It had been 2 years since everyone graduated from high school.
Mihama Chiyo had passed the entrance exam for a particularly high-ranking and prestigious university. Everyone had congratulated her, and she had even made the news for being the youngest person accepted into the university. Chiyo had begun the semester happy and excited about making new friends, but whenever she would approach her classmates, they would never take her seriously.
Chiyo had been often stared at in all her classes. People had mistook her for someone's little sister and had taunted her for being the lone 14-year-old in the school. It had been a totally different experience for her than high school - people were much less willing to give her a chance than when she was in Yukari-sensei's class, and so she did not have the same circle of friends she had back in high school.
Chiyo still kept in touch with her high school friends, of course. Every so often they would meet up in person at some cafe or restaurant or bar and update each other about what was going on in their lives. Out of all the girls, Chiyo felt the closest to Sakaki. Sakaki's soft-spoken nature and love of cute plushies and cats endeared her to Chiyo and whenever she had the chance, she would invite Sakaki over to her house (or vice versa) and they would study together, or they would go shopping together or see a movie. Out of all her high school friends, Sakaki was the one she felt she could share her deepest thoughts with.
One day after class, Chiyo went to the pet shop where Sakaki worked with a particular dilemma on her mind. She walked up to the counter with the cash register on it, which Sakaki was standing behind.
“Sakaki-san...uh...” “Yes?” Sakaki said nonchalantly.
“I need...uh...uh...uh...uhhhh...” Chiyo’s voice got progressingly more desperate with each “uh,” as if something truly bad was going on.
“What is it, Chiyo-chan?” Sakaki asked in a more alarmed voice.
“Well I...uh...I have a paper due in a week, for my literature class... and I can’t think of what to write about!”
Sakaki sighed in relief it wasn’t something extremely horrible. “Well, what’s the paper about, exactly?” Chiyo took out her notebook and handed her a sheet with information about the assignment.
Sakaki looked at the sheet a bit, and then smiled. “I can help with this. Here, get out a piece of paper.”
Chiyo did so and for the next half hour or so the two of them sat down to brainstorm ideas. The time seemed to fly by, and once they had finally settled on a topic, Chiyo thought just how lucky she was to have such a good, dependable friend as Sakaki-san.
For the rest of the week Chiyo diligently worked on the paper. She was determined to make it the best paper in the class, and make Sakaki-san and the others proud. She wanted to show the rest of her class that she was, indeed, a true genius and not just some annoying kid.
And indeed, Chiyo was able to turn it in on time, though it had taken some more help from Sakaki to properly finish the thing.
A few weeks later the teacher handed back the papers. Chiyo shivered a bit, hoping that her and Sakaki’s hard work had not gone to waste.
When her paper was handed to her, Chiyo immediately looked at the grade.
It was a 100.
Chiyo smiled to herself. Thank you, Sakaki-san...
She left the classroom feeling the happiest she had ever been in university, and it was all thanks to Sakaki. For Chiyo, it was truly a blessing to have such a kind, dependable friend as Sakaki-san.