Chapter 14:

Elites Among Elites

Stars of Aoba

Whispering still persists within the crowd as the glasses genius steps onto the podium with a smile on his face. Taking a deep breath, Ryuuro shouts into the mic, a surprising act from his usual calm and composed demeanor:

“Hey, guys! Do you like Aoba so far?”

I have to admit, it’s a pretty good way to stir excitement within the student body. I don’t want to support the opponent, but I’ll be a good sport nonetheless. And besides, it’s a natural everyone would follow, right?


Only after the word leaves my mouth do I realize the sudden silence that ensues. I can count the number of voices that sounded just now with my hands, and for a venue of hundreds of students, that’s definitely not a good sign.

Instead, whispers turn into mutters within the crowd. While I’m the only one wearing a confused expression, everyone else has this inexplicable look of realization.

“Wait, that’s his goal?”

“I can’t believe he planned for it…”

“This is crazy…”

“I see. So that’s why you needed my data…” Tsunagi next to me mumbles the same line of thoughts.

“Can I get an explanation here?” I poke onto her side with my elbow. “What the heck is going on?”

Before Tsunagi can answer, however, the main culprit of all the ruckus has already thrown another nuke at the room.

“Well, I hate it!”

Words can’t describe how angry I am right now. Not because of the things he said, but because I know this is really what he thought. The long-time faker has finally dropped his goody-two-shoes mask, but at what cost? What would you gain from making basically the entire student body your enemy, Ryuuro?

“I’m sure a lot of you would think that I’m joking, or that I’m purposely riling you guys up for a greater scheme,” the genius’s eyes stare right at my spot. No, it’s not my imagination at all, nor it is the optical illusion that delirious fans tend to think when their idols scan around the entire stage. I know for a fact that Ryuuro is looking at me; as if this challenge is meant for me all along.

“And you’d be absolutely right,” the young man giving the speech, meanwhile, continues, pressing the remote that somehow is already in his hands. “If you would direct your attention to the monitor here…”

Before the slideshow could reveal itself, however, an angry voice from the crowd shouts. “Hey! Those are our answers! You can’t just show them off like that!”

Replying to the owner of the voice is a devilish grin coming from the genius in black. Snapping his fingers to signal Shizuka from backstage carrying a pile of papers, Ryuuro snickers. “I already gave you guys the terms, written and printed in black and white. You all gave me your consent with your signatures right here, so if you have anyone to blame, blame yourself first because you couldn’t spare a few minutes to read.”

The voice settles down, flustered by their actions but still has enough to let out a grunt in disappointment. With the troublemaker gone, Ryuuro finally continues with his presentation.

On the monitor are three pie charts. At a glance, one can realize the overwhelming difference in one category for all three of them, with said category taking well over half of the first, three-quarters of the middle, and nearly the entire circle for the last one. However, it is the question and categories themselves that surprises me the most.

“As you can see, I’ve asked you all a few simple questions. Dividing my targets into 3 types: first-years, second and third-years, and alumni. The first question is simple, and it’s the one that I’d just asked you – do you like Aoba?

And as you can see from the answers, well, I can’t say that I’m surprised.

Us freshmen have already gotten over 50% of disapproval – 56%, to be specific. Meaning that over half of the first-years are showing discontent towards Aoba as of now. The numbers get worse as the years go by, with 78% of disapproval coming from the second and third years, and an astounding 93% coming from the alumni.”

“That can’t make sense,” I mumble. “What…”

“Does all of that mean, I can hear you ask. Well, let’s review the detailed opinions, shall we?”

Pressing the remote to reveal another array of charts – columnal this time – Ryuuro continues.

“This is the general opinion on why people chose Aoba as their high school. And as you can see, there’s an oddly spike in one category in particular. I’m sure that you know which one that is.”

Of course, we would know it. I would know it as well. I can’t lie; it was the reason why I chose Aoba after all.

Because of its prestige as the best academic school in Japan.

“Now, does anyone of you actually think about how Aoba’s academic prestige might not be the choice for you? Shiraku aside, isn’t there a student in class C that’s also a prodigy at track-and-field?”

Hayato clenches his fist in anger. But I know that he can’t disagree because all of it is true. I had been wondering the same thing before too, how a jock would choose this of all places.

“And naturally, track-and-field isn’t the only thing. I’ve seen other sports geniuses in here too, and other students whose talents lie so much more outside the boundaries of academic studies. Then I ask you: why did you pick this place?”

Not waiting for an answer, the young man continues, the glee on his face grows bit by bit with each word he utters. “Because you can’t think for yourselves, that’s why! You chase the clout of being the best, but you don’t realize what ‘being the best’ actually means!”

“And now, if you would look at the second chart, it shows the alumni’s occupation after graduating Aoba. Almost all, if not all of them have a job in the research or education industry or end up as civil servants. Sounds pretty good, right? Now let’s look at their reasoning for choosing such jobs.”

Switching to another side, the painful truth reveals itself before our eyes.

It’s another column chart, and it’s another skewed one. Among all categories, one in particular hits us like a running truck.

“What do you know? ‘Because we don’t have a choice’. Pray tell, why do you think this is the case?

Because Aoba is incredibly skewed towards its academic success. What, do you think it gets that prestige out of nowhere? Do you honestly believe that it can achieve that fame without having a price to pay?

Well, let me tell you, students of Aoba! You’ve all been scammed! We have nothing, absolutely nothing to do here besides studying! This election is the only thing remotely close to an event we have, and if it wasn’t me that’s standing here right now, it’ll be just another empty activity filled with vain crap!

The first-years can keep themselves sustained for now, and the second-years still have some individuals with a lick of personality left, but by the time we’ve graduated from this school, we’ve become nothing more than soulless machines, selling our values for an occupation we’re forced into while wasting away the time of our lives! Do you really want your high school springtime to be like that?”

Now, the unison within everyone is clear.


“I thought so! And thus, I suggest that we take matters into our own hands! We will craft a system that expresses our individualities to the maximum of their effects! Gone will be the academic-focused classes, this time we’ll develop talents for the individuals! To make everyone a star of their own rights, to be worthy of being called ‘elites among elites’!”


“Let’s go!”

“We can do it!”

“A revolution in Aoba!”

As the voices get louder and louder, the claims get more and more ridiculous. ‘Revolution’? ‘New talents’? ‘Elites among elites’? Those are all lip services! You talked about vain crap? You’re the one spouting them right now! The idea itself is unfeasible enough, and even if you mean what you said, would you be able to deliver it with only so much you can do?

“I still see doubt within your eyes,” even if the crowd is already on his side, Ryuuro, as if reading my exact thoughts, grins. “And I ask you this. If you’re an Aoba student, are you or are you not an elite already?”

“We can do much more, students of Aoba! Whether it’s academic success or creative intellect, we will triumph above all! The world is our oyster, and the only thing left for us to do is to dye its waters with our own colors! We are the elites among elites! We are Aoba!”

“Ryuuro! Ryuuro! Ryuuro!” The chant in unison among the entire student body is enough to answer all that I need. As much as I hate to admit it, this contest is over.

“Let’s go home, guys.”

Ei Ruan