all the time. I drew so many sketches that were so improper, I just blush when I look at them. Omigosh! Don’t ask to see them. It’s so embarrassing. I indulged myself in this kind of twisted thinking so much that it became normal to me. And it started bleeding into real life. I couldn’t think about having a love life of my own at all. I was only interested in the affairs of others. I couldn’t get enough of all the gossip that was floating around in the classroom. Bookmark here

I don’t know what to call my condition. Am I an extrasexual? A shipsexual? An aliasexual? Maybe an anthropologist will study me some day and come up with the correct term. It’s a real thing too. I know it for sure. And how do I know? Well, the universe answered my prayers and thoughts and gave me a guṇa that perfectly fit my inclinations. Bookmark here

I have the power to make anyone become mildly interested in anyone else for a day. I discovered it when I started noticing that all my headcanon when it came to my classmates’ relationships, often became canon-canon, that is to say, real. These flights of fancy that had sprung out of my mind usually wouldn’t last too long, usually. Maybe three days, maybe a week. And always, the girl would be thinking, ‘Wait, why did I like that guy in the first place?’ I conducted some tests in secret and I found out the limits and specificities of my guṇa. The infatuation only lasts for a day. It’s easily broken if the infatuee does something gross or weird or unattractive in front of the infatuated. It will also be broken if the infatuee tries to make any kind of a physical move on the infatuated. My love rays are too pure, unfortunately. And it doesn’t work at all if the person I use my guṇa on already hates the person I use my guṇa for. Slight distaste can be overcome but hatred cannot.Bookmark here

It got really bad and I started doing it a lot about two or three years ago, when, suddenly… I grew considerably. Now make of that what you will. I’d started playing volleyball and my height had shot up, I meant to say. And I wasn’t pudgy anymore. I was fit and athletic. Boys were all over me all of a sudden. I went from no one ever having paid any attention to me to being confessed to once a month. And I just wanted to scream out to everyone: I really want you all to be happy. Just not with me! Thus, the handkerchief-wiping started and my reputation’s never really recovered.Bookmark here

I’ve never told anyone about my guṇa explicitly but everyone’s kind of figured it out – I think. And that’s why they stay away from me. It is kind of creepy, I guess. To have your emotions manipulated by someone else, even for a day. To like someone you actually don’t, even for a day.Bookmark here

Out of respect for the autonomy of every individual’s free will, I’ve stopped using my guṇa. But the damage has been done. So, I just focus on academics and volleyball and debating and the clarinet and, of course, in my free time, my spicy sketches that I keep in a secret location that I’ll never ever tell anyone about. Bookmark here

But you must be bored now. So far, it’s all been backstory. What about the story-story? Don’t worry, it starts in the next paragraph. Bookmark here

On Wednesday, 22nd April, when I was coming back from morning sports practice and heading towards the changing rooms, I saw a boy from my class talking to Jitsu-senpai. Jitsu-senpai! He’s so cool. Of course, everyone in the school knows him. He’s the principal’s grandson. He’s tall, has prominent cheekbones and wavy blond hair. Not the fittest guy I’ve seen but not fat either. I bet his eyes are beautiful too. But he looks so cool with his sunglasses too! Somehow, I’ve never heard any gossip about Jitsu-senpai. Like, never. If he’d ever had a girlfriend, I’m sure I would’ve heard about it. Wait. When I think about it, I’ve never heard anyone talking about Jitsu-senpai even as a friend. Is he a recluse? Is he secretly a creep? No, I would’ve heard if he were a creep. Maybe my sample is wrong. Most of the seniors I talk to are into sports and Jitsu-senpai can’t play most sports. So maybe he’s just not that friendly with sportspeople. The possibilities are endless. What kind of a match would be suitable for him? Maybe a quiet, reserved kind of girl. But that’s too similar to his own characteristics. Or is it? It’s not like I know him. Every romance needs some tension and some conflict that can then be resolved. What would be the opposite of his—Bookmark here

Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. I realised that the boy from my class was pointing towards me. Was Jitsu-senpai asking him about me? No no no no, Jitsu-senpai. You don’t want me. I’m no good for you. You especially don’t want to open your account with me. I mean he is handsome. And he is a senior. The rumours would be wild. But the rumours would be about me, stupid! You can’t participate in rumours about yourself. It’s just a firsthand account then.Bookmark here

Then I saw he was heading towards me. No, Jitsu-senpai! You want someone else. How about a bubbly type? A sweet one? A tsundere? A kuudere? Or maybe you’re kinky and want a yandere? Can I interest you in a brochure? Crap, he’s right in front of me! Bookmark here

‘Hello. I’m Jitsu Satanetra. Nice to meet you.’Bookmark here

‘Jitsu-senpai, please consider someone else! I’m a fujoshi!’Bookmark here

Oh no. I said that out loud. What if he’s just asking me if I could lend a pen or something? Crap! I’ve messed up big time! What am I gonna do now? My face was red as a dead robin. Oh, but he can’t see all too well, I guess. So maybe I’m safe.Bookmark here

‘What’s a fujoshi?’ Jitsu-senpai asked. No! My image is forever ruined. What if Jitsu-senpai is a fan of gossip just like me? I’m done for. Bookmark here

‘Nothing. Forget I said anything.’ I started walking away before I could say anything else embarrassing. Bookmark here

‘Oh, please forgive me if I’ve interrupted something. It wasn’t my intention to disturb you. You must be tired from sports practice. Maybe I could come back at a better time when it’s convenient for you. I have something very important I’d like to ask you.’ Bookmark here

‘No… it’s nothing like that. I should be the one apologising. I just… got a little flustered. What… What do you want to ask me?’ Please don’t ask me to go out with you, senpai. It’ll be so difficult rejecting someone so courteous and handsome who also happens to be blind. Or partially blind, I guess, since he could see me walking away. Wait, how much of me can he see? Is he after me for my looks?Bookmark here

‘I was just chatting with some of your classmates and, you know, I learnt some stuff about you…’ This is going in the wrong direction. I don’t like it. ‘And I found out that you’re, uh, quite knowledgeable about classroom trivia, if I’m not mistaken. Forgive my choice of words. I do not mean to offend you.’ Bookmark here

‘Don’t apologise, senpai. You used the kindest words possible to say that my mouth is a whore that can’t keep its lips shut.’ Oops. I said that out loud too? I said that out loud in front of a senpai the first time I met him. Again, what’s wrong with me?Bookmark here

He was surprised for a second but then he laughed. ‘That’s quite a way to put it,’ he said.Bookmark here

‘It is a bit vulgar. I’m sorry.’Bookmark here

‘Don’t worry. I’ve heard much worse things. Although, I bet it doesn’t apply to you. It would, probably, apply to one of my classmates.’Bookmark here

‘Are you talking about Rushil-senpai?’Bookmark here

He laughed again. ‘You are very clever. You know Rushil?’Bookmark here

‘Everyone knows Rushil-senpai. He’s in a different league when it comes to gossip.’ I don’t like that man at all. I use gossip for my own entertainment but he uses gossip to make other people’s lives miserable. ‘But I’ve also gotten to know him a little better recently,’ I added, ‘because he hangs around Pushpako-senpai quite often. And we’re both in the volleyball team so that’s how I know her.’Bookmark here

‘That is whom I wanted to talk to you about, actually. You must be a mind reader,’ he said, smiling. Bookmark here

‘Please. I’m no mind reader. You want to talk to me about Pushpako-senpai?’Bookmark here

‘Yes.’ Oh yeah! He isn’t interested in me! He’s interested in someone else! This is what I’ve always wanted. Woo-hoo! I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Bookmark here

‘Jitsu-senpai, I love you!’Bookmark here

‘What now?’Bookmark here

‘I mean, not love-you love you. But I love that you’ve come to me for advice. This is the first time someone’s shared their woes with me. You have no idea how happy this makes me.’ Bookmark here

‘Oh. I’m relieved. You scared me for a second. What I want to ask you is what her nature’s like. Pushpako’s, I mean. We are in the same class but, for certain reasons, we aren’t really friends and I cannot just—’Bookmark here

‘Oh, so you’re the shy kind?’Bookmark here

‘No. You misunderstand. Shyness has nothing to do with it.’ My God. He’s so cute! He’s never even talked to her, I bet. This must be a case of love at first sight.Bookmark here

‘Sure. Sure. Don’t worry. I’ll tell you what she’s like. Speaking as her teammate, she’s very proud. She never takes no for an answer. She’s very determined. As a leader, she always keeps up the morale of the team. She has a great sense of ethics. She can also be quite the taskmaster. But she also has a soft side and she always stands up for her teammates.’ Bookmark here

‘Thank you for that information.’Bookmark here

‘My pleasure.’Bookmark here

‘Now for my next question.’Bookmark here

‘Shoot.’Bookmark here

‘Has she been… interacting with any new companions recently? Of the opposite gender, specifically.’Bookmark here

‘I told you. Rushil-senpai.’Bookmark here

‘Not him. We all know what Rushil’s like and there is nothing to worry about there. Please think about it for a second and tell me if there’s anyone else that comes to mind.’Bookmark here

‘Umm… Oh! Yeah, Puna-senpai’s been talking to her for about a week. He comes around just as Rushil-senpai leaves for the cricket ground.’Bookmark here

‘Puna Maiwal?’Bookmark here

‘Yes.’Bookmark here

‘Puna Maiwal, the badminton player?’Bookmark here

‘That’s him.’Bookmark here

‘Thank you for confirming my suspicions.’ Hey, so he already knew? ‘Now, for my final question. I hope you’ll entertain me just a little bit further.’Bookmark here

‘Gladly.’Bookmark here

He paused for a second. Looked like he was preparing himself for something. ‘Is Pushpako Inura interested in Puna Maiwal romantically? Yes or no.’Bookmark here

‘Umm…’ Oh no. I actually have no idea. The mood around the volleyball court’s been so sour because of Rushil-senpai that I’ve been leaving as soon as I can. I’ve only seen Pushpako-senpai and Puna-senpai from a distance. I don’t know what their relationship is like. And Rushil-senpai hovers around her so much longer that anyone else fades into the background. I know she doesn’t like Rushil-senpai. But what about Puna-senpai? They could be a couple for all I know. What kind of an idiot am I? This amazing thing was happening right in front of me and I was ignoring it? I’m a disgrace as a shipsexual.Bookmark here

‘Please, just say yes or no…’ Jitsu-senpai’s knees were shaking. ‘If you don’t know for sure, go with your gut. Just answer with a yes or a no and nothing else. That’s really, really important. That you answer with a yes or a no. But quickly, please. Very quickly. Like, within the next five seconds.’Bookmark here

Am I doing something bad here? Is this a love triangle that I shouldn’t be poking my nose into? What if Pushpako-senpai doesn’t want anyone to know? Have I just made a really big mistake? I need to do something about it.Bookmark here

‘Just, please. Yes or no. Quickly. What are you even thinking about?’ Jitsu-senpai looked like he was in pain. He was very close to me too. He looked desperate.Bookmark here

‘Uhh… No?’Bookmark here

‘Thank you for your answer. Now I must go.’ He turned around and started walking really fast. Oh no. What have I done? What if he’s trying to hide his tears? Have I made him feel that sad? Bookmark here

‘Wait! Jitsu-senpai!’ I shouted.Bookmark here

He turned around and his face was full of anguish. Poor guy. ‘What is it?’ he asked, almost on the verge of crying.Bookmark here

‘Are you alright? I mean—’Bookmark here

‘Damn it, woman, make it quick! I need to take a shit!’Bookmark here

‘Huh? Take a shit?’ That’s a really gross excuse. Geez. The lengths men go to to hide their emotions…Bookmark here

‘What is it? Why did you stop me?’ Bookmark here

‘Uhh… Meet me during recess.’ Bookmark here

‘Fine! What class are you in?’ Bookmark here

‘VIII-B.’Bookmark here

‘OK!’Bookmark here

He bolted off at the speed of sound and I was left speechless.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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