Trains came and went with the passing minutes. Busy passengers would step on or step off the platforms moving throughout their morning commute. It was all so…droll, so average, so normal. This was city life
and that was how it went in these big cities. Even though the tall, chubby boy had lived near Nago City all his life; his youth was spent walking from his family’s apartment to school. He’d never had to worry about train schedules or such crowds,
at least outside school trips to the mainland. But this morning sojourn was not a trip to Sapporo Station and Ishin Academy; this morning’s trip had been to an early morning grocery market. He’d gotten up at an almost scandalous hour to ride the Minami-Chitose line to a small marketplace in a small Sapporo suburb. The amount he’d paid for this item seemed almost as equally scandalous.
Hugged close to his chest was a large, brown bag. The crisp and cold April air had turned his face red and flushed, and his jacket felt awkward after years in the southern heat. He was far from home, after all. He was busy looking at a station map, fretting on how his path to the school would be. He had to leave Sapporo Station and head…west? East? Which street was it? 3rd Chome Street? Hokkaido University Street? ”You lost kid?”
The voice came from behind the young man and startled him: almost making him drop his precious bag. Standing behind the boy was a lanky man wearing a police uniform. He looked out of place in the busy station and was meticulously chewing on an unlit cigarette. His hair was a messy bramble of almost-curls, and his thick eyebrows seemed to narrow in on the schoolboy. ”Y-yes sir,”
the boy answered, in a mix of both surprise and a shiver from the cold. He clenched the paper bag close with his left arm, freeing his right hand to adjust his jacket’s collar. “It’s my first day at Ishin Academy and I’m afraid I’m not used to-“ “You take the yellow line stairs out to the street, turn left on 4 Chome, and follow the road til you see the ugly main building.”
The police officer seemed to chuckle nostalgically. “If the old fart is still the headmaster of the school, don’t let him freak you out. Ishin likes to act like they’re the most hard-ass school around, but if you’ve been accepted, you’ve already beat the spread.” ”Did you go to Ishin Academy?” ”Yeah. A few years ago. During my last year they decided my quirk wasn’t strong enough to handle a serious situation.”
The police officer seemed to look off towards the stairs wistfully, and then turned back to the boy. ”What’s your name?” ”It’s Shun sir. Tanaka Shun.
The boy seemed nervous about this overly casual cop already. ”Well Tanaka Shun,”
the officer began with a smirk, and he outstretched his hand for the young teenager to shake, ”My name is Kaneda Ryouichi. As an almost-alumnus of Ishin Academy, I wish you good luck in your first year to become a hero. Do your best.”
The sudden well-wishing of this stranger struck a chord in Shun’s heart. He smiled back, and gave a deep bow, almost dropping the paper bag. ”Thank you so much! I will do my best! And thank you for the directions!”
He turned back towards the stairs and began to jog towards the school. He had to make it in time before the opening ceremonies, or his time at Ishin Academy might be cut even shorter.
The cop simply watched the boy run off and shook his head, chuckling. He walked by a newspaper stand, seeing one of the headlines being about a local teacher putting down a crime ring. Of course, he knew the operation quite well; it had been on his beat after all. ”Man, I sure hope that kid doesn’t have to deal with Midori,”
he chuckled. ”She’d eat him alive.”
Ishin Academy Front Gate, April 7th
Shun was almost gasping for breath as he dashed through the front gate. Still some time before the morning ceremonies, at least
which meant he wasn’t in danger of getting expelled on the spot. Would they expel a late student on the spot? He did his best not to let the nerves get to him. The past few months at home had been bad enough, especially after the phone call from the academy, the acceptance letter and his father’s…words of encouragement.
The only person who’d actually been excited to see him go to Ishin Academy was his grandmother. She was so excited she even gave him something for his trip: a yellow scarf. ”It belonged to your dear mother, Shun,”
she had told him in the hallway before he took the train north to Sapporo. His mother.
He did his best not to dwell on such thoughts, hearing other students chattering in the courtyard while others were pushed forward towards the auditorium. Now Shun’s face flushed into something more: embarrassment. He felt so awkward, being taller than many of the first years. Being from Okinawa did little to help either, as his skin tone was much darker than the traditional Japanese students. He wondered if some would assume he was a foreigner. The large paper bag also set him apart, as most students simply carried a bag or suitcase with them. How would this year even start for him?