Life is cruel. This is a fact. The fate of the strong is to prey on the weak. The fate of the weak is to meekly endure. Thus one can say life is unfair, the heavens clearly favors the strong.
My name is Takehashi Yamato, I don't consider myself as a strong person. In fact it is I, who is often the target of bullying.
Life has granted me nothing but troubles. Fortune and luck is decided by the heavens and the heavens have decidedly crapped on me.
"Takeshit* where's my money." The sneering face of Mizuri Aki greeted me. We are in . He was a burly kid, for someone who is only in my year level(Third year junior high) he looks like an uncle already.With a wide ogre like face I'd say he's similar to Tokyo Zoo's gorillas.
Note: Read as Ta-Ke-Shit not Take-shit.
Aki, this brute has been taking liberties with my money ever since I started junior high. His grandpa is the school principal so he could just do what he pleases.
He rules the school I'm in with an iron fist and since no one can oppose this, he had become quite a tyrant. Right now I'm meeting this thug on a park near the school because I need to give him his monthly 'fee'. The park is always empty aside from the occasional beggar.
As I've said before, the strong prey on the weak. In my hands is 3000 yen, in 3 stacks of 1000 yen bills. This is my fee, only I'm short 2000 yen. Asking 5000 yen weekly is unreasonable for someone like me who has a poor family.
Note: 5000 yen is roughly 40$
As I hand him the bills, his ugly face turned uglier. Quite a feat I assure you.
I felt a sharp sensation on my stomach followed by a yell of "You bitch!"
As I crumpled to the concrete floor I realized that Aki punched me. Pain started to localize on my stomach. I coughed a few times as well.
"You've been skimping on my money!" He yelled at me, he kicked me in the ribs too as he did. He's wrong of course since it is my money.
The truth is I could have paid him the whole amount and he would still beat the shit out of me, so why would I burden my family that 2000 yen if I would still be beaten up? I call it being prudent.
"He's getting cocky ain't he Bozu." A rat faced teen added a few kicks to me as well. This guy is Aki's lackey Minoru Shigeo. People call him the 'Rat' because of his disposition. One can say he's really disgusting because of his behavior. Many girls have already filed complaints of harassment but it has been ignored.
"He's getting used to beatings." Muttered a heavyset teen with a Mohawk,his name was Futeru Daisuke. I think the rival gangs call him 'Elephant'. This guy has connections to the Yakuza or so the rumors say.
These three delinquents are the top brass of the gang in school.
"Eh, what can we do? This bitch, no matter how much we beat him won't. give. more." Aki grunted between kicks to my person.
I endured it all, because enduring is all I can do. If I fought back things just get worse.
After they get a few more licks in try got bored and left me alone. I with my injured body could only manage to get to a nearby bench.
This life, this shame... I have considered washing it away if not for the ones I'd leave behind.
My phone was vibrating. I received a message, It says Watanabe Shiori in the display with a heart added to both the start and end. She was the one who put it there so don't misunderstand. Watanabe-chan is my childhood friend, she is one of the reasons I don't just go jump the highest tower at the earliest convenience.
"Where are you? I've been looking for you everywhere." It said, followed by an angry animated emoticon. Beneath it was "Meet you at my house or else."
Once again, you might misunderstand. Shiori is my neighbor since my family transferred to Ichinomiya. That was when I was 9 years old. Ever since then we've been playing together.
I typed in OK and that was that. I slumped a bit on the bench. If someone were to see me they'd surely comment on how unsightly I was at the moment.
An old man, dressed like a beggar passed in front of me. His clothes can be considered as rags and he wore a wide brimmed hat folded so that if you were to look into his face you would only see one eye staring at you.
He is looking at my direction. I really couldn't afford to care right now so I just sit there recovering my energy.
The old beggar approached me, I think he wants to ask for alms. Even if he does I already gave all my money to that bastard Aki save a few yen I hid in my right shoe.
Looking more closely to his grime covered face and equally sad looking rags he used as clothes I sighed. This man is hated by heaven more than I, what was a few more yen to lose.
I took out two 100 yen coins and gave it to him without prompt. He bowed in thanks but didn't go away. Did he want more? Oi, we are both impoverished you know!
"You have purity." He said. Hopefully it was a compliment instead of pointing out that I'm a virgin.
"Uh, Thanks?" I awkwardly replied.
"Tell me, do you wish to be strong?" The old man asked as he himself sat on the opposite side of the bench I was at.
Do I wish to be strong? "Of course I do." I muttered to him.
"Why?" He asked, he was looking at the scenery of the park which I admit is peaceful without Aki and his henchmen.
Why? "So I can protect myself." That answer should be self explanatory.
"How bout this, If I change the question to 'do you wish to be the strongest'?" The old man asked again.
Why was he asking this? Honestly I really don't care, I just want to go back home, meet Shiori then go to sleep after. My body protested however so I might as well talk to grandpa.
"Being the strongest sounds like a bother, I mean I'd always think about how I compare to others right? I'd just like to be strong enough." I answered him as truthfully as I can.
"Strong enough?" He asked for clarification. I guess I was too vague.
"Strong enough not to be bothered by anyone, I guess. I want to be strong enough no one can bully me, strong enough no one can hurt me or my love ones." That's the only strength I wanted. I'm actually afraid if I grow too strong I'd end up like Aki, I'd rather die if I did.
The old man chuckled at my answer. I just sighed again, don't laugh at people grandpa. It was you who asked a silly question in the first place!
The old man rummaged something from his pockets and produced a smooth black bead the size of a marble.
He offered it to me. "Eh?" was all I can say.
He kept his hand extended, eventually I accepted. I didn't want him to tire himself like that.
"Eat it." He said. Was he crazy? I eyed the bead. No way.
I looked at him incredulously. Don't just go making people eat weird stuff old man.
"Keep it then, eat it when you need that strength. I'll find you when you do." He said before standing up and walking away.
I looked at his back till he vanished from view. The bead in my hand felt heavy, heavier than I imagined when I first saw it.
My phone vibrated again. It was Shiori, she sent another message. "House. Now!" it said. What a bossy girl.
I decided to keep the bead, I essentially bought it for 200 yen after all. After I recovered my strength I hobbled towards the direction of my house. I shouldn't keep Shiori waiting else she turns into an oni. Again.
The Watanabe, or at least Shiori's Watanabe is a wealthy family. The clan has existed even during the Heian period up until now. What I'm saying is you shouldn't be surprised of the mansion in front of me. Compared to our modest house Shiori's 'house' is the Watanabe clan compound.
A maid greeted me by the gate with a "Good evening Goshujin-sama." and let me in with a smile.
You can guess that I've been here a lot. I blame Shiori. She is an insistent and stubborn girl. I just can't say no, specially when she cheats and tear up.
The compound is composed of three sections. I am going towards the main section, Shiori's grandfather has restricted me to this area, stating that the others are for family use only. He's a strict but fair kind of grandpa, even I admire him.
I took off my shoes, opened the door and was greeted by Shiori who bowed deeply and said "Do you want dinner, a bath or me?"
I stared blankly at her, then gave her a karate chop to the head. If it were somebody other than me, they'd probably ravage her on the spot. Shiori is rather popular at school, having long smooth flowing dark hair and delicate features, she can be considered a yamato nadeshiko. In school she's always so quiet and melancholic but here in her house she's way too cheerful.
"Fumu, Yama-kun is so mean, even after I practiced so hard." She complained.
"Watanabe-chan is an idiot." I say bluntly. I hear a giggle from one of the maids.
"Wah, I won't let you in until you call me Shiori-chan. Shiori-chaaaan~" She said in a sing song voice.
I sighed, she is often this unreasonable. I know, I grew up to her antics. I knew she wouldn't budge until she gets what she wants.
"Shiori-chan let me in. Happy?" I said already forcing my way in. Shiori takes my hand and drags me to her room though.
Her room is a well lit and proper room. Large as one would expect from the only child of the main branch of a wealthy clan. She is treated like a treasure by the clan. She had a bed with hello kitty designs, on it were more than a few haphazardly thrown notebooks and books.
"Shiori-chan, you haven't done your homework yet?" I sighed in defeat. So this was the reason. Beautiful and athletic as Shiori was she was a bit weak on the academic side.
"Yosh, since Yama-kun is here I have no fear!" She enthusiastically announced. Have some pride please.Like this, I ended up being an unpaid tutor. Even if I sound like this though, know that I treasure these moments with this airhead.
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