Chapter 1: Entrance Ceremony Preparation
Exactly one year after the Shinagawa Demon incident that shook the institution.
Even at this time, when the sun was at its highest level, there were some people who walked through the thick trees with an accustomed gait, where not much of the sunlight was falling down.
One was a short, bearded old man with a typical Japanese dress and long beard, but his face was full of life, with a mixture of intensity and seriousness in his eyes.
The other one was smaller, with long white hair and a cape that looked like a piece of cloth, carrying a staff that was larger than its height.
Domori Tenzo, the bearded man, took a path through the Chichibu Mountains in the region’s farthest reaches and stopped in front of a large tree that towered above him, blocking anyone who approached.
“Hmm…I’m not going to meet any of you even if you come out, Sun Wei.”
“Hohoho, my apprentice is returning from the demon world, at least allow me to greet him. And if you say that, you’re the same. You really like him as your grandfather, don’t you?”
“…Hmm, I don’t want you to tell me.”
When Sun Wei told him in a teasing tone, Tenzo spat out to hide his embarrassment and put his right hand on the large tree that was in front of him. And after chanting some words, he stepped forward.
Then Tenzo ‘s body sinked so that it could be pulled from the right hand into the tree and the old man with a cane also vanished when the entire body finally reached the forest.
This mysterious phenomenon was a series of thousands of multi-linked barriers created by the magic of the Domori family and that none could crack but those related to the Domori family
A peaceful room opens up before them after going through the walls, with wild flowers and butterflies blooming around them. At the back of the square you will find a massive rock which is more than 10 meters high.
When Tenzo crossed the square and approached the huge rock, it had a large hole in it that was too dark to see what was behind it.
“The demon’s cave. This is the only way to connect the demon world and this world, the biggest hole in the world. Even though this was promised by the Domori family, it still takes a toll on one’s shoulders.”
When Tenzo muttered, Sun Wei replied with a smile.
“Well, it can’t be helped, we were in a state of surprise when this emerged a thousand years ago.”
Two people who had mastered the art of Sendo stared at the large hole that gave off a mysterious presence.
“Oh……..It looks like he’s back.”
“Um, this meaninglessly leaking spiritual force is definitely correct, and it’s that guy. One thing that won’t get fixed.”
“Well, he seems to be on time for the entrance ceremony and it’s all about it.”
“She and Mirei would be at the school this time around. Now that Mirei wants to take care of them in particular, this will make it a little simpler for us.”
As he said this, the two old men turned their attention to the depths of the cave of the demon that led to the world of the demon, as if waiting for the boy to reveal himself.
The boy, who is one of the new students at the gate of his new school, has cleared his entrance exams for high school and his face is anxious as he stands outside the school gate. Yet he isn’t very dependable with any of his facial expressions. For his age his height is about the average.
Although he has impressive bluish hair when exposed to the sun’s rays, it’s the atmosphere that comes from within him that makes it all look ordinary.
Around him, the new students are looking forward to the entrance ceremony, and are in high spirits, excited about their future school life. In the midst of all this, this boy muttered to himself with deep emotion.
“I have no idea how they got me in here! But it’s not over yet. Three years………. I know it seems brief, but it’s a long time. I’ll have to keep up my strength. I’m the only one who I can be relied upon!”
When he said that, he decided to walk towards the mouth of the rising and descending stairs, as if he had made up his mind.
This boy, Hiroto Domori, will be a new first year student at this private Horaiin Kitsurin High School from this year.
Kitsurin High School is a prestigious school that has existed for over 90 years and is renowned for its commitment to both literary and military arts, and for producing many special and popular people. It was a famous high school, with a tradition of free education.
For a moment, Hiroto, who had a determined look on his face, looked around with a slackened expression.
The school’s grounds were large and spacious, and behind the magnificent school building, there was a hill behind the school, which was lined with large trees, so the scenery was not bad. At this time, Hiroto is gazing at the hill behind the school.
“…The school grounds here. Somehow, I can sense something, especially from that back hill…….is this divine spirit?”
Suddenly, he was hit from the back, and Hiroto stumbled forward.
When he turned around, he saw Ichigo Hakamada, who was his good friend of his from the same junior high school, standing there.
Hiroto stared at his old friend in a daze, and when he opened his eyes as if in a panic, his eyes became teary-eyed.
” I don’t know why you’re crying. Was it that painful?”
“No, no, no, no, no! Ichigo!”
Hiroto closed in on Ichigo, and Ichigo twitched his nose and arched his back at the uncommon pressure.
“Then what! Too close! It’s scary!”
“You, you’re a…. You’re pretty important to me too! I’m so glad you’ re here!”
Hiroto didn’t mind Ichigo’s reluctance and hugged him with all his might.
”Ugh! Hey, hey, stop, stop it, that’s disgusting! Get off!
Then, the schoolgirls who were around the noisy duo would look at them and say,
“Look, what’s going on?”, “No way people in love!” “Isn’t there a lot of individual groups in this school? So… there are…” ing.
Ichigo who was sensitive to the situation around him pushed away Hiroto with all his might and left.
”Hey! What the heck! You gave them a hell of a misunderstanding as soon as you entered the school!”
“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t think you’d remember me…”
“Oh, no! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
“Long time no see? It’s only been three weeks since we graduated from junior high school, okay?”
“Oh, oh yeah! Yeah, uh, hey, we’ve always met…
For a moment, Ichigo looks suspicious, but laughs slightly, and the two are in the usual condition.
“Come to think of it, Ichigo also attended the same high school.”
“Yeah, it was a challenging school to enter, so I didn’t think I’d get in.”
Although Hakama Ichigo looks well-groomed at first glance, it is hard to deny that he has a light-hearted or playful air about him. He and Hiroto, though, get along surprisingly well together and have played together since their days at junior high school.
Ichigo is a strong conversationalist, which has made him the focus of the class with his positive personality. It was shocking that he had come along with Hiroto, who was from the violent and obvious Ichigo on the opposite end of the spectrum, but he didn’t think it was a bad idea to go back to the same high school with an old bad friend.
”More importantly, Hiroto! Look around us. It’s amazing!”
Suddenly, when Ichigo opens his mouth excitedly, Hiroto is alarmed and cautious.
He knows from experience that Ichigo usually doesn’t have a good idea of what to think at a time like this.
“Look closely. Well, it’s a famous private school in the country, and there are many pretty girls. It’s going to be a great time to be in school! Mmmm.”
That’ s what I thought! And Hiroto sighed heavily. To be honest, Hiroto was in no mood for that.
”Haha………good for you. Well, keep up the good work on that front.”
And what does Ichigo mean by these words of Hiroto? He looks at his face and says.
“What? You’re going to have to work hard too. Look, from now on, we’re both going to go out and talk to each other proactively, okay?”
“What! Why me? You know that I am no good at that! You’re better being alone on that matter, right?”
Then Ichigo shrugged his shoulders and placed his hand close to his eyebrows, exhaling through his nose lightly, as if he had no choice but to do it, and looking at Hiroto again. Each of those gestures is a bit of a gesture in theatre.
“For some reason I find it annoying.”
“Do you … have a girlfriend?”
“What? I don’t have one… but…”
“Right! So, we’re all in high school now, but do you want a girlfriend, Hiroto-kun?”
The part of “Hiroto-kun” is rather loud.
“Uu … well that’s true, I’d like it if I could, but …”
“Of course. It’s perfectly natural. So, it is decided that we are going to help each other. It’s settled.”
Ichigo slowly places his right hand on Hiroto’s shoulder and looks at him with a gentle expression, as if he were looking at his son.
“Looks good? Hiroto. We are not very good at it, nor are we bad at it! I know you want a girlfriend. But she’s not here. Why?”
When he says that, Ichigo stares at the sky, closes his eyes, and places his fists on his chest.
‘Hiroto-kun. It’s……..action. It’s no secret that throughout history, the doers of things get more respect than the originators. By the way, I don’t have a girlfriend either, but that doesn’t mean the same thing as yours…….
“Gu! Nuh-uh……..tah, sure.”
Ichigo is in fact quite popular with the opposite sex. He was well spoken, and looked not bad. This is because it was popular with him. The proof of that is he has a lot of female friends. Given his features, it seems he wasn’t too blind. It may be that a place like this was also attractive and strong. It’s a big difference between him and Hiroto, who to the opposite sex was less impressive.
“That’s why you have to take action. I’m not waiting for you, and I don’t want to waste my days like a retired old man. I want to have a girlfriend, I want to be big, I want to be smart, whatever.
Ichigo placed his left hand on Hiroto’s shoulder as well, and grabbed both of his shoulders forcefully.
“And you’re not that bad of a material! You ‘re a rough gem. Trust me, and trust me. I’ll take you to that damn highway!”
“What the hell is that? This persuasion is….”
At this time……..for a brief moment, the face of the indigo-red haired girl who met and spent time with him before he entered the school has flashed through his mind.
(What would be her response……..yes, that must be…….)
“What’s wrong, Hiroto? All of a sudden, you look so serious.”
Ichigo looks at Hiroto’s face as if to peer into his face…….and suddenly Hiroto lets out a loud voice.
”All right! Ichigo. I’ll do my best too. First, tell me what I have to do!”
“Look! Don’t freak out! But yeah! You understand. You’re taking your first step toward your potential. Ready for this? Don’t think a beautiful girl will come to you on her own. It’s going to come from us.”
“Oh, I’m walking toward it! I’m going to walk out on you! No matter what kind of behind I have in my life no! Be strong and kind to those needy ones!”
“Yeah, I don’t know about that, but that’s the spirit, Hiroto! We’re going to have to work on the assumption that they won’t come to us.”
They face each other, their elbows entwined at each other’s elbows. This is a signal of agreement from middle school.
They are in a strange state of high spirits just outside the school gate, oblivious to a girl approaching from behind. The girl is attracting the attention of several people, especially the boys.
“Good morning, you two. What are you making a fuss about here? Are you ready for the ceremony?”
Suddenly, a voice called out to them from behind, and when Hiroto and Ichigo turned around, there stood a girl with an appearance befitting a ladylike voice.
“………Huh? Did someone call us from there?”
Ichigo let out a goofy voice, as if he had been caught in the middle.
Holding a student bag in her lap, the girl has lustrous chestnut-colored hair that reaches to her shoulders, and although she’s only walking, she’s attracting an eyeful of people around her.
“It’s nothing, nothing at all! Good morning, Shirasawa-san. No, it’s just… We were just talking about how nice it would be if we could be in the same class as you.
Immediately looking calm, Ichigo gave the girl a smile. Although the substance of what they spoke about was different, Hiroto couldn’t help but be impressed by the tact of making his experience of the opposite sex in this field no worse.
The child was Mari Shirasawa who was the same as Hiroto, a junior high school graduate. She wore a brand-new dress and it seemed like the skirt looked short on her, perhaps it was because her waist is high. Hiroto replied with a profoundly familiar girl with a funny smile.
“Good morning, Mari-chan.”
Mari smiles with an unchanging face.
”You two are as close as ever, aren’t you?”
(This attitude……..Mari hasn’t forgotten about me either.)
Hiroto can’t help but think deeply while looking at Mari’s smile with a dazzling look.
“It seems there are many schools that notify students of their class assignments in advance, but I’ve heard that the class announcements here are announced to everyone on the day of the entrance ceremony, right after the ceremony is over.”
Hiroto wasn’t really paying attention to it, but sure thing, he thought.
“And you know … I don’t think you should get too excited just because there are a lot of pretty girls out there, you know? Because as someone who came from the same middle school, I” don’t think anyone would be too impressed with that kind of attention.
Her face is smiling like the Mona Lisa….But the eyes have a strange, intimidating pressure feeling as if they have a different intention.
“Oh, yeah, it’s not good to be too crazy, yeah. Well, why am I the only one you are staring at?”
While Hiroto was talking, next to him, Ichigo made a cool, tinny face and said, ” She heard everything. Oh my god……..” attitude.
“Come on, let’s go. The gymnasium is at the back of the school building. Come on, Hiroto, hurry up too.”
While urging them to do so, Mari begins to walk with a light step. She is polite and neat in her use of language to everyone, but she is a bit strict with Hiroto, since she has known him for a long time.
His grandfather opened a small dojo at Hiroto ‘s house for the techniques of old school swordsmanship, and because Hiroto ‘s grandfather, Tenzo, and Mari ‘s father, Masataka, were already acquainted, Mari was first introduced to the dojo as a student. They attended different high schools at the time, but were in the same fourth grade and they quickly became good friends.Because of such a connection, we’ve been able to keep a good tempered relationship to this day.
Thereupon, like that?! She looks back remembering that feeling.
“Speaking of which, Hiroto. Where did you go during your spring break? I made a few appearances in the dojo.”
“Eh!? Is that right? Uh, um… I went out for a moment.”
Hiroto says without looking at Mari.
“Hmm, all spring break? I asked the teacher about it, and he said that you’d be back soon.”
“Grandpa? uh…no, it took longer than I expected.”
Mari ‘s eyes were a little narrowed as she heard him. That was clearly no convincing expression. Hiroto felt the air of needing further explanation and got a little defensive.
“Ah, so Shirasawa-san is still always going to the dojo at Hiroto ‘s place for swordsmanship.”
Hiroto was happy and grateful for the remarks made by his friend which changed the subject! And sent out a complimentary message from within.
“Hmm, yeah, I was going to keep doing kendo at high school, so I don’t want to blunt my senses.”
“Heh, Shirasawa-san is so serious”
Pon Pon! And then there was a strange electronic sound. What is it? And when Hiroto tilted his head, Mari took out a pink smartphone from her chest pocket.
“Oh, I’m sorry! My friends are waiting, so I’ll go first.”
――Mari left them behind and went for a short sprint to the gymnasium. Hiroto gazed at Mari ‘s back, who was away even though he was in junior high school together, for the first meeting in a few years.
“I think she’s in the place where she belongs. Shirasawa-san, she’s cute and excels in grades. Also has Kendo skills, and has been in national class before. Also, she has a good personality, quite a wealthy family. “
After Mari left, Ichigo glanced and saw Hiroto.
“It’s not even close. No wonder she dumped you….”
“Gu! Don’t steamroll back to the old days. I know Ichigo had supported me back then, too!”
“Oh…I thought it would definitely work.”
“No, nothing… Well, girls are confusing.”(TN: Yep)
“What is that…”
“Are you… still reeling from being rejected by Shirasawa-san?”
“Hahaha, it’s not there anymore. Really.”
Ichigo looks at Hiroto, who has shown a calm smile, as if he were surprised to see him as a young man.
(Hoho, it looks like he’s really blown up…)
“I was really impatient at the time. But Mari-chan is really good at taking care of people, isn’t she? So it looks like….I was more impatient with that one, I guess. Well, that was a while ago already, though.”
Ichigo knew what Hiroto was trying to say.
“Ah…a year ago. When you returned to school after a long break from spring break?”
“Well, trying to look after your lagging studies while you’re at it, I’m sure you’re right. It’s a little difficult to look after by a woman who’s just dumped you. Yeah, women don’t understand that part of a man’s core.”
In reality, at the end of the third semester in junior high school, Hiroto confessed to Mari. And he was rejected successfully. It was Hiroto’s confession of love, who was a handful, and who had never before been drawn to a female, but it was the confession done by gathering up all the strength he had but it was smashed it into one million pieces. As a matter of course though .. … Hiroto fell to the bottom.
However, in spite of such a situation, Mari still came to the dojo every Sunday afternoon.
Immediately after the rejection, Hiroto was very nervous. However, Mari’s attitude was exactly the same as usual. Hiroto was more upset by this.
It is only the person himself and some of the few friends who know the whole story.
Ichigo, who was one of those few friends, turned to Hiroto.
(Because when she’s in front of you her usual honor student attitude is shattered. It’s not that easy to understand, though. Shirasawa-san isn’t just a straightforward and truthful person …… well, that doesn’t change the fact you’ve been rejected.)
“Let’s go too, Hiroto. Well I seriously hope we’re in the same class.”
When Ichigo said that, Hiroto smiled and nodded, too.
——Part I end—-
(Beware of that next button, it leads to next chapter(part II and also have part III) but on patreon page )