Among the files he managed to get his hands onto with much guile and skill, there was one that had gotten his attention. Some of those games he had found about used titles like Hope’s Peak’s, and one of them was a title he had wanted for himself many times. ‘Super High School Level Renaissance Man’. That was no meaningless title! Surely the person who received such title was deserving of it. The person who had achieved the titles Byakuya Togami had desired for himself had to be an exceptional person!
“What’s up, man? How’s it going?”
The moment that young man came by, strutting around in a rather carefree way and holding an unnecessarily large bottle of what seemed to be orange soda, Byakuya realized things were going to be a headache. Still, Togami came all the way here to meet the person with that title, may as well continue. Togami extended his hand, intending a handshake. “Are you the SHSL Renaissance Man?”
“Sure I am!” Kel Kimble didn’t shake the hand that was offered. Instead he hit the palm with his own and slid the hand back, a completely different greeting. Togami stared at him for a moment, bemused, before sticking his hand in his pocket. After the necessary introductions were made, Togami decided to go straight to the point and get done with this. The sooner the better.
“How did someone like you obtain such coveted title?”
“I dunno. I just—“ Kel gestured with his hands “I was at home, sitting on the couch, when suddenly I was in another place and was told I’m the Renaissance Man. What’s that supposed to mean, anyway?”
Togami had never showed so much irritation in his life. His face turned red, it was a miracle he didn’t turn around and leave. “Someone dared to give such title...to someone who didn’t even know what it meant?”
“Is it bad?”
“It’s an outrage!” Togami pointed at Kel’s face “You’re undeserving of this title. In the name of my family I shall strip you from it and claim it for myself!”
“Hey, it’s okay. If you want it I can give it to you!”
“...what?” Togami didn’t stop pointing. Really? Just like that, this commoner would renounce to it just like that? What’s this madness?!
“Yeah, I don’t mind! How’re you going to do it, Bacon?”
“It’s Byakuya—“ Togami shook his head, exasperated “It’s Togami for you. And I’m not going to accept it. I shall l prove to everyone that I’m the one who deserves the title of SHSL Renaissance Man!”
“And how’ll we do this?” Kel seemed rather willing to do whatever Togami wanted. It’d be easy to just accept Kel’s generosity and take the title, but Togami had pride. He was going to show giving this rube the title had been a mistake of gigantic proportions. He’d crush Kel Kimble to dust!
“We’ll compete in all the disciplines a true Renaissance Man will excel at, and you’ll be soundly defeated at each one of them. Prepare yourself, Kel Kimble!”
“Sure, let’s do it!” May as well do it, it sounded like fun! Hanging out with this guy who had come to see him...sure, why not? It wasn’t like Kel was busy these days. Togami, who had expected Kel to object or try to get away from his suggestion, turned around with a huff. Is he so confident he’s going to accept my challenge? He’ll regret the day he tried to get in the way of the excellence of the heir of the Togami family!
A true Renaissance Man excellent at art, music, writing, science, and is often is able to gather people and influence them. Togami knew he was able to do all that, so he was confident it’d all go okay. The first day was decided this’d focus on the artistic ability of the Renaissance Man candidates. For that purpose Togami used his money to reserve a space for Kel and him to work on their artwork. Sculpture and painting! Marble, clay and other materials were place on one side of the room, along with paper, oil paint, acrylics and any other painting materials they could need. A large curtain was placed in middle of the room to hide the work from each other. Togami wasn’t concerned about Kel peeping into his masterpieces, but it was the principle of the matter what mattered here!
A board on one side showed: Byakuya Togami 0 – Kel Kimble 0. The scenario was set, it was time to work. “Each one of us shall work on a sculpture or a painting. There’s no theme, do what you feel is the best you can do. Understood?”
“Yeah! Got it” Kel took a chisel, looking at it with a bit of confusion. He had never really used a chisel. Maybe he should go for clay.
“The deadline is sunset. Make sure to do your best” Togami almost growled those words, and closed the curtains with a scowl. This was going to be easy. That Kimble kid, a master of the arts? How unlikely would that be?
The day flew by. Togami worked on his painting, depicting a busy city viewed from the top of the Togami headquarters. It was a rather detailed job, but he couldn’t avoid feeling like there was something lacking. What was it? Why did the city look like it was a ghost town? Right, it needed people, a lot of detail so the city looked alive. He was in middle of working on that when the deadline arrived. Togami plunged the brush in water, drying his hands and evaluating his work. It was...
...it was great, for something that was painted in just twelve hours. The Togami standards demanded it to be finished before the deadline, but Togami’s perfectionism made him try too hard to focus too much on a few things and made it all not be as excellent as it could have been.. It didn’t matter. Surely Kimble wasn’t able to make a painting that was close to his work!
“Time is over. Show your work” Togami demanded, removing the curtain. The moment he did he froze, his mouth a bit agape at the sight.
Kel hadn’t just done a painting, he had also done a sculpture. From afar they seemed...unexpectedly good. Kel turned around, he had clay on his face and his apron was had many paint splotches. “Hey, Togami, I think I have something good here!”
“I’ll be the judge of that” Togami’s expression was angry when he approached the canvas to take a look. What was this? How could it be that this commoner had painted something as...as beautiful as this in twelve hours?! Kel’s painting depicted an idyllic island, painted masterfully and with excellent technique. This was not the work of an amateur! “How did you paint this?”
“I dunno! I just sat here and stared at the canvas until something came to mind” Kel puts his fingertips on his temples and made a weird face, as if he was trying to focus on something “And then...bam! I just started painting! And it just came out!”
“You don’t even know how you achieved such feat?” Togami was both aghast and frustrated. He had spent the whole day painting with care and precision, and Kimble had—what had he done? How was it possible his painting was of quality comparable to his? “Enough of this. Show me your sculpture”
“Sure!” Kel grabbed a bust of an unknown man with a round face and a very bulbous and long nose “This is my best friend, Kenan. It’s going to be a gift for him!”
“...is this sculpture completely accurate to his likeness?” Togami asked with some disbelief. The bust itself was good, made with clay, but really? That Kenan guy had such an ugly nose?
“It’ll be as if he looked at a mirror! If the mirror was made of clay and was here and wasn’t a mirror at all” Kel put the sculpture back on the table “How’s it?”
“It’s good, I’ll concede that” Byakuya crossed his arms, sullen “I pity your friend for having such a grotesque nose”
“Oh, no! His nose is completely normal! It’s just that someone I know once said all good art had a nose like this one”
“What.” Togami prodded at the nose. Really? Whoever said that had to be insane!
“Yeah! I write to him all the time, but he never replies. He must be busy” Kel said, taking off the apron “He’s an octopus”
“...right” Togami narrowed his eyes, angry with himself for not having been able to keep up with Kel. He had done a painting and a sculpture, both of good quality. As much as he hated to admit it, Kel had showed he was a good artist. Togami erased one of the zeroes on the board and replaced it with a one.
Kel Kimble – 1 Byakuya Togami – 0
“This was no more than the prologue to our battle” Togami said, slamming the marker on the table “Tomorrow we shall continue, and I’ll prove my talent over yours!”
Kel simply shrugged, in good mood.
All the art materials had been removed, replaced with many instruments. To avoid what happened the day before, Togami scrapped his plans of having to compose a symphony and instead decided this to be a simple match of musical skill with instruments. “Choose the instrument you feel the most comfortable with”
“I like this one” Kel said, picking up an oboe and blowing into it.
“Do whatever you want” Togami sat in front of the piano “The objective today will be to—“ Kel, entertained with the oboe, played a quick ditty with it “I haven’t finished talking yet!”
“Oh, I’m sorry” Kel left the oboe on the piano. Togami sighed, pushing the oboe away
“The objective today will be for us to play a symphony of our choosing”
“But we don’t have a sink around here. Are you sure that works as an instrument?” Kel asked, tilting his head and looking around. Togami stared at Kel in confusion before realizing what he meant. Taking off his glasses and rubbing his face, Togami sighed.
“That’s a siphon, Kimble, I said a symphony” Togami put his glasses back on “Wait. Let’s get ourselves in equal footing. We shall play the same instrument; one I will choose”
“Sure! Which one do you want?”
“For today’s match we shall play...” Togami looked around and picked up a couple violins, each one with its bows “The violin. Here” Once Kel had taken his violin and bow Togami made sure his violing was well tuned “Have you played the violin before?”
“I did once. It’s easy”
“Good” Easy? Playing the violin was easy? And Kel had played it just once? This was as good as won for Togami “The symphony we’ll play is...give me a second” Togami looked in the papers he had gathered. There had to be some sheet music in here, he had prepared them earlier. Despite Togami’s preparation and musical knowledge, he had never played something without looking at the sheet “Here’s your copy. This is ‘Vivaldi’s Fifth Concerto’”
Kel took the music sheet, turning it around in his hands and passing to the next page “I dunno, I never understood how to read all the tadpoles on the paper”
“How else are you supposed to play music?” Togami sneered, his voice dripping disdain.
“It’s not that hard. All you need to do is take the instrument and do--this!” as soon as he said that, Kel started a flawless interpretation of Vivaldi’s Fifth Concerto. Togami stared, befuddled, while Kel performed every single note just like Togami remembered it, all without glancing at the music sheet not even one. Kel leaned near Togami while playing, the heir needing to step back so Kel didn’t invade his personal space. Once the final note sounded, Kel waved the violin bow around. “Yeah! See? It’s your turn now!” he said without any maliciousness, wanting to see how Togami would play his violin.
“...are you doing this on purpose?”
“What do you mean?”
“Forget it” Togami left the violin aside and picked up blank paper “A true Renaissance Man not only excels at music and art; they also are excellent with the use of the written word. Here you go. Each one of us will have one hour to write a short speech of any topic you wish.
“Any topic? Anything I want?” Kel’s eyes shone.
“That’s what I said. Do you have a complaint?”
“Nonono! That’s great! I’ll get over here and start writing” Kel went to the other side of the room, to one of the tables, and sat. When he saw Togami was looking at him with a bit of confusion Kel simply showed a thumbs up and started writing. The heir shook his head, trying to ignore Kel, and started his own work.
One hour later it was time to present their texts. Togami had written an ode to his own achievements, a work that’d actually catch the listener’s attention. This was the best thing he had ever written! “Time’s up. Are you ready?”
“Sure! You go first”
“Gladly” Togami started reciting what he wrote. Kel listened attentively to the five-minutes long speech, nodding and paying attention. Togami was good! And everything he said sounded very impressive. When Togami was done Kel applauded with honesty, impressed.
“You did everything you said?”
“Of course I did. I’m Byakuya Togami, and my feats are to be told to the world” Togami said, haughty, and gestured with his hand to Kel to start “Your turn now” Kel took his paper, cleared his throat and started reciting with his best diction.
‘Does thou like orange soda?
I do like orange soda
Is that true? Is it true thou like orange soda?
I do. I do. I do’
Togami stared at Kel, stupefied. Really? Did this just happen? This wasn’t some kind of fever dream, was it? Kel spent a whole hour writing that? After a moment of trying to order his thoughts, Togami closed his mouth and smirked. “I’m declaring myself the winner for this part”
“Oh. It wasn’t good?”
“Listening to it was a waste of time”
Kel left his writing aside, a bit disheartened “Well that sucks...I liked yours. Made you sound like some kind of legend hero”
“That’s because I am” Togami erased the numbers, deciding there had been enough challenges for the day.
Kel Kimble – 2 Byakuya Togami – 1
“Tomorrow will be the last day. Prepare yourself” Togami announced before leaving the room without even bothering to say goodbye.
A true Renaissance Man had knowledge of science and physics. For that purpose, he set up everything that may be needed for an experiment. “Today we’ll work on a science experiment. Each one of us will plan an experiment and present the results in twelve hours. Understood?”
“And don’t even think of making a volcano. That’s cliché and will be an immediate forfeit”
“I don’t even know how to make a volcano” Kel shrugged, looking at everything Togami had placed on the table for Kel to work with. What was all this stuff? “Can I go outside to get some stuff I need?”
“Do whatever you want. All that matters is that you present something at the end of the day” Togami said without turning around. He didn’t care what Kel was going to make, all he cared about was about his own experiment. What to do, what to do...? During the day, Togami could hear Kel working on the other side of the room, but he never looked to see what his foe was doing.
Togami was working on a supercapacitor that could recharge a battery at speeds never seen before. It wasn’t that difficult for someone like him. “Take this battery and put it in this flashlight. You’ll notice it doesn’t work” Togami instructed Kel at the end of the day. Kel obeyed, trying to turn on the flashlight several times.
“Yeah, it doesn’t work!”
“Now watch this” Togami took the flashlight and extracted the battery, taking it to what he had built during the day. With grandiose gestures thought to impress Kel and make him realize Togami had built something extraordinary, Togami inserted the battery in his work and turned it on “In thirty seconds this battery will be fully charged and working better than it was when it was new” Togami explained, and proceeded to point the scientific principles behind it. Once the battery was charged, Kel was told to use the flashlight again, this time it worked. “See? It’s technology that’ll change the world!” Togami claimed, grinning smugly.
“It’s so cool! How did you manage to build something like that?”
“It’s a matter of having the right knowledge. Surely you understand that, given that I expect your project to be nothing less than stellar”
“I-I think maybe it is? Look” Kel brought his project to the table. There were two plastic bottles of soda, one half-filled with what seemed to be orange soda, while the other was grape soda. What was up with this guy and his obsession for soda, really? Both bottles were connected just by a plastic tube and nothing else.
“Explain your project” Togami looked at it with the same expression than if he was looking at something unspeakably gross.
“I made something that’ll convert orange soda into grape soda” Kel explained, pushing it closer to Togami “How’s it?”
“And how exactly did you achieve it?” Togami looked into the bottle of grape soda. It was...it was unexplainable! How was it that passing through that tube changed the flavor of the soda? There had to be something else at work here!
“I don’t know. I did this for school once so I thought ‘hey, why not to do it again?’”
“...you don’t even know how you achieved your project?” Togami asked with disbelief. Since Kel’s only reply was a shrug, Togami pushed Kel’s project aside “I can’t evaluate this...thing. Forget it. This is a draw” He hated that his supercapacitor had been against something like Kel’s project, and he was sure he’d have won, but how was he supposed to call himself the winner of this part when he couldn’t know how Kel’s project worked in the first place? Better to just...ignore this even happened and go to the last part.
“This is the last challenge. We’ll take our art projects and sell them. That’s all we need to do” Togami explained once his and Kel’s paintings were outside “The one who obtains more money in exchange of the painting will be declared the winner. Understood?”
“Yes!” Kel leaned against his painting. Togami smirked, his flawless business skills were going to win the day. The problem Togami didn’t realize was that he wasn’t used to trying to sell anything to common people, all business had been done with people like him, representing companies. After making sure the paintings were at the sight of everyone, it was matter of waiting for an interested passerby to approach.
“Excuse me? Are these paintings for sale?” a woman approached, looking appreciatively at Togami’s painting.
“They are” Togami said courteously, presenting his painting “This masterpiece was created by a genius. It’s a highly valuable piece of art, this is a chance you’ll have to take now”
“Is that so?” The woman touched the canvas, eliciting Togami to crankily say ‘no touching’ “It’s a very good painting...who is the artist?”
“The genius is I, of course”
“I see, I see” the woman took out her checkbook “I’ll give you...two hundred dollars for your painting”
“Two hundred dollars?!” Togami made a face of disgust “This painting is worth much more than that, lady”
“I don’t know; it looks to me like two hundred dollars is a fair price”
“I’m not going to accept two hundred dollars. This painting is worth at least two thousand dollars, and I’m not going to change my mind about the prize” Togami crossed his arms, expecting to drive home the sale. Entrepeneurs and businessmen liked someone assertive who knew what they were doing. Normal people who bought stuff off the street weren’t like them, just like Togami started to realize. The woman huffed.
“Then you and I have nothing to talk about. Good day, young man!” she said, turning around and going towards Kel’s painting.
“I said good day!” the woman inspected the other painting while Togami stared, befuddled and trying to see how Kel would handle this. Surely Kel wouldn’t accept selling the painting for anything else than one thousand! “Are you the artist?”
“Yeah, I painted this! Do you like it?”
“It’s superb. You have a lot of talent” the woman nodded, taking out her checkbook. I’m willing to give you...four hundred dollars. Is that okay?”
“Four hundred dollars? Wow! Yeah, it’s a deal!” Kel received the checks, looking at it with joy “Thank you, thank you!”
“This was a good deal...this painting will look beautiful at my home” she commented, touching it “Do you have other work? There are a few friends who are looking for a good artist, and you have talent here, young man”
“Yeah, and I think they’d be willing to pay good money for it!”
While Kel and the woman settled the details of their agreement, Togami took off his painting and stuffed it inside the building again, all the time listening to Kel making the sale of not just one painting, but some he could make in the future. The heir started cleaning the place methodically, trying not to wander into his thoughts. The board was ignored. Togami disassembled the supercapacitor, picked up the materials and put them away safely, and made sure everything was in order.
“Hey, Togami!” Kel entered, waving two checks “Look, I got two checks!”
“Good for you” Togami grumbled. Kel, noticing Togami was in awful mood, approached, sitting on the table.
“Are you angry with me?”
“Not with you” Togami lied. He was angry with Kel, but also with himself. How could he have lost?
“Is this about the title you wanted to get from me?”
“Keep it. I’m not going to try to take it from you anymore”
“If you want it I can give it to you. I don’t mind”
“I’m not going to take something I didn’t work for” Togami said. As much as he hated to admit it, Kel had showed skill and was not a completely useless person. Maybe he did fit the title of SHSL Renaissance Man. “The title is yours”
“Oh. If that’s what you want, then okay” Kel passed a full bottle of orange soda to Togami “Here! When I’m sad I drink one of these. Give it a try!”
How did I lose to him? Togami stared at Kel and the bottle of orange soda he was being offered. Kel didn’t have an ounce of malice in his expression, he wasn’t trying to brag or claim superiority or anything. It was just a gesture of peace, an olive branch to settle what had happened during the last three days. Togami didn’t understand how exactly Kel had managed to gain the skills to defeat him, but he did, and that was undeniable.
“...thank you” Togami took the bottle of soda. He loathed soda of any type...but sure, why not?
May as well talk with Kimble for a while longer.