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Upon leaving Principal Kobayakawa’s office after our morning meeting, I saw that the school had, once again sprung back to life.

Often I am the first student here because of my presidential duties. In fact so early that the school has even had to trust me with a key to let myself in since its possible that no one may have even arrived yet to let me in.

Principal Kobayakawa seemed to be in a particularly good mood that morning. He was very excited for the volleyball rally that was taking place later in the day here at Shujin. We discussed logistics in the beginning, but in the latter half seemed all Principal Kobayakawa really wanted to talk about was how lucky we were to have Mr. Kamoshida lead us to victory. There were a few more pressing things I was hoping to discuss with him that morning, but I supposed that it could wait till tomorrow. I didn’t want to ruin his enthusiasm.

Walking up the stairs to reach my first class of the day, I saw that Kurusu student hanging out with another second year, Ryuji Sakamoto.

Sakamoto had a bit of a reputation around Shujin. He used to be part of the track and field team. Was pretty good from what I heard too. Then he picked a fight with the new PE coach, Mr. Kamoshida. The rumor was that Sakamoto swung a fist at him and, in my opinion, an overzealous retribution, Mr. Kamoshida struck back in self-defense, breaking Sakamoto’s leg. The disbanding of the track team was quick to follow after the incident.

I could understand Mr. Kamoshida, in self-defense, maybe trying to restrain Sakamoto till he calmed down perhaps. But it’s not the easiest thing in the world to break a leg if you are merely trying to stop a fist. Breaking a student’s leg seemed like the sort of thing you would have to go out of your way to do.

Ever since the accident, Sakamoto changed. He started playing the rebel. He ceased following the dress code, stopped dying his hair to the school’s regulated black, leaving it blonde. Not to mention his general demeanor took a complete 180-degree shift. He became needlessly vulgar in conversation if he said anything at all. He had taken to being nothing but disrespectful to the teachers, especially Mr. Kamoshida, and, from what I heard, his grades have plummeted. I can’t say I blame him for being angry, but still, what happened happened. I’d hate to let one accident ruin my chances to go to a decent college.

Sakamoto and Kurusu seemed engaged in a serious conversation of some sort. I wasn’t close enough to hear specifics. I hopped that Kurusu knew better than to associate himself the school delinquent. He should have been very aware of line he was toeing. Especially after the library incident. I wondered at that moment if I should have intervened after all. If he was planning on intermingling with the riff-raff of the school regardless, maybe I should have saved everyone the headache and just let him be expelled.

I made a mental note of the situation and continued my way to the third year floor.

*

Mr. Komashida thought it would be a fun idea this year’s rally to have the teachers playing against the entirety of the school’s volleyball team. When I first heard the idea, I thought that meant he may have been playing alongside his team against the teachers. Since he was their coach. I was a little shocked to see him playing against his own team. Seemed a little unfair since he knew all their plays and tactics… because he was the one that made them up.

Not to mention he was an Olympic gold medalist in men’s volleyball. Our team may have been good, but there was no way they could have kept up with someone like their own coach. That was made abundantly clear after one student, by the name of Yuuki Mishima, got seriously injured during the match.

I was sitting on the bleachers with my fellow third years when it happened. The match was going as predicted. The teachers were crushing the students hand over fist. When Mr. Kamoshida got a hold of the ball, instead of the student team trying to stop him from scoring, they would scatter and tried to avoid his signature spike at all costs.

After the first few points scored, you could feel the energy drain from the room. The sound of cheers and applause pretty quickly gave way to just the sound of sneakers squeaking on the court. Many but a select few of hardcore Kamoshida fan girls had entirely checked out. Circles of girls gathered and started making plans about what they wanted to do after school. A couple of boys playing a mock game of dodge ball with a couple of extra volleyballs on a barren part of the court. It was pretty clear after a while Mr. Kamoshida just wanted to perform a one-man show for the school. Had to say it was difficult not pulling out a book and checking out myself.

All that changed when a loud crack resonated through the entire gym. Everyone paused and sought out the source of the sound. We all witnessed a particularly powerful spike from Kamoshida land square on Yuuki Mishima’s face. Knocking him cold to the ground. The room stood silent for a minute. A few stood up to try and get a better look.

“Is he ok?” a girl near me whispered to her friend

“He looks dead” Someone responded

“That was a pretty powerful hit…”

Mr. Kamoshida lifted a portion of the net and walked towards the wounded student. After a moment of evaluation, he called for help to get him to the nurse. A couple of students ran up and supporting Mishima by the arms, carried him out of the gym and to the nurse’s office.

Then, as if nothing happened, Komashida grew a big grin and shouted “Alright everybody! Let’s get back to the game huh?”. With that, he ran back to his side and proceeded to serve the ball before the student team was even ready.

What bothered me even more, is that everyone seemed to drop the accident just as quickly. Girls went back to their gossip, and the boys went back to playing their game in the corner.

I… guess he ok?’ I thought. I didn’t want to cause people to alarm needlessly, but that did look like a hell of a hit. And Mishima was a pretty scrawny guy…

I narrowed my gaze at Mr. Komashida who was committed to continuing the humiliation of his own team. He kept on with glee and, what seemed like, not even a second thought about what had just occurred.

I would never claim to know better than a teacher. He was the one who evaluated Mishima after all, and he would have known what to look for if the student was seriously hurt. If Kamoshida deemed him okay enough to continue on, then I guess it would be ok. But there was always something that didn’t sit right with me about that man. Rumors are hardly ever right, but even lies had some glimmer of truth to them for them to be believable. I also knew entertaining such conspiratorial thoughts was a bad idea. It was best if I just put such notions to rest and focus on what was important. My fellow students and college.

Besides, I knew that the school wouldn’t have hired someone if they were some sort of monster. I just had to trust that the system, and the adults behind it, had our best interests at heart.

** Photo Credit: Khytal (tumblr: https://khytal.tumblr.com/)**

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