The class was not cancelled. According to Yabumi-sensei, incidents like that always happen. I was told to sit back in my corner again. My attribute only made an appearance for a couple of seconds, but I was exhausted, physically and mentally. Sayuri noticed it and came over to me after asking Yabumi-sensei’s permission.
“I know what will make you feel better.”
She took out her chipped ceramic bowl and placed in on the floor in front of me.
“Sayuri, I didn’t get hurt. Don’t worry about me. I’m okay.”
“You can tell me what you want but I know what happens whenever you activate your Paroxys.”
She placed a hand on my head and gave me a warm smile.
“Grizenx. Healeth those who are hurt.”
The bowl gave off the familiar yellow light but instead of water emerging from it, it turned into a big bear. It was tall and skinny with long arms and big hands. Its fur was a mix between yellow and brown. The same colour as Sayuri’s bowl. It slowly approached me and without any warning grabbed me and sat me down in its lap. It continued holding me in its arms. I felt strangely warm and didn’t mind it as its fur was insanely soft.
“Sayuri, what is happening? Who’s this bear?”
“That is my Paroxys, Grizenx-chan. The water that I usually use to heal you is just one of his abilities. Are you feeling better now?”
The moment Sayuri asked me that question, I realised that I was feeling a lot better. I turned my head up and saw the bear looking back at me.
“He’s like an emotional support animal.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what he is.”
Sayuri went back to the others and left me with Grizenx-chan which I honestly didn’t mind. I watched from afar how the others were using and activating their Paroxys one after another. Haruto’s attribute was a fluffy, orange cloud called Ninoni. It was capable of acting as a shield or it could suffocate people. I didn’t know what to think of that contrast. But the most important feature for Haruto was that it served as the perfect bed. Ohta explained that his bombs are not strong enough to kill someone, but they will do some decent damage. They can also be used as long-range weapons by tossing them and using them as conventional bombs. The next person who was explaining their attribute was Nina. Her Paroxys was a little meerkat that appeared out of her hair. It was dark green with two tails and a white carnation sprouting out of his head. Whenever Nina would pluck a petal, she was able to see a foreshadowing within the next 24 hours about a person of her choice. She was able to do it as many times as the number of petals on the flower.
The class finally ended, and we were allowed to go back to our dormitory to rest up for the next day which was the weekend. We were told that our training would continue throughout every day of the week, meaning Saturdays and Sundays too. I was hoping to go back home and visit my mom, Yuuma and Charlotte but I guess that turned into mission impossible. The dormitories that we stayed in were pretty simple. I was happy to see that Sayuri was on the same floor as me. Thanks to her attribute, I was feeling rested and energised.
“Thank you again, Sayuri.”
She shook her head and told me not to thank her anymore because we were friends. I gave her a big smile in return.
“You know, I had never seen your Paroxys before but it’s pretty scary.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“Sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mean to upset you.”
She put her hands up and fluttered them from left to right.
“You didn’t upset me. You’re absolutely right by saying that it’s scary. But I somehow have to manage it, right? I can’t let something like today happen again.”
“Mhm. Don’t worry, I know you can do it.”
Sayuri made her hands into fists and looked me in my eyes. She was overflowing with optimism which made me laugh out loud. I went into my room and locked the door behind me. I felt defeated. Every student knew how to properly use their Paroxys. I was the only one who couldn’t even activate it or call it out whenever I wanted to. My head was filled with doubt. I decided to finally unpack my suitcases and then take a hot shower to clear my mind. My phone vibrated and I saw a text message from my mom. She was updating me on Charlotte’s condition which did not really change and stayed constant. I quickly replied back with a summary of how my day went, of course leaving out the afternoon classes and went to bed.
If I remembered correctly, our training with Yabumi-sensei was supposed to start at noon. So, why was Yu standing in front of my door and telling me to come with him at eight in the morning. I was still in my pyjamas and looked at him confused.
“What do you want?”
“I told you. Get changed and come with me.”
“No thank you.”
I pushed the door, but he was quick enough to place his foot in between to prevent me from closing it.
“Tsk. What the hell is wrong with you? Do you think I want to babysit you out of my own volition?”
“Wow. I’m impressed. You know big words.”
My sarcastic comment ticked him off and he kicked my door open.
“Get changed. Now.”
I had no choice, so I did as I was instructed and changed my clothes and followed him. We were walking through the campus and ended up being in an open field behind the gymnasium from yesterday. Not many people were around. Actually, it was only me and him. I was in my tracksuit, but he was wearing his uniform.
“Let me show you how it’s done.”
He grabbed the bottom of his grey t-shirt and took it off in one smooth motion.
“Don’t tell me you’re a pervert?”
I took one step back and covered my eyes with my hands. My interests did not include looking at naked, male torsos but I was a little bit impressed by how well in shape he was.
“I don’t usually do this, but I’ll show you my Paroxys.”
“Don’t tell me you’re going to take off your trousers as well.”
“Why the hell would I do that?”
He sighed out loud and turned around to show me his back. My hands immediately came off my face.
“Wait. That’s your Paroxys?”
“Yes. Come over here and touch it.”
“Damn. And I really started believing that you are not a pervert. I guess it’s time for me to leave.”
I turned around and started walking away. It only took him less than a second to catch up to me. He was standing right in front of me. I didn’t even have time to blink.
“I’m not joking.”
He was radiating assertiveness. I was taken aback. He turned around again, and I hesitantly touched the dragon tattoo that covered his entire back. I flinched and instinctively jumped back. My hand was shaking, and I felt like throwing up. What was that feeling? It was overpowering and terrifying.
“You just met my Paroxys.”
Yu walked around me to pick up his t-shirt and put it on again.
“How are you able to control so much force and weight? I felt like I would have died if I kept my hand there any longer.”
“You have to be stronger and more resilient. I only showed it to you because your Paroxys is similar to mine, if we are talking about pure strength.”
I took a deep breath and sat down on the grass. Yu walked over and crouched in front of me. His hand went through my hair, and he gently pulled it away from my face.
“So, that’s your Paroxys. I think I might actually die if I touch yours.”
I shoved his hand away from my earring in fear that he would actually try and touch it.
“Paroxys are living beings. Like us, they have a name, but you already knew that. They are capable of communication as well but only with their host. But that depends on their mood and if they actually want to talk. If they don’t, force them into submission until they do. That is the only way to control them, effectively and safely.”
He sat down next to me.
“How long does that take?”
“Well, it depends. It took me a couple of months, but I know of others who had to train for years to get to the point where I am right now. Your Paroxys is quite strong but also a bit special. If you want to stand at the start line like the rest of your group, try and talk to it. And if you’re too afraid of doing it by yourself, I guess I could stay for a bit longer.”
He laid down on the grass and closed his eyes. I kept staring at him.
“Don’t keep staring at me. How about you call out your Paroxys first and then we take it from there?”
I let out a sigh and grabbed my earring.
“What’s wrong now? Don’t tell me, you don’t even know how to do that.”
“I know. It’s just that sometimes it won’t come out.”
“Then force it to come out. Have conviction behind your voice whenever you call out to it. What’s its name?”
“Okay. I want you to use its name whenever you talk about it. Don’t say your attribute or Paroxys. Use its name as often as you can. Now do what I told you and bring it out.”
I swallowed my spit and stood up from the ground. My heart was beating fast. I held my earring firmly in my hand.
“Xykoss. Devour those who stand in thy way.”
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It actually came out. I was happy but also terrified. How was I supposed to talk with a monster?
“My name is Ayumi?”
“What did you just say? Why the hell are you introducing yourself in the form of a question? Don’t you know your own name?”
Yu stood up as well and I looked at him desperately. Xykoss wasn’t happy with my introduction either and howled at me. I quickly hid behind Yu and watched him over his shoulder. Oh, it was a he. How did I not notice until now?
“Introduce yourself properly. Who the hell was teaching you back at the training facility? You don’t have any backbone at all.”
“Look, anyone in their right mind would be terrified of this situation. And it was Toshiko’s job to teach me.”
“Ah, that explains a lot.”
He stepped to the side and pushed me towards Xykoss. I didn’t get any closer and froze in place.
“My name is Ayumi!”
It was a hastily shout. Xykoss came closer to me. His steps were heavy. It stopped right in front of my face. Its bright red eyes were looking into mine. His name echoed through my head.
“Did you just hear that?
My voice was a whisper and I hoped it reached Yu.
“I didn’t hear anything. It was probably Xykoss. Only the host is able to hear their Paroxys’ voice. What did he say?”
“I guess he just introduced himself.”
“See, it wasn’t that hard, was it now?”
I let out a nervous laugh. The entire time I was clinging on to my jacket and nearly peed myself.
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