Chapter two, 2016, buddying emotions

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Midsummer'seve, 2040, red herring

Some of the pickled herring was red. Twice the fun since the guests were here for a vacation that wasn't a vacation, in preparation of a job that wasn't a job. And now he was eating herring that was indeed red, and yet it was the real deal.

Swedish schnapps helped inflate what was already a bad pun to begin with out of proportion. A truly bad pun as he hadn't even shared it with anyone.

Ryu looked at his sister. For a while she and the two other girls, because they had been girls back in those days, had circled around Urufu like planets around the sun. And he, Prince Wakayama of the Himekaizen Academy, had seen parts of his powers usurped. But they hadn't been, not really.

Red herrings. There had been a lot of them, all of them real, none of them real, but in the end they had all mattered somehow.

Chapter two,2016, buddying emotions

Normally Noriko would have grabbed a quick lunch from the cafeteria and brought it to the shaded area between the main building and the gym hall. Because normally she would have appreciated getting away from the crowded chaos around Ryu and Ageruman-san.

Truth be told she would have preferred sitting inside the cafeteria, but it sat flanked by the locker rooms on the first floor in the main building, and the seniors occupied the first floor classrooms in both wings. By the time the freshmen made it down from third floor there were no more seats to be had.

Perks of seniority, she thought.

That was however normally. The day before yesterday she overheard Takeida-san just after soccer training. Now normal concerns, like getting the best grades in school, took a bleak second place.

Thus it was that Noriko found herself by the vending machines outside the cafeteria facing rows of shoe lockers.

She pulled out a few coins and started feeding the machine. Plastic food, yummy. Wonder if the wrapping tastes better than the contents. She knelt and collected what had to substitute for lunch. Next was bottled tea.

"Did you see Wakayama-san?"

Noriko started to turn but stopped mid-movement. Wrong Wakayama.

"Yes. Isn't he the best?"

Yea, wrong Wakayama.

"Mori-san confessed to that Ogawa from 8:1, or she will after school. Super exciting!"

Small blessings, there were small blessings with having her idiot brother and the stunning foreigner in the same class. What should have been a Sengoku period civil war zone had somehow turned into a dating facility.

And even that would have been part of normality.

She grabbed her lunch, or whatever it deserved to be called, and made for the right wing stairwell. There were more students going up than down now. Like her, with cafeteria lunches or booty from the vending machines.

She was heading for the hornets' nest because she wanted to. Because of no reason at all. Because 6:1 was playing soccer during lunch break. Because she was an idiot. Because she wasn't Ryu who waded through emotional turmoil without ever getting stained. Because she did get stained.

It's just my classroom. Why am I this nervous?

Noriko entered the bedlam that was 3:1. Students from every freshman class in school, even though a majority belonged in the right wing.

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