The Snow Maiden

I was always a straight B student. Because a C made me look dumb and an A wasn't worth the effort. Scoring an A is for suckers. This pissed off the wrong people (my parents), so I was punished by being sent out here: a village in the snow country. But instead of building character, I met this village's darkest secret: the girl in the snow. She was dead and she changed my life. - UPDATES EVERY MONDAY, WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY!

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Author's note

My latest story! I think it's the best yet :)
AA

27. Chapter 27

Ayaka was a wild name. Deceptively so because her appearance didn't hint at it. She was as normal as they came: black hair, down to her waist, standard Japanese with no hint of a regional accent. A name with a plethora of random search results on Yahoo. Most of them mundane, some of them interesting. 


But once you get to know her, you'll find out that her seemingly innocent image was hiding something. I know because I did get to know her. 


Ayaka was pretty. Written with the characters for 'colorful' and 'flower', she did attract most of the guys in my class and the surrounding classes. A crinkle at the corner of her eyes, dimples when she smiled, a certain shine in her hair. A short skirt completed the image. 


Our homeroom teachers assigned her to the seat next to me. Not because the seat next to me was free. But because I sat in the front row and he wanted to keep a close eye on her. Maybe it was twenty years of teaching experience telling him that this girl was a wild one. He asked the guy next to me to move to a seat in the middle of the class so that ”Ayaka can have an easier time asking questions, because she is new." 


Would I have talked to her if she didn't sit next to me? Maybe. Probably not. But she did sit next to me. 


Feeling nervous or self-conscious around a pretty girl is natural for guys my age. We're young, we're foolish and immature without exception. When the first break came around, I was the first point of contact for her. Before the other guys could summon up the courage to come over. Even before the other girls came around to decide which circle she belonged to. 


Talking to her wasn't exceptionally difficult. I guess before I would've felt nervous, but I survived working under Miyazono and Aunt Reiko, and nothing was harder than that. 


It's all a matter of perspective.


I said, "Hey, why did you change schools?" 


A simple sentence. Nothing implied. Nothing in my voice. 


She turned to me. 


"Hmmm, shouldn't you tell your name first?" 


I smiled slightly. Good reply. 


"I'm Yamata Satoshi. Nice to meet you." 


"Yao Ayaka. Likewise." 


Now that she was looking directly at me, I could see that she was really pretty. Her skin had a certain shine to it, her cheeks slightly plumb, her lips full and alluring. I could feel my classmates staring daggers at me. At us. 


I asked, ”Sensei said you transferred here, why?" 


"My dad was promoted and got transferred to Tokyo. So my Mom and I moved with him." 


"Where were you before?" 


"Kagoshima." 


"And where are you now?" 


"Azabu." 


My jaw dropped a little. Azabu was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Tokyo. People there didn't mix with commoners. Ginza and Roppongi Hills were their territory. Lexus was considered cheap. Imported BMWs and Mercedes Benzs were the standard. 


"Then...uhm..." I wasn't sure how to say it without being rude. 


Ayaka finished the sentence for me. "Why is a rich girl like me in a regular public school in a regular neighborhood?" 


"Y-yes..." 


"My mother came from a wealthy family, but my father grew up poor. He said if I can't fight my way through a regular school, then I'm too dumb to be rich. My mother wanted me to go to one of those private school for girls. The type of school where I'd learn about tea ceremonies and how to play the piano. She said I wouldn't learn how to be a lady with regular people. My father said it’s better to be crude and smart than dumb and polite." 


Good answer. I liked the way she talked. Very direct, very down to earth. But there was something missing from her answer. 


I asked, "And what do you think?" 


Ayaka raised an eyebrow. 


"What do I think?" 


She asked that question like it was odd. As if she had never heard it before. She closed her eyes and thought for a moment. Then she looked at me with certain interest in her eyes. 


She said, "I think a public school might be better for me. It's much freer here. Back in Kagoshima I went to one of those super fancy private schools and they keep a reeeeeeeeally tight leash on you. You get suspended if they catch you getting something to eat outside of school grounds during lunch break. And if you get caught twice, you get expelled. So nobody ever went out to eat. It was so dull. That's why I went along with my dad's idea." 


I nodded. Basically she was looking for a little freedom. 


She asked, And you...uhm, Yamata-kun? Or should I just call you Satoshi-kun?" 


"Satoshi-kun is fine." 


"Alright. And what about you Satoshi-kun? Why are you here?" 


A pretty girl calling me by my first name. Not even Miyazono did that and she was more brazen than any other girl I've known in my short seventeen years of life. 


I said, "Nothing special about me. Seventeen years old. My father is a salaryman. My mother started working as a tour guide when I started junior high. Not poor, not rich. Maybe a vacation every now and then." 


"Mhmm..." 


She stared at me. Brazenly so. 


"What?" I asked. 


She said, "You're interesting. When I tell people about what school I went to or that I come from a wealthy family, they immediately say, 'Wha, you're so lucky,’ or 'I wish was you'. You just asked me 'What do you think?' That's a reaction I've never seen before." 


I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing.


Ayaka got up. 


She said, "Satoshi-kun, come with me. There's something I want to do." 


Under most other circumstances, what she said would be considered rude. Not a question, but an order. Especially since we didn't know each other well. But she called me by my first name, which suggested a sort of familiarity, even if there wasn't any.

 

I got up and followed. It'd be more of a pain to refuse.

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