“Sit there and wait for us. We’re going to report things over about your enrollment. Behave, alright?” Evan tells him, ending the sentence with an assuring thumbs up.
Although still a little suspicious, especially about the whole encounter with Yuri, Bam has no choice but to politely nod, moving his gaze from him to look around the room they moved him in to act less uncomfortable. Intricately designed curtains draped over the windows, flourished in the low glow from the sunlight. There are smooth carvings in the wall and marble columns. Paintings on the other spacious side of the room that seemed to be reserved for viewing. This seems like a drawing-room of a noble, if anything.
He’s really going to enroll in the academy Rachel is in. He can’t believe what kind of reality he’s even in.
Yuri stares at him for a moment, then says, “Ah kid, here.”
A flash of something dark and thin was tossed to his face. Bam nimbly caught it.
“That’s Black March. If anyone creepy barges in here and bothers you, feel free to stab them with that, alright?” she explains with a wink.
“Princess!” Evan stiffened, “You shouldn’t throw around national treasures like that! You’ll be in big trouble if the higher-ups find out about this!”
Yuri pressed both palms over her ears in an attempt to shut his ranting and marches back, ignoring the trotting butler after her.
As the door was shut closed, Bam averts his gaze to the thing Yuri called Black March. It was long, roughly meter of length, smooth and black as obsidian. He unsheathed it, revealing a relatively sharp needle-like object, gold bold letters that read as ‘Black March’ are carved on the hilt. He curiously prodded the tip and yelped back when it pricked him. Bam frowned, and distractedly suck the blood out of the small tear in his skin.
“A prospective student?”
"Yes, I believe he is a kid with very interesting alice." Yuri smiles. Curtains are drawn up before her, covering the person she's talking to, but lights made his silhouette visible so that she knows she's not talking to some kind of ghost.
"I see... If it's from the princess then he must be trustworthy." A pause. Yuri stretches her fingers as she patiently waited. "And what alice would that be?"
Yuri's smile deepened. A draw of breath. And she tells him.
The possibility of enrolling to this academy and meeting Rachel soon was floating in his head when a knock on the door interrupted his line of thoughts, and soon after, a voice followed.
"I'm coming in!" The voice singsonged, offering no rejection for his entrance, sounding lighthearted yet deep enough to distinguish as a male's. The door swings open, closed off again, and a man curiously saunters in. He was showered in different shades of yellow, though his dress is mostly milky white. His hair was in a different shade from Rachel's daffodil, it was darker and a sheen turns visible as the man walks closer into the light. Canary locks were tied in a fixed bun behind his head, a sharp cowlick over the right side of his face. A somewhat lazy smile tugs the corner of his lips, and his deep lemon eyes are inquisitively fixed in Bam.
"Hm," His gaze flickered to the Black March Bam is clutching, his look considering. "You must be the new student the princess is recommending?"
"Uh." He honestly does not know. Who is the princess anyway? Was it Yuri? Honestly, she doesn’t look princess-y. Erasing such offensive thoughts in his mind, Bam politely nods. “I-I suppose.”
“I’m Yu Hansung, a teacher in the junior high branch. What’s your alice then?”
“Alice,” the man repeated. His smile was pressuring. Bam felt like he was deprived of a fact in life he supposedly should have. “You’re required to have that to be enrolled.”
Err, Bam has no idea what that even means. He grins sheepishly. “…Actually—”
He basically tells him almost everything.
“Oh, so came here looking for your best friend, who hadn’t write to you for months. You were then brought by two people, the other one beating two people almost to death. And now you don’t even know what your alice is, what this academy even is, and now you’re just stuck here…?” Hansung summarized. For some reason, he ended up being a consultant.
Bam nodded slowly.
Yu Hansung slightly arches his neck to the side, looking thoughtful. “About Princess Yuri, I wouldn’t say you could trust her, but logically speaking, she saved you. Those men you encountered in the gate are ruffians who are most likely involved with child trafficking. Surely you’ve heard of them? They’re very popular these days,” he explained, sipping his cup of coffee which had manifested out of nowhere. “Her alice is enhanced strength. The man with him, Evan Edrok, has mind-reading alice.”
“Alice…” Bam echoed, eyes narrowing. “Like superpowers and stuff?”
“Yes,” he took another sip. “Mine would be reflect and amplification. There are varying Alices in the academy. From the usual ones like teleportation, barrier, voice pheromone, to the rare ones that would even sound like a joke.”
“W-Wait!” That was a lot to take in. They’re in the twenty-first century! Are those really possible? If those are then Rachel would have an alice too… And then, what would that have been?
“Do you not believe me?” Hansung has a dangerous glint in his eyes, even while keeping his smile intact. “Are those kinds of things really sound surreal?”
With his heart beating soundly against his head, Bam subconsciously reaches for his necklace. Mr. Enryu gave it to him several years ago. A small diamond-shaped pendant, gleaming vibrantly like blood. He told Bam it acts like some kind of protection. Or a lucky charm, perhaps. “It’s just hard to believe…” He looks up at the man, looking hopeful. “If that was true, what is my alice then?”
“I have no idea. The princess probably knows.” Hansung shrugs. “Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it, but you do look familiar, have we met before?”
Bam stares back. Surely, the man’s face is new. It doesn’t ring any familiarity. “I don’t think so, sir.”
“I see. I just thought we—”
In the middle of their discussion, the door was loudly blown open, and Bam instinctively jumped to his side, and not long after, the door flew that way and crashed to the mirror-stand.
“I’m back!” A familiar willful voice yelled across the room.
“Cheerful as always, your highness,” Hansung quietly remarked as Yuri strides in between them, flapping a cloth out of its fold and flaunts it before Bam.
“Hey Bam, this will certainly look cute on you! Whaddya think?”
“Eh?” Taking a proper look, he was presented with a male school uniform. A black long-sleeved vest with blue outlines, a single button on the waistline. A button-up white shirt was underneath with navy blue ribbon around the neckline. The pants were tartan-designed and shaded of royal blue. “It looks… nice?” Bam manages to say, glancing back at her tentatively.
“Try it!” Yuri paces behind him and seized his shoulders, pushing him towards somewhere across the room. “Go on, you should change!”
Bam stares back at his reflection meekly. The uniform, for some reason, had fitted him just right.
“It suits you…!” Yuri praises then she pauses. “Err, what was your name again?”
“The Twenty-fifth Bam,” he answers.
“Right, that was a weird name. Anyway, Bam— Can I call you that?” He nods. “Your entrance is approved!”
Evan and Hansung applauded in the background.
“Still, you have to take a test during your one week trial and if you pass, you will be officially enrolled!”
Another applause from Evan and Hansung with an added monotone cheer of ‘Yeyy!’
“So what do you think? Think you can do it?”
Bam nodded profusely, affording no hesitation. “Yes!”
“That’s the spirit!” Yuri nonchalantly slaps him on the back. Bam thought he’d choke blood. “Oi Hansung, you called for Junior high representatives already, didn’t you?”
“Of course, they should be on their way.”
As if on cue, someone knocks on the open door to make known of their presence. Two students enter the room. One was a boy with a stubble haircut and the other; a light-blue haired boy Bam almost mistook for a girl, an obvious heavy frown on his face.
“Excuse us, we’re the representatives of the junior school division. How can we help you?” The light brown-haired boy introduces courteously. He looks to be around Bam’s age. Actually, the two of them do.
“Mr. Khun, that’s quite a messy hair you have,” Hansung remarked playfully.
The bluehead clicks his tongue, his expression annoyed. “I’m going to beat up that gator later.” When he notices Yuri, his posture immediately straightened, a surprised look on his face.
“This is Bam, he’s a prospective student. Do get along well with him.” There’s a demanding tone at the end of Yuri’s sentence. The two representatives flinch and nodded immediately.
“Y-Yes, ma’am! Hello, Bam. I’m the Junior high class representative. Just call me Isu. Pleased to meet you!” Isu bowed down, and Bam went into a panic.
“Uh— Pleased to meet you too! Please call me Bam!”
Sharp blue eyes bore into Bam. For some reason, Bam found himself forcing a smile. The bluehead returns the smile. “Khun Aguero Agnes. You can call me Khun. Welcome to the academy,” Khun addressed formally. He offered a hand, Bam took it.
“Now,” Hansung stood up, hands clasped behind him. “Let’s head to the classroom, shall we?”
Uhh, what exactly is he seeing right now?!
The chairs are floating, someone is levitating, and is that a real sword? Why is there such a thing here? Well, Bam has Yuri’s Black March but that was relatively harmless compared to what’s going on before him. And will anyone explain to him the moving giant foot pounding on the walls?! He smells smoke. Fire? Is something on fire?
“Bam, please don’t freak out! They’re normal, I promise,” Isu assures, but Bam is already having nightmares about this. What is about here that spells out normal?! Is this even a classroom, or did he land himself in another dimension?!
“Who is that?”
Bam instantly jumped back. What the heck— a girl suddenly appeared in front of him! Out of thin air!
“Endorsi, please don’t scare the new student!” Isu’s tone is now begging.
“Ha? Are you ordering me?”
“No, I said ‘please’!”
“A new student?” Someone perks up. It was the same student almost clad in white wielding a dangerous looking sword. “He looks weak. Not interested.”
“Can everyone shut up?” someone shouts. It was the girl floating on the air, wrapped in a pink blanket and dozing off.
“Ehwa, you set your chair on fire again!” A girl yells, her hair identically blue as Khun’s. From her fingertips, a stream of water abruptly pours out.
“Damn you! This is my favorite uniform!” A yellow-haired boy complained loudly, running around the room with his back on fire.
“Everyone —Uh, please, quiet?” Isu pleads to them, but no one listened. Bam is starting to feel bad for him.
The room suddenly turned cold, the temperature alarmingly decreasing. Everyone abruptly quieted down. Bam shivers.
“Listen to what Isu has to say,” Khun tells them, authority in his voice. “Or do you want an ice rink—”
Bam gasped and backs away as an inhumane creature came face-to-face to him. It was frighteningly large, towering to almost double his size. Its skin is a dark shade of brown, sturdy and muscular. In his eyes, the part where should be white was instead black, and there's a strong burning fire etched in those crimson irises as they focused on Bam.
“What did you do turtle, huh? Why was a portion of my echolocation erased?!”
“Oi, gator.” The large being quickly leaps back as an ice shard flew close to his face. “First you ruin my hair, and now you’re interrupting me. You’re really getting into my nerves, don’t you know that?”
As Khun raises his head, a malicious smile appears on his face.
“Khun, Rak, please calm down, you’re not supposed to contribute into the mess too—” Isu tries to mend the situation, but inevitably fails.
Rak had already drawn his weapon forward, running after Khun. “Don’t get in my way, turtle!”
“Ha, that’s a death wish!”
“A.A, please warm the room back!” someone pleads, but Bam had been too confused, scared, and bewildered to even keep track of everything.
“Beta, you’re quaking the room! Get rid of that foot at once!”
“Candy, that looks sweet, can I have some?”
Bam scans the room, his mind in disarray, and as he turns his face to the corner—
Bam froze. He finally spotted her.
The noises die down around him, focusing on one single person across the room. A yellow hoody on her head, sitting quietly on the back, a notebook on her desk. Bam immediately knew it was her. And no one else.
“…Rachel?” His heartbeat picked up and echoed in his ears.
She lifts her head and their gazes instantly locked. A gap between her lips, her yellow eyes dimming, she sprung up from her seat, and immediately, she was before Bam, looking like she had seen a ghost. “You… Why are you here, Bam?”
Bam opens his mouth to tell her why, how he arrived here, everyone he had met, but someone cuts him in.
A strong wave of force-field crashes everyone back. Well, almost everyone. Bam stood right where he was, who blinks in confusion. The blond adult that appeared out of nowhere regards Bam for a moment, before switching his gaze back to the unruly class. “Rowdy as always. This class is.”
The new person walked next to Bam, placing a hand on top of his shoulder.
“We have a new student today. His name is The Twenty-fifth Bam. I was told that if he befriends everyone here in a week, then he’ll be officially enrolled,” the man explains —a teacher, Bam supposes, as he played indifferently on the students sprawled on the ground, painfully struck by his alice. “I hope everyone will try to get along. Did everyone get that?”
No one answered.
“I said, Did everyone get that?”
“Yes sir!” they sang in unison. Even Bam breathed a sigh of relief.
“That’s good. Mr. Bam, I’m Lero Ro. Physics Teacher. Now everyone, get back on your seats. The lesson will start.”
Everyone hurriedly pulled themselves off the floor and dashes to their places, almost stumbling in fear. One student raises his hand. Bam recognizes him to be the whitehaired swordsman from earlier. “Can I ask a question about the student?”
There are waves of complaints but Sir Lero Ro silence them all with a peeved glare. He tours his gaze around and pointed a finger on the back of the classroom, which also happens to be on the opposite column from Rachel’s. “Mr. Bam, you can sit there.”
Bam meekly nods, shuffling towards the corner. Plenty of eyes followed him.
His new seatmate raised a languid arm. “Hello again, Bam.”
It was Khun. Bam immediately brightened. “Ah, Khun!” On the other side of the blunette, the alligator-like being sat, its predatory eyes fixed on Bam. He gawked. Rak, was it? Why did he suddenly shrink? Is it even him?
The brunette promptly looks away. He should ask questions later, no matter how everything in this academy is new and surprising. As Bam sat next to Khun, he realizes he’s still holding on to the Black March.
He forgot to hand it over to Yuri before they parted. Maybe he could see her after class dismissal and return the weapon.
“What’s that?” Khun asks, biting back a yawn, shooting a curious stare. “That looks kinda important.”
“Um, it’s named, ‘Black March’ I think,” he answers offhandedly, turning away briskly that he failed to catch the widening of two cobalt orbs after him, narrowing unnaturally.
The student in front of him turns his head around and scoots closer. The white-haired swordsman again, though his sword is no longer visible. “Your name sounds retarded. Were your parents drunk when they named you?”
The student beside him nudged him by the elbow, frowning at his rude remark, who wore the same shade of silver hair as him but cropped shorter. “Hoaquin, leave him alone.”
The boy—Hoaquin—huffs before turning back. But Bam clearly heard their following murmurs.
“But Vicente, what if he doesn’t really have an alice? That’s disgusting. Why is he even here?”
“I don’t really care. Just keep quiet. Sir Lero Ro might notice you and I don’t want to be dragged down with you.”
“Tsk. I'm seeing your book open under the table.”
Bam just kept his eyes fleeting to where Rachel is, who never returned his look ever since the class started.
The moment Mr. Lero Ro exists the classroom, Bam got up his seat, ready to head where Rachel is when a girl blocked his path. She had long orange hair, olive skin, and vibrant blue eyes. A prying frown was visible in her features. Bam fell silent.
"...Angel," he heard Khun says, presumably informing Bam her name.
“Your alice, what is it?” she demands, crossing her arms over her chest. Her pupils were oddly small, Bam remarked in his mind. Two other students hover near her, their eyes uncomfortably set on Bam.
“I… don’t know,” he confessed.
Everyone’s gaze darted to Bam, even those who had been distracted within their seats, centered their attention in him. Bam drew a breath, held it, and unconsciously step back. There was a moment of silence, then a wave of whispers blanketed the room. He tried to glance past Angel to catch Rachel’s figure, but several more students blocked.
“What?!” someone shouts. His tone reminds Bam of the time he stubbornly refutes Mr. Enryu’s unshakeable disagreement in regards to his enrollment to the academy, and Bam was met with a solid yell, sharp in its edges and frighteningly painful as if he had touched a forbidden spell. “How can that be possible?!”
He heard a frivolous laugh. From the corner of his eyes, Hoaquin had whipped his head around, silver eyes scanning the scene before landing on Bam. He smirks. “That’s ridiculous. Your alice is probably too weird or dirty that you’re so embarrassed to show it.” His eyes glint unkindly. “You think so too, right, Vicente?”
“Brother, please don’t associate with me. I’m aiming for the Best Student Award this year, so if you don’t mind…” his twin brother trailed off, offering a half-hearted smile.
“Only one way to find out!” A voice rang out. All the alarms set off in Bam’s head, and a shadow was cast on the ground he’s on. He hauls his head up—
A giant green foot?!
“Hey, that’s my prey—!” The gator screamed, but he was too late.
Bam's heart plummeted down his chest, and he braced himself for the pain, the force of the monstrous thing colliding to him but— But none came.
The noise seemingly halted.
“A.A?” someone squawks
“Careful, Beta” a chilly voice drawls, “You might rethink about harming the new guy.”
That didn’t explain anything. When Bam looks up again, something that seems like a glass had surfaced above him and had received the gigantic foot instead, apparently shielding him from the impact. Still, it had cracked under the pressure.
Khun, with all eyes on him, shrugged nonchalantly. “I have a better idea,” he tells them. His smile widened. “What if we play dodgeball instead? Wouldn’t that be more fun?”
( “Um, everyone? I’m here, your History Teacher, Sir Pan?! Will anyone listen to me? Ah, why are you leaving the classroom?!)
“The rules are pretty simple,” Khun begins, bouncing the ball on the ground. It echoed dully across the four walls of the court. “Don’t get hit, hit to score. Don’t leave the boundary. If the opposing team catches the ball before it hits the ground, the throwing player will be eliminated. Lastly, the use of alices shall only be allowed when attempting to catch the ball directly. If caught cheating, the player will be eliminated right off the bat.” He caught the ball between his palms. He grinned darkly. “And we’re going to use the academy’s special made dodgeballs.”