Masaki’s wound was treated by Koori, one of the Breaker Supporters.
Even though she only sterilized it and applied medical tape, he could no longer feel any pain, and in a few days there wouldn’t even be a scar.
I’m so lucky, he thought.
Masaki was extremely late by the time he arrived at the staff room on the 30th floor.
Had the first lesson already begun?
“Pardon me.” He knocked politely, then opened the door.
He had imagined that it would be a large room with the teacher’s desks all lined up, but it was completely different from his expectations.
There was a small reception area and a computer monitor on the wall. The computer asked for Masaki’s name, so he gave it.
After a short wait, a teacher came out from the inner part of the room. It was a gentle-looking man with gray hair. He wore a white doctor’s jacket over his indigo suit and round glasses. When he spoke, his voice was gentle.
“Hmm, you must be Kusunoki Masaki-kun, right?”
“I am your homeroom teacher, Hariya Gen.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure is all mine. I heard the report – it seems you had quite the run-in this morning.”
“I guess I got lucky.” Masaki responded humbly.
Hariya-sensei smiled bitterly.
“No, I wouldn’t say that. Meeting Hell Cat on your first day… that’s completely unlucky.”
“Do you mean Help Cat?” Masaki thought he’d misheard the teacher.
The teacher’s smile wavered.
“Ah…those girls can boast of having the best results amongst all the members of Breaker, but they have also done the most damage. They shouldn’t be called Help Cat; their nickname, Hell Cat, suits them much better.”
“I see. So, instead of ‘Help Cat,’ it’s Hell Cat?”
“Haha…Hell Cat is slang for that ‘Devilish Woman’… er, it’s rude of me to speak ill of my pupils on your first day here. Please forget about it.”
A lot has been said about them. It might be that they cause trouble wherever they go. Koori, the Supporter, also got angry when talking about them, thought Masaki.
Sure, there was a murderous man after Masaki, but destroying the classroom ceiling and making a big hole in the wall might have been going just a bit too far. However, thanks to that girl, Masaki was safe, so he couldn’t figure out what to make of her.
“Breaker is collaborating with the police and bears the burden of maintaining public order in this school, but some of their members tend to go overboard.”
“Right.” Masaki nodded vaguely.
“Did you have any trouble finding your way to Alrescha?”
“I have a friend who lives in Canaan, so I got her to show me around.”
“Ahaha, that’s good.”
Masaki thought about Shirley. Was the emergency she talked about resolved safely?
“Kusunoki-kun, it’s really good that you have a friend here. If people support each other, they can rise to greater heights – though in your case that might not be necessary.”
Hariya-sensei looked down at his wrist. A holographic screen popped up and displayed the time – 8:35 AM.
“It looks like you’ll enter your class while it’s in session. Well, let’s talk as we walk.”
“I’m not sure if I said this already, but your class is Year 2, Class A.”
“Eh? I’m in Class A?”
“Here, the classes are divided by levels. With your level, the class is obvious.”
“Are there a lot of people in Class A, by any chance?”
“No. Why do you ask? In the second year there are 30 classes, going all the way to ZE. I thought it was explained before you transferred… as it stands, you have the highest level in the school – you’re a Level 7 Globalizer.”
Masaki was flabbergasted.
This was the first time that he had heard anything like that.
No – when the staff members in black suits visited, they might have given an explanation about the levels.
But he had been thrust into an unknown world – even if they had explained the world’s systems to him, there was no way that he could understand them immediately. Maybe Masaki was slow.
“…I’m the highest level?”
“That must be a joke, right? I mean, what I have is, that is… there must be some kind of mistake. What I saw a little while ago was amazing…”
The young man had cut the iron door with ease, and the girl had called the griffon.
And there was also the light that came from that school building – that must have been somebody’s Dialect. It was a supernatural phenomenon that made him tremble.
Masaki’s power wasn’t anything like that.
Hariya-sensei looked serious. “Since you still don’t know a lot about it, it might seem that way…”
“Is that right?”
“Did you see the results after the examination? Even if it was wrong, it wasn’t a joke. You are one of only six people in this school that are Level 7.”
Masaki was at a loss for words.
Hariya-sensei started to say something, but at that moment…
“…What you just said now… is it true?”
He had heard that voice before.
He couldn’t forget that clear, beautiful voice.
It came from further down the corridor.
Without realizing it, Masaki quickened his pace and peered into the stairwell on the left hand side of the corridor.
A person’s shadow cascaded down the stairs.
In the middle of the scene, a girl stood with her back to the window, the light flowing in illuminating her from behind.
It was her – Alice Clockheart was there.
Eyes like a lake, hair like melting gold and a frilly blue dress.
The small girl once again looked down on him.
“You like to perch in high places, don’t you?”
“Have we met?”
“What, you don’t remember?”
Alice gave a small nod, her face expressionless.
Masaki’s shoulders drooped. What to him was an unforgettable experience was nothing to her.
“Well, I guess I don’t have any distinctive features… I was in the classroom when the ceiling collapsed. You told off the griffon.”
“Ah… are you the person that wasn’t in the report from headquarters?”
Hariya-sensei cut in. “Er, that’s my fault. I wasn’t able to monitor his position.”
Monitor? Masaki was puzzled.
Hariya-sensei took out a silver bracelet. It looked similar to the ones Alice and Shirley were wearing. However, it didn’t have a rose relief – it was rustic and plain.
“It’s a Ring Gear; all of the students and staff members on Canaan wear one. Outside of the city, it’s like a cell phone. When there’s an emergency, it notifies Breaker and the teachers about where it is. It can keep track of your health from your heart rate and brain waves.”
“I see. So if I had this, I wouldn’t have been pinned under the ceiling.”
“Hahaha… that’s right.” Hariya-sensei’s laugh seemed forced.
Alice tilted her head to the side. “…Does it have something to do with the time and place?”
“No, no, no, if she knew someone was there she wouldn’t have made the ceiling collapse!”
The silence became uncomfortable.
Alice went back to her previous question.
“…Are you really Level 7?”
“That’s what he just told me, but I don’t think that my power is really that strong.”
“…The strength of a person’s power… has nothing to do with what the person thinks or wishes.”
Alice turned her eyes, as if asking for a second opinion.
Hariya-sensei nodded in agreement.
“I’m not the kind of teacher that would joke about a student’s results. Kusunoki-kun is definitely a Level 7. However, his ability is different from the ones that Clockheart-kun and the others have, so while the evaluation might be high, in terms of practicali-”
“Huh?” Masaki raised his voiced.
Alice didn’t bother to hear the full explanation and had just cut off Hariya-sensei.
“Hold on a minute! Kusunoki-kun only just started school.”
“…If he’s a Level 7, classes and such won’t be any help. Can a flightless human teach a bird how to fly?”
“It might be true that he won’t be able to get a lot out of it, but it doesn’t mean that the classes teach only how to use the ability. There’s a lot of other important material to learn.”
“You don’t need to disturb that class in the middle of a lesson, right? It can wait until the break.”
“Or is there something that you want to teach the 666 fairies living in my Dialect? That would be wonderful.”
“No, haha… I couldn’t do that.”
Alice’s cynical words caused Hariya-sensei to sink into silence.
She looked down on them from the stairs. Her gaze drifted toward Masaki. “…You just changed schools, didn’t you?”
“I shall show you around the school.”
“Really? But, I’m about to go to class now…”
Hariya-sensei waved his hand. His expression made it seem more like he was waving a white flag. “It’s not really a problem, Kusunoki-kun. Like Clockheart-kun said, if you go now, you’ll disrupt the current lesson. I’ll leave it to her to show you around and introduce you to the class.”
“Is that really alright?”
“Well, how should I put it… Clockheart-kun’s is beyond normal evaluation. Do you catch my drift?”
“No…?” Masaki didn’t understand what the teacher was getting at.
The teacher lowered his voice. It was as if he was talking about a witch.
“…I’ll say it in a way that anyone can understand… You shouldn’t upset her or she’ll throw a tantrum.”
“For the sake of the school’s peace, don’t offend her.”
“Is it okay for the school to let her do what she wants?”
It was just like a child ringleader and their followers. In society, you should be protected by lots of rules and laws.
“It’s hard to explain, Kusunoki-kun. The academy is a place where you should get used to communal living. Cooperation is really important here.”
“We’re supposed to be on good terms with everyone?”
“No. In the spirit of cooperation, everyone is the same, but you shouldn’t defy the strong people.”
“You’re still young, but you want to live a long life, right? I certainly do.”
“S-sure, my life is important, but…”
Masaki had only known Alice Clockheart for a short time, but she didn’t seem to be a violent and senseless person. However, she had reduced a classroom to ruins a little while ago. If Masaki had taken a wrong step, would he have died? He could tell that his situation was frightening.
He nodded with a sigh.
Hariya-sensei handed him the glittering silver Ring Gear.
“Wear this. Well then, I look forward to seeing you in Class A later. I’ll be praying for your safety.”
It was all the more ominous, like he was telling a soldier to head to the frontlines. It was the same as saying “Good luck!”
The teacher quickly retreated back to the staff room.
Masaki and Alice were alone.
“…Is it alright now?”
She slowly descended from the top of the stairs.
She really is short, thought Masaki. The top of her head only reached Masaki’s chest. Despite this, Alice seemed to be able to look down on him from below.
“I’m Kusunoki Masaki.”
This was the second time that he had given her his name.
“…Come to think of it, I might have heard that before.”
“Is it alright for me to call you Clockheart-san?”
“…Whatever you like. I shall now show you around the school, Kusunoki-kun.”
“Thanks. I’m in your care.”
Despite their rocky start, his gratitude wasn’t a lie, since she was going out of her way to help him.
“…What a strange person.” Alice muttered, wearing the same expression as always.
Did she misunderstand? wondered Masaki.