Softly Snowing II
Academy Years
~Year One (Part Two)~

The first day of classes, nothing much happened as the teachers expected the students to get used to the classroom setting and get to know their fellow students. Hana glanced around, her lips tightening with excitement as everything progressed. She didn't have much to speak with anyone about yet, as in comparison to the others, her life seemed boring.

To the small female from the Rukongai, Akimoto seemed absolutely amazing. She spoke of things like ice cream, a treat that was supposed to be cold and creamy, not to mention sweet. Hana couldn't imagine such a thing existing, but the girl insisted that there was such a thing and that if Kamoku could afford it, she should try it.

Eventually, two older students came to lead the students to their dorm areas. Hana found herself falling in step behind Kumiko, her eyes darting around to look at all the immense buildings around her. The detail artistry was definitely amazing, at least to her mind that had never seen such things. She stumbled a few times, tripping over her own saddles, her mind was so preoccupied.

The Akimoto noble looked back at Hana with amusement in her eyes, while some of the other females gave her worried looks. They arrived at the dorm area and placed their shoes in boxed shelves. The female who led them asked for heir numbers. Hana glanced down at the number at her paper, and then heard the instructions on how to get to the room.

"Your dorm is upstairs and third door on the left." The female stated, before moving onto the next girl.

Hana glanced at the piece of paper, her lips tightening and her brow furrowing. "What does this... upstairs mean?"

At that, one of the other females spoke up, her words rather nervous. "You've never heard of stairs?"

"She's Rukongai trash. Shouldn't the academy let in nobles only?" One of the other females scoffed, while the small, brown haired female looked on in confusion.

At that, the Akimoto girl spoke up. "I wouldn't say that all people from the Rukongai is trash. I mean, Hinamori Fukutaicho came from the Rukongai, right?"

"Yes... well..." The one girl paused, not sure at all what to say.

At that, Kumiko walked forward. "I'll show you what these stairs are. Follow me." At that, Hana followed the female eagerly, leaving the other two females behind. When they were out of ear shot, the black haired female spoke up. "You honestly don't know when someone is insulting you, do you?"

At that, Hana blinked a couple of times. "I know that the word trash wasn't nice, but I didn't think much of it."

"A word of advice," the female noble stated firmly. "Not everyone wants to be your friend. Those girl's certainly didn't. There is..." After a slight pause, she continued. "Among the nobles, there is the belief that the noble class is above those from the Rukongai."

"Well, aren't they? And don't you think that too? I mean you are a noble. I think you're pretty amazing." The small, brown haired female blurted out, her words fumbling out.

The Akimoto girl raised an eyebrow, and then let out her words with a tone of superiority. "Well, you really don't get it. I'll just have to keep an eye on you, teach you the basics."

At that, Hana moved to hug the female, only to have Kumiko pull away. At that, the small female frowned. "I did something wrong again, didn't I?"

"You're not supposed to show affection of friendship publicly. Goodness knows in the noble families, you aren't supposed to show any affection even privately." The female had a rather exasperated look on her face, but her eyes were also filled with amusement at Hana's strange antics.

At that, they arrived at a wooden object, which looked like boxes stacked on each other. The brown haired female watched as various girls went up and down them. "These are?"

"These are stairs. You're supposed to go up them." Kumiko took a step up the stairs, moving slowly. "I can't believe that these are so narrow, with so many people here. I would have expected them to have been built bigger to allow for personal space."

Hana though, moved up the stairs even slower. She took with trepidation one step after another, at which Akimoto turned her head and watched the other girl carefully, letting out a laugh as she did so. Eventually they got to the top and Hana found herself bending over. "Why do they expect us to go up these things?"

The black haired female laughed. "I think we'll be great friends, don't you think?"

At that, Hana glanced up, straigtening herself up. She noded her head in excitement and agreement. Both of the girls headed towards the dorm they were assigned to and they found a room with ten beds in it, five on each side. The small female found herself starting at the spots. Kumiko let out a deep sigh. "What, they can't give us any privacy?"

"Those things are?" The small, brown haired female frowned. "Where are the futons?"

At that, the noble blinked a couple of times, then glanced back. "I guess you're right. I know that this is a western style bedding. I hadn't expected the school to have these set up for us though. Kind of fancy, isn't it?"

"I don't find it fancy. I find it strange." Hana stated, her head suddenly spinning due to the new things that she was learning.

These beds were hard to describe, but they were these frames made of wood. They then had a rectangular thing on top, covered with white cloth. Why anyone would want that kind of object, she honestly didn't understand. She watched though, as Kumiko went and sat on one of the beds. "Soft."

At that, the smaller of the two females regained her composure and went and sat down next to her. "You're right. But how can such a thing support our weight? I mean, it is way too soft."

At that, Hana got on the ground to look under the bed, while Kumiko, who was also curious, bend to the side to pear under. "You're right. I mean, I can see those bars somewhat keeping us from falling through, but it makes no sense at all."

"It is because the mattress is stuffed so full, it won't go through the bars unless it is old." A female voice came to the two and Hana turned to see who was speaking to her, only to hit her head on the bed frame with a loud resounding crack.

"Ouch." At that, she pulled her way from underneath the bed and glanced up to see a familiar face. "Ayumu-chan! It is good to see you again!" Hana then turned to the bed. "Are you sure that we won't fall through on this thing?"

At that, the Hamano girl spoke up. "You aren't very bright, are you?"

As the smaller brown haired female blinked her eyes, Kumiko waved her hand in the air. "What did I tell you about people not necessarily wanting to be your friend? You must be in the first class and think your special, particularly since you are from the Rukongai and are in a class that nobles mostly dominates."

At that, Hana blinked a couple of times. "Why is that?"

"Well, noble families happen to have spiritual pressure run in them and that spiritual pressure tends to build up. It is those with a lot of spiritual pressure who have the most potential, so they get placed into the first class."

"That makes a lot of sense." The smaller female nodded her head in agreement, which caused Ayumu to bite slightly down on her bottom lip.

"You are rather conceited, aren't you?" The comment was directed at the noble female, but Hana found herself blinking a few times.

"That wasn't exactly a nice thing to say, was it?" The small female stated, sitting down next to Kumiko and swinging her legs.

"Are you sure you want to be friends with her?" The other female asked, eying the noble rather warily.

"Why not?" Hana frowned at the female, confused as to why anyone would ask such a question, her nativity getting in the way.

"Don't blame me Kamoku-san when she tires of you and moves onto something else that interests her." At that, the other female moved away and selected a bed for herself. She hung her bag over one of the bed posts and sat down, still eying the noble warily. After a bit, she turned and ignored the other two females.

Eventually, they were joined by one of the females who had been speaking to them down stairs and her nose wrinkled up upon site of the room. "No privacy?"

"Kumiko-chan commented on that already." Hana stated, smiling and catching the other female off guard while the Akimoto noble swung her bag over the post. The one female simply stared at Hana, her mouth open.

The so called friend that Hana had made opened her mouth to say something, thought better of it, then choose possibly to say something else. "I like the idea of having someone call me chan. I've heard that is very popular in the world of the living."

"Really?" The Kamoku girl was suddenly all ears.

"You should claim your bed, K... Hana-chan." Akimoto stated, smiling as Hana complied with what she wanted. "See, I've heard from my older brother that in the living world, really good friends call each other by their first name and add chan to the end of it."

"You're a noble. Why would you want something like that?" The other girl gave the two girls a dirty look and took a bed across the way from them, as it wasn't easy for her to get a bed as far away from them as she would have liked.

"Because, times are changing. My brother has said so. Apparently, the noble of the Kuchiki clan adopted someone from the Rukongai." Kumiko smiled, hugging herself tightly.

"That's just a rumor, like the fact that he married someone from there too." The girl stated.

"Well, I've heard it isn't a rumor. My brother says it was a basic princess story." The black haired female flipped her hair slightly.

"What is... a princess story?" Hana folded her legs across, her attention rather apt.

"They are stories where someone from the poor area marries into the rich, wealthy, well established." Kumiko stated. The other girl gagged, while she glanced around the room.

"I've never heard such stories. I mostly learned about the myths in my classes. Like about dragons and the emperor." The small brown haired female's attention was fully involved.

"I am surprised you actually got an education." The other girl chided, her eyes feeling with slight panic as she glanced around the room. Something was obviously bothering her.

"Well, there is this one story from the west, about a girl named Cinderella, or something like that. Her step mother and sisters made her do all the cleaning and she was dressed in rags." The Akimoto girl found herself enjoying the rapt attention, and even Ayumu's head had perked up.

"So, her kimono was dull and had holes in it?" Hana commented, her mind using her basic knowledge of the world.

"Well... she didn't wear a kimono. She wore this thing called a dress. Dresses are a western style of clothing. My brother's described them before, but it's hard for me to describe, other then the fact that they can be very plane, or very pretty." Kumiko frowned suddenly.

"Sounds like a kimono..." The other noble rolled her eyes, while a few other girls came in.

"It isn't." The reply barked out, irritated at the other girl's response. "Anyways, this girl gets invited to this ball thing. It's a dance that thing that they have in the West and... well, it is important like our festivles, except normally only the nobles would be getting to go. Well, this Cinderella person gets to go and the prince falls in love with her."

"This is a dumb story." The other noble stated.

Akimoto glared at the other girl. "I don't know. Maybe Hana-chan can be our Cinderella and we can train her up so she can marry into a noble family."

"It won't ever happen and you know it."

The small brown haired girl spoke up, smiling weekly. "I've never thought about marrying. I mean, my parents always talked about me going to school so that I would be worth more when I was married off. That's why they agreed to let me go, because I would have better chances of finding a good husband. However... I don't want to get married yet."

"Haven't you found a guy that you like a lot though?" Kumiko asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I haven't put much thought into it. I just like taking each day at a time." Hana smiled at the other girls who were joining them.

"Obviously." The other noble glanced around, her body completely tense.