“I haven’t decided on my future path yet. However, I am very interested in the study of criminal psychology, and I would like to go to university to learn more about it. It’s not just the crimes that make the world go crazy... I would like to know why tragedies such as child abuse occur, what psychology is behind the behavior of bullying, and I would like to confront such familiar ‘crimes’ as well.”
At the party hosted by the Kudou family, she was formally introduced as “Saya Kudou” with a smile on her face.
With the heads of famous families such as Shijou, Odori, Ichimiya and Yakumo and their families all present, even adults with normal nerves would be so nervous that they would hesitate to even speak.
At that moment, Saya was able to meet the expectations of the adults in the room.
Naturally, the head of the Kudou family, his wife, and her brother applauded inwardly, and Sakuya, presented at the table as the head of the Kiryuu family that day, was one of those who watched the speech with a satisfied smile on his face.
However, most of the people present did not know the fact that Saya, 13 years old and had just celebrated her birthday, was planning to take the “University Entrance Exam” right away, just as she said.
Age was not a factor in eligibility for college.
The only requirement was a high school diploma or equivalent and a reasonable education at an overseas institution.
In Japan, there was compulsory education, and it was common to think that if you want to take a university entrance exam, you must first graduate from elementary or junior high school, but fortunately or unfortunately, she had never had such a Japanese-style education.
At the party, it was revealed that she had been educated abroad, but it was not revealed that she had a college degree.
Perhaps that was why most of them recognized Saya’s declaration as a ‘dream for the future’.
And the following year, they were surprised.
The name of the girl who had passed the entrance exam to a prestigious national university straight away at the age of 13 and a few months was the name of the girl who had expressed her dream for the future that day.
As expected, the media jumped on the topic of ‘being accepted straight into a prestigious national university at the age of 13’, but it was not a big deal because the Kudou family and other famous families all imposed press restrictions.
The name of the regulation was simple: if you make a fuss around a girl who was only 13 years old, a sensitive age, and you didn’t want her surroundings to be affected, most of the media would only be able make a light report about it.
And yet, it was the weekly photo magazines that dared not read the air.
Although they didn’t make a big deal of it, they published hidden photos that clearly showed Saya, interviews and words from ‘acquaintances’ and ‘schoolmates’ that said to know Saya themselves, and one weekly magazine called “Girl Genius Revealed”. One of the weekly magazines sensationalized it as a wake-up call for the compulsory education system.
Naturally, not only were all of these magazines severely criticized for violating press regulations, but several magazines that wrote malicious articles against Saya were sued by the Kudou family for slander.
“...What do you mean...?”
No matter how blurry the photos were, they were all taken from angles that anyone who knew Saya to some extent would recognize as her.
When she happened to pick up the weekly photo magazine out of curiosity, she read the entire article with a furrowed brow, picked up the other weekly magazines, and almost crushed them in her emotional state...Then she remembered where she was, smiled fondly and hurriedly straightened out her books, and quickly put them back in the magazine rack.
But the surprise and the even more intense anger did not subside, and when she returned to the hospital room, she was still asking, “What the hell is going on!?” “Why her!” She continued to swear in a voice that could not be heard in the hallway.
“What’s going on!? How can that Saya be with Sakuya!? I can’t believe that the exited Saya Hiiragi has been taken in by a nice family and they’re hiring Sakuya... I thought that scenario never happened!”
The fact that Saya was the youngest person to enter the university was of no interest to her now.
The reason why she was so furious was because in some of the hidden photos she had taken of Saya on her way to the university, she had seen Sakuya, her driver and bodyguard.
“What’s going on, Sakuya... I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting... I waited and waited until I caught a cold, and then I got pneumonia, and then... Why that girl and not me? Why don’t you stay by my side? Cough!”
“Hiiragi-san, excuse me. What’s wrong? Center, Center, Hiiragi-san is having a seizure and is having trouble breathing! Get the doctor!”
Rubbing her back as she crouched on the bed, the new nurse hurriedly pressed the nurse call.
In the meantime, she kept muttering “Why?”, “He’s the one”, “He’s the one who’s bad”, as if she was babbling, which made the nurse beside her shiver.
In the end, she didn’t stop mumbling until the anesthesia rendered her unconscious.
She didn’t know that her voice was being heard by a pot-pourri that was already past its prime.
As for Saya’s surroundings, her college classmates and students who had entered the university after several years of study looked at her as if they were looking at something strange, and kept their distance.
Although no one approached her intending to bully outright because she was not a child, there were still several female students who seemed to look for Sakuya who came to see her every day to pick her up and drop her off, and then there were those who resented her for being ignored so casually by Sakuya himself.
However, Saya had already experienced the resentment and jealousy of such ‘women’, so she didn’t deal with them head on and ignored them like Sakuya.
She herself was not an amiable person, but she knew how to be polite to older people.
For this reason, she had not actively tried to make friends and acquaintances, but some people had got involved with her because they were attracted to her strict attitude of trying to find out the essence of a person and her politeness.
“Well, you really are popular. I hear every class you take is overflowing with people.”
“They just find me unusual. I’m sure they’ll tire of it. I’d be like a rare animal in the zoo or a one-hit wonder.”
“Hahaha! You call yourself a one-hit wonder. No, it’s really interesting! It was fun, so I brought a cushion, was what I’d like to say, but we don’t have a cushion carrier. I’ll hire someone to do that in the future, but I’ll make you a cup of tea myself instead. Intensely satisfying, hahaha!”
“... Professor, please don’t spill the brew while laughing.”
“I wouldn’t screw up like that!”
This woman, who was still laughing, was the first person at this university who understood Saya.
Her name was Charlotte Lia Claudius. Her maiden name was Rie Nanase, and she was a married university professor.
Apparently, Charlotte was her baptismal name. People weren’t always what they appeared to be, though she probably saw through Saya’s thought at this point.
Her major was criminal psychology, which Saya wanted to study.
As a first-year student, Saya could not take her lectures, but she said that she could audit them, so she showed up for a few lectures, and while she was there, the topic of conversation was about the number one oddity of the year. Then one day, after a lecture, the professor dragged her to the professor’s office.
So this female professor, who seemed to like Saya strangely, offered to exchange addresses with her on the spot...Rather, she forced her to exchange them and sent her several e-mails asking her to come visit in her free time.
That Charlotte... When she received the tea that Rie had brewed for her, she narrowed her eyes and smelled the scent, then blinked in surprise.
“Earl Grey, is it?”
“Mhm. They say when you’re tired, herbal tea is the way to go, but you’re the real deal, aren’t you? So I thought I’d dare to have a hot cup of Earl Grey. What do you think?”
“...Yes. That is the case, Professor.”
“Well, well, more praise for you.”
Her breasts, which she proudly bent over, were as full as melons, and Saya couldn’t help but think of her own...She looked at them, which was still a lot better than they had been a year ago, and then dropped her gaze sadly.
When the Kudou Family first took her in, she was so skinny that she didn’t even look her age, but in the past year, she had grown into a suitably soft figure and was a bit taller. However, there were some areas unnurtured.
This was not all about nutrition, though, so she was in a half-hearted mode of resignation, even though she continued to do strength training and stretching.
Rie, who must have noticed her gaze, laughed once more and then, with a strange expression, said, “Speaking of which”, and introduced the subject of the day.
“... I heard that you’re apparently being stalked, is that correct?”
“I’m tired of asking you where you get your information from, so I won’t...Yes, something like that.”
“What do you mean, something like that?”
“Mostly, I feel eyes on me a lot when I’m out. However, once I’m inside a building like a house or a university, I’m probably being watched outside. But we have had no garbage ransacked or strange letters sent to us, and that’s all the damage they’ve done so far, so we’ve left it alone.”
The first person to notice the gaze was Sakuya, her escort.
Saya noticed it right away, but at first she didn’t pay any particular attention to it, thinking that it was a female gaze of that kind, since there was no end to the number of female students who came close to Sakuya.
But at the same time as that person was staring at Sakuya, they were looking at Saya in an envious and hateful manner, and if the same eyes were following them day in and day out at the same time, she thought that this should indeed be a problem....Nevertheless, she was not paying that gaze much importance.
“So, what’s on your mind?”
She asked with a funny expression, as if she knew who the culprit was, and Saya replied with a cool expression.
“We’ve already found out who did it. It’s just... ‘She’ is supposed to be in the hospital right now.”