Chapter 3:

Chapter 3: The Training Episode Part 1

Reborn as the Protagonist: I’m a Weeb Who Got Isekaid Into My Favorite Anime and Now I’m Gonna Make the Side Character Waifu Fall in Love with Me

For reasons I don’t feel like getting into, I haven’t sat inside of a classroom since… hmmm… uhhh…Bookmark here

Anyway, I’m sitting in class and Sensei is droning on about… something… but all I’m thinking about is my waifu. Bookmark here

Yuko sits at the head of the class, scribbling diligent notes as Sensei babbles. She’s good at sports and cooking and schoolwork too. I’m honestly amazed and more than a little annoyed that she didn’t get a bigger role in the show.Bookmark here

Because I’m the protagonist, I’m in the very back of the class right next to the window. I stare through the glass at the clear blue sky (clear of apocalyptic monsters that is) just like a million other anime protagonists before me. Bookmark here

I’m pretty good at this.Bookmark here

This is episode three of the show, which means Yuko doesn’t have much screen time left. In the original version, the one from before I magically appeared and started shaking things up, the protagonist is summoned willingly to another world, a magical, mythical realm of ethereal creatures and eldritch beasts.Bookmark here

They’re gonna have to drag me kicking and screaming away from my quiet, romantic, slice of life high school story with Yuko.Bookmark here

I’ve been doing everything I can to stay in close proximity to her. She comes over and makes me food at night, a detail that was never seen on screen in the original version of the show. We walk to school every morning, another new development. And starting today, we’re gonna meet on the roof every day during lunch period to share bento boxes. Bookmark here

I’ve got it all worked out.Bookmark here

“Hiro-kun, please attempt to solve the equation on the board.”Bookmark here

I look up at the chalkboard and see a bunch of numbers and letters scribbled in chalk. Are chalkboards even a thing anymore? This is an older show, maybe whiteboards and markers just aren’t in vogue yet in Japan? Bookmark here

Next thing I know, they’re gonna have me clapping erasers together as a punishment.Bookmark here

“Hiro-kun!” Sensei yells at me again. I’m still eyeballing the equation. There is no way I have what it takes to decipher this mathematical gibberish, but she’s losing patience with me fast. Bookmark here

I spot the clock. If I can stall for time, maybe…Bookmark here

“Hiro-kun! What are you doing?!” Bookmark here

Aw crap, now even Yuko’s yelling at me. Although it is kinda cute how she’s trying to whisper and scream at the same time. Bookmark here

Her face is completely red.Bookmark here

I slip out of my seat slowly, streeeeeeetching for time.Bookmark here

3.Bookmark here

“HI-Bookmark here

2.Bookmark here

-ROBookmark here

1.Bookmark here

-KUN!!!”Bookmark here

The bell rings, and class is over. Bookmark here

It’s officially lunch time!Bookmark here

-Bookmark here

So, I’m standing outside of Sensei’s class and clapping chalkboard erasers together. Each clap sends a deadly puff of chalk dust directly into my nasal cavities and past my esophagus. Meanwhile, Yuko awaits on the roof of the school with a precisely configured array of Japanese school lunch staples.Bookmark here

Truly, I am in hell.Bookmark here

“Alright, that’s enough. Get out of here already.” Sensei relents, speaking to me with her mouth full of food. It’s a bribery from Yuko. A homemade bento box meant for me. I should be upset, but this just means we get to share.Bookmark here

The erasers are back at the board and I’m out of the classroom before Sensei can finish swallowing the too big bite of rice in her mouth.Bookmark here

As I run through the halls of the school, I spot background characters in each classroom I sprint past. Some of them I recognize from years of watching and rewatching the show. Some of them are brand new to me.Bookmark here

I can’t help but wonder if they’ve always been there, hiding just off screen, away from the eyes of the viewers, or if these characters are new creations spawned from me meddling in the storyline. I mean, I’ve already created weird alternate scenarios where I’m dealing with Ciel’s sister, a character who is never even name checked in the original version. And now I’m about to take part in a scene that never happened in the show.Bookmark here

I climb the stairs two at a time until I reach the top. A fire exit door sits past the final stair, propped slightly ajar with a big rock. Bookmark here

I push through the door and see-Bookmark here

Sylvie?Bookmark here

Sylvie, the earth angel, younger sister of Ciel, the angel who should have been there in episode one to save me from the giant monster in the sky, is floating above the school’s rooftop. Her legs are folded like an obedient child as she munches on the food Yuko prepared. Bookmark here

Hey!” I yell up to her, shaking my fist.Bookmark here

“Hmm…? What?” Sylvie looks down at me, dumbfounded, her mouth full of my food.Bookmark here

“That was supposed to be mine!”Bookmark here

“The girl gave it to me.” Her mouth is still full, she hasn’t stopped plugging it with food since I opened the door.Bookmark here

I look to Yuko, she darts her eyes and stares at the floor.Bookmark here

“Well, her stomach was growling, so…”Bookmark here

“You already ate my dinner, now you’re eating my lunch?” I stomp towards them aggressively, but Sylvie continues eating and Yuko continues looking away. “What the hell are you even doing here?”Bookmark here

Sylvie wipes her chin on her long, flowing sleeve.Bookmark here

“I have came to retrieve you.”Bookmark here

Him?” Yuko asks, sensing some shenanigans that I’ll have to convince her are definitely not afoot.Bookmark here

Me?” I ask, echoing her disbelief.Bookmark here

“Yes. You.” She hands the emptied bento box to Yuko. “You are the protagonist, are you not?”Bookmark here

“So? What do you want?” I don’t know what she’s thinking, but whatever it is will no doubt be very annoying.Bookmark here

“The time has come to commence your training.”Bookmark here

“What training? Look, I already told you, I’m not dealing with any of that ‘save the world’ crap. I’ve got my own thing going here.”Bookmark here

Sylvie’s expression doesn’t change, neither does her voice. Bookmark here

So why can I sense her irritation?Bookmark here

“Your personal feelings on the mission are of no importance to neither myself nor my superiors. You are the protagonist, as you have insisted, and therefore you will take part in the training required of you.” Her wings unfurl without warning, shading me and Yuko from the afternoon sun. “Bookmark here

Prepare yourself, we depart immediately.”Bookmark here

“Prepare myself…?” I mutter.Bookmark here

The air around us grows hot and stale. My vision blurs, the buildings on the horizon waver with intensity as the world goes black. Bookmark here

I know what this is! Bookmark here

She’s about to teleport us somewhere. Ciel pulled that move all the time in the show. Bookmark here

Armed with the expectation of imminent teleportation, I reach out and grab onto Yuko. This way, wherever Sylvie drags me, Yuko is coming too. Bookmark here

I’m gonna transform Yuko into a main character if it kills me.Bookmark here

-Bookmark here

My eyes are still shut tight when I feel reality solidify beneath my feet. It feels like the aftershock of a small earthquake, like the world is being pulled apart from opposite ends and then released at once, a rubber band snapping back into shape.Bookmark here

I open my eyes.Bookmark here

My hand is firmly grasping at Yuko’s chest, my palm is completely full to the point of overflowing.Bookmark here

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t mean to grope her, Yuko’s fist collides with my face at an impressive speed.Bookmark here

“My bad,” I manage to choke out.Bookmark here

“Where are we?” Her voice is wobbly, she’s clearly upset. Bookmark here

She has multiple reasons to choose from.Bookmark here

“I apologize, lady Yuko.” Sylvie floats over top of us, gliding to a halt as her angel wings fold up behind her. “It was not my attention to abscond with you in tow. You may blame the protagonist for that mishap.”Bookmark here

I don’t like the way she says protagonist. She’s definitely making fun of me.Bookmark here

“As for where we are,” she continues, “This is where Mr. Protagonist will begin his training.Bookmark here

“I already told you, I don’t need any training.”Bookmark here

“Strong though you may be, you are not yet a master of controlling your spiritual energy. Therefore, my superiors believe that you do need training.”Bookmark here

“Maybe I should rephrase that then. I don’t want any training. I don’t want to be strong. I don’t want to save the world. I’m steering this plot away from fantasy action adventure shonen tropes, we’re going for more of a slice of life high school romance vibe from now on.”Bookmark here

“I do not want to listen to your babble anymore,” Sylvie replies, “Now, please follow me.” She hovers away, her wings fluttering rhythmically up and down. Yuko follows her without question.Bookmark here

“What are you doing?” I try to whisper, but it still comes out loud.Bookmark here

“What? She said to follow her…”Bookmark here

“Who cares what she says? She’s not the boss of us!” I try to grab her hand but she smacks it away. Her defenses are on high alert.Bookmark here

“Well, what else are we gonna do, Hiro? Look around, I have no idea where we even are.”Bookmark here

I do look around and she’s right, this whole terrain is completely unfamiliar to me. We’re straying even further away from the canon storyline, but still not in the direction I would prefer to take it. Bookmark here

At this rate, I’m still gonna have to do a bunch of training and learn martial arts and gain magical abilities. I just wanted an easy storyline where I hang out with my waifu and have a pleasant school life. But no, I have to be dragged off into a magical forest for hero training.Bookmark here

Yuko follows Sylvie into a heavily wooded forest with a sea of tall grass. The sounds of clicking, buzzing, whirring insects drones on and on and the occasional twitter of birds and other animals makes me flinch every few steps. Bookmark here

We travel deeper and deeper into the forest until I can’t see the sky anymore. I look up and find only a ceiling of leaves, each tree branch home to a noisy critter.Bookmark here

I want to ask ‘are we there yet’ but I don’t even have a clue as to where we’re going in the first place.Bookmark here

“Is this part of the training?” I double over, wheezing to catch my breath. How can I be so out of shape? I’m an anime character!Bookmark here

For her part, Yuko seems to be doing just fine. She ties her hair into a ponytail and pats a single bead of sweat from her forehead. I should have figured the track and field tomboy wouldn’t have any issues traversing this dense forest.Bookmark here

As for Sylvie, she just keeps floating onward, a look of painful boredom dominating her expression. Bookmark here

“No,” she says, “Your training will not be nearly as simple nor as painless as this short trek. Now keep moving.”Bookmark here

Yuko hops to her feet and marches stoically after Sylvie.Bookmark here

I stay where I’m at. I really need to catch my breath. I’m lying against an impossibly tall tree. I lean my head back against its mossy bark and try to follow the sight of the trunk as it grows up and into the skyline of twisting branches. I can’t tell one apart from the rest.Bookmark here

There’s a sudden crackling of brush on the forest floor. I bolt forward in time to see several small forest animals skittering through the grassy expanse before me. Squirrels and rabbits and other things I’m too slow to identify all dart out in front of me. I stand up to see what all the commotion is.Bookmark here

WHAM.Bookmark here

I’m completely out of breath. I hunch over, gripping my guts in pain at the sudden, unexpected impact. Bookmark here

I peek through my wincing eyes and see a panicked animal scurrying around me. Bookmark here

It’s a deer, and a tiny one at that. I’ve seen bigger dogs than this thing. Its nubby little antlers jut out triumphantly and I finally grasp where all that pain came from.Bookmark here

Before I can figure out how to react to the cowering deer hovering around me, an even louder noise erupts through the trees. I have to look up, way up to see whatever this thing is.Bookmark here

One second there’s a tree in front of us, then the next second it’s gone. Bookmark here

A fuzzy claw tears the bark away in shreds as a monolithic beast lumbers past it and on to the next one. It takes me a minute to comprehend what I’m seeing but eventually I figure it out. Bookmark here

A bear taller than my apartment building is slowly clearing a path through the forest, and it’s headed in our direction. With each stomp it gets closer and louder, manic animals fleeing in terror every time it plants a foot in the ground. Bookmark here

I would be scared, but I’m in too much pain.Bookmark here

I struggle to get to my feet when I notice the blood on my hands and arms. That damn deer must have stabbed me somewhere with its little antlers.Bookmark here

The bear stumbles through the tall grass and stops abruptly. It looks down at me and the deer. The deer stands in front of me, head down, antlers raised. Bookmark here

Is this thing trying to protect me? Bookmark here

It drags a hoof across the dirt as if challenging the bear.Bookmark here

The bear accepts the challenging.Bookmark here

“Move, you stupid deer!”Bookmark here

I shove the pathetic thing out of harms way and without a second thought I wind my fist back. Time begins to slow to a crawl, and I’m reminded of those buckets of water and that move I pulled off in episode one. Now, here I am again, instinctively defending this poor forest creature from an intimidating predator.Bookmark here

Damn it, I’m starting to become a hero!Bookmark here

I focus all of my rage and annoyance. This is not how I wanted my day to go. I use all of my negative emotions as fuel and poor them into my fist. After a powerful wind up and energy charge, I release the pressure and send my fist flying.Bookmark here

My knuckles connect with the bear’s snout and I can feel each and every one of its teeth breaking, one after the other like a rippling wave on a gentle stream. The stupid thing was cocky enough to lower its head at us, fully intending to tear into me or the deer or, probably, both. Bookmark here

Not today, bear. Bookmark here

The bear’s massive furry face twists like a bottle cap, blood and spittle flying from its hanging jaw. Before long, its heavy legs follow, launching backwards until the whole thing backflips into the grass behind it. Bookmark here

The impact sends tremors through the forest. Birds flutter out of the trees and into the sky. Every nook and cranny of the woods is alive with tiny creatures peeking out from their hiding places to see if the nightmare is really over.Bookmark here

The deer nudges me, gently this time, before kneeling into a kind of curtsy before me. Bookmark here

“Uh, thanks?” I say, with an air of uncertainty.Bookmark here

What the hell did you do?”Bookmark here

I whirl around and find myself face to face with Sylvie. She floats over me, her face aggressively close to mine.Bookmark here

“I didn’t… I mean… I was just trying to help this deer out.”Bookmark here

What deer?!”Bookmark here

I look around. We both do. She’s right. There is no deer here anymore.Bookmark here

“Uhhh…”Bookmark here

“We do not have time for any more of this nonsense.”Bookmark here

Sylvie grabs me by the wrist, treating me like a troublemaking child, and drags me through the forest. She flies at warp speed, narrowly avoiding trees and animals along the way. I still manage to nick and scrape my skin multiple times along our perilous journey.Bookmark here

Something tells me she’s letting me get dinged up on purpose.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.