Disclaimer: "Majisuka Gakuen" is property of Yasushi Akimoto, TV Tokyo, Dentsu, etc.
Chapter 1: Inside Out
The sound of rabble echoed across the grounds and through the halls of Majisuka Jyogakuen. It was familiar and typical of this girls' private school, the majority of whose student body composed of juvenile delinquents. Fights often broke out within MajiJo as well as between schools – and when one battle ended, another began.
"Are those two ever going to show up?"
"Even though Maeda said it's okay they refuse to take it."
"Isn't that just like them though?"
A group of five girls dressed in green tracksuits sat around a charcoal grill, turning over pieces of meat. Known as Team Hormone, they were in the wind instruments club room, the place where the top yankee team in MajiJo resided. Above them were the four Queens – Gakuran, Kabuki Sisters, Gekikara, Shaku – and beyond the Queens were the vice-president and president of Rappappa.
"They'll be wanting to do it their own way," Team Hormone's leader said as she gazed out the clubroom window. The last time Wota had looked out, Nezumi had been standing below with Team Under, taunting the club.
"We're third-years. Is it okay to let second-years be at the top?" Unagi asked aloud.
"Exactly," replied Akicha. "Even though Maeda gave it to them they have to earn it."
Bungee passively flipped over a bit of meat over the flame. "We can't be the only ones thinking this."
Wota looked over to the door of the backroom. "I wonder what Otabe's going to do. She was only here as president because of Maeda. If those two refuse the presidency…"
"Then it's the same as before," finished Mukuchi. The grill flared as she added more fuel to the fire.
- Elsewhere in MajiJo -
Through the halls of Majisuka Jyogakuen walked a girl in a beige cardigan. The corridor was relatively empty, save for the few girls at either end hanging about. Only one girl stood in the middle of the hall, her back to the wall. Like the girl coming toward her, she wore a cardigan, but hers was the colour of night. They crossed paths.
The girl stopped but didn't turn around to face her.
"Won't you change your mind? It was Maeda's will after all."
With her back to the other girl, Center replied, "Just because she said it doesn't mean I have to accept. I'll take the top with my own hands." She tilted her head toward her. "Enjoy your presidency while it's still yours."
Otabe watched as Center continued her purposeful strides down the corridor.
- Somewhere -
The blank walls were gradually being filled with calculations. After Center had kicked Team Under out of the underground room, Nezumi had set about rebuilding her sanctuary. Formulas and plans written in coloured pastels were scrawled as she walked along the bench.
She had made too many miscalculations last time, too many misjudgments. It was unacceptable. The pieces on the board hadn't moved the way she wanted them to. She hadn't been aware of the paths they were capable of taking, but now she knew. She knew more about the pieces, and the players involved – including herself.
Her arrangement to secure the top of MajiJo had not gone the way she had planned. In the end she and Center had the top, but it was with bittersweet feelings. Maeda had simply left it to them before she turned herself in to the police. It wasn't the result of an artfully laid plan or a one-on-one fight to the top. It didn't sit well with the two second-years.
If the top was theirs for the taking, then they could leave it with Otabe if they wished and make the top their own their way. The fresh computations on the walls were in preparation for just that.
Nezumi sat back and regarded her work. Yes, it had to be this way. After all, winning a game wasn't as much fun when your opponent forfeited.
- Hospital -
"Do they really think one security guard is enough to keep you here?" commented Gakuran.
Ever since Gekikara had escaped from the hospital to join the fight against Yabakune, hospital security had instilled a guard outside her room.
"They should at least have a second guard on the other side of the door for symmetry," said Kokabuki.
Ookabuki smacked her arm with the back of her hand. "That's what you have to say about it?"
The girl in the hospital bed smiled. She enjoyed it when the other Queens came together to visit her. They could easily cheer her up just by being there. "How's school?"
"The same," Shaku morosely answered.
"It might be different if they accepted the top," mentioned Kokabuki.
"What are you saying?" Ookabuki turned to her partner and snapped. "You want them to be above us just like that?"
Looking a little abashed, Kokabuki replied, "Well, Maeda wouldn't have given them the top if she thought they didn't deserve it, right?"
They were talking about the second-years, Center and Nezumi. Before the incident with Yabakune and Shibuya came about, the two had been planning a coup within MajiJo under the Tsu Alliance – but recently they had aligned themselves with Rappappa in order to fight Yabakune.
Gekikara recalled that last fight, and the moment when Maeda had given them the top. Her voice thoughtful, she said, "Those two are likely able to protect MajiJo."
"I'm not so sure about that," Ookabuki persisted.
"Maeda and Otabe seem to believe it," pointed out Kokabuki.
They had held the titles of vice-president and president of Rappappa respectively, so it was difficult not to take their positions into consideration when thinking about their decisions.
Ookabuki folded her arms, her expression petulant. "Still… I don't feel it's enough."
Shaku looked up at her sisters-in-arms, feeling somewhat hesitant. "Does that mean we'll have to fight?"
Getting into a battle with Maeda's appointed successors was not ideal, especially after the recent fight against Yabakune.
Sitting at Gekikara's bedside, Gakuran tightened her clasped hands. "If giving them the top is what Atsuko wants, then fine. But if they give me a reason to fight I won't turn away."
The Kobuki Sisters and Shaku looked at one another. After confirming what they were each thinking, the girls nodded. They would be prepared to fight as well.
Gekikara absently stared at the foot of her bed.
Give me some time. I'll find a reason.
She grasped the bedcovers beneath her fingers and nodded her consensus to the others.
- Hope Reform School -
To Maeda Atsuko,
I trust you are on your best behaviour. With any luck you will be out in time for graduation next year. Considering what has happened I believe the disciplinary measures you have been given are suitable and hope you agree.
Given your most recent academic record and the testimony of your school principal, I know you're capable of finishing your schooling. I'm sure you'll be able to find the path you need to follow.
Maeda tucked the letter into the pocket of her uniform.
Writing to inmates of juvenile centres was something the police sometimes did to keep the spirits up of the recipients, and encourage them to reform. Maeda didn't need reforming though. She had just lost her way and tried to find the path back, stumbling along the way. Beating up hoodlums had landed her in reform school, but she was able to accept the consequences. It was part of taking her life more seriously.
It was the afternoon, the time allotted for schooling and vocational training. Having a year of high school remaining, Maeda sat in a room furnished with rows of desks and chairs. Her seat was close to whereabouts she sat during her second year at Majisuka Jyogakuen – near the front, a bit to the side.
Other girls were coming in as she flipped through her notes, waiting for the teacher to arrive.
A sudden movement caught Maeda's eye, and she quickly moved before the tip of pencil landed hard where hand had been moments before.
The fist gripping the pencil twisted to deepen the hole in the wooden desk.
"Maeda Atsuko. To think I'd meet you in a place like this."
Maeda raised her eyes from the twisted pencil to the face of the person it belonged to. The girl standing at her desk had long wavy hair tied off and flipped to one side. Her eyes seemed slightly unfocused, but her grin was sharp.
"Tell me… did Gekikara die?"
The question struck Maeda more than a physical blow could have. She did not recognize this girl but she obviously knew about her and her friends. That aside, how could she ask her such a question…?
The teacher walked in and noticed the girl hovering over Maeda's desk. "Kimoto-san, this isn't your class. Please leave and go to your assigned classroom."
Still smiling, the girl pulled away from Maeda's desk, dragging the tip of the pencil along its surface.
As the teacher began the lesson, Maeda glanced to the back exit.
The girl had paused at the doorway, and when she met Maeda's eyes she mouthed, "You can call me Miso."