Stars of Aoba
“Alright class,” the teacher in charge of us for the rest of the year starts his speech, “I’m Ichinose Kyoushiro, and you guys of class 1-C will be under my care for your first year. Pleased to meet you, and I hope that we can get along.”
It’s a simple and easy first introduction… if you ignore the fact that through all of that time, he’s been giving the stink eye at my seat. I mean, I don’t blame him or anything. I was the only one that didn’t follow the instructions and stood outside my seat when he came in. And that’s why I’m facing the consequences of my actions by remain standing up right now when everyone else is still sitting.
“High school is a new chapter, the gateway to your adult life. I hope that you will show an appropriate attitude befitting your current stage,” Ichinose-sensei continues, his eyes still not leaving my general premise. “Now, onto introductions. Since you’re standing already, why don’t we start from you?”
Well, not like I didn’t expect this. Let’s just get it over with, I guess.
“My name is Suzuki Tanaka, previously from Amagami Junior High. I… don’t have any particular hobbies that are interesting. Pleased to meet you all.”
Lame, I know. But it is what it is. And it’s not like I meant to do that, or I was hiding anything. I’m really just an ordinary guy like that.
“… Well, continue on,” sensei seems to have no idea how to react to the situation as well. At least I can say that my dull introduction has managed to take someone with decades of teaching experience by surprise, so I have that to be proud of myself.
The rest of the introduction goes by fast. Well, to be frank, I don’t really care too much, and I’m sure the others are the same as me. Take the one next to me – rank 89th, Mikaza Hayato, for example. Unlike Shiraku who has the brain (for some reason) to back him up, Hayato seems like a true and true jock, as ever since he’s done with his introduction, neon boy here has not heard a word.
Well, technically speaking, he still cares about all of this, just in his own way. He’s been talking non-stop to the ones below and to his left, after all.
“Alright, now that we’re done with introductions,” Ichinose-sensei finally sounds to put a stop to the boring process and continues the next event, which is equally of a drag as any other. “It’s time to pick our class representatives. According to Aoba’s tradition, the two top male and female scorers will act as the boys’ and girls’ representatives respectively, do we…”
“Yes, yes, I refuse!” Before sensei can even finish, Shiraku has already answered, raising his hands in glee even though his words just now act more like a nuclear bomb dropping in the middle of the class.
“Kuroshi Shiraku-kun,” Ichinose-sensei adjusts his glasses and glares at the insolent white-haired boy. “Do you have a reason for your refusal?”
“Well, I just think that if you force people to do a job that they don’t like, then they’ll never really get good at it,” the boy explains. And actually, he has a pretty decent point, if I have to be honest.
“You don’t get to choose your job in life, Shiraku-kun.”
“Of course. But I just feel like it’s not fair to assign jobs to specific people right away.”
“… Then what do you have suggested?”
“How about we draw lots? That way, assignments will be random, and anyone that ends up with the job will have to do it. It both ensures a fair way of assessment and serves as practice for us to handle tasks we weren’t ready for in the future, like the original purpose of the assignment.”
Again, this guy is way too smart for who he seems to be. Are we sure this isn’t his brother pulling a prank on everyone by dyeing his hair white or something?
“… Alright, that’s a fair idea. Let’s…”
“Sensei, hold on!” Now it’s Tsunagi’s turn to raise her hand before Ichinose-sensei can finish his announcement. “I can take the role of female representative!”
“Tsunagi Jouko-kun… Well, you are the top-ranking girl in our class. Fair enough. Then we will only draw lots for the male representative. All boys, gather around the blackboard. Shiraku-kun, since you were the one who suggested this, prepare the lots and a box for me.”
“Yes, sir!” Jokingly making a salute to the teacher, Shiraku quickly runs off and returns with an empty cardboard box mere seconds later. Now that’s more like the monster athlete that broke all national records that I was expecting.
Soon enough, the boys in class are all lined up and ready for their turn to draw, starting with Mr. Monster. The orderly method does seem to speed things up a bit, but the suspense is enough to kill anyone.
“Please not me, please not me, …” I can already hear Hayato mumbling behind me as if chanting his last rites. If I turned around right now, I’d be sure to see him putting his hands together and bowing to some god of high schools.
Just at that moment, my eyes catch something quite odd.
Since they’re in the line drawing lots, that has to be a boy like us. But the cutesy look, pink hair, and especially the girl's uniform on them right now all suggest otherwise.
“Uh… the lots are for the boys, you know,” as their slender figure goes past me, I reach out to ask.
“Yeah, I know,” the individual casually answers after dropping the lollipop in their mouth.
“I’m a boy, y’know. What, are you charmed by my looks already?” The self-proclaimed boy lets out a cheeky smile. And as much as I hate to admit it, if he is really what he claims to be, then his appearance might give quite a few girls a run for their money.
“… I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Teehee, your face says otherwise though,” the boy snickers, pointing at me. I can’t see myself, of course, but the blood rushing to my head and the heat I’m feeling right now is more than enough proof to confirm his words.
“Michinari Kei, at your service. And just to be clear, I don’t swing that way, so tough luck for you.”
Playfully sticking out his tongue for a final tease, the oddball named Michinari returns to his seat – diagonally to my left, which is dangerously closer than I thought, in more ways than one.
“Hey, dude! It’s your turn!” Hayato’s pushing on my back drags me back to reality, where I’m now the next recipient of the random lots. Looking at the relieved faces of the ones before me, I can guess that none of them got the short end of the stick so far.
Damn, now my stomach’s acting up. I should not have drunk that can of energy drink.
I take a deep breath.
Well, here goes nothing.
They say “X” marks the spot. For some, it’s a treasure they’ve been searching for their entire lives. For me, it’s the sign of my death sentence.
“God damn it!”
Along with my shout of misery comes the erupting cheer of every boy standing behind me, quickly turning the entire class into a makeshift festival of a herd of monkeys.
“Quiet! Quiet, you all!” Ichinose-sensei slams his giant ruler onto the table, clearing the noise in a heartbeat. “Now, as the results are in, the female and male representatives for the class shall be Tsunagi Jouko-kun and Suzuki Tanaka-kun, are there any objections?”
“No, sir,” Tsunagi answers clearly.
Well, I have to follow suit, but it doesn’t mean that I have to like it. “No, sir…”
The first job of class reps is to hand out the necessary papers to all of the class. For Aoba, this includes the school’s timetable, school rules, contact detail forms, as well as the sign-up form for the Student Council Election. Aside from the last one, everything else is pretty useful anyway, so I don’t mind the job.
Well, that is until my unlikely partner starts nagging at me.
“Remember to get the contact details of all the boys, you hear me?” Tsunagi points the stack of forms in her hand at my face. Huh, this looks familiar.
“I get the importance, but sheesh. Have you heard of the phrase ‘silence is golden’?”
“What era are you in? In the modern world, information is golden. You can’t expect to be clueless about everything forever.”
I guess I should have expected that from a girl whose name is literally “information”.
Just handing out the flyers isn’t that bad. Most of the boys, now with the responsibility off their shoulders, don’t seem to have much to complain about. Some even give me a thumbs up, like they’re congratulating me for being the scapegoat for the bunch.
“Alright, last one…” I mumble, going to the only seat remaining that I haven’t handed things out. However, the name on the forms is rather puzzling.
“Soyo… kaze? The name says Hayato, but…”
“It’s Mikaza. Mi-ka-za,” Hayato annoyedly answers. Looks like it’s not the first time he’s heard this mistake, but I bet it doesn’t make him more comfortable about it in the least.
“Yeah… sorry about that.” I hand over the forms to the awaiting boy.
“No problem, you haven’t heard of me after all. But do you know how annoying it is when you have ‘zephyr’ as a name and are constantly beaten by a guy with the title ‘White Zephyr’?”
Nope. Nope. I’m not listening to the rest of that. He’s gonna complain about Shiraku again. Although “White Zephyr” does sound cooler than “Monster Brothers” though; I wonder if the black one also has another name like that?
I hope Umeno’s doing okay.
 Mikaza Hayato (微風 颯斗): the Kanji 微 is read as “mi”, while 風 can be read as “kaze”, “kaza” or “bu”. However, 微風 is normally read as “soyokaze” (zephyr).
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