Longing For Youth, Within Youth: Prologue – Chapter 2
If you are young, you long to be an adult, by the time you become one, you feel more mature and live the prime of your life, but the time you grow old, you wish to go back to your hay days.
With youth, comes a lot of feelings, with feelings come a lot of stories portrayed. A story about friendship, where friendship creates trust. A story about trust, where faith is tested. A story about faith, which create individual cases of bonding. A story of bonding, where it ultimately leads to love. All these feelings that one must encounter, feelings that one must understand, and feelings that one must accept. All things considered it all comes back to one word – Youth.
Our story first started in the place they called “The Pearl of the Orient”, otherwise known as the Philippines. We were born a quarter-Hispanic, quarter-Filipino, and half-Japanese in a wealthy family that controls most of the monetary circulation of funds around East-Asia and Oceania.
On the 19th of March, there were four of us, all boys born minutes from each other, quadruplets as they say. We were to inherit the family fortune and continue the family business when we grow up. But despite the glitz and glamour we were surrounded by, me and three brothers liked getting our hands dirty.
As kids we used to run under the rain, play with mud, and compete in Spider derby. The latter was the one we unanimously agreed upon as the most important thing in our lives. We would capture our own spiders and place them inside our own matchboxes or “Carton ng Posporo” as our “lolo” would say, and let them compete. Whoever won was to become “King of the Spiders”, and now that I look back upon it, that title has the word childish in all of the correct places.
It was all fun and games until we entered middle school, by that time it was time to move out. The reason? Better education, and a less toxic environment. From “The Pearl of the Orient” we arrived at “The Land of the Rising Sun”, Japan. With that, for the longest time, we thought that those were the last times we will ever experience youth.
At first it was tough adapting our new routine, as the school we enrolled in, Kyoto Tech Private School, one of the most prestigious school in the nation which houses students from the start of middle school all the way through University, follows a Trimester starting from April and ending in March. As opposed to the Quarterly template of our past school from June to March, our body clock was messed up for the first part of the Trimester.
After the bloody first trimester of middle school, it was smooth sailing from there until we finished the first year of Senior High School. By that time, we four brothers became “low-key” famous, as the four of us accumulated Championships in Basketball, Tennis, Volleyball, Baseball, and Soccer, with one of my brothers becoming the best player of Summer Koshien Stadium, and the MVP of Winter Kokuritsu in the same year!
Aside from these athletic achievements, also came in intellectual and creative achievements in Science, Literature, and Arts. But despite all that, it was to move for a second time, to the center of it all – Tokyo.
As we moved out a second time, we were already trained to act as adults, no, to be full pledged adults. We were assigned several jobs and occupations that were most suitable for us. We were required by our family to act maturely, and fully use our time with matters that most benefit our work. We were still allowed to use some of our time for leisure and recreational activities. In fact, some of us found huge success in our hobbies that it resulted to a blind-eye by our family.
Other than that, they were strict, they will not tolerate activities that will not produce results. Because of that, we sometimes hide the fact that we enjoy such hobbies.
We really ran on a strict schedule back in Kyoto, and were expected to be more diligent by the time we arrive in Tokyo, but little did we know, moving to Tokyo might give us the change of pace we wanted.
CHAPTER 1 – The Elite Four (KAZUYA)
Kazuya Mojica Kaminari y Tesoro…
That’s me, in Japan that name is considered ridiculously long and in the wrong syntax, so I rather stick with Kaminari Kazuya. I’m youngest of the identical quadruplets. Compared to my brothers, I’m not fond of attracting too much attention, but let’s face it being part of the Elite Four, the title given to us after accomplishing all those ridiculous feats in middle- to first-year senior high school, was already causing too much attention.
As a compliment to my silky-smooth hair, and unmatched facial features that are guaranteed to land me the cute and comfortable archetype, (I did not think of those descriptions, you would normally get those detailed descriptions from Kyoto Tech Girl Students, so don’t blame me), I tend to be the quietest of the group, and the kindest of the four, although my brothers would deem the latter description “self-proclaimed”.
I was the main setter of Kyoto Tech Private School Volleyball Club. As we transfer schools, I decided to lay low from volleyball for a while in order to focus on my other hobbies which are involving myself in Arts and Crafts, and also playing various instruments.
In Tokyo, I was tasked by my parents to become the manager of Mojica Recreational Center, a store with the best quality instruments, art materials and the likes, it also features facilities aimed towards numerous recreational activities, as the name suggests – another reason while I stopped volleyball for a while. I was also trained and acted as a model (so don’t be surprised if my face popped up in a magazine). Aside from those, I also engage in botany and work as an assistant vet in a clinic ran by my uncle (You might be thinking that I have too many occupations for a high schooler, or for a person in general, but trust me, I have the lightest work load).
“Hey Kazuma, what time does school start tomorrow?”
A voice that instills intimidation – that right there is Takuma,
My brother Takuma came first the MVP of last year’s Basketball Inter High and Winter Cup, standing at 200 cm tall (Note: all of us have the same height, so we have the potential of being called the Four Titans, but somehow aren’t), anyone would think that we are full-blown adults, but little do they know that we were just incoming 2nd year senior high school boys that just turned 17 years of age.
He can be identified due to him having a faded cut to keep his hair from blocking his view when playing basketball, and having the most ripped body out of us four (if you’re curious, I have a slim but toned, body type).
Being the Eldest son, he is to become the heir of our family’s flagship company: Banco Tesoro. This private banking company handles all transactions within East Asia and Oceania, and also have major influences around the world being a major supporter of the World Bank.
But if you ask me, he needs to work on his attitude and his uncontrollable nature, as his emotions, although genuine, tend to get the better of him, but having managerial work in the Tokyo Branch might be something he needs in overcoming his drawbacks.
He is also adept in the ways of mechanics and electronics, being the assistant head mechanic, and head the electrician in our family owned equipment repair shop. He usually deals with more stress than me, so whenever he needs to blow off some steam, he usually does it by hitting the gym, or participating in dance lessons and competitions.
“They say that the orientation starts at 8:30, which is a waste of time, so can we go at 8:45 where classes start instead?”
Answering with a seemingly nonchalant expression is Kazuma
The third eldest, or the second youngest, whichever makes more sense is Kazuma. At first year, he was already elected as the Student Council President, and despite being extremely laid-back and irresponsible, he was extremely capable of that job (I don’t know how he did it, but he did in fact did it).
The quadruplet identified as the one with messy/wavy hair, fit body type, and the one wearing glasses, he was placed in charge of Tesoro Jewelry, one of the finest jewelries in which you could find the most expensive stones, rings and accessories.
He might be pretty capable with his job and might already have the means to become the best entrepreneur, there is one underlying truth that is keeping him from that future. He sees this problem as his way of finding harmony within one’s self, he is a major game and anime otaku – so much so that he modeled his way of playing tennis from his two favorite male anime characters: Kunimitsu Tezuka, and Echizen Ryoma.
With those role models he won the Lawn Tennis Championship. He is also a member of Japan’s Pro eSports team, but he tends to keep this a secret from everyone other than us brothers and those close to him. He also made a vow that our mother must not find out about this at all cost. Whenever mom checks his room and becomes suspicious of some of his belongings, he usually makes an excuse of owning them solely because of research, as he is a certified game developer and programmer (and also a hacker, and I just want to share this, but I personally dig his first game: Counter Call).
“We would be late, but Kazuma still has a point, we shouldn’t end up as walking beacons very early in the morning, besides, moving for the last two weeks was pretty exhausting, we should take all the available time we need to take some rest, right Kazuya?”
A man speaking in proper and gentlemanly manner – Takuya
Finally, the second eldest, Takuya is the one we consider as the leader of the pack. Why? Because he is the most responsible, and most talented of us four. He is also the one I’m closest to, he always got my back whenever I commit a blunder, and he was the first one to support me when I decided to stop volleyball. For me, he is the ideal brother, not the brother we deserved, but the brother that we need.
With his signature spiky but unexpectedly soft hair, and perfect body proportions, one look in the eye, and the girls start flocking towards him, but he always seems to be disinterested.
Aside from being the tallest ace pitcher at Koshien, and the tallest striker at Winter Kokuritsu last year, he also broke the world record of Youngest Novel Prize winner at 16 years old by proving Einstein’s theory of special relativeness. Secretly an accomplished Light Novel author, winning the Newcomer’s award and becoming last year’s best-selling author with his debut title, “City Wild Hunt”, he has since then widened his range of literary works from full novels, novellas, poetry, and even game scenario writing for Kazuma’s games, under the pen name, Satoshi Raijin, he is indeed a man of many talents.
Like me and the others, Takuya is also in charge in some of the family business. He is the head-chef at the newly opened family five-star restaurant Casa Mojica Tokyo Branch. He is the corporate heir of Kaminari Technologies, a technologic powerhouse that rivals that of Simsung, and Pear Tech.
With his authority in the company, he is currently heading research involving the use of Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality in the next technologic advancement.
“But there might be important announcements in the orientation, should we at least send one representative to go?”
“Takuma’s the eldest, he should go”
“Shut your mouth Kazuma! You’re just volunteering me because you’re too lazy to get out of that sofa!”
There it is, the classic Kazuma technique, I don’t know why, but when Takuya and I say something about Takuma that he may find insulting, he just shrugs it off like nothing, however, Kazuma seems to hit Takuma’s nerves the second he leaves a remark.
Seeing as Takuma wanted to initiate an argument, Kazuma took the liberty by taking the “fight” to him by standing up and facing off against his opponent.
“SO, WHAT IF I AM!!?!”
Takuma and Kazuma bickering is a normal scene within the Kaminari household, but the odd thing is, at the end of the day their bond is second to none.
That said, normally Takuya and I just let them do whatever they want, but since this is an important matter, Takuya took the initiative to stop the two.
“There is no need to raise your voices over such simple matters, let us send who would be the best fit for this job”
As the eminent one engaged in promoting a ceasefire between the genuine man and man of true harmony, as well as negating the prior words of the calm, the two made an agreement to sign an armistice.
Not long after, the newly reformed union took action to address the course of methods of the eminent one.
“You’re treating this as if were inside a meeting again…”
That’s right, even when we were relax inside our domain and there are only the four of us, we somehow end up making it look like we are still within office hours.
“Well it is better than shouting all over the place, Takuma”, declared my brother, as he was brave enough to risk raising another red flag in the eldest’ emotions.
“Yeah right... So, you’re the smart one, who do you think should go? And it better not be me”
Not wanting to go against the leader, Takuma avoided eye contact, and changed the subject matter, doing a great job in deflecting a lecture about his manner of speech.
However, Takuya is not the type to allow any easy evasions. In order to teach him a lesson, he issued a comeback in hopes of aggravating his prey once more.
“Well it is better that you do not go Takuma, those ripped muscles and loud voice will cause too much a distraction”
“Why YOU –”
With a mild victory in his hands, Takuya smirked as he geared down in order to pacify the anger caused by his mischievous self.
“That was merely a compliment on your athletic figure and gifted vocal chords, I had no intention of ill-mouthing you my brother”
“That BETTER be a compliment”
With Takuma seemingly calming down, the four of us took a sit at the dining table with Takuya manning the head’s chair, initiating the first informal meeting for the new school calendar.
“Getting back to the topic, Kazuma is too unreliable when he has no interest in what he is doing so that is a no for him”
Knowing that Kazuma was given a legitimate alibi, he expressed a silent “Yes!”, and as thanks to Takuya, he willingly gave an alibi for him as well.
“And you shouldn’t go either, because the other students will not focus in the orientation since their eyes would all be directed at you”
“In that case, that leaves us with one last option…”
The three started shifting their attention towards me, I tried to misdirect them, but nothing worked as they have seemingly locked on to their target.
With the three of them looking at me, I just knew what was going to happen next, and with the agreement of the majority, I highly doubt anything would cause them a change of heart. Nevertheless, I was simply desperate.
“Takuya, Wh-Why me?”
“It is simple really, the three of us have too big of personalities that it hinders us from blending in with the general audience”
Making such a point about personality, they are clearly taking advantage of the fact that I have introvertive tendencies.
I knew their scheme like it’s the palm of my hand, but somehow, I can’t express my thoughts when it really counts, which is really frustrating on my part.
All I could really do as of now is listen to what they have to say, hoping that their decision was really for the best of us.
“Also, since you tend to be silent all the time, that won’t cause a commotion for others, right Takuya?”
“Adding to what Kazuma just said, you’re the most approachable out of us four”
One by one, they present logical reasons to appoint me. With their intentions in plain sight, there was no going out of this situation.
Takuya suddenly stood up, and whispered a word in Kazuma’s ear, which in turn sent him to his room.
After a short while, Kazuma finally emerged from his chambers, replica sword in hand,gave the Zweihӓnder from the “Soulsbourne” series to Takuya.
A little too big for any other human being, from tip to pummel, the 210 cm long great sword, to everyone’s surprise was yielded by Takuya one-handed, and started his mini speech.
“After hearing and seconding with Takuma and Kazuma’s rationale, I, Takuya Mojica Kaminari y Tesoro hereby entitle the young one, as Sir Kazuya the Chosen”
As Takuya approached to grant me “knighthood”, I suddenly knelt down, automatically riding with the flow, but then, a sudden jolt crossed my mind.
It was not a jolt of idea that can get me out of their clutches, but a jolt of realization that came with a sudden face-palm as I played within my brother’s clutches.
“Did you just turn me into one of your novel ideas? Kazuya the Chosen Representative would be more accurate, and it’s not a title I’m really proud of”
“Aww, don’t feel too bad Kazuya, you were chosen, because you’re the best option, and as the eldest, I am quite proud that our youngest would do this for the sake of the family”
Patting me on the shoulders, without even hearing a hint of rejection from me, these three mischievous brothers of mine managed to lead, persuade, and swindle their way in making me do what they have asked.
“I’m only doing this because you three forced me, or at least persuaded me to do it, not because I wanted to do it”
Their intentions were read like an open book, but I still walked inside the cave, knowing the consequences. That’s just who I am.
Sometimes, there is this singular question that would pop up in my mind whenever I play at the hands of other people, knowing what future resides if I do so. Just then, this question popped up in my mind once again.
A question so simple, yet so difficult to answer:
“Why was I born a nice person?”
“If you didn’t want to, you should’ve not stay silent, and let everyone know in the first place, besides, you were the one who presented the problem”
“That’s enough Kazuma, we should not comment such things that might lead him to a change of heart… come to think of it there is one flaw with Kazuya that might cause a setback in our plans”
While I was having a monologue on my mind, the three have yet again trying to solve a problem.
To be completely honest, they are my identical brothers, but somehow, I have no clue what is going on inside their heads whenever they come up with ridiculous problems and solutions.
Sometimes, they just spout complete nonsense, and still manage to intrigue the masses, this is for sure one of the reasons I keep myself quiet – to not get caught with the “Overthinking Bug”.
“Is it the pretty face of his?”
“We four have practically identical faces Takuma, and yes, that is the major flaw that I observed”
Given that we are quadruplets, I simply had to agree on that one. Since our faces are shown almost everywhere in different form of media, recognizing one face potentially meant there are three others.
“Why won’t we just let him wear a surgical facemask? That’s the most normal way to cover most of the face, although it might cause a big Kakashi Effect”
Given as how nonsense this problem was, I can’t help but just join in with my brothers, and forge some remarks within my head:
“Then I will look like someone who’s sick in the first day of school”
“Kazuma’s idea is the most logical way to do it, it might be a huge gamble, but I’m all in to that idea”
After being fed up with the three, I finally let out my voice, but everything was in vain, as their voices overwrote mine almost instantaneously.
“Do I have no say in this again?”
“What about his body?”, completely ignoring me, Takuma intentionally raised this question just to get the attention away from my last remark.
“Hmm, you do have a point Takuma, however, there is nothing we can do about him being a 2-meter giant, but we could generate a minor Placebo Effect by covering his skin a bit more”
Unconventional thoughts surfacing one after another, there is really no stopping three of the brothers if one is chosen by the majority. Everyone of us have had experience regarding this specific matter, but somehow, I was almost always the one at the wrong end of the stick.
Facing reality, I clenched my teeth, and formed a fist in my hands, punching the air in the background as my brothers continue to “discuss” the subject matter at hand.
“The school blazer already covers much of his body though”
“Then there is no problem then, all Kazuya needs to do is to slouch while sitting, standing, and walking to make it seem like he is shorter than he actually is”
Knowing that my question will be evaded anyway, I approached them yet again, raised my index finger, scratched my head and opened my mouth just to ‘contribute’ in the discussion, “Will that even work?”
“Are there no more queries? Then as chairperson, I hereby end this discussion, meeting adjourned”
“Oops, it’s actually getting late now, we better get to each of our rooms, Good night everyone”
“Good night Takuma, Kazuma, and Kazuya”, One by one, my brothers waved at me and at each other to say their goodnights, soon after, they started heading to the upper corridor that leads to their respective rooms.
Seeing that Kazuma was in a good mood, he also greeted to us, “Night everyone, on a second thought, I might read some more manga before I fall asleep”, dragged his sword by the floor, ignoring the sound it makes as it hits each step of the stairs leading towards the upper floor. Otherwise, it would have been himself being dragged in his room in his room and not muttering a word.
I actually have no clue of what has happened just now, one minute they were talking about how to hide my face, then another minute they were suddenly sending good nights.
I pinched myself just to check if I was still within boundary of reality, and tried to recollect what just happened.
“Did they really just acted as professionals and call a meeting just to put an errand on me? Why did I stay quiet again?? Why did I not object?? And why do I have so many questions?? No, I did say something just then, it’s just they kept talking and talking to each other that my voice got lost amidst their endless words. Well whatever, it’s getting pretty late, might as well prepare for tomorrow”
That was just an example of our daily lives, expect many more to come, at the end of the day I thought to myself, everything that happened was strictly business. Everyone held their own to arrive at the best solution, and somehow, I ended up having to deal with that solution.
Takuma, Takuya, Kazuma, and Kazuya, together, we form the Elite Four, and starting tomorrow, we start our campaign by transferring to our rival school, Edo Sakura National University – High School Division. It seems this school also has a renowned Big Four within their premises, and I just get the feeling that we will end up getting really close with them.
CHAPTER 2 – The Faithful Encounter Before Class (KAZUYA)
“Am I really going to do this?? And what’s with this getup? I must look like a creep right now”
Those were the words that first came out of my mouth. Dragging my feet, slouching, and letting my arms dangle wherever, it was clear that I was not willing to do this.
To be completely honest, I didn’t like this idea from the start, and the irony is, I was the one responsible for bringing it up in the first place.
“I knew it, every student ended up eyeing me anyway” I said as their eyes are telling me that I look like I’m some kind of weirdo.
“Why did I have to bring that idea up?” That was the one time I wished I should’ve stay quiet, I don’t even know where the gymnasium is”
With regret lingering in my mind, I walked up to the school gates. My brothers that were waiting inside the car must be having their laughs because of my predicament right about now. It’s true that all eyes ended up pointing towards me, and it looks like they were the eyes of someone looking at a truly disgusting creature.
Did I agree to this? No…
Did I do it anyway? Yes…
Why did I do it anyway? I don’t know.
Back to those eyes, I might have broken the world record of fastest time it took to be hated by the whole school or something, at least that’s what I think, but little did I know, the students were gossiping completely unrelated to my thought process.
“Who is that? Is he a transfer student?”
“Why is he covering his mouth? Is he a celebrity?”
“With that physique, I’m one hundred percent sure that he is a model, but who?”
One after another, the comments started to formulate within themselves, gradually increasing the chance of my exposure. Thinking back, I was the one who should have been least qualified in this job, as out of the four, I am the most prone to exposure due to my job as a model.
“Is my dream of being in the same school with an Idol finally coming true?”
“Why does he look familiar? Should I approach him?”
“Why am I suddenly seeing flowers blooming?”
As the topic gradually shifts from finding out who I am to ‘should I approach’, the students started to come nearer and nearer.
Just as they take one step forward, I unconsciously take one step back to protect my identity. Cautiously casting myself out of the picture, I continued on to the direction that leaves a better opening.
“I think I just experienced love at first sight…”
“Are you dumb? He’s obviously way out of your league”
Amidst the various murmurs and gossips, despite my efforts of avoiding attention, there I was, the central topic of discussion.
I already decided to leave at that time, but just as I was to do so, a certain crisis befell upon me, a crisis so large that I had no way of averting it on my own, a crisis caused by my unconscious movement, a crisis so large that I can’t help but mutter:
“Ah I knew it, I got lost…”
With me being surrounded by unfamiliar people, in an unfamiliar environment, I thought there was no hope for me… I became a lost cause. I thought it was the end for me, but then…
“Uhm, excuse me, but are you somehow lost?”
With that angelic voice came with it hope and salvation, I thought to myself that I was saved.
As I looked at the one who spoke to me, I was star-struck… My eyes widened as I knew exactly who she was: Akamichi Hatori – Last year’s Girls Volleyball Champion’s team captain. At 180cm tall, she was the tallest Girls’ Volleyball player last year.
It’s written on the magazine that she was scouted by this school at an early age, and became Japan’s Top-Ranking Wing Spiker in the Girl’s Division in the same year.
With all that familiarity, she was the last person I wanted to talk to, as she has the highest chance of blowing my cover. Anyways, I cemented the thought that I must do my best to act natural to avoid this crisis in my mind.
“Uhh, somehow hahaha, I just transferred here, and I don’t know where the gymnasium is”
So far so good, I managed to let off a slightly natural response. Knowing that I don’t talk a lot, this is a huge plus to my confidence.
“Ohh, the gym’s just up ahead, just follow the pathway and enter the big doors to the right”
“Thanks! You saved me hahaha…”
Again, the conversation is going well, I thought to myself at that time that I might be a good conversationalist if I really tried.
“Wait!! I can’t help but ask but, have we met before?”
Not good, that question typically leads to a cliché where the one asking the question suddenly knows everything about the person he is talking too, I must do my best to evade any possible trigger of exposure.
“Not really… you must be thinking about a different person”
I managed to cool of the suspicion, I just hope everything will continue well from now on. On another note, this was the longest conversation I participated in, without the involvement of my family members, I must be really getting the hang of this.
It’s maybe thanks to her that I can hold this conversation that long. She has a certain level of obliviousness to her voice keeps me from getting found out, but there is also a slight hint of suspicion that I am currently warry at.
“But you seem, really familiar, do you perhaps play volleyball?”
“Uhm yeah… at least I used to”
Just as I was feeling confident, a sudden mind-lapse suddenly occurred. I just realized that letting her know that I am involved in her favorite sport is a death sentence. I bit my tongue to remind me to not mess another time, and continued on with the topic, like it was no big deal.
“Really?! What position did you play?”
Another blunder, I just know that Akamichi’s suspicion level is gradually rising, I have to finish this quick, or else it would be the end of me.
“Woah! You’re pretty tall for a setter”
“Yeah… I get that a lot”
After that, Akamichi shifted to a thinking phase, trying to fit the pieces together. As my sweat glands start to become more active, and my feet become more restless, she finally spoke again.
“Judging from your height, and since you’re slouching a bit, you must be 200cm tall… Hmm… a 200cm tall setter… ARE YOU PERHAPS KAMI-”
As she was about to expose my identity, without thinking it through, my hand suddenly jolted to cover her mouth, seeing her face suddenly turning red, I just realized that I made the situation worst for myself.
“What are they doing?”
“Wait a minute, is that Akamichi!?”
“What’s the captain doing, does she perhaps know him?”
Girls whispering with each other, boys glaring at their crush’ possible significant other, even the staff were alerted as a possible misconduct might occur.
Yet, I stayed in a similar position hoping for the heat to die down.
But that was just too optimistic for me, as the topic of their discussion gets shifted and shifted farther from the truth.
“Why is she blushing!?”
“Are they perhaps romantically involved!?”
“So, I had no chance from the start? Aww, I’m so jealous”
As the crowd grew more skeptical, my thoughts grew more pessimistic.
My heart began to race, legs began to shiver, skin began to look paler, and my mind began to go blank, as if another person is to awaken inside of me.
“I wish I had someone who will transfer schools just to be with you more”
“That’s one of Edo Sakura’s four symbols for you”
“Guuyss chiiilll… we’re not even sure about their relationship yet”
As time went on, the situation became direr, and I have the feeling that I won’t be the only one affected I the near future. And there I was, covering the mouth of one of the most famous student in the school, with her face starting to feel hot, and looks more pinkish-red, and the situation feeling more awkward by the second. I thought that I finally stepped on a landmine on that one, something was about to awaken, but Akamichi started to remove my hand and whispered to my ear: “Let’s move to a more private place…”
“Wha-What are you talking about?”, I reluctantly replied, as the situation continues to turn for the worse.
“Ju-Just come with me!”
She took my hand and started pulling me towards the space between the gymnasium, and the first academic building. Not knowing what to do, I started apologizing after we reached our destination.
Knowing that a simple sorry cannot treat the consequences of my actions, there was but one thing that I can do to make up for what I have done.
I bowed down 90 degrees and instantly conveyed a message of forgiveness, “I’m truly sorry! I have caused a major inconvenience for you! I better get going, you don’t need to help me anymore!”
I apologized from the bottom of my heart, and in order to not trouble her anymore, I made a rationalized decision to continue on my own.
I was taking my first step towards the gymnasium, but to my surprise, she suddenly grabbed my hand and slammed her other hand to the wall to trap me
With the feeling from before starting to dwell inside me once again, I shyly asked the question, “Is it normal for you to wall-slam a person you just met and barely talk to?” in hopes for her to stop.
However, it was to no avail.
Instead, after assessing the current scenario, she came back with a retort, “You-you would leave otherwise, and I should be asking you that… Is it normal for you to touch a stranger’s face? Covering her mouth, no less!” directing the blame back at me.
“Oh… I’m sorry, I just can’t have anyone finding out about me at least after the orientation is over…”
“The orientation? Does that mean THE Kaminari Kazuya, one of Kyoto Tech’s Elite Four is really transferring to Edo Sakura?”
“Geh! You know that title?”, I responded with surprise as to why she, of all people, would refer to us as superior beings, given that she belongs to an epithet of similar notability.
“Practically every student in Japan knows about Kyoto Tech’s Elite Four, in other words, you quadruplets are super famous! So, you are wearing our school’s uniform, are you really transferring here?”, with no signs of hesitation, her demeanor towards me turned very casual despite the awkwardness lingering in the air.
“Not just me, also my brothers”
“ALL OF YOU!?!? Then where are the other three??”
“What you just asked was technically the reason they aren’t here yet, we don’t want to cause too much a distraction at the first day of school, especially during the orientation”
“So that’s why you’re in that weird getup? By the way, your body frame alone already caused a lot of distraction, especially when you have the proportions of a model, oh wait, you are a model!”
An arrow hit my back as the oblivious girl who put me through a roller coaster ride and held me captive confirmed my suspicions about the plan laid out by the genius minds we call the Elite Four.
“So, I really do look weird in this getup… huuh… I just want this day to end…”, I said as the pessimism well up within my inner being.
“You’re not even listening to me anymore!”
As the air became more casual, I felt like it was time to clear all the misunderstandings. I first apologized, as expected from the highly timid me, and then tried getting a clearer grasp about the background of this school in which, “Oh, I’m sorry, by the way, I heard someone calling you one of Edo Sakura’s Four Symbols, what was that all about?”, came out of my mouth.
“You-you don’t need to worry about that okay!”
As I noticed that she was dodging my question, I raised my eyebrows and tried to have definite eye contact with her. With her line of sight traveling from corner to corner, seemingly avoiding from mine, I felt the sudden urge to retaliate.
Energy started surging through my body, which in turn made me grab her hand, switch positions, then slam my hand to the wall…
“I’m not worry about that, I just want to know more about you…”, I said, as if I had no control on my own body. I felt like I was possessed and started acting purely on instinct. The shy and comfortable me temporarily vanished, and what’s left was a sly and dominant person.
“Who-who are you, it’s like you-you’re different from a moment ago…”
My conscience detecting that her voice was starting to feel nervous, her heartbeat became noticeably became louder and faster, prompting my body to lower my head and whisper on her ear…
“You don’t need to worry about that okay”
“Fine… I’ll tell you about the Four Symbols… we are basically the four most renowned girls in the campus because of our status and achievements, there were originally only three of us, but one rose up to the ranks and we ended up with that name, all of us are in the same class, the Honor Class. It was just a coincidence that our names correlated to that of the four animal symbols of Chinese Mythology, but somehow that name got stuck with us. We’re no different from you Elite Four, you will know more about us when we enter class, and judging from your status, the four of you will most likely be transferred in the Honor Class.”
Briefly, and hastily she explained the deal about the Four Symbols, but my instincts were saying that it was not enough, therefore, I started to further decrease the distance between our faces, makin her more anxious from before.
Knowing that she has no choice but to answer my questions, I started conversing with her again, “That information was good and all, but tell me, how did you end up becoming one of the Four Symbols?”
With no guarantee of her getting out of the predicament, she began to slowly inhale then exhale to calm herself down, a hint of nervousness was still present in her voice, but nonetheless, she started explaining herself.
“O-one of the reasons was because of my name, Akamichi Hatori, Aka being red, and Hatori roughly translating to the mythological Phoenix, ‘The Vermilion Bird of the South’, another reason is my success of being an athlete. Becoming the captain of our Volleyball Club in my first year, winning the championship and being the MVP of both the Inter High and Spring Tournament solidified my case. That’s all the reasons I could think off besides my hair also being vermillion in color.”
As she mentioned the vibrance of her hair, I noticed the scent of flowers embedded within each strand, her feminine features that outclass the masses, and how close her reddish face was to mine. As I started noticing those things, my eyes widened, my hand lessened the hold on hers, and I finally came back to my senses. Fearing for the worse, I started groveling for the right of salvation, as past my actions were not that of a decent man.
Witnessing the hilarious act in front of her presence, she suddenly chuckled a bit and praised how cute I am when flustered. Given the unexpected reaction, my ears gave off a pinkish color out of embarrassment.
To think that I had the audacity to do that to a girl, and not ending up on her wrong side is both breathtaking and a horrifying thought. For me to act out of my comfort zone was a sign of change, and she was the one who granted me that sign. I wished that our time together would last a little longer, just to see how much my inner self would develop, but the moment wouldn’t last, as the orientation is about to start and it was time for us to head for the gym.
“Woah! look at the time! It’s almost time for the orientation! We better get going, follow me!”
As the feeling of urgency rushed, we dashed to the gymnasium, following her lead, we managed to secure two empty seats located at the last row. As the event went underway, I sort of had the idea why none of my brothers were willing to at least go with me – as the same in every school, the headmaster or the principal’s speech always go on longer than forever.
During the orientation, Akamichi told me that another one of the Four Symbols will appear – Aomine Ryumi, “The Azure Dragon of the East”, also known as the re-elected student council president. Standing at 173 cm, dark blue hair, and the face that can be considered as that of a main heroine, no wonder why she’s one of the symbols. Akamichi stated that her authority in school equals that of the headmaster, goes to show how respected she is from her peers and superiors: one word out from her mouth and everybody instantaneously listens.
Her grades in this school being second only to another symbol, and her being adept at the ways of Kendo, she has the perfect combination of brains, wits and brawn.
“Come to think of it, calling you Kaminari-kun will become confusing, especially when you say that all four of you will be transferring, so what should I call you?”
“Call me Kazuya, like everyone else, it’s true that calling each of us by our last names can and already caused much confusion, so we let everyone, especially our schoolmates call us by our first names”
As I offered her to call me by my first name, it was only right for her to offer me to call her by her first name. Given the mutual understanding, she must have had the same idea as me as she replied, “Really? Then… Kazuya! You can call me Hatori from now on, and look at that! The orientation’s about to end, wanna come see the classroom with me?”
“I’d like to, but I have to fetch the other three after the orientation, so I’m a little busy…”
“Oh, then I’ll come with you then! I’d like to be the first one in school to meet all members of the Elite Four!”
“Sure! But I’m warning you now, they are not necessarily normal people…” given how us brothers treat each other, this was the only piece of advice I was able to convey to Hatori, as we head to the family car.
As Hatori and I head to the car, let’s hear what my brothers were discussing about while I was out…
“Do you think he can do it?”
“To be completely honest, I am doubtful”
“Then why’d you send him in the first place!?”
“It’s better than sending you with your loud mouth Takuma”
“I WAS NOT TALKING TO YOU KAZUMA!”
“Both of you refrain from arguing, and continue to observe him…”
“Alright… Oh LOOK! Everybody’s already staring at him!”
“He must really feel out of place right now”
“Hmm what’s this? He is already being approached by a woman…”
“If I am not mistaken, that right there is Akamichi Hittori, the one Kazuya was with at that one magazine cover”
“You’ve got to be kidding me…”
“Of all the people that could’ve approach him, it was the worst possible one”
“Do you think she will notice?”
“It would be more impossible if she won’t notice”
“Did he just cover her mouth!?!?”
“WHAT IS HE DOING?!?!?”
“Both of you calm down… have faith in our little brother”
“Easy for you to say, you’re not the one out there making everybody feel awkward”
“Look! She just took Kazuya’s hand and ran!”
“Classic Kazuya tactic: letting others take the lead”
“He’s got to stop doing that, that’s what made him end up in that situation in the first place”
“Let him be, we got our own personal ways of handling things”
“Oh, like how you handle things like it’s strictly business?”
“That is enough Takuma, I do not know how my statement struck a nerve, but it clearly did”
“I just don’t like how business oriented you’ve become, and I’m afraid I’ll turn out that way too”
“I have to support Takuma on that one Takuya, Life is not all about business, especially in our age, sure you have a lot of hobbies, but are you passionate about them? Or are you just doing it for the sake of the achievements.”
“As much as I resent this handsome NEET sometimes, he’s words have a lot of sense sometimes…”
“And as much a I’m annoyed about this muscle-head sometimes, he has a point pointing out your one and only flaw Takuya…”
“WHO ARE YOU CALLING A MUSCLEHEAD!?!”
“Who else do you think?”
“Stop it the both of you… it is true that I can have a flawed nature sometimes, we all do, but is there anything we can do? You know, because it is already our nature to be that way”
“At least I know we can do something about your flawed nature Takuya…”
“There is? Fill me in on this too Kazuma”
“Alright, I can hear you out…”
“First of all, let’s analyze the nature of your flaw… Takuma, describe something about Takuya’s flaw”
“He always seems to act matured even in inappropriate times, other than that, he’s basically perfect”
“That makes sense, but I’m not sure ‘matured’ is the correct term…”
“Sorry, I don’t have a dictionary for a brain”
“Yeah, I know… anyway, Takuya acts like an adult wherever he is, we also do that sometimes, but Takuya took it to another level, and that makes him unapproachable sometimes, because you are forced to think that he is superior to you”
“He also has a large disinterest mostly in anything related to experiencing the fullest of youth, even though he is an authentic and bona fide teenager”
“Ok, now that we know more about his flaws, what can we do to at least treat it”
“He could start off by at least being interested, and if possible, courting and dating someone”
“Come to think of it, we’re all in the same boat with that one, we were never even exposed to that kind of stuff, except maybe for you two”
“Remember when you and Takuya went to a business trip with dad? You mentioned something about always hanging out with a girl our age when you two got back”
“That was in the past, at most, she can be deemed as a childhood friend”
“Are you both sure that she’s not your first love?”
“You WERE following that girl back then a lot Takuma”
“And if I remembered correctly, she always had her eyes you Takuya”
“Okay moving on, Takuya, we therefore conclude that the only way of treating your flaw is for you to have a girlfriend”
“Are you serious?”
“Yes… we are serious”
“Fine, I will do it on one condition…”
“And what is that?”
“If I will be making an effort in courting someone, the three of you must do the same”
“Fine we agree it then, you okay with that Kazuma?”
“I’ll come aboard, but how should we tell this to Kazuya?”
“As the one closest to him, I can guarantee that he will agree, besides, he is the closest one to achieving that goal”
“Yeah he was acting pretty close to that girl just now…”
“Okay, first line of the objective, Takuya, I order you to at least get close to the girl who first approaches you on her own free will”
*Kazuma in his thoughts: “Did he really agree to that? I meant that as a joke”
“As an added objective, if you manage to make that girl blush the first time she approaches you, I’ll be willing to make a promotional video for your next novel release”
“Well I cannot say no to that can I?”
*Kazuma in his thoughts again: “I don’t know why Takuya agreed to that, but I’ll be enjoying this for a while…”
As Hatori and I arrived at the car in which Takuma, Takuya, and Kazuma are in, the doors started to open, and they began to approach the both of us.
“Look who finally decided to show up…”
“Oh, were you that girl from before? It seems like you got close rather quickly”
“YOU WERE WATCHING!!?”
Why was I even surprised? everything can become a form of entertainment for these three.
I can’t help but cover my face with the palm of my hands as I relive the pasts event within my mind, but immediately uncovered it in order to clear the situation to my brothers.
“Of course, we were watching, after all, we brothers always watch each other’s backs”
“That’s the wrong kind of watching!”
As I was explaining the situation to my brothers, I noticed Hatori taking a quick glance at each of us.
Seeing as she is in the presence of the Elite Four, I could only imagine what was going through her mind:
“Woah! These brothers are something else, the atmosphere is light and lively, but simply standing around them creates a lot of pressure…”
“Uhm, miss, I believe it is the first time I have met you, would you mind introducing yourself to us?” Takuya exclaimed, as he also noticed Hatori being left out at the conversation.
*Akamichi in her mind: “This must be Takuya, at first glance he is identical to Kazuya, but his reputation as a gentleman really shows in his manner of speech… WAIT A MINUTE… IS HE TALKING TO ME?”
Given that Hatori might be surprised of how our way talking are too different, despite being quadruplets, I stepped up to the plate to introduce her.
“Ooh! I forgot to introduce you to them, Guys, this is Akamichi Hatori, you’ve probably seen her with me in the magazine cover of Volleyball Monthly, in this school, she is known as the ‘Vermillion Bird of the South’, one of this school’s Four Symbols”
“Four Symbols? What’s that all about?”
“I’ll explain to you later, but I really don’t know much either… And Hatori, from eldest to youngest we have Takuma, Takuya, Kazuma, and me”
After Introducing Hatori to the gang, my brothers grew rather suspicious, as each of them let out a rather subtle smirk.
“Hmm I see, you’re calling her by first name already”
“Indeed, it is a rather quick development”
As their suspicion of me grew, I can’t help but to grow suspicious of them two. It might be because I was not with them in the last few hours, so I asked, “I don’t mean to ask, but what are you talking about?” in hopes of them spilling the beans.
“Nothing to worry about Kazuya…” As expected, my brothers would not crumble that easily as the three of them let out a rather confident expression.
“By the way, I just got a call from Father”
“Not even a day in, and someone already broke a school rule… and its Takuya nonetheless” As an opportunity to point out a possible flaw arise, Kazuma instantly jumped on it and stated those words as he crossed his arms.
However, Takuma being the man that he is, he took this opportunity to verbally attack Kazuma, taking the attention out of Takuya as he exclaimed, “You don’t get to talk about breaking the school rules Kazuma! You may have been president for the last few years, but you were also keen of playing your games within school grounds!”
Just as it was getting out of hand again, I told Hatori to just ignore those two as she’ll get use to them at some point. And having Dad call Takuya, it may be of important matter so I asked, “So, what did Dad say Takuya?”
“He said that before we go to the classroom, he said that we must meet him and the faculty members at the faculty room”
“Wait he’s here!??”, exclaimed the two, as their argument came to a halt, after hearing the fact that Dad is here.
“Come to think of it, that black sports car does look pretty familiar…”
Noticing Hatori again, it’s as if she already knew what our father’s business was at our school, she thought in her mind,“First day of school, and their father already have connections with the school higher-ups? If that’s the case, their family at least have influence to the school that is equal to hers”
“Uhm sorry Hatori, but will you lead us to the faculty room?”
“Uhh Yeah! Sure!”
“Let us embark then….”
After the short conversation, Hatori led us to the Edo Sakura’s faculty room, thankfully, the crowd of students already headed to their respected classrooms by this time, creating a smooth ride to the meeting place.
“I guess this is where I’ll leave for a while, good luck introducing yourselves to the rest of the class later!!”
“Good bye! See you later Hatori!