Chapter 6:

The Perfect Strategy

Stars of Aoba

Ah, I’ve really done it this time.

Did I regret it? Not at all. I’ve got a bone to pick with the guy ever since he jumped over me after all. But still, this is undoubtedly the most popular freshman in Aoba we’re talking about. In an election like this, the disadvantage we’re at is immense.

“So, what’s all of that about?” Tsunagi’s question drags me back from my train of thoughts. “I don’t see anyone in our class running for President.”

“It’s another friend of mine in class B. I decided to help him with his campaign.”

“Is that so? What did you have in mind then, for you to basically declare war on Ryuuro like that?”

“Uh …”

“Don’t tell me, you have nothing?”

“Well… more or less.”

“… I can’t believe you,” rubbing her forehead as if suffering from a chronic headache, Tsunagi complains. “Do you have any plans ever?”

“Depends. How far back are we talking here?”

“… That’s it. I give up. Have fun with your campaign.”

“Who’s asking you for help anyway?”

It’s not banter or ill-willed comment that I ask, it’s a genuine question. I don’t remember having asked her before this.

“Nope, I’m not listening. Don’t come to me begging if you guys fail.”

“Again, I didn’t say anything.”

“No use sweet-talking me. Give it up.”

“… Alright, I get it. I won’t ask for help.”

A slight pause ensues, and a small vein pops on Tsunagi’s forehead. Without another word, the girl separates from me and stomps her way straight to class like a conquering general on his warpath.

Was it something I did again?

As I return to my seat, the last thing I expected would be to receive an overly friendly pat on the shoulder from the neon-haired boy next to me:

“Yo, Suzuki! Word on the street is you just did something crazy, right?”

“… Huh?”

“C’mon, you don’t have to be shy! Having the courage to compete against the number one star in our school, now that’s something else!”

Wait, how did he know that? Did he crawl into a vent to spy on me or something? The people at that place were only me, the class A students, and…

I turn around to give a stink eye to Tsunagi down below. However, the girl has already had her eyes glued to her notebook as she once again writes down the lecture on the blackboard.

“Suzuki-kun, Mikaza-kun,” and soon enough, the teacher’s voice sounds to remind us just exactly what time it is. “No talking in class.”

Both of us quietly turn back up, but that doesn’t stop Hayato from keeping the conversation going. Of course, he doesn’t dare to move around like a second ago, and instead just whispers enough for me to hear:

“Don’t worry man, I got your back. I always like underdog stories like this.”

“I appreciate the offer, but what do you have in mind?”

“I have a plan, you see. The perfect strategy. You just need to call your friend and tell him to sit back and observe my magic in work.”

A quiet thumbs-up from Hayato ends our conversation as another glare from above sends a chill down our spines. With the attempt being cut short by the teacher again, now we have no choice but to actually pay attention to our lessons.

Nonetheless, Hayato is a man of his words. As soon as the bell rings to signify our usual end of the day, the boy has already turned to me, patting me on the back this time:

“C’mon, what are you waiting for? Call him out!”

“Just a minute, geez,” lightly frowning due to the surprise hit, I answer, rapidly pressing the keys on my phone.

[Umeno, come to my class.]


This time, the message is responded to within seconds. Well, in retrospect, I shouldn’t be too surprised about it. After all, he is the main star of the show.

The other key actor, however, quickly packs his bag and steps towards the front door.

“Where are you going?”

“To the front yard. I never said I would show my plan here, right?”

“Then why did you ask me to call him here?”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did. Just now.”

“… Did I? Oh, well, oops!” Hayato concludes with an awkward laugh as he scratches his green head.

Yeah, this is not going to end well, is it?

[Change of plans. Meet me in the front yard.]

[Got it.]

It doesn’t take us long to reach the building’s entrance. However, since I want to wait for Umeno, Hayato has gone ahead of me to the schoolyard. And soon enough, the one I’ve been waiting for arrives.

“Sorry for being late!” Umeno shouts from afar as he waves towards me. “I forgot to actually hand in my registration form to the class rep!”

The boy stops for a brief second to gasp for air as soon as he closes our distance, sweat glistening on his forehead.

Pausing a bit to let him have his moment of rest, I answer:

“No problem. Now come on, let’s go to the front yard.”

“Why the front yard actually?”

“It’s an idea from a classmate of mine. No idea what it exactly is, though.”

“A new friend of yours? As expected of Suzuki-kun…”

I can already hear the hint of envy in his voice.

“Eh… not really. ‘Friends’ might be pushing it too much. We’re more acquaintances.”

The conversation ends there as the two of us reach our destination. Lo and behold, Hayato is already standing there, but there are two main points that surprise not just Umeno, but me as well.

First of all, he’s not standing in wait for us, as neon boy’s back is turned against the school building. Secondly, facing him right now is the white-haired genius Shiraku.

“Kuroshi Shiraku!” Hayato shouts loud and clear, crossing his arms like a samurai of old declaring a duel. “Race with me!”

“Again?” The White Zephyr only utters a word before rubbing his chin, seemingly pondering about the matter. But before he can give a concrete answer, Hayato has already raised his hand forward as if to stop any further speculation and declare himself:

“No, this time it’s different! Race me for your brother’s campaign! If I win, you have to convince Ryuuro to withdraw from the Student Election Campaign!”

Someone kill me right now.

You’re telling me that after all of that hype up, the best strategy you can think of is to bet it on a race? And it’s not even against the guy himself! It’s through a middle man! Why should anyone with a lick of sanity left in their mind accept this kind of ridiculous proposal?

“Why through me and not Nii-chan?” From afar, the white-haired boy asks the same question.

“I can’t do that, it’s bullying! I’m still the second fastest, nay, soon-to-be fastest youth in the country!”

Well, well, well, what a noble reason. That is if your eyes aren’t flaring that competitive spirit, Hayato. I’m willing to bet my entire fortune that you’re just doing this for a race with Shiraku again. Then again, my fortune isn’t really much anyway.

“Hmmm… Alright! You got yourself a deal! On behalf of Nii-chan, I won’t lose this match!”

Why did you accept that? Didn’t you show actual adequate social skills just yesterday, Shiraku? Where did that common sense go?

And Hayato, don’t turn to us and give that proud thumbs-up like that! Do you have any idea how crazy that whole conversation was just now?

Umeno, what are you doing? Why are you moved to being on the verge of tears right now? Am I the only normal one left here?

This is why I hate dealing with jocks.  

Ei Ruan