The Line That Separates Them. — Line 20

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Masterpiece.

October one, Monday. The temperature had rapidly gone down as the winter was soon approaching. People walking along the roads had started wearing thicker clothes and warm mufflers. After the excruciating heat of the summer, the bone-freezing cold of the winter filled the atmosphere, but the people weren’t complaining, rather, they welcomed it with open arms.

It has been one week since the Haru High School cultural festival came to a fulfilling end. We got the three days following the end of the cultural festival as holidays since there was just too much to clean up even after the students of various classes had cleaned up after themselves after closing their projects.

The overall prize for the best project went to the student council, they received a cash prize of a hundred-thousand-yen and were provided with all the luxuries one would yearn for in a student council room. Top-end computers, expensive air conditioners, new furniture, and much more. I was told that our school was one of the best in the country and was extremely generous to its students and teachers, however, this was the first time that I had experienced its renowned generosity in all its glory.

As for the second-place winner, class 1-E, they received a much more extravagant reward since they were a class with a population of fifty people, unlike the student council which had only eight people in total. It was a huge relief that the cultural festival ended without any problems. There was an investigation conducted about what happened on the last day of the cultural festival in class 1-E, however, since the whole situation from starting to end had been recorded by Aoki-kun on his phone, the case was resolved pretty quickly. The man was asked to apologize to Minami, and Takumi was praised personally by the principal. As for my opinion on the matter, I am grateful for what happened. I know it’s not nice to find happiness in other’s misfortune, however…

“Look Chi-chan, he texted back!”

I pushed my phone towards Chiaki who was leisurely walking while sipping on a juice box.

“He just wrote ‘Good morning, Princess.’ Why the hell are you getting so excited?”

“I know~ But he wrote back, didn’t he? Slowly but surely, I’ll turn this ‘good morning’ to ‘I love you’. Hmph!”

I clutch my hand in the air. My imagination running wild and creating the sort of fantasies that a proper lady should never imagine.

“Yes, yes, you are allowed to dream all you want.”

“Eh~ It’s not a dream though~! Well, for now, it is. However, humans strive to turn dreams into reality, don’t they?”

“Hahaha.”

“What’s with that monotonous laughter!?”

As we chatted and laughed along the way while basking in the warm sunlight which would disappear in a couple of days, we reached our school and entered through the main gate. After showing our IDs and passing through, we headed towards the first-year building situated at the western part of campus.

Haru High School’s campus was made up of three huge buildings corresponding to each school year and housing five-hundred students each, there were many other facilities like a huge auditorium, gym, swimming pool, etc. The travel time between each of the three main buildings was roughly five minutes on foot. Though our school seems overpopulated, it never seems to hit unless all the students are gathered together.

“Hey, Miya, we still have a sports festival and the school trip, you can still try to seduce him during those.”

“What do you mean by ‘seduce’, who do you think I am? There are way better words than ‘seduce’, you know?”

“Better words?”

“Yeah, you know… Like ‘charm’ him, ‘intoxicate’ him, ‘entice’ him, and others along these lines…”

“Looking at your body, the only word which comes to mind is ‘seduce’ though.”

“Eh~!”

“Hahaha~”

“Hahaha~”

We giggled as we entered the first-year building. It was a tranquil and peaceful morning… Until we entered our classroom that is.

“Miya-chan~! I heard a very beautiful girl is transferring in class E~!”

“Oh, is that so…? Good for the- Wait! What!? Class E? Like our class E? First-year class E?”

“Miya-chan, I can’t say that I mind you being this close to me… But this position is a bit too… And we’re both girls…”

“Eh!? S-Sorry!”

“N-No, it’s fine… If it’s you, I don’t mind changing my ‘preferences’…”

“Hm? What? Did you say something, Takemoto-san?”

“N-No… Nothing… Yeah, about that girl! Did you hear about that blast in the Ryuuen Girls Academy?”

Blast? Oh yeah, they said something about it on the news, didn’t they?

“Yeah. Wasn’t it a terrorist bombing?”

I replied. I didn’t know about it that much since I don’t watch news that often.

“Yep, apparently, the school was attacked by terrorists. Since Ryuuen Girls Academy is one of those schools which only accept either the richest or the brightest, former more than the latter, terrorists were planning to extort the rich of our country by capturing their dear daughters. However, they underestimated the school’s defense system…”

“…The teachers along with the students isolated themselves in a bulletproof bunker, making the terrorists bomb the school to get them out. However, contrary to their expectations, the bunker held out until the police arrived on the scene.”

“Yeah, I get all that… Why are we talking about this though? Weren’t we discussing the new girl in E class?”

I may be sounding like an impatient brat, but it doesn’t matter at this point.

“Yeah, yeah, I am getting there. Since the blast in the school was rather potent, a huge part of the campus is unusable. So, the rich girls are scattering to different schools. The one coming in class E is one of the most famous students in Ryuuen Girls Academy. That girl was supposed to be placed in class G, but since Hishima-kun from class E transferred abroad, the girl was allowed to choose her class, and she chose E.”

Is that so? Wait…

“If she is from Ryuuen Girls Academy then doesn’t it imply that she’s from a very powerful household? I mean, aren’t girls there from noble families or whatever?”

“Yeah, I heard from my father that she is being handled like a priceless doll because of her overwhelming status.”

“Your father? Isn’t he in the media industry?”

“Yeah. I was absurdly surprised when he told me all this. I didn’t know he could obtain such detailed information. I guess celebrities have it hard. On top of being the daughter of a multi-billionaire, she is a singer herself. She has released four albums and all four of them have been global hits. I can’t believe she’s the same age as us~ ”

“Well… It’s fine then… A billionaire’s daughter won’t have any interest whatsoever in a common… hardworking… handsome… gentle… strong… a respectable and attractive guy like him, right? Hahaha~”

“What? Miya-chan? Did you say something?”

“Ah. No.”

“I am just wondering why would a girl who can get into any school in the world specifically choose our school?”

“Haha~ Who can understand how the rich think?”

“Hahaha~”

“Hahaha~”

I have a bad feeling about this.

“Nice to meet you~ My name is Miyashita Takara~ Please call me Takara~”

During lunchtime, we were sitting on the rooftop with a picnic cloth beneath us. Normally, it’d be us five, but today, Takumi brought a certain guest with him to have lunch.

This morning, Takemoto-san referred to the new student as ‘extremely beautiful’, looks like she was downplaying her words. This girl is not of this world.

How the hell is her voice so freaking sweet? It’s like she is pushing cotton candy in my ears. Oh yeah, she is a singer as well, isn’t she?

Her sapphire eyes are clear and warm. Her long hair starts lustrous blue and turns into a radiant purple as it approaches the ends. Her face is beautiful with perfectly shaped eyebrows, jaw, nose, and eyes. Her lips, even without lipstick, seem enticing and seductive. She is around one-sixty-five centimeters with a voluptuous figure not losing to Minami’s or Miyuki-senpai’s. She is what we commoners would refer to as a ‘masterpiece’.

The question is… Why is she here?

“Nice to meet you Takara-san. My name is Yukimura Chiaki. Please feel free to call me Chiaki.”

Chiaki bowed her head and said in a subtle voice. She was showing proper courtesy which a junior would show to an elder or a person of much higher status.

“Ara~ Chiaki, is it? You don’t have to be so stiff. If you act so seriously, I would be really troubled.”

“I’ll keep tha-… I under-… Okay, Takara.”

“Fufu~ Don’t try so hard. It’s fine. This is our first meeting after all. Forgive me for my presumptuousness.”

Is she really the daughter of Miyashita Asahi, the second richest person in Japan? I assumed she would be a spoiled brat who has lived her life surrounded by all the luxury in the world.

She is surprisingly humble and nice. It’s like I am talking to a normal girl. While I was contemplating on what stance to take against this mesmerizing piece of human art, she looked at me and sweetly smiled.

“You must be Kobayashi Miya-san, you are much more beautiful than what I’ve heard. Truly, those rumors don’t do you justice.”

She placed her palm on her lips and chuckled. I don’t know why, but looking at her like this, she doesn’t look much different than a normal teenage girl.

“Fufu~ You have no right to call someone such as myself beautiful. My name is Kobayashi Miya, class 1-A, please call me Miya. Do take care of me from now on.”

“Kukuku~ Modesty to a certain extent is a virtue, but when it crosses that threshold, it just seems like sarcasm, you know? In any case, I hope you would take care of me as well, Miya. Feel free to call me Takara.”

We smiled at each other. Though she seemed like a normal girl like us, as soon as she presented her lunch box, the difference between us was clear. Her lunch box was a three-story contraption with dishes that looked so exquisite and artistic that it felt criminal to eat them.

“Please, don’t hold back and help yourself. Looks like I’ll have to tell the chefs to go a little low-key on the lunch.”

Yeah, you’ve gotta tell them to take out at least one kilogram.

Wait…

“Hey, Takara?”

“Hm?”

“Since your father was the former richest man in Japan and was overtaken by the C.E.O of The Oracle, you must be aware of the said C.E.O’s identity, right?”

As soon as I said this, Takara’s eyes visibly shook, it took her about ten seconds to reply, but when she did, her expression turned somewhat gentle.

“Ah~ Yes~ Not only I am aware of his identity~ We are very close, you know~?”

“Close?”

“Yeah~ Very close~ You could say we’re so close that we eat our meals together while sitting on a picnic cloth~”

“Is that so?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Well… You see… My brother works directly under this C.E.O. And even after spending time with him every day, he listens to his speeches and admires his presentations when he returns home. It’s like he is a hard-core fanboy. I was just wondering what kind of a person this C.E.O is. When I asked my brother, he refused to give me any detail, he said that knowing his identity would do me more bad than good.”

“Cough~! Cough~!”

After I finished talking, Takumi abruptly started coughing. Before I could even start panicking, Minami made a move.

“Ah~! Takumi-kun! Here, drink this!”

Takumi received a cup from the panic-stricken Minami and gulped it all in one go.

“Thanks, Minami. It was a very nice drink.”

“Hehe~ I made this mocktail last night with my mother~ Is it good?”

“Yes, it’s very delicious, and very refreshing as well. Gotta give props to your mother and you.”

“Thanks. Here, have another cup.”

“Don’t mind if I do.”

WHAT ARE YOU DOING SCORING POINTS LIKE THAT!?

“Anyway, you asked me about the C.E.O, huh? Well… First of all, calling him ‘C.E.O’ over and over is strange, let’s just call him… Uh… Why don’t we just call him Takumi? Who cares either way?”

“Pfft! Hahaha~”

This sudden burst of laughter originated from the initially silent Aoki-kun. He laughed for about fifteen seconds before forcibly suppressing his laughter and saying while still looking quite amused.

“Hahaha~ Sorry, sorry… Yeah, yeah, let’s refer to the C.E.O of The Oracle as ‘Takumi’.”

I couldn’t understand why he laughed. Was it because we were substituting the name of the third-richest person in the world with the name of a person who had such disheartening financial circumstances? No, it shouldn’t be that. He is Takumi’s best friend after all.

“Well… Takumi is truly a great guy. He isn’t complacent, arrogant, or cold. Well… I don’t know about the cold part, he can be cold as ice when someone pisses him off. Takumi is abnormal, his intelligence is off the charts, according to my father, he wasn’t even a little upset when Takumi overtook him, rather, he was proud, that is the type of man Takumi is. Also, he is really strong, like, physically. And his body… Oof~! Underneath that normal shirt, he is a pure beast. He is also well-versed in music and dance. Although his singing is atrocious, he can play many instruments and his dancing skills are awesome. I once received the honor of dancing with him, and to this day, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Her face had a sweet smile plastered on it. Looking at her eyes, they had a hint of sadness as well as a hue of affection.

“So… What do you think about him?”

Aoki-kun asked while smiling ambiguously.

“Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I consider him an older brother. I am a single child, and even though his circumstances were very harsh, he treated me very nicely. At one point, I even asked my father if he could be a part of our family, but apparently, it doesn’t work like that in high-class society.”

Takara bitterly smiled as she grabbed a bit of fish from her lunchbox and placed it in her mouth.

Huh? Older brother? Won’t a C.E.O be more like an uncle? Also, dance? Part of the family? ‘It doesn’t work like that in high-class society’? This is getting more and more confusing.

“Haha~ Miya, just leave it be. He is a very complicated man, that’s all I can tell you. It wouldn’t be right for me to disclose his identity, his identity is practically a worldwide mystery at this point. And the fun part about a mystery is that it has no definite answer, and once the answer has been uncovered, it won’t be a mystery anymore, would it?”

I couldn’t help but smile at her words. Looks like I am not getting any answers from her.

“By the way, why are you together with Takumi and Aoki-kun? Shouldn’t you be with the girls from your class? I mean, I don’t mind you being with us and I kinda like you. It’s just that this situation is a bit abnormal is all.”

As soon as I finished, the complexions of Aoki-kun, Takumi, and Takara changed somewhat.

“Yeah, I was wondering about that as well. When I went over to call Takumi-kun, he said that Takara-san would be coming with us as well. I didn’t think about it at that time, but it surely is a bit unnatural.”

Their expressions changed further. Aoki-kun and Takara even started sweating a bit.

“Well, you see… When Takara heard about you, Princess, she said she wanted to meet you. Since Fumiya was around her during that time, he casually mentioned that we eat lunch together sometimes, so she insisted on joining us. That is all there is to it. Also, I was assigned to take care of her by Nakano-sensei, so I brought her with me since you could imagine what would’ve happened to her if I had left her in the class with the other boys.”

If Takumi says so, then it must be true.

“Is that so? That makes sense. Miya is quite famous after all.”

Chiaki nodded in understanding.

Wait, what does she mean?

“Nakano-sensei did tell you to take care of her.”

Minami said.

”Yes, that’s what happened. You are quite the idol among the men. Hahaha~”

Takara laughed awkwardly while covering her mouth.

“Well… It doesn’t matter~ I hope we all get along from now on.”

Minami said with a sweet smile as she poured tea for everybody.

“Yes.”

Everybody agreed together and enjoyed the meal and the company of friends.


Today is October one, and my house, which had always been silent except for Sana’s occasional barking, was boisterous and lively.

“Riku-nee! Here, I’ve peeled the apples!”

“Akane, is this how it is done? Am I doing it wrong?”

“Kyoko, I am sorry to say, but you can’t cook. Just go and help Takumi-sama look over the recent developments.”

“Okay, okay, you don’t have to rub it in. I just wanted to give it a try.”

Kyoko dejectedly walked over and sat beside me as she peered at the screen of the laptop sitting in front of me. I was currently viewing the growth of the company branches in American regions. After the launch of our latest smartphone and the accessories accompanying it, they had blown up and were contending with the top electrical product on the market. Which was quite surprising since American’s prefer to use products manufactured by their local companies as compared to the ones provided by foreign companies. It is quite satisfying if I do say so myself.

“Our Canadian deal is going as planned. We have recently established seven facilities which include restaurants, hotels, and others. All the said established have been doing well and have been receiving good feedback.”

“Is that so? Send three people under my authority for an inspection. I want a report on all of our facilities in and around Canada within one month.”

“Understood.”

Kyoko solemnly nodded and proceeded to send a message in the {Battle Force} group chat.

“Also, what happened with the Russian project?”

“There are some setbacks. We’re receiving a bit of resistance from some small-scale companies. They’ve formed a coalition to oppose us. They say that our expansion in Russia would lead to their bankruptcy.”

“Heh~ They’re really cute. Give them the choice to shut up, or to become subsidiaries of ours. If they don’t comply, crush them.”

“It shall be done.”

Kyoko nodded her head. I turned my laptop off and regained my normal smile.

“Now then, shall we eat?”

“Yep!”

Kyoko’s serious expression turned cheerful as she dragged her chair and closed the distance between us. Nobody knew about my personality switch better than my secretaries.

At this moment, I want a businessman, I was just a simple teenager surrounded by people whom I cared about.

The reason why I wasn’t the one making breakfast was that Akane wouldn’t let me do any work around the house.

Akane, along with Riku, Kyoko, Miyuki, and Fumiya took charge of the housework. Everybody accepted it as if it was obvious, except Fumiya of course. I had been doing most of the housework before, so I had unintentionally spoiled him. And as soon as Akane saw our daily conduct, she was thoroughly offended. She said I didn’t have any need to do housework, and when I said I didn’t mind, she got further offended and said with a wronged expression that her existence had become obsolete. Since I somewhat understood where she was coming from, I gave in. After that, the eyes of the other two ladies shone as they heavily agreed with Akane’s point, resulting in me lazing around the house like a generic husband and the others doing everything for me.

Well… it just gave me more time to focus on office work, I guess.

Today, seats in the class were shuffled, and the responsibility of assigning seats fell upon our homeroom teacher, Nakano-sensei, and the class representatives, Minami and Fumiya. And ‘coincidentally’, my seat was the same as the previous one, however, this time Minami was sitting in front of me while Fumiya was sitting behind me. The seat beside me, however, was empty. Recently, one of my classmates, Hashima, had transferred overseas because of his father’s work.

After assigning the seats, Nakano-sensei left the class to do some work. And as soon as she left, the class erupted into a heated discussion.

“Has she gone to get the new transfer student?”

“I hope so~ I heard she is a total beauty~”

“Beauty? I heard she is the daughter of a rich businessman!”

“Haha~ I heard that she is from Ryuuen Girls Academy.”

“No way~ Is she transferring here because of that attack we’ve been hearing in the news?”

A girl is transferring in? At this time of year? Even if what they are saying is true and the girl is from Ryuuen Girl’s Academy, what reason does she have in transferring to this school? It must be a joke.

Speaking of Ryuuen Girl’s Academy, she studies there, doesn’t she?

Slam

Our class’ door swung open and Nakano-sensei walked in with a certain girl in tow. Since I couldn’t care less, I just placed my head on my table and closed my eyes, entering the sweet clutches of sleep.

“…mi-kun… Takumi-kun… Takumi-kun.”

I heard Minami calling out to me from the seat in front of me. The classes have probably begun.

I raised my head, only to sense two people standing beside my table. I turned my head towards them, one of two people was my homeroom teacher, Nakano-sensei, and the other one was…

“Takara? Why are you here?”

As soon as those words left my mouth, I heard startled gasps from all around me. Nakano-sensei’s eyes narrowed her expression seemed a bit dumbfounded.

For a second, I thought this situation was just a dream since I was thinking about Takara a moment ago, but my trail of thought was destroyed when Takara’s expression turned grim and full of panic. I recomposed myself as I stood up and extended my hand towards her.

“I apologize for my rudeness, Miyashita-san. It’s been a while. I hope you haven’t forgotten me since I was just a mere waiter at the restaurant you had visited a long time ago.”

“A-Ah! Y-Yeah! B- Kawashima-kun! Y-Yes, how could I forget you, haha~ So you study in this school, huh? I wasn’t aware.”

She isn’t that old man’s daughter for nothing. She regained her calm pretty quickly. She could work on her acting skills a bit though.

“Kawashima-kun, do you know Miyashita-san?”

Nakano-sensei asked me while keeping her gaze locked onto my face.

“Ah, well, she has visited the restaurant I work at multiple times in the past so I am somewhat acquainted with her. Nothing more, nothing less.”

“Is that so…? Well, that makes it easier, I was about to ask you to take care of her since she is new and all.”

I suddenly felt a chill down my spine from Nakano-sensei’s gaze. She then looked at all the guys in the class who had dazed expressions while looking at Takara. She glared at all the guys in the class and turned towards me again. While pointing out the empty seat beside mine, she said in a solemn voice.

“She is sitting on that seat, make sure to take care of her.”

Ri~ing~ Ri~ing~ Click!

[Oh~ Hello, if it isn’t Takumi. Tell me, what can I help you with?]

“…”

[H-Hello? Takumi, are you there? What happened? Why aren’t you speaking.]

“…You should be the one speaking, you damn old man.”

[Hahaha~ Well, it seems like Takara hasn’t informed you about the situation.]

“She’s still being surrounded by all our classmates. Why don’t you do the honors?”

[Y-You see… You must be aware of the terrorist attack. The school said that it would take at least six months to resume activities, so all of the parents decided to transfer their children to other schools for the time being. And while I was searching for schools for Takara, she told me she wanted to go to your school, and the rest is history.]

“What do you mean, ‘the rest is history’? Why didn’t you stop her? What would the others think if they found out that Takara is studying in a commoner’s school? Do you know how dangerous this is?”

[I know, I know, okay!? I rejected her, but she wouldn’t listen and began convincing me with logical arguments. “Who can protect me better than Big Brother?” “Who can help me grow better than Big Brother.” Two hours later, her arguments were: “I just wanna be with Big Brother!” “I won’t go to school unless you let me go to Haru High School!”. She started crying after that, and you know better than anyone that I can’t stand to watch her cry.]

“What about Airi-san?”

[Oh! She was all for the idea of sending her to your school. She said, “Who better to let her spend time with other than her dear big brother?” As soon as she said that, the transfer was set in stone and I couldn’t do anything to oppose it.]

“Old man, you should learn to stand up to Airi-san. So, what do you want me to do?”

[Nothing. Just make sure she doesn’t face difficulties inside the school campus. I’ve set up an impregnable security detail outside the school premises, I’ll leave the inside to you.]

“Sigh~ Fine. Give my regards to Airi-san. Also, about that collaboration project, I sanctioned it last night so the clearance should reach you by today. Do take care of my employees.”

[Okay. I’ll take care of your employees, and in return, you can take care of my daughter.]

“Understood.”

I ended the call as I heard a person approaching me from behind.

“Big Brother~”

“I’ve told you a million times to not call me that.”

“Hehe~”

I couldn’t help but smile and place my hand on Takara’s head as she narrated to me what had happened in the class. While she was in the process of explaining to me the reason she insisted on coming to this school, Fumiya came over and observed how Takara was conversing with me while having a cheerful smile plastered on her face.

“Takumi, do you know each other?”

He asked as she came over and stood by my side.

“Fumiya, who is she?”

“Uh… Miyashita Takara, daughter of the second-richest person in Japan and owner of Miyashita Technologies.”

“Correct. Now, who am I?”

“You’re… Kawashima Takumi?”

“No, the other thing.”

“Oh… Wait… Huh? Huh!? Does she know that you are…”

“Yes. Her father had helped me a lot in the past, and now we are friends. Takara, this is the Aoki Fumiya I’ve told you about. Fumiya, this is Miyashita Takara.”

They both bowed to each other and exchanged profound smiles.

“We should return, the next class is starting.”

After classes, Takara insisting on eating with me, so I took her to the rooftop to eat with the others. Honestly, my school life is getting out of hand by the day…


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