Chapter 22:

Ryo's Chapter

Pandora's Box

Monday came and I met up with Ryo in front of the school's press room. He had two baby blue colored boxes in hand.

"I told you I'd get the goods bro."

"That's great, but are they actually as good as you say?" I asked.

"I had a feeling you'd have your doubts. That's why I ordered a second box for ourselves. Try one for yourself."

I pulled a cookie out of the box. It looked to be some kind of chocolate and vanilla swirled sugar cookie with more sugar sprinkled on top. I took a bite...

"I guess they're alri-..."

Suddenly it hit me. It was as if some divine deity had created these cookies with they're own two hands. My tongue felt like it was experiencing nirvana. I completely zoned out as I took in the flavor.


"I told you so bro."

"...yeah I think these will do just fine."

The two of us confidently entered the press room with our parcel.


"We have the-... Oh she's not here." I said.

*Rustle* *Rustle*

"Could you guys quiet down?" Ori said, once again sleeping on the floor in his sleeping bag.

"We're looking for your sister."



He lifted his head back up.

"Huh... I don't know. She'll probably be back in a few minutes or whatever."

Ryo pulled out a cookie and grinned at me and then looked at Ori.

"Yo Ori, Bro. Want to try a cookie?"

"No, I just wanted to be lef-..."

Ryo shoved the cookie into his mouth.

*Chew* *Chew*


He stood up from his sleeping bag. His pupils got giant, as he stared off into space.

"Is he alright?" I asked.

"Yeah, he's fine. Just give him a minute."

After a few minutes he seemed to snap out of it.

"I... I think I need to go home and contemplate some things.”

As he proceeded to leave, his sister passed by him as she entered the room. She instantly knew something was off and cast an accusing glare at us.

"What the heck did you two do to my brother?"

"Nothing really. Ryo just gave him a cookie." I responded.

"Was there something weird in those cookies or something? My brother would never go home on his own. I typically have to physically drag him in his sleeping bag."

"Nothing out of the ordinary. They're just the world's greatest cookies." Ryo said.

She took the box out of Ryo's hands and pulled out a cookie.

"I swear if either of you did something to these, I'll sue you."

She brought the cookie up to her mouth and hesitantly took a bite.

*Chew* *Chew*

She paused for a moment, then proceeded to dump the entire box into her mouth.

*Nom* *Nom* *Nom*

"...where did you get these from!?" She said with her cheeks stuffed like a squirrel.

"Some guy Ryo knows." I said.

She stared intensely at Ryo.

"Who's this guy, Ota-kun? I need to meet him!"

Ryo smiled proudly.

"Sorry Yori-chan, that's confidential information. Cookie man's identity is a secret."

"PLEASE! I need more!"

"Does this mean you're going to publish that retraction?" I asked.

"Yeah, sure. I'll do whatever you want. I just need to know where I can get more of those cookies."

"As long as you don't work with the psycho chick, Sato anymore, I can keep supplying you." Ryo said.

"Yes! I'll do anything!"

Yori was acting as if she was having cookie withdrawals.

"Anything, huh... In that case, I also want the school paper to publish a weekly opinion column written by me.

I wasn't particularly sure what Ryo wanted an opinion column for. Part of me was actually a bit concerned, but after all his help, who was I to burst his bubble.


Yori shook Ryo's hand.

With our business done with Yori, we left her be and continued on with our afternoon campaign tasks.


Like usual the two of us made our way down to the courtyard. Ryo had a stack of flyers he was planning on handing out and I was going to do an impromptu speech again... Unfortunately, things weren't likely going to go as planned since a certain someone was already handing out fliers.

"What the heck does Mei think she's doing? This is our turf bro." Ryo said.

"It's annoying, but she has just as much right to be here as us." I said.

"Still Dude, I would love to just go up there and show her up in front of everyone. If there was a vice presidential debate, I would totally destroy her."

"Yeah that would be cool, but vp is an appointed position, so there's no reason to hold a debate."

Ryo got an intrigued look on his face. It seemed as though he had an idea.

" your vice president would you approve of me challenging Mei to a debate right here right now?"

"Uhhh... I... guess that would be okay, but don't do anything that could jeopardize our campaign."

"Don't worry dude, I'll make sure I represent our campaign with honor. I bet you'll gain substantially in the polls after this."

I was partially concerned that Ryo was going to do something crazy, but also part of me deep down wanted to see him get payback for what Mei did to him in middle school.

He approached her with me tailing closely behind him.

"Ew, what the heck do you want, Ryo?" She said.

When she looked in my direction, I noticed she averted her gaze to avoid making eye contact with me. I can't say I blame her considering how harshly I rejected her just a week ago.

"Ha, is Sato so scared that Kuro's gaining in the polls that she resorted to handing out fliers like us?" Ryo said.

"Tch, of course not. These aren't even campaign related. They're for a charity fundraiser."

I could tell that Ryo's presence was already getting under her skin.

"Yeah well I'll keep this simple for you. I'm here to challenge you-"

She shut him down instantly.

"No, I'm good."

"Ah come on, you didn't even let me finish."

"I already know it's going to be something dumb."

Ryo smirked at her as he began to speak loud enough for everyone in the courtyard to hear.

"What's that, Yoshino Mei? You think you and I should have a vice presidential debate right here in the courtyard."

Pretty much everyone around looked towards them.

"Shhh. I didn't sa-."

Ryo kept shouting over her sarcastically.

"I think that's a great idea. We should probably get someone to moderate."

"Shut up. You making a sce-." Mei said, flustered.

*Rustle* *Rustle*

Jo Ito, a member of our school media club, as well as the moderator for Sato and my first debate, seemed to appear out of some bushes as if he was summoned. He had a microphone in his hand that I'm pretty sure wasn't plugged into anything. He spoke into it.

"Good afternoon Shikaku High School! Today I will be moderating this exhibition's vice presidential debate."

"Hey wait I didn't-."

Once again Mei's protests were no use.

"On my left we have Hako Kuro's possible future VP, Ota 'The Alpha' Ryo. On my right is the incumbent student council vice president and our school's favorite princess, Yoshino Mei!"

A crowd of students had begun to gather around.

"Let's start with an opening statement from the challenger Ota-san."

Jo handed the mic to Ryo. I still wasn't really sure what the point of it was considering there were no speakers or anything. It was essentially just a prop.

Ryo cleared his throat before speaking.

"Sup everyone. As you all probably know I'm running as my best bro, Kuro's vice president. To be honest I don't even know what a vice president's supposed to do. Heck, I don't actually know what the student council even does, but despite that, I plan on being the greatest vice president ever in the history of this school... Actually scratch that, the history of the world."

There was a bit of muttering in the crowd as well as a few laughs during Ryo's opening. I wondered if letting Ryo do this was a bad idea. I didn't realize that he doesn't actually know anything at all about the student council.

"Alright now let's hear from Vice President Yoshino." Jo said, handing the mic over to Mei.

Now that there were people around, Mei could no longer object. I had to admit Ryo somehow managed to masterfully back Mei into a corner. She had no choice but to go along with this debate.

"Hello everyone. I hope all of you are having a wonderful day. This past year I've had so much fun being President Sato's vice president and I hope I am able to continue helping make this school a better place."

There was a fair amount of cheers and applause from the audience. Mei, being as popular as she was, had a decent fan base among both boys and girls. That's probably a big reason why Sato made her vice president despite knowing nothing about the position.

Mei handed the mic back to Jo.

"Alright now that we have the opening statements out of the way, let's get right into some questions... First question is for Yoshino-san. What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment as VP?"

"Well...I think my time on the student council has allowed me to become friends with so many people at this school. Everyday I love seeing the smiles on all the students' faces...

I know this is a debate, but I'd like to take a moment to talk about something more serious. I'm helping a friend raise money for a local animal shelter. I hope that maybe one day all the homeless puppies and kitties can find loving families. Please, if you can find it in your hearts to donate, anything is appreciated."

She managed to even drum up a fake tear. The crowd was filled with a series of "awws". She managed to completely dodge the question and change the subject like a true politician. The truth was she didn't really have any accomplishments as VP. Also the funny thing is she never has really been an animal person since I've known her.

Jo continued,

"Thank you for that, Yoshino-san. Now the next question is for Ota-san. What do you hope to accomplish as VP."

"Thanks Jo. What I would do as VP is an absolute no brainer. We'll have five star chefs working the lunchroom and this plaza here converted into a skate park... Actually no, let's do an amusement park instead. Then I'd abolish cla-"

I had to interject before he went any further.

"Actually Ryo, the student council doesn't have the power nor budget to do any of that stuff."

"Oh... Well I assure you all if I could do those things I definitely would. But in that case I'll do everything I can to make school not completely suck."

There were some chuckles in the crowd, but surprisingly there was a bit of applause for Ryo. I had to admit he was actually a fairly charismatic speaker, if only he knew what he was talking about.

"The next question is for both of you. What would you say is your best trait as a person? Yoshino-san, you can go first." Jo said.

"Um, I guess my best trait is that I try to be caring and compassionate to everyone. I know I talk about friendship a lot, but it's my goal to be friends with everyone at this school. I know we're in an election, but no matter the result I hope all of us can come together afterwards as a school."

Next Ryo was up.

"I'd like to start off by saying that I can not tell a lie... Literally. I think my greatest trait is honesty. I guarantee everyone here that I'm more honest than anyone at this school. For instance before this debate I chugged an entire protein shake. I've been holding my bladder this entire time and as soon as this debate ends I'm going to run to the bathroom and pee like a race horse. I can guarantee if my opponent Mei had to pee, she would make up some lame excuse, like she had to fix her makeup or something."

Mei spoke up,

"I don't know what you're getting at Ryo-kun, but that's kind of gross."

"My point exactly, you'd be willing to lie to save face."

"I think any normal person would do that. That's not typically something you want people to know, especially if you're a girl."

Jo chimed back in,

"Very interesting points both of you make. We're running low on time, so let's move on to closing statements. Yoshino-san can start."

"Well this debate was actually quite unexpected, but it was a lot of fun being able to speak in front of all of you. I've really enjoyed my time as VP and hope to be able to continue. I think Shiina-chan has done a fantastic job as president and when you all place your votes next week please consider checking her box. Thank you all and have a good rest of your days."

At the end of her speech she put a cute smile on her face as she waved to the crowd.

Ryo was next.

"My fellow students, ask not what your school can do for you — ask what you can do for your school. When you cast your votes on...uh... hey Kuro, when does this election thing actually happen?"

"It's next Tuesday." I responded.

"...When you cast your votes next Tuesday, I hope the choice is clear. You can either have some boring chick like Sato as your president or you can have a living giga Chad like Kuro as your President. Now I'm off to go fulfill my first campaign promise."

Just like he said, he ran as fast as he could to use the bathroom. I listened around the crowd a bit and to my surprise, despite neither Ryo nor Mei actually saying anything of substance, they both seemed like they were resonating with students. Both of them received a fair amount of applause.

I had to give it to Ryo, he knew how to stir up enthusiasm. He might have actually managed to swing a fair amount of votes in my direction.