Maria Sama Ga Miteru
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34 / F / Waltham, Ma. USA
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Posted 8/8/07
Overleaf
Lillian Girls Academy: where pure and cultured young ladies gather. To pass on the school's noble ways, the "sœur" system was established in the high school. Young ladies give their rosaries and become sisters. It it a solemn vow that the elder senpai will guide the younger kouhai. Coming into this high school is Yumi. She doesn't have a sœur yet. But then suddenly Rosa Chinensis en bouton, the admired second-year student Sachiko, proclaims Yumi to be her petite sœur!?

Table of Contents
Monday of Trembling Heart
Tuesday of Troubles
Wednesday's Reflection, Friday's Battle
Harsh and Bitter Weekend
Hot Second Week
Waltzing Sunday
Afterword

Monday of Trembling Heart
Chapter 1
One Monday, "Wait." At the end of a row of ginkgo trees, where the path splits into two, Yumi heard a voice calling her from behind.Because she was in front of Maria-sama's statue, for a split second Yumi thought the voice came from Maria-sama. But that was just her imagination, the voice had come from farther away.When called out to, one should first stop; then, while responding "Yes?", one should turn one's whole body. Even if it is unexpected, one should refrain from appearing confused or disorderly. And most importantly, to only turn one's head is to be a failure as a lady.
One should carry out this action with beauty and grace to the last. It should be as though one is trying to get closer to the upperclassman by even just a bit.
So Yumi turned to face the other student, and with a smiling face, greet her with a gokigenyou.
Unfortunately, Yumi's mouth failed to emit "Gokigenyou". "—"
Upon realizing the source of the voice, Yumi went speechless.
She had almost jumped. A Lillian Academy student just would not do such an unladylike act… but by no means was that the reason. She was surprised to such an intense extent, she froze, swept up in the moment.
"Uh… You wanted me?"
Coming halfway back to life, Yumi, half-believing, half-doubting, tried to ask. Of course, she knew it had to be her. There was nobody else in the other girl's line of sight. Even so, she couldn't help but doubt.
"I was the one who called out, to you. It's not a mistake."
Although the other girl asserted that it was not a mistake, Yumi still insisted it must be. Yumi wanted to reply and run away. Yumi hadn't the faintest idea why she was called, and inside her head, she was on the verge of panic.
Not having the slightest idea what was going on inside Yumi's head, the other girl, wearing a faint smile, came up to Yumi.
Because they are in different grades, Yumi had never seen the other girl from so close. It was the first time Yumi had clearly heard her voice.
Yumi wondered what brand of shampoo she used. Her straight waist-length hair was so shiny. While maintaining hair of such length, how does she have not even one split end?
"Hold this."
The other girl presented the book bag that she was holding in her hands. Without knowing why, Yumi took the book bag, then the other girl placed her empty arms around Yumi's neck.
(Eeek!!)
In a flash, without knowing what happened, Yumi closed her eyes, tensed her neck, and pinched her shoulders to her ears.
"Your tie is crooked."
"Wha?"
Yumi opened her eyes, and still there was that beautiful face. Who was this girl, straightening Yumi's tie?
"One must always keep one's appearance tidy. Maria-sama is watching."
After saying that, the girl took back her book bag from Yumi. Leaving Yumi with a "Gokigenyou," the girl turned and walked on towards a school building.
(That……that vision……)
After being left behind, as the blood slowly returned to her face, Yumi realized the situation.
There's no mistaking it.
Second-year student, Matsu [pine] class: Miss Sachiko Ogasawara. By the way, her student ID number is 7. Also known as "Rosa Chinensis en bouton."
Oh, my lips are not worthy of her name. Is it even all right for a person such as myself to recite that name? She is the subject of the entire school's adoration.
(It's…)
Yumi was on the verge of overflowing with shame.
(It's not fair!)
For a little while, Yumi just stood there, dumbfounded.
My first exchange of words with the adored onee-sama! This embarrassing episode is just too cruel!
Maria-sama, you're so mean!
Yumi looked up at Maria-sama with spite. There Maria-sama was quietly standing in the middle of her small garden, with her unchanging smile.

Tuesday of Troubles
Chapter 2
"That's all?"
In the seat in front of Yumi was Katsura-san, who burst out laughing upon hearing Yumi's story.
"You came to school with such a sour face. I thought you were groped on the train."
"It would have been better if it was a groper."
"Why?"
"It wouldn't be gnawing at me for so long afterwards."
"Yumi-san, you've never met a groper?"
"I take the bus to school."
Both Katsura-san and Yumi do take that bus, but while Katsura-san takes a jam-packed train to M station, Yumi takes a bus that deposits her at M station's south entrance. So in terms of pleasantness (unpleasantness), it's as though their journeys to school are completely different.
"But, you know there is a Lillian car on the train, right?"
"Yes, I know. The Yamayurikai called for it, so that Lillian students could arrange to pack the second to last car. But if you have day duty, or club activities, or leave a little early, there aren't very many Lillian students on the train, so it kind of loses its effectiveness."
And yet it seems that as news of it has circulated, the number of girls from schools other than Lillian that are taking it has increased, so the groper-repellent countermeasures are having some effect, it seems. Of course, the technique isn't perfect at locking out all males, but if a train is overflowing with young women, not many gentlemen will push their way into the train. So it stands to reason that there won't be many suspicious activities.
Lillian's school uniform is a flat black fabric into which a single drop of green had been mixed. It is the utmost in refinement. A single black line outlines the ivory sailor collar, and becomes the tie. Outdated nowadays, it is a one-piece uniform, with a low-waisted pleated skirt and a hemline below the knees. White socks, folded over three times, appear above ballet-slipper-like leather shoes, to complete the set. The uniform is a natural monument. There are uniform maniacs, so deeply rooted is the uniform's popularity among even ordinary people.
When seen in public, this outfit was already established as an ojou-sama brand. When even regular sailor suits can become targets…
"Because the trains are crowded, I always check how I look when I get to the station." While saying this, Katsura-san fixed her bangs and tie, pretending Yumi was her reflection in a train station mirror.
"I see. I was stupid," said Yumi as she put her head down on her desk. "There, there," Katsura-san said as she gently brushed Yumi's head.
"Well, I must admit, someone who doesn't have to stand and deal with the crowd would not think of it. Don't worry about it."
"But I am worried about it!"
"Why?"
"Because the other person was Lillian Academy's star! Stars don't fret over the details of ordinary people's lives!"
Stars and ordinary people.
That is true, which is why it came as such a shock. Katsura-san's attempts to comfort Yumi were a little too honest, a little too naive.
By the way, "Katsura" is not her family name. At Lillian, there are almost no nicknames. By convention, students in the same class year call each other by adding "-san" to the name. When addressing an upperclassman, add "-sama" to their name.
"Freezing up like that can't be helped. Any of the first-year girls in our class would lose their composure when called by a member of the Yamayurikai."
Saying this, Katsura-san turned and glanced behind her. Yumi followed her gaze, and saw Toudou Shimako-san enter the classroom.
"Gokigenyou, Katsura-san. Gokigenyou, Yumi-san." Shimako-san greeted the two girls and gracefully took her seat.
"Go… gokigenyou."
Yumi and Katsura-san looked at each other's faces with embarrassment.
Even though they were in the same year, they were somewhat different. She looked nothing like Sachiko-sama, but Shimako-san was quite beautiful.
Looking at Shimako, one has the disappointing realization that beautiful people have always been beautiful, ever since they were little. It's probably not possible for an ordinary girl to suddenly turn into a beauty like Sachiko when she reaches her second year of high school—that's just wishful thinking.
"Did you hear?" Katsura-san whispered, and Yumi also lowered her voice.
"You mean you know the story of how Shimako-san became Rosa Gigantea en bouton, right? How she surpassed all the second-year students?"
This was a well-known story, the story of how Rosa Gigantea proclaimed Shimako to be her sœur while Shimako was still a first-year student.
"Not really."
"Not really?"
Katsura-san put her index finger to her lips and divulged the latest scoop. "I heard this from my onee-sama." Her onee-sama is in the Tennis Club, and if she remembers correctly, Sachiko-sama is in the same class.
"Rosa Gigantea wasn't the only one, Sachiko-sama also asked Shimako-san to be her sœur."
"What!!"
"Yumi-san, shhh."
The two of them hunched over the desk, facing each other so that nobody would hear. Maria-sama, forgive us. In any age, women love gossip about others.
Originally, the "sœur" system was created by the Lillian Girls' High School leaders because of the school's tradition of respecting the students' independence. Compulsory education, up though ninth grade, is under the control of the teachers as well as the nuns. But after that, the school authorities set it up so that the daily order of student life was entrusted to the care of the students themselves. On their own, big sisters guided their little sisters, just like senpai. Because of this, even without strict school regulations, Lillian's pure and proper student life is inherited by each generation of students.
Sœur is the French word for sister. It is thought that English was probably avoided because it would cause confusion with nuns' "sister." At first the broader senpai/kouhai meaning of sister was implied, but at some point it also started to refer to the strong personal ties that formed between two people. It is not precisely known when the ritual of exchanging rosaries began.
"I heard that was Shimako-san accepted the offer of Rosa Gigantea, who came after Sachiko-sama," Katsura-san snorted. She was a little excited.
"I wonder if she preferred white to red?"
"That's not the issue. Yumi-san, you're not focusing. Is it okay for people in Shimako's league to compare two Rosas as if weighing two alternatives?"
"You say alternative, you are speaking too crudely, you should talk nicer."
"But the fact is, Sachiko-sama was cast aside."
"Uh-huh," what a waste, Yumi thought.
"Not uh-huh. Don't you think it's cruel?"
"Why? You can't have two onee-samas, is it wrong to choose between them?"
"Is it okay to choose the one who asked later?"
"It isn't first-come, first-served."
"Yes it is first-come, first-served!"
Katsura-san spoke frankly, her shoulders heaving. Come to think of it, her own ceremony had taken place the very day she joined the tennis club, hadn't it?
"What about the Yellow Roses?"
"The Yellow Roses are third-, second-, and first-year. All covered."
"I see." Yumi was less surprised that Rosa Gigantea and Rosa Chinensis en bouton were competing for Shimako-san than by the fact that until just recently neither of them had a 'sœur.'
"Either way, the fact remains that she didn't immediately accept when asked by Sachiko-sama."
While talking, Katsura-san looked at the clock.
The bells for morning prayer rang.
A broadcast followed, with a hymn over the school P.A. system. Except for once a week in the chapel, morning prayers were held in the classroom. They would sing hymns, listen to the words of the school principal, and offer up prayers to God with a peaceful heart.
May all live correctly today!
But while clasping her hands together, Yumi felt a premonition that hers would be far from a tranquil life.
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F / Chicago, IL
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Posted 8/8/07
I'm not sure what the point of this thread is?

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