Chapter 1: The Princess' Glare
Not a long time ago, there was a beautiful lady who attended one of the most prestigious high schools in Tokyo. Everyone called her Airi-hime. It was said that rows of men could fall to their feet by her mere presence. She had millions of photos taken each day and uploaded by her fans. Her fan club consisted of more than three million members with 70% being males and 30% being females. But that’s cut the bull crap, and go to the heart of the story. With the start of the second year of high school, nothing was going to change much.

“Ah! Airi-hime!” a bunch of guys screamed as she walked past the school gates. “Welcome back!”

Ichijo-san, with her head set high, ignored them as usual and continued to march with her best friend or sidekick, Watanabe Kyoko, who could be the second prettiest girl in this schoolyard. I’d take Kyoko over Ichijo-san any day. Watanabe-san was the Yamato Nadeshiko. Ah, a goddess indeed. The sort I would actually consider to worship. Ichijo-san . . . I just wondered how many first years she would trick this time.

“Yo! Hayato!” I felt an arm swing around my neck, and I turned to find Miyake Yusei looking the same as before. “You ready?”

“Ready for what?” I grumbled and shook myself free from Yusei.

The problem with Yusei is that he’s touchy, which reminded me of my three awful older sisters, Yuki, Yuka and Yuko or what I’d like to call the KiKaKo tribe. From as long as I could remember, the KiKaKo liked to torment me. They would dress me up in girl clothes and take photos of me. If I didn’t obey, they wouldn’t let me use the washroom. So it was either soak my pants in pee or be a girl for a few hours. I chose the latter, and therefore made a huge mistake of my life. Now, they had evidence to blackmail me to do whatever they wanted, which made me become the Cinderella of the family. I’d do all the household chores and even cook. I knew more about makeup and clothes than the average guy. I could even get rid of stains and sew buttons. I swore I must have been an orphan or something. Who would be related to such evil women? Brr . . . the thought of women brought chills to my spine. Even my own mother was scary. I suppose she was the start of my tragic life. Unlike most mothers, she didn’t want a son. She thought she was old, so she would rather have a daughter to make less noise. So, she prayed every day that she would give birth to a daughter. My father, on the other hand, begged for a son. I could understand why now. He’d be free from slavery. So, God granted both of their wishes and gave them me: a guy with superior female capabilities. Oh, I came healthily equipped with the male body but was trained to be the perfect housewife. I secretly believe that my mother would like me to marry a rich woman.         

“Yeah! Hayato, have you been listening to me?” Yusei asked.

I shook my head, but still answered, “No, but is it about Ichijo-san?”

“No!” Yusei shouted. “It’s Airi-hime! Jesus, Hayato! You’re going to get bullied if you keep hating on her.”

Bullied? The outcast girl that hated the prince of the class? What was this? Why was I stuck in a female role again? I scratched my head and sighed, “Yeah, whatever.”

“Whatever?” Yui jumped in front of me to yell. “How can you say whatever about Airi-hime? Take it back, Hayato!” Suddenly, there was tons of gasping around me, mostly from guys. And people said girls created more drama. . .

Not wanting to make a huge scene, I uttered, “Okay. I take it back. There. Let’s go to class now.”

I’d rather be unknown than be famous. As clichéd as this would seem, I always wore my disguise for self-protection. My battle gear comprised a set of black framed dorky glasses, uncombed hair, and sometimes an unshaven face. The KiKaKo have told me countless times that I am wasting my looks as a bishounen and that I should go dress up as a female idol and earn tons of money for the family. Even my mother had secretly sent many photographs of me dressed as a woman to popular women magazines. I got several call backs, but I refused to go to any of them. A male must lead a male’s life. The journey of a man should be based onbushido, the way of the warrior.

Why, oh, why did I have to be born in the 21st century?

Then, I slapped myself to get a hold of myself. I must undergo a painful journey to prove myself as a man. I must defeat and overtake the greedy lords, KiKaKo, to save the family. I must make my own money and stuff dollars into the KiKaKo’s mouths. They’ll be begging me to be good to them, and as for women, who cared about them? I’d be perfectly fine by myself. I would not succumb to lust or any form of disgusting behaviour.

Exactly.

That has been how I lived for sixteen years, and I hope to continue being this way. There would be nothing that could change me. Nothing at all, except . . .

“Class,” our homeroom teacher, Nakashima sensei, announced. “Ichijo-san will be joining our class from now on.”

Ichijo-san? What? What the hell is going on? Huh? I looked Yusei to my left out of desperation. Yusei was smiling like a perverted old man just like . . . all the other guys around me. Holy fu.ck. What was wrong with these people? Could they not tell that this was an evil woman at heart? Huh? What happened to being a true man? Not losing to femme fatales?

I looked straight ahead, and Ichijo-san glared at me back. So this is how it is? A formal battle huh?

Nakashima sensei then continued to say, “Ichijo-san, would you like to give an introduction?”

Ichijo only shook her head and then marched down my aisle until she reached me. The guy to my right immediately stood up and bowed. “Airi-hime, please, take this seat if you would,” the guy stated.

“No!” Another guy in the class stood up. “Take mine!”

“No! Use mine!”

Even stupid Yusei was on his knees begging, “No, our darling Airi-hime, please use mine! I have one of the best views of the cherry blossoms!” It seemed like the girls in the class and I were the only ones still glued to our seats. Ichijo-san still stood there though and looked at me. I shot my best defensive look at her, hoping that she’d back off. Guys weren’t supposed to fight girls. This was good enough huh? Unfortunately, Yusei yelled, “Hayato! Get your Richard Simmons up! Airi-hime wants to sit there!”

“Huh?” I raised an eyebrow. She didn’t want to fight? Then why was she staring me down like that? She appeared as a yakuza boss to me.

Yusei along with some other guys rushed to me, and among this chaos, I could still tell what exactly happened and who the perpetrator was. Ichijo-san’s foot was on the edge of my chair, and she was the one that knocked me down. I crashed painfully on the side of my body. The fu.ck, I thought. That bi.tch. I knew she was up to no good.

“Ah! Airi-hime, are you hurt in any way?” Yusei pondered.

Hurt? Her? That wavy-haired bi.tch? Shouldn’t someone be asking if I’m okay? What is this retarded logic? Wait . . . I shouldn’t care about these wounds. A man has to face many more to come in battles. A man must not complain. A man must endure pain.

“Class. Class. Now settle down,” Nakashima sensei instructed. “Daigo-san, is it okay if you sit over there then?”

Nakashima sensei pointed to an empty seat beside the window. Unwillingly, I moved without muttering anything. In my head, though, I was cursing all the known swear words I knew. Now, that bi.tch was gawking at me again. I viciously handed her a cold stare.

Ichijo Airi . . . I believed I had met my match. It was time to take down the shogun of this school or at least figure out why she seemed to disfavour me so much. If I did not recruit a few allies, I’d be taken down and be forced to do seppuku to die an honourable death.

But wait . . . Ichijo-san wasn’t a male. Now, that reminded of some of those historical dramas the KiKaKo liked to watch. Whenever there was some smart, powerful woman, the males would be completely shocked that the lady had brains. The respected male figures would comment, "If only that woman were a male" or something like that. While munching on my chips, I always thought either girls were incredibly stupid in that age or they just didn't have guts to do much. Was this my turn then to acknowledge this woman's brilliance? And if I were to follow equality completely, then I could fight back against her. However, women were not supposed to be met with force. All right, so perhaps, I was being sexist, but males shouldn’t strike females. 

All throughout class, I had that creepy feeling that someone was glowering at me from behind, and so I turned my head slightly backwards. There she was . . . creepily eyeing me with no shame at all. She wasn’t blushing or acting like a typical female. Instead, she seemed even angrier as if she wanted to rip my head apart or beat the cr.ap out of me. I wouldn’t be surprised if she were secretly channeling some bad energy towards me.

She was definitely no hime, shogun or samurai. She was just a banchou, but even that proved to be difficult. Experience told me everything. A rough ride, indeed.
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