Four bodies laid motionlessly on the floor and on the one with blond hair was an alarming faceful of blood. At the centre of the onslaught was a girl with raven-black hair and a breathtakingly alluring face. She stared down balefully at the boy she just kicked in the teeth, her breathing heavy with anger.
A crowd of students were gathered around the scene, staring with gaping jaws at the girl. Hushed mutterings went around the crowd, disbelief plastered on their faces.
“I-isn’t that Aya…?”
“Did she just whoop Kenzou’s entire group by herself…?”
“Did anyone see that kick…?!”
Looking at Aya’s slim figure and only slightly higher than average height, one would never guess that the beautiful and elegant-mannered girl would be capable of hurting a fly, let alone single-handedly taking on four dyed-hair delinquents. In reality, her appearance was merely a façade of deception, hiding her true personality of a prideful, vain girl with the explosive power of a TNT.
Holding a black belt in Aikido and having years of basic training in other martial arts, this was the first time that Aya had actually unleashed what she learnt in the dojo out on the streets.
Itsuo glanced up at his saviour, wincing from the blinding light of sun surrounding Aya’s head. It was like he was looking up at an angel, and Aya certainly had enough beauty to be mistaken for one. He could barely feel the throbbing pain across the side of his face and all over his body.
W-who the heck is that girl?! She’s so beautiful!! Am I dead? Did an angel just fall down from the sky?!
Itsuo opened his mouth weakly to thank his saviour, but she turned, ignoring him, and ran to the plain-haired girl on the floor.
“H-Hikaru!” Aya bent down to her knees, grabbing onto Hikaru’s hands. “Are you okay?! Did they hurt you anywhere?!”
Hikaru was also stunned by what she had just witnessed like most of the spectators standing in a circle around them. Aya had thrown the delinquents that were easily twice her weight, if not more, as though they were sacks of feather, knocking them out cold into concrete. It really was an unbelievable sight.
“Ahh, I’m glad you’re okay…”
Aya glanced up with a sigh, then jumped, seeing the crowd of students gathered around them.
“Ek!” Aya mouthed, her eyes darting around the crowd.
C-crap, I got so carried away when I saw Hikaru hurt that I didn’t even notice how many students were watching what happened! Aya was thinking to herself. Now my perfect reputation at the school is going to be ruined!! Ahhh!!!
The students were standing frozen, staring at Aya.
Itsuo picked himself up from the ground, bruises and scratches all over his body and face. He glanced at Aya for a second, before turning to Hikaru, stumbling to her while clutching his leg.
“H-Hikaru… are you okay…?” Itsuo said as he reached Hikaru. He scanned her body for signs of injury, but there was only a light graze on the palm of her hands.
“Let me help you up—”
Before he could finish his sentence, cries of joy broke out from the crowd, and the students started stampeding towards Aya, grabbing and yelling at her.
“Oh my god, Aya, that was so cool!!”
“Where did you learn to do that?!”
“Aya, you’re sooo awesooome~!!”
Aya was shook vigorously by a sea of outstretched hands, her brain rattling inside her skull. She laughed weakly, unsure as to what to do.
Then, Aya glanced over at Hikaru, seeing her hobbling out of the crowd with Itsuo by her side.
Who the hell is that guy?! Aya’s expression turned into one of contained anger, her teeth biting onto her lips. Why is Hikaru with him…?!
“Are you okay, Hikaru?”
Itsuo was walking out of the crowd next to Hikaru’s side, trying to get away from the massive surge of people that was gathering.
Hikaru glanced back at Aya, but Aya had already turned her head away, now talking with a polite smile to the crowd that was surrounding her. Somehow, Aya seemed very far away, watching her like this.
“Are you sure?” Itsuo asked, then glanced down at Hikaru’s hands, noticing a slight amount of blood. “Let me see your hands…”
Itsuo reached out to grab Hikaru’s hand, but upon touching her hand, Hikaru jumped, pulling it away as she glanced away from Aya and back at Itsuo.
“Ah! Sorry…” Itsuo said, seeing Hikaru’s reaction. “I shouldn’t have done that…”
“I-it’s okay...” Hikaru laughed weakly, her face getting slightly pink. “I’m sorry about that… I’m just not used to being touched…”
“Yeah, haha…” Itsuo replied, rubbing the back of his head. “You don’t need to apologise, that was my fault.”
Hikaru stopped, noticing the injuries on Itsuo’s face, and leaned her head closer to get a better look.
“Itsuo… your face…”
“Ah! Don’t worry about me!” Itsuo waved his hands in front of himself, though there was a cut on his cheekbone and other bruises over his body. “I’m fine, really.”
Hikaru felt a wave of guilt washing over her, her face darkening.
“I was supposed to take care of you for your first day of school, and I…” Hikaru glanced downwards. “I’m so sorry, Itsuo…”
“D-don’t worry yourself!” Itsuo said frantically, seeing the expression on Hikaru’s face. “Please, Hikaru. It’s not your fault!”
“If, anything, it was my fault.” Itsuo continued. “I shouldn’t had provoked them like that. I got you hurt as well.”
They walked into the school building silently, passing more students that were rushing out to the school grounds to see what was happening outside.
Itsuo could see that Hikaru was still upset at herself, so he tried to change the topic.
“Hey, Hikaru…” Itsuo glanced to his side at her. “That girl… the one that beat up Kenzou’s group by herself… did you know her?”
“Ah,” Hikaru raised her chin to glance at Itsuo, “you mean Aya?”
“Yeah. So she’s called Aya?” Itsuo said. “She seemed really worried about you.”
“Yes, she’s my best friend!” Hikaru smiled. “She was my first friend at this school.”
Itsuo thought back to the beautiful girl out at the courtyard of the school that had saved them. She was really beautiful. He had thought that he must had been kicked too hard in the head and was seeing an angel when he first laid eyes on Aya.
Entering the classroom behind Hikaru, Itsuo saw a small number of students inside the class. Most students were outside to see the commotion.
A girl with lavender hair called out to them, getting up from her seat to approach Hikaru. There were two other girls following her, and a girl with caramel hair and glasses that remained at her seat which was behind where the girl was originally seating.
“Fumiko…” Hikaru said, seeing the girl with lavender hair.
“What’s going on outside?” Fumiko said, stopping in front of Hikaru. The two girls following Fumiko stopped behind her. Itsuo glanced at Fumiko and could instantly tell that this girl was probably a popular student, judging from her dyed purple hair, stylish fashion -- she had earrings running all the way up one ear and her hair was tied up in several eloquent knots falling down to her shoulders -- and the tone of vanity hiding underneath her voice. “I heard some people saying that Aya was in a fight…?”
“That can’t be possible, right?” Fumiko said, staring into Hikaru’s face. “Who would fight with Aya…?”
“It wasn’t a fight.” Itsuo said, standing by Hikaru’s side. “It was more like a one-sided beating.”
“Wh-what?” Fumiko glanced at Itsuo. “By who?!”
“The girl called Aya.” Itsuo said. “She beat the crap out of Kenzou and his group.”
Fumiko’s mouth dropped open. “What?! I mean…” She shook her head. “I knew that Aya did Aikido every week but… I didn’t know she was that strong…”
“She definitely looks like an athletic girl, but that was really something else!" Itsuo laughed.
“But why would she...” Fumiko glanced back at Hikaru, then stopped. “Don’t tell me she got into a fight cause of you, Hikaru?!”
“Um…” Hikaru shrunk back from Fumiko’s gaze. “I—”
Hikaru was interrupted when the teacher walked into the room. It was Mr Abe, their homeroom teacher.
He glanced around the almost empty classroom in confusion.
“Where is everyone?” Mr Abe said, walking over to his desk at the front of the room. “The bell for class has already rung…”
Fumiko returned to her desk without a word, and so did the two female students that were by her side.
Nervously, Hikaru shuffled over to Mr Abe’s desk with Itsuo by her side.
“Mr Abe…” Hikaru said.
“Yes…?” Mr Abe was staring down at some notes on his desk.
“I have a new transfer student with me… his name is Itsuo…”
“A new transfer student?”
Mr Abe raised his head up, glancing at Hikaru then over at Itsuo.
“What is your full name, Itsuo?” Mr Abe said. He pulled a folder out from his stack of papers, flipping it open. “I’ll try to find out which class you’re supposed to go to.”
“Hmm…” Mr Abe flipped through the folder, his eyes scanning the documents. He continued for a few more seconds, until he flipped back to a previous page. “Ah, I found you. You’re in my class.”
“That’s great!” Hikaru said, smiling at Itsuo.
“Yeah…” He laughed faintly.
“You’re supposed to go to the office to fill out some paperwork first, but you can go during lunchtime.” Mr Abe said.
Itsuo nodded, then Hikaru thanked the teacher.
“Anyways, just wait outside for a moment.” Mr Abe said. He glanced at the door, seeing students starting to flow in. “I’ll introduce you to the class once everyone’s here.”
“Sure.” Itsuo walked outside of the class.
Hikaru walked to her desk, sitting down. She stared at the doorway of the classroom, waiting for Aya.
A soft voice called out to Hikaru from behind her.
Hikaru glanced backwards at the seat that was behind Aya’s, and saw Sana.
“Is it true…?” Sana whispered. “That Aya got into a fight…?”
Hikaru nodded with a weak smile, then turned her attention back to the front of the class as Sana went quiet to contemplate her answer.
Eventually, the person that Hikaru was waiting for, walked into the room. A head of silky midnight-black hair flowing behind her and a face that captured the attention of the classroom. She was walking briskly, her posture as elegant as her features. It was Aya!
Hikaru’s face brightened, seeing Aya.
As Aya walked towards Hikaru’s desk to get to hers, which was right next to Hikaru, Hikaru smiled up at Aya.
To her surprise, Aya ignored her, turning her head the other way as she sat down at her desk without a response.
Hikaru stared at Aya, but she was still ignoring her. Feeling something stabbing at her heart, Hikaru glanced down at her desk.
W-why is Aya ignoring me?! Hikaru thought. Did I do something wrong? She was okay when I saw her outside…
“Okay…” Mr Abe cleared his throat, glancing around the classroom. “Seems like everyone’s here. Don’t know why everyone was late, but anyways…”
Hikaru was still depressed over Aya’s sudden change of attitude towards her.
“We have a new transfer student joining our class today.” Mr Abe said. “I hope you will make them feel as welcome as you have done with Hikaru, who seemed to have settled nicely since last week.”
Mr Abe glanced over at the depressed Hikaru, and she glanced up, forcing a weak smile.
Mr Abe then glanced over at the door.
“Itsuo, you can come in now.”
Itsuo walked into the class, holding his head up high. He was slightly nervous, not being used to having so many eyes on him.
“This is Itsuo everyone.” Mr Abe said, then turned to Itsuo with an encouraging smile. “Why don’t you introduce yourself to the rest of the classroom, Itsuo?”
“Ah-hem…” Itsuo coughed, glancing downwards. “I… My name is Itsuo.” He raised his head back up with a confident look. “I came from Takayama. I know Hikaru from this class since our parents are friends. I enjoy playing tennis and I’m looking forward to joining Hibiya High. Please take care of me.”
He bowed his head, then raised it back up.
“Thank you, Itsuo. Now… where to place you…” Mr Abe glanced around the room. “Well, you said you know Hikaru… so…”
Mr Abe glanced at the person sitting on the right side of Hikaru, which was away from the window. Aya was sitting on Hikaru’s left side.
“Mei, could you move to the empty seat over at the front?” Mr Abe said. “I’ll let Hikaru take care of Itsuo.”
“Sure.” A girl with brown hair and freckles nodded politely, then got up from her desk, packing her things.
“Itsuo, you’ll sit next to Hikaru.” Mr Abe said. “Hopefully, she can show you around the school since you both came from Takayama and you’re already friends.”
“Thank you.” Itsuo nodded. “That would be good.”
What—?! Aya raised her head, pouting. That guy is going to be sitting next to Hikaru?! Argh… So they are both from the same hometown…
Once Mei moved out of her desk, Itsuo walked to the desk next to Hikaru, sitting down and placing his stuff out.
Aya was trying her best not to flash murderous glances at Itsuo. She stared outside the window, her teeth clenched behind her serene-looking appearance.
“Anyways, let’s start the class…”
The bell for lunch sounded, ringing around the school building of Hibiya High.
“Hey, Aya!” Fumiko called cheerfully, turning her chair around to face Aya’s desk as she always did during lunchtime. “Did you really get into a fight with Kenzou?”
Kenzou had been missing from the class, not showing up at all during the period before lunch. It was abnormal for students to skip classes at Hibiya High due to the strictness of the school on attendance and academic results.
“No…” Aya replied, her mind was thinking about Hikaru and Itsuo. “I didn’t really do anything… he just tripped over…”
A voice sounded from the side of the room, and up came a girl with shoulder-lengthed red hair, tied up into two tails. It was Mika, the girl that had bullied Fumiko before.
Fumiko’s face turned into a scowl, seeing Mika.
“I saw what happened out at the courtyards!” Mika said, staring at Aya with adoration, her hands clasped together. “You were amazing, Aya! You roundhouse kicked Kenzou right in the face!!”
“No one was talking to you!” Fumiko said. “Please don’t talk to Aya or me.”
“Whaat~?” Mika stared down at Fumiko with a playful smile. “You’re still not over what happened last week? Come on, it was just a joke, Fumiko.”
“Joke my ass.” Fumiko retorted. “You were about to scar my face with a boxcutter, you demon!”
Mika laughed innocently, rubbing the back of her head and trying to look cute. “I wasn’t really going to do it, Fumiko. It was just a joke I said. Just a joke.”
Fumiko glared at Mika.
“A-anyways, you really shouldn’t get into fights, Aya!” Sana spoke from the back, moving her chair to the side of Aya’s desk. “What if you actually got hurt?”
“It’s okay, Sana…” Aya laughed. “I wouldn’t get hurt…”
“Um…” Hikaru tried to enter the conversation from the side. “Were you okay… Aya…?”
Aya glanced at Hikaru with a blank expression, then slowly, smiled faintly.
“I’m fine, Hikaru…” Aya said, then she indicated next to her desk. “Come sit here with me, Hikaru.”
Hikaru was relieved, hearing Aya’s words. Maybe Aya didn’t see me in the morning when I smiled at her… Hikaru moved her chair over, then almost forgot about Itsuo. She was supposed to be taking care of him. Glancing back at him, she saw Itsuo looking up from his notes to smile at Hikaru.
“Don’t worry about me, Hikaru.” Itsuo said, picking himself up from his desk. “I’m going off to the office to finish up some paperwork they said I have to do for my enrolment.”
“Please wait,” Aya stood up from her desk, surprising everyone. Forcing a polite smile at Itsuo, she said, “Allow me to walk you to the school office. The buildings for Hibiya High are quite many and large, so it is often easy for new students to get lost.”
“Um…” Itsuo stared at Aya, his voice caught half by surprise and half by nervousness over how beautiful Aya was. It seemed that every time Aya smiled, the whole classroom would sparkle behind her.
“A-Aya?” Fumiko said. “You don’t have to take the new kid. Just let him go alone…”
“I can take Itsuo--” Hikaru was about to say, but Aya quickly cutted in.
“It's okay, Hikaru, please stay here in the classroom with Fumiko and Sana." Aya said. "You must of already had quite a shock from what happened in the morning, so allow me to do this one little task... I don't imagine it will take a lot of time..."
Itsuo was still at a loss of words, but a politely smiling Aya ushered him with her, and he followed her dumbly out of the classroom.
“Tch.” Fumiko shot daggers with her eyes at Itsuo’s back. “That lucky guy…”
Sana laughed weakly.
“I hope they’ll be okay…” Hikaru said.
Mika didn’t seem to care. Instead, she glanced at the group and said, “Anyways, let’s talk about the new TV show last night…”
Itsuo’s heart was beating out of control inside his chest. It had been like that ever since he saw Aya out at the courtyard, and was now happening every time he saw her.
Staring at her back, he watched as students around the hallways greeted Aya with smiles as she led the way.
This girl… Itsuo thought to himself. She’s really popular… but that’s no wonder, with her looks…
She didn’t say a single word to him on their journey. It felt awkward, but he was also hesitant to say anything. Itsuo was already shy with girls, and now, he was suddenly faced with the most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life. It was like he had gone from jogging for a few mins around the neighbourhood to somehow entering the Olympic marathon the very next day.
Still, he had to at the very least introduce himself.
“H-hey…” Itsuo called out. “My name’s Itsuo by the way, I don't think I had properly introduced myself. It’s nice to meet you…”
Aya ignored him, still walking ahead.
That’s weird. Itsuo thought. Maybe she didn’t hear me…
Eventually, after walking up a few stairways, Aya pushed open the door at the top of the stairs, revealing the school rooftops.
Huh...? This doesn’t look like the school office…? Itsuo glanced around as he followed Aya out to the school rooftops. He walked a few steps ahead, then heard the door to the rooftops closing, surprising him.
He glanced back to see Aya standing in front of the door, blocking it.