Chapter 2:

unfamiliarity

Convergence. Eli and Ama.


I've been living at Amaya's grandmother's house for almost a year now. Before this, I used to visit only on weekends to help out in the community garden that Grandma takes care of.

Thanks to my developing muscle, in those past years, the old people who also do the garden have appreciated my skills and relied on my assistance.  I'm definitely gonna grow them back like I used to have.

The garden itself is a vibrant tapestry of life, with each plant and flower adding its own unique touch. It's funny how being involved in these activities triggers memories of my past life, evoking a sense of nostalgia within me.

Although Grandma lives alone, she's not lonely at all. Sometimes, in the afternoons after school, children from the neighborhood come over to chat or simply admire the plants they've been nurturing. I recently discovered that Grandma set aside a special plot of land for the kids to grow their own vegetables. It's heartwarming to see how she cares for everyone in her own way.

I'm now 100% sure that the kindness and warmth of Amaya's family stem from Grandma's.

Initially, I just wanted to help out at the garden as a way of showing my gratitude for their hospitality. But now, I genuinely enjoy being there. There's something about the place that feels like home, and it feels rude if I think Grandma expecting anything in return for her kindness.

---

Now, the long-awaited first day of school had finally arrived. It was a day that I had been diligently preparing for, knowing how much effort Amaya’s parents had put into getting all the necessary paperwork done for me.

When they heard about my wish to live independently, getting a high school education was a priority for them, and even Grandma extended her support and reached out to me.

As a result, I now resided in her house, and after a long independent school program, I can be attending the same high school as Amaya. It had been a few months since I last saw her, so this day would be the day when we would finally reunite...

..or so I thought.

---

My excitement was dampened when I discovered Grandma lying in her room, visibly unwell with a persistent fever.

I had noticed her persistent fever since yesterday, and it greatly troubled me. And so, with a heavy heart, I made the difficult decision not to attend school on the first day.

---

The following day, I finally set foot on the school gate. It was an entirely new experience for me, stepping into an educational institution in this world. In my previous life, there is an academy, but the atmosphere there was starkly different from what I encountered now.

The academy I knew back then was a hub of young warriors, mages, and knights, all driven by their individual ambitions and goals. The air crackled with tension, as eyes met and fingers twitched on sword hilts. But this place... it was a stark contrast that left me at a loss for words. A sense of calmness pervaded the air, making me feel more at ease.

I stood in front of my new classmates, aware that my absence on the first day might make things a little awkward. But I’m a guy who reached a high level in my past life, of course, there is confidence in me regarding my social skills. 

I do wish that I had met Amaya today, but it seemed she was assigned to a different class.

As I stepped into the classroom, I could feel the weight of curious gazes from my fellow students. It was as if they saw me as an intruder in their territory.

"Hey!" a boy with a surprisingly loud voice for his small frame greeted me as soon as I took my seat. At that moment, a wave of memories flooded my mind, reminding me of my past social interactions that are mostly with adults and middle-aged individuals. It dawned on me that...
I don’t know how to talk with youngsters.

"Were you absent yesterday? That’s a shame... it was the school entrance ceremony you know?" the young boy approached me like he knew me before.

"E...hehe..." I felt completely awkward, unsure of the appropriate expression and tone to use. It had been a long time since I found myself in such a situation. Come to think of it... I had never really regarded Amaya as a friend of my age, despite living with her for several years.

"You missed out on a lot, you know. There were unusual balloon decorations in the auditorium, the principal sneezed so weirdly in the midst of his speech, and... oh, our representative for the new students, she’s a beauty.." the boy continued to babble.

...Do young people always chatter like this? I pondered, feeling confused.

"What's your name?" the boy suddenly changed the topic.

"Elias," I replied.

"I'm Yoru," he introduced himself.

"Why are you telling me all this information...?" I asked as if that was the only thing I could say

"..I don’t know?" Yoru answered casually. "Anyway, good to meet you," he said as he turned away.

Ah, it seems like I just burned a bridge... I thought, feeling disappointed. I should've asked about his hobby or something. Not sure though. But how many more chances like this will I get? If I truly desired to forge friendships, that should have been the perfect moment to seize.

---

As lunchtime approached, I unconsciously tensed my muscles, as if preparing for an anticipated attack. It felt like my body was instinctively gearing up for battle, a sensation I hadn't experienced in a long time.

My current objective was to find Amaya, hoping that she could provide some assistance during these trying times. With determination, I swung open the classroom door, becoming the first student to leave the classroom since the bell rang. I gazed to my left, towards the end of the corridor where Amaya's class was located. Within seconds, that classroom door swung open with a resounding thud, its sound reverberating down the corridor where I stood. The fingers gripping the door were familiar to me, and my pupils dilated.

The owner of those fingers, Amaya, locked eyes with me. Her face, previously holding back sadness, now revealed a mixture of relief and something else. Without hesitation, Amaya rushed towards me, closing the distance between us in a single breath.

Before I could fully savor the relief of seeing Amaya after such a long time, she tightly embraced me, her grip exuding a mix of emotions. And then, she began to cry.

It wasn't tears of joy, it was a sob that ignited a burning anger within every fiber of my being.

Seen behind Amaya's shoulder, which had obstructed my view until now, I caught sight of three girls emerging from the classroom, their expressions portraying a sense that raged me.

Ah, the pieces fell into place, and I comprehended the significance of this unfolding scene.

Prior to starting school, I had conducted thorough research into the potential worst-case scenarios that could unfold in this environment.

They were among them... the bullies.

Shulox
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Syed Al Wasee
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minatika
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