I sat in class, listening as the English teacher lectured us on standard English writing conventions. All Japanese students learn English as a matter of course. As the largest language used internationally, it had become a required class in Japanese schools.
The teacher was currently reading from a textbook, which sat on everyone’s desk, and he was having us take notes while he lectured. I followed along like all of the other students. Sitting in the desk to my immediate right, Alicia was also jotting down notes in her spiral bound notebook.
Alicia Asmodeus Bael was a princess of the Underworld. Her father was one of the Seven Kings—formerly Seven Princes—who ruled over the underworld in Satan’s steed. She was currently living with me and her maid, Matilda, in the human world, Japan, Saitama Prefecture.
Just six days ago, she and I had been attacked by Belial, another one of the Seven Kings and someone who had not approved of the policies that Alicia’s father was trying to put in place. The battle had nearly killed us both. If it wasn’t for our last ditch gambit, in which I had acted as a distraction while Alicia charged up all of her power into a single attack, we probably would have died.
After the battle, Matilda had shown up and informed us that Alicia’s father was alive and well. Not only that, but he wanted to see his daughter again. Alicia had left me shortly after that.
For a few days short of a week, I had believed that I would never see her again, but then she showed up yesterday, Sunday, and informed me that she would be living with me for a little while longer. It was dangerous in the Underworld right now, or so her father had said. King Bael had told her that she would be safer in the human world until he rooted out the person who’d been pulling Belial’s strings.
I wasn’t going to complain.
Early this morning, myself and Alicia showed up at school to much gawking and shocked whispers, and informed our homeroom teacher that we would be participating in the upcoming three-legged race for the sports festival this weekend. While there were some issues—our homeroom teacher had complained about having to change participants yet again—they were dealt with by Alicia.
Magic had many uses, including mundane ones.
“Would anyone like to read the next passage?” asked the teacher.
I looked at the “next passage” and saw that it was a segment from a novel that was being used as an example in prose. While English wasn’t my strongest subject, I was at least proficient enough that I could read it fine. I didn’t say anything, however. Even if I stood up and offered to read, the teacher would pass me over. It had happened plenty of times in the past.
“I will,” Alicia said, standing up as she offered herself.
“Very well, Ms. Alicia,” the teacher said. “Please read the first paragraph.”
Alicia tucked a strand of fiery red hair behind her left ear before and, picking up her book and bringing it closer to her face, she scanned the page with her vivid scarlet eyes and read out loud.
“He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that nobody would ever hear. But so long as he uttered it, in some obscure way the continuity was not broken. It was…”
As she read, I studied the girl who I currently resided with. Alicia was quite tall, though not as tall as myself. She stood about a head over the average Japanese girl of 16-years. Her hair was a dark red that bordered on crimson, trailing down past her waist and appearing reminiscent to streams of fire. It somehow complimented her skin, which was a white that reminded me of porcelain. As she flipped the page with delicate fingers, everyone in the room stared at her in rapt attention.
It did not escape my notice that a vast majority of the boys present weren’t looking at her face. They were staring at her breasts. Alicia was sporting breasts that were probably some of the largest I had ever seen, though I could not determine her three sizes, nor did I want to. As I looked at the boys that were leering at her, an ugly feeling welled up inside of me.
Few were the times I believed that violence was an acceptable solution to solve a problem. This was one of those times. I really wanted to hit every boy there and tell them to stop ogling Alicia like she was prime beef on display in a butcher’s shop.
As Alicia finished reading the passage, she sat down and the teacher said, “thank you, Ms. Alicia. Now, taking these paragraphs, we can assume that…”
The teacher continued his lesson, but I was no longer paying attention. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. There wasn’t anything I could do about the boys staring at Alicia, and I knew that, instinctively, their staring, while not justified, was not something that I could necessarily blame them for. At the same time, I wished they would stop.
It was about twenty minutes later that the bell rang. The teacher gave us some parting words about how we had an assignment due next class, then he left for his other class.
There was a fifteen minute break between classes, which gave the teachers time to reach their next class. Many of the students stood up and left. Some were probably going to get a snack, go to the bathroom, or perhaps even smoke in an unused classroom or behind the school building. I was one of the people who stood up.
“Jacob?” Alicia said at my sudden movement.
“I’m just heading to the bathroom,” I told her. “I’ll be right back.”
Alicia nodded. “Don’t be late.”
I exited the classroom and walked down the hall, making for the restroom as quickly as I could. The sound of my footsteps were overpowered by the people talking, though everyone stopped the moment they saw me. I walked by, trying to ignore their accusing and disgusted stares. I could not ignore how they whispered behind my back.
“That’s Jacob Ravensworth, right?”
“Damn Yankee. What’s he still doing here? Can’t he see he isn’t wanted?”
“I know, right? Like, people like him should just die.”
I did my best not to let the words bother me; I was more than used to them by now. For as long as I could remember, this was how people treated me, with scorn, with ridicule, like I was something that shouldn’t exist.
I didn’t blame them. They were right. I was a creature that had no right existing. I was a Nephalem, a monster born between the union of an angel and a devil. While these humans didn’t know that, they could feel it, the difference between us, and though they made the excuse that it was because I was a Yankee, an American in other words, this was the real reason I was so hated.
To be honest, I probably should have died long ago. It was thanks to Azazel, the current leader of the Grigori, that I was able to exist as I did now. I would have to thank him later. Were it not for him, I would have never met Alicia.
Entering the restroom and going up to the nearest urinal, I quickly did my business. I zipped up and re-buttoned my pants—and then felt all the breath leave me as someone grabbed onto my shirt and yanked me back. I didn’t even have time to speak before I was slammed face first into a bathroom stall. Pain seared my nose as pressure was applied to my back. Someone grabbed my arm and placed it behind my back, further hampering my ability to move.
I could have fought whoever this was off. I could have used my strength to push them away. I didn’t. I let this person, whoever they were, do what they wanted.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” a harsh, grating voice hissed in my ear. I vaguely recognized it, though I didn’t know this person’s name. He was in my class. “I said who the hell do you think you are?! Huh?!”
I said nothing. If I spoke, it would only incite more anger.
“Che! Look at this punk,” another familiar voice said. It was another boy from my class. “This Yankee thinks he’s hot shit just because Alicia is spending time with him. We should teach this bastard a lesson.”
“You’re right!” This voice was also different. “Let’s teach this jackass a lesson on what happens when you talk to our goddess!”
Before I could fully register what was happening to me, my hair was grabbed from behind, a good fistful. Jolts like lightning flared in my scalp as I was pried away from the wall. This wasn’t the end of my suffering, however. Barely a second past before my legs were buckled from a kick to the back of my knees, which hit the floor. I was then shoved forward and down.
Loud splashing echoed all around me. I couldn’t breathe. I could barely see. All I could do was try to hold my breathe as a hand placed pressure on my head, shoving me face first into the bowl of a toilet. Three voices emerged from behind me, jeering as my body instinctively tried to keep me from drowning.
“How do you like that, you god damn Yankee?!”
“This is what you get for being so close to our Alicia!”
“Disgusting yanks like you should just die!!”
I could have thrown this person off me, could have turned the tables and shoved their heads into the toilet, could have repaid them for this humiliation. Even as my lungs burned from lack of oxygen, as my mind became hazy and unfocused, I knew that, should I choose to, I could have easily made the lives of these three a living hell. But I didn’t. I understood why they were doing this. I accepted why they were doing this. Besides…
This was my punishment for having been born.