Chapter 4:

a setup

Convergence. Eli and Ama.


The idea Tsuda stated sounded incredibly strange to me. As I stepped out of the station, the darkened sky greeted me. It was only my first day of school, yet it had already been so exhausting. And on top of that, I knew I would have to endure my grandmother's scolding when I got home.

As I walked out of the station, a woman with white hair stood there as if waiting for me. She had a mask covering her nose, and her face wore a curious mix of sourness and impassiveness as if beckoning me to approach her.

"I have heard everything from Tsuda," the woman spoke with a hint of authority.

"Godness, That punk teacher is such a pain, and so are you," she continued, her tone laced with annoyance.

"Then, do you agree with his plan?" I asked.

"No," she replied, casually.

---

Three hours earlier

"Forget about having a carefree and normal school life, Elias. After this, there are two things you need to do," Tsuda presented his proposal, aimed at rescuing me from this predicament. In this critical moment, I yearned to place my trust in Tsuda's discernment.

"First, simply admit that you targeted the wrong person. It wasn't supposed to be her," Tsuda stated plainly.

"That's..." Father began hesitantly.

"...a bit..." I continued his train of thought.

"Second," Tsuda continued, his gaze unwavering, "Declare that you'll run for student council president."

"Yeah... that sounds even more absurd," I responded with a mixture of resignation and acceptance.

I listened intently as Tsuda continued to unfold his plan. "Listen, Elias, in situations like this, the most important thing is the narrative we can develop. And those two points I mentioned are the things you must do to restore your and Anna's reputation," Tsuda explained. Although his ideas still seemed implausible to me, I felt they were worth considering.

"Here’s the thing. The current student council president is Karina Hata, a third-year student, and Anna's older sister. Karina is what you'd call a prodigy, and ever since she took over two years ago, our school has experienced a sudden surge in achievements," Tsuda explained.

"So... you want me to continue her legacy?"

"On the contrary. I want you to take over her position through a fair election. If not, she already has two candidates from the lower grades who are willing to continue her unscrupulous methods of raising the school's status," Tsuda revealed.

"Unscrupulous methods?"

"Last year, our school won four inter-school tournaments, including one in soccer. Our soccer club isn't bad, but instead of marveling at the team's exceptional skills, the students began to suspect foul play orchestrated by the student council.”

“In the baseball competition, the ace player of the opposing team was mysteriously attacked by a mob, resulting in a broken arm that prevented him from participating in the final match. There were rumors that Karina and the student council members were seen meeting with one of the mob," Tsuda divulged.

"Furthermore, six extracurricular clubs were unilaterally disbanded last year, forcing their members to either join other clubs or quit altogether. The reasons varied, but... You know the rest" Tsuda continued.

“No, I don’t”

"Even the cultural festival last year turned out to be the most lackluster one you know, even more so than when I was a student who can only wander around without a girlfriend," Tsuda added, injecting a hint of dry humor.

"If that's the case, why hasn't the school principal taken any action?" my father voiced his concern.

"Technically, Karina operates within the confines of the school rules, and there's no concrete evidence of her cruel actions outside of school. Besides, the Hata family holds significant influence within the school, and the old man doesn't want to risk losing it," Tsuda explained.

"Then... why me?"

"In reality, the majority of students don't fully grasp the moral dilemma they face under such leadership. I want you to become the turning point, the beacon of moral clarity for these confused teenagers," Tsuda revealed.

"With a resolute declaration and your unequivocal opposition to Karina's methods, you can win over the students' hearts and guide them toward a better future for our school," suddenly he’s advertising

"Again sir, I fail to see the connection between all of this and the incident I caused,"

"In your neighborhood, where you live with your grandmother, there's a 60 years old man named Yama. Three months ago, he suffered a broken bone after falling off his bike. It was actually one of Karina's schemes, an attempt to set a trap for her intended victim. In the end, the incident was dismissed as an accident, and it barely received any attention. You know Mr. Yama, don't you?" Tsuda's plan began to take shape.

"So, you want me to channel my anger, make assumptions about the accident, and make Karina my target," I concluded

"Exactly,"

"So, the story is, you're angry with her because of your assumptions about the accident, which may be true... Or at least that's what you'll plant in other student's minds, and, you're suddenly feeling the urge to hit Karina out of one-second rage," Tsuda continued, bluntly revealing the suspicious direction of our conversation.

"But oops, you got the wrong person. You hit her little sister instead. Therefore, you should apologize formally but still, continue upholding your determination to... um..." Tsuda trailed off, leaving the sentence unfinished.

"Seek revenge?" I questioned

"You could say that," Tsuda replied.

"That sounds..." Father interjected.

"...unethical," Mother completed his sentence.

"...are you really a teacher? How?" Grandma served as the final course, presenting the concluding criticism from the Amaya family.

"...Come on, at least appreciate my strategy… I came up with it during the 20-minute drive here, you know" Tsuda argued.

I let out a sigh of disbelief, realizing that I had no choice but to place my trust in this questionable strategy. "So..." I hesitated, my words struggling to escape my lips, "Am I supposed to say that to Anna? Apologize for mistakenly hitting her in front of the entire class. Will she simply accept my apology with that?"

Before Tsuda could respond, my father interjected, "You mentioned the tyrannical reign of Karina being passed down to one of... her proteges? Is her sister, Anna one of them?"

Tsuda shook his head. "No,"

"As far as I know, their sibling bond is strained at the moment. That's why there is a risk that Anna, who is relatively younger, could fall under her influence and Karina might end up entrusting the position of student council president to her. That's why I’ll also ask Elias to establish a good relationship with Anna. As for the rest, leave it to me as the teacher taking charge.."

Now, the entire Amaya family let out a collective sigh.

"Once again, asking for the impossible..." I muttered, feeling overwhelmed by the gravity of the task before me.

"Come on, Elias. I'm entrusting this to you," Tsuda said, giving my shoulder a firm pat.

Suddenly, his hand stopped, and the atmosphere turned serious once again. "Considering how her sister is, I know that Anna might have done something so bad to Amaya. It's unavoidable, I suppose. You don't have to feel genuine remorse and apologize for Anna's actions, Elias. I understand that feeling. That's why you can leave the rest to me. Don't worry, I won't abandon my student so easily."

Abruptly, Amaya's fingers grabbed onto the sleeve of my shirt. "Amaya... It's okay if you don't want to talk about it," I said softly.

Amaya shook her head, indicating that she actually wanted to share with me. Tsuda let go of my shoulder and prepared to listen.

"Anna... Anna asked about the lunch I made for you... Mitsu and Kawahara were eating the dish I made for you until I could answer them... but I couldn't tell them it was meant for you... because it was embarrassing and... it's hot too... so... I regret not being able to give it to you on your first day of school... I'm sorry..."

Amaya's words left everyone stunned, filled with regret, confusion, and a sense of embarrassment.

"Eli..." Tsuda suddenly adopted a familiar tone and grasped my shoulder again.

"It seems like for that, you really do need to apologize," his smile teetered on the line between comforting me, pressuring me, and sharing in the embarrassment.

"I know, sensei," I replied, wearing an expression that mirrored his smile.

---

As Amaya and her parents bid farewell to Grandma, I’m standing by the house's fence, engaged in a conversation with Tsuda.

"Again, are you sure this will work? I'm not sure where Anna stands, especially after what I did to her," I questioned.

"I'll figure it out," Tsuda replied nonchalantly. "Don't worry, both she and Amaya are safe in my class."

Tsuda continued, "Wait a minute! first of all... don't you want to apologize to me personally? You've caused quite a stir with all of this."

“About what you said…” I confidently retorted, "You lied, didn't you?”

“About that how the plan is spontaneous, you claimed to have thought of just now. But the idea to dethrone Karina from her throne... You’ve been thinking about it so long haven’t you?"

Tsuda froze for a moment.

"...I didn't try to take advantage of you, Elias. I hope you don't think of me that way," Tsuda firmly asserted.

"...The ace baseball player who suffered the broken arm... is my half-brother," he continued.

"He's fine now, but you'll never forget the remorseful cries of a man who passed through the fleeting moments of his short-lived dreams," Tsuda added.

"With that in mind, you don't have to worry about things beyond your control as a student. Just do your best and adapt to your upcoming school life, alright?" Tsuda concluded as he stepped away, waving his hand to Amaya’s family.

"Oh, and next time your girlfriend cries, be a gentleman to her, you rascal!" he shouted as his footsteps gradually faded away. The scene brought a grin to the Amaya family, while Amaya herself lowered her head with a shy pout.

This closing atmosphere brought a sense of relief to me, followed by Grandma's departure, who affectionately pinched my ear without saying a word before stepping into the taxi.

---

Next, I had to figure out how to build a good relationship with Anna.

With an empty gaze and a resigned expression, I stared at the evening sky. "So this is it.. I really can't truly fit into the typical school life in this world..." I pondered silently within my heart.

"Overthrowing power huh... quite nostalgic," I mused.

"Now that I think of it..." I delved into my thoughts, and memories of my past life flashed briefly in my mind. "...I once came close to becoming a king."

Shulox
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