Chapter Four : The Things That Matter
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Madoka continues to train her body and her mind, and the progress she makes is good, but it feels so agonizingly slow to her that she almost despairs at times. Comparatively, she flies through her course materials as though they’re nothing, though has to take too frequent breaks for writer’s cramp that never bothered her previously. Not only that, but she has arm muscle spasms. She remembers having muscle spasms in Physical Education after she had run many laps. It is shocking to her to experience them doing simple everyday things. She is miserably certain that the muscles between her thumb and forefinger will build up faster than any other muscles in the rest of her body.

At least one good thing has come of her hard work. Her bloody nightmares of the accident that killed her parents and set her life on this odd path, the ones that she still has most nights, are occasionally broken up by a new and equally horrific nightmare where her right hand suddenly becomes super buff and muscular and her body shrivels up to a matchstick. Just the thought of it makes her shudder.

Several days after her therapist Miura Shizuka’s first visit, the master visits again, this time while she is in the middle of studying. The door opens with a click and Madoka glances over to it with a smile. Perhaps Kozy was sneaking in another sweet thing for her; she smiles. Her smile turns into a scowl as she notes that it is the master and not the affectionate butler this time. She knows she should stop glaring at the old man, but there is no one else she can blame for this situation she finds herself in. She knows it is unfair. She can restrain herself from speaking unkindly but her expressions are a little harder to master.

The old man just grins wryly at her, seeing her expression, though his own expression becomes serious as he pulls up a chair.

“Madoka. It’s time to think about what is going to happen with you going forward. Your physical therapy has progressed enough that I think we can consider letting you go to school. Daily routines outside the mansion will help supplement your strength training regimen. If I allow it, I will need you to be more discreet than you were with Miura-san.” He looks into her eyes sharply, waiting to see if she says anything in reply. She looks down and then back at him.

“I don’t see the problem with letting people know what you’ve done to me.” She restrains herself from insulting the old man.

“I do. Let me tell you what the problem is. We live in a gender-centric world right now. Rights are improving gradually, but humanity is still very repressed. What would happen if you told people in your new school that you used to be a boy? Perhaps nothing. Young people have open minds generally. What if they don’t? Think about that. You won’t be going to a Tokyo high school, you know.” He continues to look into her eyes, making her feel uncomfortable. Madoka looks away and back, not wanting to back down from this old man.

“Are you saying they’d want to hurt me?” she asks incredulously.

“Maybe not. You’re too pretty. Even if they believed the story, I’m not sure they would go that far, but you never know. The way a person presents themselves goes a long way towards how they’re perceived. I think if you behave the same way you behave around here you shouldn’t have a problem. Your mind seems to be more agile than I hoped. I know you don’t like me and I can’t say that I care about that, but you do owe me something for rescuing you and healing you up. So I will ask you to be discreet. Can you do that or not?” He scowls.

The girl hesitates, frowns, and then finally nods in acceptance. “You wouldn’t let me go to school otherwise, right?” she asks. Lately, after hitting the books again, she has started to feel more and more interested in going to school again.

The old man nods and grins. “You catch on well, girl. Study up. I’ve scheduled your entrance examination in the next few days. Normally, you would have to go to the school to do it, but I managed to convince them to send someone out here. When they get here they will supervise your testing and tell you a little about the school you will be going to. Got that?” he asks.

The girl nods, feeling a rush of excitement. “Good.” He pats her shoulder and stands, setting the chair aside. “I’ve things to do, girl. Work hard.” He steps out then, leaving her alone to consider. It would be nice to meet others of her own age again. She wonders, suddenly, how her old friends in Tokyo are doing. They probably think she is dead. Madoka sighs. Perhaps one day she would find them. It might be fun to see how they react to seeing her.

Madoka continues this routine until several days later the teacher arrives.

One day, Madoka wakes up, stretching gently to find not only Kozuke waits for her but also Midoriyama Hisako, the maid. She rubs her eyes as they both smile at her.

“Today is a big day for you, Sugar!” Kozuke exclaims. “I’m pleased to inform you that your teacher will be arriving shortly to begin your testing.” He smiles broadly at Madoka and she smiles back, surprised and eager.

“We have selected a nice dress for you so that you will make the best impression, and Midoriyama is here to help you with more complex hair styling, that frankly is beyond my field of expertise.” He chuckles.

Midoriyama curtsies and winks at Madoka. “Good morning, Sugar. I’m looking forward to helping you find a style that you like. There’s nothing wrong with brushing your hair out straight, especially with hair as lovely as yours is, but every girl likes to experiment a little bit. I have a few ideas of what might look good on you, depending on the look that you want to try to convey.” She smiles.

“Uhm… thank you, Midoriyama-san.” Madoka blushes, a bit flustered at the idea of actually trying to style her hair. That would be like accepting her womanhood. Not that the panties that she had worn daily since waking didn’t already force that acceptance.

“No, no, no! Onee-chan!” Midoriyama smiles at her encouragingly. “I always wanted a cute little sister.”

Madoka blushes again and bites her lip. “O-Onee-chan…” she makes to say. Midoriyama’s reaction is instantaneous. She impulsively wraps her arms around the girl and hugs her tightly. “Good girl!” She squeezes the girl to her.

“Now, now… don’t suffocate Sugar, Midoriyama.” Kozuke frowns. Madoka’s face was buried in Midoriyama’s impressive cleavage at the moment.

“Mmm mmph!” she protests. Midoriyama laughs and releases the girl, tousling her hair. “You’re going to look so lovely when you meet your teacher.” She grins at the disheveled young girl, who alternates between blushing and scowling at her.

Kozuke and Midoriyama help the girl up into a sitting position and begin undressing her, removing the cute nightie that she had worn to sleep. It was tan and pink in coloration with teddy bears on it. With their help, her underwear is changed first. Today the panties and bra selected are green in coloration. The bra frames her small but well-developed breasts nicely. She tries not to look at herself during the process and blushes, unable to suppress her curiosity. Afterwards they help her into a nice green dress whose skirt flares at the knees. It has a white petticoat and white lace accents about the bodice and sleeves. They complete the look with a pair of white knee socks, showing off her unblemished feminine thighs. Then she is taken to the desk and mirror. Midoriyama activates the light switch and Kozuke steps away while she begins to gently brush out Madoka’s long lustrous black hair.

Madoka’s eyes close as she enjoys the feel of the brush running through her hair, the bristles massaging her scalp. There is something sensual about having someone brush your hair for you. Madoka blushes slightly. When finished, Midoriyama produces a little book that she had on her person somewhere and when she opens it, she shows various hair styles in it -- ways to put the hair up in ribbons or with pins that look trendy and cute. A girl would change her hairstyle frequently as she experiments with it and finds the look that is truly her.

Midoriyama echoes her thoughts and expands upon them. “The look that you choose might end up being that look that you feel is truly you… it might end up being that look that you wear daily. It’s the look that sets you apart from the other girls in your class. Nothing is more important when most girls in class will have the same classic Japanese features as yourself.” Midoriyama smiles.

That makes sense to Madoka, though she doesn’t think that Midoriyama ever had that sort of problem, assuming that her dark red hair is natural. Even so, the way she wears her hair in that braided updo indicates to Madoka that she might actually worry about those things even with such a unique hair color, and that makes her feel as though she might understand at least a little about how important hair is for a girl.

Madoka studies the book of hairstyles and finally one appeals to her. It has bangs, long lengths on the sides to frame the face, and a bow in the back. “This one,” she says finally, blushing. She feels her resistance towards exploring her femininity wearing down and away, especially since she is currently sitting in front of a mirror at the moment. Had Midoriyama planned it that way? She can’t help looking at herself and down at the book, wondering how she would look with this or that style, and it amazes her that one that appeals to her is possibly one of the girliest styles.

Midoriyama grins at her from behind, giving her a little hug. “That’s a nice choice. I think that style will look good on you.” She winks. “Let’s get started with it.” 

Midoriyama steps away to a cart that Madoka hasn’t noticed yet and wheels it over to the chair. The cart contains neither food nor tea, though Madoka thinks to herself that she would like some tea right about now as she studies its actual contents. There are hair care items on it, a blow dryer, scissors, razors, etcetera. She realizes Midoriyama intends to give her a full haircut rather than just a simple styling. Well,she thinks. How else would I get bangs? She has to cut them, doesn’t she? The temptation to ask Midoriyama to cut it super short strikes her, but a glance at her reflection in front of her quells that impulse.

There is no way that simply cutting her hair short would make her look boyish in the slightest. Her delicate cute face can’t possibly be taken as anything but girlish, even were she completely bald.

Midoriyama pulls a plastic cloak about her, wrapping it tightly around her neck and tying it off. She sets about spraying down Madoka’s hair with a water bottle, combing it out one last time and then cutting it. It takes a shockingly small amount of time, but when she is finished, Madoka looks very much like the picture she pointed out to Midoriyama. Her hair now has bangs that sit lightly at eyebrow level. Those parts of her hair adjacent to the bangs are left long and hang down to either side of her face while in the back the remainder of her, long-evened out hair is gathered up loosely in a pastel green ribbon to match her dress. Madoka barely hears the hand vac sucking up the hair that fell to the floor as she studies herself in the mirror. Her heart pounds as she does so, and she finds she loves what she sees far more than she ever would have expected to. A little tear leaks from the corner of her eye as she surrenders to her feelings. Kozuke notices the tear and takes her hand. “Are you alright, Sugar?” he asks her gently.

“Yes, Kozuke. I think I am. It’s just… I feel… pretty.” She smiles, wiping her eye with a finger.

“Awwwww…” Midoriyama grins at the girl, looking as though she wants to hug her into her bosom again. “You’re too cute, Sugar.” She smiles.

Madoka wonders whether Midoriyama knows she used to be a boy. She doesn’t act like it, but some things she says seem like she is instructing her in the art of girlhood. Madoka isn’t sure if she is just talking about it one girl to another, or if she is gently teaching the boy turned girl. These thoughts are interrupted by the sound of the doorbell ringing. The three look towards the front of the mansion and at one another.

“It looks like it’s showtime. Make us proud, Sugar.” Midoriyama winks at the girl. “I’ll get it, Kozy. Finish cleaning up and I will see him in. The master will want to talk to him.”

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Kozuke asks, smiling wryly at her. “The master doesn’t particularly like it when you greet our guests,” he points out.

“Oh, he’ll get over it.” She grins. “You should worry about feeding Sugar.” She blows a kiss to the two and steps out of the room quickly. 

Kozuke shakes his head. “Oh, dear. I think I will be chastised later for letting her have her way,” he remarks, laughing. Madoka smiles in response.

“One moment and I will bring a light breakfast. Go over your books if you feel you need to, Sugar. I am certain it won’t be long before your testing begins.”

Takahashi Ren is a man in his early thirties with short red hair and a pleasant and easygoing disposition, popular with his students. It is summer break at the moment, but he still has duties to complete for the school, and this is one of them. He is a homeroom teacher and as such his duties are to check in on students from time to time, frequently at their homes, acting sort of like a surrogate father figure to them. It stands to reason, of course. that he would be the one chosen to conduct the entrance examination of his newest student, Hamada Madoka. He had heard from the principal that this girl had been in a horrible accident that had kept her out of school for over a year and in a coma.

He was so moved by hearing of her story that he insisted on being the one to conduct the testing. Who was better for the task than he? In his mind, there was no time to waste in forming a bond with his newest student. He is shown into the study of Master Hamada Yoshi first by the maid, who had introduced herself as Midoriyama Hisako. She had been extremely friendly in her greeting.

Master Yoshi scowls when he sees who leads the teacher into his study. “Midoriyama. Why aren’t you preparing breakfast? I’m hungry,” he grumps. Midoriyama smiles, curtseying to Yoshi. “I’m sorry, Master. Kozy’s busy with Sugar. He wants to make sure she’s ready for her testing.” She smiles, winking at Ren, who smiles. These two are interesting to say the least.

“That is important. I suppose I wouldn’t be able to count on you for such a thing.” Master Yoshi scowls and looks at Takahashi. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Sensei.” He stands, extending his hand for a handshake. Ren takes his hand easily and firmly. “Nice to meet you, Doctor Hamada. So where is my new student?” he asks, getting directly to the point with apparent eagerness.

“She’s enjoying her breakfast. Can I offer you some tea, Takahashi-san?” Yoshi asks, seating himself and gesturing for Ren to take a seat as well. Ren does so, bowing slightly.

“I would very much appreciate some tea.” At this response, the maid excuses herself, and the two study each other, striking up a light conversation. Ren is curious about his newest student, and eager to get on with the testing. “It’s highly unconventional to have someone come out to your home to conduct an entrance examination. You must be well connected, Doctor Hamada,” Ren observes lightly..

After a while of conversing and enjoying a cup of maid Midoriyama’s excellent tea, the tentative conversation between the two is interrupted. Kozuke steps into the office, bowing. “Master, Madoka is ready to begin the testing,” he murmurs.

Ren looks up at Kozuke with a grateful smile, and looks at Yoshi. “Ah… if you will excuse me, Doctor.” He stands and extends his hand one more time, which Master Yoshi takes when he stands.

He excuses himself and follows Kozuke down the hall, taking a moment to study the art on the walls.

This place really is peculiar, he thinks to himself, studying the Picasso paintings. His attention doesn’t linger on them, though, as he is shown down the hall and into the girl’s bedroom. He first sees her sitting in a wheelchair calmly in the room. He is struck by how relaxed she seems to be and how pretty she is. He can’t help thinking to himself that she is a work of art, much like the statues outside and the paintings hanging in the hallway, except unlike them, she truly is perfect, as though every minute detail of her being was lovingly sculpted by God himself.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Hamada-kun. I am your examiner, Takahashi Ren. Shall we get started?” He smiles at the charming girl. She nods in response, seemingly very eager.

“Yes please, Sensei. I’m looking forward to going to school again,” she murmurs. Ren smiles approvingly in response and lifts his briefcase which contains the test papers.

“I will supervise you while you test. Each section of the test will take thirty minutes to complete. No references or notes are allowed. Fill in what you can in the time allowed, and I will assess your tests personally. Normally a letter of acceptance would be sent, and one still will be sent before you start attending in a few weeks. You will be starting a few months later than most other students as I’m sure you know. I hope this won’t be too much of a burden on you.” He sets the first test on her desk, and helps her wheel up to it.

“The subjects tested are Japanese, Science, Social Science, and Mathematics. The total time of the testing period is two hours. Begin,” he says, marking the current time on his watch and then studying her as she starts. She seems largely confident, hesitating in a few places as she progresses through it. 

Ren leans against the wall by the desk, studying her as she works, and the girl looks up finally, blushing.

“Sensei… could you not stare at me like that?” she asks, chewing her lip. She doesn’t spare any time, however, returning her attention to the paper. Ren smiles.

“I need to monitor you to make sure you don’t do anything improper like using crib notes and such.” Ren shrugs and chuckles. “I will step back a little though if you prefer.” Ren notices a chair nearby and pulls it over and takes up a position where she won’t see him as directly, but where he can observe her freely without missing anything important.

Time passes in this way; every thirty minutes he stands up, finding that she has completed the sheet that he put before her. He replaces it with the next subject’s test paper and resumes sitting, once again marking the time. The only subject she seems to have issues with is Social Science, and when he takes that paper, replacing it with the Mathematics paper, he notes that the girl has completed it, though her answers took longer. He is tempted to scan through the tests that have been completed, but it isn’t allowed if he is being honest, and he ishonest to a fault. It is his duty to watch the girl, even though at this point he does not expect any problems from her. Madoka finishes the last page somewhat quicker than the other tests, but Ren waits just in case she’s uncertain about any of her answers and wants to backtrack or look over what she’s put down. She does not. The final thirty minute segment finishes.

Ren walks over and collects the final paper. Finally, with the testing over, Ren smiles at the girl, impressed overall. “Please relax. I will review your answers now.” He reviews her answers while standing.

“Yes, Sensei,” the girl replies, betraying a hint of anxiety only now.

Ren notes the girl’s expression of relief while he reads through the test answers and smiles. As confident as she seemed going into it, it looks to him as though she is less confident afterwards than beforehand. That says interesting things about her character. He finishes reviewing her answers in a great deal less time than it took to conduct the testing itself, and smiles at her.

“Are you ready for the results, Hamada-kun?” His tone is lightly teasing as he examines her expression. Her expression wavers between slightly annoyed and anxious.

“Yes, Sensei!” she repeats.

Ren waits another moment for dramatic effect and then delivers his proclamation. “Congratulations, you pass!” He grins at the girl, who smiles brightly in response. 

Madoka takes a deep breath. “Thank you, Sensei!” she exclaims happily.

“Congratulations, Sugar!” Madoka blinks and looks over at the door, seeing Kozuke standing there. She smiles at him and waves.

“Thank you, Kozy!” she exclaims.

“Master Yoshi has had Midoriyama-san prepare a lunch. Would you care to join us, Takahashi-sensei?” Kozuke inquires.

“I’d be delighted. I can’t stay much longer than that, but I would like to get to know my student a little better.” He smiles and looks at Madoka. “I will be your Homeroom teacher as well. I couldn’t say that officially until you had passed the exam. I am very impressed by how capable you seem to be. I can tell you are still physically weak from your ordeal,” he notes.

Madoka nods, sighing. She is indeed a little tired already. She has to continue to work hard to build her strength so that she will be able to handle going to school. “I can handle it, Sensei,” she replies, her tone positive.

Kozuke wheels Madoka out of the lacy bedroom and Ren follows alongside, re-studying the mansion and the girl in particular as they go. The three meet Master Yoshi in the foyer.

“So how did the brat do, Sensei?” he inquires, looking directly at Takahashi.

Ren blinks at the term he used. “Brat? She did excellent. It wasn’t a perfect score, but I expect she will do as well as any other student in the second term, possibly better than most. As you know, unlike many other high schools, we do have an elevator for disabled students and utility purposes, so even in her wheelchair she should keep up well enough. How long is she expected to need the wheelchair, Doctor?” Ren asks.

Master Yoshi gestures for them to follow him, and he leads everyone into the dining room with a pleased expression on his face. “It’s not certain. That depends a lot on the girl, herself. If she stays motivated, perhaps several months. If not, possibly not until the start of the third term,” Master Yoshi muses.

“I thought about having her home schooled, but a certain nosy kohai of mine insisted she won’t continue to grow socially if she’s not reintroduced to the school system. Please take a seat wherever you like, Sensei.” Master Yoshi gestures and seats himself at the head of the table. After noting the place Madoka is wheeled to by Kozuke, Ren seats himself on the other side of Madoka from Master Yoshi.

It isn’t long before Midoriyama wheels lunch in. 

Madoka is excited to see that lunch is Pot Au Feu. Apparently among Midoriyama’s seemingly endless list of talents is French cooking. The aroma of the French stew immediately makes her stomach start growling audibly. She blushes softly as Ren starts laughing.

“You must have worked up quite an appetite, Hamada-kun.” He grins good-naturedly at her.

To her greater dismay however, what is placed before her is not a bowl containing that delicious-smelling Pot Au Feu. Instead, it is just broth. Madoka looks at the maid Midoriyama with tears in her eyes. Midoriyama winces a little at the look, actually losing a little of her usual grace as she sets a bowl in front of Ren. “It’s not my fault!” she protests.

Madoka immediately refocuses on the master whose fault it has to be. “Master Yoshiiiiii…” Madoka bawls.

“You aren’t ready for much solid food yet…” Master Yoshi huffs. “Just keep drinking your protein shakes and be happy I’m feeding you!” he retorts, his expression morbidly embarrassed. Ren looks across the table at him, amused.

Lunch passes quickly. For the sake of Master Yoshi’s pride, Ren deftly turns the subject of conversation towards Madoka, asking about her early life. He finds to his consternation that despite his gesture he can't get much more information out of Doctor Hamada. The girl Madoka is a mystery to Ren. The records say that she is the adopted daughter of Doctor Hamada Yoshi. A little investigating easily turned up facts surrounding Doctor Hamada Yoshi. That he had been a revolutionary plastic surgeon with a prestigious career. It is easy to believe when you see how fancy Master Yoshi’s home is. 

With information concerning Madoka, Ren immediately ran into a dead end. It was his policy to find out as much as possible about his students in advance, and none of his resources had turned up any information about the Doctor’s adopted daughter. It was almost as though he’d made her himself out of thin air. He studies the girl again, shaking his head. As he thought, she is so perfect-looking that he can almost believe she has been created by someone with a mind rather than the usual genetic lottery. She doesn’t have any flaws that he can see, though beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. Not everyone would see it so, maybe. He imagines that an extremely human-like robot might look exactly as perfect on the outside as Hamada Madoka does. 

After a while, he gives up and just speaks directly with Madoka, attempting to draw her out directly. Oddly enough, this method doesn’t yield any results either. Madoka doesn’t talk much about her past, sticking to subjects in the present.

And so Ren ends up leaving shortly after lunch has concluded, without any of his questions having been answered.

A week later, Madoka’s physical training had continued and she’d continued to make more progress and assert her independence in very small ways. At this point she can get up into a sitting position by herself in bed. and with work she can move herself into her wheelchair, provided it is close by. Using the bathroom is trickier, but she determinedly forces herself to make progress in that department. Being supervised by someone when you go the bathroom is quite embarrassing. Not to mention when they have to help you clean yourself up. Madoka had to tolerate that a few times but she had drawn the line afterwards even though Kozuke was only sweet, helpful, and respectful towards her. It was still embarrassing!!!

Madoka is sitting at her desk, practicing styling her hair, when the door to the room opens with a click and she looks over to see Kozuke, holding several objects.

“Good morning, Sugar! Your school uniform has arrived.” He sets the articles of clothing down neatly on the desk and holds up the jacket and skirt for her to inspect. The skirt is pink and navy checkered and really pretty underneath the navy blue coat. There are three buttons on the coat, and the fabric seems to shimmer a little to her eyes. She has never worn such a pretty school uniform before. In the schools she had attended so far, the Junior High uniform had been a standard militaristic boys' uniform with jacket and pants in black. The girls’ uniform had been a black and white sailor uniform with a pleated skirt. Elementary uniforms had been even more simple and boring.

Madoka blushes a little staring at it. At this point she isn’t even surprised that her first thought is, how will it look on me? As opposed to, why do I have to wear this? She finds that without a doubt, she did look forward to wearing it!

A week later on the morning of August 1st, Madoka is gently awakened earlier than usual by Kozuke. Her eyes open, her vision a little hazy from insufficient sleep. She had not been able to go to sleep quickly the previous night, anticipating that tomorrow was going to be her first day of school, and she had found herself breathless with excitement over it. Kozuke helps Madoka into her wheelchair that he has already pulled up near the bed, and wheels her into the bathroom where he helps her to take a quick bath, moving her to a bath stool temporarily so he can pour hot water over her and then set about washing her thoroughly. Not for the first time, Madoka thinks that having someone wash her is embarrassing, but also really nice.

When she is cleaned and rinsed, he allows her fifteen minutes in the bath before helping her out and toweling her off thoroughly. Afterwards, he immediately starts blow-drying her hair, and she sighs happily at the warmth of the hot air as it quickly moves over her hair, efficiently removing the moisture. She has visions of Kozuke undergoing a secret boot camp with Midoriyama-san just for this day. Was he a little more efficient than usual?

When her hair is dry, he wheels her back into the room. Madoka watches eagerly as Kozuke starts laying her uniform out for her. He selects white knee socks, the skirt, the coat, a white button up shirt, and a long stringy thing that matches the skirt that Madoka had seen last week. Kozuke had said it was called a krevat. He also sets out a matching pink lacy bra. She will finally get to wear her pretty uniform today! Kozuke helps her into it, starting with the pair of warm white knee socks. He hands her the lacy pink panties which she can put on herself for a change, thankfully. She had learned a few tricks that let her put on certain articles of clothes in a sitting position. She accepts the bra from him next and puts that on. Midoriyama has taught her how to wear one properly. She stuffs her breasts into it neatly from the sides and then fastens it behind her, with a little fumbling.

Kozuke helps her put on the rest of everything, the white button up shirt, followed by the plaid/checkered skirt, and then the coat, which he buttons over the white shirt, making sure to tuck the white shirt into her skirt before finally wrapping the kravat around her collar and tying it for her. Unknown to her, Midoriyama is standing at the door, and when Kozuke finishes, she steps forward, holding two shoe boxes and a bag.

“These are gifts from the master and us, Sugar.” She winks and holds out the first of the boxes. Madoka sees some cute outdoors shoes that went well with the uniform. They are black and in a Lolita style. She hands the box to Kozuke, who smiles up at Madoka with tears standing in the corners of his eyes. He gently helps her into the shoes. She will not be walking, but there are appearances that one has to keep up. Midoriyama shows her the contents of the second box. It is another pair of shoes. This time they are indoor shoes, in a style much like the ones she wears now. These are for school. Madoka smiles and nods.

“Thank you, Midoriyama-san.” She smiles. Midoriyama looks at her disapprovingly.

“Onee-chan!” she corrects her playfully, making Madoka blush. “Lastly we have this…” She holds up a large bag. It is a fine leather shoulder bag. She places it in Madoka’s lap and opens it, demonstrating it isn’t just an empty bag. Inside are a couple of clear file binders, a pen and pencil case with cute bunnies on it, and a lady’s wallet.

“Inside the wallet is your school ID, and a charged Manaca card just in case you end up using the bus one day. You could run away with it, but I think you’re too smart to run away from your loving home.” Midoriyama smiles. “There is also some yen in the wallet and a charge card. That should show you how much Master Yoshi cares for you and trusts you. The charge card has a spending limit on it, so don’t abuse it.” She tucks it back into the bag and pulls out another case with flower patterns on it. “This is from me. It’s a starter makeup kit. There is also a wireless flatiron just in case your hair gets frizzy since it’s getting to be winter. There is also a small umbrella.”

Madoka is already overwhelmed by what Midoriyama is showing her, and she isn’t even done. Tears leak out of the corners of her eyes quietly.

“Here is a cell phone. It’s a modern model with good capabilities. No schoolgirl worth her panties would be without one. You can keep in contact with the friends you make with it, go online and do things, but most importantly, the numbers for home, the master, Kozuke, and myself are in the contacts if you find yourself in trouble. The charging cable is in one of the pouches in the front of the bag.” She gestures. “Do not use the phone in school. If it gets confiscated, Master Yoshi will be very angry.”

She pulls out a cloth wrapped bundle next and winks at Madoka. The cloth has teddy bears and hearts on it and it’s a pastel pink. “Your bento. I will make you one daily, Sugar.” She winks at Madoka. “There is a thermos with tea in it as well. There is a notepad, rulers, a protractor and compass, and a few other odds and ends for organization and school work as well.” Midoriyama breathlessly finishes tucking everything neatly back into her bag and zips it closed while Madoka sobs quietly, completely overcome with emotion.

Finally, Midoriyama wraps her arms around the girl and hugs her tightly. “Stop that crying! You’ll look awful when you get to school if you don’t.” She pulls back, giving Madoka a wink. “A breakfast is waiting for you and then Kozy will drive you to school. We would let you take the bus, but the buses in this area aren’t always outfitted with wheelchair access.” She smiles. “Let’s hurry you into the dining room.”

She does so and Madoka enjoys a light breakfast. She enjoys a light meal of miso soup with tofu, a side of rice, a single mouth-watering delicious sausage, and mixed fruit pieces. When she finishes her meal and is bundled out through the foyer, Master Yoshi stands in front of his office. He gives her a grudgingly approving nod and waves to her as she is wheeled out and loaded up into a van outside by Kozuke. Her wheelchair is loaded onto the back and the two set out. This is the first time Madoka has been allowed outside the grounds of the mansion. Kozuke pulls out of the driveway, down it a ways, and to the nearby two-lane mountain highway; they turn onto it heading due south. Madoka has to admit to herself that after her previous experience she is incredibly nervous, but by now she trusts Kozuke.

The way is a little windy and twisty as it travels through the low mountain range, and at one point Madoka thinks she sees a cable car high above the road crossing over it. It is pretty early in the morning. When she looks at the clock on the dash, it reads 7:47. It isn’t too long before they reach the town, seeing more and more homes and buildings along the way. At one point they pass a bus heading in the same direction. Madoka thinks she can see a scattering of students in the same uniform that she is wearing mixed in with the morning commuters and people out for early errands.

The school isn’t too much farther into town. They turn several street corners and pull up to a large building slowly. A wave of tired and excited-looking students in uniforms identical to hers, but also in shades of blue and gold as well, walk towards the large school building. It is a typical looking Japanese high school building. It is several stories high, a large wall around it with a sturdy gate that is open at the moment. A couple of teachers stand at the gate watching the procession of students passing inside. Groups of boys and girls either mingle or walk separately, but for the most part the groups seem fairly static to Madoka. She realizes that it might be harder to make friends now that most groups are already formed.

Kozuke exits the vehicle, lowering her chair and unfastening it from the rack that holds it, and then wheels it around to Madoka. He helps her to lower down into the wheelchair seat and then, looking both ways, wheels her across the street and up to the school building. Students around her are already taking notice of her, looking at her as they walk by. She blushes, having expected some attention, but she is receiving a lot of it.

“Alright, Sugar. I will have to leave you here.” He smiles at the girl. It seems she had her bag and nothing was amiss. “Please do your best!” he encourages her with a smile, and she nods, eagerly putting her hands on the wheels of her chair. 

“Thank you, Kozy, I will!!!” she exclaims, and eagerly wheels forward, feeling free. It is a little cold, but there is otherwise no problem. She is already a little winded by the time she approaches the building. Her stomach has butterflies in it from anticipating what her first day of school is going to be like. It’s cramping up a little bit from her anxiety as she wheels into the building.



Manaca Cards are special magnetic cards that allow you to get around through most of Japan on the transit systems. They work for busses, trains, bullet trains, etc... and every day the use of these cards are many cards like it is becoming more and more widespread. They're also usable in participating businesses. You load them with cash balances at a local station periodically.