Chapter 43: Chase
“Hey! Stop those two!”
Akira glanced back at the administration building to find a horde of people rushing after him and Akane. What awaited his sight was a sea of crazed eyes, all locked onto the back of his head. Looking closer, shivers jolted through his body when he found pure admiration and excitement plastered all over their faces.
“Wooow.” Akane whistled. “That’s a lot of people.”
“Why are you so calm about this! Ah crap, we should have thought things out…” Akira groaned. “The lady at the desk didn’t say anything so I thought things would be okay…”
“I think she must have only seen the student ID numbers. Ufufufu. If she opened them up then she would have been in for a shock!”
“Huh, I guess—wait is this the time to be analyzing things! In fact, isn’t the crowd growing larger?”
As he exploded back at Akane, the insane clambering of the people raised another octave and forced its way further into his ears. He glanced back for a moment before doing a double-take after realizing that the crowd had grown to nearly double its original size in the span of seconds, like a hoard of cockroaches spilling out of the cracks and crevices of an old house to assault the residents.
The only difference was that Akira would have preferred the cockroaches. At the very least, he could hate the cockroaches without a care in the world. The students behind him, on the other hand…
“S-rank! Give me your autograph!”“I want to shake your hand!”
“Wait! Are you single?”
“Just a small chat! We just want a small chat!”
…Well at the very least, they didn’t mean harm.
Then again, the same could be said about cockroaches.
“Ohhh, that’s why they keep growing larger!” Akane exclaimed out of nowhere as she pointed out a few students to the side of the mob. “Every time we pass someone those people on the sides tell them that they’re chasing us and they join in. See there?”
Akira looked to his side and saw someone walking towards them while staring at his phone, a grocery bag in his hand. When he looked up, he froze in his tracks, gaping as he took in the sight of a stampede of students chasing after two people. Then, as the horde reached him, someone yelled at him.
“Ando? What the hell’s—”
“Stop those two, that’s the S-rank and his sister!”
Akira winced as he watched the boy whip his head back towards him so fast, that he could have sworn he would have problems with his neck for a whole month. Even then, the boy dropped his bag and started sprinting towards the siblings, joining the mob.
“…Okay, that explains some things, but once again, is this really the time for calm analysis! Can’t you do anything?”
“Well, I’m still keeping up the illusion magic you know?”
“The one that’s making our hair look brown? Why that one? They’ve already found out so we can just drop it now! Do something else!”
“But I put so much effort into it… I’m kind of reluctant to drop it since I’ve kept it up for this long.”
“You! You’re enjoying this, aren’t you!”
“Hmm, I wouldn’t be lying if I said it’s amusing to watch you panic so much.”
“Oh for the love of—! Fine!”
Akira cursed in his mind as he opened his right hand and concentrated. Blue particles swirled around his open palm, materializing into an oversized black revolver. With haste, he pressed the gun against the side of his head and pulled the trigger.
Please be the one I want, please be the one I want!
[INPUT CONFIRMED: MANA ROULETTE, INITIATING]
A phrase Akira had become quite familiar with in the past few days resounded in his head, as a gale burst from the barrel and shrouded his body in wind. He grinned as he glanced at his veiled fingers, which began to glow as the revolver dissolved back into the blue particles it had been born from.
The particles once again swirled around his hands, this time covering them in their entirety. They shined intensely, before turning into a brilliant, polished silver metal that formed huge gauntlets with thick knuckles that covered his arms up to his elbow. Several yelps and confused cries rang out behind him, but his ears were filled with only a single line.
[TRANSFORMATION COMPLETE: WIND]
“Alright, cover your head and hold on tight!”
Using his right hand, Akira grabbed a wide-eyed Akane by the waist and hoisted her up over his shoulder. His eyes swept over the school grounds, before landing on the forest in the garden area.
With a grin, Akira changed course and ran in the direction of the forest, and he heard telltale cries of pain from behind him as a few members of the mob tripped over each other as they hurried to chase after him. Then, after a few seconds, he spun around on the spot and held out his gauntlet covered hand, the emerald green jewel embedded in the back glowing brightly as he channeled his mana into it.
“Bye!” Akira shouted with a wink as he let loose.
From the hole in the middle of the palm area of the gauntlet, a strong gust of wind burst out of its prison and sent him flying backward into the forest. Enraged, it roared as it swept across the crowd of students, knocking them off their feet. Akira saw several students lying on the floor, their mouths open in a groan, but the whistling of the air knocked them away from his ears.
“H-hey, are we going to be—?”
Akane started, but she never finished her sentence as the two crashed into the branches of a tree.
“So yeah, that’s how we got into this mess.” Akira concluded as he sighed into his cellphone. “And now we can’t get out because everyone is still looking for us.”
“…Well on the bright side, at least you got some more practice with the Wind form of Ten you mentioned, right?” Hiroaki noted after a pause.
“Ahaha…” Akira’s eyes twitched as he forced out a laugh. “I guess.”
“Well, it should be fine soon so there’s nothing to worry about, you know?” Akane piped up from the side.
“Look at the time.” Akane held up her phone and turned it on. The numbers 12:49 flashed across the screen in bold, white font. “It’s nearly time for the orientation.”
“Ah!” Hiroshi exclaimed from the phone. “Yeah, you two will be fine.”
“But why?” Akira asked.
“Well, there’s a lot of new students as well over there, right?”
“So that means eventually—oh is it already starting?”
Hiroshi cut himself off in the middle of his sentence as loud shouts came from below.
“Agh, what’s going—?”
“Wait, wait, wait! Sensei, just give me a—!”
As the number of shouts increased, Akira took a tentative look outside of his tree at the forest below him, and his jaw fell open.
“So as I was saying…” Hiroshi continued.
Below him, Akira saw several portals opening up below the students, cutting off their screams midway through and sending them somewhere else. In around three minutes, the last scream echoed in the forest as it finally fell silent and returned to its former tranquility.
“…That means they’re going to send a teacher over to put an end to the commotion.”
A new voice entered Akira’s ears from behind, causing him to jump on the spot. His mind completely blank, he lost his footing on the branches and fell out of the tree headfirst.
Akira groaned in response as Akane jumped down and made a graceful landing beside him. With a grin, she crouched beside him and offered him a hand.
“You two love to attract trouble, huh?”
The voice came from above as he took Akane’s hand and pulled himself off the ground. As he dusted his clothes and picked out the leaves in his hair, he looked up and found a blonde-haired woman in a business suit standing on the branch he had stayed on until recently.
She jumped down, her black dress shoes made a dull thud as they landed on the forest floor. Once her feet touched the floor, she clapped her hands together and gave Akira and Akane a polite smile, but her eyes were full of mischievous amusement.
“Why don’t we head to the orientation?” Tano Yuri asked as she snapped her fingers. “Luckily, we can still make it in time since we’ve got ten minutes left.”
Akira felt a sense of deja vu as a portal opened on the ground beneath him and he fell through the earth.