“Jacob! Stop! Look ahe..”
The screaming woman paused with horror plastered on her face. The body of her colleague flew across the sky ahead of her along with the screech of a truck coming to a halt.
“Beat that brat!”
“Yeah! Hit him more!”
A few minutes later, the boys stopped with wicked smiles. A handsome one among them spat at the ground at the face of his classmate.
“If you dare to chase after my girl, next time we won’t stop at this!”
He turned back to his friends as they walked back to the class since the lunch break was over.
“That brat’s like a baby. I didn’t even warm up my fists and he fell down.”
The boys sniggered.
Some time later, the boy on the ground opened his eyes to the blue sky feeling disoriented.
“Argh… what happened?”
He lifted his arms that seemed to be filled with lead to wipe the dirt off his eyes. But something didn’t feel right. He finally opened his eyes.
“What the heck?!”
He looked at his thin and pale hands in disbelief.
“Whose hands are these? Wait… what happened to my voice?”
He sat up in shock ignoring his aching body.
“Where am I?”
He checked his pockets, and found an unfamiliar smartphone. After unlocking it with his fingerprint, he opened the camera and looked at himself.
A teen’s pale face with gray eyes and shoulder long silver hair stared back at him. He wore a gray t-shirt with a black hoodie. The only uncommon things on him were his ear piercings and a red ruby necklace.
“Okay… but I don’t look like this!”
Jacob’s miserable voice rang out in the playground. It immediately attracted the attention of a security guard.
“Hey you, don’t you know recesses is over!”
‘Recess? Meaning this is a school and I’m a student?’ he thought.
Jacob looked at the newcomer and got up with some difficulty. He silently accepted his new body and didn’t want to appear abnormal.
“Yes, I just fell down. I’ll go back to class.”
The young security guard sneered. He said, “Who doesn’t know Kevin’s gang beats you up once every few days with ridiculous reasons? Why don’t you fight back?”
Without waiting for Jacob to respond, the guard said, “Yeah, I forgot your body’s sick. At least try to avoid them by telling the teacher or something.”
“Yeah, sure,” Jacob muttered then turned around, trying to go to the school building. His clothes were covered in mud and he really wanted to wash up. He took a single step and immense pain assaulted his mind, instantly knocking him out. He fell face flat on the ground.
The security guard made a troubled face but finally sighed. Rolling up his sleeves, he lifted Jacob and called his partner to escort the fainted boy to the infirmary.
Jacob woke up staring at the white roof with a groan. He slid aside the bed sheet covering him and sat on the bed with his feet hanging off the side.
His eyes now held clarity. He muttered, “So I was rejected by the most attractive babe in my office. Then truck-kun sent me on a one way trip to a world living in hell mode. And I’m also Jacob here but why does this Jacob seem even more miserable than me?”
The nurse on duty approached Jacob after hearing some noise. Her youthful face with a gentle smile immediately attracted Jacob’s attention.
“Looks like you’re patched up. You’ve got an important class in 10 by Mr. Adam. I heard he’s going to announce something. Are you in a condition to go or would you like to return home?”
Jacob now had his predecessor’s memories and knew Mr. Adam was his homeroom teacher. He also knew this was the only teacher who held goodwill towards him. So his choice was clear.
He said, “I’m feeling better now. I’ll be there by 4. Thanks for your help.”
The gentle nurse nodded and took out the iv cannula from his hand and saw him off the medical building.
Jacob digested his newly gained memories as he walked towards the main building with some discomfort since the nurse didn’t give him a bath and he still had dried mud stuck to his clothes.
‘What’s up with his world? D&D without dragons? And its in real life, not on a table? Huh… to think there are real dungeons here with hunters that dive in them. And the whole society revolves around hunters and dungeons!’
A deep sound echoed in the silent classroom. The students attentively started at the teacher.
“… and you need to know this chance is very precious.”
The door creaked open and Jacob’s head sneaked in the classroom. Mr. Adam who stood on the podium simply said, “Take a seat.” He then turned back to the class as Jacob nodded and sat on the last bench.
“As I was saying, this supervised Dungeon Dive is your only chance to safely awaken your talent. You can become an Awakened hunter this time. This will increase your chances of passing the final exams coming in a month. Of course, even if you don’t pass, you can still keep your life as the examiners will save you.”
Hushed discussions began in the class. Mr. Adam raised his hand and the class quietened.
“Stop talking! Ask me if you have any questions.”
A girl raised her hand spoke after Mr. Adam nodded.
“Sir, will it be that dangerous in the final exam?”
After the girl sat down, Mr. Adam sighed and said, “Yes. This is a Hunter High school. So in your graduation exam, you’ll be Dungeon Diving without help. Your life will be in your hands. Nobody will come save you. Except… if you awaken your talent this time.”
He stayed silent while the students digested his words. They once again realized the importance of awakening a talent in this world. Adam looked at the 24 familiar faces he had been teaching for the past year and wondered how many would make it out alive in graduation.
‘50%? Hmm… I shouldn’t get my hopes too high.’
Jacob was also lost in thoughts.
‘So realistic! An awakened person will be saved even if they fail while others are left to pass or die trying. But why are the rules so brutal?’ he wondered.
But he didn’t want to fear the challenge after getting a second chance.
After a while, Mr Adam said, “So make teams of 3 and get ready. Your supervised Dungeon Dive will be held tomorrow. Give me your names by tonight.”
The bell rang at this moment. The teacher left the classroom while everyone started teaming up.
Jacob looked at his bully. Kevin had plenty of people surrounding him while he didn’t know who to pair up with. As it was a matter of survival, he didn’t want to take this decision lightly.
‘This is my second chance at life. I don’t wanna risk it even though its like a dream come true. The class rep’s probably a good choice,’ he concluded.
Jacob made his way across the class. He reached the most beautiful loli in the class, Sumei, who was surprisingly alone.
“Hey rep, wanna team up?”
She looked at his thin pale face, and casual smile unable to come up with a response.
“Since when did we get so close?” Her black hair with twin ponytails swayed as she tilted her head while seated on her desk.
“Now,” Jacob replied while coming closer to her with a step. “So, wanna team up?” He insisted. After seeing her waving her hand and trying to speak up, he said, “Come on. Don’t be like this. I know its an important decision, and I too don’t want to entrust my life to a stranger. But do you got a choice?”
He stepped away and motioned to the classroom, leaving Sumei speechless. Despite her beauty, and position as a class rep, nobody had approached her. By now the class was nearly empty as the teams had left for the staff room to register their names.
Jacob shook his head. “That’s why you shouldn’t be too strict. Look, these people can’t bear teaming up with you! But I’m different.”
Sumei curiously asked, “How so?”
“I know I’ll die with my sickness that’s left me weak so I can tolerate all rules as long as you can ensure my life.”
Sumei was once again left speechless. She stood up from her chair, leaned forward with her hands on the table and stared in Jacob’s eyes.
“So are you trying to team up with me to stay alive? Just that? Why should I even accept you then? What can you bring to the table?”
With confidence in his eyes, Jacob replied, “Because you don’t have a choice. Look, everyone left.”
Sumei’s eyes darted around but didn’t notice anyone. “You!” She grew angry after finally understanding his intentions.
“Yes,” Jacob smiled while nodding his head. “I kept you occupied to make it seem like you’re going to accept a waste. So nobody would even consider teaming up with you. Well, they still wouldn’t team up with you considering your rep in the class.”
Since his work was done Jacob waved his hand and left the class while saying, “So give our names to Mr. Adam. I wonder who’ll be the third one…”
“You’re despicable!” Sumei’s scream echoed behind him.
“I know!” Jacob replied. “That’s the only thing I can do to remain alive. Because nobody would even consider me. You know that.”
Sumei remained silent in the class. Yes, she knew about Jacob’s situation. The feeling of pity she held for him had evaporated after her first unofficial talk with him. But now those feelings reappeared. She knew more than others as she was the class rep.
‘A mana poisoned body will not live for long.’ She sighed. ‘Its already a miracle he’s alive. Fine, I’ll keep you alive in this dive.’ Her eyes grew determined.