Chapter 2: Memories and Enemies
Credits and thanks goes to FESHA for the poster
Lunch break was when Yusei and I liked to play basketball after eating. Basketball was one of those sports I had finally mastered after kneeling to Yuka, my second oldest sister, to be my coach at the age of twelve. At that time, Yuka was thirteen years old. Why did I ever do that? Well, she was the sports champion of my sisters. She was the one that preferred abs and muscles over skinniness. She was the one that competes in all of the sports day events and wins every single one of them. She was the one that all the sports teams want but will never get because she believes being a banchou is more important than anything. She was also the banchou of her high school and will still be until she graduates. All of these facts prove that she’d be my perfect sensei for basketball. I mean, I knew I was throwing myself to a devil, but I didn’t want to always get the ribbon for participants. If I had to be a true man, I had to be a sports champion too and had to acknowledge my better opponents. All for the sake of being a man, I knelt and bowed to Yuka, who almost spat at me.

“So now you know who the boss is eh?” She had a baseball bat in her hand and stepped on my back with her right foot. Then, she bent down, whispering, “You seriously want me to help you? Since you’re my otouto, I am willing to give you a chance to back out.”

“No, I will not give up!” I shouted.

“Good!” She kicked me over, making me land on my back. Soon, she cracked her knuckles and unleashed the scariest laugh I had ever heard of. “You’ll be having the time of your life! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Time of my life equated to spending hours jogging, squatting, dribbling, passing and shooting. There were numerous hours spent at the gym too. For every mistake I made, she would smack me with a large, thick bamboo stick and shout out the worst swear words known to mankind. Even when I threw up some blood, she told me to drink it down and continue working out. My mom didn’t seem to care about this abuse. Instead, she was more worried about how I’d be gaining muscle and possibly become muscle man. I’d rather take that any day. Sadly, I lost more weight and only had abs due to weight loss. Sucks.     

We’d usually play one-on-one with each other, and he’d talk about the latest news that he learned about Ichijo-san. Ever since the first day of high school, Yusei had developed this odd habit of bringing up Ichijo-san whenever possible. Whatever happened to the Yusei I knew from elementary school, the one that cared about video games and sports? I shook my head thinking about what Yusei told me last year. He said he didn’t believe in deities, but “Airi-hime made [him] believe” in them. When I tried to challenge him, he argued with me: “You don’t understand! Airi-hime has the golden ratio for a woman’s body and face. Look!” He even pulled out two charts in form of ninja scrolls out of his pockets. I swore I had no idea he’d be this dedicated to her. Crazy fan. “Look!” He stuffed the posters almost too close to my face. “Look at all those perfect rectangles around her body and face! Look! These all prove that she’s an angel, no, a goddess!”

I remembered being more curious about the actual calculations than the fact that she had golden ratios. I also felt safe in my disguise; could you imagine women fans? They would be even crazier, and trust me, I have had experience before. At my first elementary school, I remembered women and my female classmates ogling at me like some foreign specimen. Their eyes told me what they lusted after: me. KiKaKo had the same sort of gaze, so I also knew what those women wanted to do with me. They wanted to transform me into a girl! Wherever I went, they wanted to follow me. Even going to the washroom was a hassle. Physical education was even worse. I had to replace so many stolen, sweaty shirts of mine, and I still remembered catching the teacher sniffing one of my shirts. That was when I decided to quit and to turn to my disguise. Of course, KiKaKo wouldn’t let me go and therefore blackmailed me that if I wanted them to keep my secret, I had to let them cross dress me and be a girl at home. At least, that wasn’t in public often.

“Have you been listening to me?” Yusei harked at me while dribbling the ball. “You’re being watched, Hayato. I guarantee it.”  That word “watched” completely caught me off guard. It reminded me those scary women. “Ha!” Yusei cheered loudly. “Score! At this rate, I’m going to be whopping your Richard Simmons!”

I caught the ball bouncing, muttering, “Yeah right.”

“Either way,” Yusei backed off and spread his arms apart, “you’re in a bad situation.”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you mean ‘what do you mean’?”

“What did I do?”

Yusei roared at me, “You offended Airi-hime!”

“How the hell did I do that?” I rolled my eyes. “She’s the one that kicked my chair over! Shouldn’t I be the one that’s—“

“What?” Yusei now howled to cut me off. “How could you pin something like that on her? She’s an angel. Didn’t I tell you?”

“Yeah, an angel from hell,” I scoffed. Like all girls out there. Brr . . . the thought of KiKaKo just made my stomach ache. They were more like Medusa. Ha! Medusa with three heads.

“Ha! I got the . . . Oh no! Watch out!” Yusei screamed. I suddenly realized that Yusei had stolen the ball from me and accidentally deflected it towards the other side. The girl was going to be hit with the speed of the ball, and for some reason, I could only stand there and watch. A bunch of guys rushed towards her, but from what I could tell, she easily dodged that hit like a pro fighter. There was no way that an ordinary girl could do that, and with that speed too, she reminded me of that lone, child warrior I met when I was five.

My youngest sister, Yuko, had a crush on one of her classmates, but sadly, he rejected her, saying that he liked someone else that was gentler and prettier. Yuko, by no means, was ugly. Yuko had always been known as the prettiest out of my sisters, and she had her own fans at school. She still is sort of the hime of her school; obviously, her popularity isn’t as crazy as Airi’s but is around that level. Anyhow, Yuko, at the age of six, decided to use me, the five-year-old child, to seduce her crush, Yamato-kun. She told me that if I didn’t listen to her, she would distribute naked photos of me with a girl’s wig around the neighbourhood and post them on the Internet. She said she’d make sure every pedophile came to get me. She revealed that she took photos of me when I was sleeping and even dressed me up. It was another one of her black mailing devices she liked to pin on me, and that was also when I realized just how evil women were, particularly those in love.

Yuko’s task for me was to make Yamato-kun fall for me and then I’d dump him. Now that I thought of it, I was pretty sure she got the idea from watching this popular idol drama that my mom chased after every Tuesday evenings. My mom could be said as one of those crazy old fans of young, male idols. She said it was never too late to chase after youth. Going back to the story, the time limit was set for two weeks, and if I failed, Yuko would spread those photos of me. So, I would set my own battle plan. Because Yuko and I went to the same kindergarten school, I could easily catch Yamato-kun’s attention after school. According to Yuko, who stalked Yamato-kun like crazy, Yamato-kun liked to go the playground after class. Tons of girls would trail after him because he was the grade’s ikemen. He was cold, cool and handsome in Yuko’s opinion. What I had to do then, was to go to the playground in my girl dress to find Yamato-kun. Yuko got my oldest sister, Yuki, to transform me into a cute girl. I still remembered that long, black wig, patterned dress and straw hat I had to wear. Plus, the makeup she had put on me and the teddy bear underwear Yuko forced me to wear. She seemed to think that showing my underwear would make him fall for me. Oh God. Kill me back then.

So, when the day came to meet Yamato-kun, I was prepared to die like a brave warrior. This was the battle for men, except I was in a girl’s outfit. Never mind about that. Yuko watched from far away as I approached Yamato-kun, who was making sand castles at the sand pit. In my best, cute voice, I asked, “Can . . . I join?”

Yamato-kun immediately turned all red and nodded his head up and down. This was going to be easier than I thought, and surely, Yamato-kun and I spent the whole time making sand creatures together. To be honest, I felt kind of bad for this kid now that I keep thinking more about the situation. His first love was . . . me . . . a guy. But, never mind about pitying others. My circumstances were far worse because after that successful meeting, Yamato-kun made a ring for me using some grass. Cheesy, I had to admit, and that move totally freaked me out. I ran away, but his group of girl fans caught me and cornered me in the alley. All this time, I screamed, “Nee-san! Nee-san! Where are you?”

Yuko didn’t even bother me, so I was helplessly being yelled and beaten up by girls. If I were properly dressed, then this wouldn’t have happened. Girls wouldn’t dare to hit me, yet since I was a “girl” in their eyes, they could bully me. See, that was when I vowed to myself that I would never ever fall for a girl. I would never fall in love either. I would be perfectly fine by myself. I could own a dog and die with it. In fact, I had thoughts of just dying there, but suddenly, I heard a clear, loud voice, hollering, “Stop! You girls! Hurting the weak! Shame on you!”

The sun cast a large shadow on this heroic figure. He was the coolest guy I had ever encountered. He was almost a head taller than those girls, and he could block, punch and kick so well. I was in awe this whole time, and I knew from then on, that I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to be a powerful hero like him. That was how a man should live.

But, why was it that Ichijo-san reminded me of that cool guy? Odd. Whatever.

I ignored everything, especially Ichijo-san’s clan of obsessive fans who were yelling names at me like nerd, weakling, weirdo, small dick, and bastard. I could understand nerd and weakling. The others made no sense. At school, the only sports I excelled in were running and basketball. Running was from all the escaping I had to do from KiKaKo or weird women. Basketball was already explained. As for nerd, I had been trained to study well and hard because my oldest sister, Yuki, would dump all her homework on me despite the fact that we were seven years apart. Yuki had always been known as the smartest girl in the grade, and she was smart . . . just incredibly lazy too. Half of the reason that she was in Tokyo University was because of my help. Without my help, she’d be in second tier or third with her poor studying habits. The other part that made her get into Tokyo University was her ability to suck up to people. She got the best recommendation letters after being the teachers’ pet and sending the teachers gifts frequently. What gifts were those then? My baked goods and bento that she forced me to make every day. I was thankful that she had graduated from university already and was working as an office lady at some big company. I would not be surprised if there were rumours of her sleeping her way up the corporate ladder. I wouldn’t even be shocked if she became some big shot’s mistress. Her dream had always been to marry rich. This dream was also Yuko’s. So, inevitably, the two have had an unspoken competition, which would be decided upon marriage. Who would marry the richest?

Suddenly, Yusei nudged me right in the ribs. “Oi, Hayato,” Yusei urged. “you’re seriously in danger.”

“Huh? Why?” I yawned a bit and wiped the sweat off of my face. Basketball was a bit tiring today due to the hot sun. It wasn’t supposed to be so warm today. Odd.

“Haven’t you been listening to anything I’ve said?” Yusei grumbled as we headed to our class.

“No,” I casually answered.

“I heard that Airi-hime’s fan club is out to get you,” Yusei warned. “After school today.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.”

“Why aren’t you even scared?” Yusei bellowed. “There’s this crazy senpai who is the first in karate and another senpai in kendo and yet another one doing archery that could all kill you.”

Kill me? I scratched my chin a bit. Could they be as crazy as KiKaKo, especially the Ka, the banchou from Northern High? I tried picturing tough, muscular guys attacking me with arrows, punches and kicks. Then, I imagined Yuka chasing after me because I accidentally ate her favourite bag of chips. Oh god. I’ve had yearly nightmares ever since that happened to me when I was eleven. I thought Mom bought an extra bag of chips for my snack, but who knew Yuka had went grocery shopping with Mom the day before and had received that as a gift. So, I gobbled it up and Yuka saw me finish off the crumbs. Then, the tsunami came with a startling growl. She reminded me of Goku from Dragon Ball Z, that time when he was transforming into a seiyan. No sooner did I think that, she attacked me with a kitchen knife. Oh, I forgot to mention that I became very good at dodge ball and anything with defense. I had to use the cutting board to block for a good five minutes. She was attacking fiercely while I kept rolling and dodging. It was a real live action video game, and all this time, my mother was in the garden listening to the latest Jpop songs on full blast while tending to the flowers. So the epic battle scene music was cheery songs from SMAP, EXILE, Ayumi Hamasaki and Namie Amuro.  

Brr . . .

Nope. There was no way that I’d be afraid of those guys, and sure enough, they came after me after school. I had underestimated the number of loyal fans Ichijo-san had, and I was also unlucky that I was put to cleaning duty with Ichijo-san. Actually, she bailed in the beginning because some guys were fighting to do her share. Luckily, the lovely Watanabe-san told them to stop arguing and agreed to do Ichijo-san’s share. During cleaning duty, I really wanted to talk to Watanabe-san, but I wasn’t sure where to start. I had always banned myself from girls, and in fact, I had vowed not to marry or to fall in love. However, that was before meeting Watanabe-san right? She was truly the ideal woman, but would I actually pursue her? Ugh . . . if she had those crazy eyes like those women . . .

Okay. I believed it’d be safer to just be friends with Watanabe-san. She seemed normal enough, but if she were normal, why in the world would Watanabe-san hang out with Ichijo-san? Eh . . . that really . . .

“Oi!” A guy with a kendo stick burst into the room. “Is there a Daigo Hayato in here?”

Trained with ample survival instincts, I lied, “Oh. Daigo-san, he already went home.”

“Oh . . .”

Then, the guy left, and I quickly told Watanabe-san while grabbing for my supplies, “I have to go now. Thanks for helping out. I will help you another day.”

“But, wait. Shouldn’t you just confront—“

“That’s crazy talk!” I yelled at her. “Oh. Sorry. I didn’t mean to yell. Anyways, I have to—“

“You lied!” The senpai screamed. “He’s in here guys!”

Richard Simmons. I thought. Just my luck. Seeing an opening under the guy’s arm, I dashed forward and sprinted down the hall. I didn’t care where I was running towards; I just knew that I had to run. For some weird reason, I was actually thankful that KiKaKo were scarier and fiercer than these guys. Yuka was definitely faster than them, and her hits were far more accurate.

Oh Richard Simmons.

An arrow. Oh and another one. A flying kick? What the heck.

Okay. So, instinct told me that the only way to survive this would be to mix with a crowd, but I didn’t know the school campus that well to plan out my route. I slid down a ton of stairs on my bottom and kept going until I reached the ground floor. Okay, I was at the entrance now, but I was stupid enough to forget that there was one step towards the shoe lockers. One step made me trip and fall to the ground. An arrow pinned the edge of my pants down. Damn it, I cursed as I pulled the arrow out. I got up and realized that I was surrounded on both sides. Fu.ck. Today really was my unlucky day.

The guys were cackling at me completely. I was a coward, and men were not cowards. Hold your ground, Hayato. That was what I told myself. The worst I’d get was a beating, and I’d be hospitalized. At least, let me put up with a fight.

“Ah!” I screamed my battle cry and charged towards one of the guys in front of me. Immediately, the karate guy took me down and threw a punch towards me. I dodged it by shifting my head to the side. This guy was going to knee me in the stomach any time soon. I closed my eyes and thought this was it. Ugh . . .

No hit. No punch. No knee? What? I widened my eyes and saw . . . a girl in front of me with her arms spread apart? She was blocking me from getting hurt? What?

“Airi-hime?” a few guys shrieked.

Another asked, “Wh-wh-what are you doing? We’re punishing the one that hurt you!”

One of the guys wanted to move her aside to a safer spot, but he pushed too hard and she fell to the ground. No one could really see what was happening; however, they could tell that I was exposed. The karate guy chucked a fist at me, but slam. I saw Ichijo-san hold that punch effortlessly with her hand. The guy uttered, “Wh-wh-wh—“

She grabbed him and threw him over her shoulder. I heard a loud cracking sound, and then she stepped on the guy’s head, hollering, “Don’t you dare touch my victim! I’m the only one that’s allowed to hurt him! Got it?”

What . . . the . . . fu.ck?

All the guys instantly fell to their knees and chanted, “Yes, Your Highness.”

After, all my enemies disappeared, and Ichijo-san revealed one of the most fear-provoking smiles I had ever encountered. She could definitely challenge KiKaKo’s terror, and that made me feel nauseous and dizzy.

And all went black for me. I believed . . . I fainted . . . in front of the enemy.


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