Hime No Uma, Volume One: Welcome to Umawara
An Ordinary Life, A Fateful Interruption
My name is Michio Takayoshi. I am fifteen years old and looking forward to high school. I don't look like anything special; Typical height, 1.5 meters, with short brown hair that, for whatever reason, cannot stay straight, and brown eyes. I have a slender build- not athletic, but not fat either- just a plain, boring average Japanese boy.
I am hanging in the shopping mall with my friends, just like a typical kid in the city of Sataima, a prefecture near Tokyo.
"So Takayoshi-kun," Hashigawa practically shouts out to me. "What do you think that high school is going to be like?"
"I really don't know," I reply, "it can't be all that different from middle school, can it?"
"Perhaps not at all," Shinjo replies. "After all, we are all going to same one, right?"
I smile at that thought. My life has been pretty normal really. I play video games, read manga, watch anime and hang out with my friends. I am not shut in by any means; I have always gotten high marks in all of my classes and am looking forward to acing the entrance exam for the college prep high school we are all planning on attending. Every one of us is because we are planning on staying together for the next three years, as we always have.
So once again, we are all sitting around, chowing down on our beef bowls, perfectly content that life has gone on as it has before. Sataima City has been the only home I have ever known and the only one I would ever want.
It is at that moment that I receive a text from my mom:
Come home now. Your father has something important he wants to discuss with us.
I pause for a moment. My parents are generally cool about me hanging out with my friends, so they would not pull the "Come home now" routine unless it was a very big deal.
I look up at my friends and bow a quick apology. "Sorry, but my mom texted me. I have to go home now."
After about half an hour, I make my way back home. It is an ordinary house; white exterior with a small fence in front and a stairway leading up to the door. As I make my way inside the house, I call out, "I'm home."
"Welcome back Nii-san," my sister, Maya, calls out. She's a young girl, about thirteen years of age. She has reddish-brown hair in pig tails and golden eyes and is dressed in a orange t-shirt with blue denim shorts.
"Hey there, Maya-chan," I answer back. "How was school today?"
"Alright," she replies, giving what is the default answer all students give, regardless of their academic performance. "Did you get Mom's text?"
"Yeah. Where are they right now?"
"Dad is on the phone, talking to someone from work. He actually seems to be very excited."
My father is an employee at one of the largest banks in Japan. He tends to work a lot of late hours, but he does take time for us whenever he can.
"You think he finally got that promotion he's always wanted?" I ask.
"It would be cool if he did. It means more money for us." My sister's eyes practically light up at the concept.
"More money for you, you mean," I snap back. "We all know that you are going to ask for a raise in your allowance. "
"Like you're not going to ask for that new video game you have been drooling over."
I smile a little, neither confirming nor denying, and make my way towards the small jar of cookies. My mom is a proud member of a endangered species- the stay at home housewife- a yamato nadeshiko through and through. As such, her cookies are to die for. I open the jar and find that there is only one left. Maya than pipes up and shouts:
I smile. I am not going to be deterred that easily; I have set my sights on this cookie. By all that is holy, it will be mine.
I decide to think for a moment, and decide that best course of action might be a little reverse psychology.
"Okay, Maya-chan, you can have it. You have never been one for waiting."
"Alright than, Onii-san. Wait, what do you mean?"
I take on my most confident and authoritative tone, trying my best to sell my little scheme. It's really brilliant, actually.
"Well, you do know that Mom usually bakes today, so sometime this evening we shall have a full jar of nice warm, fresh baked ones." I reach into the jar and wave the cookie in front of her. "But if you really want a cold, dry, not quite good one because you are too impatient, than by all means…"
"Alright then," Maya replies. "You can have it."
"Thank you so very much," I say, flashing a smile while I begin to nibble on the chocolate chip cookie. True mom's cookies are better fresh, but even now they are still very good.
"Niiiiiiiiii-sama!" Maya yells when she finally realizes that she has been had. "You tricked me."
"All I am is clever enough to get what I want," I say with a smile. This has been another gift of mine. I tend to be very good at coming up with plans to achieve things that I want.
It is at this moment that my mother enters the room. She is a very lovely middle aged woman with reddish hair like my sister and deep brown eyes. She greets me with a smile and a warm voice. "Michio, I'm glad to see that you are finally home. How was school?"
"It was alright," I reply. "Just decided to hang with my friends for a while afterwards."
"That's good. I hope you had fun," she says, her expression seeming a little distant. "Anyways, your father has just gotten off the phone from work." She takes a very long pause. "He has a very important announcement about the future of our family."
I take a breath when I hear this. It must be very big. I turn to Maya. "Do you have any ideas?"
Maya looks back at me with a serious expression. "I really don't know Nii-san."
With that we walk into the main room.
My father is standing in front of the television, still dressed in the suit and tie that he wore at work. He is a middle aged man of about average height, 1.5 meters, with rather plain brown hair and eyes concealed under a pair of glasses. He seems to have a nervous smile on his face. Taking the moment to read his mood, I conclude that what it is it is good news, but he seems almost nervous about it.
"Alright everyone," he begins, "now that Michio is finally home, I can finally share this news with all of you. I have just gotten off the phone with my bank regarding some of the details but let me assure you all, it is good news."
I can see my mom smiling at this; She is very happy, but again there is anxiety. Subtle, but it is there. It's hard to read, but I can tell it's present. I guess you can say that this is, perhaps, another talent of mine. I look over to my sister. She seems to not have a care in the world. She is happy for Mom and Dad, but does not seem to pick up the other stuff below the surface.
After taking a brief pause, my dad is ready to being again. "I finally got the promotion."
Maya practically leaps from her seat to give Dad a flying hug-tackle. "That is great dad! Congratulations!"
I stand up and smile. "Yes, awesome."
Indeed it is; Dad has been working for this for years and it is good to finally see him rewarded.
"Thanks of all you. ….But, there is a catch."
Yes, the catch, the small bit of anxiety that I had sensed. The small nagging doubt in our parents' minds about all this, and more importantly, how their children would take it.
"My new job is a management position at a branch office, so we are going to have to move."
I stop dead in my tracks; we are going to have to move. We are going to have to leave Sataima forever. So many thoughts run through my mind. What about school? What about my friends? A thousand questions run through my head.
My sister looks stunned by this; she didn't see it coming at all. She speaks in a small voice, asking what I was thinking as well, "Where are we moving to, Dad?"
Dad pauses, and I can see as he looks at me that he knows that I am not going to like this part at all. "The office is a new branch that we are opening up in a town in Abashiri District."
"Abashiri," I almost scream. "That is up in Hokkaido, and almost the middle of no where. How could you take a job like that?"
"It is a management position and a wonderful opportunity for us. It can lead-"
"But, what about my friends? What about school?"
Dad lets out a sigh, seeing that I'm not liking this at all. "I am afraid that you are going to have to say good bye to your friends, or at the very least, get used to the idea of seeing them on Facebook. As for school, it so happens that the town we are moving to is home to a very good private school. I have finished most of the application forms and have even arranged to have some one from the school come down and give the entrance exam to you."
"I'm not going. I am staying here. I am sure that one of my friend's parents will let me-"
It's my mother who speaks up. She rises, her voice gentle but firm, revealing the steel that is hidden by the silk that she usually wears.
"Michio," she continues. "Your father has been struggling with idea of telling you this all day ever since his boss told him this morning. He has waited so long to be finally given this opportunity. As a family we should be much more supportive. "
I manage to utter a feeble, "But-"
"But nothing," Mom cuts me off. "And we are not splitting up. We are going to stay together as a family. Is that understood?"
I simply nod my head, "Yes Mom."
With that I make my way up to my room after being handed the pamphlet for this school. It looks like I am going to be spending the next three years there while I am in exile in the Northern wasteland of Hokkaido.
Some place called Umawara Academy.
Hello Everyone: This is bradpara and welcome all of you to the first chapter of the first volume of my light novel series Hime No Uma. I would like to thank UniqueAnimeFreak for beta reading for me. More chapters will come soon, please read and review.