Chapter 7:

"The Wrath"


Two girls stand before me. One is my arch-rival, perhaps even the bane of my existence: President Miyata Miyuki of the History Club. With flowing brown hair and standing tall and proud with the resources of the entire school behind her, Miyata Miyuki and her club threatens to swallow me whole (don’t take that in a weird way).

Next to her is the History’s Club instrument of terror: Yasuda “the Wrath” Junko. She’s shorter than me, perhaps not even reaching five feet, but her eyes are as dark as her hair and she perpetually stands with her hands behind her back like some sort of dictator. Even if she was a happy-go-lucky genki girl (which she isn't), we would still be wary of her - her father is closely associated with the Nakashima conglomerate and allegedly has mob ties to Russia. Mizushima told me all that though, so take it with a grain of salt. 

“What do you want?” I say to my rival president with a frown. Miyata is all bark and no bite - we’ll verbally spar for a bit, and once she’s satisfied, she’ll go on her way.

The problem is that she’s far better at sparring than I am.

“Saito Fumi,” she says with a predator’s grin. “More like Saito…Poomi.”


I clench my fists and huff out each word so she understands that I mean business. “My name is not Poomi.”

Miyata leans back and laughs an ojou’s laugh with her hand covering her mouth. Satisfied for the day, she goes to leave, but the Wrath approaches me. Come to think of it, I’ve never actually spoken to her - her reputation precedes her.

“Saito Fumi,” she says crisply and clearly in an aristocrat’s voice. “We will be engaging in a contest of historical wits in five days hence. The fate of our clubs is on the line. Let me be clear. During this contest, I shall hold nothing back. I will utterly, thoroughly, and completely destroy you and your club.”


“Let me show you something, Saito Fumi.” Yasuda Junko reaches into her jacket and reveals an old photograph of two boys our age. And then I’m taken aback.

“Why do you have a picture of my father as a kid on you?!”

“Heed my words, Saito Fumi. The Historical Research Club was founded twenty-three years ago. Twenty-three years ago, your father and my father took this photo on the day they founded it. The History Club could only send a limited number of representatives to the national history quiz, and due to corruption and bribery, our fathers were not among them. Even though they were merely second-years, they were smarter and would surely bring victory to Shikishima. They decided to forge their own path. They created their own club dedicated to historical research. It came at a cost - they were outlawed from the History Club. My father was guaranteed at least the treasurer’s position, perhaps even the vice presidency, during his third-year had he stayed. But your father convinced him that going their own way would bring them no less glory and fame.”

She puts the photograph away. “They passed the examination and were allowed to attend the national quiz under the banner of the Shikishima High School Historical Research Club. When there were nineteen contestants left, your father incorrectly identified the historical Waziristan colonial districts as belonging to Afghanistan rather than Pakistan - a rather elementary mistake if I will - and was eliminated. When there eight contestants left, my father was given the following question - what country is immediately south of the Ukraine and includes the contested territory of Transnistria?”

Junko pauses, clearly expecting me to ask what happens next. She stands resolute before me, glaring at me with her dark eyes. I don’t know what to say - I had no idea my dad founded the club I’m currently in. Why didn’t he tell me?

“My father smiled,” she continues unabated. “My father smiled because he had run through this same exact question with your father the night before during a study session. My father trusted your father. My father believed in your father. And do you know what happened the night before? Your father was distracted by thoughts of your mother. They had just met. When my father practiced this question at the study session, your father failed to pay attention to my father’s answer. Do you know what my father gave for an answer the night before and subsequently at the contest?”

The following word rolls off her tongue in disgust.

Bulgaria. At the study session, when my father answered with Bulgaria, your father said correct automatically, without paying attention, as if that was the actual answer. IT WAS CLEARLY NOT. Thanks to your father’s negligence in being a proper study buddy, my own father was eliminated. He did not bring glory to Shikishima or his clan. He only brought failure. He was not allowed back into the History Club. My grandfather committed hara-kiri out of shame.”

Junko jabs a finger at me. “This is where I enter the picture. I have been honed as an academic weapon since birth by my father for this very purpose of bringing ruin to you and your family. Everything there is to know about history, I have learned it. Do you know what these hands have done to achieve such mastery, Saito Fumi? The filth I’ve had to wade through, the bodies I’ve had to bury, the losses I’ve had to mourn? But it has all led to this moment. I will achieve my father’s wishes and destroy the club that has brought him so much sorrow.”

The air takes a stale, chilly turn as she steps closer, pinning me against the wall. “I will annihilate you, Saito Fumi. I will bend you over and make you my bitch. You will face complete ruin at my hand. Your loss in the upcoming trivia contest will be absolute. The Historical Research Club will be no more. And then I will go a step further. I will erase all mention of it in the school’s records. I will destroy all traces, so that it will seem that it had never existed in the first place. And then, one day, this distortion will become reality. The lie will spread far and wide until it becomes truth. Nobody will remember the Historical Research Club. It will not make the pages of history. It’ll be lost in the seas and sands of time, all at my own bidding. Then, and only then, once you have truly understood the depth of your failure, will my mission of vengeance be complete. You are nobody, Saito Fumi, not now, and not ever, for all time.”

Having finished her spiel, the Wrath marches off, heading calmly and methodically down the stairs.

Miyata Miyuki just whistles. “...goddamn. Well, best of luck, Poomi!”

She skips off behind her.

Truth be told, during the entire spiel, no retorts came to mind. I couldn’t string the words together. Junko’s threats made me feel smaller and smaller, like I really am a nobody, and I really am, aren’t I? Just 71,783. Just a number. I’m not good at making friends or talking to people. Not good at anything, really.

And then I kind of start crying. Just a little bit, some tears here or there. Maybe a sob or two.

I bow my head low and walk off, and that’s when I bump into Mizutami Kouji.

It’s too late - I bounce hard off of him and fall to the ground. The boxed lunch flies from my hands and spaghetti goes everywhere. I’m a crying mess landing in a big pile of spaghetti. I grab some with my hands, trying to put it back in the box, but I’m crying so hard and pasta sauce is all over my hands now and the thin strands of pasta slip right through my fingers. I’m such an idiot, such an idiot, such an idiot-

When I’m upset, I usually hurt myself in punishment, but the blow to my face never comes. Kouji, kneeling now, grabs my wrist before I can strike myself.

“Not worth crying over spilled spaghetti, you know?” he says gently.

His grip on my wrist is just as gentle. His light touch is so soothing, and I soak it in for a long while.

“Idiot…” I mumble.

Steward McOy