Chapter 10:

The Age Of Information

Stars of Aoba

“Hah…” I let out a loud yawn as I grab a can of energy drink on my table and down it in one go.

Ever since we got Origami working on the flyer’s design, it’s been sleepless night after sleepless night for us. Note to self: hospital work takes a lot of time. So much time that there’s not a single day that our meeting session starts before midnight. And not to mention her fickle nature – she really wasn’t kidding when she said that she didn’t know how to deal with people.

What kind of idiot puts primarily dark colors on a campaign flyer? Her shout still echoes within my mind sometimes. Whenever it comes to art, she’s definitely a lot more vocal and active. Now I can see why they would describe Origami as having a “colorful personality” …

“Hey! I’m talking to you people! Wake up!”

“What? Where? Who am I?”

Oh, shoot. I just dozed off for a moment. Get ready for another earful, I guess.

Through the seemingly endless stream of digitized voices coming from my phone’s screen, I have to turn to the old alarm clock sitting in the corner of my desk. And after a second, a painful realization comes rushing to me that this thing doesn’t even work properly anymore and that I was just too lazy to throw it away.

And to make matters worse, it looks like I don’t need to know the time anyway, for the sun is already rising beyond the horizon.

“Welp, there goes my night’s sleep again…”

“Y’know, you shouldn’t really do drugs before going to school,” Michinari, in the girl’s uniform today, playfully pokes on my cheek while wearing a big grin on his face. If I were in a normal state, I would probably be blushing to hell and back before that radiant smile. But not today. Or any day for the past week, for that matter.

“I don’t have the energy right now…”

“You reek of Beast though.”

“I don’t even drink Beast...”

“Blue Cow then.”

“That stuff’s nasty.”

I’m more of a Crocassist myself. I could really use another can of it right now. Or a bottle. But that’s beside the point.

Glancing diagonally downward to Origami’s seat, I can’t help but be green with envy of how she’s still drawing in her notes, seemingly lost in her own world. On one hand, it’s great that she’s earnestly helping us with our campaign. But on the other hand…

“How is she still alive…”

“Aw, chatting with little ol’ me tires you out, but you still have enough energy to peek at girls, Suzuki-kun? You lecherous boy, you.”

“Thanks anyway, Michinari. For trying to keep me awake.”

It’s not hard for me to realize it, even if I’m barely capable of thoughts right now. As soon as our daily quippy banter went for longer than a minute, I already knew that something was off.

“Why of course; I’m a benevolent being after all.”

“Yeah, yeah…” I let out a chuckle before turning back to the blackboard. Class still hasn’t started yet, but I feel like that last part was enough to at least survive for another day. But it’s only when I station myself properly do I realize an important matter.

“Wait, where’s Hayato?”

“Huh, now that you mention it, I’ve never seen the guy take a day off before…” Michinari adds, putting a finger on his chin.

And as soon as the bell rings and the teacher of the day enters the class, a green silhouette rushes into the room at the speed of a tropical storm.

“Hah… hah… made it…” Hayato throws himself down onto his chair, panting for dear life.

“Dude, what’s wrong? Can’t get enough sleep?”

“Well yeah, but I ran into a little problem today too…”

“Suzuki-kun, Mikaza-kun, no talking,” the teacher’s voice once again reminds us of our current schedule.

As the bell finally rings, both Hayato and I, as if planned from ahead, drop down on our desks in an instant, making a huge slam echo across the room. The hit stuns me for a few seconds, but I can still vaguely make out the voice of my diagonal neighbor:

“So, why exactly do you guys look like a rice sack today?”

“Campaign idea… from Origami-san…” echoing next to me is Hayato’s deadpan groan.

“Origami-san? Isn’t she an artist?”

“We asked her to help with flyers…” I step in to answer.

A surprising chuckle from Michinari seeps into our souls like a splash of ice-cold water. Refreshing for the eyes of the sleepy, but chilly and brittle enough to snap us into awakening in an instant.

“Why are you laughing?”

“You guys are so old-fashioned. Who uses flyers nowadays?”

“I… huh?”

“The future is now, old men. Even official campaigns tend to shy away from flyers now.”

Before I can ask, the pink-haired gremlin has already answered all of my intended questions:

“For one, it’s better for the environment as well as costs fewer resources. Y’know, less paper usage and all. Second of all, and this is the more important part, since it applies to us more, but why do you think modern teenagers would want to read from a piece of paper?”

He… has a point, actually. Didn’t I suggest Origami-san to draw and meet with us digitally anyway? The power and grip of the Internet can’t be underestimated.

“Of course, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do analog flyers entirely, but it’s rather surprising to see you guys so fixated on that aspect alone. Who’s the dummy that suggested it in the first place?”

“That would be me, thank you very much.”

“… Well, my point still stands,” quickly shifting his eyes faster than a drifting car on a neon-lit racetrack, Michinari lets out an awkward laugh. “You need to up your game if you want to campaign for real.”

“And your suggestion would be…”

“Social media, of course!” As if waiting for the question, Michinari forms a big grin. “Getting everyone’s social accounts on Aoba would be quite the challenge, but within the school forums and websites, it’s totally easy to pull off! Start there, branch out, and strike in a wide variety of fields; that’s the key to success.”

“That would be a good idea, but…”


“I don’t do social media, and I don’t think Umeno does, too.”

“Same for me,” Hayato adds, finally showing his face again after the brief period of gluing it onto his desk. “Origami-san might, but she’s already busy enough as she is.”

“Well, you’re in luck,” smiles Michinari. “I have just the person for you!”

“Who, you?”

“Well… technically not me,” the pink storm of chaos’ smile freezes on the spot. “If it’s social media, then look no further than our female rep, Tsunagi Jouko-san, daughter of the chief editor of Tokyo Hour, the most famous newspaper and news website in the city.”

Tsunagi? Uh, I’m not sure if you knew, but…”

“She told me that she would help you, but only if you figure out the solution to this social game on your own. And that’s where I come into play; count me in, chief!”     

Ei Ruan
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