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“President,” a distorted voice calls from the door of the student council room. 

Kirari can’t help but smile at the use of her new title. She pauses, her head lifts up from the piece of paper she is reading to see a masked figure. It’s her newly appointed Vice President.

“So formal,” Kirari teases. “Ririka.” 

The Vice President – her sister – stiffens where she stands upon hearing her name. After a moment, Ririka regains her composure and takes a step forward, a vanilla folder in her left hand. 

“A student has requested a meeting with you.” Ririka says matter-of-factly, her left hand extends for Kirari to take the vanilla folder. 

Kirari stares at the vanilla folder in Ririka’s hand before she waves her hand dismissively, a bored sigh slips past her lips. “Put it with the others.” This isn’t the first request she has received to meet students who desire a position in the student council. 

Her meetings with these students have been the same. 

Spoiled brats who are entitled. They believe they can get whatever they want because their family is wealthy. 

She didn’t have the energy to waste to deal with them. The reformation of the school’s gambling tradition would handle them in due time. 

“She is… standing outside.” Ririka says hesitantly. She places the vanilla folder in front of Kirari, a bold move. 

Kirari raises an eyebrow at her sister’s actions before she concedes, mostly out of curiosity. She sighs again. “Fine, bring her in.” 

With a nod, Ririka walks to the student council room door. She opens the door and gives a hand gesture for the student to step inside. Once the student is inside the room, Ririka steps out to allow the two of them privacy.

The young girl in front of her is a middle school student if the different uniform is any indication. She is a bit surprised since most of the applicants to be a student council member have been high school students. Perhaps, this girl has some sort of ambition.

Kirari opens the vanilla folder in front of her to see the girl’s student profile. ‘Such a serious face,’ she muses with a smile. 

“Igarashi Sayaka.” Kirari doesn’t miss the slight flush on the other girl’s face. “By far the best grades, not just in the middle school but the entire academy.” She lifts her head up to meet a pair of wide violet eyes fixed on her before they avert away shyly. 

“Alright, what occasion brings you here today? Are you gunning for a position in next year’s student council, perhaps?” 

“No –” the answer is immediate which causes Kirari’s eyebrow to raise curiously. “That’s not it… Um, can I please...” 

Finding her resolve, Sayaka takes a step forward with her right hand pressed against her chest, her heart threatening to burst. “Can I work for you? As your secretary, I mean!” 

“Ah, intriguing,” the proposition is one Kirari has never considered before. “It wouldn’t be a terrible job, but wouldn’t you want to put your skills somewhere less demanding?” 

“You know, I was watching you gamble the other day.” Sayaka begins to say, her gaze is absent in her recollection of the amazing gambling match she had the pleasure to witness. “It was masterful. Extraordinary that you, as an unknown, should be gambling against the student council president.” 

As Sayaka continues enthusiastically, Kirari watches her curiously. 

To be blunt, this girl doesn’t seem like a gambler. In fact, she seems to be rather ordinary, aside from her academic prowess, a waste considering the school’s value for underhanded tactics in gambling. It begs the question why a person like Sayaka chose to attend Hyakkaou Private Academy.

The request is frivolous… Maybe that’s why Kirari finds herself considering it. 

“For my whole life, I will never have the guts to do that. Which is why I want to shadow you as much as I can so I can learn. Keep me close!” 

Kirari meets Sayaka’s eyes – so bright, so lively – in their depths she sees it.

A tower.

A symbol of a beginning and an end. 

Surrounding the tower is an endless field of white lilies. 

She is falling – no , they’re falling – and it’s so absurd to her, to Kirari, that she would choose to fall. 

But, she is, and it’s for her

“Um, can I be sure it was really you that did it?” 

‘This girl…’ Kirari muses while she narrows her eyes at Sayaka. For a brief moment, Kirari wonders if what she saw was a premonition of her downfall at the hands of this girl before her, if she should turn her away now. To avoid such misfortune.

Sayaka becomes tense, her eyes wide in horror over what she has said so impulsively. She bows her head immediately. “I’m so sorry! I have no idea why I said that!”

“Perfectly alright,” her voice is monotonous. “I will be in touch soon.” Kirari watches Sayaka who straightens up slowly, a look of uncertainty on her face. It seems like Sayaka wants to say more, but she doesn’t. Instead she thanks Kirari for her time before heading out of the student council room. 

Once Sayaka has left, Ririka returns to the student council room. 

Even with a silly mask, Kirari can easily read her sister like an open book. Ririka wants to ask her about Sayaka, if she is a possible threat to her, to them . She glances down at Sayaka’s student profile to see her picture again. Her chest aches, a strange sensation, but she dismisses it as nothing. 

“Ririka, I want you to start a budget for a tower.” Kirari begins to stand up from the table to stretch, her limbs stiff from being the same position for so long. 

“A tower…?” Ririka tilts her head to the side in confusion. 

“Yes,” Kirari says as if her request is something normal. “It’s a perfect stage for a particular gamble I have in mind. Though, it will have to wait.” Before her sister can muster the courage to question her, Kirari makes her way to the door to take her leave. 

Ririka remains silent, observant. 

She doesn’t know how to describe it, but there is something different about her sister. Unlike Kirari, she doesn’t have whimsical desires to act on. More often than not her actions are not of her own accord. 

Because of this though, Ririka knows her sister very well. 

“How romantic,” she comments.

Kirari’s reaction is subtle, unnoticeable to those who didn’t know her like Ririka does, a tight smile on her face. 

“I’m delighted you think so.”