Chapter 1:

The Greatest Mistake of My Life

The Pride of A Banchou

I stood dazed in the middle of the school yard, my mind refusing to believe that such a cliché situation was happening right now.Bookmark here

“Oi, you’re a new student?”Bookmark here

“Don’t you know that you have to pay money every time you pass through the school gate, huh?”Bookmark here

Two male students, whose appearance basically screamed ‘delinquents’ with extra piercings, sloppy uniforms, and crass way of speaking, blocked my way and started demanding my money right off the bat.Bookmark here

…how did I get here in the first place?” I stared blankly at them.Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

My name was Shiba Ryuuji, and I was an average high school student that you could find anywhere. I had a plain face with black eyes and black hair just like any other Japanese. With my average height and appearance, I never stood out much—on the contrary, I blended in so well with the crowds that you wouldn’t realize I was there.Bookmark here

I attended a public high school at the town where I grew up, perfectly content with being an ordinary student. Then one day, out of the blue, my parents announced that we had to move to another town because of my father’s work. Fortunately, it was nearing the end of semester, thus I could transfer schools right as I entered my second year.Bookmark here

“Eh?! You’re transferring away?!”Bookmark here

During lunch break, one of my classmates, a boy who always sat next to me, exclaimed in surprise when he learned of my family situation.Bookmark here

“Yeah.” I answered curtly.Bookmark here

“Which school will you attend?” Another classmate, a girl who was my childhood friend, asked.Bookmark here

“Sakurasaki Academy.”Bookmark here

Among the many schools that were available in that town, I chose a private school since I figured it would be a good track record for me in the future. From what I knew, Sakurasaki Private Academy was quite famous for being an elite, well-disciplined school that produced many talented graduates.Bookmark here

With my current grades, the entrance exam posed no problem to me. Once I graduated from such elite school, I imagined colleges would line up to readily accept a brilliant student like me and my future career would surely be a smooth sailing. If I had a lot of money and a stable career, I would have no trouble finding a girlfriend—a perfect, fool-proof plan!Bookmark here

“Hehe…hehehe…”Bookmark here

“Uh…Shiba? Are you okay, man?”Bookmark here

My male classmate shook my shoulder and snapped me out from my thoughts.Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, I’m okay. What are we talking about just now?” I acted like nothing strange happened.Bookmark here

“Are you…really going to transfer to Sakurasaki Academy?” My childhood friend asked carefully.Bookmark here

“Yeah, what’s wrong?” I tilted my head.Bookmark here

“Eh, seriously?! That Sakurasaki Academy?!” My male classmate widened his eyes.Bookmark here

“Yes, I am. What’s so wrong with that?” I sighed in annoyance.Bookmark here

“N-No…well, if that’s what you want…good luck, then!” He clapped my shoulder and shot me a look of pity.Bookmark here

At that time, I wondered why he would send such a pitying look to me. It wasn’t until I stepped through the school gate that I realized the biggest mistake I’d made in my life.Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

“Oi bastard, are you ignoring us?!”Bookmark here

“I’m telling you, take out your wallet now!”Bookmark here

My reminiscing was cut short as one of the delinquents grabbed my collar.Bookmark here

All the other students averted their eyes and kept walking as if they didn’t see my predicament.Bookmark here

Why the hell did I choose this school in the first place?!” I glared at the delinquent, desperately wishing that I could turn back time and beat up my past self for making such an idiotic mistake.Bookmark here

“Didn’t you hear us?! Give us your money!”Bookmark here

“Are you defying us, huh?!”Bookmark here

I gritted my teeth, recalling the disaster this morning.Bookmark here

Today was my first day of school and I walked to school cheerfully, oblivious to the gravest mistake in my life. I followed the route to school that I had researched beforehand and arrived without any incident.Bookmark here

“Hmm…so this is my new school.” I stood in front of the school gates.Bookmark here

It was a huge, classy building with the majestic appearance befitting of an elite private school. Many of the students milling around the school yard were reading books or conversing amicably with their friends, making them the picturesque example of intelligent and elite students.Bookmark here

“Well then, I’d better get going too…”Bookmark here

As I was about to step inside the gate, a huge-built security officer grabbed my shoulder.Bookmark here

“Brat, where do you think you’re going?!” He growled at me.Bookmark here

“Huh? I’m a new student here.” I tilted my head in confusion. “Did I miss something? Am I supposed to hand over some documents before I enter?”Bookmark here

“Hah! As if I’d fall for such cheap tricks! If you want to sneak inside, at least wear the right uniform, brat!” The man roared.Bookmark here

“H-Huh?!” I looked down at my outfit and realized that my uniform was different from other students.Bookmark here

Mine was plain white shirt, with regular black blazer and black pants. Oher students of Sakurazaki Academy wore soft, pastel-colored blazer on top of their white shirt, with wooden brown, checker-patterned pants.Bookmark here

“B-But…I transferred to this school! There must be a mistake with the uniform…!”Bookmark here

“Are you still trying to trick me?! I’m calling the cops!” The man reached out for his phone.Bookmark here

“Wai—aren’t you exaggerating?! Why would you need to call the cops?!” I hurriedly stopped him.Bookmark here

“Haa?! It’s clearly because you’re a Sakurasaki student, right?!” The security said it in such a matter-of-fact tone.Bookmark here

“Sakurasaki…? Isn’t that this school’s name?!” I started feeling a bit dizzy, like I couldn’t breathe.Bookmark here

“What are you talking about?! This is Sakurazaki Private Academy! Are you mocking me, you brat?!”Bookmark here

“Sakurazaki?!”Bookmark here

At this word, I felt like everything clicked inside my mind.Bookmark here

My friends’ reaction.Bookmark here

The different uniform.Bookmark here

The security’s rude acts.Bookmark here

“H-Hey…by any chance…is Sakurasaki Academy a different school from Sakurazaki Academy…?” I slowly asked, despite knowing the answer.Bookmark here

The security looked at me with puzzled look, as if it was obvious. “Well duh! This is the renowned private school, Sakurazaki Private Academy! Sakurasaki Academy is right next to this school! Who would be stupid enough to mistake…?! Wait, don’t tell me…”Bookmark here

The security finally realized it.Bookmark here

“…did you transfer to the wrong school?”Bookmark here

“NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I fell to my knees, cursing my carelessness of not double-checking the school’s name.Bookmark here

After that, I went straight to the principal’s office, practically begging him to allow me to transfer to his school, but he said that if I were to transfer here, I would have to pay the tuition in full—which was impossible for my parents right now.Bookmark here

Having been thoroughly refused, I plodded toward the school next door—the Sakurasaki Academy. Its appearance contrasted its neighbor with white, plain walls and standard-sized buildings that seemed so minimalistic and practical. It had none of Sakurazaki Academy’s majestic appearance and seemed like any ordinary public school.Bookmark here

And thus, we arrived at my current situation.Bookmark here

“Ugh…!” I groaned when one of the delinquents shoved me to the ground.Bookmark here

“Oi transfer student, hurry up and give us your money!!” He put his face right in front of me. “Or do you need a beating first to get it, hah?!”Bookmark here

“If you don’t do as we say, you’ll regret it, you know!” The other guy started cracking his fists, seemingly eager to beat down the pitiful new transfer student—me.Bookmark here

As I was contemplating whether to try to run away or just give up, my eyes caught the shadow of something coming toward us in high speed.Bookmark here

“Um…over there—” I pointed behind them.Bookmark here

“Haa?!”Bookmark here

“What is it?!”Bookmark here

It was useless—they were too focused on intimidating me to look behind.Bookmark here

“That’s…”Bookmark here

Before I could finish my sentence, that ‘something’ flew at us and landed a beautiful dropkick on one of the delinquents’ head.Bookmark here

“Gebuh—?!” He was flung to the side, crashing into his partner and both of them ended up sprawling on the ground.Bookmark here

“You idiots!”Bookmark here

As if replacing the two delinquents, this time a petite female student was standing in front of me. With hand on her hips, she was glaring at the two. She had a pair of conspicuous, fiery red ruby eyes that instantly captured my attention. With neatly cut, long black hair, she looked like the perfect picture of an ojou-sama from a distinguished family—if it weren’t for the fact that she just blew away two male students with one kick.Bookmark here

“What do you think you’re doing, terrorizing other student like this?!” She snapped at them.Bookmark here

Ah, finally, someone with common sense came to my rescue.” I thought in relief. But when I recalled her dropkick earlier, I retracted my impression. “Well at least someone did save me.Bookmark here

“Ugh…! It’s Kagura!”Bookmark here

“R-Run…!”Bookmark here

The two delinquents fumbled to their feet, seemingly terrified of her.Bookmark here

Well yeah, I would be scared as well if a random girl suddenly dropkicked me in the head.Bookmark here

“Wait! How dare you just run away?!” The girl let out an intense bloodlust at them. “Don’t you know that if you make a mistake, you have to apologize?!”Bookmark here

Right, right, I nodded along with her words. The two froze in place, unable to meet her eyes.Bookmark here

“Listen, I’ve told you many times—the front gate is my territory! You can go pick on someone else for all I care, but anyone who passes the front gate is my prey! Get that into your thick skulls, you idiots!”Bookmark here

That’s righ—eh? I was about to nod again when her words finally registered in my mind.Bookmark here

“Say what?!” I blurted out.Bookmark here

The girl turned toward me, narrowing her eyes.Bookmark here

“What, you’ve got a problem with that?” She replied sharply.Bookmark here

If I was in my usual condition, I would probably just shake my head and tried not to attract her attention. However, after receiving so much shock therapy today, my self-restraint was nowhere to be seen.Bookmark here

“There’s a lot to retort!” I stood up. “I thought you were against them bullying me?! And what’s this about your territory?! Are you actually a delinquent as well?!”Bookmark here

The girl examined me intently, as if she had stumbled upon a rare species. “You, are you a new student here?”Bookmark here

“Huh? Y-Yeah…” I nodded.Bookmark here

“Then, let me introduce myself.” The girl grinned. Her expression instantly turned fierce like a predator ready to pounce on its prey. “I’m Sakuya. Kagura Sakuya. The [Banchou] of this school.”Bookmark here

For a moment, I was rendered speechless.Bookmark here

I thought Banchou was a concept long gone—practically no one used that old title to call the strongest delinquent in the school anymore. But this girl actually went and named herself the Banchou. It was the same as declaring that she was the leader of this school’s delinquents.Bookmark here

“You’re…the Banchou?” I looked at her sceptically. This little girl…?Bookmark here

My thoughts must be written all over my face, since Sakuya’s face darkened and her smile turned even more ominous.Bookmark here

“You’re more interesting than you look, huh? Since you’re very interesting, I’ll offer you my protection. How about it?” Sakuya extended her hand at me.Bookmark here

“Protection? You mean…?” I eyed her warily.Bookmark here

“Yeah, I’ll protect you from those delinquents. In case you don’t know, about twenty percent of this school’s students are delinquents. You look weak, so you’ll definitely be targeted. But if you’re under my protection, no one will dare to mess with you.” Sakuya smirked, as if saying, no one except me.Bookmark here

I stared at her hand, hesitating. It sounded too good to be true, which meant that I must’ve overlooked something.Bookmark here

“What are you hesitating for?” Sakuya sighed. “Most of the normal students here are under my protection. It’s nothing special, so hurry up and make up your mind. Or would you rather be their sandbag for the rest of your school life?” She started retracting her hand.Bookmark here

“W-Wait!! I’ll accept it!” I panicked and grabbed her hand tightly.Bookmark here

Her hand was smaller than I expected and it felt too delicate for a delinquent, but at the same time, her grip was firm and reliable.Bookmark here

Sadly, such positive feelings didn’t hold for long.Bookmark here

“Hey!! What are you doing here?! The first period bell already rang!”Bookmark here

A male student, clearly an upperclassman, ran toward us. Ten out of ten people would say that he was handsome without any doubt, with his perfectly arranged face, tousled black hair, and brilliant black eyes behind his glasses. He was quite tall for someone his age and he was wearing a red band around his upper arm, which signified him as a Student Council officer.Bookmark here

“Kagura, so it was you again!” He glared daggers at Sakuya.Bookmark here

“Tch, such a troublesome guy.” Sakuya clicked her tongue and turned at me. “Well, with this, you’re officially under my protection…who are you again?” Sakuya tilted her head and I realized that I hadn’t given my name.Bookmark here

“I-I’m Shiba Ryuuji.” I answered.Bookmark here

“Ryuu, then.” Sakuya grinned as she casually addressed me. “Listen, your first order from me is…”Bookmark here

“Wait, what? Order? What are you talking about?”Bookmark here

“…to be a decoy for me to escape from here!”Bookmark here

Without caring for my questions, Sakuya pulled me closer and proceeded to kick my back with enough power to send me tumbling toward the Student Council officer.Bookmark here

“Wha—?!” He didn’t have the time to dodge and both of us hit the ground, completely entangled with each other.Bookmark here

“Good work, Ryuu! I’ll definitely reward you later, okay!” After making sure that her ‘human missile’ hit the target, Sakuya immediately escaped and left me behind.Bookmark here

The two delinquents who ambushed me also lost the timing to escape and ended up caught by other Student Council officers who came.Bookmark here

*****Bookmark here

“That girl is seriously messing with me…” I muttered to myself, feeling stupid that I fell for her sweet-talk.Bookmark here

“Hey, can you move aside? I don’t have any interest in being embraced by another guy.” The upperclassman Student Council officer glared at me, who was still lying on top of him.Bookmark here

“O-Oh, sorry.” I hurriedly rolled aside and stood up.Bookmark here

The older student stared at me suspiciously as he rose to his feet and dusted his uniform. “I’ve never seen you before. Are you Kagura’s newest recruit?”Bookmark here

“Is that the first thing that comes to your mind?!” I instantly retorted.Bookmark here

Another Student Council officer, a tall and beautiful female student, came to him and spoke in low voice. “Um, President, I believe he’s the new transfer student that the teachers are talking about.”Bookmark here

“…ah.” The older student seemed to realize his mistake and quickly cleared his throat. “My mistake. I’m Koyama Yuuki, a third-year and the Student Council President. You’re the new transfer student, yes?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. I’m Shiba Ryuuji.” I nodded, letting his mistake slide off.Bookmark here

“Can I ask why are you involved with these two delinquents and Kagura?” Yuuki asked me.Bookmark here

“Well, I went through the school front gate and suddenly those two delinquents ambushed me. They started asking me for money right off the bat. While I was confused, Kagura-san came and kick—scolded them. That’s all that happened.” I explained it as concisely as possible, omitting the part where she offered me her protection.Bookmark here

“Hmm…” Yuuki narrowed his eyes, clearly still doubting me. “Are you absolutely sure that you don’t have any sort of relations with Kagura previously? You’re not secretly her henchman or anything like that?”Bookmark here

“President…I didn’t even know her before today.”Bookmark here

My feelings for Sakuya went past exasperation and into admiration instead. What the heck did she do to make the Student Council President react like this?Bookmark here

Yuuki finally relented. “Very well. Since this is your first day, you probably don’t know that they’re delinquents. However, please be careful not to get involved with them anymore, especially with Kagura Sakuya.” He warned me.Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah, I understand.” I nodded.Bookmark here

“Then, I’ll take you to your classroom. Marika, I’ll leave the rest to you.” Yuuki glanced at the girl next to him.Bookmark here

“Yes, please leave it to me, your vice-president.” The female Student Council officer, Marika, smiled and puffed out her sizeable chest proudly.Bookmark here

I followed behind Yuuki and took a glance toward the two delinquents. They were being interrogated by the other Student Council officers, yet they kept glaring at me hatefully, as if this was all my fault.Bookmark here

“Shiba-kun.” Yuuki called out to me. “Your class is in 2-A, right?”Bookmark here

“A-Ah, yes.” I turned my attention to him. “Um…President. That Kagura-san…which class is she in?” I asked out of curiosity.Bookmark here

“Hm? She’s in Class 2-E. Shiba-kun, you don’t seem to know who Kagura Sakuya is.” Yuuki glanced at me. “Have you never heard of her name before?”Bookmark here

I shook my head. “How would I know that she’s this school’s Banchou?”Bookmark here

Yuuki frowned. “That’s not the point—but for the record, Banchou is just a self-proclaimed title of hers—what matters more is her family name.”Bookmark here

“Kagura…?” I tilted my head, trying to recall if I ever heard such name.Bookmark here

Yuuki sighed. “Kagura is a family of yakuza that had control over the whole Kanto region. And she’s the current heiress that will inherit the family.”Bookmark here

“WHAT?!” I nearly tripped over my own feet.Bookmark here

“Ah, we’re here.” Yuuki stopped in front of my classroom’s door. “That’s why, stay away from Kagura Sakuya. She’s not an ordinary person.”Bookmark here

Leaving behind that warning, Yuuki left to his own classroom. I sighed and knocked on the classroom door.Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
Takahashi  Eien
You can resume reading from this paragraph.