Chapter 0:

(Prologue) Calligraphy Club vs. Aquasports

ALAE ~Reunion~


The white dot stood out sharply against the vastness of blue summer sky. It looked as if it will stay there, paused in mid-air, but then, that was one of the trickiest moments in baseball.

"Run!" bellowed Ako at her clubmate as she hurtled past first base… then second. "Don't look back!" Finally. Wait... "Hey, you're going outside, get back in you idiot!"

At that very same instant the ball hit the ground between center and right fields. It was also at that moment, when Sachi belatedly realized she was off course and was running back, that her cramps kicked in. She collapsed to her knees. "I'm so sorry Ako-chan. Urrrrgh..."

Retaliation from Anju and the other fielders was lightning-fast. Sachi was tagged. The bleachers quaked with wild cheering as Shuka the second baseman proudly waved to audience. But not everybody at those seats were amused.

"Why is everybody against us?” grumbled Ako.

Daisuke yawned a little. “They were cheering for us a while back.”

“That's the problem. Gah, it's so confusing! Why can't we just have proper fan crowds?”

“Everybody's just here to have fun, you know. For the thrills. And both our teams are good at it."

Ako sat back and sulked. Thrills. Right... "Is that why Uchida was glowing even though we're still ahead of them?"

"It's a close match. Close matches are the most exciting. That's our real job here, not winning." Stretch. He stood up to go.

She noticed where he was heading and yelled after him. "You're interested in an Aquasports girl aren't 'ya? Moh..." To herself, "You should have just switched classes. We don't need people like you who can't be loyal to his classmates, humph." But the highly animated ruckus washed out her complaint before they could be heard, even by those seated next to her.

Daisuke, however, didn't walk over to another class, but to a group of his own classmates, mostly boys, seated at the top bleachers. At that moment they were having a spirited conversation on a very particular topic.

“Oi, Daisuke!” said one of the boys yanking him close. ”We need your opinion.”

“Ow, I was heading your way already, are you blind?”

“Say, which Aquasports babe would you like to date?”

“Guh—” the question seemed to hit a raw nerve, as he actually did have a crush—Rikako. Turns out, seeing the boys grinning at his reaction, they all shared an interest in that very same question.

“That… That's personal!” He was being coy. He wanted them to draw it out of him.

“Isn't Uchida so cute?!” gushed one. “Just look at her! She never runs out of energy!”

“Dai-kun sure has an eye on her, ne? Ne?” said Maya, one of the girls.

“N-no, no! I'm not into her at all!”

“Nice try denying it, Dai-kun. But even that sounds wrong. Someone not interested in Uchida? Now that's just weird.”

“Hori-san is so cute, too,” cut in another girl. “No, pretty! No, elegant! I mean… it's somewhere between elegant and cute. Maybe a bit higher than pretty, but definitely higher than cute!”

“She's hot!"

"No, you idiot! You boys can't come up with anything deeper than breasts and curves."

"Alright, hotter!"

"That's not the point."

Down at the field, meanwhile, as they were walking to the new positions, Ai ran over to Kanako and whispered, "Someone placed a box, I mean boxes, boxes of chocolate in my bag!"

"Then just give it to me, problem solved, zura!"


Laugh. "You're not a first-year anymore, you should be flattered. Or is it that you're looking down on the masses like a true blue Kubo heir?"

Pout. “I'm not that stuck-up, you know that!”

“Or maybe…” She knocked lightly on her chest. “Is that place still reserved?” Wink. And she ran off to center field. leaving Ai no less anxious than before, and with a little blush.”

“AiAi!” called Shuka. “Left field!”

“Huh—? H-hai!”

As she hurried to her spot, Daisuke and the others were already turning their sights on her. "Did you see that? Kubo just talked to Riho-san! I'm sure she had seen the chocolates already!" Squeal.

Maya sighed loudly. “You boys don't grow up, do you? If I were her, I'd act tough and show the world I don't give another air!”

“So what now? She's cute and that's it!”

“Besides,” seconded another boy, “those were my chocolates I put in that bag.”

“Mine too!”

“What about mine?”

“Blegh,” dismissed Maya, “you guys are sick.”

“You got a problem with Kubo being popular? She's the Student President’s sister, you know.”

“Exactly! She comes from a noble family but acts like a grade schooler, so annoying!”

“Grade school yourself, it’s cute.”

“Besides, what's your business gunning for mere status symbols? Hori-san is from Tokyo and Ai-san is a Kubo; just go for Uchida, she's got real talent!"

Her tirade was cut short by a sudden uproar. Kanako showed to everyone three boxes of chocolate, which drained the blood from the faces of three boys in the crowd, as her teammates just gaped at her. “Mina-san! I'm so so pumped up, zura!" Loud cheering ensued even as Rikako sighed. Whatever floats their hype boat, eh? “I didn't know I was so popular, zura!"

At this, an outraged Ako jumped up and tried to yell at the crowd. “It's underhanded! She's trying to throw off our team! Umpire!”

“Heh…” said Kanako smugly, “But I know who one of these things caaame from!” She eyed Yoshiyuki walking to the pitcher’s box as the crowd held its breath.

“Arigatou, Yoshiyuki!”

He only put his hands in his pockets, grumbling under the noise of the raving audience. “What is it this time? You're such a bother, what have I even done to you?” And he took his place there and stretched.

“Just look at ‘im!” continued Kanako. “Kakkoi, zura!” And then she intoned, “From the depths of the abyss, the fallen angel has now come to reclaim his kingdom on earth!” The audience oohed, and Ako… booed.

“Umpire! They’re cheating! They're trying to take the lead from us! Umpire!


Yoshiyuki got into position and began to wind up for the pitch. Focus, you. We'll get back at that Kanako once we're done here. Just get it over with!

He threw.


The ball flew in a neat, predictable line, and landed squarely in the glove of the first baseman. The batter is out.

After that out, everybody at P.E. practice walked over to their positions, taunting each other playfully. Yoshiyuki just watched from the fence, a bit wistful, reliving some memories. Oddly enough, he couldn't remember which team had won that day.

A notification broke his reverie. It was that silly "Yozoro!" soundbite Anju had sent to him before their class had graduated. Why am I even holding on to it? Seeing the message, he was finally jolted back to his senses—the school secretary was already waiting for the parcel in his left arm! How long have I been here? And he took off. Why is the lady even staying at the archive? It was right at the far end of the grounds.

The door chimes tinkled as Yoshiyuki entered the records room. "Where have you been, dear?" chided the middle-aged secretary, taking the parcel from him. She did not bother for an answer as she already tore into the package. "I was supposed to stack these right after lunch, but now I'll have to finish the yearbook for Dr. Ito, it's at this very same hour tomorrow." She went about and finished stacking. There. Yoshiyuki only stared. Those were... reams of blank paper?

"I thought that was some super-confidential file."

"Moh! Didn't you notice how thick the package was?" She drew a single sheet and laid it on the table. "We actually don't get that many documents in a year... or two... This paper is precisely the kind that is proper for official communications. See here? It's just the right firmness. It feels exactly like silk. This is the only true class of—"

"I'll be going now, Madam," he said before the lady could launch on a full-blown lecture about the virtues of paper and other secretarial lore. "By the way, Kamiya-san said he'll wrap up something for the Director's birthday, and that you're the only one who knows what to give. Call him this evening, he said."

"Fruit! It's always fruit... Aren't you staying for lunch?"

"I-It's alright!" he said stepping back.

"Oh, don't be silly dear, I mean it, people from Tohoku like me always mean what they say."

Where in Tohoku, exactly? he thought. "I-I gotta help out at the shop's basement after this delivery!" At least he thought it was a basement, it looked more like an underground tool shed; regardless, he wasn't really scheduled to do anything there. "Uhhhh uhhhh haveaniceday!" And so he exited.

Syed Al Wasee