Power of Friends
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15 minutes after Ren walked out of Class 1-A

Iniji managed to finally escape the grasp of the busty second-year high school girl with the help of the Class Rep and Suika. The other girls helped retrain their senpai and the boys just stayed at a distance ogling the two bouncing balloons of the struggling Mika Natsumi.

"How dare you all come in between me and my beloved Niji-kun!?" Natsumi shouted while directing her gaze at the girls, drawing the attention of passerby in the hallway.

Class 1-A's doorway got crowded by curious students, and so did the hallway. They whispered in hush asking each other what happened, with some that were here since the start giving the story to their neighbors. Those neighbors passed the story along, and it somehow got twisted into the story of a second-year student trying to steal a first-year student's boyfriend. How it's possible? I don't know.

Amidst the crowd, a girl with golden blonde hair and blue eyes made her way through the crowd of first years; the crowd of students parted way for her, and she managed to enter Class 1-A without any hindrance.

All eyes were on her the moment she passed through the door, but she doesn't seem to mind as she had her eyes were stuck on the struggling second-year. Natsumi continued to spew out words of jealousy and didn't see a hand going at breakneck speed towards her head.

"Ita!" Natsumi yelped out in pain from the forehead-flick delivered with a frightening amount of power. The restrictions on her arms were loosened so she held both hands over her forehead with tears leaking from the corner of her brown eyes.

Natsumi was about to yell out but froze up when she saw the person in front of her, her body started to tremble a bit. The golden-haired beauty in front of her was standing there arms crossed, foot-tapping, and glaring at her in disapproval; the ribbon she has on her uniform is green, which shows that she's a third-year student, but being a senpai wasn't what made Natsumi afraid of her.

"Mika, didn't I tell you not to stir up trouble ever again. You're part of the Student Council now, so your action reflects upon our reputations" The golden-haired girl's voice and tone were domineering, making all the students watching feel mentally pressured.

"Y-yes, President…" Natsumi whimpered as she lowered her head. That's right, the golden-haired beauty standing imposingly in Class 1-A is the Student Council President, the person who makes the final decisions for everything related to the student body. She's the one that enforces the rule and dishes out punishment for misbehaving students, instead of the teachers, outside of classes.

"Come on, we still have some works to finish up" She turned around and started to walk out.

"See you later, Niji-kun…" Natsumi said her goodbyes with a strained smile before following the President.

The two girls walked through the path that had opened up and headed up the stairs, disappearing from the views of the onlooker. The crowd scattered and everyone went their own way; opening the entrance to Class 1-A once again. Everyone in Class 1-A also went back to their business, the boys tried to approach Asahina but got blocked again by the girls. After they failed again, the boy just started to scatter out of the classroom and do their own thing.

Leaving about half of the class left, the majority of which are girls. Class Rep helped Iniji get to his seat as he was quite exhausted from trying to struggle out of Natsumi's embrace.

"Thanks, Class Rep" Iniji thanked her with a tired smile before laying his head down on the desk.

"Don't mention it; it's my duty to help everyone in class" Class Rep declared proudly while holding her right hand to her chest.

"You and that senpai seemed close, what's your relationship with her?" Suika jumped in on the conversation.

"Yeah, she even hugged you in plain view of everyone. How indecent…" Class Rep's face flushed a little thinking back on that senpai's intimate act.

"Natsu-nee and I used to be neighbors but she moved closer to here to attend school, we still kept in contact but we haven't seen each other for about half a year" Iniji, in his exhausted state, revealed a bit more info than needed but the two girls didn't point that out.

Suika made herself comfortable in Ren's seat and turned to face Iniji for easier conversation. Class Rep, seeing this said.

"That's Ishia-san's seat, are you sure you can sit there, he might return anytime"

"It's fine, Ishi-kun wouldn't fuss over something like this. He's probably out picking up girls so he won't be back anytime soon" Suika joked while waving her hand to show it wasn't a big deal.

"Really!? He doesn't strike me as the type that would do such a thing" Class Rep's face showed shock, she didn't seem to realize it was a joke.

Suika and Iniji looked at her before making eye contact and laugh a little at how innocent Class Rep was. Class Rep looked a little confused and voice out her puzzlement.

"What's so funny? Is there something on my face?" Class Rep quickly checked her face with a hand mirror but saw nothing wrong.

"Nothing, right Monoa-kun?"

"Yeah, it's nothing to worry about Class Rep" The two were in sync with each other, not even needing to plan to pull off this little prank. For Suika, it was just amusing; but for Iniji, he wanted revenge on his new friend for walking off on him.

"Oh, okay…" Class Rep bought it and their conversations continued on. The misunderstanding they planted in her head will one day come to play.


Back to the rooftop

Akirou and I are seated on the same bench, resting under the shade. My mind goes into full thinking mode, trying to come up with a plan. I was aware of Akirou's lack of confidence, but I didn't think it was this bad.

Akirou Hiro, 15 years old, Student, and has [Mental Condition - Anxiety(High)] and [Abnormal Condition - Depression(Low)]; it also said he's hungry. I used [Appraisal] on him and this is what popped up; [Appraisal] will reveal everything there is to know about something or someone up to a certain extent but if you have knowledge about something that goes past the limit of what [Appraisal] could reveal, it'll show you what you have info on and the rest of the information will be blank.

If it's used on normal people, it'll unveil everything about them. Hell, I can find out the name of someone's granduncle that they themselves didn't even know existed if I try hard enough. But, I digress…

Anyway, treating [Depression(Low)] will only be a matter of time. The tough part is [Anxiety(High)]; if it was only Medium or Low I can get rid of that in a month at most with normal method, I could just cast the mind spell [Cleanse Negative Thoughts - Continuous] if I felt lazy and didn't care about what way it'll change his personality. However, the gap between Medium and High is so large that it'll take at least 5 times longer the get rid of; unlike Abnormal Conditions, which can be whittled down from high to medium to low and then disappearing entirely, Mental Conditions are deeply rooted into their very mind especially ones that are High, it needs to be constantly treated else it'll be back to square one.

High Mental Conditions are not easy to get rid of; normal people using normal means would potentially take years with constant treatment, but I have other ways to get rid of it within half a year guaranteed. But there's one problem, which is if Akirou will be willing to go through it; plus I can't tell him about it or else it'll take even more time to treat.

'You know what; let's just go through with it. I'll try to help in whatever ways I can and just hope for the best' I cleared my mind of needless worry and decided to just tackle it head-on.

"Akirou-kun, let's go. I have a plan that'll work great as a starting point" I stood up and walked to the door.

"Ah, okay. If you say so Aniki" Akirou got on his feet and followed me.

"Just call me by name" I turned around and smiled.

"Um…I…Ishia..san" Akirou stammered a little but still managed to call me by name.

"Good enough" I turned and descend the stairs with Akirou following close behind.


Back to the classroom

There were still about 2 hours left so the classroom was still pretty empty, the girls and Asahina have gone out somewhere; leaving only three people in the class.

What have they been doing? Well, they talked for a while before the three of them started playing games with each other. At first Class Rep was kinda apprehensive about playing phone games at school but peer pressure from Suika and Iniji made her join. Class Rep was losing at first but she soon started winning against Iniji almost every round.

「You Lost!」 The words rang out, marking the end of another round.

"Monoa-kun, you suck at this game" Suika laughed at seeing Iniji lose another round against Class Rep.

"I've played this game for months now, how do I keep losing to Class Rep?" Iniji has now crumbled onto his desk with droplets of tears at the corner of his eyes; his pride as a gamer now utterly broken.

"Well, just「get good!」as Ishi-kun would put it" Suika, instead of cheering him up, rubbed more salt in his wound.

"Namaii-san, please tone it down a little. I don't think he can handle this anymore" Class Rep tried to console Iniji, but that just made him feel worse.

At this point, the classroom door opened and two figures walked in. The three turned their attention to the new arrival; Suika's eyes sparkle a little.

"Asa-chan, Mimi-chan!" Suika ran up and gave a girl with short blue hair tied into twin tails a hug.

"Suika, please stop treating me like a kid" Mimi protested with her small arms.

"Well, Kei-kun said to treat legal lolis like you would a normal loli, or whatever he was saying to Ishi-kun at that time" Suika proceeded to pick up the tiny Mimi(140cm) and hold her.

"Stop it! Don't listen to whatever that idiot of a brother spews out. Hina-chan, help me!" Mimi tried and failed to struggle before calling for reinforcement.

Asahina stepped in and took Mimi from Suika's hands before plopping her back on the ground. Suika stepped back and didn't go any further. Mimi didn't complain anymore since it's not gonna work anyway.

"Anyway, where's Ren-kun? I need to talk to him about something" Mimi got right to what she was here for.

"It looks like he hasn't returned yet, how about we wait for him, Mimi-senpai?" Asahina scanned the class to see no Ren in sight.

"It's fine; I'll just drop by to see him when we leave" Mimi then turned and headed out the door.

"See you next time Mimi-chan!" Suika enthusiastically waved her off before turning to Asahina and continued.

"Asa-chan, wanna join us?" She gestured to Class Rep and Iniji, who just watched their interactions from their seat.

"Why not?" Asahina accepted and walked over to her seat. Suika sat at Ren's seat again.

"Namaii-san and Izuno-san are friends?" Class Rep seemed a bit surprised by this fact.

"We've known each other since primary school. Nice to meet you, Miyako-san" Asahina gave a smile before an elegant bow.

"Ah, nice to meet you too" Class Rep returned a graceful bow.

"And you're Monoa-kun from the earlier incident" Asahina turned her attention to Iniji.

"Please forget it, it's embarrassing" Iniji gave an awkward smile while scratching his cheek.

After they exchanged some pleasantry, Suika proposed they play a game of Truth or Dare to deepen their friendship. Class Rep was opposed to it but the majority wins since the other two were down for it. So, the game of Truth or Dare began.


Back to Ren

Akirou and I made it down to the first floor without running into anyone I know and walked to Class 1-A. When I got close, I could only sense four presences in the classroom; two of them are very familiar. But, it was strange; all four of them are spread out. One at the podium and the rest are scattered across the room; what are they doing in there?

However that's not gonna stop me from meeting Namaii and Hina, I even cast [Search] to find them. So, I opened the door gently without making any sound.

As the door slid open, the sight of an androgynous boy standing at the podium with his arms outstretched wide. He opened his mouth and proceeded to make a declaration in a deep voice, unlike his usual feminine one.

"I am Ishia Ren, I am number 1. All of you are weak, but I'll allow you to be my minions. Hahaha!" Monoa crossed his arms and closed his eyes with a smug look plastered on his face while laughing like a Demon Lord.

I think he expected to get some laughs out of it, but all he got was silence probably because I just showed up out of nowhere. I peered into the classroom and saw Miyako, Namaii, and Hina staring at me.

Hina and Namaii looked amused by this predicament while Miyako turned a bit pale. Judging from their reactions, they're the ones who pushed Monoa into doing this "imitation" of me. I say "they" but it was most likely Namaii who came up with it and Hina pushed for it or something.

Anyway, back to "this". Monoa had finally opened his eyes to see the varied expressions on the girls' faces before following their line of sight and making eye contact with me.

"Ah… I-Ishia-kun… I-It isn't w-what it lo-" Monoa stumbled to put his words together so I cut him out before he could finish.

"No, no, don't stop. Continue, I'd like to see what other things you came up with" I blocked his way out, encouraging him to proceed with a smile.

"Wait! N-" Monoa tried to say something but I cut him again.

"Akirou-kun, come on, let's take our seat. Show's about to start" I urged Akirou before walking to my seat.

"O-Okay!" Akirou just followed and sat behind me.

Now with two more audiences, the pressure put upon Monoa seemed to have doubled as he now leaned on the podium. Monoa looked up to be met with three gazes filled with expectations, one apologetic gaze, and a curious one. Under their gazes, Monoa appeared to have hit his limit.

"I can't stand this anymore! This isn't my fault!!!" Monoa broke into tears and ran out of the classroom.

We all stared at the door for a good ten seconds before I turned my eyes to the girls. My eyes sharpened and they seemed to jolt a bit before turning my way.

"Explain" I said, authoritatively; showing my serious side for the first time ever since coming back.

I got the full story from them; apparently, they were playing Truth or Dare and it started off lightly but got a bit more intense until…

"Hey, Monoa-kun. You watched Ishi-kun's speech, right? I wasn't there so I dare you to imitate it for me"

"Eh, but I wasn't paying attention for most of it"

"Just fill in the rest with your ideas"

"Um, I'm not too sure about this…"

"Come on, this is a dare. Asa-chan, Class Rep, you guy wanna see it too right?"


And now we're here.

Well, I didn't really mind it. There was no ill-will so I let it go. I also took this chance to get acquainted with Miyako but she seemed a little apprehensive about it for some reason. I then introduced Akirou to them, Monoa was still not back but I'll just introduce the two of them next time.

I've archived my original goal in finding Namaii and Hina; that is, so Akirou can start to get used to talking with other students. After all, both of them are nice and understanding; even if he made a mistake or two they're not gonna mind it, unlike with complete strangers where some might judge him for his lack of social skill.

Plus, there was also the bonus Miyako. If my assessment of her is correct, she should be willing to help him get better at socializing since she seems like someone that would try to make everyone in class get along; the Caring Onee-san type.

I can't be there for him all the time so having other people he can go to will put my mind at ease; especially when I go visit Reiji and the others. Friendship truly is important, without it you'll just be all by yourself; as a Saint-tier my lifespan is far longer than a normal human, I'll live for thousands of years, outliving most of my friends.

'I have to cherish these moments; if I don't, time will start slipping away and years will start passing by like a breeze. Without anything to hold me down to the present, I won't even notice what I've lost to the passage of time'

Time is the most grueling thing in this world; it takes away those precious to you, it makes you struggle with every change it brings, it makes you forget, it is ever bending and twist, yet it is something that cannot be reversed. Time is a constant; it can stop, slow down, speed up, and flow normally, but can never go back.

So, if you let it slip through your hands; you can never get it back. That's why most high-tiers will say that the most important thing is the relationship you form because although time can take those precious to you away, it cannot take the feelings you had away, for it will stay with you until the end.

'I wonder how everyone is doing right now. Has Reiji and the others gotten back to Victal yet? Are my students doing well? Have my familiars returned to the towers yet? Heh, look at me acting like a paranoid father, who's worried about his "children"; and the fact that those "children" can flatten cities just makes it seem ridiculous'

I laughed inwardly at myself and got back to the present. Akirou and I joined in on Truth or Dare, cause why not? We have time to kill after all.