21st Century Schizoid Man
Written By: Puratinamu Disuko
Beta By: WolfensteinVII
Disclaimer: This is a fan fiction. I do not own anything.
Warning! The goal of this fan work is to make a story of an OP protagonist more interesting than just one sentence curb stomping and bashing. To those that have read Normal, this is a rewrite under a different title with the same story structure but different character takes, scenes, and general plot. Also, this story will be gory with some very disturbing and squicky images of morally sick and taboo actions and thoughts like racism, cult worship, rape, and cannibalism, some vague and others described in detail, at some points in the story. These scenes are not there for the sake of being disturbing to make the story grim dark and gritty, but are there because they are necessary for the plot. This story definitely doesn't reflect my beliefs, so please don't sue me for it. Still, this story is made to be light-hearted so don't expect these scenes to be frequent if these things are what you only look for a story. If you're not into OP characters, can't stand gore, or if you're a minor, then I suggest you look elsewhere to spend your precious free time.
Arc 1: In the Chaos
Chapter 1: Zenkichi Normal
It was a conglomeration of chaos and order as students lined up according to their assigned classes and year level, the noise deafening, echoing and reverberating all over the modern closed space that is Hakoniwa Academy's Assembly Hall. He could see mouths open and close, some students talking with their peers while others settled with silence.
Then silence enveloped the present student body as though some magical wind came and took their voices. Almost nothing could be heard, no noise being produced, nothing, except for the sound of steps, whose rhythm of hypnotic repetition might be at fault. It was from a girl, a woman, whose body and beauty could compete with the goddess Aphrodite, she came out from one side of the podium wearing a very provocative version of the academy's female uniform, mesmerizing the crowd and cementing the silence – the sheep now ready to hear their messiah's gospel.
Zenkichi gave his all not to shake his head in resignation at such show of overwhelming charisma from the beauty and its effect on the schools populace. Still, this didn't stop him from admiring the vision parading on the podium.
The girl wore a stern face, giving her a sophisticated image regardless of her current attire, her very long purple hair swaying with her movements — placing both of her hands on the large and tastefully ornate wooden table. Two statues of some unknown type of creature were on each end of the table, with her name and position legibly printed on a white horizontal nameplate in the middle, the crimson flags of the academy as backdrop, adding to her air of authority. A pair of ruby-red orbs then moved left and right behind her bangs — surveying her audience — making some of the students stiffen ramrod in their places.
Alas she grinned, her full and obviously soft lips opening as she began her introductory speech; "Do you find the world merely average?" her voice loud and clear as each member of the student body listened in rapt attention.
She was Medaka Kurokami, his childhood friend, fellow first year high-school student, and Hakoniwa's 98th Student Council President. He still couldn't help but be a little bit astounded at how such a development came to be.
"Does the future bore you? Are you just getting by?"
He could still remember how Medaka tackled him at his very first step inside the Academy, when he came to take care of some minor things about his enrollment, asking him a series of questions about his 'Journey of Self discovery and Enlightenment' — an excuse that he gave to his mother, which was really not that far from the truth. He gave her a rehearsed answer — he still felt guilty about lying to his childhood-friend — earning him a smile blindingly bright, her eyes watering in obvious sign of relief.
"Relax! Even then… life is a drama!"
She then threw a curve ball of changing topics by ordering him to help her in her campaign for the Student Council President position, making him sigh in relief. She was the same Medaka that he remembered. It was as though he never left — her attempting to do something ridiculous, strong-arming him to join her, while he tried his best to stop her before she could even begin. Like always, she would always win the argument while he continued with his halfhearted protests.
And just like always, she won.
He clicked his tongue as he shifted his body, leaning more to his left foot to shake the minor cramping of his right leg. He then twisted his neck left and right, earning him two snaps that he could only hear, noticing a diminutive girl waving cutely to gain his attention at the corner of his eyes. She was hidden by few of his future female classmates on a line beside him. He nodded, making the blue-haired girl smile.
"And to that end — as of today I am your School President. School, work, love life, family situation, and even personal issues, you should submit your woes to the suggestion box without hesitation! Twenty four hours a day, three hundred sixty-five days a year, I will take on any issues from anyone!"
Zenkichi Hitoyoshi could not help but wonder what would happen next.
"Wow, the new Student Council President sure is something huh?"
"Did you hear the rumors about the new president?"
"I can't believe she's a first year like us."
"Damn she's hot."
"Hmph! She's so up herself, it's ridiculous!"
"But she sure is unconventional, unlike others. I heard even the faculty are afraid to take action against her."
Even Hansode couldn't help but be impressed at the effect of the beast woman's speech, tilting her head as she twirled near the hunching back of a strawberry-blonde student, glancing appreciatively from time to time at his wide shoulders. Like the pathetic sheep that they are, her classmates began their rumor mongering, wasting their lives on such useless prattle. As if such comments could affect the little princess and her hold on the superficial throne.
Then again, time was something she had in spades. So she smiled as she began her own useless prattle with Zenkichi, who was obviously faking sleep. "Wow, impressive huh…. Pulling a bluff like that in front of the whole school. She sure is used to standing up in front of other people."
Her smile widened as his body rose from the table, sure sign that she earned his attention. His chair squeaked a bit as he turned to face her with a bizarre combination of irritation and annoyance, his expression giving her a sense of sadistic delight regardless if such mood from her companion was because of her or the background characters around them.
Was it due to an infraction to his abnormal sense of normality? Then again, everything is normal to him — he would always say.
He leaned with his left forearm on the table, while he raised his right, trying to emphasize his answer. "Shiranui, it's not like she's used to standing up in front of people… it's more like she's standing over other people."
Others who heard his argument would have pegged the president as a dictator, which was not that far from the truth, especially if such statement was from the mouth of her so-called childhood friend.
However, to Hansode, Zenkichi was more like a petulant kid whining about his mother being too strict. She shook her head at such cute but useless show of bravado. Then again….
"Well… you could also say that. If that weren't the case, she wouldn't have won the election. It's a must have trait for a politician, you know? You should take note of it if you want to run for a similar position of authority in the future! Zenkichi for President! Tehe!"
He looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights. "T-that's crazy, Shiranui!"
"Don't worry, don't worry." She gestured for him to calm himself. "Sheesh, you're overreacting."
"Sorry. It's just that when you say things like that… I can't help but be worried."
"Oh?" It was funny… not. "Don't be paranoid, Zenkichi. If I did do something, you wouldn't even know it until it was too late!"
"Yeah…. I know…." He avoided her gaze.
Shiranui inwardly groaned as their conversation spiraled to uncharted waters of their shared past, embracing her own body to compose herself. She then twirled — forcing herself to cheer up — and then hopped to sit on his table, posing like a pin-up model. "Returning to our topic, to get 98% of the votes, even this Shiranui is astounded! She's definitely number one! Impressed enough, that I, Hansode Shiranui, voted in her favor!"
Thankfully, Zenkichi was back to his normal, annoyed self. "I already k—"
"Don't interrupt me!"
Sometimes, to Hansode's irritation, he could be as dense as a black hole. "I'm explaining to our dear readers, Zenkichi."
She sighed. She narrowed her eyes at him and within few moments, his twin blue orbs widened in realization.
"Oh…. Oh! Right! Readers! Don't let me interrupt you."
"Why, thank you!" Shiranui gave the strawberry-blonde teenager a bow. She then raised her hands as if she was in an oratory, her feet swinging. "Anyway, Medaka Kurokami, or the Little Princess as I would like to call her sometimes, she was number one in the country in the national exam, she scored a previously unheard of record deviation of ninety, she got innumerable trophies and awards, even in sports she takes any records she tries for!" She took a breath. "And it's practically a joke how rich her family is as they're said to be singlehandedly holding up the economy of Japan!"
Her mouth tasted like crap with all the shit she said about the little princess, though nothing a liberal use of several gallons of mouth wash and equal amounts of tooth paste and dental floss couldn't get rid of, maybe even add a hundred dozen donuts after.
"Are you finished?"
She wet her lips.
"Why I am, my dear Zenkichi."
"It sounded like you're describing some comic character."
She could feel one eyebrow rising at how idiotic he sounded.
She sighed, again. Why does she put up with his unhealthy denial to maintain his narrow-minded and megalomaniac sense of normality?
Hansode Shiranui chuckled. She can be stupid sometimes, only sometimes. "Sooo? Wha'cha ganna do, pardner?" She leaped from her perch on his table and twirled, feeling her skirt raising enough to give the readers a zettai ryouiki — serubisu, serubisu— gracefully stopping to face Zenkichi. "Her being Student Council President pretty much means you joining her."
"Heh! As If!" He dramatically stood up with all the drama that he could, dramatically slamming his hands to his table, his body oozing dramatically with drama…. Oh Zenkichi, you so silly.… "My body would crumble if she messes with me anymore! Though… it's true that she keeps bugging me to join her…."
Well, so much for drama if he grumbles at the end of his tirade.
Then her good nature went down the drain, replacing it with thickly veiled loathing for the woman silently entering her and Zenkichi's sanctuary, approaching him from behind his field of vision. Though like always, Zenkichi continued with his monologue, acting as if he never noticed the beast woman. Humoring her friend, she continued to smile as she listened to him in rapt attention. He pointed at her, which was mimicked by the little princess. She barely stopped one of her eyebrows from twitching — did their mothers never taught them it was rude to point at others?
"I'm resolute! I'll definitely not join the Student Council!"
Just like always, the Kurokami spawn manhandled Zenkichi; grasping his head by his scalp with her right claw, the idiot sweating bullets. "Oh my, Zenkichi, you shouldn't shout inside a classroom."
The woman with useless meat nodded at her direction, acknowledging her presence, as she dragged Zenkichi to her lair.
"Ahhhhh! Please stop, Medaka-chan! Shiranui! Save me!"
Hansode sighed wistfully. There goes the pleasant start of her day.
With nothing better to do with the day's classes already over — not that she's learning anything from them — she placed her hands to his table, caressing the wooden furniture, as she lifted herself up to return to her earlier perch. She then lied on her back and closed her eyes, making herself comfortable as she tried to smother herself with the remaining heat that he left.
"Eh? Where did that Hitoyoshi guy go?"
Who dares disturb my slumber!? she thought, her tongue clicking at the annoyance.
"Oh, Hyuga-kun," she answered without opening her eyes, recognizing his voice. "Zenkichi? He just got dragged out of here by the infamous Student Council President." She turned over, smelling his scent from the furniture. She barely stopped herself from licking the wooden surface, feeling her teeth sharpening and her tongue elongating while her mouth watered. She gulped her own saliva as she felt her undying hunger worsen, her stomach grumbling. She would have to ask Zenkichi for food later.
"Is that so? Anyway, I heard he helped her with her campaign and everything. What exactly is the relationship between Hitoyoshi and the new president?"
She opened one of her eyes, inquisitively looking at the green-haired guy with the glasses holding some notebook. "Ah… Curious aren't we?"
"Huh? Ah, I apologize if I offended you with my question."
"Heeeh…. Do you really want me to answer? My price is high, you know?"
"Chop off both of your arms, mortal, and give them to me," she said, showing off her shark-like teeth with her grin.
"B-both of my arms? W-what?" He stepped back, his eyes widening.
"That's the price for my answer to your stupid question, worm."
"Uhh…. Aha… Ahahaha…." He laughed, clearly uncomfortable. "Nice joke there, Shiranui-san, even if it was a bit… unconventional."
Hansode shrugged. The guy was lucky. If not for angering Zenkichi, she would probably would have done what she said, especially with her sharpening hunger.
"Yeah, a joke. Anyway, you were asking about Zenkichi and the president?"
"Well, you could say they're something like childhood friends. But if you ask me, their relationship is a tad bit unhealthy."
She could feel her stomach rumbling as she licked her lips. Hyuga was really lucky.
"Ahh, it hurts," Zenkichi said holding his head, sitting on a very comfortable office chair near a cabinet, a long table at its front, where a cup of hot tea placed by Medaka sits undisturbed, its wispy cloud of evaporation swirling in interesting patterns.
The room was quaint, with several more cabinets and bookcases with trophies and awards of various disciplines, unique contraptions, office supplies, and stacks of papers. He spied a plant he recognized but can't remember the name of beside the door, giving the room something natural to look at while the winds kept blowing fresh air in through the open window, the curtains raised. There was a small and currently unused air-conditioner, just beside a tall bookcase near a poster — an old advertising campaign of the school — of a girl and a boy he didn't know in uniform with smiles on their faces.
"Why can't you ask like a normal person for once, Medaka-chan?" He winced as he tried to twist his sore neck. "Ahhh… I think you broke my neck."
"Oh quit with your bellyaching, Zenkichi. It's your fault for continuing to disobey me," Medaka said, leaning on an ornate table for her use, fanning herself with, well, a fan. He noticed five armbands on her left arm, five different colors for five different positions in the Student Council: the president, the vice-president, the secretary, the treasurer, and the general affairs manager. Her wearing all five of the armbands meant that she was, at that moment, functioning for all of them. It was an inevitable outcome with her achieving 98% of the support of the student body as only a few could keep up with her. If it were another who was in her position, he would have been worried for his or her continued health, though her being the sole member of the Student Council poses a different worry that made him very nervous for his continued survival.
Then again, such a thing was normal.
"Though, I'll give you plus points for calling me by my name! Good for you, Zenkichi!" Medaka continued, sporting a confident smile on her pretty face.
He couldn't help but turn away from her to hide his blush, the sound of his chair's wheels rolling loud enough for the both of them to hear. "H-heh! I understand how it's hard and all but keep me out of it. I want a normal high school life; spending the day with friends talking about the recent popular fad or the latest episode of a TV show, find a nice girlfriend, do stupid things. I want the spring time of my life, damn it! Heck I'll settle for not having a girlfriend if you just get off my case!" He waved his hand widely, fanning his own anger. Just like in the past, he would be dragged in some inane quest, getting hurt and insulted for her sake with nothing to show at the end except for some bruises and a damaged pride. "Please, could you at least think of my sake for once!? I'm only a normal human with simple wants and needs. Think about the position you're putting me in!" He clutched his head with his left hand, his head hurting from his outbursts. "You really don't need me, Medaka-chan. I'm even confident that you could handle the responsibilities of the Student Council by yourself, right?" He turned back to get an answer. "Ri— Heeeey!"
And just as always, she would counter with something so out of this world, he would end up tongue-tied.
She was naked….
Well, almost naked since she was in her lacy baby blue underwear covering the key parts. He could not help but be confused whether to be delighted of such vision or be disappointed that she was not entirely naked.
After some gawking, he realized that Medaka's state of dress was inappropriate. Worried about onlookers, he stood ramrod and ran around the Student Council room, closing the windows, letting the curtains down, and turning on the lights and the air-conditioning.
"Zenkichi, it's a waste of electricity to turn the air-conditioning this time of the year."
He banged his head on the wall, repeatedly. Though she was right, he badly needed the cold to control his own rampaging teenage libido.
"Zenkichi, stop banging your head, you might damage the wall."
"No! You!" He stopped his head-banging to look at her. "Why did you undress behind my back? Heck, why am I even asking this question!? Have some sense of shame for once! I'm a man, you know!?" He pushed himself away from the wall, his blood calming down to manageable levels. "We're not kids anymore!"
"Huh? Did you damage your brain, Zenkichi? Is there even a point with us being embarrassed about anything between the two of us?"
"Ahh…. I'm glad you trust me, Medaka-chan. But still—"
"No, this matter is closed. If I want to be naked in front of you, I'll get naked. What's the point of making my body this perfect if I don't show it?" Medaka sighed as she walked towards him. She then gently touched his forehead, worry clear on her face. "Good, you're not injured." She then tapped his forehead with her fan, making him stumble back. Shaking his head from the slight disorientation, he opened his eyes to see her gently smiling towards him. "You should already know, Zenkichi. No challenge is hard for me. What I want is you; I want you to be by my side."
If it were any other girl, it would have been a confession.
Then again, if it were really a confession, he would have said no.
Still, he couldn't help but blush madly, staring wide-eyed at his childhood friend. He then avoided her gaze, stuttering his answer, "I-it can't be h-helped. I'll j-join you."
Nothing changed, he would agree in the end.
The answer rewarded him a brilliant beam from his childhood friend, launching herself towards him and giving him a tender hug.
He sighed as he felt his face heating up at the same rate as his whole body, her partial nakedness making it worse. But before he could even return the gesture, she let go, returning to her usual confident demeanor.
"Well, that's that. Now for what's really important."
"Urga?" Still bewildered, Zenkichi could only let out unintelligible grunts.
"Why the Suggestion Box of course!"
"A-a s-su-sugestion b-box?" He stuttered, again avoiding her gaze. "Y-you did mention something of that sort."
He almost forgot about that troublesome contraption. He remembered building it from scratch before the election. It was not easy, especially with Medaka harping about designs, efficiency, and its apparent use behind his back.
It was also one of the reasons for her winning the election with a landslide.
The box, in itself, was just a normal suggestion box, nothing new as a campaign material. But with Medaka's profound declaration, it began to morph into something amazing to the Student Body. Entrusting their dreams, concerns, and worries to her — only she could say something like that and mean it. Though….
"Hey, Medaka-chan, don't accept unreasonable requests, alright? An idiot, or worse, a group of idiots might think they could score with you using the request system." He shuddered at some of the requests that he could think of. "Especially with yo—"
"I'm not naïve, Zenkichi. I'll beat them to a pulp before they could even think of doing something like that. I may enjoy showing off my body and I do love humanity, Zenkichi, but not perverted degenerates." There was steel in her words, her eyes narrowing.
"Umm, just reminding you." Well, that was new, and somewhat scary. Maybe something happened to her while he was gone. Still, he decided checking the suggestion box before she could even read the requests should be one of his future duties in the council, just to be safe.
He saw her shake her head at him, her expression turning into a wistful smile. "Anyway, our agenda for today is a request letter." She walked towards the box shaped like a Japanese storage house and picked up a piece of paper beside it.
"Already? That was fast."
"Yup! It's a resounding success! Want me to read it?"
"Shoot." He hoped it wouldn't be too much of a trouble to complete.
""I am currently concerned about a group of troublemaker third years who have taken over the Kendo hall. Could you please find some way of getting rid of them?" so it says."
"Sounds like a hassle."
"Quit complaining, Zenkichi. Oh, and before we go, I'll finish dressing up! Wait for me, okay?"
"So that's why you undressed."
"Huh? Wasn't it obvious?"
"Don't let my presence bother you," he said, his voice dripping in sarcasm.
"Why would it bother me?"
Zenkichi could only groan.
"A loose gi and short skirt combination… first time seeing something like this."
Even with the distraction — uncanny valley flatteringly shown — in the form of Medaka Kurokami in front of him, he still let out a whistle at how statuesque the Kendo Hall was with the bushes, pottery, and all. It was as if the structure came out of an old samurai flick.
Though Medaka was still more impressive, not that he would say it to her face to face. Further indulging her narcissism was the least of what she needed….
"The Kendo Hall."
"Right! The Kendo Hall…"
Medaka narrowed her eyes at him, but let it go as she continued. "No other school in Japan has such a facility for Kendo. And the same can be said for the other disciplines, regardless of popularity and success. It really does give me a sense of pride at being the Student Council President for a school that really cares for its students."
He really doubted that the school was entirely that philanthropic, especially since he knew its connections with the Kurokami Zaibatsu. It seemed Medaka still doesn't know about the other dealings her father's company was involved.
Then again, it was normal.
He stretched his arms as he stared again at the Kendo Hall seemingly worthy of being a heritage site. "Hmm… It would be a waste if it just ends up a hangout for delinquents."
"Speaking through experience?" She grinned.
"It was a phase! Dammit!" Zenkichi didn't need to be reminded about that one instance of his life. It was middle school, and being in middle school, he was susceptible to delusions of self-grandeur. Why did he think becoming a school banchou was good idea anyway?
"Your hair was really stupid. Oh, and don't curse in front of me, Zenkichi."
Zenkichi clicked his tongue. "Well, what are we waiting for?"
"Let me." Medaka climbed the steps leading to the large sliding doors of the hall, Zenkichi closely following behind. Without warning, she slammed it open, the sound almost deafening as the door reverberated.
"Wow…. It's worse than I expected." His eyes wandered around the inside of the Kendo Hall, spotting empty bags of junk food, empty bottles, cigarettes butts and boxes, dirty magazines and manga, some tables with glasses containing alcohol and ashtrays, dirty furniture, and a dilapidated couch, his eyes watering at amount of cigarette smoke in the air. Zenkichi sneezed. "Sheesh, I never really liked cigarettes." He then rubbed his nose with the left sleeve of his uniform.
"Quit being disgusting, Zenkichi."
"Huh? Oh, sorry, Medaka-chan. Force of habit."
Then Medaka did something that broke Zenkichi's mind. She pulled out something between her breasts.
It was a handkerchief.
"Stop asking questions and take it."
"Ah, alright." Shell-shocked, he absentmindedly took the cloth from her hands and used the warm handkerchief to rub his nose lightly — smelling the scent of soap and other pleasant scents — and returning it after he finished. "Thank you."
"Don't mind it."Medaka said while his eyes followed the cloth made of cotton as she returned it back to its place between her breasts.
"M-medaka-chan, it's dirty," he should have said, but his brain was still rebooting, his eyes staring at her cleavage.
He hurriedly raised his eyes to her face.
"Good, as I have a request to accomplish."
The group of delinquents only stared, not moving from their respective positions, gawking at Medaka. Zenkichi could definitely understand their reaction.
Medaka stepped forward. "You! You shouldn't make a den out of a school property even if it's neglected!" she said in authority, pointing her fan that came out of nowhere — probably from the same place as the handkerchief, he really didn't get a good look — towards the still gawking delinquents.
Now that he thought about it, how did a sport as popular as kendo lost all its members? Lack of recent membership was impossible as the facilities were the best in the country, which should have attracted new members by the droves. He glanced at the wooden swords lying all over the place, giving him an insight. It would seem that the new members just turned to delinquency due to unknown reasons. Misinformation perhaps? Peer pressure?
Not that he really cared.
Such a thing was normal after all.
"B-boss!" a delinquent said behind someone who looked like the leader — he had a cross-shaped scar while sitting on the couch like some king — nudging him from his stunned state.
"Huh? Ah!" He stood up a little too fast, almost stumbling back. He tried his best to look like he never embarrassed himself, giving Medaka the 'intimidate your opponent until he pissed in his pants' treatment. "Hmm…. Who the hell are you?"
Medaka grinned. "First year thirteenth class Medaka Kurokami, the current president of the Student Council. I'm here on behalf of a request."
"Ah, so you're the chick president, huh." The guy with the scar not unlike a famous samurai from an anime gestured to one of his underlings, who handed him one of the wooden swords that were lying on the floor. "I heard that you'd gone mad with power, but confronting us with only one henchman, it seems like it was true." He then pointed the wooden implement at her while labeling Zenkichi as Medaka's underling….
"I'm not her henchman!" Who was this person to label him as such…?
Then again, he really was her underling, in a sense, so the context was not wrong. Still….
"He's not my henchman; he's a very important friend and a member of my Student Council." Medaka said, her grin gone.
How astonishing…. She was really different…. Maybe Zenkichi could ask Shiranui about what happened to Medaka while he was gone. Then again, maybe not, it might have been something good to make her more connected to other people, unlike her past self, the swelling good feeling he was experiencing not-withstanding. Really, such moment made all those years of being with Medaka worth it.
Zenkichi couldn't help but smile in pride.
"Keh! I don't care about what you call that stupid looking guy."
"Hey!" He could feel his eyes twitch in irritation. Zenkichi might kill the bastard by the end of the day. He was not stupid looking, just normal looking, definitely not the same.
At their leader's behest, the other delinquents stood up, grinning threateningly at them. They were obviously excited for the after-battle fun as their lecherous eyes roaming to Medaka's body could attest. Not that he would let them if worse comes to worst.
"You know? I'm really surprised you brought yourself all the way out here," scar-face continued, "You might have got ninety-eight percent of the votes, but I should tell you that it was I that got the remaining two percent!"
"Hoh… so you're third year Mahibi Moji, huh. I was expecting someone more… I dare say… dignified. Not some leader of delinquents. And kendo, eh?" Medaka stared at the wooden sword pointing at her. "That takes me back. I did try my hand on this discipline a few years back."
'Try' was an understatement; 'mastered' would be the right word to describe her proficiency with the sport. She had skill that could equal some of the samurai lords of the warring states era — even if kendo was a watered down discipline of the sword of the olden days — enough skill that she could disarm Moji of the Cross-shaped Scar without him knowing by only using her hands.
"Hmm… looks like this bokutou has been well maintained. The ebony finish is pretty thorough." She gave the wooden sword appreciative attention while giving the flabbergasted Moji evaluative glances. It seemed Zenkichi's hypothesis of the current state of the Kendo Club was correct.
"Ha!" It seemed the delinquent leader finally woke up from the stupor of him being owned by Medaka. "Guys! Surround her!" The delinquents encircled them, some taking up the wooden sword, others pulling out their switchable knives, while some settled for broken bottles and their own knuckles, some wearing brass knuckles. It seemed Medaka's show of skill backfired.
Worried for his childhood friend, Zenkichi took up a position beside her, raising his arms in a boxer's stance. Medaka only took everything in a stride, still checking out the bokutou.
She never answered his query as she began tallying the delinquents' violations, "Inappropriate dress, dyed hair, and accessories, a veritable parade of rule breakers." She handed him her wooden sword which he worriedly took. "Not that I can really talk."
Zenkichi gave Medaka another once over, shaking his head after. She never really bothered with the rules if it goes against her own dress code.
Then she took a step. Everything then became a blur.
"What the hell!?" Moji the Wandering Delinquent Wood Swordsman said incredulously.
Zenkichi saw her moving so fast that it appeared that there were multiple copies of Medaka. He didn't see her taking each of their weapons. He didn't see her taking out several boxes of cigarettes from their pockets. He didn't see her take out the hidden bottles of liquor. He didn't see her leaping over the delinquents back to his side. Though, he did see her balancing all the weapons and cigarette boxes on her open fan with a taunting grin on her face. Yes, he didn't see her do some of those things within the blink of an eye. He was normal after all.
Then again, what she did was also normal.
"Hey, I just bought that!"
The delinquents began to panic as they searched their clothes for their vices, while others stared at their now empty hands.
"A n-ninja technique!" one of the more levelheaded delinquents said. He was wrong.
It was not the famous replication technique, just a normal advance and retreat in kendo so high-leveled that it looked like one. Not that Zenkichi knew enough of kendo to know what Medaka did, he was normal after all.
"However, the liquor, the weapons and the cigarettes are some things that you should change. Underage drinking is against the law and the cigarettes are bad for your health. Why do you even need weapons inside an institution of learning? Just think of this as good for your future selves as I confiscate these deplorable things!" Medaka said as she handed Zenkichi the confiscated items. Since he didn't have Medaka's amazing sense of balance, the items fell all over him. He was normal, after all.
"Oops." She gave him a worried glance. "Are you alright Zenkichi?"
"Ah… y-yeah..." He said with a knife near his face and crotch, a broken bottle above his head, a wooden sword on his right and a brass knuckle on his left, while being buried in cigarette boxes and unbroken liquor bottles. Thankfully, he managed to maneuver his body in the last second, avoiding the lethal implements. Medaka held out her hand, which he gratefully took, standing up while being careful to avoid the sharp objects. "Thanks."
Medaka nodded as she turned her attention towards her surroundings and gave out a sigh. "It looks as though you made a fine mess of one of the school's facilities, I'm almost impressed."
At Medaka's admonishment, the delinquents recovered from their panic. "What's with the lecturing!? This has nothing to do with you, president! Don't think so high of yourself!"
Medaka hid the lower part of her pretty face behind a fan, not unlike an alluring geisha. "So pitiful."
The delinquents gulped, shocked at such attack to their manliness. It seemed one of Medaka's infamous [Proof of One's Worth #1: Preaching to the Lesser Mortals] was beginning. So infamous was the preaching that it warranted the obnoxious use of brackets like it was some technique out of some trashy light novel. Zenkichi could not help but turn away from the pitiful teenage hooligans.
"All of you were undoubtedly once passionate, loyal Kendo Club members. I can only presume that there is some great reason, some great tragedy which has led to you staying so far from the path." Medaka spun and bent back gracefully — the pose emphasizing her uncanny valley — like she was in a dance to stare at the delinquents. It was a unique way of looking down on people, somewhat similar to that female pirate in a manga from Jump. "Were you thrown aside by your parents? Did you fail to meet a teacher who could guide you? Were you betrayed by one of your own? Was there some nefarious organization who took one of your own, disappearing out of the blue, and left you without your drive? Worry no more! I will help you be born again! I will make it impossible for you to become distracted by anything other than the way of the sword! I will not see your thoughts lead astray again. I will leave you unable to cry or even laugh!" Her tone then became stern not unlike some military officer training fresh recruits, intimidating the delinquents so that the thought of going against her was now absent from their minds. "We start with basic strokes, one thousand times! Do you guys think you're going to be able to walk home today!?"
Well, it seemed Medaka did not need his presence in the first place. He felt he just wasted time following her. Then again, he was thankful he was relatively unharmed in the end.
"You too, Zenkichi! Give me a thousand strokes!"
He silently cursed. It seemed he spoke too soon.
Like usual, the cafeteria was a warzone with students fighting over the limited food sold. Students, regardless of seniority, not caring of gender roles and courtesy, were violently pushing each other as they shouted their orders to the stern cafeteria lady behind the counter.
One might think the violence towards cafeteria food was excessive and can only exist in fiction. However, Hakoniwa's cafeteria was exceptional with its superb quality of food and extraordinarily small prices.
Hansode Shiranui reveled in such chaos. If she could, she would have cackled in glee.
Still, regardless of how disappointing it would be, she had to get food in-order to quench her eternal hunger. Thus, she made her and Zenkichi's presence known by tapping her left foot twice on the tiled floor. The fighting stopped as the students made a wide berth for her and her companion to pass through unobstructed. It was as though God divided the sea of hungry teenagers, which was not really that far from the grisly truth. Hansode skipped like the little girl she appeared to be towards the matron managing the food, who was getting more nervous as she neared, while Zenkichi nervously walked behind her, giving apologies and bows to the affected student populace. She then stopped, pressing both her hand towards her chest and tilting her head cutely, smiling her sweetest smile towards the cafeteria lady.
"Could you please get me twenty beef bowls, ten plates of yakisoba, and five bowls of ramen? Oh, and my friend here wants one bowl of katsudon and a small bowl of miso."
"Umm… thanks, Shiranui."
She tilted her head towards where Zenkichi was standing behind her. "Anything for you, Zenkichi!"
He nodded as he nervously avoided the accusing eyes of other students.
As she and Zenkichi waited for her order to be delivered, she listened to the students who were murmuring around them.
"Dude, why are we even letting that little shrimp do that anyway?"
"That's Hansode Shiranui, the chairman's granddaughter."
"What? That's nepotism!"
"Well, in a way. But that's not all. The first time she did something like this, she scared the whole cafeteria to the point some were pissing themselves. I was there… I can't really explain it but it was really freaky…."
"Woah there… you're telling me that midget scared you shitless? Wow man, my opinion about you went to the drains."
"Shhh! I'll punch you in the gut later for saying that, but do not call her names! Last time someone did, they ended up dropping out and transferring to another school… overseas!"
"Woah, that's double freaky. To think that such a cute little thing is that scary. Then what about the other one?"
"Don't know about him, I only see him with her from time to time… a sidekick maybe?"
"Hmm, he does looks like one."
Different student clicks regurgitated certain variations of that particular conversation, repeating the warnings to the uninitiated while boosting her ego at the same time. Putting a chink towards Zenkichi's obsession in normalcy was a welcome bonus. If he only….
Then again, that would be a disaster of world ending proportions for humankind.
Hansode could not help but snicker at such thought.
"Shiranui, maybe you should try lining up like a normal person next time," Zenkichi said, somehow falling to the peer pressure from the worms.
She sighed as Zenkichi acted stupid again by asking another stupid question. "These students were on a warpath for food, Zenkichi. It would impossible for us to join them and get the necessary food before the end of lunch time without deliberately killing someone." Then a nefarious idea came to her, feeling her smile turn into something vicious, her mouth-watering. "Well…. Unless you want something more… ahh… fresh for lunch."
She noticed the others students shiver from the corner of her eyes. "No!" Zenkichi suddenly shouted in alarm as he widened his eyes while trying to hide her now slobbering state from prying eyes with his body. "Noooo…. Shiranui, let's settle for normal human food for now okay?" He then pulled a white handkerchief from his pocket while whispering to her and used it to wipe the drool dripping from her mouth.
She nodded as she tried to control her own hunger, forcing her earlier thoughts out of her mind. She then tapped his hand to tell him that it was enough. "Ah, I did it again." She gave him a grin. "Really Zenkichi, you should have known better than to goad me."
"It's just that…," he said as the handkerchief vanished from his hands, away from prying eyes.
"Well then, until we find a solution, just put up with me okay?"
"Yeah…." Zenkichi sighed but then suddenly grinned. "How about we call for takeout next time? We'll ask your grandfather for permission."
"Mou…. That's no fun, Zenkichi." No more unleashing authority and fear? Hansode was disappointed.
"Ah, so that's why you never called for takeout before, huh. That's it. We're having takeout next time like normal folks would do."
Zenkichi and his obsession of being normal, it really ruins some of Hansode's fun activities. "Alright Zenkichi, you win."
He patted her head to placate her. She reveled at his touch.
"Ahem! Here's your order, Miss Shiranui."
The cafeteria lady visibly flinched at her venomous glare after Zenkichi removed his hand from her head. It would have been worse if she had dropped the food while doing so.
Still, food was food, so her glare was gone before Zenkichi could even notice it. With a smile now on her face, she gladly took the large tray of her food stacked like a Jenga puzzle, balancing it with no effort from her part whatsoever. Beside her, Zenkichi took his, to her opinion, meager amount of food. The students kept staring at them as they walked towards their table. It was not after they sat on their table that the cafeteria returned to its usual routine.
"By the way, I can't help but notice the bruises and bandages on your face," Hansode said after fifteen beef bowls and six plates of yakisoba.
"Well…," her best friend said after gulping a mouthful of pork and rice.
"Yeah, I know. You were dragged along again like a rag doll by the little princess. Let me guess, you joined the Student Council at her behest. You really are an idiot."
"And now you're going to complain about how the Kurokami heir is always like that since you were kids. About how she doesn't get the fact that she's better than other people at things and that as a result she puts effort into making those around her as good as she is."
"Umm… yeah…. How did you know?"
Hansode could only stare at Zenkichi.
"Ah, of course. Oh, and could you hand me some of your yakisoba?"
After she handed him a plate, she continued, "And now you're having an internal monologue while moving down memory lane about some past example about her. Let me guess again, it's about the national mock exams and how she ended up teaching a class during summer holiday and about ones and sevens, examiner confusion, and filling up multiple choice sheets. And then you complain with your monologue about how she doesn't understand normal people and their woes, about how she can't understand those who try but don't succeed and how depressing it can really be. "
Zenkichi handed her a glass of water.
"Thanks." Hansode drank the whole glass.
"Wow…. You're really amazing, Shiranui."
Hansode slammed her hands on the table in irritation, breaking the glass in the process. "Stop acting like an idiot! It's depressing!" If only he could tone down his obsession, her world would have been perfect. Then again, nothing is perfect, ever.
"Shiranui!" He took out another handkerchief, this time black, using it to gather the broken pieces of glass. "You should be careful!"
Hansode cursed inwardly. "Yeah, I'll be careful." she said as she rolled her eyes. "It's not like I'll get hurt by these measly things." She then threw the pieces that were still in her hand to the pile of broken glass, joining the other broken pieces on the black piece of cloth. Zenkichi then tied it into an improvised sack and covered it with both of his hands.
"Still...," he said as he removed his hands, the small sack now gone. "It's the principle behind… you know…."
"I know, I know. It's just that…." She was grateful for his concern, but she was still irked by his self torment and obvious guilt. She never even blamed him for what happened to her in the first place. It might have been traumatic. It might have been so painful that no word, human or otherwise, could ever describe it. Nevertheless, it was because of those events that she was closer to him than anybody else in the multi-verse was, and more importantly, she was closer to him than the little princess was.
They both share the guilt.
And she was ever thankful for that.
"Yeah, I know." His answer was subdued, somehow answering several of Hansode's unanswered questions.
He was just silent, avoiding her gaze. She decided to let it go, for now. "You should tell me one of these days. I doubt it's about control."
"Y-yeah…." He turned to stare at his now empty plate, his eyes somehow showing he was contemplating something… inevitable. Seeing that something was occupying his thoughts, she decided to finish the rest of her lunch.
She already finished her seventeenth beef bowl when Zenkichi shook his head and said, "One beef bowl, please."
"Here," she said as she handed him what he asked. She then began her second bowl of ramen.
"Anyway, about yesterday, we were pretty lucky that it worked quite so well. I imagine those guys would never be near the Kendo Hall after what they were put through yesterday," Zenkichi said, back to his usual normal obsessed state.
Well, at least they were back in a jovial mood. "Heeeh…. We'll see about that."
"You should already know. If she was as simple thinking as that, you wouldn't have to go through things that you do."
"You've got a point."
Suddenly they heard a murmur behind Zenkichi. "This isn't a joke. I'm going to be pissed if they're still there."
Hansode leaned to the right, her fifth bowl of ramen on hand, and saw Hyuga standing up and leaving his food on the table.
Zenkichi then stood up and gestured to his food tray, his beef bowl unfinished. "Shiranui, I'm sorry, but could you take care of these?"
Shiranui nodded and then he left.
"Kill him for me, Zenkichi!"
"Not going to happen, Shiranui!"
As she finished her food, she remembered something that she should have told Zenkichi. "Nah, he already joined the Student Council. I doubt he would care about the recruitment meeting or the remaining positions."
Then again, with what the little princess wanted for the selection of her council's positions, its failure was inevitable. Maybe she could use the opportunity to impose some fear on the assuming worms. Without Zenkichi by her side, she finally cackled in glee, enjoying its satisfying effect on the mortals still having their lunch.
"Now, where did he go?" Zenkichi mumbled looking over the students hanging out in the hallways. On the other end of the hallway, he saw a familiar green-hair turn to a corner. Walking as fast as he could, he weaved through some of the students that were on his way. As he finally reached the other end, he again saw the green-haired guy turning to another corner. Cursing under his breath, he continued tailing him.
The short pseudo-chase finally ended when he reached the laboratory hallway — the location of some of the indoor clubs. The sound of Zenkichi's footsteps echoed throughout the empty hallway, deeply suspicious of his surroundings. He didn't see the green-haired guy, but Zenkichi was sure he was there, maybe hiding, as it was a dead-end.
"Hey, I don't have bad intentions against you, okay!? I just want to ask some questions!" He received no reply. "Umm… you're Habatake Hyuga right? I know you're the one who sent the request about the Kendo Hall. We're classmates if you remember… so you can trust me…. Just tell me what you really want the Student Council to do to solve this request of yours."
There was no reply. Taking a chance, he tried to open the nearest door to his left. It was locked. Zenkichi scratched his head in irritation. He just remembered that most club rooms were closed during lunch.
"By the way, about what you heard on some things that Shiranui and I said…. They're just crazy talk, you see! We were just playing! You know what chuunibyo is right!? It's something like that. It's embarrassing, really…."
He tried to open another door, but as expected, it was also locked. Looking up, he saw a white plate with "Home Economics Room" printed on it. Zenkichi sighed. Since it was almost time for the afternoon classes, he decided to give up. He already said his piece so it wasn't a total waste of time.
He was about to turn to the corner that he came from when someone came down from above with a wooden sword in hand, a loud dull sound reverberating in the empty hallway.
Zenkichi gave a sigh in relief. It seemed his acting worked. He already knew Hyuga was above him — sticking near the ceiling with a split, his feet on the walls for support near the music room — from when he looked up to read the "Home Economics Room" plate. Just above his head, there was a thin transparent square glass-like object of about the size of a floor tile, shielding him from Hyuga's attack.
As Hyuga lifted his weapon, the glass tile disappeared. He then leaped back, his back touching the wall and his face incredulous. "What heck was that?"
"Do you really think I'll answer that? Heh, you're quite funny." Though, for the sake of introspection, the mirror-like object was a manifestation of [Mirror Mime], a skill that conjures transparent glass tiles powered by belief and, to an extent, will. Yes, Zenkichi was quite embarrassed the he too had such a battle shounen-like skill that could merit the use of brackets. He really felt like a hypocrite for making fun of Medaka's preaching skill the other day. Anyway, it was a skill that followed that concept of miming, the stronger the belief the stronger it was manifested in reality. One might think that such skill was similar to those used by the Lantern Corps in American comics, and to an extent, it was, though not as grand as it had a very debilitating weakness.
"Kih!" His green-haired opponent intensified his glare, hardening his grip of his bokutou in obvious anger. "So you're one of those guys huh?"
"Huh? What are you talking about?"
"No matter!" He leaped again, using the wall to exert more force. "I attack!"
Zenkichi himself was the weakness. To be exact, Zenkichi just didn't have enough belief and will to make the skill a viable barrier for several attacks.
Zenkichi's eyes widened as the attack passed through the glass like butter. Thankfully, he managed to duck at the last second, the wooden sword only taking a few strands of his hair. Zenkichi then back-rolled away, creating a gap from the violent bokutou user. He quickly stood up, avoiding another attack by doing a barrel roll to the right, then kicking his left foot to leap away from Hyuga, whose attack ended up hitting the floor. He was now facing his opponent's hunched back.
Zenkichi felt quite exhausted from all the dodging, so he decided to make banter with the violent glasses guy to gain some breathing air. "Hey! Why didn't you join the Kendo Club if you're this good?"
Hyuga slowly stood up, turning to face Zenkichi menacingly. "And share the club with those weak losers? Those weeds!? Damn idiot! I am a nationally famous kendo practitioner! I'm aiming to be the best in the world! To do that, I need the Kendo Hall, alone! Such perfect facility, only a man of kendo of my caliber should be the one to use it!"
"Woah man, you've got some serious issues."
"Fuck you!" Hyuga attack again, this time he was using both of his hands to swing the wooden sword towards his kidneys. As expected, his bokutou passed through the glass again, so he ended up using an arm to block the attack. He felt a bone in his left arm breaking as his body flew from the attack.
"Gah!" Spittle flew from Zenkichi's mouth as he hit the wall, his left arm hanging uselessly, bent in a very awkward manner. He was in a world of hurt, something he experience many times before. Still, he didn't have time to rest as another attack was falling towards his head. Seeing no other choice, he used another of his given skills, [Lingual Logic], to read the upcoming attack. Knowing the trajectory of the wooden sword from how Hyuga's body moved, he kicked one of the bokutou guy's legs, shifting the attack to the right and missing his head by merely inches. Zenkichi then tripped him, making him fall headfirst to the wall.
Zenkichi hurriedly stood up, backing away from the violent maniac. He then began to ready himself, taking up a stance he learned before high school started, as his opponent began to stand up while shaking his head. Zenkichi twitched in pain as he lifted his injured left arm. Still, since it can finally move, he could tell that it was quickly mending itself, fast enough for his next move.
To the uninitiated, [Lingual Logic] was another of Zenkichi's skills, one that gives him the ability to understand any language that he reads and hears. A game breaker of a skill because with it he could understand the oldest of languages, the most alien, and the most advanced. With it, he could even understand programming languages, numbers, and pictures, anything that can be defined as a language. Yes, he could even understand body language, enough to know how to anticipate and formulate a counter to any single attack before they could even begin.
Zenkichi began a steady breath, in and out, as Hyuga began to ready his own stance, both his arms griping his bokutou tightly.
It was a standoff with Hyuga now wary.
Tension was thick in the air as the sound of students returning to their respective classrooms began to echo towards the empty hallway.
Then the bell rang.
"Haaa!" At the impromptu signal, Hyuga began his attack with a very strong overhead swing. Suddenly, he changed the direction of his attack mid-swing, now becoming a slash from the left towards his head. It was a show of tremendous strength and skill worthy of his earlier boasts. It was an unavoidable attack.
Zenkichi grinned. Too bad for Hyuga, Zenkichi using [Lingual Logic] was his opponent.
At the very last moment, he lifted his right arm and used it to guide the sword down, his palm on one flat side of the wooden sword, while he used his other palm to catch the other flat side. It was a perfect execution of Shinken Shirahadori, or Live Blade Catching. Zenkichi then jumped and used the momentum produced by the sword to spin several times midair and kicked Hyuga so hard that he produced web cracks when his head hit the concrete wall. Zenkichi then landed, crouching on the floor with his right arm to support himself.
"Woah! Now that was intense!" Zenkichi's grin was ear to ear, almost a Glasgow smile, his eyes somewhat bloodshot. He then frowned then shook his head. "Get a hold of yourself, Zenkichi. Now's not the time…."
After standing up, he walk towards the now unconscious Hyuga, his face still stuck on the wall with some of his blood dripping down. Just to be sure, Zenkichi nudged him by his feet. Seeing no reaction, he lifted his body ad shifted him in a piggyback ride position, intent to carry the green-haired guy to the nurse's clinic. He was glad that classes had already begun as no one will see him carrying his unconscious and bloody classmate… well… except for one, as he spied a purple-eyed girl with a very smug smile. Nodding in gesture towards her, which only widened her smug smile, he continued with his self-appointed task.
As expected, he arrived late for his class. Thus, the current teacher punished him by making him stand outside the room, entirely missing his classes. He would also get a reprimand from his homeroom teacher after the afternoon classes, but the thumbs up and proud smile from Shiranui made it all worth it.
Then again, all that happened was normal.
The meager light that managed to enter the Kendo hall reflected on the floor, the walls, and even the ceiling, creating a sparkling finish that made Medaka, who was in her housekeeper outfit tailored to her tastes, nod in satisfaction.
Still, she couldn't help but feel a bit of disappointment at how late the others were, especially Zenkichi. Medaka sighed as she hefted the bucket of dirty water and her mop to a corner where the other cleanings supplies she used were temporarily placed.
Now thinking about her strawberry-blonde childhood friend, she wistfully smiled. He finally returned, after a long time. She remembered the times when he wasn't there by her side — they may have grown apart back during middle school, but she knew he was still there, watching her from afar — most of it spent on finding out where he was while she faced the world without the only, before his disappearance, constant in her life. She never really thought that someday he would be gone; taking for granted his presence — never again she would do so.
Of course, at first, she believed Zenkichi's mother about him taking a training trip, even showing some letters detailing his adventure and applauding him for his initiative. There were clues, of course, that something bad happened to him, as the flow of letters suddenly stopped. But she just chalked it up as him being in the mountains and wrestling a bear or something, that is, until classes resumed and he was not present. Again, she reasoned that traveling back was taking time with all the traffic — not everyone can just call a helicopter to taxi them home — her confidence in Zenkichi never wavering. However, the days passed, and then weeks, and then a month, and then she realized that maybe something happened to Zenkichi that he just couldn't handle alone.
Using the utmost of her abilities and resources, she scoured for information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, about her childhood friend's whereabouts, even asking his older brother whom she was uncomfortable dealing with. Nothing, she couldn't find anything. However, she was Medaka Kurokami, and Medaka Kurokami never gives up.
That's when she decided to confront the Hitoyoshi matriarch, Hitomi Hitoyoshi, about Zenkichi's disappearance. But the diminutive woman only shook her head with a smile, telling her to wait and assured her that Zenkichi will definitely come back. It was then that she realized that there was more to his disappearance than she first thought. She later realized Hitomi Hitoyoshi's, and by extension Zenkichi's, connections to her family's company.
Again, she confronted her older brother, furious at him for lying to her. Her brother only sighed and told her it was all confidential business within the zaibatsu, too confidential that even he was excluded from it. That only advice that he could give was to confront their father about it.
Luckily, for her, her father was in the country during that time. But disappointingly, her father never answered her question, uncharacteristically serious for once. He even got angry with her persistence, something he never did before, banning her from searching for him alone. Still, he inquired what Zenkichi really was to her.
And her father smiled wickedly.
He then promised her that Zenkichi would come back before the start of her tenure as a first year in Hakoniwa Academy. But even with the assurance that Zenkichi, thankfully in fact, was still alive, the confrontation with her father left her bitter. For the first time in her life, she failed. For the first time, Medaka Kurokami gave up.
She was disappointed with everyone… and she was especially disappointed with herself. For a time, she even almost convinced herself that she was the reason he left, too angry to think clearly. It was only thanks to a toy puzzle, a remnant of her first meeting with Zenkichi, that she remained steadfast with her current outlook in life, to make other people happy.
It was a very humbling experience, and in a way, it made her more connected to humanity and their woes.
It made her human enough, that when Zenkichi did arrive, the feelings the surged inside of her were so overwhelming they almost made her faint. The feelings she feels when she helps other people couldn't even compare.
That's when she doubted her own reasoning for being born.
A loud thump of the sliding door opening interrupted her on her reverie. Medaka shook her head and grinned. For now, she had a request to fulfill. "You're late!"
"Hmph! We've got nowhere else to go, might as well humor some crazy chick president," Moji said.
The former delinquents, lead by Mahibi Moji, entered the hall dressed in an appropriate uwagi and hakama with their wooden swords in hand. Sporting determined faces, they were ready for their club activities for the day.
"Very well, I hope you're ready for today's reform program!"
"Don't take us for cowards! Even if we are beaten to a pulp, we're not just going to roll over and give this place up! I'll tell you now, but you'll never reform us! If you think you can then just try it!" Moji's companions with their grumbles of approval supported his argument.
Medaka's grin widened. Regardless of what happened in the past, challenges still made her blood boil. She grabbed her current dress and took it off, instantly changing into her Student Council uniform. "Fine then, I'll take on your challenge! Form a line!"
Like trained soldiers, the delinquents formed a straight horizontal line in front of her. She nodded in approval. Placing her hands to her back, she walked left and right like a military officer towards his men. "Ok, today we'll start with ten thousand strokes basic practice!"
"What, that's tenfold to what we did yesterday!"
"I don't want to hear any complaints! Just do it!"
Thus, the counting of numbers echoed throughout the hall, swinging their wooden swords. From time to time, she helped some of the former delinquents, now Kendo Club members, with their forms, giving advice and stern lectures. It would have been a smooth sailing session if not for a sudden interruption.
Medaka heard the loud thump of the sliding door opening again, halting the swings of her current charges.
"I didn't say stop!"
"No buts! Continue your routine or I'll increase it with another thousand!"
"Yes ma'am!" the Kendo Club members shouted in unison as they continued with their practice.
"Don't ignore me!" the interruption shouted.
Medaka stared at the intruder with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And who are you?" He was a student of dark-green messy hair with broken glasses and a face that seemed to have been run over several times. He was holding a bokutou. "You don't look okay. You should deliver yourself to the nurse's office, at once."
"Your sidekick did this to me!" He said as he pointed to his face.
"Sidekick? I don't have a sidekick."
"Hitoyoshi! It was Hitoyoshi, you dumb bitch!"
"I don't think Zenkichi would do something like that to you without reason…. And I find your use of words… deplorable…."
The obviously hysterical student shook his head, his teeth gnashing in frustration. "Do you think I fuckin' care what you think!? All I wanted you dumb cunts from the Student Coun-shit to do was to get of rid of these cretins!" He pointed to the practicing club members, who only ignored him, with his wooden sword. "Instead you freakin' reformed them! I don't need these weeds!"
So he was Habatake Hyuga, she did not recognize him with the bruises on his face and his unkempt state. He was disappointing, to say the least. Then again, this was another challenge, an extension of the request. Medaka crossed her arms under her chest. "I'm sure this bad attitude of yours is just an outlet of your frustrations in the world, or it might have been born from your lack of friends! Be glad! I will f—"
"Medaka-chan, are you there?"
Medaka's eye twitched at the interruption as her childhood friend's head appeared in the open sliding door. But before she could even chastise him, Hyuga suddenly wailed like a lunatic, swinging his bokutou towards the strawberry-blonde's head.
With a burst of speed, Medaka was already beside Zenkichi, catching the wooden sword by one hand and gripping it so hard that it broke into two. "You shouldn't have done that." Before Hyuga could even reply, she grabbed his uniform and threw him to the wooden floor. She stepped on his chest, pressing it until she could hear him groan in pain. "You really shouldn't have done that."
"Medaka-chan you're scari—"
"And Zenkichi, don't interrupt me when I'm saying something important. Clear?"
She pressed Hyuga's chest harder. "N-no ma'am…."
"I can't hear you?" She pressed harder.
"Excellent." Medaka cleared her throat as she removed his feet from Hyuga's chest. Her glare subsided as she stared at the prone green-haired teenager coughing. "Now, as I was saying, it's clear that you were once a boy as innocent as an angel. You were undoubtedly not blessed with love and good fortune, leading you to walking the lonely path you walk today. Be at ease! I will make it so you would never do evil again or even say scathing words! I will take care of you thoroughly!" Medaka then clapped her hands as she gave him a sadistic smile. "Now give me twenty thousand swings!"
"Oh, I apologize. Could someone hand me a spare bokutou?" One of the club members handed her one. She gave him a nod and thanks. Medaka then threw the wooden sword to the prone body of Hyuga close enough to his head to make him gulp. "Now stand up and give me those swings!"
"I said now!"
"Y-yes!" Hyuga hurriedly stood up and began the swinging of his bokutou.
That done, she turned to the other club members, who stopped their routine to gawk at her. "Did I say stop!? Did any of you hear me say stop!?"
"Then don't stop swinging!"
"Yes ma'am!" Thus, the rest of the members joined Hyuga with their current practice routine.
"Medaka-chan?" Medaka heard Zenkichi say, dropping her stern expression as she turned to face him.
"Yes, Zenkichi?" She smiled at her childhood friend.
"Umm… it seems you're doing fine… as expected. Sorry I was late. I got reprimanded by the homeroom teacher for being late to class."
"Is this related to Habatake Hyuga's case?"
"Ah, actually, yeah…. I wanted to tell you but it seems that he beat me to the punch. Hehe."
Medaka narrowed her eyes at him. "So his accusations of you beating him were true?"
"He attacked me first, you see. I was just defending myself."
"Very well, I accept your excuse. But next time, try your best not to be late."
"Sure…. so…. What are we going to do now?"
"Well, you still have to join them." Medaka gestured to the practicing Kendo practitioners behind her.
Medaka could not help but grin at his petulant attitude. It was kind of cute.
She was really glad that Zenkichi was back.
The sky was already turning crimson, the sun setting to give way to the inevitable darkness that is the night. Students were already trickling out of the Academy while some were putting away their respective club's equipment.
The Kendo Club members already left, same with Hyuga, battered, bruised, and subdued, but somehow the new group was giving out a sense of satisfaction that was quite infectious.
It seemed Medaka succeeded again.
Zenkichi gave a sigh of relief as the business with the Kendo Club was finally over. He was even more relieved to breathe in fresh air after the grueling exercise Medaka put him through. However, he was still tired, his back slightly hunched as he walked beside her, each step an effort itself – a price of duty, a duty he needed to uphold the moment he agreed to become a member of the Student Council.
He couldn't help but see in his mind's eye a little blue-haired girl snickering at him.
Though, thinking about Shiranui.
"Since we're already finished, Medaka, can I go?" Zenkichi said, breaking the silence.
"Hmm? Are you going to meet up with Miss Shiranui?"
"Yeah, she lives near my house so we always walk home together."
"I see…." His childhood friend seemed… crestfallen, but only for a moment.
"I'm sorry, Zenkichi. You see, I asked Miss Shiranui a favor to head the recruitment meeting for the remaining positions of the Student Council."
"Are you sure? She might not take it seriously."
Medaka shook her head. "I'll be honest, Zenkichi. I don't plan on taking any new members through the meeting. I only asked Miss Shiranui to take my place to deliver the message."
"Wow." No-one asks Hansode Shiranui to do anything, no one… without a price… well except for him…. But he had the backing of several extreme relationship building experiences. "How did you manage that?"
"I told her the truth that I want to find new members my way. She eagerly nodded and agreed with my reasoning, too eagerly if I might say. She said that it was more fun to watch the ensuing chaos or something along those lines. She seems to be a really interesting… person."
It seemed Shiranui had some unique effect towards Medaka. Though he hoped the blue-haired girl won't show her true nature to his childhood friend just for fun. Not now, and hopefully not ever. The consequences that he could think of in the top of his head were just too severe.
Maybe, if his diminutive friend would join him in the Student Council, he could prevent such thing happening.
"Then why won't you invite her to the council? She would be perfect for any position."
"I already tried. I asked her to be my Vice-president. She only shook her head and never told me the reason for turning me down." Zenkichi couldn't help but notice Medaka stiffen a bit, though it was only for a moment, almost unnoticeable unless you're really looking.
It seemed Shiranui already expected his move to contain her. She probably just wanted to enjoy watching him worrying about her future interactions with Medaka.
Still, Shiranui was his best friend, and like any normal best friend would do, he should see if she was all right and wait for her work to finish so that they could go home together.
"Well, why don't we check up on her?"
They arrived in a hallway where the classroom in which the meeting was being held was located, the shouts and complains of attending students echoing towards them. As they arrived near the door, the ruckus became louder. It was so chaotic that the students bickering never noticed their arrival, except for Shiranui of course. His diminutive blue-haired friend was sitting in a seiza position on a table for teachers like an empress watching her subjects. She had a very wide grin on her face, her eyes closed, obviously delighting at the chaos Zenkichi was sure she caused.
As she turned to face them, her manic grin changed to a sweet smile as she saw him, though it somewhat lessened to a degree when she noticed Medaka was with him.
Shiranui and Medaka then began to stare at each other.
Zenkichi kept quiet, afraid he might say something wrong.
He then saw Shiranui and Medaka nod at the same time.
"Zenkichi, let's go. It seems the meeting is still not done."
"Ah… Are you sure? I don't really understand. I'm worried Shiranui might get upset if we just leave her."
"Don't worry. I don't think she would."
Well, it seemed both girls had come to a silent agreement.
"Oookay…. If you say so…."
Giving a nod to Shiranui, which she returned in kind, they left.
Medaka was quiet after their meeting with Shiranui, somewhat making Zenkichi nervous. So when they arrived at the school gates, he looked away, blushing, and asked, "Say Medaka-chan, s-since we finished our first request as a Student Council, can't we, you know, commemorate it?"
"You know… maybe buy something to remember this moment?"
"Well, since you asked, I do have an idea. I really think it would be perfect for the council's room."
He saw Medaka widen her eyes. "Oh no, let's run, Zenkichi!"
"Huh? H-hey!" Zenkichi's face was crimson, further enhanced by the setting sun, as Medaka took one of his arms, dragging him to god knows where. He wanted to complain, he really wanted to. But even if Medaka was dragging him towards hell, he would definitely treasure this moment as his childhood friend held his hand while smiling like the young girl that she's supposed to be. It was like they were a couple excited to begin their date after school. Even if he were the only one between them thinking along those lines, he would still remember that particular event as one of his happiest.
Too bad for him, Medaka put a halt to the amazing experience by letting go of his hand as they arrived at a nearby shop that sells potted plants and flowers. The moment they entered the small shop, her eyes began to roam everywhere, eagerly looking for some plant, not even noticing an old lady that was getting ready to close her shop. Zenkichi apologized to the old lady. He really was glad that the old lady was kind enough to accept his apology with a smile. Though he couldn't help but blush madly as the kind shop owner decided that they were lovers. He tried to deny her assumption but she just laughed and told him to take their time as she went back to her work.
He glanced at Medaka, still madly blushing, divining her expression to whether she noticed the old lady's comments, but it seemed she never heard his discussion with the shop owner from the seriousness on her beautiful face, still searching for something inside the shop….
Then suddenly, as if she was a suddenly turned-on robot, she began to walk towards a corner displaying some potted flowers. She then gently took one of them, her face morphing to a giddy girl who found what she was desperately looking for. Curious, Zenkichi decided to see what she found, looking over her hunched back. He recognized the white bell-like flowers – a beautifully potted Lily of the Valley.
Medaka stood up and turned to face him, handing him the potted flower, but not before taking one flower and stashing it into her uncanny valley. He wanted to chastise her for what she did, but the gentle expression on her face made him think otherwise, their touching hands not helping.
As she began to speak, his heart began to beat faster, so fast that it almost made him faint, "Zenkichi, please take care of me as my General Affairs Manager from now on."
"Likewise, please take care of me, Medaka-chan."
Even if it was only a commemoration of their first accomplished request and his joining of the Student Council, Zenkichi really was glad he was back by her side.