Title: Once upon a time a Shy Musume
Scene: Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku
Note: For Japanese/Chinese, surname/family name/last name comes first.
Ryuzaki Sakuno (1st Year): Our female protagonist who starts her senior high school life in Rikkai Dai Fuzoku.
Yukimura Seiichi (3rd Year): Our male protagonist; labeled as the most beautiful man, prince charming of Rikkai Dai Fuzoku.
Sanada Genichirou (3rd Year): Vice captain of Rikkai Dai Tennis Club. Consider the second best player after Yukimura; one of the three demons, the Emperor. He loves anything that has connection with pink XD
Yanagi Renji (3rd Year): One of the three demons. Like Seigaku's Inui Sadaharu he is a data specialist. He's quiet and soft spoken.
Niou Masaharu (3rd Year): Scariest player of Rikkai Dai Fuzoku. He's a narcissist and likes strategic and cunning girls, hates weaklings. I've decided to make him into a tsundere prince!
Yagyuu Hiroshi (3rd Year): Is known as "The Gentleman" for his polite demeanor. He never reveals his dark secret to his teammates that he's actually a popular shoujo mangaka by the penname of YAHIRO. An addicted Shounen Jump reader!
Marui Bunta (3rd Year): He's a self declared genius, cheery otherwise arrogant player. And because of his arrogantnature, he speaks differently, contradicting his real feelings. He has stamina issue and was frequently seen chewing gums or takes sweets to obtain more energy. He's the fourth person who came to accept Sakuno despite of her clumsiness. The second person who got infected by her bad luck, maybe?
Kuwahara Jackal (3rd Year): Half Brazilian. He's the closest Rikkai Dai's member to be able to get close to Sakuno and not being infected by her bad luck. Maybe it's because he's bald and it helps to bound off evil spirits, maybe?
Kirihara Akaya (2nd Year). I'm still not too sure how to portray these characters; but since it said paranoid; it couldn't be possible for me to make them like original; I'm expecting OOCness.
Standard Disclaimer: Tenpuri belongs to Konomi-sensei.
Sakuno-centric. Please do not continue if you're not a big Sakuno fans.
Could be SUPER OOC, a little PARANOID, readers are advised to stop reading if you find this disturbing.
Contain spoiler of the final chapter of Tenipuri.
Ratings might change depending on progress of the storylines, hints of mature themes.
"…" denotes speech
'…' denotes thoughts
"Italics" Very soft speech
Chapter 8: Strawberry Shortcake is a love message.
Outside the double story apartment, the long, narrow steel balcony was deserted with flickering fluorescent lamps giving off a rather creepy vibe.
However, among the units of apartments, one of them which were leased to a famous mangaka was so lively and energetic.
There were three people with two assistants rushing around in the compacted living and one mangaka who was sitting still at his work desk drawing some manga scripts.
"YAHIRO-SENSEI! The deadlines!" one of them exclaimed frantically.
"Oi, cool down. You'll distract Yahiro-sensei." said another man when he patted lightly on his colleague's shoulder.
" Kaneyama, Aoi-kun! Don't slack off!"
"Ink these, Kaneyama!"
"Aoi! Apply screen tones on these!"
"There is still half an hour before the deadlines! Guys! We've got to work faster!"
It's been a hectic night for the popular mangaka and his two assistants. In the nick of time, they managed to wrap up everything and passed the completed work to their editor.
"Thank you very much, Yahiro-sensei. I hope that all the readers would come to love the latest chapter of Strawberry Shortcake."
The mangaka with a nerdy spectacle gave a nod before shutting the door before the editor.
"As usual he's cold and unsociable! Not cute at all." sighed the editor when being given cold shoulder by the mangaka.
"Thanks for the hard work! Sensei!" the two assistants bowed with utmost respect towards their idol.
"Thanks for the hard work." he replied bleakly and with that he gathered all his stuffs and get ready to leave his workplace.
"Sensei? You're leaving already?"
He nodded in reply.
'There'll be golf practicing tomorrow morning.' he thought inwardly.
Till date, he had never revealed his real identity to anyone. He preferred to keep it anonymous. His life as a professional golfers as well as high school tennis players; all these he had kept it from his editors, assistants as well as readers.
For being the most promising mangaka of the era, this would be the darkest secret for him. People who love reading his works were very eager to know how YAHIRO really looks like in person. No one had ever seen that because of his superior skills in disguise.
"Sensei, please allow us to escort you back!" one of them suggested.
"No. I'm fine going back alone." He declined immediately.
There goes another hectic night for our RikkaiDai's gentleman, Yagyuu Hiroshi.
At the moment he was planning on how to gather more information for his next installment of Strawberry Shortcake.
"I wonder what kind of ideas she will be providing me next."
In that spacious and quiet clubhouse, only two detainees that were left behind and they were Sakuno and Hiroshi.
Due to the fact that Hiroshi had refused to join the others for training, he was punished and that he was told to babysit Sakuno. She was assigned to tidy up the clubhouse.
In reality, that was what he had wanted; to be left alone with Sakuno in order to accomplish his information gathering. For the past hours, he had been secretively spying over Sakuno.
His latest manga, Strawberry Shortcake had turned to be a huge success. He received tons of feedbacks and according to characters popularity poll results; the main female protagonist had received the most votes from readers.
'Thanks to my new subject, Ryuzaki Sakuno.' the corner of his mouth lifted as he smiled contentedly.
There were few good reasons for him to use Sakuno's characteristics for his female protagonist.
Rumor had it that Yukimura was attacked by the fellow female members and hence the tennis club, especially Sanada, had shunned all female students from the club and not to mention of forbidding them to join the club. All female students were told to keep a distant from their captain.
He had thanked God for sending Sakuno to him. He was also very fond of her diffident and yet wobbly qualities.
He had also decided to use her after reading some comments which he recently received from his readers.
In the past; he had used Yukimura Seiichi; their captain with very beautiful androgynous features for modeling his female protagonist role.
Although the feedbacks did turned out quite remarkable; some readers did commented that the female protagonist was portrayed with less feminine traits despite of that serene princess-like look.
'She's more like a prince! I fell in love with her for instance!' One of his female readers from XXX city comment had made Hiroshi's vein popped.
'Prince? Hmph…He is the King afterall! The Demon King!'
Hiroshi had then diverted his attention back to his newly found love; the Goddess of Chaos, Ryuzaki Sakuno.
The girl did look angelical when she does her work calmly. Those beautiful features of hers were so princess like too.
Thanks to the fairy godmother…no…the prince of the story, Yukimura Seiichi; who had made the right choice; just by cutting off the bangs that covered almost half of her face. Who would have thought that such beautiful features that was hidden by those thick bangs.
Yet, like the unpredictable storm; she could turn things around effortlessly. Her power to destroy things was unrestrained that they had gone beyond her control at sometimes.
Perhaps she was really like what she claimed; a young lady who was cursed with bad luck.
Well… at least for the past weeks she'd make quite a few changes; she was not as clumsy as before, Hiroshi mused inwardly.
And that was a big help for Hiroshi to complete his weekly manga installment on time.
Hiroshi had especially liked the part where his beautiful princess was with the prince; they looked picture perfect together. So the Prince Charming and Snow White does exist in reality.
Seeing such moments had inspired Hiroshi to come out with more romantic plots. He had believed that the two of them were sent by the God of Manga to relieve him from the troubles he had whenever he had to update an installment.
Hiroshi also believed that it wasn't by chance that the prince had met the princess, got injured and the two ended up stuck together. This was what he would call "Fate".
Sometimes he also noticed that the prince would keep his gaze fixated on the girl as if he doesn't want her to fade away from his sight.
He also noticed that the prince had smiled more brilliantly whenever he was with the princess.
Every day, with her, he couldn't help but smile; Hiroshi sworn that as if the prince's actor's mask was totally ripped open in front of the diffident princess.
The prince who had almost lose his reason to live; is now being seen by many, as if he was already opening up the door of future.
For him and for her…
With the two being seen together; we like as if they were soaring high to an unknown world; his hands holding against hers as if they were begging hers not to let go.
The prince had vowed to hold onto the bonds that they have, towards the place of their dream.
Hiroshi suddenly snapped back into reality when he felt that somebody was tapping on his shoulder.
He was stunned to have realized the fact that just by staring at her; it actually stimulates his brain and gives him so much inspiration. All those ideas were like flowing all over his mind.
"Ano…se…senpai…" Sakuno called.
"What is it…Ryuzaki-kun?" Hiroshi immediately fixed his façade to hide the fact that he was startled by her calling. He was able to regain his usual composure quickly.
"I'm sorry….but I've been calling you for few times already and you didn't response." she said quietly and her last few sentences almost had gone with the wind.
"I'm sorry, Sakuno-kun. I was in my thoughts." He smiled at her.
"I'm glad you're alright." She smiled back.
It did actually make many people wonder why only towards Hiroshi and Jackal that Sakuno was able to act normally. More surprising was that; she was talking to both of them face to face without suffering from nosebleed, dizziness or just black out instantly.
"Say, just now you were calling me; is there anything that you would need from me?"
"Ah…yes….I wanted to clean up the area around here; but I'm afraid that it will get too dusty later. Senpai, is it okay for you to wait outside?"
"You're done with the other areas?"
Hiroshi looked around the club house. It was gleamed in the sunlight. The floor, benches and windows were sparkling clean.
Few hours ago it was quite messy and a little bit dirty. Usually the club house would be well maintained. Due to the fact that most players were busy training for the upcoming tournament; they neglected the cleaning part.
They thought that without Yukimura, the players could actually relax a bit; never would they have thought that the two demons were slaves' drivers.
Even without Yukimura, both Sanada and Yanagi had set up additional training programs for all players. Their training could be described as worst than intense! It was suffocating; more like digging one's grave.
Some says that the other two were the demon of the demons.
"Good job, Ryuzaki-kun." Hiroshi felt that she deserved to be praised. It was like what Yukimura had told them before that this girl was a dedicator. She does everything wholeheartedly.
"T…Thank you." Another bright and cheery smile lit her face.
At this moment, Hiroshi had wished that the others would be able to see that sweet smile of hers.
All this while, she was facing difficulties in interacting with others in a proper way. She was so shy that she would stammer continuously, and then followed by a pair of shaky feet. If that person is more than 10 inches away from her; she could be suffering from massive nose bleed and finally she would drop down for the count.
Undoubtedly, she would be the most attractive young lady if those unmerited habits of hers were gone.
Hiroshi had to admit that he was slightly smitten by her beauty.
On the other side, Sakuno had felt that something was flashing through Hiroshi's lens that made her shiver in panicky. She was able to distinguish the fact that Hiroshi was not his usual self.
Was he too being affected by her bad luck? That was what she had been worrying about. That kind of worries disheartened her the most.
In the past, she had brought chaos to certain someone she was very fond of. That feeling that was supposed to have deepened into love was tainted and was evolved into repugnance. The past had been painful that the damage inflicted to both parties was beyond repair.
Sakuno couldn't stop her body from shivering. Her hands voluntarily went up to hold each side of her shoulders as she curled herself together.
Hiroshi had caught the sudden change of aura in Sakuno. She looked terribly pale and fragile. He felt that there was something in her mind that had brought her to such a state. He felt that there was the need to do something quick before it got worst.
Judging from her current stance, he had decided that by just patting lightly on her shoulder or pushing her lightly in the back wouldn't be effective enough to bring her back to reality. He had got to use his secret weapon.
When Sakuno immersed deeper into her dark past, before her; there appeared a bright gleam of light.
In a glimpse, the radiance was able to take over darkness.
Appeared before Sakuno, was a handsome young man with a pair of beautiful light grey orbs. He was only inches away from her face.
"Ryuzaki-kun, it's your fault that you were so defenseless."
She immediately recognized that voice; it belongs to her senior, Yagyuu Hiroshi.
"Y…Yagyuu-senpai…?" her soft voice trailed off when she felt his hands that had reached up to bring her close stopped in the midair. He stroked a hand down her cheek and caressed it gently.
"So…shall I do that to you now?" his teasing was merciless.
For instance, Sakuno's body froze as if she was spell bounded. She was almost reaching her limit. The current Hiroshi was too radiant for her to handle.
She was overwhelmed! She had never thought that Hiroshi was capable in giving off such an aura. His aura was even darker than black. He was like a conqueror, emperor of the night!
What was that that had caused such a big change on his aura? Something was so out of place.
Her head was spinning; she also felt her blood rushed towards her face.
Just when she was expecting the worst case scenario; Hiroshi broke into a soft chuckled. The laughter increased in decibels.
"Ryuzaki-kun! That expression of yours was priceless!"
Now that was really mortifying. One minute he used his charm to mock her, the next minute he had broke into laughter.
It seemed like the old Yagyuu was back again. So that was how it works, the pair of thick lens was his weapon to conceal his beauty.
With the hotness still lingering on her ears, the diffident girl didn't know how she was supposed to react. All she did was striding around the room, circled it twice. He'd put his hands on her, he'd stroke her cheeks. HE WAS SEDUCING HER!
"Calm down, Ryuzaki-kun. I had yet to do anything terrible to you yet. I was only giving you a slight push in the back so that you could come back to reality."
What he had claimed awhile ago was able to stop Sakuno from circling around the club house. She stopped and stared at him with disbelieve.
Obviously what he said was not too convincing.
"You see, I kind of sensed that you were suddenly freaked out. I thought that there's a need to do something in order to bring you back to reality."
This time Sakuno glanced at the gentleman through her lashes. It was true as what he claimed that she was suddenly sucked in by the darkness of her dreadful past.
Considering that she'd actually came to know Hiroshi for quite sometimes now; he lived up to his alias 'The Gentleman'; she doubted that would ever take advantage of her just for his own entertainment.
She believed in him.
"I'm sorry, senpai. And thank you. I'm fine now."
"I'm sure you are."
At this moment, Hiroshi was curious. He had wanted to prod her to tell him what had happened to her. What had caused her to become in such a state, a state of fear of losing something.
Yet, he knew that this was not the right moment. He had decided to endure the curiosity and wait until the right time when she was ready to open up to all of them.
"Shall I help you with the clean up, Ryuzaki-kun?"
She immediately shook her head to decline his offer.
"Oh…no…no! It would be too rude to have a senior to help me with my assignment."
"If that's the case, then perhaps I should leave the club house for bit as you were suggesting earlier. Well, I might as well go over to the training ground and check out the progress of our players."
"Senpai? You're going to the ground?"
"Will it be okay if I ask you to help me to bring something over too?"
"What was it?"
Frantically, Sakuno rushed towards to the section where her cabinet was allocated. She opened up the door and carefully took out a three layered bentou box.
"Ryuzaki? What are these?"
"Senpai, please help me to bring these and share with the others. I baked these strawberry shortcakes myself."
"That's very kind of you, Ryuzaki-kun, but…"
"Please trust me. I didn't put any weird ingredients in it. These are genuine desserts!"
At the moment, Hiroshi was once again startled. She was able to look at him; those eyes that shows her sincerity and determination.
"My apology, Ryuzaki-kun." He smiled again "I think all of them would come to love the desserts that you'd prepared for us."
With that he claimed the bentou box from Sakuno.
"T…thank you very much!" with that Sakuno bowed at ninety degrees before Hiroshi.
"We should be the one who should be thanking you. I'm sure that aside from Marui-san; Sanada-san and Yukimura-san would definitely come to like this."
"Of course. Didn't you know that Strawberry Shortcake is a love message?" he muttered inaudibly at last.
"You said something, senpai?"
"I was saying that they'll definitely love these."
Upon hearing the compliment she had received from Hiroshi, Sakuno's face turned flushing red in few seconds and that she couldn't contain the joy in her heart that it was expressively displayed on her face as she smiled coyly at him.
For the second time Hiroshi had wished that everyone could see the beauty that this young diffident lady possessed.
He was pretty sure that they would get to see this. She had gradually making progress. With the help of Yukimura and the others, she will surely blossomed into a beautiful cherry blossoms just like her given name; Princess of Cherry Blossom.
'Yukimura-san, I'm predicting that in the near future; you'll have to ready yourself for more competition, as the girl is becoming more and more attractive each day.'
"Hiroshi? You were saying something just now?" Yukimura asked.
"Hey, have you guys ever heard of the saying that Strawberry Shortcake is a message of love?"
"Was that you who was talking? Hirochin?" This time Niou asked.
"These desserts; Ryuzaki-kun had specially made it for someone special."
"What? Are you talking to me? Hiroshi?" Marui asked.
"You're so weird today. Did anything happen to you?" Jackal asked.
"I think so too." Yanagi said.
"Maybe he was cursed by Sakuno's bad luck!" Akaya suggested jokingly.
"Guys, leave him alone." Sanada said.
"I'm sure the next installment of Strawberry Shortcakes would become more interesting."
AN: Finally! I did it! I did it! I kept this story alive! This was my fifth edition. I've written the same chapters for 5 times, each time a different version. It's very difficult for me to write this part. The first edition was considered the best but the data was gone when our PC encountered malfunctions. Along with my hard disk, the old PC was beyond repair.
I have to thank you brother for buying me a new laptop so that I can continue writing and drawing.
I also want to thank everyone for their reviews and adding this story to their alert/favorite list. I showed my family these wonderful messages and they were very supportive. I think this could be the reason why he had decided to get me a new laptop.
I know that this story was on hiatus for very long time. I apologized for the shortcomings. I don't want to present anything that was done halfheartedly.
As I mentioned that this chapter I've actually edited five times; I kind of preferred this version than the rest; so I've decided to post this up!
Once again, thank you for reading this story.
Hope that you'll come to enjoy this story as much as I enjoy writing this.
Please read and review.