Aura: Koga Maryuin's Final Battle - novelonlinefull.com
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My high school debut was a success.
I had earned it as compensation for devoting practically all of my unsparing time from graduation to commencement. Hard work will be rewarded. I don't think that's universally true, but this time alone, I fell right in the center of that plat.i.tude.
I was overjoyed. Goodbye to the unpopular me. Welcome new me, Nouvelle Moi.
Without standing out any more than necessary, without being miserably hidden away or ignored, a normal high school boy was what I was aiming for. Point being, while belatedly, I had laid hands on a normality fitting of Satou Ichirou: the ubiquitous name gracing the entry box on my registry at city hall.
Even so, a high school debut is quite an interesting concept. Late to every trend, I coincidentally stumbled upon the term online. For someone who had only just escaped the living h.e.l.l of middle school, it was akin to a revelation of salvation.
High school is a fresh start.
Thrust to motion by extraordinary pa.s.sion, I spent the entirety of my break carrying out self-reformation. I fixed my bad habit of my eyes going bloodshot whenever I talked by conversing with myself in the mirror, and when it came to conversations, I resolved my tendency of droning on by obligating myself to take a silent breath here and there. Faults are the sort of things that keep coming out the more you look for them. Thanks to that, my dedication had reached tens upon tens of entries. Stand with your back straight. Be careful not to speak in a strange voice. Properly look at the person you're talking to. Don't scatter saliva. Wear decent clothing (G.o.d bless Uniqlo). Don't keep your mouth half-open. No humming in cla.s.s. Absolutely no monologuing. No faking phone calls. No matter what. Don't live in high tensions. Showing overreactions is a crime. Strange faces, a life sentence. On top of that, I properly went to a salon and changed my hairstyle.
When there was only a day left of vacation, I saw a tentative completion in my reforms. The last remnants were spent thoroughly cleaning my room. It took an entire day to sort out everything that would prove unnecessary in my life to come, box them, and put them out, but my room had become a great deal tidier.
It hurt my chest to look at the empty bookshelves. But that was all.
It's often said a bookshelf is a portion of the heart. Going by that logic, a new me would need a new heart installed. I knew I could just use my time to fill in the gap left behind.
Once I slept that night and got up, it was the day of the entrance ceremony. I challenged my high school life as a new me.
"Mornin' Issan." "Hey, barely made it I see."
Kawai and Kobayashi were valuable dear friends I had gained in my first week of high school. I had to wonder if my debut was as much of a success as these two. Quite likely. I probably started from a lower point, after all.
"Were you watching yesterday?" "For real?" "Read anything good?"
Arbitrarily chiming in, I looked over the cla.s.sroom. Someone who had already joined a club, worn out from morning practice. Someone eating sweet bread. Someone reading a book alone. There were various sorts. As there was still time to cla.s.s, a little over ten were present. With how little time had pa.s.sed from commencement, a majority were still isolated. But one must always be vigilant. The starting dash of one's first year is vital. Whether one joined some group or remained all alone would be decided by their impression and conduct during this period. Normal was a considerably difficult trait to pull off.
It went without saying, but an unseen disparity existed within the cla.s.s.
As groups formed, a stern power relation would inevitably surface in between each unit. It was difficult to join a group with power after time spent in isolation. Whoever started alone would end up plastered with the 'loner character' label. These real-life experiences were the highest form of study one could achieve in school. At the same time, as we were learning in the field, the pain of failure was just as real.
Given the current climate, from the first day, I concentrated on selecting people to talk to. It was before seat changes, so the desks were simply lined by attendance number. The order was boy-girl-boy-girl; unless I consciously moved, it would be difficult to find friends of the same gender.
Talks of seat changes would come before long.
I had to finalize a group already so I could secure the best spot in the back by the window. I needed to demonstrate my group’s power while I still had time. Through middle school, I was always in the frontmost row in front of the teacher's desk. I didn't have the right to choose where I sat. Now I did. And how delightful it was.
By converting my minuses into zeros, my high school debut plan was a splendid success. My end goal was normal, so from the start, I had no plot to eagerly climb up the cla.s.s hierarchy.
My position in center field was one I would defend to the death.
"Come to think of it, what are you guys doing for clubs?"
The free talk shifted to school.
After I stated there wasn't anywhere in particular I wanted to enter, both Kawai and Kobayashi said they wanted to join a sports club. We wouldn't be able to hang out in that case. I was right in the mood to change the subject.
"If you join a club, there's no time to play."
"That’s the thing." "I get you."
My trouble-diverting statement called forth unforeseen approval. I had finally become normal, so learning how to have fun like a high school student wasn't a bad idea. Karaoke, window shopping and the like.
"Hey, hey, who's playing?"
Casually entering the conversation was Saitou, a boy with short hair. Our cla.s.s was full of all sorts of common names like Satous and Saitous, so it may be hard to tell who's who, but I hardly interacted with these sorts, so I wasn't going to remember each Tom, d.i.c.k and Clancy that came up. If anything, I just had to commit my memory to the Takahashi Group soon to arrive.
"Saitou, you play around?" asked Kawai.
"Nah, back when I was a little s.h.i.t (middle schooler) I played quite a bit."
He made a sociable smile. Appearance-wise, he gave off quite a stern look, but it seemed he wasn't too scary of a character. If we got to know one another, would he become a part of my normalizing plan? Or so I pondered as the front sliding door slammed open.
At the head of the gathering boldly sauntering into the cla.s.sroom, a good-height, good-looks man unveiled his unfaltering clear voice.
"Morning all. Say h.e.l.lo to today's Takahashi"
I light laugh rose around the cla.s.sroom.
"Sup, pleasure to be here."
Approximately equal to Takahashi in height, weight, and looks, yet falling just a little short in charisma, the adjutant-like existence Yamamoto picked up after him in cool, low spirits. Rumor had it he was already performing in the soccer club.
Following behind those two greetings came a slender delicate youth, moreover, a set of three girls who went beyond pretty.
A group of three boys, three girls. Each one pretty in their own right.
Not subpar or normal, those belonging to the special course. The n.o.bles. The MVPs. Any onlooker could tell they were the charisma of the cla.s.s. Their brilliance was something else. Their aura was something else.
… Right, what separated the light from the dark was always aura. It was something anyone could see… though putting it that way may make me sound like a spiritual counselor. The ability to read one's atmosphere was a skill essentially everyone came equipped with. Take, for instance, a delinquent, an otaku, a playboy, their auras were easy enough to cla.s.sify.
Each and every member of the Takahashi Group was on the level of a standard celebrity. The men cool and tasteful, the women cute and stylish. Even their aura on another level. The Phantom Troupe of this cla.s.s was undisputedly these guys.
I could get if there was one or two in a cla.s.s, but we ended up with six. And they started hanging out in the blink of an eye. Right, groups were generally constructed of those of the same rank. As a matter of fact, the instant those Takahashis came in, the attention in cla.s.s was sucked in their direction.
Kawai and Kobayashi awkwardly averted their eyes. I understood the sentiment; Up to a moment ago, we were speaking heart to heart, but that was derailed in an instant. Furthermore,
Saitou, who'd been discussing play with us changed direction as if a switch had been flipped, turning face to greet high lord Takahashi. "Hey now," Kawai lightly retorted.
"Oh, umm… sorry, was it Nakamura?"
I almost did a spit take. Nakamura was the average looking seat number fifteen. Takahashi was fourteen, cool Yamamoto was sixteen. Meaning, seat-wise, he sat between Takahashi and Yamamoto. Not remembering Saitou was one thing, but to forget Nakamura, who'd been sandwiched between his group for a week, as expected of a b.l.o.o.d.y n.o.ble, I guess.
… Still, I guess that's what you expect from a difference in status.
"So mean. I'm Saitou, remember?" his smile was stiff.
"Aah, sorry, sorry! Everyone in this cla.s.s has a common name, see… real sorry!"
Looks like he was thinking something similar. I sympathized ever so slightly.
It did seem that today's hotty was the sort of guy who would properly put his hands together and lower his head to a plebian. The most painful part had to be how the other n.o.bles didn't partic.i.p.ate in the conversation in the slightest. As if they couldn't put up with this, or rather, I ended up impressed that Saitou was able to speak so nonchalantly.
"Don't worry about it, just try to remember. In exchange, you have my support if it comes down to it."
"For real? Well I'd love you guys' backing, Saitou. That's seriously the best."
Mutual agreement. As I kept the corner of my eye on that grand exchange among ranks, Kobayashi made a quiet proposal.
"… And wait, can't we go with the three of us? Playing?"
"One vote for that," came Kawai.
Both sides worked out. Saitou's patronizing att.i.tude, and Kawai and Kobayashi's sullenness, I could understand both sides. Regardless, for now, it was wiser to go along with the two of them.
"I'll wait and see. If that happens, we'll go with that."
Weasels happened to be my favorite animals; I had no hesitation to use weasel words.
Just a sliver of silence descended among our dampened spirits, and when it was about time for the talk to wrap up, a single shadow that had slipped out of the royal family to wander around the cla.s.sroom approached.
"Good morning, Kawai-kun, Kobayashi-kun, Satou-kun."
"… Morning, Kobato-san."
The only one to expect it, I was the only one who could immediately reply. A little delayed, "Y-yeah," "Morning," Kawai and Kobayashi groaned out some responses.
"I always see you three together~."
Her bouncing, sweetly swaying intonation filled the surroundings with a soothing wave. The wave carried a floral scent.
"We formed a trio, after all."
"Oh~, I see. Congratulations." Clap clap clap, some unironic applause.
Kobato Shinako. One of the three n.o.ble girls. The type easy to develop a crush on, but rather plain was her first impression, though in truth she was a tad absentminded. A glimpse of that could be seen in how she went around in the morning greeting all her cla.s.smates individually.
"You formed a s.e.xtet yourself, didn't you?"
When I replied, she came to a complete stop, her smile fixed on her face.
For someone as sociable as Kobato-san, it was rare for her to abstain from throwing back the conversational ball. Rather, she looked to be at a loss for worse. Her smile that had turned into a still photo reddened before my eyes.
A red-tinted face tilted somewhat.
"S… e… x…?"
Leaked a mechanical voice.
Oh, I almost cried out. I figured out the reason she petrified.
How could it be? It did seem she was a considerably naïve person. She was part of the cla.s.ses' starting lineup, so I was certain she already had that under control, but apparently, she boasted a maiden-ness appropriate for her age. It came around to my turn for a confused refutation.
"Ah, no! That's not what it means. You're misunderstanding, misconstruing, completely wrong."
"S… s.e.x… t.i.t…s?"
"Wrong, I say!" So she heard it that way after all. "It means a group of six. Trio, quartet, quintet, s.e.xtet, right?"
"O-oh I see. I didn't know the last one… phew, that was a surprise." She made a gesture of holding her head. "My mind went straight to the gutter. I should have known better."
"Don't worry about it, Kobato-san."
"Yeah, you're right. I'll do my best. Thanks."
Kobato-san lightly waved a hand in front of her chest as she turned towards the other students. I saw her off with a mirrored gesture as I mused over how amazing I was to talk normally with such a cute girl—a part of me considering it someone else's business.
I already felt soothed to my soul.
Among the n.o.ble houses, it looked like Takahashi and Kobato-san gave off favorable-enough impressions. I immediately brought them up in the conversation.
"Kobato-san's a good kid."
"… Well, she's kinda cute, I guess." "A bit plain."
To my frank impression, almighty Kawai and Kobayashi dashed on some impudent utterances.
"You think so? I think it's nice how she's not all caked up."
"Sure, cakey's a no go, but she could be a bit more graceful."
"Right, it's got to be the queen."
The two plainly showed off the difference in our tastes.
The queen was the leader of the n.o.ble gathering's three girls. She went by Ooshima Yumina. At first, I wondered what sort of name was that, but she didn't lose out to it. At the very least, among the three girls, there was no doubt she was the most conspicuous type of beauty. Unfortunately, neither did her personality fall short of her name, and the regal way she carried herself stood out. Plainly put, she sat on a high horse. Not the sort I could get along with.
"… We've got some risktakers here."
As this and that was going on, students filtered in one after the net. When the teacher came in timed precisely with the bell, almost everyone was in their seat.
"Good morning everyone," the tall, bespectacled male teacher vibrantly proclaimed. "… Day duty… we haven't decided that yet. Umm, then seat number fifteen, take us away."
"Boy or girl?" asked the cla.s.s n.o.ble Takahashi.
"Oh right, then a female student please."
Seat number fifteen. A girl called female stood up. She immediately slumped onto the floor.
"Hino-san, what's wrong?"
"… Not enough… blood… and the… sun is up, so…"
Painfully wheezing, she leaned her forehead against her desk, her entire body shaking. The homeroom teacher approached her.
"Do you need to go to the infirmary?"
"Urgh… if only I had some… I'd be fine."
Hino muttered. If only I had _____, I heard. What fit in the _____ was most likely—
I shook my head. Nothing to do with me. I don't know her. She's not my friend, and we'd never exchanged words.
"Let's go to the infirmary. Our infirmary has the G.o.ddess of nursing to look after you."
Saying some incomprehensible things, the homeroom teacher continued muttering as he led Hino off. Thanks to that, a dubious amount of time was freed up in cla.s.s, so I absentmindedly surveyed the room. The desks were lined six by six. My seat number was twelve, the very back of the second boys' row. Box seats.
My eyes were first drawn to an area ahead and to the left of me. The zone where plain-looking Nakamura was sandwiched between two cla.s.s n.o.bles. Takahashi and his right-hand Yamamoto had already begun talking across poor Nakamura's desk.
It seemed Nakamura was not part of the conversation, as he seemed rather restless. I can't say I didn't feel for him, but such are the ways of the world. He would have to give up.
Takahashi Yuuta. It was a delightful miscalculation on my part that the strongest character had such a cheery personality.
His partner Yamamoto's bad-boy aura was something anyone could see. The work put into his hair, his daily changing accessories, the way he perfectly pulled off the rough way he wore his uniform. Full marks on his st.u.r.dy impression, he was like the contrastive shadow to Takahashi. If both of them were shadows, there would probably be bullying in the cla.s.s by now. It was because Takahashi treated even those below his second fiddles so favorably that Yamamoto had no choice but to keep quiet.
Meanwhile, on the girls' side, Queen Ooshima Yumina had all the traits necessary for a bully. Her side two looked peaceful enough, but there was no telling how that front would develop. Personally speaking, I could only wish for Kobato-san's healing effect to spread over the entirety of humanity.
Whatever the case, n.o.bles, and second fiddles, and plebeians, it all does sound so cynical, and I'll admit they are detestable terms. But there existed those who couldn't fall into such categories and for a clear distinction, those concerned will simply have to accept those descriptors.
By the way, Kobato-san sat three seats ahead of me on the left.
She was reading a paperback she had produced from her bag. What kind of book could she have been reading? I felt a soaring in my chest, as I fixed my gaze on the brief glimpses I caught of the cover.
I threw my head back.
If you'll let me use an original word, the cover was buried in the drawing of an animeified female. The t.i.tle was 'Shakugan no—'
I rested my head on the table.
I couldn't properly sort out the conflicted emotions swirling in my heart. The current me was unable to look at such contents with straight sincerity. A psychological battering, it would be.
s.c.r.e.w.i.n.g my head to take my eyes off of Kobato-san, I gazed two seats behind her.
An empty chair. No one had sat there for the past week.
At that moment, I would have loved to hear any sort of question; yet in regards to that ever-absent female student, there wasn't much to ask. Only a single question properly filled my mind:
Just when exactly was she going to attend school?