Spring, the season when something feels like it is about to begin.

The cherry blossoms in full bloom proclaim the cycle of time, and a new wind blows into Hokusei University.

In early April, Hokusei University held an entrance ceremony to welcome its new students.

The new first-year students, who had shed their three-year old uniforms and put on brand-new suits, walked down the main street of the campus, their chests heaving with anticipation and nervousness.

Meanwhile, current students are waiting in front of the campus to solicit students for club activities and circles. The number of clubs and club members affects their subsequent activities, so all the groups are very enthusiastic.

We, the Boston Tea Club, have set up a tent and tables, and are preparing to serve tea.

“The entrance ceremony will be over soon, and new students will start showing up. Please help them by talking to them, serving tea, and handing out flyers !”

After most of the preparations are complete, the president inspires the members. Boston is a long-established circle that has been active at Hokusei since before I was born. The reason we have such a long history is because our seniors have worked hard to recruit new students every year on this day. The president is determined not to let that history die out.

As a member of the circle, I must do my part.

But all I had to do was hand out paper cups filled with tea.

After I had finished most of the preparations, I was idly looking at the cherry blossoms while waiting for the new students to arrive.

Thanks to the slightly late blooming of this year’s cherry blossoms, their full bloom coincided with the entrance ceremony. Thanks to this, I felt refreshed.

Then, Ryoko, who was in charge of distributing flyers, approached me and said.

“Hey, how have things been going with Nobuhiko since then?”

I had not told Ryoko that I had parted ways with Nobuhiko the other day. It was a very disappointing ending, and I didn’t want to bring it to light because I thought it was over for me.

“…….I never heard from him.”

Hesitated, I lied.

“No contact?”

“Yeah. Nobuhiko must have found his own way in Tokyo. New friends, new goals. He must have stopped clinging to Lyconess forever and taken the next step.”

“No, I don’t think so. I guess the new band is too messed up. Or maybe Yua is running away from him too.”

Ryoko was always bitter toward Nobuhiko.

I don’t know why I told such a lie. Was it because I wanted to protect the honor of a man who had been a good friend of mine?

No, I didn’t care about him anymore.

Maybe I actually wished I could be.

In a season when something is about to begin, I guess I too want to cleanly forget the Lyconess and be reborn as a new person.

I wanted to start something new for that purpose, but I couldn’t think of anything that would fit the bill, so I was at a standstill.

Rather, I’m waiting for someone like Nobuhiko, who once showed me a new path, to appear.

I’m not craving, but rather hoping or foreseeing.

Something is going to change this spring.

“By the way, have you heard the rumors?”

“What rumors?”

“The new student representative is a bit dangerous, I hear.”

I say with a mysterious look on my face.

The best student from the second round of the entrance ceremony is required to take the podium and give a speech as a representative every year. The department that selects the representative usually rotates every year, so the representative is considered to be a person of ability and good luck, and it is customary for him or her to be praised for a while after entering the school.

“This year’s representative seems to be quite amazing.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“They say she dyed her hair and wore an earring from the first day of school.”

“Geh……. Is there such a person? I wonder what the dean would react.”

“I don’t know. It’s funny just to imagine.”

It is not uncommon for people to dress up in fancy clothes after graduating from high school, which has strict school regulations and no longer requires patience. However, it is rare to find people who make their college debut with full throttle on the day of the entrance ceremony. And since they are informed in advance that they will be addressing the representatives, they are usually seen as restrained.

“There are people everywhere who have no common sense at all.”

“Kinda rocking.”

Ryoko is amazed and I’m amused. It is true that the person’s consciousness is described as out of the ordinary. But it’s not that he did anything wrong. I was rather impressed by his courage to do something a little crazy on the stage of a lifetime.

“Hey, here come the first-year students !”

I looked over to see a group of freshmen in suits coming from the auditorium. The seniors were extending their recruiting tentacles to them, making them squirm. This too was a scene that had been promised.

I was sure that Ari san would be among them.

I have not seen Ari san since the day of the acceptance announcement. I had so many things to do, such as moving, preparing for entrance into school, and a graduation trip with friends, that I couldn’t make time for her. I would have liked to see the cherry blossoms while they were at their best, but I was too busy to do anything about it. Instead, I promised that the next time we would meet would be on campus.

I was looking forward to the fulfillment of that little promise.

“(Hey, did you hear? Apparently there will be some super cute girls this year !)”

“(I know ! It’s Igarashi san from Atago, isn’t it? I mean, I hear there are a lot of Atago girls this year, so I’m looking forward to it !)]

Out of nowhere, the chatter of snickering male students drifted in.

Atago All Girls’ Academy is the dream of every male Hokusei student, and students line up in the freshmen class. Naturally, the men were excited.

“(The representative of the new students seems to be from Atago, with a slightly unusual name.)]

“(Yeah, she dyed her hair, pierced her ears, and put on a lot of make-up from the first day. I thought she might be a minefield type, but maybe she’s a good girl inside.)]

“(What’s her name again? It was a bit of an unusual name. Aze….a?)]

Hm? I can’t hear it very well, but I feel like this is a topic that doesn’t seem like it’s someone else’s business.

An Atago girl with an outlandish energy. A girl with a last name that starts with [A]…….

I’m thinking about it, and that’s when it happens.

“Kingo !”

The familiar voice of a girl strikes my ears.

Ba-dump…….. My heart beats strongly.

The owner of the bright voice, who cannot suppress her abundant energy, is…….

“Ari san ! It’s been a long…time…?”

When I saw the long-awaited face of the owner of the voice, I felt sad. I was feeling sad because I hadn’t met someone who seemed like a bundle of energy for a while.

However, what I saw was a little different from what I expected.

She was dressed in a brand-new suit, like a freshman, but she had shiny black hair with a red inner collar and slightly large wire-frame earrings in each ear. Her makeup was not gyaru-style, but it was a little heavy, indicating that she had put a lot of effort into it.

“Erm….are you Ari san?”

“Yes, that’s right ! Have you forgotten what I look like already?”

“No, you’ve changed your look a lot. You dyed your hair, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, I’ve always wanted to dye my hair ! But Atago doesn’t allow dyeing, so I waited until I graduated.”

That doesn’t mean you have  to dye it at the entrance ceremony. It’s not a coming-of-age ceremony in a rough neighborhood, you know?

Hmm? Someone who dressed outlandishly from day one….

“Could the freshman representative be….Ari san?”

“That’s right !”

“Are you serious?”

No way, the freshman representative in the example was Ari san?

Does that mean she got the top entrance exam result in the department this year? It’s like she was crying on the day of the common exam.

Ari san, you’re a terrifying girl.

“Hehehe, I came to greet the dean !”

Doesn’t that outfit give a different meaning to the greeting?

Like [please remember me].

“That being said, Kingo, can I join the tea club here?”

“No, this is just a place for PR. We are planning to hold a tea party for newcomers, so new students will be able to see the atmosphere there and decide whether they want to join.”

“Hmm. I would have joined right away. I wanted to join Boston first when I entered the campus.”

No, we are not the kind of club that you should join with such enthusiasm.

We are a circle with a reputation for tradition and looseness.

You’re a strange girl after all.

“But more importantly, Kingo. Do you remember that promise we made?”

Ari san asked me, fidgeting.

The promise…… Of course I remember. On the day of the second examination, Ari san announced that he had something she wanted to tell me. It was to be told to me on campus after I passed.

Today is that day.

“Of course I remember. That’s why I was looking forward to today.”

“I see…….that’s good.”

Ari san smiled warmly.

But right after that, a sharp tension appeared in that smile.

She looked straight at me with clear eyes, raised the corners of her mouth in a challenging manner, and said.

“Kingo, come play in the band with me !”

(End of Chapter 1)

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