Mugen Gakuen Shorts
|Title:||Mugen Gakuen Shorts|
|Author:||Matt Bjorkman, Illustrations by Euri|
|Continuity||SSEU Earth 1337-A|
|Synopsis||Short tales from Mugen Gakuen.|
The morning class was of course a busy as usual, with people chatting with each other over the latest thing or spreading rumors of a classmate or some other business which tended to happen during those early hours. Matsumi leans back in her desk, staring thoughtfully at the ceiling.
“You sure she’s going to be ok? She didn’t seem all that happy” Saki said, looking concerned.
“You’d think she was heading into a battle field or something” Masaki added, trying to balance a pencil on her head.
“you guys need to really believe in me!” Matsumi said, looking a tad annoyed, “she’ll be fine! You’ll see!”
Kiku glanced at the three talking and bit her thumb. She had stopped her investigations after being put to task by Matsumi’s guardians but she still couldn’t help be feel uneasy about the three of them.
The conversations ended as soon as the teacher, the rather smartly dressed Ms. Kishi, walked in. The routine went on with the usual morning gestures and respects to their educator before the entire thing was interrupted as a new face entered the classroom.
“Class, please be quiet. Introduce yourself to your classmates”
“I’m Kailey Sunrise..nice to meet y’all”
The girl calmly bowed and soon the class was filled with whispers and quiet murmurs.
“Another foreigner, how wonderful” Mai said, tossing her long hair, something which made Asha slightly archer her eyebrow at her friend.
“She’s kind of cute!” Shuji said admirably.
Goro simply kept glancing at Matsumi, trying not to make it obvious.
The teacher glanced around the room then paused.
“You can sit next to Miss Suminaka.”
Saki smiled as Kailey calmly walked over and sat next to her, the class beginning in earnest.
“I think this is a mistake” Kailey said, frowning a bit. Masaki was about to interject but was stopped by Matsumi.
“The day has only begun! Just you wait, it will be great!” Matsumi said, giving the girl a sudden pat on the back.
“Ms. Shin! Are you going to pay attention to the lesson or do you have something else to discuss?”
Matsumi quickly snapped to attention and shook her head but then glanced at Kailey and winked. Kailey sighed at this. It really was going to be a long day, she thought to herself.
Yoko Kanda and Aikko Izumi looked up at Date Katame, who silently glared down at the two girls, standing in front of the high school level lab.
“Um…excuse me but we have class here.” Yoko said, trying not to look too intimated by the bigger girl. She got no answer except for a silent look from Date’s one good eye. Aikko looked at Yoko and took a deep breath, remembering what she learned from her brother when it came to acting.
“Look her-“ Date took a step forward, causing Aikko to back away a bit. “N-n-nevermind!”
Yoko adjusted her glasses, sighing slightly. “Now what do we do? We’re going to miss our course!”
“Trust me, you don’t want to go in there” Masaki said, walking past the girls, causing them to look at her in confusion. After a moment or two, the sound of a loud explosion rocked the floor, leaving the two girls looking a bit frazzled and Date, though still stone cold staring outward, looking quite a mess.
“….maybe we can just go to lunch instead” Yoko said, Aikko nodding quickly in agreement.
The clock ticked away in the club room, broken by no noise. Matsumi was leaning on the table, looking completely bored. Masaki was leaning back in her chair, her feet up on the table. Saki had fallen asleep on the desk, snoring a bit. Kazue quietly read a novel, scratching her nose for a moment, while Ayami sat near the small collection of manga, reading and giggling to herself. Matsumi quietly looked around the large room. It had been chosen by her for the Sailor Senshi Fan Club and had been supplied with various posters of sailor senshi, a small book shelf filled with various manga and other things to make people comfortable stopping in the room. The clock ticked again as the hour passed. Matsumi had begun to try and build a card castle, while Masaki was staring out of the large window in the room. Saki was still asleep and Kazue had begun to work on her homework. Ayami sat, reading another manga and chewing on a cookie.
The door slowly opened, as Ryoko Fujiwara poked her head in. Instantly, Matsumi scrambled to her feet, Masaki sat up, Saki kept sleeping, Kazue looked over and smiled and Ayami jumped to up to greet the new student.
“Sorry, wrong room”
As the door closed, Matsumi quietly kept working on her card tower. Masaki worked to try and balance a pencil on her nose. Saki kept sleeping while Kazue went back to her homework. Ayami had gone to read another manga and giggled happily.
Masaki quickly got into position, ready for her next attacker. As soon as the bigger student made his move, she quickly slammed him into the ground, the sweat flying off her face in the process. Jun nodded and clapped his hands.
“Alright, good work, Masaki. Keep that up and we’ll do a great at the meet” Masaki just gave a slightly dismissive hand gesture in response to this and pulled out her water bottle, drinking. Not far off, a younger male student quietly clutched a folded note. He knew she was his sempai and he was below her grade, but he couldn’t help it. He had admired her from far away for too long. Now it was the time to make a move, now it was the time to confess how he felt to her.
“Hey, Jun, I’m going to head home, ok?” Masaki said, picking up her bag and still dressed in her Judo gi. “Alright, I expect you back here tomorrow for more practice.” He said, turning back to make sure the other members of the Judo Club were continuing their practice. The younger student quickly realized he was about to lose his chance and quickly races after her. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and held the note forward.
“Please read my letter! I love you!” he said and opened his eyes slowly.
Date glared down at him, frowning deeply, causing the boy to lose all color in his face.
A few blocks down the street, Masaki hummed a tune to herself, completely oblivious to what was occurring back at the school.
“Alright, students.” Joanna Smithson paused from her writing and turned to face her class. She frowned a little bit. She was currently teaching Class C English for the day and this meant only one thing. “Can someone tell me please what the proper way of making an order in a restaurant is?” She glanced around the room and then saw a single hand shoot up. She decided to pretend she hadn’t seen it. “Anyone? The proper way of ordering.” The arm started to wave. Jo frowned and decided to take a chance on one of the other students being able to answer the question. “Mr Hattori. Can you please tell me what is the proper way to order food from a restaurant in English?”
“I know the answer!” Matsumi said, waving her arm as hard as she could. Joanna grimaced, gripping her piece of chalk.
“I am well aware that you know the answer, Ma-Ms Shin. However, I think it’s best that you give the other students a chance to answer.”
“So? Why not just let me answer the question!” Matsumi said, leaning forward in her seat a bit. Jo walked over and looked at the younger girl, frowning deeply.
“You know English better than most of the students here! You don’t have to learn it! They do!” Jo said, getting face to face with Matsumi.
“So? Maybe they want to learn from me rather then you!!!” This then caused the entire conversation to fall apart in a mass of arguments.
“Here they go again.” Hiromi said, watching the two go at it.
“Have you ever noticed how much they look alike” Asha said, looking at both Jo and Matsumi.
“Not really no” Hiromi answered, opening her workbook and getting some study time done.
Kaily sighed as she walked down the hall to her next class. It had been a rough day so far, even rougher when Matsumi wasn’t nearby. Seeing all those familiar faces made her slightly home sick and even worse, the fact that they all treated her like strangers didn’t make it any better. She would just be glad when the day was done and she could relax back ho-
“Hi there!” The girl quickly popped out of nowhere, her long hair bouncing along with her. “I hear ya’ll’s from Texas! So am I!” Kailey blinked. It was Sally Foster. Back in her home universe, Sally was pretty close to her and in fact had helped her out a bit when she first came to Mugen. She was always cheerful and almost never had a bad thing to say. Seeing her here though…
“Sorry, I have to get going to class” Kailey said, trying to brush the girl off.
“Oh yeah me too! Say, How about yuh and I hang out after class and compare notes! I bet there’d be nuthin like talking about the good ole lone star state!”
“Shucks, yuh don’t have tuh be shy about it! I’ll bring lunch too! Yuh, know Mats? She’s not bad fer a Midwest gal, yuh know?”
“Shoot! We’ll talk about it more later! I gotta get to class! Can’t wait to seeya there!” Humming, Sally ran down the hallway for the next class, leaving Kailey standing where she was, blinking very slowly.
“…..What the heck just happened?”
“Alright, girls, today we’ll be working on our track!” There was a general groan from the group gathered, sprinkled with a few cheers here and there. Mr. Nomura Ide had just arrived to take over the gym teaching post for the High School portion of the academy. He looked over each of the faces standing there, some looking bored, some totally focused and some he couldn’t read at all. These were his pupils, these were the young women he was to mold into proper athletes. He paused for a moment, his eyes resting on one of the students. She was taller them most of them and his eyes immediately cause her bright blond hair. A foreigner to be sure but he saw something in her eyes. A drive! Yes! This was to be his star! She was going to stand above the rest and leave everyone else in the dust! Nomura had a way of seeing this in people. He always was right.
“Alright then, if we’re all properly warmed up! Let’s get going! I will lead you all in the first lap and I expect you to do your best in each succession of lap.” He said, a few of the girls frowning at this. “Let’s go!” With a blow of his whistle, they started to run!
“Keep it up! You’re doing great!” He loved this! Not only was he running through the wind as fast as he could, he knew that at any moment, his new star would pass by him and take the lead! He smiled, looking back at the rest of the girls, those who tried hard but obviously couldn’t keep up-
His jaw dropped as he saw Matsumi lagging at the very end, huffing and puffing as she tried to keep up.
“I really hate gym!” Nomura’s star pupil said as she tried to keep pace.
“Look I’m just saying I think it’s not a good idea” Fumio said, his eyes fixated on the game in front of him. “You sure she’d like something like that?”
Goro kept working on the machine in front of him, his eyes focused hard on the task at hand. “If I show her how hard I’m willing to work for her and once she sees my creation well…”
Matsumi looked at Goro lovingly, the shiny new robot in front of them both.
“Oh Goro! I never knew!!! Of course I’ll go out with you, my love!!”
Goro chuckled to himself, blushing deeply then heard a cough behind him, taking him out of his daydream. Frowning, he quickly went back to work, Fumio shrugging his shoulders and shifting his attention to the DS in his hand once more.
Goro wiped his brow, putting down his tools and stepping away from his newest creation. It had finally been finished. Fumio for his part was just staring over his shoulder at the massive war like machine with spikes, guns and large claws.
“…I think you went a bit overboard, man”
“…Yeah I think you’re right” Goro said, his shoulders slumping in disappointment.
The dragon roared fearsomely at the top of the mountain. It was a sight terrible to behold and around it lay the ruins of the castle it had destroyed to get to its target. The heroic knight raised her sword high.
“I am not afraid of you! I shall destroy you and bring justice to all!” she cried, the sun glimmering off her shield and blade.
“Oh! Sir Yoko! Be careful!!!” cried the princess, herself trapped in the claws of the wicked dragon! The knight simply prepared her shield, smirking at the monster.
“Never fear! I will not cower!!” With a shout, the warrior charged forward, blocking the beast’s horrible flames and deflecting every blow that came at her. She leapt into the sky, raising her sword to deliver the killing blow!
“Ok that’s enough drawing for now.” Ms Smithson said, taking the piece of paper away from Yoko.
The girls lounged in the large room, dressed in their pajamas. Matsumi was silently looking through a workbook, scribbling in a few things, while Masaki was concentrating on the game in front of her. Saki was scratching her head, trying to figure out a problem on the piece of paper in front of her. Aikko quietly sat by herself, holding her glass nervously.
Ok, I’m with the club president! What do I do now? I’ve never been outside of school with her, she thought to herself, holding onto her glass tightly. She looked over at Matsumi. She admired the taller girl in how open she was with people and how easy a time she had making friends. She couldn’t do that sort of thing outside of the stage. She barely had accepted the offer to do a sleep over study session with her and her friends. Now here she was in the same room with her! She had to say something to impress her! Something to show how much she appreciated her being friendly with her! This was the time to make a good impression and maybe she’d finally be able to no longer be shy around people!
“Hey, Aikko! Want something more to drink?” Matsumi said, walking over to her. Aikko froze in place, mouth hanging open and dropping her glass in the process. “…I guess I’ll get you another glass then” Matsumi said, picking up the glass and leaving behind the stunned girl.
Kazue quietly sat at a table in the cafeteria, making sure to move everything carefully into place. It had been a long day and she wanted just a bit of rest from the stress that she had been under. After the study session in preparation of the first quiz for one of her classes, all she wanted to do was relax for awhile before she went back into the chaos of learning. She glanced around the room. All those people, she thought and then she looked at the empty table she sat at and smiled a bit. At least now she could get a little bit of peace and quiet. Reaching over to moving her book bag, her elbow knocked over the drink she had brought with her, spilling it’s contents all over the table.
Something snapped inside her and she frowned angrily.
“Well this is just perfect!” She paused and blinked for a moment and she looked at the people surrounding her. Boys from her class wiping up the spill and checking over her food to make sure it was alright. Several girls asking if she was fine and if her clothes hadn’t gotten damaged by the spill. Almost half the room was now surrounding her at that moment. She sighed deeply to herself, a bit sadden by this.
“So much for peace and quiet.”
Takeshi Kodama walked along the path from the school towards the nearby, smaller technology building. Between classes he had hoped to take a few photos, maybe get the ones he had already done downloaded. It was only a few days till his official showing and he still had a few slots to fill. He looked at his camera wistfully then glanced up. His eyes spotted a slight movement near one of the trees and as he gazed at it, they slowly widened in surprise. A perfect butterfly! A perfect shot! Slowly, like a hunter, he moved closer to it. Just as his finger hit the button, the insect quickly darted away, moving high into the sky.
“Oh no you don’t!” Takeshi said, running after the winged animal. If there was anything that he had pride in, it was his eye sight. Quickly dodging past a few of his fellow students, Takeshi kept going, trying to keep up with the butterfly. It was too perfect to not get a photo of! Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, the insect carefully flew over a gate and landed carefully ontop of a bench. Sliding across the ground, Takeshi pulled out his camera and took several quick shots in quick succession. “Got it!” he said, smiling and checking over his shots. There was a cough and Takeshi glanced up, his eyes meeting those of Masaki, Date, Ryoko and several other girls, all in their gym swimsuits. Takeshi blinked, then looked at the camera.
“What a creep” Ryoko said, picking up her towel and drying her hair.
“Seriously, taking photos of the girl’s gym class” Masaki said, not noticing the butterfly flying off from the swimming pool bench. Takeshi couldn’t hear any of this, since he was stuck in a nearby dumpster.
Kenji Hattori looked up at the sky as he sat at the bench. He had always been easily ignored or forgotten at school. Even at the first day, he had been forgotten in class by the rest of his classmates. He remembered the moment he sat at his desk, only for another student to nearly sit on top of him. He remembered flailing for a few minutes before the person noticed him. He remembered going to lunches and sitting down and being so happy when others sat next to him, only for them to not even look at him once. It was always the same after that: he would try to get other’s attentions and they would either completely ignore him or just forget that he existed. It was especially bad around girls, who seemed to forget that he was actually their classmate, which sometimes required him to reintroduce himself just to remind them.
He sighed to himself then paused as he looked over to Saki Suminaka, happily sleeping against his shoulder, her hand in his. He blushed slightly and smiled, looking up at the sky again.
It was nice to be remembered sometimes.
Riko stared at the blank canvas in front of her and sighed. She had been trying to get this school project off the ground for days and she just couldn’t figure out what to do. She had always been good at art and in fact, though she did not like to brag about it, was one of the best artists among her peers. She had been tasked with painting a still life for one of her classes and while not her forte, she jumped at the chance with great relish. That had been two days ago and she still hadn’t found the perfect subject to work on. She watched as her fellow students walked by, all of them certain of what they were doing, reminding her only of how lost she was.
It was already getting late and she looked once more at her unfinished work. She sighed and was about to leave when she heard a loud crash! Looking up, she watched as Date walked away with Masaki and Ryoko and glancing back, saw another student, Sadao, stuck face down in a garbage can. Pausing for a moment, she grinned happily and quickly began to paint.
Mai frowned, sweat beading off her face as she stared at Ren. It was hard to read her opponent. Ren was graceful, placid, and silent. She was like a perfect example of Japanese womanhood and at the moment she was staring right at her. Mai, however, was not simply another simple common girl. She was not about to lose, not here and not now. She carefully moved her hand, picking up the whisk and carefully whisking the tea in the bowl to froth. Pouring it into a cup, she pushed it towards Ren, who simply stared ahead, barely blinking. The girl reached forward and picked up the cup, sipping it delicately. There was silence for a moment.
“Needs sugar” Ren said.
“You don’t have sugar with a tea ceremony!!! You never said anything about that when we started this!” Mai said angrily.
“Fine…your turn…” Mai said, as Ren began to work on her cup. No matter what, at least she took her tea seriously.
Matsumi quietly sat in front of the TV in the lobby, playing on her Wii-U, her homework laying around her. She grimaced as she lost another life, not noticing her sister walking in through the front door.
“What are you doing?” Jo said, glancing at the pile of books sitting unread.
“Playing a game, why?” Matsumi said, restarting up the level again and taking a deep breath, trying to concentrate.
“You do know your math teacher is giving a quiz tomorrow, correct? Shouldn’t you be studying for it?” Jo said, frowning a bit. Sometimes she wondered if the regression had affected her sister’s attitude towards things.
“Hey, look I’ll be fine! I’ve been through school before, remember? I won’t have any problems what so ever.” Jo rolled her eyes at this; there was obviously no getting through to her.
“Alright, if you say so. I won’t get in your way.” Jo said, walking back up the stairs and leaving Matsumi, who winced as she had to restart the level again.
“…Wait what….” Matsumi stared at the quiz in front of her. Half the questions were ones she had never heard of or at least worded in a way that she had no idea what it meant. She couldn’t even figure out the first one! She looked up at the classroom door and met the eyes of her smug twin sister through the window. Frowning, she sighed and buried her face on her desk.
Ayami put the finishing touches on the paper in front of her, grinning ear to ear. This was her masterpiece! Her mona lisa! It was going to be the greatest manga in the history of the world! There was a quick knock at the door as a man burst in with dark glasses and grabbed her paper, looking over it.
“This is magnificent!!! We must sign you to a contract right away!!” Ayami found herself dragged to a taxi which soon drove her to a nearby building. Sitting at a desk, she started to draw another page for her manga. Almost immediately, however, a woman dressed in a business suit picked up the drawing and looked it over.
“Yes, this will do nicely. We wish to turn your work into the next bit anime. What do you say?” Ayami barely started to speak when she was suddenly whisked away to a limo which drove her to a recording studio where Yubei Shinohara was adding his voice to the climactic scene of her work. Ayami began to tear up. It was finally happening! This was a dream come true!!
“Ayaaaami? Hey, Ayami!” Azumi Abe said, poking her friend slightly, “The Manga Club meeting is over! Wake up!” Ayami simply smiled and moved slightly in her sleep.
“Leave her alone” Masa Iha said, looking at Ayami “She must be having a pretty nice dream.”
“No that doesn’t make any sense” Ryo frowned to himself, looking over the equations on the whiteboard and down at his tablet. “There has to be something I’m missing.” Ryo had been working on this proof for awhile now and every time he seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough, he had found some new error which had forced him to start from the beginning. Ryo paused then moved his marker towards the board but frowned and messed up his hair! “No no no! That can’t be right!!!!” Throwing down the marker, he tried to catch his breath. It wasn’t normal for him. Usually he had better control then this but this time it was simply maddening that he couldn’t get this right.
“I think you left out a decimal point” Li Cho said, adding the correction to the board, then smiling to Ryo before leaving. Ryo blinked and looked back at the board, checking over the newly written corrections.
“So are we all here then?”
The other figures nodded in agreement…all three of them. At least they were passionate about the subject, though for a few reasons of their own.
“Alright then” She turned to her laptop and tapped it a few times. The image of a teenage girl casually walking down a street popped up.
“This is Matsumi Shin.”
The slide turned to an image of the same girl in her school uniform chatting with another girl.
“Age 15…Birthdate unknown…”
The slide changed to one of the girl dressing herself in the gym locker room. There was a few noises of appreciation from the other figures, but they quickly silenced as their host glared at them. She had not originally included this on the presentation but guessed that the photographer could not resist placing it in there, much to her embarrassment. She quickly shut off the slide.
“*ahem* After much thought, I’ve decided we must find out the truth: Who really is Matsumi Shin!?”
Kiku suddenly winced as the light came on, the other three students groaning slightly at the sudden brightness.
“Ms Hinashi, you do realize classes ended two hours ago?” Joanna Smithson said, leaning against the wall.
"Oh wow I can't believe you didn't tell anyone about this!"
"Well it was sort of my little secret, you know?"
Kiku paused in the hallway. That voice! It had to be Shin-san! She looked around. There was no one else in the hallway, at least no one from her class.
"Why don't you just tell everyone?"
"No way! I don't want anyone to know about this!!"
This is my chance, Kiku thought, Shin-san! She carefully pulled out her phone camera from her bag. Darting around the corner she quickly took a picture!
"Shin-san, your secret's mine!" Kiku paused then quickly lowered the camera. Rin and Matsumi just stood there, staring at their classmate. On Matsumi's face were a shiny pair of glasses, something she had never worn before in class.
"Gl-Glasses?" Kiku managed to sputter out, before she felt the phone get removed from her hand.
"Shouldn't you three be getting to class?" Joanna Smithson said, giving the three an impatient glare.
The three quickly nodded then ran down the hallway, Kiku pausing for a moment to grab her phone back.
Joanna sighed to herself. This was going to be one of those days.
Daini sighed to herself as she walked down the hallway, pausing a moment to scratch at the hair covers which were hiding her cat ears. She had been at the school for a month now and yet she still didn't feel like she fit in. She was doing well in classes and the teachers had been impressed by her, yet she still didn't feel like she was belonging. Maybe, she thought to herself, this just wasn't the place for her.
As she walked down the hall, she paused for a moment and then blinked at a flier.
ANIMAL CLUB! JOIN NOW! OPEN TO ALL GRADE LEVELS! ROOM 516.
That was it! She remembered Matsumi telling her joining a club was a good way to make friends. Daini quickly rushed down the hall and into the elevator. She liked animals too, so this was perfect!
She soon found herself in front of a door with a wooden sign on front reading ANIMAL CLUB. She took a deep breath and slowly opened the door.
"Um...I'm here to join the-" Daini stumbled backwards as her eyes met the face of a cow, who lazily chewed on some grass.
"Hi! Welcome to the Animal Club!" Masahiko Ozawa said, feeding a few chickens which were pecking the floor.
Daini stood there, silent, then let out a loud squee! Running in, she slammed the door behind her, causing the wooden sign to clatter to the ground.
Later that night, Freya wandered into her living room and stopped cold in her tracks
"Mom! I joined a new club!" Daini said grinning, covered in feathers, straw and animal fur.
Raiden Imai closed his eyes, frowning. There was total silence about his form other then the soft murmering under his breath of certain prayers.
"I can sense it here, a dark power waiting and growing, something sinister waiting hidden." He grimaced, sweat beading off his forehead. "It is doing everything in it's power to stop us in it's path, to prevent us from doing that which we have been tasked to do." His eyes shot open, a sudden fire blazing within his pupils as if his very spirit was rising up preparing for battle.
Raiden moved his fingers in the proper configuration and glared in righteous anger.
"I will not be daunted!! I shall banish this terrible curse!"
"Look, when I say we're out of artisan bread, I mean it!" the cook said, frowning and turning back to serve some of the other students. Raiden sighed to himself, taking a noodle meal instead.
"Nao, when the heck are you actually going to pay attention in class?" Missie said, frowning a bit at her classmate.
Nao for his part lazily opened an eye, looking at her. He gave a yawn and sat up.
"Man what is it with you, Abbot? It's not like you've ever made a big deal about this before."
"You are a Mugen student and that demands a little bit of prestige! All you do is sit around and sleep during class. Besides if you never study, you won't be able to succeed in your later life. Remember! The key to success is vigilance and hard work and nothing can substitute th-"
"Good work, Tobe" the teacher played the quiz on the desk in front of him, the red 100 mark standing out for all the eye to see.
"Of course, Sensei" Nao said, just giving a grin to Missie, who frowned and walked off. Nao shrugged and leaned back in his desk, closing his eyes once more.
Daini skipped through her club’s room feeding all of the animals happily. This was where she felt free. Among the animals she and her clubmates cared for. ‘It’s kind of like having a bunch of pets’ she thought to herself as she sprinkled some chicken feed on the floor. She enjoyed cleaning and feeding the sweet animals, except one.
A chill ran down Daini’s spine as a slobbery tongue slid up her neck. “GEH” she yelped and spun around to stare at Spots the cow. She gulped and stared at the large farm animal cautiously “Good Spot…..a-are you hungry?” She asked a slight tremble in her voice.
The cow seemed to ignore the girl as it pushed Daini down and proceeded to climb into her lap. Daini blinked and started to laugh “you’re just a lap cow!” The cow seemed comfortable and snorted. Perhaps a book’s cover really is deceiving.