It was the first Monday of September.
It stuck with me in the recollection, that the day's weather was perfectly clear and bright, painting a picture-perfect of the lush terraformed landscape.
An objectively beautiful day.
My tiny, trained body transported by taxi in low flight treated to the view of the land below: Rolling hills sparsely populated by cattle to my right, the prosperous Oberon City skyline shrinking behind me and ahead my destination, so small right now from far away, but already so imposing: Sen Valley Miraian Academy.
The academy's towering and vast gothic complex dominated the farmland around it. And as my taxi descended into the valley, I could see the Miraian doubletail shape the main building makes. The very same shape I hung around my neck. I clutched at my necklace in reflex, I was worked up. I felt dread.
I've spent eight of my fourteen years living and studying the ways of the Idols in this academy. This was the academy that guarantees a better life, even more so if you are also an Idol Candidate. Of which I am that: An Idol Candidate.
Yet, I still felt dread.
Which was surely abnormal.
In the past, I have asked my fellow idol candidates what feelings returning to the academy brings. And for the most part, they described feelings of joy and comfort; of camaraderie; of divine blissfulness that could only be provided by a place under Mirai's light. I, meanwhile, could only imagine what that feels like. I so badly wished to feel what they described.
I wished it so badly!
"Sumimasen deshita, Ms. Wakabayashi," the taxi driver chirped to get my attention. It had detected that my heart rate and blood pressure was up and offered to recline my seat to give me a relaxing view of the smaller sun as it courts the larger Neptune with her warmth. I accepted.
Watching the celestial bodies play with each other, I take deep breaths trying to calm myself down. I am a naturally anxious person. I always have been. I remember spending my days in kindergarten constantly asking my teachers if I could go to the bathroom. At first, I did it so much they thought I had a bladder problem. Eventually, I figured out a system of how many times I can go to the bathroom without it raising unwanted attention. I think that was the only real lesson that stayed with me from kindergarten. Those bathroom times were the only times I could let me be my anxious self, although back then I did not know what to call it.
Knowing what anxiety was did not really help. Especially when your body decides to manifest it into observable symptoms even a robot can detect.
But perhaps, this year, I had legitimate reasons to get worked up. Maybe this year, it isn't just the attack of the anxious me.
Previously, I fretted over whether I would make friends that year. Another year, I overthought about what kind of stage personality I want to develop. Some years after that, I wondered whether I would have the singing, dancing and oratory chops in me to pull off being a Miraian Idol.
This year at least, I have convinced myself of the definitive answer to the questions in the paragraph prior:
I have not made friends, I don't have personality, I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't orate to save my life and I'm not worth anything to the Miraian Idolship.
This I have convinced myself to be true. It is as true as the Holy Canon itself, and anyone that says otherwise are in the throes of madness and it is my responsibility to snap them out of it.
The moment the taxi stopped in front of the huge arching gates of the academy, I harshly snatched my bag, violently opened the door and made my march to the principals' office to seek to give my resig-
"Sumimasen deshita, Ms. Wakabayashi! Please return to the taxi and pay your fare. This one pleads, Ms. Wakabayashi! Please return to the taxi and pay your fare. Failure to comply will result in-"