Chapter 11:

Among us! (part two: no-hopers)


"Uh, er, umm... What's going on?"

The students in class 2F were surprised to see Ryuji Kasugai entering their classroom. All the nine students were in the class along with their teachers, Baal and Alice, but when they saw him, the atmosphere in the room suddenly changed.

"Huh? If it isn't the director Kasugai," said Baal. "Why are you here?"

"I was passing by... And then I thought to myself, why not visit our beloved class 2F? So, I decided to drop by."

"I see..."

Cindra stood next to Goro. The whole situation felt awkward to her. Ryuji just looked at Baal, but he couldn't help but feel nervous.

"Is something wrong?"

Baal asked Ryuji with a serious expression on his face.

"So, you're the teacher assigned to this class by orders from the king himself, right?"

Baal nodded seriously.

"Yeah, that's right. What did you want to ask me?"

"Well, I am just investigating the appearance of an angel in the boy's dormitory yesterday, you know? I heard that you were investigating the same incident. Is there any new information you can share with me?"

"Not really. We found out that the angel was trying to kill my students. Luckily, they managed to defend themselves. That's pretty much it."

Baal's eyes narrowed as he spoke.

"The only investigation I am carrying right now is into the dorm security... There should've been an anti-magic barrier around the dorms to prevent accidents like this one from happening. But apparently, the guards didn't install it properly."

Ryuji listened to Baal carefully. A thin smile crossed his lips.

"Hmm. The barrier was installed properly, but it was only able to protect the students from outside attacks... "

"What do you mean?" Baal's eyes widened.

"One of the students in the dorm summoned that angel."

Upon hearing Ryuji's words, the students started whispering among themselves.

"There's no way!"

"How did it happen?"

"And what does it have to do with the barrier?"

Cindra stepped forward.

"A summoner can use magic to draw the power they need to produce a summoning circle. In other words, the summoner has to be nearby, right?"

"That's correct. So, the barrier failed to defend the student from the inside."

Baal scratched the back of his head, as he felt an unpleasant sensation. He took a few steps towards his desk before sitting down.

"This means that we might have a problem. One of the students in this academy is a criminal. Is that what you're implying?"

Ryuji narrowed his eyes.

"Oh, I see. You're pretty clever for a teacher. No wonder King Zola assigned you to this position."

"It seems you are more interested in me than in the case itself," Baal said, slightly annoyed.

"Of course I am. Everyone else in this school seems to be too busy to notice anything. It is refreshing to find someone willing to speak their mind without second thoughts."

He paused for a moment.

"Actually, I've always wanted to meet you, but I never got the chance until now. I'm also interested in that boy who defeated the angel."

"You became interested in him after you expelled him?"

Baal stood up from his chair and stepped closer to Ryuji. His voice was low and thick with anger.

"I am not buying the story that you're telling, Mr Ryuji Kasugai. I don't recommend messing with my students. Especially those who live in the dorms."

Ryuji smiled at Baal.

"You're very kind, aren't you?" His voice was soft and sweet.

"Kindness is the shortest path to ruination." Baal turned to face the students in the classroom. "Everyone, the lesson will continue once this man leaves."

All the students nodded.

"Yes, sir!"

"Mr Kasugai, I am very pleased to meet you. Thank you for your concern. But please do not worry about us. We'll manage somehow."

"Actually... I came to visit you today for another reason, too..."

Baal sat down again. He sighed deeply and then asked.

"What is it?"

"The annual magic festival."

Baal raised an eyebrow.

"Ahh, the magic festival..."

"It's coming up soon. We usually have five classes to compete against each other. In the end, the one with the highest score wins. This year, we have an extra class, the new class 2-F. I assume your class is going to participate?"

Baal nodded slowly.

"That's right. We are going to win this time."

"Really? Well, good luck. I am really excited to see the class of failures try to succeed and prove we were wrong when we wrote them off as a bunch of no-hopers."

Baal's eyes narrowed as he spoke.

"As long as you don't have some sort of plan to make sure that doesn't happen, we will definitely win."

Ryuji smiled.

"No, no. I'm just saying that it would be nice if you don't play like your life depends on it. It would be best if you let the students try without pressure. Anyway, it's time for me to go now."

He bowed politely.

"Thank you for your consideration. Have a great day."

Baal watched Ryuji leave the classroom. An unpleasant expression covered his face the moment Kasugai disappeared. He looked around himself and then straight at his worried students.

After his conversation with Ryuji, Baal began to fear for his students' safety. In fact, he knew from the moment he decided to become a teacher that this would eventually happen, but he also believed it was the golden chance to deepen his relationship with the students. As he pondered his decision, he began to feel uncertain.

For the rest of the afternoon, the students whispered among themselves. They seemed to be talking about something that had happened between Ryuji and the teacher in the past. An ugly thought of doubt entered their minds. Was the angel summoned accidentally and not intentionally? Who spread the story of the accident?

As soon as the bell rang for the lunch break, they all headed to the cafeteria with only one thought on their mind: the next event won't be an ordinary one.