This Boredom of Mine
It really is bad manners to sigh in the middle of a public transport.
Everyone simply wishes to be left to their own devices without being affected by external forces in this public environment but this just dampens their mood, if only a little.
On a direct bus to the city centre in the middle of the morning peak hour at the beginning of the week?
You would want to retain whatever joy or optimism you can garner in order to carry on with the rest of the day.
???: [GOOD MORNING, KO!]
The silence on the bus, cultivated by generations of public etiquette and unspoken rules, painstakingly built upon by societal expectations, was broken by this rambunctious exclamation.
???: [I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME, KO!]
Please, fellow passengers, I don’t know this person any more than you do. Your stares of disapproval like looking at a young single parent failing to get their child to behave are really starting to hurt…
???: [AH, THERE YOU ARE! I knew you would be here!]
A presence waded through the sea of people packed tightly in the bus like sardines and stopped short at a distance no closer than a breath away.
Looking back at me is a smile, brighter than any stars or celestial bodies in the sky.
Reflected in her eyes is not just the image of my countenance due to proximity, but also a cosmos of chaos and entropy, each converging to a singular desire of pinpointing and executing actions that generate the most amusement.
???: [So how’s your weekend? Before you answer, I won’t accept any half-hearted responses like “Lying in bed lazing around” or anything.]
Fittingly enough, enveloped in that chaos was me.
“Her” skirt gently swayed along to the reverberations of the moving bus while “his” short hair appeared ruffled, presumably so after swimming through the crowd.
Ko: [So in the end, are you a girl or a boy?]
???: [That’s rude, Ko! Shiro is Shiro, what kind of boy finds interest in wearing a girl’s uniform on his morning commute?]
Ko: [You are a girl, then?]
Shiro: [The short answer is no. The long answer is complicated. But the correct answer is… Hey Ko, where are you going?]
The bus gradually came to a stop as we finally reached our destination. Passengers began to disembark, me included, as we trudged ourselves to the exit.
Shiro: [Oh right, we are here… Wait, Ko, I think I’m stuck…]
Making doubly sure I have everything on me, I exited the bus.
Shiro: [WAAAIT, KO, YOU MEANIE……]
As the bus door closed behind me, a sense of tranquillity took hold of me, even if the bus stop where I am at is right in the middle of the city centre at the heart of the bustle of the morning peak hour.
I made my way into one of the skyscrapers nearby, one that would normally be teeming with salarymen-and-women but for some reason, is not.
Not just salarymen, this building seemed almost devoid of presence; The receptionist desk is empty and not another soul is in sight.
It was a sight to behold the first time around and even now it still needs some time to get used to.
Behind the receptionist desk is a place reminiscent of a lift lobby.
Yet another thing to get used to is the lifts, or more precisely, the “lifts”, air quotes and all.
One would not be remiss in taking them for normal lifts since both looked identical right down to the button press and metallic door on the outside.
However, the differences only arise when one steps into the "lift".
Not a single button is present, even the emergency one. Instead, smack-dab in the middle is a rotary dial phone in crimson red with no landline or wires plugged in.
I picked up the phone and dialed "7"
No response apart from the faint static.
The door slowly closes behind me.
???: [You know, you have to tell me where you want to go if there's a place you need to be…]
Ko: [7, Class EI7, please.]
???: [See, not that hard now, Ko? Enjoy your school day!]
If you knew where I needed to be, then why didn't you cut to the chase and bring me there already, I can't help but think to myself.
The door opened again but the other side is no longer the forlorn lift lobby.
Shiro: [There you are, Ko. You sure took your time!]
I would have loved to take more if I could, but this is the reality of us high school first-years bounded by the construct known as "school".
Ko: [Is there really no other seat you could have taken other than being diagonally next to mine?]
Shiro: [Of course not! How else am I going to observe you in class! And, we are arranged by alphabetical order, so there's really no control over who sits where…]
So she says, but in our time in class so far, there are no fewer than two empty seats at one time. Surely, he could simply…
???: [What's the conclusion of today's World Model, Rei?]
Rei: [To Y1: Occurence= T-52 seconds]
"Y1": [Splendid, truly a time of blessing!]
I will have to try my best to ignore the dangerous conversation going on at the back of the class.
In fact, all the chalk writings and workings that filled up the entirety of the class backboard could only spell disaster.
???: [C…Class, please r…return to your seats. I w…will begin homeroom soon.]
Entering the class after me was our teacher, appearance alone, she doesn't look any younger than the rest of us.
???: [Nano-chi, Nano-chi, do you see what's outside the window now?]
Rudely interrupting her stuttering was a fellow female student whilst diverting the class's attention to the window.
Rei: [Occurence= T-10 seconds]
"Nano-chi, Nano-chi": [Mi…Mimi, please don't call me that… It…It's embarrassing…]
The teacher looked outside the window and despite what she saw, she wasn't the least bit shocked or surprised. If anything, she looked more flustered trying to get our attention back.
Tempting as it was to be swept by the flow and look outside, I decided against it.
Rei: [Occurence= T-5 seconds]
I turned behind to look at my classmate seated directly behind me.
We may not speak the same language but we were bound by something more than words.
We could only shrug our shoulders and force out a smile as a comet blasted its way through the window and destroyed the class as we know it.
???: "Ko, would you do the honours?"
I was barely able to open my eyes before someone shoved a coin into my hand.
It was the girl that Rei called "Y1".
Reluctantly, I tossed the coin into the air and caught it under her eager anticipation.
"Y1": [Thank Lux, it's an Any%. Come, class, the goal today is to beat our PB! Kaizo, start the count!]
The "Kaizo'' she was referring to is another classmate of ours. No clear response could be read underneath her Noh Mask as she merely stares back, that is if there even are eyes beneath.
"Y1": [Dio, deviation ratio.]
"Dio": [1.526879, and how many times do I have to tell you, it's "Eu"!]
"Y1": [Yeah, yeah, whatever you say, Dio Charlotte Euclerk~ ]
Before Eu could come up with a retort, "Y1" was already gone, mobilizing the rest of the class.
Not long after, the class procured our form of transportation by robbing a misfortunate band of thieves who just happened to be in the vicinity.
They absolutely stood no chance against the attacking group who disarmed and neutralized them before their hearts could even beat their next beat.
Our form of transport? Dragons of the mediaeval kind mutated from the thieves’ horses, courtesy of Eu.
???: [C’mon, Ko, Yang is not waiting.]
Just as he spoke, a dragon carrying "Y1", or more precisely, Yang, took off with a few of our classmates and gradually disappeared in the horizon.
Ko: [Coming, Hiro, just need to pick up Five. Otherwise, he's going to complain about being left behind, again…]
I found the laptop that had been transported along with us and brought it up onto the dragon with Hiro's help.
Hiro: [Us guys got to stick together…]
Five: [Us guys got to stick together…]
Five's voice came through the laptop.
Ko: [Us guys got to stick together…]
With that, our ride took off towards the direction Yang and the others went.
Yang: [Time check?]
Yang's voice came through as if she was speaking directly into our head.
???: [Zhang Zi Yang, this is Fieck Pecker. According to Kaizo Azamu, 6 minutes and 23 seconds and 78 centiseconds.]
Yang: [Thank you class rep! For the rest, the plan is simple: Once we crash the dragons into the Demon King’s Castle, we slay the demon king and clear the world, run over, roll credits. Capiche?]
She was talking so fast that it became hard to pick up on what she was trying to express.
Eu: [Hey, I didn't hear anything about crashing the dragons? Please don't hurt them.]
Mimi: [Fichi, Fichi, you talked! Your voice is cute~ You should talk more!]
Yang: [I said "crash" but you know very well nothing in this world can hurt them seeing how hard and sturdy you made them in order to withstand the Mach 50 they are travelling in now…]
I gave up on keeping track of what was going on the moment more than one conversation was occurring.
Unlike online meetings, these weren't something I could mute and unmute.
Seconds later, the sight of a gothic castle came to be.
I think I saw for a millisecond the remnants of a shield that was supposed to defend the area but it went by too quickly for me to be sure.
Immediately after, the centre spire of the demon king castle exploded into pieces so small that they could hardly even be seen, caused by none other than Yang's kinetic bombardment.
By the time we got there, the rest of the class was gathered in front of a crumbling body with only half its face left.
Demon King: [How… Who… even are you all…? My… invasion?]
Yang: [Sshhh… Sshhh… Just go now]
She was impatiently tapping her feet as she said that to the vanquished Demon King. Somehow, it even looked like she was trying her hardest to stop herself from hastening the dematerialization of the crumbling body, which is just an eye now.
When it was finally gone like ashes in the wind, Yang turned her head to Kaizo in a way that would most definitely cause a whiplash in others.
Yang: [That's it! Kaizo, stop the timer. Run over, roll credits.]
The world around fades to a white.
And just like that, we were back in the classroom we were in moments ago.
No crater or damaged classroom in sight. Not even a speck of dust seemed to be added to the environs, making whatever that had happened just now seemed almost entirely made up by whatever figment of imagination that I had.
"Nanochi, Nanochi": [C…class, I would l…like to begin homer…room…]
Yang: [Sorry, Ms September, just one mere fraction of a moment, then we will start proper. Kaizo, what's the timing?]
Interjecting Ms September, the homeroom teacher of our class EI7, was Yang.
Kaizo stood up and wrote down the timing on the backboard instead of exclaiming out loud like a certain someone.
Filling up the entire board, we saw: 9 minutes, 29 seconds and 6 centiseconds
Yang: [HA, CLEARING AN ISEKAI UNDER 10 MINUTE! BEAT THAT!]
Honestly, I feel bad for the Demon King and the inhabitants of the now-gone Demon King Castle. Their hopes and aspirations in invading the humanity of that world were dashed in less than 10 minutes because of this girl and her class.
Not sure who the true terror is, really.
Many questions are left unexplained:
Did the class die due to the comet?
Did the comet even exist?
Was the class reincarnated or transported into another world?
How was it that the band of thieves just so happened to be in the vicinity with all the items we needed?
How were the dragons able to find their way?
How were they even able to travel at Mach 50?
How was the class even able to stay on the dragons travelling at 50 times the speed of sound?
What atrocities did the Demon King Army commit to warrant their annihilation in less than ten minutes?
How can anyone be sure that defeating the Demon King would bring us back?
Why do I even bother questioning what is happening?
Feeling something poking in my pants, I reached in my pocket; It was a piece of rock, possibly even debris.
Here's to another school day.
[End of Chapter]
***_****: [Welcome to the End Card, where we can talk about anything and everything without being bogged down by petty things such as the Fourth Wall!]
Ko: [Aren't we supposed to ensure the Fourth Wall remains intact?]
Yang: [WHO DECIDED THAT?!]
***_****: [Yeah! Who decided that!?]
Yang: [Though I have to ask and put you on the spot here: When are you going to continue publishing C*rCular?]
Yang: [We ended on a Gainax ending and barely at the beginning of Arc 1…]
Yang: [It's been a full…]
***_****: [Stay tuned for the next chapter of "This Boredom of Mine".]
Ko: [Next chapter, we take a walk to lunch.]
Yang: [I will not be silenced!]
[End of End Card]