Oh, crap! I'm not gonna make it! Must…hurry!
The high speed chase was on. Seconds before fate was to be sealed. Was it possible to make it? Was there hope?
Come on, come on! Stupid hands! Open the door!
The door was opened. What was the result?
"Well, Mr. Kitamura, you're late! This is a surprise coming from you!"
"I'm sorry, Shimamiya-sensei. It won't happen again."
"There's no harm done. You were only a second late."
There you have it. Kitamura Shun was late. By a second… Why did this matter? Even if he wasn't late, he'd still be screwed. He hasn't even been doing well in classes! Average, below average, possibly. It somehow didn't affect him. He knew that his future was going to be bright…or so he thinks.
As the lovely Shimamiya-sensei started to teach the class, Shun diligently paid attention. Yet, a thought ran in his mind.
Man, what's wrong with me? Why do I keep thinking that everything's going to get better? Like anything good is going to happen…
Uh-oh. A negative thought from Shun. What could possibly come from this? He set his violet stare to the sky outside, seeking an answer.
"Would you all just go away?" I don't want to deal with you!"
The door slammed shut and heavy breathing was heard.
"Ms. Amemiya, what happened? You're a mess!"
"It's just those stupid boys, sir. I don't know what their deal is."
"Well, get yourself together and take a seat, please."
"Someone should put a leash on those boys. Seriously."
Poor Amemiya Shirona. Just because you're the prettiest girl in the school doesn't mean you have to be tortured like this. Apparently, boys lose their mind when they see you. They don't even care that you're smart; they only care for your outer beauty.
Is there even a boy here that doesn't run like a maniac at me? Whatever. I'm not some prize to be won, Shirona thought.
"Ms. Amemiya, please pay attention."
"Oh, yes, sir."
The hallways of Kousuko High were just ablaze with conversation. Not surprisingly, the boys were fawning over being with or being near Shirona. As he bypassed the buzz, Shun caught wind of some conversations.
"Wow! Did you see Shirona? She's totally hot today!"
"Dude, what are you talking about? She's always hot!"
"I just wanna sniff her hair! I bet it smells like strawberries!"
Perverts, Shun thought.
Even the girls were talking about her.
"I'm so jealous of Shirona! She gets so many boys behind her!"
"What I wouldn't give to be in her place!"
"Her eyes are to die for! So uncaring, so mysterious, and so blue!"
"She's my idol!"
Shockingly, there was one conversation that didn't involve Shirona's beauty. A first for Shun's ears.
"Hey, I heard that Shirona owes someone big time."
"Right. What was that guy's name? Souzen Daigo? Yeah, she owes him big."
"And he's collecting the money from her today!"
"She better have it. I don't want to see her bruised."
No, it's my problem. I'll just stay away from that as possible.
The noon bell rang and everyone seemed to huddle around the area near Shirona's locker. Shirona quickly took notice and thought, Oh, great. It's time again. A part of the crowd opened and Shirona looked in that direction, her eyes as distant as ever. From far away, a tall boy paraded towards the crowd. This was Souzen Daigo, the big man on Kousuko. Although he didn't have that much of a muscular build, he could still give someone a fright. His vermillion eyes stared happily at Shirona, not in affection, obviously. As he neared, he emitted a smile.
"Well, we meet again, Amemiya. How are you doing today?" he greeted oh-so warmly.
"Get on with it, Souzen. Tell everyone why you're here," Shirona sighed. As if you haven't mentioned it before…
"Aw, why should we rush things? Don't be like that."
Daigo caressed Shirona's face, and she quickly slapped him, making the crowd gasp. The smile was still shown.
"You're a little feisty one, aren't you?"
"Stop stalling. I don't have all day." Shirona flicked her hair.
Surprisingly, that test was easy! I feel a bit better now!
As Shun happily walked along the hallway adjacent of the mob, he overheard the murmuring of students.
"Amemiya, you owe me ¥1,000. Now do you have it or not?"
"No, I don't. And I don't think I'm ever giving it to you. An ass like you doesn't deserve it."
The students murmured at this, while Daigo still had that creepy smile.
"Oh, I'm an ass? That's no way to speak to your boyfriend."
"Ha! Don't make me laugh, Souzen. You know that whole thing was a set-up. I'm pretty sure that without me, you'd be a lonely idiot, fawning over me from afar."
The gang gasped at this, and the smile was clearly gone.
"You bitch! That was supposed to be a secret!" Daigo barked.
"Oops, my bad, sweetie," Shirona slyly said.
Daigo grasped Shirona's arm fiercely and slammed her against the locker, making her wince.
"What happened to your promise about hitting girls?" The suave persona was gone. A child took her place.
"Fuck that! You crossed the line, Amemiya. Now we can put all of this behind us if you give me the damn money!"
"I don't have it, Daigo! Don't you understand?"
"Then I guess you'll have to pay with your life!"
As Daigo clenched his fist and aimed it at Shirona, a voice yelled, "Hey!" Everyone tried to pinpoint the voice and before Daigo stood Shun.
"What do you think you're doing to her?" Shun yelled.
"It's none of your business, idiot!"
"Whoever you are, please run! You don't stand a chance!" Shirona pleaded.
Wait, you're Shirona? Aren't you supposed to be different? "And let a girl get hurt? Not on my watch."
Daigo released his grip and Shirona fell to the floor. She was a mess and every student noticed her change.
"So, you think you can fight me, eh? Well, we'll see how tough you really are!"
Daigo once again launched a fist at Shun, but he didn't move. Instead of getting hit, Shun grabbed Daigo's fist, then delivered a knee to his gut. The onlookers gasped in excitement. As Daigo writhed in pain, Shun twisted the bully's arm, his violent eyes emitting a menacing glare.
"No, stop! You're gonna break it!"" Daigo was like a helpless puppy.
"You have to swear that you won't harm Shirona again!"
"And she owes you nothing. Understand?"
"Yes! Oh, god, I can feel the bone cracking!"
Shun released his grip and pushed Daigo away, still writhing in pain, trying every which way to make the pain go away. Now seeing that he won the battle, Shun walked away, not even bothering to look at anyone.
How the hell did I do that? My heart was racing! Shun thought
The onlookers murmured as they saw the pained Daigo. Shirona's eyes were wavering as he heard the groans.
That boy… Who was he? And my personality…why did it break so easily? Was my time up? Never mind, I need to thank him!
Shirona got up and ran away. Once she left their sight, the students murmured.
"Wow! That guy kicked ass!"
"That was so awesome!"
"He was kind of cute, too!"
"Anyone notice Shirona?"
"Yeah, she was so scared!"
"That's not like her at all!"
I can't get that scene out of my head! How was I able to do that? Maybe those karate lessons paid off.
Shun tried to breathe out his nervousness, like that did any good. He was sitting under a huge oak tree and around him, many students were looking at him.
"He seems so normal," a girl remarked.
"Is that really the guy who beat up Daigo?" a second girl asked.
"I would totally go out with him if he did!"
Once the students left the vicinity, in entered Shirona. Her eyes were still uneasy as she saw Shun.
"I don't really want to thank him. Why is my mind thinking this?"
Shirona gulped and approached Shun. Once he saw her, his mind went blank in an instant.
Crap, it's her! What do I do, what do I do?
"H-hello, Shirona!" he managed to say.
"Oh, it's you. Little pretend hero."
"If you're going to gawk at me, go ahead. You only get one shot."
"A-actually, I thought you came here to—"
"To what, thank you? Look, I didn't need your help. I was fine. I don't know why you interfered."
"You wanted to score points with me, is that it? You did, but you're not going out with me."
"Hey, why are you acting like this? I saved you, and you're treating me like crap!"
"Argh! This is hopeless!"
A small figure floated and placed itself between Shirona and Shun.
"Hana, what are you doing? You're not supposed to be out here!" Shirona yelled.
What the heck's that thing? Shun thought.
"No! You've been putting yourself away for too long! It's time to show Shun who you really are! True persona, reveal yourself!"
The spirit launched a spark at Shirona and a light engulfed her. Her long black hair turned into a most beautiful silver tone and formed itself into a ponytail. Her eyes changed from the purest of blues to the most innocent pink. The light faded and the spirit smiled.
"Hana, why did you do that? Oh, no!"
Shirona quickly turned away and covered her face. Shun, who was still dumbstruck, set his eyes on the spirit. It was in the form of a girl with a puffy dress, tangerine eyes. and her light green hair was shaped into high pigtails.
"Well, now that that's taken care of, let me introduce myself. I'm Hana, Shiro-chan's conscience."
"C-conscience? What do you mean by that?"
"Remember the calm persona she had? She wished for that, but she obviously can't hold it forever. Underneath that cool exterior is the girl you see before you, the real Amemiya Shirona. In fact, she's going to leap into your arms in 3, 2, 1!"
And just like that, as if commanded to, Shirona leapt onto Shun's arms. A sensation filled him, but he didn't feel excited.
"What's this all about?"
Shirona stared cutely at Shun. "You saved me! Thanks so much!"
Tell me this is a dream! Please! Shun pleaded mentally.
After minutes of calming Shun down, Shirona attempted to calmly explain the situation to Shun.
"I know this shocks you, but hear me out. This is the real me. This is the 'suave' Shirona everyone fawns over. Throughout the years, I've always been afraid. I wanted to see how it's like to be brave. Somehow my wish came true and a year ago, Hana appeared before me. She put this spell on me so that I can be this alternate person. Of course, it was all fake, yet I was known as the hottest girl in school. The confrontation with Daigo broke the spell; I was so scared when attacked me. I was utterly amazed at your skill, Shun! That was so cool!"
"I-it was nothing, really. About Daigo, what was that all about? Why did you owe him money?"
"Oh, that… Six months ago, I was the talk of the town, and at that time, Daigo confronted me. He said he was fascinated with me and asked me out. I refused multiple times, then Daigo made a deal. He said that it would be a secret; he wanted to boost his reputation. I accepted and promised to keep it a secret, in exchange for ¥2,000. I paid him half and promised to pay him the rest when he felt that he had enough rep. We started to go out for a few months and rumors quickly rose about us becoming a serious couple. I was honestly scared when I was with him. He seemed so scary… Five months later, Daigo felt that he had enough rep and stopped going out with me. I kept saying every day after that that I'll pay him back. I guess today was the last straw…."
"I'm sorry to hear that…"
Shirona shook her head. "Don't be."
"So, this is the real you?"
"Yes. A weak, defenseless girl… Shun, w-will you be my protector?"
"Why not? You saved me! Doesn't that mean anything to you?"
"Of course it does. It's just that I've never been with a girl before."
"You're saying you're scared?"
Shirona stared at Shun. "I've dealt with that for years. Trust me, you're going to get rid of it. Forget about my popularity. Think of me as a normal girl."
"Easy for you to say. I've never talked to a girl, ever…"
"Yet, you're talking to me."
Shun gasped as he stared at Shirona. He just couldn't believe what was happening.
"Please assist me, Shun."
"It would mean a lot to her, Shun."
Hana floated in front of Shun. She had such a smile on her face.
"This will make Shiro-chan safer. She really needs the help and you're the perfect example!"
"Yeah, what she said!" Shirona intervened.
The girls were smiling brightly at Shun. His mind had multiple thoughts racing inside. Eventually, he responded with,
"We won't be boyfriend and girlfriend, right? I can't handle that."
"Nope. None of that."
Relieved, Shun replied, "Then, sure."
"Oh, thank you, Shun! I just know you're going to help me!"
Shirona hugged Shun tight, and he let out a smile. Hana giggled at this.
"So, we start tomorrow?"
"Yup! I'll find you, don't worry! Come on, Hana! Let's go!"
Shirona ran away, waving goodbye at Shun. He waved goodbye back. When the girls were out of his sight, he groaned.
"How did I get caught into this? There's no way I can go along with this! Especially since I'm going to be with Shirona!" he yelled.