Chapter 1- A New Journey
The dark orange-haired girl raced to the kitchen, grabbed the pineapple bun and rapidly ate it. Without wasting any time, she dashed to the front door and put on her shoes. She put one foot out the door.
“Mom, Dad! I’m going to school now!” the girl said to her parents.
Her dad confidently walked up to her and handed her two bags of her family’s delicious snacks.
“What are these for?” she asked.
Her mom replied, “Oh Honoka, you never change. They’re for Umi and Kotori, tell them we said hi.”
Her dad nodded in agreement.
“Ah! Umi and Kotori, they’re waiting for me at the street sign! Thank you, bye!”
Honoka was never the brightest person, but she was indeed optimistic. Her grades were always near the bottom of the school rankings. It was this optimism that carried Honoka through her life. She would always try different activities which she found exciting, and dragged her two best friends along with her.
Honoka walked a few blocks and looked around. Her eyes widen, and her frantic expression turns into a gleaming smile as she looks at two familiar people. Both of them were wearing the same Otonokizaka School uniform. One girl had dark blue hair and golden brown eyes. She seemed rather serious. The other girl had light tan hair and golden yellow eyes. She looked like a marshmallow. Honoka hastily sprinted to the two girls while simultaneously waving at them.
The two girls turned to face Honoka.
The three girls walked towards each other and hugged.
“So, our second year at Otonokizaka,” Honoka looked at the serene surrounding scenery.
The blue-haired girl looked at Honoka.
“Hopefully, you do something to bring your grades up this year, Honoka,” said the blue-haired girl, Umi.
“Yeah, you barely passed the first year. I was pretty worried,” said the tan-haired girl, Kotori.
Honoka let out a weak chuckle.
“Don’t worry guys,” she aimlessly waved her right hand as if to dismiss something.
She looked down and noticed the two bags in her hand.
“Oh, my parents made these for you two,” Honoka said, hoping to avoid continued discussion about her grades.
Umi let out a subtle smile and accepted the gift.
“Tell your parents I said thank you,” Umi carefully took the bag.
“You too, Kotori!”
“It smells so good, Honoka. Your parents are so kind,” Kotori happily took the bag.
“Ah hah, it's nothing,” said Honoka.
Finally, they arrived at their school. Otonokizaka High School was a beautiful campus. The tall trees with vibrant green leaves were accompanied by a gentle breeze. The stress of going to school would disappear if one experienced what the three second years were feeling. The school itself looked very inviting from the exterior. The girls looked at each other with curious eyes full of hope, not fearful of what their second year at Otonokizaka would be like. One… two … three, they simultaneously entered the school structure. They continued until they found their classroom.
“You first, Honoka.”
She took the first step into the classroom. Umi and Kotori followed.
Class Time ~~
“Good morning, class. Before we get started, please turn in your summer assignments.” their homeroom teacher said.
And thus, with those words, their second year of school officially started.
Everybody in the class stood up and took turns turning in their homework.
Their homeroom teacher sighed.
“If you guys have been keeping up with the news recently, you might have heard that three of the top ten heroes were brutally injured by the villain group, Taiga. People are questioning the effectiveness of heroes and interest in being a hero dropped significantly after the disastrous event. It’s not likely, but Otonokizaka may get involved in training potential heroes in our school. If we do end up doing it, we’d like to do 3 unit squads like UTX’s A-Rise.”
A-Rise. The rumor of three girls from UTX being heroic sparked a lot of doubt. They were only high schoolers and yet, there were so many success stories about them. People did not know what to call them. School Heroes? Student Heroes? A-Rise did come at a critical time though, after the Taiga incident.
Lunch Time ~~
“So… A-Rise. Mm! Mm! What do you guys know about them?” Honoka asked her friends, who were more concerned about Honoka’s eating habits than about answering her question.
“Honoka, you don’t have to eat and talk at the same time!” Kotori said.
Honoka slowed down to chew her food before asking the question again.
“I heard they work really well as a unit because of their quirks and relationship,” Umi said.
“Mm-hmm, and I heard that they have their own personal trainers and UTX set up a small hero facility just for them,” Kotori added.
It was no surprise that Kotori and Umi would know about A-Rise. Umi’s family owned a successful hero dojo, and Kotori’s mother was the principal of their school.
“I wonder what they’re like in person. A-Rise seems so fictional. They’re high schoolers like us, but they’re saving lives and making the world a safer place.” Honoka said, looking out the window.
It was strange for Honoka to go into deep thought like this.
Umi and Kotori both thought of a suitable way to answer Honoka’s whims until time ran out, and class resumed.
Class End ~~
“I’ll see you guys tomorrow! I have to help my parents with something!” Honoka said, rushing out of the classroom before her two friends could respond.
“See you tomorrow!” replied Umi
“Take care!” replied Kotori
And just like that, Honoka was on her way home. She made her way towards the shopping district, as it was the fastest route to her home. The shopping district wasn’t too crowded during this time. Adults were still working, and school just ended a while ago. Usually, there were old ladies and stay at home moms around this time. But, something came up. An emergency would be the correct word.
“Stop! Thief! Somebody help me!” She stopped walking and breathed a few times heavily. She dropped down to her knees, palms touching the cement, and about to collapse.
Honoka looked around, and there stood a menacing figure. He was over seven feet tall, had a knife in his left hand, and a threatening mask on his face. Was this a villain? Her heart started beating rapidly, and her train of thought scrambled. She clenched her fists. Without any concern, she charged at the villain.