The Consequence of Saving the World
“He actually got it right?”
Exasperated gasps and hushed murmurs filled the classroom. The students failed to contain their surprise at what was taking place in front of them.
“You all should learn a thing from two from Ryojima-kun! There are many different ways to solve a problem, and he just showed us one of them.”
While the teacher was able to hide his shock better than the students, he simply couldn’t believe that the lazy, eternally-sleeping boy was able to answer the question he posed on the board.
What was initially meant to humiliate the failure ended up backfiring. As an educator, he had no choice but to accept defeat and let the child have his glory.
However, Hanasuke didn’t gloat or puff his chest up. He simply returned to his seat silently and without so much an expression, a far cry from the chuunibyou antics that his classmates were used to.
The former war hero took his studies seriously. This was his second shot at life, and even though he had way more life experience than his peers, ten years of not attending school is bound to make even the smartest pupil rusty. He was a notoriously dumb one at that.
In Fallcross, he could rely on Ariadne’s Thread, the Concept he created, to essentially turn his mind into a supercomputer. As he no longer had the luxury of having the efficiency of multiple brains thinking at an accelerated pace simultaneously, Hanasuke was forced to solve problems like any of his classmates would.
While some may equate the school and especially the examination system with mental torture, he welcomed it with open arms. Perhaps Hanasuke will gradually regress to his old self and hate school, but for now, the boy didn’t want to waste a single moment of his new life.
Even with the utmost attention focused on the ongoing lesson, Hanasuke’s senses were still unnaturally sharp. Without looking, he effortlessly caught a tiny, crumbled piece of paper that was fired at him from an elastic band.
Hanasuke deduced that the culprit was Ikuto Tanaka, based on the surprised yelp the boy let out from witnessing his incredible reflexes.
Ikuto, as he last remembered, was one of the few students who was nice to him. As a fellow otaku, the two had a lot in common, even though Hanasuke was seemingly a lost cause due to his immature behaviour and delusions.
As much as he wanted to focus on the lesson, the reincarnator knew that there was more to life than just academic success. Friendships were important, too. Maybe it’ll be nice for once to actually be friends with ordinary people instead of being feared, he thought to himself.
While still listening to the teacher’s explanation, Hanasuke took a peek at the writing on the projectile which he unfurled.
Lunch at the back of the block?
Memories started to seep in as he processed the words on the piece of paper. The two boys usually rotated between hanging out at various spots during recess.
He recalled how he witnessed a girl confessing to a guy once on the rooftop. This kind of normie behaviour was heresy to him, so he needed to spend his recess at places that others would find less romantic.
The spot behind the building was one such place—cramped and unappealing. Thankfully, it was well-shaded and cooling, making it a nice place to have his meal while imagining to contain “the power within.”
The days of believing in magical entities and demons were behind him. He’d already experienced their wrath first hand. They were better off buried in the darkest pits of his memories, hopefully forgotten one day in the future.
With the recess bell chiming melodically, it was time for him to grab lunch from the vending machine outside. Getting up from his desk, Ikuto stood right before him.
Hanasuke struggled to find an appropriate response. Going up against a normal conversation caused his mind to scramble for a natural-sounding answer.
What would an ordinary teenager say? Should I just agree with him?
Forget the throat, his words were stuck in his cerebrum.
“I-In a good way, I mean! You look like you’re actually studying now.”
To Ikuto, the sight of his friend being awkward was unheard of. The Hanasuke he knew didn’t talk, he declared. Loudly. It was cringey, but he always found it funny, so to see his friend act this way made him worry that his words were offensive.
A single word was all Hanasuke could manage.
“Tell me more about it later, let’s grab something to eat, first.”
Like what he remembered, they went to the strategically-located vending machine right outside their class. It dispensed a plethora of cheap food items, from snacks to buns.
Hanasuke couldn’t recall what he usually got. Seeing as Ikuto bought a salmon onigiri, he figured he should get one, too. After all, he was finally back in Japan after so long, so he might as well grab something local.
They headed to their secluded destination, sandwiched between the building where their classroom was and another one. Protected from the summer heat, they started munching as they spoke.
“Story me. Why the sudden change?”
However, Ikuto’s question never got an answer.
Hanasuke began to hyperventilate. What started as a tingly sensation quickly spiralled into something worse. His breaths grew rapid and unsteady as his back slid down the wall he was leaning on.
“Uhh…are you okay?”
Ikuto was concerned that his friend was having an emotional breakdown, but the reality was far worse.
This wasn’t an eruption of bad experiences or a PTSD episode.
It was anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction.
Hanasuke had forgotten that he was allergic to all forms of seafood. As Evansmith Mattheld, he had no such weakness.
In Fallcross, he initially stayed away from seafood out of habit, but over time, he learned that consuming it was fine.
“It’s okay, no need to get worked up. Just lemme know one thing at a time.”
No, Ikuto, I’m DYING here!
That was the only word he could manage.
Ikuto placed his hands underneath Hanasuke’s armpits and helped him up from his sitting position.
I meant get help! Not help me up!
His vision was getting darker. His lungs were malfunctioning. The reddening of his skin was hidden by his clothes.
Was his second life going to end just a few days in? After saving another world from demons and becoming an unbeatable Hero, was he about to perish to an allergic reaction?
His life was ebbing away, but Ikuto started panicking far too late.
Shocked by the sudden appearance of Himari, Ikuto did exactly as he was told.
The girl quickly rushed to Hanasuke’s side. She always kept an EpiPen in her bag ever since she saw her childhood friend nearly succumb to his allergies when they were children. Jabbing the device into his thigh helped to ease his breathing somewhat, but he wasn’t out of the water yet.
“Call an ambulance! Tell them it’s anaphylactic shock! And tell the teachers now, hurry!”
Ikuto rushed off while reaching for his phone.
Time was of the essence.
Hanasuke’s allergic reaction could end his life in a matter of minutes. That was how serious it was.
“Hana-chan, it’s all going to be okay, you hear? Take deep breaths.”
Even though she spotted the onigiri on the floor, she couldn’t be bothered to reprimand him like how she usually does. Right now, the most important thing is Hanasuke’s life.
She held him around her arms, comforting the struggling boy. Even though he was partly conscious and somewhat aware of what was going on around him, it was taking him everything he got to just breathe.
Even though he was so close to death, Hanasuke felt comforted.
He had spent so many years saving others, to have someone save him offered him a sense of happiness, one unlike anything he felt before.
Above all else, it was Himari, the girl whom he liked, who appeared to his rescue.
He knew that even if his second life was to end at that moment, he would have died happy.
But he knew that it was not his time. Even if he was content to see Himari again, he didn’t wish to inflict the pain of his passing on her.
He wanted her to be happy.
All he could think of before everything went dark was how stupid he was to get her worked up over such a careless mistake.
“Stay with me, Hana-chan. There’s the ambulance. Could you hear it?”
He could barely make out what Himari was saying. Regardless, he trusted her and willed himself to live through this ordeal.
Eventually, the paramedics arrived on the scene, quickly getting the ailing student onto a stretcher.
As the ambulance drove off, Himari prayed that it wasn’t too late.
Having to tell his parents about all this would be heartbreaking, but he wanted him to live above all else.