Monday morning had been something of a rush to get ready. I had woken up late, had to take a quick shower, and had to leave even faster. I wasn’t the only one. Both Alicia and Yūgure had also woken up late and were hurrying alongside me.
Last night the three of us had stayed up late watching anime, something that Matilda had disapproved of. She’d told them not to stay up too late. Three hours after saying that, which had been around midnight, she’d shut off the power and told them to go to bed.
To be fair, I think all three of us were pretty nervous. This was the first field trip we’d been on. I had never been allowed on field trips before, Alicia had been too busy running from Belial’s peerage to go on them, and Yūgure had never even attended school. It was the first for all of us.
That didn’t change the fact that we were now paying for our inability to fall asleep.
“Hurry, Jacob! Hurry!”
“I’m hurrying! How are you holding up, Yūgure?”
'I’m tired. Carry me.'
“Absolutely not! Jacob is already carrying our luggage! He cannot afford to carry you!”
'I can change into a cat.'
“YOU ARE NOT CHANGING INTO A CAT!!”
The three of us were running to school so we wouldn’t be late. Our bus was supposed to leave in… I looked at my phone… ten minutes. Well, crap!
“We need to go faster!”
It took ten minutes to get from here to school when walking. We could make it in five if we ran, but we’d miss roll call, which might make us legible to not go on the trip. That was one of the excuses the school had used last year to keep me from going on the winter break vacation. I’d never forgive myself if they pulled that to block Alicia and Yūgure from enjoying Okinawa.
“In that case, we’ll do this,” Alicia shouted as she grabbed my hand and Yūgure’s hand.
I was about to ask what she planned on doing, but I swallowed my tongue before the words could get out.
Magic circles had appeared underneath Alicia’s feet. Using the Powers of the King, she created miniature explosions that literally sent us hurtling across the road at speeds probably exceeding mach 5. My feet left the ground. My eyes watered. My gums flapped. I would have screamed, but with the wind howling around me, I doubt anyone would have heard it.
We arrived at Saitama Private Academy in record time, though neither Yūgure nor I were in any position to care. Our hair was frazzled, our eyes had gone crossed, and I could have sworn I was seeing quadruples of everything. I blinked several times as I tried to let my eyes adjust.
School buildings in Japan were all pretty uniform. Saitama Private Academy was no different. It consisted of a single large building. It was shaped like a massive rectangle, was five stories tall, and had several access points to the roof, which students were allowed to visit during breaks and lunch. Of course, this only accounted for the high school. Saitama Private Academy also had a middle school building attached to it, plus a gymnasium located closer to the track field.
The bus that we would be leaving on was already sitting in the parking lot, and several students were getting on, while the rest were already seated. Our homeroom teacher, Ms. Kanzaki, was standing by the door. She had a clipboard in hand as she checked everyone off.
“Let’s make a break for it!” I said.
The three of us rushed over to the bus. Ms. Kanzaki looked up at our approach. Her glare made me stumble, but I quickly righted myself.
“We’re not late, are we?” asked Alicia.
“You are,” Ms. Kanzaki said. “To be more precise, you are almost fifteen minutes late. You missed roll call and our morning announcements.” Alicia, Yūgure, and I winced. Ms. Kanzaki grunted. “But you’re at least in time for this. Hurry up and get on. I’ll mark you as present.”
I couldn’t believe my ears, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth either.
Alicia, Yūgure, and I boarded the bus. Conversation stopped as we gone on, though it started up again as we walked down the aisle toward the back, which was the only place with open seats.
“I can’t believe we’re letting that yankee go with us.”
“Did those three come here together?”
“Suspicious. What do you think is going on between those three?”
“Maybe he’s blackmailed them into being his slaves!”
It didn’t surprise me that these people were accusing me of something like being Alicia’s and Yūgure’s owner. This was all par for the course.
Should I say something? I had promised Alicia that I would stand up for myself, but did that mean I should confront the people who were saying these things? I wasn’t sure if that was the best course of action. It could cause more friction later on down the road.
“If you people have something to say about us, then please don’t whisper and just say it to our faces,” Alicia said before I could decide on what I should do. She glared at the other students with narrowed, vibrant red eyes. “Don’t think I can’t hear you. Do any of you have something you would like to say to us?”
No one said anything.
Alicia barely withheld a snort. “If you can’t say something to our faces, then do us all a favor and keep your mouths shut. Come on, you two.”
We moved to the back of the now silent bus, and I sat down in between Alicia, who had the window seat, and Yūgure as she sat on the end. Fortunately, the tension that seemed to have been present on Saturday was nowhere to be found. I don’t think I could have handled that sort of atmosphere the entire bus ride.
“Are you sure that was a good idea?” I asked Alicia as Yūgure rifled through her bag, which I had been carrying.
“I don’t care if it was or not,” Alicia said as Yūgure pulled out a small container of higashi. “Those people have no right to say bad things about you. I won’t put up with it.” As Yūgure began eating her sweets, Alicia stared at me. “You shouldn’t put up with it either.”
'I agree,' said the notepad that Yūgure held up with her free hand.
“Point taken.” I smiled. “I’ll try to stand up for myself more.”
“Good,” Alicia said, returning my smile.
It took a minute or so, but conversation did start up again. I blocked the conversation out as I tried to think about what our vacation would be like. I’d never been to Okinawa. It was one of the places I couldn’t go to because it was a series of islands. You could only get there by boat or plane, and I was always kicked out of ports and airports.
I hoped I’d be able to have fun with Alicia and Yūgure.
“All right, everyone! Pipe down and listen up! This is important.” Ms. Kanzaki grabbed our attention. The bus quickly settled down. No one wanted to anger her. “We’ll be traveling to Okinawa by plane. When we get to the airport, all of you are going to travel in two single file lines, one for girls and one for boys. Anyone who trails away from the lines will be harshly disciplined. Got it?”
“Yes, Ms. Kanzaki,” the class said as one.
“Good.” Ms. Kanzaki nodded. “Now that that’s been said, let’s all enjoy this short reprieve from school.”
The class cheered as one.
It wasn’t long after her speech that the bus started moving. Conversation had picked up once more. I spoke with Alicia and Yūgure, talking about all of the things I wanted to do in Okinawa, like go surfing, and explore the nearby towns. Alicia spoke with the same level of enthusiasm. Yūgure didn’t speak at all, but she used her notepad to in lieu of talking.
However, as the bus pulled onto a main road, a menacing intent slammed into me. A shiver crawled up my spine. I could feel several eyes on me, glaring at me. The hatred was stronger than when a normal human glared at me. Where was it coming from?
It took me a second to find it. Two people were sitting on the other seat in the back, a boy and a girl. Both of them had blond hair and blue eyes. They must have been foreigners. The girl was looking out the window, but the guy…
He was glaring right at me.
While I wasn’t good at remembering names, I at least knew the faces of every student in my class, so I knew that these two had not been in my class before now. Transfer students? Now? It seemed odd for transfer students to come in the same day we were leaving for Okinawa. That also didn’t explain why he was glaring at me.
“Jacob?” Alicia said, tearing me away from my musings. “Is something wrong?”
“No,” I said. “Nothing’s wrong. I was just wondering what our hotel rooms would look like. You were saying something about the hot springs?”
Alicia hesitated as though she were uncertain, but then she started talking again, her enthusiasm returning. I withheld my sigh of relief. No good would come from making anyone aware of the boy’s hate-filled glare when I didn’t even know why he was glaring at me in the first place.
The boy’s glare remained on me the whole time were in the bus.
I guess this was just part of being Nephalem.
We've finally begun a new chapter, and a new chapter means new problems. I hope you enjoyed reading this chapter. Let me know by giving the chapter a like and sharing it on your social media. I'd like to thank you all for reading, and I hope you have an awesome day! Ja ne! (^-^)