Good Luck in the Golden Classroom (GLITGC)
The wind blew. The skies grew grey. Then, rain fell.
Rain pattered on the thin roof, threatening to flow in. It has announced the arrival of a horrible storm through the leaks dripping from the ceiling. And I was frantically catching raindrops with a few containers.
Hah, if only I was catching money instead of rain, I’d be rich enough to fix my roof, but heaven wasn’t so kind.
But here I waited for my mother to come home; Perhaps I should prepare hot tea for her when she comes home; she must be cold. So, I filled the kettle and ignited the fire.
Then, I heard distressing voices through the thin walls of my small home.
At first, I thought it was a random, street rumble. Occasionally, I’d meet unpleasant personalities around my neighborhood; fights were common, but this loud argument involved a voice of a desperate woman——a voice I couldn’t ignore.
I snatched up something and my slippers and rushed outside. The voice’s owner belonged to a person I knew.
“Mom!” She was sitting down on the wet ground, leaning by our rundown apartment’s wall. Just now she was pushed by a sizeable man looming over her. “You! What do you think you’re doing!?”
“Why?” he spoke in a gruff voice, roughened with age. Unlike his actions, he looked someone noble, with his grey hair that displayed his years of wisdom and experience. And yet, here he stood on an infamous street, throwing down a weaker woman. “It’s well within my right; She has been too conspicuous recently. That’s bad for my image, you know that well.”
“Don’t speak to me like my mentor! You’ve never taught me anything!” I shouted and kneeled to my mother, concerned for her condition. She was knocked almost unconscious. She couldn’t stand by herself, and I was made weak by the pressure, unable to assist. “Mom, we have to get inside.”
She weakly turned her face close to mine, “S—son, I’m sorry.” Her voice was weak, but I somehow heard it through the loud rain. “I got fired.”
“It is what she says,” he concurred. Somehow, he also heard her——such fact angered me.
“I see that you’re doing away with us.” I gritted my teeth. I knew someday this would happen, factoring the personality of his.
“I’ve taught a smart boy.”
“I’ve taught myself.”
“So, if you do understand, it’s time for us to part ways—”
I pulled out that something I snatched on the way out. I made the extra effort to shuffle through my cabinets to get this. This paper represented the importance of something greater——a contingent. Then, I showed it to him.
“You see this?”
The caddish man squinted his eyes. He didn’t wear his usual, thick glasses, but when he recognized them, he quickly grabbed them from my hand, nearly ripping them, but I yieldingly released.
“W—what’s this!?” He looked at the paper and me. “How’d you get this!?” his voice ever increasing——ever growing in terror.
“It’s a collateral.”
“What are you going to do with this?” he quickly calmed himself, controlling his tone.
“Oh, you know, expose it?”
“Why, you…” But, he seemed to have found a flaw in my plan. He began tearing the wet paper into pieces until what remained of it was soaked fragments, akin to raindrops that fell from the sky. “What are you going to do now? Even if this sees the light of day, do you think anyone will believe you?”
“So, you’re testing me. Don’t worry, I’m prepared to prove it to you.” I contacted someone on my phone and waited for a few moments, staring at him with a smirk.
And, his phone rang, and he attended to the call. His eyes widened; his mouth struggled to hide his gritting teeth. His eyebrows danced between anger and confusion.
“If you do understand, it’s time for you to listen to my demands.”
And the kettle started screaming.
What is success?
Is it the completion of a goal? Is the satisfaction from work? Is it the result of one’s actions? Or is it the complete domination of something?
As for me, it’s one of them, that is success.
One of those accomplishments was right in front of me: MONO Academy.
A high school for the rich and prestigious. But don’t get it wrong; students here deserved such esteem because not only were they rich, but they were also geniuses, at least from what I heard from many people.
Since junior high, I’ve worked hard to earn admission to this school. But, with hard work comes hardships. People around me thought I was crazy, while classmates around thought I was a nerd whose life never left the study table. But they had no idea of my master plan.
I was preparing for my far future while everyone else was dilly-dallying. I’ve made it my goal to make the most of my high school life in all aspects——be it academics, stature, relations, and convenience.
Fortunately for me, I was somehow noticed by the recently-founded academy which gave me a full-time scholarship with all of my expenses paid for. I was overjoyed at the news, then looked around.
I realized I lived such a lonely life in a rental apartment. My mom rarely visited, and I was unaware of whether my father was living or not. Either way, my mom took great care of me, especially on the financial side of things. I was grateful for that. But I also wondered where and how she got much money; I’d like to work that too.
The academy was a tower in the middle of a growing city. The environment was so different from the suburbs where I grew up. The academy was somewhat self-sustaining as it had a dormitory built into it. And from the paperwork I had to sign, I saw that most necessities were provided——a cafeteria, which was like a high-class restaurant, a gymnasium, a pool, courts for all varieties of sports, a green park on the rooftop, and lastly a mall that occupied many floors.
In other words, I was to move to another world. I looked back to my empty apartment, but it didn’t seem to change even with my few belongings removed; I didn’t own much but only the necessities. Once again, I pondered my junior high school life which seemed colder, darker, and lonelier than the future that lay ahead of me.
I breathed deeply before stepping out thinking, ‘A step out is a step in a new endeavor.’
The entrance gate was grand. Before the gate was a driveway for the expensive cars that were dropping off their sons and daughters. The entrance was bustling with students coming through the outdoor foyer which looked like a train station’s ticket gates. I could hear the frequent beeps louder as I approached. I checked myself and my pockets if I had forgotten something. Then a thought panicked me, ‘Where’s my uniform?’
But I remembered that there was no school uniform required——a fact that gave me a sigh of relief because usually, I had to pay for it.
I’ve hesitated once and decided to never hesitate again. This time, I walked confidently, mimicking everyone around me who walked with pride. I thought I needed to blend it with them.
I had to because everyone knew each other since university, and everyone was in the same grade. So, everyone was starting their high school as I did.
And now, I’ve arrived at the ticket-like system of gates. I sensed the person before me grow impatient, so I let them pass first. Then, I took my turn, but I didn’t exactly know what to do here. I glanced left and right and noticed they were carrying cards with photos of themselves.
“ID! ID!” One shouted. I looked up and it was a guard hollering at me. “You’re slowing the other people!”
“Sorry! I’m sorry!” I patted my pockets for the said ID card, but I remembered I wasn’t issued one. I left the gates and went around to get closer to the guard at a talking distance. “Excuse me, but I don’t have an ID. I do have this though.” I dropped my backpack and pulled out a folder that contained a paper with my school credentials. I showed the paper to the guard who told me to wait.
The students that were entering grew fewer and fewer, and the sun was ascending higher and hotter causing me to sweat more and more. Then, a school bell rang. The bell sounded like the bells from churches, albeit more polished. I looked through the silver gates and saw a gold-plated bell that was ringing a soothing, signaling sound. Of course, such a wealthy school should have a legitimate bell. Bells were expensive from what I’ve heard.
As if the bell summoned somebody, a beautiful, mature woman wearing a black blazer paired with a pencil skirt appeared behind the bell and approached the gates. I was bewitched by her beauty, so I couldn’t help but stare for a few moments.
I noticed the guards fixing their demeanor in respect to her and saluted, “Madam Principal, good morning!” they said.
“Good morning,” she replied a bit lazily. Then, her eyes looked at me. “Oh, it’s you, the new student. Come, come inside.”
While she was saying this, the guards were opening the gates for me. These guards had good intuition, not needing to be commanded to do something.
“Ah, yes, thank you,” I said, not to her, but to the guards. Then, I stood before her. “Good morning, Ms. Yamashita.”
“Oh, you knew my name, huh? That’s rare. Anyways, I still have to finalize some things for you, so follow me to my office.” Her voice was kind, but also commanding. She spoke with authority without needing to display it. It seemed like my heart was pulled by strings at the mercy of her hand.
I had nothing to say except, “I understand.”
We entered the grand reception of the skyscraper school. It seemed like I was going to a high-end condominium rather than a school. But maybe I ought to call it an academy; it seemed like the academy was a level higher than a school. Perhaps that was the reason for the extravagance.
I stepped onto the gold-mirror flooring which made me feel undeserving. The spaciousness of the school amazed me. I usually look to the sky to calm myself, so my first instinct was to look up to the ceiling. A legitimate, fire-lit chandelier was above me, a chandelier amongst others. But that chandelier wasn’t the largest. There were more chandeliers of the same size that surrounded a larger, prettier chandelier. Wasn’t this a huge fire hazard? All so much for the LED lights that were on the ceiling.
I looked down, feeling disorientated, and yet again, something shocked me: I was falling face down to the floor.
But a hand caught me by my arm and pulled me back up. It was Principal Miyu who had saved my face from being crushed onto the mirror-like floor.
“Oh, aren’t you a clumsy one?” she said.
Now that I was staring at the floor, I saw the reflection of someone’s underskirt.
“Black, isn’t it? I like the color,” I said with a straight face as I fixed myself.
“What’s with that all of the sudden?”
“Nothing. I felt I was blacking out. Thank you.”
“You’re a weird one.”
She led me to the numerous elevators near the reception desk. I looked around and saw a large double door behind the reception. There was a sign next to it that said, ‘Assembly Hall.’
The reception was spacious, but it wasn’t large enough to fill the entire building, so I thought that the Assembly Hall was rather large.
As I was lost in my thoughts about the building’s structure, I heard a ding. The elevator doors open.
“This way,” she led.
Even the elevator was rather spacious——it could fit about twenty people in here. After all, each classroom occupied a floor in the academy tower, and there were many students too, to my surprise. It seemed like there were more wealthy people than I thought there were, and more than how many I thought would attend such an expensive school.
The elevator buttons were marked, not by floors, but by classroom names and places. For example, Principal Miyu pressed ‘Principal’s Office’ as her destination. I read the buttons. Indeed, I saw a floor named, ‘The Mall’—actually, buttons named ‘The Mall’ with specifics added after.
Finally, after some moments of awkward elevator music, we arrived at the Principal’s Office.
Immediately, I was greeted by red carpets, brown walls, and brightly-lit, black ceilings. Though, maybe the black ceiling ruined the harmonic mood into a frightening, royal room. As to make the room more horrifying, red curtains were drawn. The sunlight transilluminated through causing the room to glow red.
“So, you do like the color black a lot,” I commented. I reckoned her second favorite color was red.
“Indeed, yes. I’m even wearing black today.”
Which ones were black? She wore black clothes too. Perhaps she was referring to outside and inside.
I followed her to her exceedingly long desk where a monitor was lonely placed. “Have a seat,” she said as she pointed to the velvety, leather guest chairs.
She sat in her more superior chair, and I sat in the inferior chair, but I bet both were equally comfortable. Maybe, I’d like the armrest too though.
“Here,” she pushed a rectangular card on the table, “your R-Card. With this you can claim all the food you’d like and receive the allowance for your wants in the Mall——may it be needs or hobbies. The academy doesn’t really care; just don’t buy anything illegal.” She chuckled.
“Um,” I raised my hand, “question.”
“What is the ‘R’ in the R-Card?”
“That’s your class assignment.”
“I know, that’s what I’ve been seeing in my papers, but it doesn’t say what it means.”
“It means ‘Rhodium.’ You’re in the top class, Rhodium, which was evaluated according to your performance at the preparatory school. There are three other classes below you——Iridium, Palladium, and Gold. Gold is the lowest one while Iridium is the highest.”
What was with those divisions? It made it seem like one was higher than the other, but aren’t all rich people just wealthy? Why the need to have a discriminating system?
But more importantly, I was in the highest class. I didn’t think I deserved this. I may have worked hard, probably nearing my life’s end at some point. But what will the other people think? A mere scholar assigned to the top of the class?
With those concerns in mind, I voiced them out to the principal. “I don’t think I can accept it,” I pushed the card back to her.
“What? You don’t want to study here after all?”
“That’s not what I meant. I…”
“I don’t think I deserve to be in such a class.”
“Don’t tell me you’re—”
“I’d like to be in Class Gold.”