Chapter 17:

Stars Of Aoba

Stars of Aoba

August 1st. A historic event takes place in Aoba.

In front of the school gate, two cute, cheerful girls eagerly announce to the camera.

“Hey, hey! Welcome to the first, and biggest, non-official event in Aoba Academy!” The sporty blonde joyously waves. “I’m your lovely golden flower, Enda Marisa! Here with me is my equally as lovely co-host and fellow Mass Media Club member…”

“Tsunagi Jouko here!” The redhead waves hello with a similar cheerful voice. “And we are in front of Aoba Academy today for a never-before-seen event, isn’t it Enda-senpai?”

“It certainly is, Tsuna-chan! In fact, without this event, our Mass Media Club wouldn’t even be a thing, would it?”

“Indeed! And now, without further ado… We welcome one and all to Aoba Academy’s Club Grand Opening! The most prestigious academic school now strives to be the best in everything there is!”

The two girls lead the way through the main gate, to first the giant front yard, where stalls and booths of all shapes and sizes line up in a neat and orderly fashion.

A mixture of delicious smells engulfs the area, from savory to sweet and spicy (who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to eat spicy food in the middle of summer though), everything is a perfect blend of mouth-watering goodness.

“It’s a bit early for a snack, but our new Cooking Club is already challenging our tastebuds with their various assaults!” Enda gestures towards the stalls with glee, trying her best to not salivate before the literal mountain of food before us.

“It looks a bit hot though,” Tsunagi comments, her eyes fixated on the other isle with the plethora of desserts. “Something sweet and refreshing would be wonderful, isn’t it Enda-senpai?”

“Yeah, let’s go grab one!” Nods the blonde, and the two girls soon make their way to the stall, where a certain black-haired boy in a pink apron is scurrying around as fast as he can to arrange orders for the guests.

“One special parfait, please!”

“Coming right up!” Rei lets out a confident grin as he goes back for the order. As expected from a sweets shop’s part-timer, the boy whips up a glass in a flash.

“Mmmm! It’s like heaven on Earth!” Enda and Tsunagi exclaim at the same time, closing their eyes to enjoy the wave of blissful sweetness crashing down.

Yeah, that’s not making the cut.

“Now that we’ve had our fill, let’s explore the main building, shall we?”

Leaving the scorching heat, the two girls enter the once faculty building. It’s hard to think that this place was just a dirty, dusty abandoned lot for six entire floors just a few months ago, when you take a look at it now and only see spotless floors and walls, with every room being packed to the brim with various equipment of a multitude of fields.

“This building, once only reserved for the school’s faculties, is now the base of all indoor clubs in Aoba,” Tsunagi starts her commentating, gesturing around her. “And this first floor is home to the Cooking Club that you have just seen, along with Aoba’s pride and joy, our Science Club.”

“Aoba’s Science Club, while new, is actually the most established club in the school, considering our academic background,” continues Enda. “It’s the only club with multiple divisions - six in total: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanics, Biology, and Computer. Now, let’s see what our future scholars are doing right now.”

Opening the hallway of the Science Club’s shared room, the scene is, to put it lightly, a major battlefield.

Parts lying around. Bottles and vials of unknown origins on the verge of spilling out the table. Machinery of unknown usage stacked next to one another in the center. And as for its members, a strangely delinquent-like young man is yelling out at the top of his lungs, pointing all over the place at his fellow members:

“Chemistry! Put your damn vials somewhere else!”

“Physics! Drop that scale right now!”

“Where’s my bacteria sample? Don’t leave it with your nuts and bolts, Mechanics!”

“Math! I need a recalculation on this part!”

“I’m not a calculator, Senpai!” Far in the back, a certain pink-haired gremlin shouts in response.

“It’s in your name [1], so make use of it!”

“Just ask Computer to make a simulation!”

“He’s at goddamn soccer practice!”

“Damn it!”

“O…kay, that is… quite a show. Shall we continue on, Tsuna-chan?”

“Yeah… let’s do that, Enda-senpai.”

Thankfully, the trip to the other floors is a lot less hectic, with most of the clubs being mellow and enjoyable – from calligraphy to ikebana, music, art, filmmaking, and many more. And with all clubs throughout the six floors covered, the girls once again make their way outside, this time to the back yard – Aoba’s new gymnasium and stadium.

“It’s on our way right now, but should we leave the soccer field for last?” Asks Enda.

“I think that’s better,” nods Tsunagi. “Our main attraction should be left for last, after all.”

The girls then enter the gymnasium, where a plethora of sports meshes into a convoluted mess. In the dome-like structure, the various shouting of the various announcers sends everyone’s ears to disarray for a few seconds, before the crew finally settles on the quietest of them all.

A blonde girl in a traditional uniform takes a step back and draws her bow with elegance and grace. Before anyone can notice, the arrow has already left its string and has perfectly pierced the center mark.

“Amazing shot, Vice President!” The two girls simultaneously clap their hands upon witnessing the performance, to which the female archer turns around and replies with a light smile:

“I’m in the Archery Club right now, so just call me Shizuka. You guys are filming the club introduction documentary, right?”

“Yup! We got tons of footage already; just missing the sports clubs next.”

“Well, that’s great. And I see that the Student Council has been of great help to you too. I’m glad.”

After a short talk, the girls wave goodbye to Shizuka and continue towards another section of the gym. This one, however, is a completely different scenery, as if we’ve just gone to another world.

Two fighters going at each other with nothing but their bandaged hands and legs, utilizing all kinds of moves they can think of, either from martial arts or just pure fighting instinct. The larger, bulkier fighter seems to be slow on the reaction, while his opponent dances around like a white bolt of lightning, delivering powerful kicks and punches in quick succession.

In the end, the bulky student falls on his back, while the white-haired combatant stares at the ceiling with a satisfied look on his face, sweat dripping on his toned bodyline as a result of his hard-earned victory.

“Quick, Tsuna-chan! Capture! Capture!” Enda practically foams at the mouth before the scene.

“Easy, Senpai. Shouldn’t we start with an overview…”

“Girl, it’s eye candy! Capture it now!”

“Okay, okay…” with great reluctance, Tsunagi takes out her phone and snaps a picture of the winner, the act of which notifies the young athlete of her presence.

“Heya, guys,” Shiraku waves hello with a friendly smile. “Working on that documentary, right?”

“Yeah,” nods Tsunagi. “Although, I’m quite surprised. Do all Student Council members all partake in different clubs as well?”

“Yup. And not to mention, Nii-chan is joining two clubs, unlike Shizu-chan and I.”

“Speaking of which, Secretary Shiraku, why did you switch to kickboxing? I thought track-and-field would be a shoo-in for you.”

“I never liked track-and-field that much in the first place,” Shiraku scratches his nose and lets out an embarrassed laugh. “Although I’m sure Hayato-kun would be really mad at me if I said that to him…”

“Where is the guy, actually? I just took a glance outside the stadium and he was nowhere to be found.”

“Haha…” another awkward laugh sounds, but this time it comes from Enda. “He’s… probably busy with… stuff…”

“Shame… I would like to get some footage of him running, now that Shiraku’s not part of track-and-field anymore…”

“Well, at least you’re gonna get some great footage with the Soccer Club if you get to them now,” the white-haired genius attempts to console the girls. “I think their practice is nearly done.”

True to his words, the Soccer Club – the last destination of this long documentary, is at its final stage of practice. And what a scene it is.

On the field, a single glasses-wearing young man is dribbling through the entire team with utmost precision and speed. Each turn, each pass is clockwork accurate, done at such a mesmerizing speed that you’ll miss everything if you blink even once. A nutmeg into an elastico; it’s like a magic performance by the bespectacled genius. And everything ends with an overhead lob that surprises every spectator and player on the field.

After the goal, however, the young man falls down faster than chopped lumber, panting for air like his life depends on it.

“Hah… Why did you think it’s a good idea for someone with your condition to join the Soccer Club?”

“Hey, I dominate the field within thirty seconds,” still dead tired, but Ryuuro manages to form a grin as he takes my offering hand.

“More like you can only play for thirty seconds to me.”

“It’s the quality that counts,” answers Ryuuro. “And speaking of which, I assume things are doing fine on your part, General Affairs Manager Tanaka?”

“We got all the footage we need, Prez,” I answer with a confident nod. “Right, guys?”

“That’s everything!” Both Tsunagi and Enda reply with certainty.

“Perfect. Now we need a title for it… Anyone has an idea?”

“A title? We haven’t thought about that yet…” the girls grow quiet before the question. However, said question is coincidentally what I’m currently having in mind as well.

“I got one. Stars of Aoba, how about that?”

“Stars of Aoba… I like it! We’re choosing that one!”

As the gang finishes the shooting with gleeful smiles on their faces, another idea of an introduction line flashes in my mind.

Welcome to Aoba Academy, where all talents of all fields gather and develop. Perfect in academics, sports and arts alike, we strive to earn the title of ‘Elites among Elites’.

This is our garden for us sprouts to grow and reach the sky, and then shine brighter than anyone else.

For we are the Stars of Aoba.


Author's Notes:

[1] Michinari Kei (道形    計): the kanji “kei” in his name refers to 計算 (“keisan” – to calculate)

Ei Ruan