As she looked on at his shrinking figure, she was able to finally grasp his words. Her heart started to beat rapidly and a blush crept onto her face. The words he said rang repeatedly within her head.
'Not as beautiful as you…''…as beautiful as you…''..beautiful as you…''…beautiful…as...you…'
"He called me beautiful…" She muttered to herself in a weak tone, her eyes sparkling.
Like your normal romance novel cliché; Asahina has had feelings for Ren ever since a certain event happened way back when. She has held these feelings of love in for fear of ruining her friendship with him. But now, she wonders if those fears of hers were needless.
While she was off in her own head questioning her past decision, she felt a hand grabbing her shoulder, which snapped her back to reality. She swiftly turned her head to see who it was, she saw a familiar girl with long chestnut-colored hair tied up neatly with a ribbon and green eyes.
"Asa-chan, were you spacing out? You're going to be late if you don't hurry" The girl said, urging her to hurry.
"Sui-chan…what are we hurrying up for?" She asked while tilting her head to the side; she completely forgot about the entrance ceremony after what Ren said.
"How can you forget!? You even nagged me about getting up early for this" Suika said, exasperated by her best friend.
"Hmm…" She pondered for a moment before remembering what day this was and shouted in shock "The entrance ceremony!"
"That's right, come on let's go" Suika sighed and started walking towards the school building.
Asahina followed after her at a brisk pace, putting the matter of Ren at the back of her mind.
I walked through the school building entrance and found my shoe locker, then I swapped my outdoor shoes for indoor ones. After that, I followed the other students to the school's auditorium where the entrance ceremony was held.
On the way there, I observed my surrounding to familiarize myself with the layout. Of course, it would have been way easier if I just looked through the school map on the wall next to every staircase, but I decided against it because I want to experience being a new student. Up til now, I've always learned the school layout beforehand so I wouldn't get lost. But, after having been on adventures for 10 whole years; I realized how overly cautious I was all the time so now that I'm back on Earth, where it's fairly safe, I'm just going to go with the flow as some people might put it.
I arrived at the auditorium along with the other students and started to look for my seat area. As I was looking around, I saw the face of someone that I knew from middle school, who just so happens to be in my class as well, so I made my way over and took a seat at the second roll behind a handsome boy with brown hair.
As I sat down and put my bag down on the floor, the brown-haired boy seems to have noticed my presence and turned to look at me. I stared at him, he stared at me; this went on for a few moments before he spoke first.
"Ah, sorry for staring. But, I feel like I've seen you somewhere, have we met before?" The riajuu said with an apologetic smile, some girls behind me even gasped in amazement. Of course, he wouldn't recognize me; even Hina, who is my childhood friend didn't, so why would he. We're not necessarily close, but I've known him since middle school.
"Of course, we have. You've been after Hina for 3 years, why wouldn't we know each other, Kitsuki-kun?" I said, staring at him with sharp eyes. Kitsuki Yuuto, a handsome riajuu that has liked Hina since middle school, making him my love rival, well more like a pest.
"Only one person calls Izuno-san that, you're…" Kitsuki said, surprise colored his face and his eyes widened. I stayed silent, waiting for him to finish his sentence after the dramatic pause; yes he paused at "you're…" for dramatic effect.
"Ishia-kun…" Kitsuki said then paused again.
"This is why it's annoying talking with you, you always try to add dramatic effect into casual conversation" I said under my breath, making sure that he hears me.
"That was rude, I don't do it all the time" Kitsuki retorted.
"Doesn't matter, you do it enough time for it to start getting annoying; so stop" I said and pulled out a notebook from my bag and flipped a few pages to appear busy.
"Hey, we're not done talking here!" Kitsuki stood up from his seat and shouted.
"Shut up, you're disturbing people and I need to prepare for the speech" I said coldly without taking my eyes off the notebook.
"Humph, fine. We'll finish this later" Kitsuki huffed and declared before sitting back down.
I sighed and looked back at the blank notebook; I didn't have a speech prepared. I have to give a speech at the entrance ceremony because I'm a scholarship student. Kurimo academy gives out scholarships to only the top student in every year's national exam and I happen to be 1st on the national exam.
I originally planned to write one after I got back from the library, but the whole Hero Summoning thing happened. So why haven't I written one before I came to school? Because I don't need to; by using [Perfect Mind] to its full potential I can come up with a speech off the top of my head, combine that with the experiences I got from my predecessor through [Unique Skill - Divine Record], I can come up with dozens of speeches on the spot.
That's why I'm not worried one bit. I took a pencil from my bag and started drawing some magic circles in pencil so it's more of a sketch than a real magic circle. Magic circles require the base structure to have high mana conductivity or just made out of mana itself to be functional; what I'm drawing looks identical to a magic circle but it won't function as one even if I pour mana into it, because pencil lead doesn't normally conduct mana. In fact, all things created by humans on Earth don't conduct mana. For example, the small table in my room; before I turned it into a magic table it didn't conduct mana at all, only after I used alchemy to infuse it with high-grade magic stone powder did it start conducting mana.
While I was drawing my third sketched magic circle, I noticed a pair of eyes looking over my shoulder at the sketches. I didn't bother to look behind me since I don't really care if someone saw the magic circles, they won't be able to activate it anyway even if they manage to copy it perfectly because no human on Earth can sense or control mana.
I just kept moving my hand smoothly and finishing one sketch after another. The auditorium slowly started to fill up with students until I decided to put away my notebook because I sensed Hina and Namaii approaching.
"Ishi-kun, you really have changed a lot" Namaii came from behind Hina and commented while looking at me from head to toe.
"Hina told you, right?" I asked and turned my head to look at Hina.
"That's right! She was saying how cool you were when you approached he-"
"Sui-chan, I said no such thing!" Hina covered Namaii's mouth with her hand and refuted her words with her face flushed red.
I chuckled a little at this, and didn't comment on anything; I just watched them interact with each other and then suddenly recalled something. I rummaged through my bag and took out a book with a black cover.
"Namaii-san, Keirou asked me to pass this to you" I said while holding the book out towards the two girls. Namaii escapes from Hina's clutches before grabbing the book from my outstretched hand and started to flip through it; she closed the book after a short moment of flipping and stared at me.
"Did you look through it?" Namaii asked and her stares grew more intense.
"Of course not, I don't look through other people's stuff for fun" I replied casually.
"Good…" Namaii said with a satisfied tone and turned to Hina.
"I have somewhere to be Asa-chan, so you can sit with Ishi-kun alone. Bye-bye" Namaii said in a cheery tone before walking off.
"Wait! Sui-chan, where are you going? The ceremony is about to start" Hina asked her best friend.
"I'll just skip it, see you in class later" Namaii said before breaking into a run, heading out of the auditorium.
「Jeez, and after all the effort I put in to get her to come to school early, she just up and left. What was in that book anyway?」(In English) Hina complained with a pout on her face and turned around to ask me.
「Who knows? Maybe there was a love message in there」I shrugged and joked.
「Whatever, I'll just ask her later」Hina sighed in resignation and sat down next to me.
「By the way, how is your speech coming along?」Hina asked and gazed at me.
「Ah yeah, about that…」I said while scratching my cheek.
「Don't say you haven't written one」Hina said, her face turning blank.
「I already have the outline so it'll be fine」I said and gave her a reassuring smile.
「Sigh, I'll take your word for it then」Hina sighed once again and dropped to matter.
Silence fell upon us after that, I can still hear the sound of other students talking to each other but that's just me; for her it would be very quiet. The silence persisted on for a short while before a weak voice spoke up.
「H-hey…」Hina uttered quietly with her head lowered down.
「What's up?」I asked in a quiet tone as well.
「About what you said…a while ago…」Hina said, the latter half grew quieter but I can hear her just fine.
「What did I say?」I asked, feinting ignorance.
「...」Hina stayed silent. I peeked at her face from the side and saw that it has a tinge of redness on her cheek. After a bit more silence, she finally lifts her head up.
「You called me b-」As Hina was speaking; a loud screeching rang out through the auditorium, interrupting her and pulling everyone's attention down to the stage.
After the screeching settled down there was the sound of footstep, a middle-aged man walked over to the podium from backstage. He faced the students and started speaking into the mic.
"Hello everyone, my name is Kurimo Aden; the Headmaster of this fine academy. I'm glad you all can make it on time despite it being held so early. The reason it is held early is-"
I just kinda toned out after that; oh I wished I can say that, I was forced to listen to everything that came out of his mouth because I didn't want to miss the part when he calls me up for that speech. We just met and I already dislike him, why? Well, he just interrupted something important, now I have to listen and pretend to be interested. The worst part is, I can't even forget everything after this.
'Sigh... Hmm? Did I just get angry?' I thought to myself in puzzlement before coming to a conclusion.
Right, this body is still that of a 15-year-old. It's not completely flawless till the point I can control my emotion completely like my main body. Even [Perfect Mind] isn't fully perfect unless I activate all the skills contained in it. I can still control my facial expression perfectly and not let my inner emotions show, but I simply can't exert full control over my mind only being a Master-tier.
I guess it's fine that I can't perform inhuman level mental control. After all, I'm trying to live a semi-normal life as a student. I can give up on that at the very least. Anyway, Mr. Aden is finally done talking. Did you really have to tell us the whole history of this school? Couldn't you have left out the part of you pleading with a rich family from the UK for investment to build the school? Like, where's your dignity man?
Yes, I'm still a little angry. I haven't felt like this for a long while now, can't I relish in this moment for a little while?
While I kept basking in pure unadulterated anger, Mr. Aden called out for the scholarship student to come up and give a speech.
「Guess it's time, see you in class, Hina」I said to Hina before standing up and walked to towards the stage.
Lights shined upon me as a walked, the auditorium filled with the sound of clapping. I ascend the stairs up to the stage, walked up to Mr. Aden, and gave him a bow before he walks off stage, leaving only me on the stage.
I stood at the podium and waited for the clapping to settle down before I spoke with a smile on my face.
"Hello everyone, my name is Ishia Ren. I would like to say that I am much honored to be here, attending this prestigious school with all of you. Be it male or female, we are all special one way or another. Just because I got 1st place on the national exam, doesn't make me better than any of you. I hope to make my time here at Kurimo academy a memorable one, for that I would like to befriend as many of you as I can and enjoy our time here together."
I paused for a short moment before continuing.
"Now, some of you may be thinking that we are here to learn and don't have time to play around. While I do agree that we are here to learn, I also believe that high school is a very precious time for our youth. In high school, we will experience many things; we make lifelong friends, we fall in love, we get rejected, we fail at something, and many more, those are what will shape us into the person we will be in the future. In light of that, I hope for us to leave this school in 3 years with precious memories that we'll look back upon fondly in our later years. Thank you"
I finished and bowed before I proceeded to walk off the stage and out the auditorium through a side door. I can hear claps resounding from behind as I exited the door. I needed to head to the Faculty office to collect my student ID after the entrance ceremony since apparently scholarship students have a different kind of ID than the normal student ID card.
I passed by it on my way to the auditorium so I know where it is. Oh, my bag is with Hina so I'll have to get it from her in the classroom.
I speed-walked to the teacher's office and surprise, surprise, I didn't bump into anyone. I did, however, caught sight of Namaii walking back from the front gate with a blush on her face and grinning ear to ear.
「I guess, Keirou did it, huh? I need to up my game a little then」I muttered to myself with a gentle smile on my face as I continued toward my destination.
Meanwhile, at the mall
Even though it was early in the morning, there were quite a few people walking around. One would wonder if these people have a lot of free time on their hands or just trying to get a last minute gift for their significant other.
Whatever it may be, it didn't affect the fact that there were two people here that are far from ordinary. A boy and girl pair is seated in a café by the name of Aroma Romance. Both have the same hair and eye color; blonde hair, and blue eyes. The boy looked to be around high school age while the girl looks slightly younger. However, they are actually twins and the younger one is the boy.
Both are well-dressed in fashionable clothes with glasses to disguise their appearance. The boy is very handsome even with his glasses on; the waitress and female customers have had their eyes glued on him since a while ago. This goes for the girl as well; her looks are so enchanting that the men outside that noticed her have halted their steps. The disguise they have on did little to no help in concealing their naturally attractive looks.
「I told you this wouldn't work. Why didn't we just go to the park or something?」The girl said, shooting an annoyed glare at her idiot of a twin brother.
「I thought wearing glasses would drop our Charisma stats, this usually works out in anime so why isn't there any effect?」The boy muttered some hard-to-comprehend words for the average person to himself.
「Sigh, it was dumb of me to go along with every stupid idea you come up with. Come on let's find somewhere with fewer people」The girl put some cash on the table before standing up to leave.
「I'll have to do some more research on this later then」The boy muttered while following his sister.
The attractive pair left the mall and walked with no destination in particular.
「We need to figure out how to convince Uncle to come back to the family」The girl said while rubbing her chin, contemplating their next move.
「We won't get any progress if we just stand by and do nothing. How about we spit up and do our own things? You do your thing and I'll do my thing」The boy suggested with a confident smile plastered on his face.
「Whatever, it's not like I need your help anyway. Just make sure to attend school, Father would get mad if you were to skip classes」The girl agree and shot a warning glance at her brother.
「Yeah, yeah; you don't need to remind me. I'll make great progress on my own and get Father to approve of my lifestyle」The boy just brushed off his sister's warning with a few waves of his hand arrogantly.
The girl just stayed silent and sighed inwardly at her brother's carefree attitude. She kept contemplating her next move until a black car pulled up in front of the two and the sibling pair got on then the car drove off into the city.
The weather was nice and sunny today, with barely any clouds in sight. But, the future is going to be very bumpy from now on for the two of them. They're going to find out that they've bitten off more than they can chew; in fact, they might just choke to death if they continue biting recklessly.