Chapter 15:

The New Student Council

Stars of Aoba

I walk to the class with heavy legs. Of all the days spent in Aoba for the last semester, I never thought I’d have a day like this. Yet, here I am, dragging myself to school. Well, at least I can say that I’m lucky the result of the election will likely not be on the bulletin board outside the gate, so I don’t get embarrassed immediately when I enter.

Dropping my backpack down on my chair the moment I get into the classroom, I make my way towards the window to get some fresh air. However, in doing so, it seems I’ve missed the other person already present in class, whom I only realize after the chilly feeling of a metal can creeps on my neck.

“Why the long face so early in the morning?” Next to me is Tsunagi with an unusually bright smile and a can of energy drink. “Here. Maybe the sugar will help kick your brain up a notch.”

“I could do without the second part, you know,” I answer, taking up her offer nonetheless.

“So… it’s the day today.”


“Should we wait for Umeno-kun after school? Or do you want to just get it over with?”

“It’s his campaign after all. Waiting is the least we could do.”

Even if I just want to get it out as fast as possible.

“I see, I see. Well, try not to die in the middle of the day, alright?”

“Shouldn’t have given me the drink if you wanted that.”

“Who knows? Maybe sugar crash is a thing.”

“Haha… we’ll see.”

The bell once again rings, and our normal, uneventful day comes to an end yet again. Popping up from the door as a usual habit, Rei enters the room.

“Hey, guys… Where’s Hayato-kun?”

“He said he had some business to attend to today, so he won’t be joining us,” Michinari answers while packing up his stuff. “It’s just the four of us this time.”

“Well, now that the guest of honor is here…” This time, it’s Tsunagi who waves her phone in front of us. “Shall we?”

On the front page, naturally, is the result of the election, And naturally, the name which appears on the piece of news brings no surprise to any of us, just a wave of sadness and disappointment.

Congratulations to the first-ever first-year Student Council President, Kuroshi Ryuuro.

It sucks. It sucks, alright? I can’t sugarcoat it, no matter what I try. And to add insult to injury, in the detailed vote count, he beat us by a score of 491-9. Since we obviously voted Rei, that means only three whole people in the entire student body were pitying us enough to throw their votes in.

I pick up my backpack. At least it’s over now. I’m not dealing with it anymore.

“Pffft… Ahahaha! We got stomped, didn’t we?”

A burst of surprise laughter. Not a pitiable one, nor it is a coping mechanism for defeat. It is genuine laughter, born of pure joy and innocence. And it comes from Rei, of all people.

“You’re… not sad?”

“Well… Maybe at first,” answers the cheerful boy. “But did you remember what you told me before, Tanaka-kun?”

“What I told you before?”

“That even if I lost, I would still clear my name and image, and I can make new friends. And… well, look at me now. I’d say it’s still a successful campaign, right?”


“Making friends, huh? Sounds like a hassle just for it, but I shouldn’t be surprised,” chuckles Tsunagi. “This is you we’re talking about.”

“Suzuki-kun always has these crazy ideas, huh?” Michinari joins in the fun. “But then again, I’d say his strategy is successful in the end, isn’t it?”

“Of course!” Rei gleefully nods and takes out his phone to message something. “Thanks to you, Tanaka-kun, now I’ve made great friends! And… how about we celebrate a successful campaign by going to Sunshine Sweets? My treat!”

At the same time, Rei’s phone buzzes, and the boy turns his screen around, revealing some surprising messages from people none of us would expect.

[Sorry, dude. I had some urgent business, so I can’t check out the results with you guys, but I’m mostly done by now. Sunshine Sweets, right? Hope you bring your wallet with you, Rei, cuz I’m eating up a storm!] – from Hayato.

[Sunshine Sweets? Sure! I’ve just received a notice that I can have the day off, and I was feeling bad about all the harassment from before, so you can count me in. I’m not promising anything about no extra insults, though!] – from Origami.

“It’s a happy ending for everyone, right?” Michinari concludes with a grin.

“All’s well that ends well, they say,” continues Tsunagi. “Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go!”

“I’ll… catch up in a while. You guys go ahead.”

As everyone else disappears from the classroom, I take a deep breath and clench my fist.

It’s not supposed to be like this.

It’s supposed to be the perfect underdog story, where the most unlikely boy rises up to the occasion and beats the popular kid, receiving overwhelming support from the school.

And yet… And yet…

Not only did we lose in the most dominating fashion possible, but we’re just gonna laugh it off and pretend it never happened?

I know I was the one who suggested it. I know I was the one who said that it was okay to lose.

But still!

Why can they swallow this loss so easily?

“Damn it!”

My fist crashes down on the desk, making a booming sound that echoes through the class. And since it’s so loud, the gentle knock on the classroom door is blasted away. However, the owner of the knock doesn’t let me up, and his voice soon tears down the sturdy sound of my desk punching:

“Yo. Whatcha’ doin, Sore Loser?”

“What do you want, Faker? Here to gloat at your win?”

“Obviously. What do you think I’m coming all the way to your class for when I could have just asked Shiraku for the same thing?”

“Piss off.”

“Oo, someone’s angry today. Well, too late, you’re stuck with me now.”

“I have other stuff to do.”

“That can wait. Follow me.”

“Didn’t I say piss off?”

“If you really didn’t care, you’d just leave already.”

I hate that he’s right.

“… Fine. But make it quick.”

Following the snobby glasses’ directions, before I know it I’ve already walked six stories into the faculty building, and the one that’s supposed to guide me is now wheezing far behind, looking like he can drop down at any moment.

I can’t say I’m not entertained by it.

“What are we here for, anyway?”

“Give me… a moment…” Ryuuro replies through his dying breath. However, before he can properly explain the situation, an incoming call on his phone interrupts the conversation.

“Hello? I’m right outside,” just as fast as he picked up the call, the bespectacled young man hangs up and points towards the large door at the end of the right-side hallway.

“In there. No need to knock; it’s always open.”

As I open the door, an astonishing scene opens before me.

If outside the hallway is still garbage and dust everywhere, then the inside is surprisingly clean and luxurious, complete with pure white walls, red carpets, a dazzling chandelier, comfy sofas surrounding a table with only the finest tea set, and a giant wooden desk with an equally large pile of papers at the back of the room.

Shiraku is lazing on the sofa playing with his console, while Shizuka is preparing tea in a kettle nearby.

“Oh, you’re finally here, Nii-chan, Tanaka-kun,” glancing at us, the white-haired genius waves a friendly hello before going back to his game.

“You could have just asked Shira-chan to bring him here, you know,” Shizuka complains with a light frown on her face. “They’re in the same class already. It’s like a few steps at most.”

“I have my pride as the new President,” replies Ryuuro, who has now recovered from his near-death just moments ago. “If I can’t fetch my future candidates myself, then how am I gonna lead this place?”

“Hold on,” I raise my hand, curious about his words just now. “Candidate? What do you mean?”

“I’ll get to it. But first, want some tea?”

“Look, I don’t have much time right now…”

“Your friends, right?” Shiraku, finally dropping his game, answers with a question of his own. “Don’t worry; I told Kami-yan beforehand. She’ll get the message across.”

Oh, right. They were childhood friends… childhood clients? I guess that would be somewhat more fitting.

“All right, it doesn’t look like you’ll let me go any time soon. Sure.”

Taking the cup, I start. “Now, what do you have in mind?”

“First off, welcome to Aoba’s official Student Council,” Ryuuro replies with something completely unrelated, all while sipping tea from his cup with a smug look. “The faculty building is sadly not in a very pleasant state right now, but within a week we managed to at least make this room presentable. What do you think?”

“I’d like you to answer my question.”

The grin on Ryuuro’s face widens. However, he’s still not done with beating around the bush.

“As the new President, I fully intend to do everything I said in that speech. You can see that on the desk behind me is that giant pile of papers, right? Those are announcements and application forms for Aoba’s first-ever club system. We’re finally getting extracurricular activities after all this time; can you believe it?”

“Just answer the question.”

“Alright, enough joking. I’ll make it short.”

The young man puts down his cup, stands up, and offers his hand towards me.

“Suzuki Tanaka, join my Student Council.”

Ei Ruan