Chapter 5:

The strongest spear vs the strongest shield! The Otaku who will pierce through the heavens!

An American Otaku

Dry leaves slowly blew across the floor in front of them; gray clouds allowed in just enough sunlight to showcase the dawn in the school yard. The calm, serene yet ominous morning that seemed to predict an upcoming storm set the stage for the conflict between Isabel and Trey. They stood facing each other.

“Uh…excuse me.”

“Coming through.”

“What exactly are they doing?”

Were the sounds of the students walking in between them to get into the school building causing both Isabel and Trey to turn away in embarrassment by the scene their melodramatic confrontation was displaying.

“L..look.” Isabel manages to say after the other students walked away. “This is a story about the last surviving member of the human race.”

“Like I care!” Trey rudely interrupts.

“He wakes up thousands of years later and finds the world completely different, with new species and cities.” Isabel continues ignoring his interruption.

“I said, I don’t care.”

Isabel pauses, “I think you’ll like it. The story, the world building, the characters…”

“Why are you telling me this?!” Trey decides to directly ask.

“You told me that I wasn’t really happy, do you remember? Does that mean that you were here before and decided that you weren’t. That box was from a shop that sells anime figures. I know, I love to look at their items that they…”

“That was a long time ago. It’s not my fault that figures ship years after you have to preorder them anymore. I’m not a child anymore, I have no use for childish things.” Trey points at the building. “This is a school. The only thing they are teaching you isn’t an education, it’s also conformity. If you want to progress you have to play by the rules, follow the plans given to you, sit in your little square desk, in your little square room, designed for future factory workers. That’s reality.”

Isabel looks away and starts to think to herself. “That confirms it.” She says out loud to herself.

“Huh?!” Trey looks at her with a curious expression.

“You know I was pretty mad at you earlier and then when I saw that you, who was condemning anime, was actually a fan, I couldn’t help but to look forward to confronting you. As the day went by I realized the reason why I wanted to talk to you. It wasn’t because I was mad and boy was I mad, heck it wasn’t even because you’re a fellow anime fan.”

Isabel pauses, looks down and then clenches her fist and looks directly at him. “It’s because I completely agree with you!”

Trey pauses and for a second lets down his guard. No longer trying to make a quick exit, he listens to what she says.

“I always felt the same way about the world and how things worked, so I always kept my passion to myself. Instead of outright rejecting it, I was content with hiding in a corner and living in my own world but lately thanks to Anthony, I couldn’t help to wonder if it is really so wrong to have a different interest. I suddenly found myself doing silly things that would have embarrassed me to death before but I went along with them not just because I was secretly having fun but because I felt like I was carving a place for myself in the world! More than anything, that’s what the Anime club means to me!” Isabel says with great enthusiasm.

“Tch.” Trey growing impatient says, “What exactly is your point?”

“The point, what I want to say is that the thing in life I think that is most important, is to confront your weaker self and become stronger.”

“Wait?! Are you saying that I’m weaker than you? I’m just not naive, I know how things are and running around with goofball selfishly doesn’t mean anything at all. Things will always be the same…”

“Trey!” Isabel cuts him off and raises her hands toward him, “Then why not change them?”

The look of shock on Trey's face couldn’t be hidden. Unable to answer, he quickly turns away, “Whatever, I have to get to class.”

Isabel sighs, “Maybe I was too direct. I really wanted him to join the anime club. All that stuff I said…” Isabel puts her hands on her face, “...That was kind of embarrassing.”

More students walk past her as she talks to herself, making sure to give her weird looks.

“...Well, embarrassing situations are becoming the norm for me somehow.” Isabel shrugs, readjusts her backpack and starts to head to her first class.

In the hallway, Anthony is taking his books for his first class out when he catches Isabel out of the corner of his eye.

“Oh, hey!” he says with excitement behind his voice. He turns to head in her direction but is stopped in his tracks by the sound of the first bell. “Welp, I guess it’s time for class.”

Anthony enters the class and notices the teacher hasn’t arrived first and takes his seat at the front of the room.

“Aaahhhh! This is boring! I hope we get a super cute transfer student who can control reality.” Anthony laughs to himself only to have his smile immediately wiped from his face as two other bigger more fit students approach him.

“What's that loser? You talking about one of your stupid Chinese cartoons again?” The bigger oafish student says while now leaning against Anthony desks. He leans closer to him with a grin on his face and a tilted head to allow his sandy bangs to slide across his face and then turns to his other friend to get him to react.

“Ha ha ha ha.” The sandy haired sidekick belts out. “This kid sure is a loser huh Mark, did you see him in gym class yesterday? This is him trying to shoot a basketball.” He then begins to make a mocking action of poor shooting motion while making silly sounds, “derp derp.” Then they both laugh together.

Anthony, used to this type of treatment, just turns away waiting for the teacher to come in so they can go away.

“Hey what’s wrong? Show us your magic karate moves.” Mark says mockingly.

Overhearing the commotion in the class another student enters running late after stopping at his locker but still arriving before the teacher; he enters his first period room and takes his seat where he always does in the middle of the room, right behind this Anthony kid. Trey sighs in exhaustion at the commotion going on before him, clearly not in the mood for it after a confrontation he had a few moments ago.

Mark continues on, “Yeah man, how come you’re so good at magic karate but can’t shoot a basketball? Huh? Ha ha!”

Trey thinks to himself, “Pfft, this Mark guy, what a simpleton. He’s only bullying him because he had to spend his entire life trying to be like someone else's ideal image and now he doesn’t think it’s fair that someone else gets to be whatever he wants.”

Trey turns away from the commotion and looks out the window.

Continuing his thought, “Jealous of someone else's freedom huh. Now he’s taking it upon himself to be the punisher so that all his own personal struggle won’t be in vain. I guess nothing makes you more upset than seeing someone do something that you yourself had to give up on….”

Trey's thought immediately comes to a halt as he comes upon a realization. He can’t help but to recall his earlier conversation with Isabel and their previous meeting at the library. “You think you’re happy but you’re not.” The words he spoke to her echoes in his mind.

“It’s not the same thing…”Trey thinks to himself. “I’m not weak. Just because she accepted that path but I couldn’t..”

“ to confront your weaker self and become stronger.” Isabel words repeated in his head.

Trey violently and suddenly stands up and slams both of his hands into the desk and says out loud, “You coward! Do you really think that cutting someone down because of the choice they made will make you feel better about yours.”

The students bullying Anthony immediately jump to a stop thinking he was talking to them and turn looking at Trey nervously.

Anthony looks at him not expecting anything like this to happen in class.

Noticing that he caught the attention of the people that were bullying Anthony in front of him, Trey glares at them, “What?!”

The two students look away and walk to the back of the classroom to take their seats. Shortly after the teacher walks.

“Sorry for the delay, there was an urgent matter I had to attend.” The teacher says.

All the students take their seats as if nothing happened and focus on her.

Several hours into the day and the students take their break for lunch. Isabel and Anthony sit outside on a bench discussing plans.

“And then, and then this guy slams his hands on the desk.” Anthony goes on about this morning

Isabel responds to Anthony’s energetic nonstop explanation of his day in the only manner she knows how, “Whosa whatsa?”

Anthony points, “Him!”

Isabel turns to see Trey approaching them, “Trey?” Not knowing what exactly to expect from him she watches him closely.

“Yo!” Trey casually says.

Anthony jumps up, “Yo dude!”

Trey, “Isabel, you said you wanted to change the world huh?”

“Uh…I didn’t exactly say that.” She mumbles to herself.

“Then show me. I want to see this new world. Let me join The Anime Club.”

Isabel smiles and stands up. With her right hand extended towards him she says, “Welcome to the T.A.C.”