Walking briskly, I suddenly came to a halt; I can hear something faintly ringing in the hallway. I concentrated on it a little and realized it was the sound of music playing, not with an instrument or anything, it sounds like something that is played out of a speaker. Normal people wouldn't be able to hear it, but I can slightly make out some of the words sang from the music as I slowly followed it to its source.
As I walked on with light steps, I did some estimation and concluded that it was coming from somewhere around my destination, the Faculty office. I wondered if a student was playing some music, but that idea was instantly shot as I rounded a corner to where the office and knew right away that the music came from within the Faculty office.
'Well, that's a little unexpected but it's not that weird. We're in the 21st century after all' I thought to myself and just shrugged it off.
I actually recognized the lyric, it's "Happiness by Back Number". I listened to it with Keirou back in middle school when we would do our homework together at his place. It would almost always spark up the topic of romance and unrequited love whenever it came on the playlist; it was very nostalgic for me.
With a refreshed smile on my face, I slid the door to the office open and stepped in. Walking lightly, not making any sound whatsoever, I approached the desk where that nostalgic song came from.
I saw a young woman, who looks to be in her early twenties, typing away at the computer on her desk. She looks very beautiful and graceful with her long glossy black hair tied into a ponytail and her dark eyes; she would definitely make my heart flutter if I wasn't accustomed to being near beauties of all different types back on Mirkaz.
You would be surprised how many strong, powerful, and not to mention, gorgeous women are out there in Mirkaz. It's like there's a rule that only the beautiful women can be high-tier, but it's not like that. It's because they're high-tiers that they have very stunning appearance; mana can transform the body in very positive ways. Even if you were a man with below-average looks, once you start ascending from Advance-tier onward, you will start transforming from average looks into a handsome stud the closer you get to godhood. Of course, there are those like Mel, Lily, and Isaac, who are born from royal and noble blood, that have been blessed with good looks since birth.
Anyway, back to current developments. I stood to the side waiting for her to notice me, a minute past and she hasn't even acknowledged my existent. I stared at her with an eyebrow raised and realized I accidentally used [Footwork - Vanishing Steps] as I walked in; it completely erased my presence when I started walking lightly. I used it all the time after I learned it from Dom; it's a fairly low-tier stealth footwork so high-tiers would have no problem spotting me since the footwork doesn't conceal my mana. But, a normal human that can't sense mana would find it impossible to see me. I haven't tried to walk silently ever since I arrived here so this is something new to take note of.
I walked out of the room, closed the door, and canceled the footwork's effect by knocking and announcing my presence before opening the door again.
"Excuse me; I'm here to get my student ID" I announced as I opened the door. The music cuts off, probably because I made my presence known.
"Ah, you must be the scholarship student, Ishia Ren, right?" The woman said with a friendly smile, but I can see a hint of embarrassment in her eyes.
"Yes, that's me. It said on the letter that I need to come here to get my student ID" I said and stepped closer to her desk.
"Yes, we have it ready for you right here. Give me a moment" She said, grabbed a key from her desk, and walked over to a wooden cabinet on the wall with a padlock on it.
She unlocked the padlock, opened the cabinet door, and picked up a wooden box with exquisite carvings out of the cabinet before closing it. After getting the box, she walked back to her desk and placed it there facing me.
"Your student ID is in here" She gestured to the box with her hand, indicating for me to open it.
"That's a whole lot of security for a single student ID" I commented while stepping forward and opening the lid to reveal a shiny black card with my name and some basic info on it; the words were plated in silver.
"There are still some places left blank, so I'll need you to fill this out and submit it to your Homeroom Teacher by next week" She said while placing a sheet of paper to fill out next to the box.
"I'll have it done by Friday then, Sensei" I said and picked up my ID to examine it closer.
"Here's your student handbook with a cardholder on the back cover" She said while pulling out more things from her desk; the handbook, a pen, a new handkerchief, a school badge, and an expired food voucher from 2015.
"Um… Sensei, are you okay?" I looked up and saw that her face was a little red, I used [Appraisal] on her to see if she was fine. Her name is Sukumi Ako, 28 years old, School Teacher, and she doesn't have any abnormal status.
'I guess she's just embarrassed about a student hearing her play music and a love song at that'
"Sensei, it's alright. I won't tell anyone about it" I said and flashed a reassuring smile at her.
"A-ah, thank you for your consideration" Sukumi-sensei thanked me before calming down a little and sat back down on her desk chair.
"Actually, my friend and I used to listen to that song too, back in middle school" I said while putting my ID in the cardholder and tucked the handbook in my blazer's inner pocket.
"I suppose it is fairly popular with the younger people, considering the meaning of the song" Sukumi-sensei said with a serious expression.
"It hit deep with us, who were just learning about love; we even discussed about unrequited love a fair bit of times" I said, taking the pen and putting in my blazer's side pocket before grabbing the handkerchief and stowing it in my breast pocket.
"Unrequited love… I've experienced something like that in my days as a student" Sukumi-sensei said as she stared off into empty space in front of her. She hasn't realized that she has been talking about such a deep topic as love with a student she just met. I didn't point this out and just took the badge before attaching it to the silver pin on my blazer.
"Anyway, Sensei. I'll have to get going now, the ceremony is probably about to end" I told her before walking towards the door.
"Ah, I need to get ready for Homeroom as well. Make sure not to be late, you're a scholarship student, you represent the first-year students and our academy; keep that in mind" She told me while sorting out some papers. Looks like she still hasn't noticed it yet.
"See you around, Sensei" I bid her farewell and hurried out the door before making my way down to the first floor.
The first floor is where the first year's classrooms are; they separate each year's classroom by floor. The school building has a total of three floors and there's supposedly a garden on the rooftop.
I found my classroom right away since it was right next to the front entrance, opposite where the auditorium was. I slid open the door and found that I was the first one here; I took a look at the seating arrangement drawn on the whiteboard before I sat at my desk on the second roll by the window.
I rest my head on my desk and it's surprisingly comfortable. I just closed my eyes to rest for a bit and fell asleep. However, I was still aware of my surrounding. Sleeping while being half-awake is something I picked up from adventuring for years; when you're out adventuring in dangerous places, you just can't let your guard down for even a second or you'll find yourself dead before you even know what killed you.
The world of Mirkaz is very dangerous; if you're in human territory you would only have to worry about the occasional bandit attack and a few Monster Chief here and there, nothing too dangerous for fairly high-ranked adventurers. But, once you step out of regions governed by any country, it starts getting dangerous real fast. The "dangerous" encounters of a few hundred Common Monsters, a few dozen Elite Monsters with a Monster Chief you'd see in governed land is nothing but a joke; you'd be lucky if you just encountered a horde of several hundred Elite Monsters and several Monster Chiefs but if you're unlucky you'd encounter a Monster Lord.
Monster Lords are the rulers of the lower-tier monsters, if you find a Monster Lord, chances are you'd find an army of monsters that consists of thousands upon thousands of Elite Monsters and several hundred Monster Chiefs. An army of that scale could destroy a city that doesn't have a King-tier protecting it. Monster Lords are on the same power level as King-tiers if not even more powerful than our King-tiers; Monsters have much greater vitality, they're born with powerful Trait Skills, they're more in tune with the elements, and they have far greater physical strength than us.
Almost everything about them is superior to us and yet, why are they not completely dominating us? Because lower-tier monsters don't have our level of intelligence, only Monster Chiefs have the same level of intelligence as the average human. Meaning monsters below Monster Chief can't utilize spells and combat skills like us, that's why we've been able to keep them in check and how the demons can control them to do their bidding.
After several minutes, I heard the sound of footsteps from the hallway. I decided to just stay resting on my desk and wait for them to come in. Soon enough, I heard the classroom door sliding open and several footsteps echoed in the classroom, they were chatting and by their voice, they seem to be a group of 6 girls.
They were chatting about stuff that isn't important, stuff like their seat being in the back or they weren't seated close to each other, just the small stuff. While I eavesdropped on their conversation, more footsteps entered the classroom and the classroom started to get a little noisy.
Everyone just minded their own business and left me alone; that is until another local "pest" no different from Kitsuki showed up and attempted to shake me awake. I say attempted because a familiar voice called out to him before his hand could reach my shoulder.
"What are you trying to do to Ishi-kun, Anzu?" Namaii said coldly. I can't see her face but judging from her tone, she's probably smiling and yet she is far from being happy. Anzu Haruka, Namaii's ex-crush and childhood friend; he rejected her in primary school when she confessed.
"Suika…" Anzu said awkwardly; I can hear him taking a few steps back before leaving.
I heard a few light steps before something heavy was put to the side of my desk. I stayed resting on my desk and listen in on the chitchat of my classmate. After the little conflict between Namaii and Anzu, everything went on like normal. Nobody even acknowledged what happened between the two at all, they just went on their own business, as one should.
I cast the fire spell [Heat Sense] and detected 25 other heat sources; 4 people are missing from the class. The seat next to mine is Hina's and one of the other seats are reserved for a certain idiot friend of mine, so the other two are either late or absent.
The clock in the classroom ticked on in the back of the room, the chatter in the classroom continued on, and cooling breezes came in from the opened window bringing in a faint scent of flowers. I slowly opened my eyes and sat up straight while a barely audible yawn escaped my mouth, I rubbed my eyes before glancing to my right to see my bag there.
'I guess Hina passed my bag to Namaii-san on her way here'
I picked it up and placed it atop my desk before I brought out my notebook and pencil again. I set the bag down to my left as to not get in anyone's way, before flipping through it.
I stopped at a certain page with a drawing of a magic circle on it; I want to improve it a bit more, in its current state it's a 2-layered magic circle with the functions to maintain a continuous [Regeneration] and [Restore Stamina] spell. I planned to put it on something like an accessory or a good luck charm and give it to Hina and Namaii, but it's not completely optimized yet. I intended for it to go up to a 3-layered magic circle and add an additional [Enhance Resistance] spell to it.
As I was in the process of adding on to the magic circle, the door to the classroom slid open, and in comes Hina. She attracted the attention of everyone in the class including me. She walked up and sat at the desk next to mine, not paying attention to the surrounding gaze.
"What held you up?" I asked about her late arrival while putting down my pencil and closing the notebook.
"The Student Council VP asked me if I was interested in joining the Student Council" Hina spoke in a tired voice and leaned on her desk.
"So, are you interested?" I propped my chin on my left arm and directed my gaze at her.
"Of course not, it's too troublesome. I'd rather spend my time on more important stuff" Hina said and took a quick peek at me before swiftly averting her eyes after making eye contact with me.
"Something more important, what might that be? Or should I ask, who might that be?" I probed with a teasing smile.
"N-nothing! Don't read too much into my words!" Hina dismissed me and buried her face in her arms.
"Alright, if you say so. By the way, the whole class has been staring at you" I pointed out the elephant in the room while turning my gaze to our classmates. I say the "whole" class but it's just those who don't know her personally.
I'm gonna have my work cut out for me from now on. After all, Hina is an incredible beauty; back in middle school, there weren't that many boys who had the courage to get close to her so there were only three "pests" I needed to worry about then. But, now we're in a new school; only a couple of other students from our middle school got in, so there's going to be a whole new wave of "hot-blooded" boys approaching Hina now.
'Fortunately for me, I have ways to repel the less courageous one; the ones that are the problem are the "pests" that are persistent. I need to fight off the three that are still here and deal with the rest as they come, I'll even use magic if necessary'
As I analyzed my future trials, I chatted with Hina about other stuff until a teacher entered the classroom and everyone quickly got to their seat. Our Homeroom Teacher was a tall man, who looks to be in his early to mid-thirties, and was wearing a white lab coat.
He walked up to the podium before scanning the whole class to see if there were any missing students. After seeing that there were two students missing, he sighed before turning around and started writing on the whiteboard with a black marker.
He wrote his name before turning back to us students and slammed his hand on the whiteboard to–I assume–gather everyone's attention.
"My name is Osuji Kyouma, I will be your Homeroom Teacher for this year, You may address me in whatever way is comfortable to you, all I ask is that you uphold your dignity as Class-A students and achieve excellent result in your academics" Osuji-sensei introduced himself in a leisurely manner.
"As Ishia-kun over there said in his speech, the entire student bodies here are special in some way. However, you guys of Class 1-A all have some kind of special talent of your own, so you must take pride in it and do your best to improve and better yourself" Osuji-sensei declared before his shoulders slumped downed and unleashed a heavy sigh.
"And yet, two students are absent on the first day" Osuji-sensei mumbled loudly while rubbing his temple. I feel him, for the honor class to have two students not come in on the first day is a slap in the face to him as the Homeroom Teacher. After all, Homeroom Teachers in Kurimo Academy get to handpick students for their class going from A to F in order of priority.
"Sigh, whatever. Time for self-introduction; let's start with Anzu-kun" Osuji-sensei sighed again before moving on to the self-introductions.
Anzu was the first to introduce himself since Osuji-sensei is going in alphabetical order.
"I'm Anzu Haruka, nice to meet you all. I plan on joining the Baseball club, let's get along from now on" Anzu introduced himself with a bright and energetic smile on his face. He got some reactions from a few of the girls.
After he stepped down, the introductions continued without any incident and it finally got to my turn. I stepped up to the podium and faced my entire class with a gentle smile before giving my second introduction for today.
"I've already introduced myself, but I'll do it a second time for those who didn't catch it the first time. My name is Ishia Ren, pleasure to meet you all. If you have any trouble with the lessons, you can come to me for help as studying is about the only thing I'm good at. Let us all get along from this day onward." I bowed lightly before stepping down; on the way back to my seat, I received several positive applause from my classmates.
After I got to my seat, Hina stood up to give her introduction; all the boys had their eyes on her, even the girls have sparkles in their eyes. Her elegant movements and refined beauty are just that effective at awing her peers; I have to say that she is definitely on the same level as Mel and Lily.
"Izuno Asahina, nice to meet you all. I don't have any plans to join a club so please don't try to invite me. I hope to befriend all of you; let's get along" Hina spoke in a light tone with a gentle smile that very much suits her appearance. She gave a light bow before stepping down from the podium. The class erupted into applause as Hina made her way back to her desk.
Hina sat down and pretended to not hear the class's applause. I took this opportunity to go on the attack once more; I cast the wind spell [Whisper] and said in English.
「You look adorable smiling like that」I whispered these words that only she can hear. Hina's face started to redden a little and this resulted in a gasp from almost the whole class.
Hina glance at me briefly before lowering her face downward; I was smiling affectionately at her and it looks like only she saw it.
'Hina should get the message now' I thought while burying my face in my arms; my face feels hot right now.
"Alright, everyone settle down. We aren't done with self-introductions yet" Osuji-sensei said loudly to stop everyone's excitement so we can continue.
We got back to self-introductions again after that, it all went well and he started to tell us about the academy's school curriculums. I calmed down after self-introduction ended and was able to see that Hina's was still flushed. This brought a smile to my face before I turned and looked out the window. It was very sunny out, it shouldn't rain today at all.