NARRATOR: "After school, Shizune and Misha quickly find me by the first floor lobby and latch onto me, covering each flank in case I might try to escape. I feel a little offended, but I'd been considering it. Nevertheless, I'm a bit disturbed that enough people have made a break for it in the past that they're on their guard."

HISAO: "What's with the escort? This doesn't make me feel very comfortable."

NARRATOR: "In fact, it makes me feel like a dangerous prisoner being transported to his cell."

MISHA: "Wahahaha! What's wrong, Hicchan?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "That's right, we're just going to go play a game of Risk, remember?"

NARRATOR: "I don't know, Misha, this all seems a little sinister to me. I start thinking that when we sit down to play the game, they'll tie me down and torture me until I agree to join the Student Council. Well, that's highly unlikely, but still... For some reason, it just seems like it would be so plausible... Getting to the student council room is as simple as turning two corners from where we started."

HISAO: "What? That's it? This makes you guys being so on top of me seem a little silly."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "That's not true, Hicchan, Shicchan says that when their life is threatened, people have shown the capability to pull off superhuman bursts of speed."

HISAO: "'Life is threatened'?"

NARRATOR: "Her expression unchanging, Misha signs something amusedly to Shizune, who makes a baffling face and puts her hands behind her back, looking pleased with herself."

MISHA: "Mm~ hm hm hm~..."

NARRATOR: "Misha feigns deafness and hums cheerily. Stop that, I know you heard me; you have no excuse, unlike Shizune."

NARRATOR: "Shizune opens the door to the student council room. It's a very plain, sparsely decorated room, although it is quite large, maybe even a little larger than a classroom. There's a big table in the center surrounded by chairs, and a smaller desk prominently placed in the back that I assume is Shizune's. There are a few regular desks and chairs stacked to one side, as well. Extras, perhaps? Aside from the tables and chairs, the room doesn't have much else to offer. Just a couple of filing cabinets and bookshelves stacked with old school records and documents. Not much else. In fact, nothing else. This is... a pretty bleak room. They could at least put a potted plant in here, or something. But the most noticeable thing that this room doesn't have is other people."

HISAO: "Are we early?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "No~."

HISAO: "What do you mean “no”? Does it mean nobody else is coming today?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Yeah, that's right~."

NARRATOR: "Before I manage to ask why that's the case, Shizune claps her hands together very energetically."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan, let's play Risk! Come on, you promised, didn't you? You have to~! Hahaha~! Okay okay okay~! Do you want to know the rules? We can explain to you while we set everything up!"

NARRATOR: "While Misha is talking, Shizune takes out what looks like a board game from behind one of the filing cabinets and throws it on the table. Actually, this looks kind of interesting. After Misha spends a little too long for her liking running through the basics with a somewhat vague and confusing tutorial, Shizune cuts in and declares the game has started with a decisive motion, slicing her arm through the air. Shizune's aggressiveness is rubbing off onto me. I start feeling more competitive than I intended to be when I agreed to this. Halfway into the game, while I try to ponder how to defend against Shizune's assault from two fronts, she breaks my concentration by drumming her fingers on the table to get my attention."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan, Shicchan wants you to know that you are taking too long to make a move. Shicchan also says that she will let you keep Australia if you agree to join the Student Council~!"

HISAO: "I thought this was a game with no strings attached."

NARRATOR: "Just the fact that she would dangle that over my head as an offer means that she knows I care about the outcome of this game."

HISAO: "And anyway: No!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Shicchan admires your fighting spirit and would be a benevolent dictator who will spare your people if you agree to join the Student Council~! Hahahaha~!"

HISAO: "You're so competitive, Shizune."

NARRATOR: "She seems to take this as a compliment."

HISAO: "I would expect the Student Council president to be a little more magnanimous."

MISHA: "Mag—nan—i—mous...?"

NARRATOR: "She doesn't seem to know what the word means or how it's signed, so she pulls out a piece of paper and writes it for Shizune, who in return signs it back to Misha. Misha presses her index fingers against her temples, as if trying to physically imprint the word into her memory."

SHIZUNE: "..."

NARRATOR: "Suddenly, Shizune bursts into a flurry of gestures. Misha looks daunted by the pace of her heated signing."

MISHA: "Ah, wait, please slow down, Shicchan... Um, Hicchan~! Shicchan says you're going to lose!"

HISAO: "Tell her I will crush her world empire with my rebellion."

MISHA: "Ah... Okay..."

NARRATOR: "Those eyes of hers shine with childlike mischief."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "She says you have no chance if you keep playing like this, no you won't~!"

NARRATOR: "She is either really mocking me, or trying to trick me. I have nothing else to lose, though, so I might as well try something different. Maybe if I spread out my forces and try to control more territories, I can recoup the advantage. Shizune seems to focus on conquering whole nations, so maybe I can sacrifice my hold on continents to gain more small countries. It's worth a shot."

NARRATOR: "A few turns later, I end up losing the game anyway. Shizune adjusts her glasses victoriously and allows herself to tentatively pump a fist in the air in celebration."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "I win, I win~! Yay~!"

HISAO: "There's no need to translate that, it was pretty clear."

MISHA: "Wahaha~! Don't look so sad, Hicchan~! You were really giving it your best, that's what I thought! Sometimes, your best just isn't good enough, though~. If anyone knows that, it's me~! You did very well for someone who just learned how to play today!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan, you attacked Iceland and North America at the same time, that's a very daring move. Shicchan is impressed~!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "The mark of great people is that they are daring, and that they can follow through~! You're already halfway there; isn't that great, Hicchan?"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "That isn't enough though; just potential isn't enough! There is no point to potential if you don't take the first step, and there is no point to that if you don't keep going. I want to see more. You're right, Shicchan~, but, that's so demanding..."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "..."

NARRATOR: "Shizune leans forward, suddenly looking a lot less playful and more like the serious person I expected her to be from the start."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Hicchan, would you like to join the Student Council?"

NARRATOR: "She really doesn't waste any time, does she? But... It's only my second day of school, so I'm hesitant about committing to something so early. I haven't even taken a look at any other clubs yet. But spending time with Shizune and Misha doesn't seem like something I would hate. I still need more time to think about it before I decide for sure."

HISAO: "Maybe. I'll get back to you on it."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Okay, Hicchan~! But, I hope you're not just saying that so we don't feel bad."

HISAO: "No, really."

MISHA: "Really~? Hicchan, if you're going to say that, you're saying that it is definitely the truth, and there can't be any~ mistaking it~!"

HISAO: "I know, I know. I guess I should have my revenge for losing, at the very least."

NARRATOR: "Shizune smiles at that in a mischievous way that feels like twisting the knife in the wound of my loss."

NARRATOR: "It's likely that she's just trying to psych me out. Looking at the board again, I have a pretty good defense set up, and I'm not going to wreck it doing something reckless."

NARRATOR: "A few turns later, I lose the game anyway. Shizune adjusts her glasses victoriously and allows herself to tentatively pump a fist in the air in celebration."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Wahahaha~! Hicchan, you lost when you allowed me to take North America. I mean, Shicchan, not me."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Getting control of North America is ambitious, because it provides a five army bonus, but you can attack it from three fronts, so you must defend them all~!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "I thought you'd have more guts. How disappointing. Ambition, Hicchan, your play needs to be more daring! Ambition, ambition~!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "I was really excited when you took South America, but then you switched to playing defensively just because you gained a small advantage. That's no good, Hicchan. You didn't take enough risks, and when you did, you didn't follow through. That's terrible, Hicchan."

NARRATOR: "Damn, what's it to her if I played too carefully? There's no need to rub it in my face."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "I wonder if you'd even be any good for the Student Council..."

NARRATOR: "What's this, reverse psychology?"

HISAO: "I guess I don't have to worry about joining or not in that case."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Giving up just like that? I expected more of you."

NARRATOR: "Seriously, is Shizune trying to taunt me into joining the council? Besides, I don't even want to join. It's only my second day, I can't make that kind of commitment. I haven't even taken a look at any other clubs yet. And these two, they're a little weird."

HISAO: "Fine, I'll consider joining the council, but I want to take a look at the clubs before I decide."

MISHA: "Really, Hicchan? You're not just saying that to make us feel better?"

HISAO: "Yeah yeah, I'm just not sure that I want to."

MISHA: "Aw..."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Okay, Hicchan, but we're not going to give up so easily. You said “maybe”; there's still a chance you'll come around~!"

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Come on, we could really have fun! We could play more Risk and maybe one day you could beat me, unless we graduate before that."

HISAO: "That doesn't make me feel any less reluctant about joining, you know."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "Wahaha~! Surely you are not that horrible at board games? Maybe we can play a game you know then, to give you a handicap."

HISAO: "I might have said that just to make you feel better, after all."

MISHA: "Awww, that's cold, Hicchan..."

NARRATOR: "I take a glance at the clock on the wall and realize I've spent far longer playing Risk than I expected."

HISAO: "Sorry, I think I have to go. I wanted to go to the library. It's not closed yet, is it?"

NARRATOR: "Shizune scratches her head and gestures at Misha. How hard can it be to determine whether the library is open? There's a clock right there on the wall."

SHIZUNE: "..."

MISHA: "It should be, unless the librarian is absent. I think you're right, Shicchan. We... think the library is open. It's on the second floor; can't miss it. Do you want us to show you where it is?"

HISAO: "No thanks, it's okay. See you tomorrow."

MISHA: "Bye bye!"

Next Scene: Pseudo Tea Cosy