After the events during the excursion trip things went back to how they were between the sisters. While Mei and Yuzu's relationship didn't worsen, it didn't improve either. Though Yuzu would have preferred it to have been the latter she was fine with waiting for Mei.
It had been an ordinary day for Yuzu. She woke up to her little sister, Mei, who was already dressed in her uniform.
"Wake up Yuzu or we'll be late", the student council president said in her authoritative voice.
After a few more tries Yuzu finally got up and got ready for school. She hurriedly stuffed her bento into her bag and grabbed a piece of toast before rushing out after Mei. When they arrived at school Yuzu went to greet Harumi in the classroom and Mei left to do some student council work. Apparently an important visitor would be coming to the school and of course Mei had to greet and guide them through the school.
The day passed slowly as the blonde had no interest in any of the lessons. After lunch time Yuzu and Harumi were walking back to their classroom when they noticed that the other students were looking out the window. Curious, they both looked through the window as well.
They saw a limousine pulling up by the front gate and Mei and her grandfather waiting for the visitors to exit the vehicle. Yuzu's eyes widened and she suddenly ran away, much to Harumi's confusion.
"Yuzu?!", the brunette called out after her.
At the front gate Mei and her grandfather were awaiting the visitors and were ready to greet them.
Finally a man in a suit exited the limousine and opened the door. An elderly woman stepped out, along with two bulky men who seemed to be her bodyguards.
"Welcome Mrs. Hayato", Mr. Aihara greeted as they shook hands. "This is the student council president and my granddaughter Mei".
Just as Mei opened her mouth to greet the old woman a voice called out from behind them.
Yuzu had walked towards them. Mei and her grandfather wore shocked expressions, while Mrs. Hayato kept her serious demeanor. Mei had also noticed that Yuzu’s usual messy uniform was all buttoned up and that her tie was fixed.
"It has been a long time! I did not know that you would be visiting", Yuzu said in a respectful manner.
"I did not come to visit you, Yuzuko . I came here regarding a business matter.", the elderly woman spat.
"O-of course, my apologies grandmother", Yuzu answered while bowing.
Mei grimaced at the old woman's sharp words directed at Yuzu. She was quite surprised that this bitter woman was even remotely related to the usually bright blonde.
Clearing his throat, Mr. Aihara spoke up, "I was not aware that Yuzuko was your granddaughter, Mrs. Hayato”.
"I didn't think it was of relevance regarding a business matter", Mrs. Hayato responded coldly.
"O-oh well then, shall we continue the tour?", Mr. Aihara tried changing the subject.
"Yes, let's", the old woman said.
By the time they showed Mrs. Hayato around the whole school, the bell rang indicating the end of the school day. All the students were leaving, except for those who had club activities. The three made their way to the dojo as it was the only place that they haven't gone to. Since it was after school the karate club were training in the dojo.
"Hmm your school is very impressive. You have many facilities too, including a swimming pool and a gymnasium. I also commend the students that are practicing martial arts here", the old woman nodded approvingly.
"Martial arts is an important tradition in my family after all. May I ask for a demonstration?", Mrs. Hayato inquired.
"Of course. Mei would you ask them to do a demonstration for our guest?", Mr. Aihara asked Mei.
"Of course, grandfather"
As the students were about to spar, Mrs. Hayato spoke up, "I was hoping that Yuzuko would do a demonstration", she turned to Yuzu who had decided to accompany them during the tour.
"I'm sorry but Yuzu isn't part of the martial arts club", Mei insisted.
"I'll do it...", Yuzu interjected.
"But-", Mei was about to protest.
"I just need a moment to change", Yuzu cut her off.
After a few minutes Yuzu emerged from the changing room, wearing a spare Karate Gi. She wore a serious expression as she approached a girl with long, curly, black hair. Although Yuzu did not pay much attention in school, she still knew about Suzuran Shiraho, the martial arts president. It was said that she was a ruthless fighter and only had to look at her opponent to defeat them. She was also given a nickname, ‘The Shadow’, as she could easily evade any attacks from her opponent almost like they were chasing her shadow.
"Um, Shiraho-senpai right? Will you be my sparring partner?", Yuzu asked as she stood confidently in front of the third year.
The other students started whispering amongst themselves.
"Isn't that the girl who always causes a fuss?"
"Yeah, she's the one who interrupted the morning assembly that one time!"
"Can she even fight?"
"There's no way she'll stand a chance against Shiraho-senpai, she's a fourth degree black belt!"
A silence fell over the students as Yuzu and the president bowed and got into a fighting stance.
Yuzu took a defensive stance, waiting for the other girl to attack her first. The president eyed her for a moment before launching the first attack, swinging her leg up to kick Yuzu's upper body.
Mei was shocked to see the normally cheerful girl so serious. She had no idea that her sister could be so… cool.
Shiraho’s eyes widened when her blow was blocked by Yuzu’s arm. She continued to attack Yuzu but to no avail as the blonde easily blocked all her attacks. The president retreated back and seemed to analyze Yuzu’s stance once more, “Tch”. She got ready to attack again and swung her fist at her.
However, Yuzu managed to dodge her punch and stretched her right arm up, thrusting her hand forward and landing a blow right under her opponent’s chin with the heel of her palm. The third year’s head flew backwards and she landed on the floor with a loud thud. She was knocked out from the impact of Yuzu's attack.
Everyone's mouth was agape in shock. They didn't think that the infamous gyaru in first year would be able to fight, let alone defeat their president with a single blow!
Mei was having a confusing mixture of emotions in her head. She was baffled and astounded at Yuzu’s skills and for some reason her heart raced while her face seemed to grow warmer.
'She's so hot'
, she thought before stopping herself.
'Stop it Mei. Now is not the time to be thinking about that stuff'
, she mentally scolded herself.
Yuzu turned to Mrs. Hayato and merely saw her smirking arrogantly. "Will that be all?", Yuzu asked with a smile.
"Hmm, well, I'm not that impressed so far...", she pretended to think. "I know", she turned to her two bodyguards. "Junko, Jirō why don't you show my granddaughter what a proper demonstration should look like?", she suggested.
"Hold on a minute Mrs. Hayato, this is taking things too far!", Mei's grandfather protested.
"Why don't we let Yuzuko decide?", the old woman remarked.
Mei's eyes widened and she quickly turned to Yuzu, looking at her with pleading eyes. ‘Please just say no…’.
However Yuzu just gave her a forced smile as if to say, 'I have to do this'.
She glared at her grandmother and held her fierce gaze as if to challenge her. "Very well...I'll fight", she replied in a confident voice.
The two bodyguards walked up and stood in front of her. Yuzu didn't bother bowing and just got into her fighting stance.
"Come at me", she challenged.
The two men did as they were told and immediately launched themselves at the blonde. Yuzu was barely able to dodge their onslaught of attacks, but thankfully the men soon grew tired and stepped back.
Yuzu was panting, she was also getting tired of dodging all of their attacks. 'I’m still kinda rusty at this and my stamina’s not great so I have to end this quickly' , she thought.
Finally regaining her breath she lunged forward and managed to strike the two men in the face. The impact of her punches managed to knock off their sunglasses from their faces, breaking as it fell to the ground. The men angrily looked at each other and nodded.
Yuzu took a cautious step back as the men ran towards her. A painful crack resounded in the entire room when one of the men landed a blow right in her stomach. She lurched forward in pain as the air was knocked out of her and was grabbed by one of the men from behind. The other man started to continuously punch her in her abdomen while she was being held back.
The students watched as they covered their mouths in horror while others couldn't bare to witness the brutality of the scene. Mei was horrified as she watched her sister being mercilessly beaten by the men. Her heart dropped when Yuzu’s eyes started drooping as she was slowly losing consciousness.
At the sound of Mei’s voice Yuzu perked up. She let out a growl and kicked the man in front of her between the legs. As the man fell to his knees she jerked her head backwards, hitting the other man’s face. She continuously did this until she heard a crunch and a cry of pain. His hold on her loosened and she pushed him away, retreating to a safe distance to try to regain her breath.
The man stepped back, his hand covering his nose as blood was spurting out. “You bitch! Y-you broke my nose!”, he cried.
She merely smirked at him which made the man snarl at her. When he finally recovered from the pain between his legs the other man stood up and attempted to punch her again. Yuzu evaded his attack and kicked him in the stomach. He fell to his knees once again, gasping for air.
Swinging her leg down on his back, he stayed down. As the other man ran towards her she stretched her leg up and spun around, hitting him with full force in the face. Both men finally stayed down.
Sighing with relief Yuzu spun around to face her grandmother.
“Are you… are you satisfied with the demonstration now, grandmother?”, although she was clutching her abdomen in pain and spoke in between ragged breaths, her posture and tone had never seemed more confident.
Mrs. Hayato sighed in defeat before answering, “It should have taken you less time, Yuzuko. But I guess that this standard is acceptable...”.
Yuzu perked up and smiled in accomplishment at the older woman’s response. Mrs. Hayato turned to Mr. Aihara and thanked him for the tour and demonstration and took her leave.
“Grandmother, please let me walk you out!”, Yuzu attempted to touch her back to guide her to the door only to have her hand slapped away.
“Don’t touch me.”, the bitter woman said, not even looking at her. “Your hair… dye it, it disgust me…”
Yuzu’s proud smile faded immediately and she looked down in shame as her grandmother walked away. Mr. Aihara turned to Mei, ”Mei why don't you help your sister to the infirmary. It looks like she took quite a beating”.
Mei happily obliged and stayed with Yuzu as her grandfather accompanied Mrs. Hayato to the school gate.
Mei helped Yuzu by wrapping her arm around her for support. Yuzu could barely walk and with each step she threatened to collapse. Upon encountering the two sisters, Himeko decided to help out.
The slow walk to the infirmary was silent except for Yuzu's heavy breathing. She was exhausted, which was understandable seeing as she fought against two skilled bodyguards, twice her size.
When they finally made it to the infirmary they found it to be empty. While Himeko ran off to find the nurse Yuzu lay down on one of the beds and Mei sat down on a stool beside her. Yuzu closed her eyes and focused on breathing, trying to ignore the pain each breath caused. Mei noticed her pained grimaces and tried to make herself useful by grabbing a piece of cloth and cleaning up the bloody cuts on her sister’s face.
Upon contact with the wet cloth Yuzu flinched from the sting of the alcohol but relaxed soon after. Each time she saw Mei her heartbeat quickened and her breath became rapid so she kept her eyes closed since she knew that she would see her sister’s face close to hers.
“Yuzu” , a soft voice broke the silence.
“Mm?”, was the only reply Yuzu could muster. She still kept her eyes closed.
After a brief silence Mei finally asked, “Why did you act so… different when you were talking to your grandmother?”.
“What do you mean?”, Yuzu said in a soft voice.
“You weren't acting like your usual self”, Mei said firmly.
“Oh, yeah… I guess”
“Wasn't she your grandmother? Why did she treat you like that?”, Mei asked worriedly.
“I-I don't know…”, Yuzu lied, finally opening her eyes but still averting her gaze from Mei.
Mei stopped dabbing the cloth on the girl’s split eyebrow and grit her teeth in annoyance. ‘ Why won’t she look at me?!’
“Yuzu!”, Mei suddenly stood up.
She put both her hands between Yuzu's head, effectively pinning her on the bed. Yuzu was finally looking at her.
“Stop averting your eyes and look at me properly!”, frustration and desperation laced her voice.
Tears threatened to fall from her eyes. She was hurt. Hurt that Yuzu was treated so harshly by her grandmother, hurt that she was beaten by those men and hurt that Yuzu wouldn't tell her anything; that she wouldn't let her in.
Yuzu's eyes were wide. She realized that she had hurt Mei and her gaze softened. Just as they were about to lean in they heard footsteps. Mei reluctantly got off the bed and sat back down on the stool.
When the nurse examined Yuzu she was immediately brought to the hospital as her ribs were threatening to poke into her lungs. She also had a minor head injury due to breaking one of the men’s nose and was thoroughly examined in both her brain and abdomen to make sure there was no internal bleeding.
Thankfully her broken ribs were the most serious injuries that she had and she wasn't allowed to leave the hospital for at least a week due to the bad break.