Preparations and Technique (4)
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Long black hair cascaded down her shoulders and teased her elbows with their tips. A sharp and high nose, separating two enrapturing eyes away from the other. The person as tall as me with a beautiful visage enough to leave behind my mother met my eyes.

{Woa—}

NOPE.

N-O-P-E.

Without waiting for a second, I smiled at Zachary who was waving at me, and turned to my left. With the automatic glass doors right in front of me opening wide. I lowered my stance and prepared to sprint out.

"Ralph!"

Zachy's voice boomed in the air, which I promptly ignored. Right before my feet could take the step outward, a hand appeared above my shoulder and held me down in place.

Like the freezing breeze of a winter dawn, a chilling breath tickled against my neck.

"Hello, Ralph." The words as sharp as shivs of ice ran up my ears and cooled down my head. My eyes moved to the side to meet with eyes of gold, reminding me of my own. Her lips were spread in a slight smile while she amusedly raised her eyebrows.

"Sister..." I muttered back. My feet had stopped in their track on the way out, and Zachy and the other two seemed to have stopped too, observing us with a confused gaze. 

My sister's hand pulled me by the shoulder and turned me around. "Right," she said. "Don't do that..." Her whispers fell against my ears as my eyes remained stuck on the face I hadn't seen for over an entire year. "Don't call yourself my brother in public. It's embarrassing for my image."

{Fuckkkkk... she's worse than you told me}

Embarrassing. Was it?

My arms stretched out and wide. My sister looked confused for a second, right then, I curved my arms behind and her back and pulled her closer into a tight embrace. 

Zachy, Luke, Leone, no... almost everyone in the place had had their attention snapped by my sister. And naturally, all of their jaws collectively dropped down to the ground like a bursting cloud when they saw me hug her.

{WHAAAAT! What's going on!? Why are you hugging that girl??} The system seemed interested in giving voice to everyone's thoughts.

"RIN! My sister!" I screamed out loud, letting anyone and everyone who can hear, hear. "I missed you soo much!!"

"W-what did he say?"
"Sister!?"
{Sister?!}
"That kid! He's the Ice Princess' little brother!?"

Dozens of whispers spread out around us as the other students in the room processed my words. Zachy and Luke still had their jaws hanging right above the ground, though. And to my surprise, Leone Hendrickson didn't look surprised at all, instead, he was biting his teeth.

Hm. That guy knew something, huh? Was he the one my sister was using to get to me?

While I was trying to take in any clues from my surroundings, I could feel my sister's jaws loosening into a shocked chuckle as it pushed against my shoulders. My sister wrapped her arms around my back and returned the embrace. "You'll pay, you bitch," she said.

Dumbass.

I grabbed her shoulder and pushed her away from me. "Why have you been avoiding me?" I asked, my voice still as loud as before.

My lips spread into a smirk as my sister's eyebrows twitched. 'It's on,' she mimed with her mouth while meeting my eyes. 

"Me? Avoid you?!" Rin's voice almost matched mine.  "I would never, my dear brother."

Hearing her call me her 'dear brother' sent an unnerving chill up my spine, but I maintained the smiley facade and so did she. She shook herself out of my grasp and hooked her hand around my neck. We were almost of the same height, with me being a couple of centimeters taller, so it didn't look off at all when she dragged me along to the other three first-years and my classmates.

Most of the eyes around were still on us. From the people making use of the enormous archery lanes to the ones utilizing all the specialized gymming equipment on one end. Even some of the people spectating some fights in what looked like some isolated arenas had shifted their attention toward us.

"S-sister?" Zachy muttered when he saw us coming closer. "You're the Ice Princess' sister?"

"No way... You guys do look similar. No, almost the same..." Luke added.

"Do we now?" I awkwardly scratched the back of my head and smiled. Luke and Zachy nodded fervently, and even Leone Hendrickson seemed to be agreeing.

"Ice Princess?" I took the chance and whispered in Rin's ears. "Cringe as hell."

"Should you be saying that, leech kid?"

{You guys are strangely close?}

Were we now? If anything, this was unnerving. I carefully looked around, waiting for my sister's next move.

I wanted to train here. But with Rin Rubinstein here, that was out of the question. I didn't want anything to do with a place where she was around. Absolutely not.

"Wow, this is hard to believe. So you knew about Ralph all along, senior?" Zachy asked.

"I am sorry... I should have not said those things..." Luke said with a lowered gaze. What things did this guy tell her now?

"Not at all!" My sister immediately cut those two off, waving her hands from side to side. "If not for you, I would have never known my brother was struggling so much in this school."

I didn't like where this was going.

"Don't worry now, Ralph," she said, loud and clear. "I'll help you now. Let's train together, I'll teach you personally and we can get better, ok?"

"No thanks. I can't impose on you like that," I snapped back immediately. Right then, Luke and Zachy Bird turned to me and tapped my shoulders.

"Hey, I don't think you should reject her offer like this. Isn't it big help for you?" Luke said. Just how the fuck was this guy even in the picture? It was hard to believe how trustful he had gotten toward my sister.

"He's right, Ralph. Senior is ranked second in the second year as well. You can learn a lot."

Before I could even notice it, most of the people watching us were nodding their heads in agreement.

{Host... you can't say no here, can you?}

I couldn't. If I cared about leaving things calm as they were right now, there was no way I could go against my sister.

She was strong and talented.

Rin Rubinstein. Despite her strengths, I never saw her as a competition.

No matter how prodigious she was. No matter how powerful she became.

She could never bridge the gap in our talents.

But if there was something she could fight me with... It was using the people around her to her advantage.

For all its worth, the entirety of the Awakener course was in her hands as it was now.

"I see..." I said. "Then, I'll be relying on you, sister."

"Of course." Her smile grew wide at my words, almost taking on a sadistic edge. "Let's start with a spar, shall we?"

Fuck.

 

Phew, I took a while but here it is!

I thought a lot about this one. Should I keep things dark and mysterious? Or will people like it more for Rin to be an antagonist toward Ralph? In the end, I decided to take things in this direction. I'll go on a tangent and explain things a little down here only because I think it would be nice to get a look into the background of things? Anyway, feel free to skip the rest of the author's note!

I wouldn't say anything about the future of things this time. But this decision was mostly made keeping two points in mind. First, they are meeting in a public place, and both are pretty different from the image they let on. And the second is that I think no matter how much they hate each other, Ralph and Rin were already shown to be relying on each other in their childhood. a lot to completely despise each other. So instead, I showed a slightly childish side of Ralph with the meeting being light-hearted and them trying to one-up each other the entire time.

I hope you all enjoyed the chapter! As for their relationship also being shown to be tense and hate-filled. That is still going to be a part of things

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