[Oi! You forgot to show me the magic Black taught you!]
Don’t blame it on me, you forgot to ask.
[Well then, I am asking now. Show it to me.]
How? Maya is walking in front of me…
[She won’t notice, do it!]
No, she definitely will.
It’s the next day and right now, I am walking to the school together with Maya. Well, not exactly together, she’s striding in front of me, trying to increase the distance between us.
Normally, she prefers to leave the house way before I do, but today, Layla got a little late in preparing the breakfast (last night was pretty exhausting) and thus, both of us had to leave together.
[By the way, what are you planning to do with Maya? She gave you a deadline to prove your innocence, right?]
Yeah, around 13 days left to do that…
[Hmm… Why don’t you and Layla just explain everything to her? She might listen to Layla— after all, Maya’s angry because she thinks you’re cheating on Layla, right?]
No, it’s more complicated than that. After giving this a thought, I think the major part of her anger comes from the fact that she likes me (or used to anyway) and feels betrayed. Also, if you’ve forgotten, I already told her that Layla knows about everything.
[Well, what are you going to do then?]
To be honest, I don’t really care about the deadline. Maya threatened to convince Layla of my guilt, but I cannot see that happening— Layla trusts me a lot and she even knows everything about my system now.
What I am actually worried about is Maya doing something reckless after this deadline. I read her thoughts earlier using my skill and they genuinely scared me.
[We definitely don’t want that…]
No, we don’t. And to prevent that from happening, I have thought of a plan to calm her anger and make her see the truth. There are two steps to it— first, I need to regain a favorable image in her mind so that she eases up to what I want to tell her, and second, I will need Layla and Rebecca’s help to explain her about my situation.
Only then there is a chance that Maya might understand…
[Hmm… Good plan. So, what are you going to do for the first step? How will you regain a favorable image?]
I haven’t figured that out yet…
“What is this?”
Suddenly, Maya’s voice distracts me.
Oh, we’ve reached the school, I didn’t notice… Wait…
Maya is inside the school gate already, looking sideways with a surprised expression on her face. A little confused, I also enter through the gate and turn around to look in the direction she’s looking.
Covering more than three fourth area of our school grounds is a huge, circular structure. Its walls are painted white and blue, looking strikingly beautiful.
“Jacob, come here! And bring that girl as well!”
Standing in front of what looks like the entrance of this structure, Miss Laura calls me out while waving her hand. In awe, we walk closer to her, eyes still set upon the structure.
“You’re late, almost everyone is already inside. Get going now,” Miss Laura says once we reach her, gesturing at the entrance.
“What is this building?” Maya asks.
“A stadium for the tournament, of course. You will be having your mock duels here,” She answers.
“Now go on, Principal Winde is about to give his speech.”
How the fuck did they build such a huge stadium in less than a day!?
I know that much, but still…
Maya and I walk through the entrance and start climbing the stairs leading to the top of the stadium. Miss Laura also follows behind, probably because no other student will show up anymore.
From inside, the stadium is exactly like a… Stadium. There is a closed, rectangular area of the ground in the middle with rows of tiered seats surrounding it.
What makes this stadium impressive is that it’s nearly as big as the ones I’ve seen on T.V.— even though there are not enough students to fill up all the seats. Most of the crowd is saturated in the front, leaving almost all of the back seats empty.
Hmm… Why is it so big?
Immediately, Miss Laura leaves for the special seats reserved for the teachers and the important people from other races. Maya also spots her friends and jogs towards them, leaving me standing alone.
Now, where are those two—
Leo and Ryan are sitting on the front-most seats, chatting to each other excitedly. Even looking from this far away, I can tell that they haven’t saved me a seat.
“Don’t even think about going to the front unless somebody has saved you a seat. It’s too crowded.”
Suddenly, a somewhat familiar voice comes from beside me, making me jump.
Riley is sitting there with her legs outstretched leisurely, resting them on top of the seat in front of her.
“What, you didn’t notice me?” she asks with a grin, looking at my startled expression.
“No, I didn’t. And thanks for telling me that, my friends didn’t save me a seat,” I answer.
“Maybe they couldn’t? Anyway, fancy sitting next to me?” she asks, tapping the seat next to her and dropping her legs to make way.
“Sure, why not,” I say with a shrug, taking the seat next to her.
“So, is everything alright?” she asks.
“Yup, what about you?”
“Well, as you can see, I have no friends left— I cut all of them off. But that’s actually good considering that majority of them were guys looking for a chance to sleep with me and the rest were the bitchy girls. I am trying to reform myself, you see,” Riley answers with a smile.
“That’s good for you.”
“Yeah, anyway, you heard anything about Alex? I was waiting to make fun of him but he’s not coming to school. I thought his asshole would recover in a day or two. What’s going on with—
“Oh, don’t answer yet. She might want to hear about this as well,” she says, pointing ahead.
Kate is walking towards us, carrying a frown on her face. Reaching us, she folds her arms and looks at me with cold eyes.
“Hey, how are you doing?” I ask cheerfully.
“I was screaming your name, you know? Saved you a seat ahead. But you didn’t notice me and sat here instead,” she says in a slightly accusing tone.
“O-Oh, it’s so noisy here, I probably didn’t hear you… Sorry,” I apologize nervously.
“It’s fine, I just wanted to sit with you,” she says, brightening up instantly.
“Anyway, please move a bit. “
Passing Riley, Kate sits down on my right side, grabbing my hand and leaning close to me.
[Ohoho, she’s being assertive today. Nice.]
“So, what were you talking about?” she asks.
“Nothing much. I was just asking Jacob about Alex— thought you might want to know as well, so I asked him to wait,” Riley replies.
“Not really. My life’s back on track and things are way better than before, so I don’t really care what’s going on with that person anymore,” Kate says with a shrug, now hugging my whole arm.
Damn… She smells so good.
“Oh, my bad. Well then, go on, Jacob. Continue,” Riley says.
“Hmm… Let’s see, I got a call from Evelyn the day before yesterday. She told me that everything went as planned, Alex got home safely and Mrs. Kremer didn’t notice anything.
“Then Arora called me yesterday. She informed me that Alex is locked up in his room, coming out only to grab food and water— though he’s not speaking to anyone, mind. As his room is close to Arora’s, she told me that he screams in the middle of the night— probably because of the nightmares from that day,” I answer with a small laugh.
“It’s good to know that he’s still suffering. No one deserves this more than him,” Riley says savagely.
“True,” I agree wholeheartedly.
“But still, I want him to come back to school fast. I cannot wait to—
“Good morning, everyone.”
Suddenly, a loud yet cool voice resounds in the stadium and everyone gets silent automatically. In the middle of the ground below, Principal Winde is standing in his usual crisp suit, looking around with a gentle smile on his face. He’s not holding or wearing a microphone, but his voice is magically amplified instead.
“I know that all of you are waiting in high spirits for the mock duels to start, so I am not going to take much time— just a few informative things related to the duels,” he says.
“First of all, considering the magical spells you’ve learned so far and their power, we have decided that four pairs of students will come in a group and have their mock duels at once— the area is large enough area so any kind interference won’t take place.
“Second, Miss Naomi has placed a magical field around the stadium, quite similar to the one she previously deployed. Thanks to this, you can freely attack your opponent without any worry of injury.
“Though remember, once you have taken enough damage, all the energy will be drained from your body and you will collapse instantly— resulting in your opponent’s victory. The same will happen to the one with more hits taken before the time runs out (which is 10 minutes, by the way).
“And one last thing, your opponent and your group will be decided randomly. But don’t worry, we will keep you informed about it via a slip.
“Anyway, without any further ado, let’s start the mock duels. Best of lucks, everyone! Give you best!” Mrs. Winde finishes.
As the students begin to applause enthusiastically, he raises his hand towards the special section where the teachers are sitting.
The next instant, a large box that’s placed on top of one of the seats bursts open, and hundreds of pieces of paper shoot out. Making a bizarre scene, these pieces of paper start flying all around the stadium, stopping in front of the students they are assigned to. This is basically similar to what Miss Laura did in our class with the MCT Papers but on a much bigger scale.
Three of these papers fly in our direction as well— one each for me, Kate, and Riley. Though I grab mine first and look at it before either of them could.
Name – Jacob
Group – 1st
Opponent – Leo Klien