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‘Maki（巻き）’ means ‘curl’.
Raijin is a god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology. He is typically depicted as a demon-looking spirit beating drums to create thunder, usually with the symbol tomoe drawn on the drums.
Fuujin is the Japanese god of the wind and one of the eldest Shinto gods. He is portrayed as a terrifying wizard-like demon, resembling a red headed green-skinned humanoid wearing a leopard skin, carrying a large bag of winds on his shoulders.
Together, statues of Raijin and Fuujin are found all over Japan at the gates of Japanese shrines and temples as protectors. Visitors to these sacred places must pass by the intimidating gaze of the gods before entering.
Maruyama Oukyo, born Maruyama Masataka, was a Japanese artist active in the late 18th century. He moved to Kyoto, during which he studied artworks from Chinese, Japanese and Western sources. Maruyama Okyo was well known for his true-to-life paintings. The story, illustrated by the below print, tells of the time Oukyo painted a ghost so “realistically” that it came to life and frightened him.
A Girl With a Name / A Boy Without a One
My classmate Kisshouin Reika-sama was idolised by all the girls.
It was no surprise; Reika-sama looked like a princess and was as gorgeous as her name sake. Not only that but was a member of the elite Pivoine, and on top of that she was smart too. She was like the perfect girl.
A lot of girls had dreams about becoming close to her. I did too, but her group was filled with nothing but girls as beautiful as she was. When I thought about what might happen to me socially if I somehow upset her I could never find the courage to try.
Sometimes I wondered what her life was like.
I pictured her sipping tea gracefully as she sat in a garden field of flowers, maybe hosting a poetry recital. Mn, it fit her so well!
When I entered my second year of middle school came an unbelievable chance to get closer to her.
Of all things, Reika-sama was coming to the summer camp! It should have been one of the last places anyone would expect her.
None of her other friends were participating. It was just her, which was how I ended up sharing a room with her.
Sharing a room with Reika-sama! My heart was beating so hard from the anxiety that I might do something to offend her, but thankfully she just smiled at me and said,
“This will be my first time at Summer Camp, so I hope you will look after me.”
Even though Reika-sama was our age she was always calm. I had hardly ever seen her lose her composure. I wished I could be like that.
When night fell, it was time for the fireworks event. Reika-sama had started off by my side, smiling happily as she watched, but before I knew it she had disappeared. I looked around for her a little, only to find Reika-sama and Class Rep alone in a corner enjoying sparklers together.
Eh-!? Don’t tell me it was a forbidden love between lady and servant!?
Not that I actually believed that, but it was fun to interpret it that way.
My friend Miharu-chan couldn’t come this year because of her family so I decided to text her about it later. It was like the love between a princess and the chamberlain. Miharu-chan would definitely find it interesting too.
To be sure, amongst us girls it was agreed that the one who suited Reika-sama best was Kaburagi-sama. But out of nowhere, a shocking rival appeared in the form of the Imperial Chamberlain, getting in between the Princess and the Emperor. I wondered what would happen next.
I never could quite fall asleep unless I was in complete darkness. When we found out we were sharing a room I told her about my worries, but Reika-sama agreed with a smile. Thank goodness.
When it came time for lights out, it was time for bed. I had been lying in the darkness for a while when suddenly I heard Reika-sama.
“Daro da- de ni da na nara!”
…Eh? What was that just now?
For some reason it sounded like the mnemonic for remembering na-adjectives…
Was she awake?
“Reika-sama? What’s wrong?”
Eh… Don’t tell me, sleep-talking!?
But she was speaking so clearly…
No, it must have been my imagination.
I decided to try and sleep.
After a little while, Reika-sama’s voice rang out in the darkness again.
“Karo ka- kuu ii kere!”
This time was the mnemonic for i-adjectives!?
“…Reika-samaa~? Are you awaake~?”
Apparently Reika-sama studied even in her dreams. As expected of her.
I pulled my futon up over my head.
I hoped she wouldn’t begin reciting the Tsurezuregusa essays next…
The next morning was the hike. For some reason Reika-sama had taken a metal pole from somewhere and was using it like a traveller’s walking stick.
That night, a ghost appeared.
When the noise woke me up, Reika-sama was already awake and peering into the hallway as she combed her hair. Having just woken up, her curls were a little looser than usual.
There was a huge fuss in the hallways. I asked someone what had happened and they told me that a girl had seen a ghost. It had been eating gore when it turned around and glared at her with eyes filled with hatred! So scary!
Everyone was in a terrified panic, but Reika-sama calmed us down and took control.
“No ghosts will appear again,” she declared.
Reika-sama was amazing! Just hearing her say that made us feel like nothing would hurt us!
Soon afterwards our teacher came and promised that they would carefully patrol the hallway. Appeased, we all went back to our rooms.
When I went back inside mine, I said to her,
“That was scary, wasn’t it?”
“I’m not Maruyama Oukyo…”
She seemed despondent. I didn’t quite catch what she said, but knowing how diligent she usually was, she must have felt responsible for all this as the leader of the girls. Even though it wasn’t her fault at all…
Just as she said, the ghost didn’t appear again that night, and morning came around. I thought that it was wonderful how she could act and think so calmly in a situation like that.
From summer camp onwards, I could now chat with Reika-sama.
Reika-sama was a rare type of Pivoine member who would accept the duties of a class rep. As another class representative, sometimes we planned and consulted with each other for the various school events. As somebody who really admired her, I was really happy about being able to do so.
Sometimes I saw Class Rep talking to her intimately as well. Reika-sama was like a rose beyond anyone’s reach, so it was rare for any boy to casually speak to her. Not bad, Chamberlain.
One day the shadow of another boy appeared around Reika-sama!
It was none other than the burly Iwamuro-kun from the Judo Club. Standing next to each other they looked like a princess and her mercenary bodyguard.
I asked about it with my friend in her class. Apparently Iwamuro-kun was Reika-sama’s favourite these days, and she had had fun making him crossdress during the athletics carnival and school festival.
Iwamuro-kun hadn’t been able to refuse her, and had obediently let her put make-up on him.
“The Beauty and the Beast thing is surprisingly nice,” said my friend, but I was staunchly in the Emperor camp.
None of us wanted to see Kaburagi-sama end up dating someone unsuitable. If he had to date somebody anyway, then we wanted it to be somebody wonderful that we could accept.
Of course, everyone knew that Kaburagi-sama had been pining after Yurie-sama all this time, but if it had to be somebody other than Yurie-sama, we all agreed that only somebody as wonderful as Reika-sama would do.
Honestly, compared to some other girls I didn’t even like Kaburagi-sama that much. If he ended up with some boring girl, though, I had no idea what some of his more hardcore fans would do.
In Suiran’s first year high schoolers, there were three people that you absolutely could not cross.
One of them was the Last Boss of the girls, Kisshouin Reika.
She was the daughter of the prodigious Kisshouin family, and a member of the Pivoine.
It was whispered that making an enemy out of her equated to making one of every girl in Suiran. She was that powerful.
It was rare to ever see her angered, true, and she was always surrounded in her clique with a confident smile, but rumour had it that when Tsuruhana Maki conceitedly tried to overthrow her, she used her folding fan to slap the girl into submission.
It must have been crazy… Fights between aristocrats are incredible…
Tsuruhana Maki and those like-minded friends of hers had really kicked up a fuss, but in the end they weren’t a match for Goddess Kali(Curly).
Having said that, it wasn’t like we were a match for Tsuruhana either. That chick is scaaary.
And god was it heaven and earth with how she treated us and Kaburagi’s like. When it came to me she just dropped all honorifics and ordered me around! And if you tried to refuse she’d start threatening you!
“If Tsuruhana’s gang go too far again, we’ll snitch on her to Kali-sama!” we said amongst ourselves.
Actually directly talking to Kali-sama is too scary to actually do, though!
Anyhow, Kisshouin Reika was guarded by her own Raijin and Fuujin. Kazami Serika and Imamura Kikuno. These two were scary too.
If anybody slighted Kisshouin-san, these two would lead a huge group of girls to pressure them.
It had happened to me too, one time. I had just entered the same class as Kisshouin-san and happened to forget one of my forms.
Her followers all surrounded me and glared.
“Stop making trouble for Reika-sama or else.”
I immediately got somebody to bring the form from home.
One time, this one guy got dared to say “Kali” as she passed by. He was taken away by Kazami and Imamura’s gang later that day. When he came back he was deathly pale, and quiet like somebody else. What on earth did they say to you…
That incident scared the crap out of us, so we all decided not to use that name anymore. After all, what if by some chance Kisshouin-san herself found out? Maybe it wouldn’t be her group this time, but she’d come after us with her fan herself!
Actually, Kisshouin-san had a lot of other nicknames that we called her in secret. Right now there was Maki Maki Makkie, which her group hadn’t seemed to know about yet.
Hm, also D(olly Gi)rll I guess. During the athletics carnival we had this huge joke about D(olly Gi)rll doing the quadrille. I was kind of looking forward to it too, but Kisshouin-san didn’t participate. What a shame. Even leaving the pun aside, it would have been cool to see somebody with hair like a princess do the quadrille.
For some reason though she entered the costume race dressed as a rat carrying a pumpkin!
All of the laughter from the previous entrants suddenly stopped. The Empress dressed as a rat…
Were we supposed to laugh like all the other entrants? Were we supposed to pretend we hadn’t seen it? Nobody knew what to do.
“It’s so tragic…!” seemed to be written all over the faces of Kazami and Imamura’s group as they cheered her on though, so we realised that the right choice was not to laugh.
The Emperor and Enjou-kun were wide-eyed at her costume too, but…
“Do your best, Kisshouin-saaan!” laughed Class Rep as he cheered her on.
What a shock. Was Class Rep actually a huge deal!?
Still though, once her class realised that Kisshouin-san was okay with costumes, this time they’d decided on a cross-dressing café for the school festival.
Since Satomi was in her class, I asked him about it.
“Kisshouin-san was pretty cute as a mouse, but she’s cute as a butler too. You should come see, on the day,” he laughed.
So they really were making Kisshouin-san cross-dress!?
There were definitely roles in the back she could have taken instead… I asked Satomi why she wasn’t in one of those instead but he replied,
“Well lots of people know our class for being the one with Kisshouin-san in it, so why not use that to attract customers? Wouldn’t it be a waste otherwise?”
“What the hell. Aren’t you afraid?”
“Of treating Kisshouin Reika that way. Wasn’t she outraged?”
“No wayy. Kisshouin-san is a big softy. She’s like a sheep inside. Oh! Maybe she could wear sheep ears on top of that. I’ll go ask about it!”
SATOMIIIIIIIIII! THERE’S SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH GUTS!
Reika-san in a male butler suit with sheep ears…
…I decided I would go see the train-wreck.