Born on the 3rd day of the third month of the year 3290. 15 years old. A third-year student at the 4th Capital Secondary School in the Capital District of the Roxcheanuk Confederation. His hometown is far from school, so he lives in the dorms.
Born on the 14th day of the second month of the year 3289. 16 years old. A third-year student. She is from the Allied Kingdoms of Bezel-Iltoa. ‘Strauski’ is her family name. Because she started school a year after moving to Roxche, she is a year older than her classmates. A member of the chorus club.
Born on the 12th day of the fifth month of the year 3290. 15 years old. A third-year student. He is from military family with a very long history, and trains daily to become a soldier himself. Seron’s best friend.
Born on the 8th day of the sixth month of the year 3290. 15 years old. A third-year student. Her parents are famous musicians. Part of the orchestra club, and is skilled with musical instruments.
Born on the 4th day of the fourth month of the year 3290. 15 years old. A third-year student. He has an androgynous appearance and is not part of any clubs. He and Seron are acquainted.
Born on the 17th day of the first month of the year 3290. 15 years old. A third-year student. She is the daughter of one of Roxche’s richest people. President of the newspaper club.
Meg -> Natalia: A new friend.
Meg -> Jenny: A new friend.
Seron -> Meg: Has a crush on, but can't say anything. Is happy to just be around her.
Meg -> Seron: Thinks of as a dependable friend.
Seron -> Nick: Friends. Knows something about him?
Nick -> Seron: Friends.
Larry -> Seron: Friends. Is cheering on Seron's love.
Seron -> Larry: Friends. Asks him for love advice and finds him dependable.
I will be by your side soon.
Let’s meet again.
Prologue: The Conversations That Led up to That Day
<And that’s how it is. Got all that, Seron Maxwell?>
“Yeah. I think so.”
<Oh? Then repeat all that and prove you remember.>
“I took notes, Jenny. We’re holding the newspaper club’s summer camp on the 1st day of the eighth month. Members must gather in front of the big clock at Capital West Station at 10 in the morning. The camp will take place at a villa owned by your relatives at Ercho Village in the Republic of Daurade to the north. The camp will last six days and five nights, with all living and food expenses covered. Members are free to wear what they please, but must bring their school gym uniforms. Good enough for you?”
“Jenny, what’s this camp all about? I’ve never heard of Ercho Village before. What kind of a place is it, and how do we get there? What will the villa be like? I need more information.”
<You can see for yourself once you get there… but whatever. Ercho Village is the top local vacation spot for the upper classes. Which means you won’t find it on any old tourism magazines.>
“I see. What’s the climate like?”
<About the same as the Capital District. There’s no comfortable train service all the way there, so we have to move by car. It takes about five hours from the Capital District to Ercho Village. I’ll take care of the car and the driver. There’ll be motion sickness medicine in the car.>
“And your driver is a licensed bodyguard?”
<Of course. I’m also bringing along a female bodyguard. So no one needs to bring personal security detail. If you insist, I could find them someplace to stay in the area, but there’s nothing but personal villas around so the accommodations won’t be close.>
“What about our accommodations?”
<A big villa my relatives own. I used to go a lot when I was little, but I haven’t visited in about two years. The couple that manages the place is really nice. They’re really good cooks, too. But make sure you tell me ahead of time if anyone’s allergic to anything. Local specialties are meat and cheese. And FYI, the villa’s not having any other guests while we’re there. Every member gets their own room. And their number—it’s area code 898, then 13****.>
“‘898-13****’. Got it.”
<Good. Anything else?>
“We have four whole days, excluding the first and last days. What in the world are we going to do?”
<First, I’m going to teach you to use a camera properly. Although now that I think about it, we don’t have the facilities to develop and print them. I’ll get one camera for each person. Then I’m going to teach you to use a typewriter. And also how to jot notes and how to format a newspaper article. I want an issue of our paper on the campus walls the second the new term begins.>
“I see. Anything else?”
<…Hmm… That’s about it. The rest of the trip you can think of as a fun vacation where we get to know one another. Just relax, I guess?>
<You could try and sound a little more excited about it, Seron. This is a summer camp.>
“I am happy.”
<Have you ever heard of something called ‘emotions’?>
“I might have.”
<…I want you to contact the others and check with them to see if the schedule works. I can adjust the date by a couple days if I have to, so call me back with everyone’s answers. You still have all the contact information, right?>
“Yeah. But why are you making me contact them?”
<Club tradition says the treasurer’s in charge of making announcements, Seron.>
“Did you just make that up, Jenny?”
<Wow, are you psychic? Anyway, I’m counting on you. Use those psychic powers of yours if you want to save on the phone bill.>
* * *
“So you joined the newspaper club? I’m surprised, Meg. I thought the old one got shut down after the members left.”
“It is still up! That is why I, Strauski Megmica, am honorable to have two clubs attended at the same time! And I earned five Roxchean friends in one blink!”
“Nice! I’m so proud of you for getting out there and making more friends, Meg. This calls for a round of applause!”
“Thank you very much, Lillia. Your commending gives me confidence.”
“And it sounds like the other club members are all great people, too. I’m glad.”
“Let’s use Bezelese now, Lillia. Do you remember Seron Maxwell from art class last term? He’s really smart.”
“Mhm. I sort of remember his face. The black-haired pretty boy. His family runs the frozen food company, right? I’m surprised you’re talking to me about a boy, Meg. What’s next? Fish raining from the sky?”
“You think so? Anyway, there’s also Larry Hepburn and Nicholas Browning from our year, too. Larry is really strong and Nick’s a talented actor.”
“Oh. Just friends, huh.”
“What is it, Lillia?”
* * *
<Hey Seron. Just got back from the family vacation. How’re you doing? You called last night?>
“Larry… my friend Larry Hepburn…”
<What’s up, buddy? You don’t sound too good.>
“Please tell me…”
<T-tell you what?>
“Tell me how to call a girl’s house—Megmica’s house specifically… What do I do? Wouldn’t it be rude to call out of the blue? Would she get in trouble if a boy were to call her at home? What time would be the best, do you think? What if her parents pick up? How do I explain myself? What if they don’t approve of me? Should I first tell them that I’m calling strictly on newspaper club business? Or do I talk about the weather first? It’s summer, right? Not spring or winter? How do I start?”
<First, calm down.>
* * *
<So we’re having a summer camp. Can you make it, Lia?>
“Sure. Sounds interesting, and I’m pretty much free. Is there a piano in that villa, by any chance?”
<How am I supposed to know? You can carry your piano along on your back, just in case. Anyway, I need your help.>
“What now? It’s not like you to ever sound serious about anything, shortie.”
<I don’t care, Lia. Look. Have you ever called Megmica’s house before?>
“Two or three times, yeah. I was surprised how good her brothers are at Roxchean. Kids really learn quick.”
<Then pass along all this info about the practice camp to Megmica. Once she tells you if she can go or not, call me back.>
“I can do that. But—”
<And make Megmica promise not to tell Jenny that she heard about this from you.>
“Huh? …Oh, I get it.”
“Jenny went to Seron with this info, right? And she told him to contact the others. But Seron couldn’t bring himself to call Megmica’s house, so he went crying to you. I would call Megmica and pass on her answer to you, you’d pass it on to Seron, and he’d report to Jenny. And in exchange, you get to copy Seron’s homework over the summer camp. Am I right?”
<Lia… are you psychic or something? You can read my mind over the telephone?>
“Can’t believe you caught on, Larry.”
* * *
“Elsa, have you seen Nick anywhere?”
“Hm? Baby brother was in the garden earlier, swinging around that staff of his. It’s like he never gets tired of it. Why?”
“I forgot to tell him a call came in for him just earlier. I suppose it could wait. He’s not going to come back until he’s drenched in sweat.”
“Oh? Was it another girl?”
“Not this time, Elsa. A boy with a soft voice. I bet he’s a cute one.”
“Could you tell just by his voice, Alicia? But you know, I doubt there’s a boy in all of Roxche as pretty as our baby brother. What was his name?”
“His name? I think it was Seron Maxwell.”
“Maxwell… as in the frozen food with the red packaging?”
“Oh! You might be right. It’s not a common name at all. Then he must be a rich young heir. Let’s invite him over sometime.”
“Let’s do that.”
“Preferably when Nick’s not around.”