“Hello, passengers. We have arrived at Sougawa Airport. Thank you for travelling with Zephyr Airlines. Please file out one at a time so as to avoid disturbance and possible injury. We hope you’ll travel with us again.”
One by one, the passengers made their way down the tunnel. Children excitedly ran down, with adults chasing after them and still rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. After a nine-hour plane ride, it was understandable that most of the passengers would be drowsy. The people chatted among themselves, with some pulling out maps to plot out some sort of route or find their hotel, some taking out their phones to contact whomever they had arranged to meet with, and some simply going to board another plane in the airport.
However, the very last one to exit the airplane and make her way to Terminal A of Sougawa Airport was, to say the least, different than the rest. She made her way out with her head held high, carrying herself with a confident air as the heels of her white mary-janes clicked across the pavement. Her brown pigtails swished through the air as she dragged a shiny white suitcase behind her - a color that blended well with the rest of her outfit. Her peach-colored jacket looked to be the most expensive part of her outfit, though that was only relatively speaking, considering her white blouse, knee-length beige skirt, and black tights all looked as if they cost a fortune. Even with the slight tiredness in her gold eyes, she had a measured grace to her movements, pale skin shining under the lights.
As Rina Oshiro made her way through the tunnels, she received a lot of stares, both from people who recognized her and from people who were simply intrigued by the aura she gave off. She didn’t bother to dignify even one of them, making her way into the airport terminal. She took a moment to glance down at her wrist, checking her watch. Good... a few minutes early. Her sister would no doubt be waiting for her.
With a sigh, she took a seat on one of the olive-cushioned chairs set out, crossing her ankles and folding her hands on her lap. Nine hours of rubbish. The plane ride was, put simply, agonizing. At first, it seemed fine. She had gotten first class seats, and good meals and entertainment to go along with them.
But, of course, it was her unlucky day, as the other passenger in first class was... unpleasant, to say the least. She decided not to think about what had happened, knowing one thing for certain: this was certainly an experience she wished she could erase from her memory.
There was no sense in letting it sour her time here, though. This was a new city with new experiences ahead of her. She would be able to receive a proper education that her old home could never provide. Being able to finally meet with her sister didn’t sound too bad either. There was even a slim chance that she could make friends.
Tch. As if she would be able to make real friends.
The girl was abruptly jolted out of her thoughts as she heard her name called. She quickly sat up, instinctively assuming proper posture as she tried to find the source of the voice. It didn’t take long for her to spot a woman several years older than her making her way over with similarly refined movements. At first, Rina felt a little doubtful. Her clothing was certainly elegant enough - she had an ivory-colored coat, a puffy brown skirt, black tights, and white high heels - but for all Rina knew, she was just another person high on the class ladder.
However, her concerns were eased as she spotted the woman’s gold eyes and brown hair - identical to hers... mostly. Her sister’s hair was not in pigtails and was instead hanging loosely down to her shoulders, and it had streaks of blonde in it. But nonetheless, it was safe to say...
“Furuta?” Rina asked cautiously, just to be safe.
A slight smile came onto Furuta’s face as she heard her name. She made her way over and hugged Rina gently. The last of her insecurities melted away, and she hugged her back, feeling even more at ease as her sister started talking. “Last time I saw you, you were just an infant. You’ve grown so much...” She pulled away, placing her hands on her thighs. “How was the plane ride?”
“Not particularly nice. The seats were amazingly comfortable, and the food was outstanding, but... another passenger happened to be present. A rather perverted man twenty years older than me.” Rina grumbled, flipping her hair. “I’d rather not say exactly what he was doing, but... I didn’t say a single word and he just kept talking. ” She shuddered at the memory, pushing it away hastily.
Furuta rolled her eyes in disgust. “Yet another person to add to the pile of those who don’t respect our status.” She offered a hand, and Rina took it, pulling herself up and standing next to her sister. “Let’s not worry about that, though. Shall we go to our apartment? Our limousine is waiting.”
“You’ve... certainly been prepared for my arrival.” Despite her understatement, Rina couldn’t stop a smile from forming on her lips. She couldn’t help but be impressed, considering her sister barely knew her. If she was aiming to make a good first impression, she had certainly succeeded. “Yes, let’s get going. I don’t think wasting time around these slums is really worth it.”
With a nod, the two walked off to the parking lot, arms linked together.
The ride passed without anything particularly eventful. To anyone else, it would have seemed like a perfect opportunity to catch up with their sister that they hadn’t spoken to in over a decade. There would be no doubt a variety of topics to catch up on. They could talk about important things that had gone on in their lives, random hobbies they had picked up, other relatives... The list went on.
However, Rina was not interested in such an event. The entire car ride had passed in silence, and that was exactly as she wanted. There was a time and a place for a sisterly talk, and as much as she enjoyed the chance to reunite with her sibling, she would prefer it not be in a limousine with a chauffeur she had barely spoken a word to. If she was to talk to her sister, it would be in a comfortable place with no distractions. Thus, she contented herself with watching Sougawa’s buildings blaze by through the limo’s windows.
And even without speaking with each other, she knew the two shared a connection. Furuta had looked back at her from the shotgun seat occasionally, and at one point when the two met eyes, she gave her a gentle smile. That was all Rina needed to feel comforted that her sister would be a welcoming, capable guardian.
The limousine slowly came to a stop in front of a towering thirty-story building with a red carpet and “RADIANT APARTMENTS” displayed in proud, golden letters above the door. Furuta handed the chauffeur a tip, bowing her head politely, before stepping out of the limousine, with Rina following close behind. She let out a sharp exhale as she looked over the place where she would be staying for the forseeable future. “... This looks like a nice place,” she commented towards her sister, feeling more comfortable talking out in the open air.
“As an Oshiro, you know we’d only get the best of service.” Furuta hummed as she pushed the glass doors open, revealing a rather comfy-looking lobby with big couches and even a gold elevator. There were some other people around, but Rina was hardly concerned with them - she was more interested in seeing what their apartment would be like. The two made their way to said elevator, and as the doors slid open, Furuta promptly stepped inside and pressed the button marked “30” in one swift motion. As Rina stepped inside with her sister, the elevator doors came to a stop, and it began its ascent.
“Are you excited for your time at Touzawa?” Furuta asked, sharing Rina’s sentiment of it being easier to talk with just the two of them.
Rina’s eyes shone at the mention of her new academy. “Absolutely. Being offered a full three years there - for free, no less - is generous of them. I can’t thank them enough, honestly...” She leaned back against the elevator walls with a sigh, tugging at her skirt a little. “I was worried I would be stuck in the slums forever with zero opportunities simply because of my location, but here I am with my distant sister. I almost can’t believe it’s real...”
“I would have gotten to you sooner, but my job is rather... difficult.” Furuta pursed her lips, a sign to Rina that it was probably not a good idea to press on that matter. Thankfully, she promptly changed the subject. “Regardless, the principal is already eager to welcome you, as are the students.”
Upon the mention of her classmates, Rina couldn’t help but sigh in annoyance. “I sure bet they’re excited.”
Furuta raised an eyebrow in confusion, but before she could press on the matter, a pleasant ding sounded through the elevator, and the doors shuddered before promptly sliding open.
“Ah. Here we are.” The older lady let go of her suspicions and turned her attention towards the white hallway before them, promptly taking a few steps down before opening the door at the end. “Welcome to your new home.”
As Rina peeked in from behind Furuta, she couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. Moving from a simple three-room, one-story house in a small town to a luxury penthouse in the big city was quite a drastic change. Would she really be able to settle in that easily? Over time, she had grown worried that her manners wouldn’t be up to par for her sister; what if she messed something up? What if she accidentally got the two moved down to a lower apartment, or misplaced something important to Furuta? What if...
... Was that a luxury sofa?
As she fully took in the room, her anxieties promptly melted away, replaced by pure awe. The penthouse looked... spectacular. There was really no other way to describe it. The couches set around the room looked to be made of the finest materials, the large windows provided a way to a balcony outside with a beautiful view, the chandelier was made of a fine stained glass with ornate designs, the television in front of one of the sofas had a gigantic screen... there was simply no end to the room’s class in Rina’s eyes. She took a few cautious steps inside, slowly twirling around in wonder.
“This is nothing like your old home, eh?” Furuta couldn’t resist chuckling as she gently closed the door, making her way over to one of the couches. “I hope you don’t think the living room is all there is to this place.”
“It’s... it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Rina admitted breathlessly, eyes darting rapidly around as she tried to take in every detail of her new living space. It seemed like there was so much to it; every time she thought she had seen everything she spotted a new detail, like how the chandelier only had four different colors in its glass, or how the carpet didn’t have any ruffles on it at all, or...
She hesitated as she spotted her sister smirking at her. “You look like a starry-eyed princess,” Furuta joked.
“I-I can’t help it! This place is magnificent!” Rina’s face flushed red, and she instinctively brought one hand to her cheeks, biting her lip. Sure, this wasn’t a time where she had to be composed, but... she almost felt shameful, gushing like a little girl over this place. She took a moment to swallow her pride, exhaling sharply as she felt her cheeks return to a more reasonable temperature. “If you don’t mind me asking... where will I be sleeping?”
“In the guest room, of course.” Furuta made her way to two white doors in the corner - another detail Rina had failed to notice until now - and pulled one of them open, gesturing inside. “Here you are.”
Rina wasted no time in darting over to her room, taking a peek inside. She had thought her room would be something small; a single bed with a drawer next to it, perhaps a small closet to store her clothes in.
To say the least, she wasn’t expecting a fairly large room with a queen-sized bed, a fireplace, and her own bathroom. “Sister... s-surely this was meant for someone else...”
“I would prefer to get the best for you. We haven’t had any time to really get to know each other... and I figure giving you the living space you deserve would make things easier for you.” Furuta folded her hands together, clearly pleased by Rina’s reaction. “That said... I imagine you’re feeling rather tired from the plane ride, so if you wish to get some rest, I understand.” Her smile faded as she continued to speak. “Tomorrow we’ll have to get your paperwork set up, anyhow, so it’s best for you to go to bed early.”
While Rina hadn’t even considered going to sleep after seeing her new apartment, upon Furuta bringing up her fatigue, she couldn’t help but let out a slight yawn, covering her mouth. “... I... suppose you’re right... I’ll have time to marvel about the apartment tomorrow.” She seemed a little disappointed, but nonetheless, as she felt exhaustion rapidly sweeping over her, she resolved that it was probably best to rest her eyes for a bit.
“Of course. If you need anything during the night, don’t be afraid to wake me up. Goodnight, Rina.” Furuta bowed her head lightly before promptly departing, gently shutting the door behind her and leaving Rina to herself.
Rina wasted no time in getting ready for bed, taking a moment to change from her elegant dress into simple white silk pajamas. She climbed into her bed, adjusting the covers with a comforted sigh as she noted how comfortable the bed was. It was simply outstanding how lucky she was, getting this opportunity to study in an environment more suited to her caliber.
And even then, her excitement quickly gave way to an emotion she couldn’t quite place. There was a distinct feeling of apprehension as she thought about her possible peers. Was she afraid of trying to meet new people? Well, yes, but that wasn’t quite the full picture... Or perhaps she was annoyed at the possibility of associating with people lower than her? Certainly not. Status didn’t mean anything in terms of value as a person...
... at least, to her.
As the realization set in, Rina hastily shut her eyes, trying to shake off her anxiety. And even as she drifted into slumber, she couldn’t help but worry even more, one question repeatedly bouncing through her head as she slipped into dreams.
... Will anybody like me for who I am?