Our first class was supposed to be easy, but it was the opposite for me. For some reason I felt embarrassed. Yabumi-sensei wasn’t too impressed either. He got angry and told me to sit in a corner. Every student was told to call out their Paroxys, so he could judge how far they were in their training. Yu and Shiraishi were told to help them out.
“Are you okay?”
Ohta sat down next to me.
“Yeah, I guess.”
I shrugged my shoulders. There was no point in me getting upset. It’s not like I have been training like the rest of them. I had just gotten my attribute. It was a miracle that I haven’t died until now.
“How come Yu is allowed to assist Yabumi-sensei?”
“Oh, that’s because he’s a Junior. I guess they are allowed to teach rookies and new trainees to build their leadership skills. Eventually, they’ll become Lieutenants.”
I had noticed that Shiraishi had a silver pin too.
“So, you have to teach to get the gold pin?”
Ohta scratched his cheek and gave me a concerned smile.
“It’s not that easy. To actually become a Lieutenant, you have to defeat one in a fair fight. That is also true for becoming a General or Master.”
“You have to fight someone? Why?”
“I don’t really know why but those are the rules. On top of it, the principle will choose if, when and who you are allowed to fight to earn a higher position.”
“Then what about Yu? I bet he has tried fighting someone with his temper.”
Ohta let out a nervous giggle.
“Yeah. He’s been trying for six years but his opponent is a scary and very tenacious one. Don’t get me wrong, Yu is strong. Very strong. Even our teachers admit that he’s one of our best fighters, it’s just that he can’t seem to win against that one person. So, he’s stuck with the silver pin for now.”
I nodded my head and looked over to Yu who was shouting at Sayuri.
“What about you? Do you want to climb higher?”
Ohta looked surprised by my question. He quickly shook his head.
“No. I didn’t even want to come to this school, but Yu forced me.”
I could completely see that happening. Ohta told me that Yabumi-sensei was actually blind. I would have never guessed it. He didn’t move like someone who couldn’t see, even when he took me to the principal’s office. He didn’t carry a cane around with him either. But it would explain him constantly wearing sunglasses, even indoors. Our conversation was cut off by Yu who started shouting at Ohta to come back. It was his turn. He took out a gold ring from his trouser’s pocket and put it on his middle finger. The others were watching too. He then proceeded to place both of his hands together.
“Unimi. Explodeth and cleans all.”
A light blue light was emitting out of his hands, followed by slits looking like mouths opening up in his palms. Teeth and a tongue were included on both of them. I stood up and walked over to him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The mouths were regurgitating round, blue balls and spitting them out. They were as big as baseballs and had a mouth with teeth and a tongue too. Each of them had a pair of little legs. They were running around Ohta.
“Use one on Ayumi.”
Yabumi-sensei instructed Ohta. I took a step back and put my hands up in defence.
“Why should he use one on me?”
“To demonstrate his attribute.”
“Okay but why me?”
“Because you are otherwise useless.”
I let my arms down and just stood there. How was I supposed to disagree with his statement that was a fact?
“Are you sure? I don’t want to hurt her.”
Ohta was unsure about following our teacher’s instructions, but it only took one serious look from Yabumi-sensei for Ohta to start approaching me. I didn’t move.
Ohta was holding one of his balls in his hand and pushed it into my stomach. I looked down in panic and saw how it disappeared inside of me.
“What’s going to happen to me?”
I was clearly scared but was pretending that everything was fine.
“It’s a bomb. It’ll explode in a given time.”
My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open. My legs were shaking.
“What am I supposed to do?”
I grabbed Ohta by his white t-shirt. He looked over to Yabumi-sensei.
“Try and get it out. Ohta come back. You’re not going to help her figure it out.”
He pushed my hands away and went back to the others. I could clearly see the line being drawn between them and me. It was me against them. If I was not useful, they didn’t need me. I grabbed my stomach and bent over. There was no way I could get it out of me myself. I couldn’t even feel it being inside of me. Don’t I need to go to the hospital? I need a surgeon to get it out of me. I was freaking out. I couldn’t think clearly but then it dawned on me. If I can’t get it out, maybe it can. I grabbed my black tensha drop earring and held it firmly in my hand. I wasn’t allowed to fail this time.
“Xykoss. Devour those who stand in thy way.”
There was no doubt about it. It was here. Standing right behind me. Its breathing was heavy. I looked up and saw the others frozen in place. Their eyes were wide open. Even Yabumi-sensei was not moving. But I didn’t have time to worry about them. I needed to get the bomb out immediately. Just turning around required all of my strength. Just to face it. I could already feel the pressure on my body and my mind. It was staring directly at me. Terrifying, more than ever. But something felt off today.
“Ayumi! Get away from it!”
It was Yu who shouted across the room. It took me off guard and I lost my concentration for only an instant but that was enough of a crack for it to take control over me. It let out a loud howl and got ready to attack me. In that moment, I forgot about the bomb and started running away from it. I knew I couldn’t get away from it in time. Its claw was already above me and casting a shadow, trying to swallow me up. I thought that it was the end of me, but I saw something fly past me.
“Zerog. Floweth and sparketh. Turneth those folk to ashes.”
The air had suddenly become tingly. Like it was charged. I was overwhelmed and tripped over my own feet. The floor was vibrating too. I carefully looked back and saw Yu standing between me and my attribute. His black hair was standing upright. White sparks were flying off his body and his body was covered in what looked like lightning. The white strokes were flowing on top of his skin. He was holding my attribute’s claw back with just his bare hand.
And my attribute did what Yu said to him. Everything went back to normal.
Yu’s violet eyes were sparkling as he was looking down on me. My legs still felt like jelly, but I managed to stand up.
I was embarrassed to look him in the eye.
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