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17 Chapter 17 Im Kita Duran

    The action to start up a music club kicked off at the start of his second week of school.  First arduous task towards the cause was a visit to the principal's office on a Wednesday.

    The summons came to Duran when he was passing through the school gates.

    'You're wanted at the principal's office ASAP. I hope you haven't been a naughty boy.' The handsome teacher at the gates had chuckled when he had given him the order.

    This did nothing to allay Duran's worries as he tentatively made his way to the office.  He was practically **ting himself with all the things he could've done wrong before the principal's door. Disrupting the peace at Matsu Ramen House was definitely one of those wrong doings.

    'Enter,' he heard a stern voice grumble from the other side.

    Duran closed the door and stood upright before his Principal's wide desk, which was some sort of polished cedar. Its pristine condition was a bit over-the-top. The pens were too upright and even in the sleek black pen cup perched on the right corner and the papers, Principal Kimura was busying himself with, were kept in crisp neat piles toward his left.

    He glanced around the rest of the room and took in two bland chairs, which sat as audience before the desk. Toward his right was a tall bookshelf with rows of books stacked neatly and evenly so not an edge was out of place. Impersonal white walls closed off a small sized space.

    It was a stifling room to stand in.  Duran was certain his discomfort was due to anticipation for the worst. Of course, he wasn't brave to take a seat.

    'I heard you submitted an application for a music club.'

    The unsparing tone from his principal's voice made Duran flinch with unease.

    Principal Kimura sat back from the piles of papers and fixed his stern eyes on him. Duran cringed under the man's glare.

    'This is your second week is it not?  Already you demand the impossible.'

    'Sir. Why do you think it's not possible?' Duran lowered his eyes.

    'I'll tell you something Kita-kun. Hotaka has a long standing tradition of grooming top corporate executives, honorary doctors, lawyers and national sports champions.'  His principal stated proudly.

    'Sir, You're saying to host a music club would cheapen the school's reputation.' Duran clenched his fist at the words that rolled out of his mouth.

    'Yes.' Blunt was Principal Kimura's response.

    Duran felt he wasn't in the position to negotiate for another answer.  He realized then that his efforts for a music club was as pointless as Kou had advised him. If it was going to cause trouble for the school's reputation and his classmates by pushing for one then it was probably best he resigned from the idea. He was sure his friends would understand.

    He opened his mouth to start off a string of apologize and agreement toward his principal's view but his moment was interrupted by a polite knock on the door.

    Upon Principal Kimura's order, Aimi-sensei stepped into the room.

    'Sir. You asked for me.'

    'Yes. Close the door Aimi-sensei.' Principal Kimura ordered the teacher.

    Aimi-sensei did as he was told and stood next to Duran.

    'Did you know that your student has submitted an application for a music club?'

    'Er, yes.  The student council are reviewing its acceptance.'

    'So what are your thoughts Sensei?'

    Duran stared at his homeroom teacher from the corner of his eye and saw the man's throat twitch nervously.

    'Eh, um. I think i-it's not a problem.'

    'You're young and foolish.  It's a huge problem from what I can see.'

    Duran went through his submitted application in his mind.  He was able to write out the essays, fill in the survey and even secure Watanabe-sensei's endorsement. His sensei had only received a warning and a small cut in pay as compensation for unintentionally setting the entire school on an orgy rampage.  There were rumours that Watanabe-sensei's father was the school's chairman and had pulled some strings to ensure he was still employed as a science teacher.

    'This boy is serious about the club's purpose and wishing to represent this school at music events.' His principal went on.

    'Sir. Why is that a problem? The events he suggests are reputable school and community exhibitions.'

    Principle Kimura waffled on about the school's exclusive image and a music club wasn't going to happen in his lifetime.

    He was about to dismiss Duran and Aimi-sensei with his ultimate decision of declining the club's existence when Watanabe-sensei barged into the room.

    'Pardon the intrusion, but I figured you're talking about canning the club before it begins.'

    'I've just told Kita-kun here that the club is a no.' Principal Kimura affirmed not hiding his displeasure at Watanabe-sensei's untimely intrusion.

    'Are you sure about that?'

    'It's a music club Watanabe-kun!  It goes against the exclusiveness of this school.'

    Watanabe-sensei made himself comfortable in one of the chairs without invitation.

    'You know, my old man played in the Tokyo University Orchestra when he was a student.  When I mentioned there was a group of kids who wanted a music club to break the boredom of study - oddly he was all for it.'

    'I don't believe Our Chairman would defy the rules of this school. Even he is bound to principles.' Principal Kimura scoffed.

    Watanabe-sensei's eyes narrowed with a defying expression behind them. Surprising both Aimi-sensei and Duran.

    'Who said it was a rule to disallow music?'

    Duran watched a silent stand-off between the men. He was surprised when his principal broke first with a fumbled come back.

    'Either way.  At least allow Kita-kun to go through the same acceptance process as any other club application.' Watanabe-sensei recommended.

    'Why would I endorse such a request Watanabe-sensei?'

    'Why not?  Even if Kita-kun is good enough, the club would probably be a flash in the pan like that otaku cosplay one anyway,' Watanabe-sensei said lightly.

    'No. No. I'm still against this,' said Principal Kimura, stubbornly.

    'Why not set a challenge?' Aimi-sensei suggested.  Everyone stared at him like he had said the devil word.

    'I mean, if he's good enough to play, he'd be good enough to motivate a club right?'

    Principal Kimura paused with his mind ticking on an answer.

    'Okay.  I present a challenge..."

    Everyone listened as their good principal issued his challenge.

    Duran was to play before the entire school body at their Thursday morning assembly.  He had to the end of the same day to earn his own year's vote; on whether his playing was good to lead a music club or not. If he were to receive more than half of the votes being negative, the club would never see the light of day.

    'The number of freshman in attendance is 263. So your goal to achieve is well over half of this number,' he said with a haughty chuckle.

    'So if he gets at least 135 positive votes, the club will get the rubber stamp of approval?' Watanabe-sensei concluded.

    Principal Kimura nodded his head.

    'A ballet vote tallied at the end of the week's assembly will determine the results.'

    'Well then. Better state this on the application form as a precursor for acceptance.' Watanabe-sensei grinned.

    He removed a folded up application form from his pocket and smoothed it out on the principal's pristine desk.

    They waited and watched with anticipation as their Principal gingerly pushed the form toward himself with a pinkie. He scribbled a condition at the bottom with little contact to the paper as possible.  His face contorted with disgust as he finished his sign-off.

    'There you go!' Watanabe-sensei said to Duran as he whisked the form away from the Principal's view and folded it back into his pocket.

    He stood to leave the room.

    'Sensei, Principal Kimura, thank you.' Duran bowed his respects to his teachers.

    His Principal huffed and gave Duran the gesture of being dismissed.

    Duran hurried out of the room at the same time his teachers did.  The three of them blew out a sigh of relief.

    'Well looks like you need to impress your peers,' Watanabe-sensei said with a wry smile.

    'I guess so,' Duran gulped down a nervous knot he felt to his throat.

    He was queasy at the thought of the number of students his music would have to impress.  Playing music was one thing but playing before a massive judging audience was a whole different experience.  He would have to push aside his nervousness and do it. It would be rude to waste the opportunity that his teachers had fought for.

    He yelped at the sting he felt to his back from Watanabe-sensei's manly "cheer-up" slap.

    'It's almost first period. Better get to class music-man,' he said and chuckled at Duran's face contorted with worry.
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