My head hurts. Every time I try to recall memories of the literature club, nothing came to mind but a sharp pain would be felt across my brain. It didn’t make any sense.
“What is happening-AH!”
“Ryuuko watch out!” Asumi’s voice finally snapped me out of it, as she caught me before I fell over.
“Th-thank you.” My hands were shaking. Confusion flooded my mind as I try to make heads and tails of what was going on.
“What’s wrong? Are you feeling sick?” She steadily held my hands as we walk, with worry in her eyes.
“I’m not sure. My head… I can’t seem to…” I stammered. “You said I was in the literature club, right?”
She reassuringly nodded her head.
“Since when… how long have I been in there, that literature club?”
“You’ve been there since we were both first years. You joined a few weeks after we got into the school, while I joined the Kendo club.” She replied calmly.
No memory came to mind. I was not able to recall anything as my head start to hurt again.
“Do you want me to take you to the nurses’ office? You’re looking a little pale.”
“No! No, I’m fine. It’s okay, I swear.” I reassured her, taking a deep breath and trying to steady myself. She gave me a smile, but I could still see the concern in her eyes as her hand still firmly held on to mine.
My head was still a mess. Am I just tired? Or am I going crazy? All sorts of questions flew about but I tried to shake them off.
“Artificial is starting to shift again. Something is wrong, we better get the weapons ready before anything drastic occurs.” My ears picked up a gruff voice.
“But it’s been a while. Do you really think anything is going to happen?” Came a calmer voice.
I turned my head and saw two suspicious looking male students I’ve never seen before walking past us. One was a scary looking large male, standing at least twice my size with a very imposing figure. His uniform and ascot,indicates that he was a third year senior. The other was smaller and looks to be the same age as us. From his uniform and tie, he was a second year as well. Compared to the scary senior, he looked more laid back and was wearing headphones that covered his ears entirely. Both of them were carry what seems to be bags of kitchen knives as they walked towards the school.
“Mitsuhide said that he’s detecting changes. Even if nothing happens I want to be prepar-“
He stopped as he notice I was staring at them. Quickly, I turned my glance away and picked up my pace.
“Prez, what’s wrong?”
“That girl… she can see us.”
“Huh?! That’s impossible. Are you sure?”
I heard them say. Was I not supposed to see them?
“Hey! You!” Called the gruff voice. I did not turn back and continued walking.
Suddenly I heard the sound of someone coming towards us. In fear, I started running away with Asumi.
“Wha-Ryuuko what are you-“
“Run Asumi!” I shouted as I dragged her along.
“Wait! Stop!” I heard him demand as we ran as fast as we could.
We both gasped for air as we finally stopped.
“Ha… Ryuuko… ha… what is going on with you?”
“There were these two guys…they were talking about…weapons and had a bag of knives.”
“What?” Asumi looked at me, confused.
“I don’t know. They were very suspicious.”
“Hey you! I finally caught up to you!”
I jumped as I saw the scary student appear behind us. He chased us down?! I quickly looked around, but we were trapped in a corner at the back of the school.
“Ryuuko, what’s wrong?”
“Asumi, get behind me! That suspicious person, he chased us down!” I spread my arms out in front of her, trying to protect her.
“Look, please just calm down. I mean you no harm.” He states as his eyes glared at me through his glasses.
“W-who are you? Why are you chasing us?” I demanded, my legs shaking.
“Wh-who are you talking to Ryuuko?” Asumi asked, confused.
“Huh? Do you not see that scary looking person?”
Asumi looked lost.
“It’s no use, she can’t see us.” He replied.
“Wha-what do you mean?”
He sighed and adjusted his glasses.
“It’s hard to explain everything but the fact that you can see me means you’ve broke free. Please, tell me your name.”
I kept silent as I did not understand a word he just said.
“Umm… please, I just want to know your name. I promise I am not anybody suspicious.”
“You chased us down and started babbling about how you can’t be seen. Even now you’re glaring at me like some kind of serial killer, and you’re asking for my name. How is that not suspicious?!”
“Urk…” He looked hurt.
“Prez!” Another voice came from behind him. “What the heck Prez? Why did you run off like that?” he panted as he ran over, still carrying the bag of knives.
“Hideyoshi, that girl. She broke free from Artificial’s control.”
“Eh!? Wha-are you serious? But is she infected?”
“I don’t know. Maybe not yet.”
Quickly I look around for anything that can be used as a weapon. I grabbed a rock from the ground and aimed it at them.
“Whoa! Hey now! Please calm down!” The other student pleaded, his hands raised.
“I don’t know who you weirdos are! You cornered us and kept on babbling about nonsense! Not to mention you have a bag of knives! I’m warning you, get away from us or…or I’ll throw this at you really hard!”
“Ryuuko, you’re scaring me. Who are you talking to?” She asked me, her voice trembling.
“It’s going to be okay Asumi. We’ll make our escape.” I reassured her.
The two boys looked at each other and backed away. Slowly, I pulled Asumi with me as we walked out with the rock still in my hand, readying to throw.
“My name is Nobunaga Kenjirou. And this is Hideyoshi Takuya. We’re members of the Artificial Research Club, A.R.C. for short. Girl… err… Ryuuko? You’ve broken free from Artificial’s control. Right now, you and us, are the only people who knows the truth of this world. Please listen to me and come with us as your life might be in terrible danger.” The scary student calmly stated as we walked past him.
“What?” I turned back and looked at him, in complete confusion. Terrible danger? What does he mean?
“We’re only trying to protect you. Come with us before anything bad can happen. We promise we can explain everything.” The other student replied.
“You’re… you’re both crazy!” I shook my head as we prepared to leave.
As the scary student reached his hand out to me, a sudden terrifying image flashed before my eyes. Everything turned black and red as an image of hellscape came into my sights. A skeletal figure of his arm stretched out to me as I saw part of his face burst into flames and melted before my eyes.
“GET AWAY FROM ME!!” I shrieked in horror as I lobbed the rock from my hand directly at his face. The rock hit him square in his left eye as he reared his head back yet did not make a sound as if he felt nothing.
“I’m fine!” He reassured as he held his face. I could see blood gushing out from a cut.
I quickly grabbed Asumi and ran away.
“Prez, are you alright?” Takuya asked as he hastily took out a handkerchief and tried to wipe the blood from Kenjirou’s eyes.
“Don’t worry about me. It’s just a scratch.”
As he moved his hand away, the bleeding has already stopped, and the cut has already closed up.
“That girl, she’s completely different from everyone else. She’s broken free and can see us, but might not be infected yet? It’s too strange, we have to go after her.” Takuya prepared to give chase, but he was promptly stopped.
“Wait! Don’t do anything rash.”
Kenjirou pulled out his phone.
“Mitsuhide, it’s me.”
“Yeah, what’s up Kenjirou?” A sleepy voice replied from the other side. “If it’s about that girl…Ryuuko, I think her name was? I’m already tracking her. I heard everything in your little exchange, and I must say, your diplomacy is as bad as ever.”
“Just make sure nothing happens to her.”
“Yes, yes. I’m on it.”
Kenjirou sighed as he closed the phone.
“So, what do we do now Prez?”
“For now, it’s best if we just observe her. If Mitsuhide is tracking her, hopefully we’ll be able to prevent anything from happening to her.” He replied nervously.
“Prez… alright then.”
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