Author’s note : hello, has anyone missed me? :)) double chapters are up to compensate for my absence ^.^ I’ll be home in 5 more days so there’ll be daily updates again soon.
What I liked most about Avalon Academy was its facilities. Because of the expansive ground the school occupied, there were different buildings that catered to each department. All in all, there were three huge buildings: one each for the kindergarteners, primary schoolers and secondary schoolers otherwise known as high schoolers.
The principal of the academy, principal Horatio, loved nature as much as my mother did. Big trees and flower bushes surrounded the buildings. Each building had a beautiful garden of its own. In the garden, there were various flowers and plants which were imported from different countries all over the world. Hedges were sculpted into various shapes and images, and there was this one very well known tree that stood out in the middle of the garden. It was a large rhododendron tree that bloomed nearly for the whole year round. It was famous for being the number one spot for love confessions.
It was obviously especially crowded during Valentine’s Day.
When I became a level 4 primary schooler, my popularity started rising. Because I wanted to move my body a lot, I joined many after school clubs such as basketball, swimming and soccer. I was restless if I didn’t get to do physical activity, and I loved the feeling of working out with sweat dripping down my back. When I was a deity in Heaven, I could not feel such things, as I did not even sweat or felt fatigue. This newfound feeling was refreshing, and I jumped from one club to the other everyday with the coaches lauding me for my hard work.
During my practices, Kina would always be by the bleachers waiting for me to finish my sessions. She often brought snacks for me with bottles of Gatorade in her bag. I honestly never told her to do these things for me, but nevertheless I felt guilty as if I was using her. My friends would always nudge me and give me those knowing glances but I would always slap them away in distaste. Kina was only nice to me because I had saved her, after all.
“Oh! I got another batch of chocolates today!” I happily said upon seeing the said delights in my bag. It was now Autumn, and I loved how the trees that surrounded the school turned into golden red clusters. The fallen leaves carpeted the floor with a beauty that reminded me of Heaven.
I was walking Kina to her car, as the pathway towards the parking lot was rather far from our primary school building. She always made her chauffeur wait for her as she waited for me to finish my practices everyday, and it made me feel even more guilty.
Kina beamed at me when she saw me stuffing maltesers into my mouth.
“You know,” I said after I chowed down the wonderful chocolate, “You don’t have to wait for me all the time. It’s really boring after all.”
“But it’s not boring for me,” she replied, handing me a water bottle. I gulped its contents and she took the empty bottle from my hands, shoving it inside her bag. There was a trashcan nearby, though. Why didn’t she throw it?
“Huh? You like seeing sweaty guys practice?” I teased her.
“No,” she retorted, blushing furiously.
“Then why?” I nudged her shoulder, and she blushed further. Woah, why did this girl always look like a ripe tomato whenever I was with her? Was it so embarrassing to be seen with me?
“That’s because…” She looked down at her feet as she started tugging my cuffs.
“I lo—” whatever she said was drowned by a clamor in the distance. Vociferous voices were heard, and I quickly grabbed her hand and guided her to where the sounds were coming from.
In a small building usually used as a shed for the gardening equipment, I saw that there were a couple of shadows moving in the corner, behind the shed.
“Shh…” I placed a finger to Kina’s lips. “Hide behind a bush and don’t make a sound. I don’t know what’s going on, but I think someone needs help.”
Kina looked alarmed, but she nodded her head and obediently hid herself.
As I neared the shed, I could see a figure crouching on the ground in pain as three level 6 primary schoolers started attacking him with their feet. When the crouching figure turned over, I saw, to my absolute stupefaction, that it was Gary! His legendary shaved head was highly noticeable. I had not seen him since level 3 primary school where the class was split into two sections, and I was shocked to see that his formerly rotund figure was no more, and in its place was a person that resembled a twig!
“Where’s your daddy’s money now?” A snigger.
“Your daddy went bankrupt and you’re just a poor boy with debts!” Collective sniggers.
“This is what you get! Your mom whored and destroyed my family! Serves you right!”
“You’re just a peasant!”
“What the hell are you doing?!” I could not help but shout at these kids who were maltreating a kid 2 years their junior. Even if Gary had mistreated many children before, he was now well-behaved and did not deserve this!
The three kids stopped kicking to look at me first with wariness and then with ridicule. Gary’s face was flat in the dirt.
Kid number 1 said, “Hey, this is the kid people were talking about.” He quoted with his fingers, “The Hero.” He looked at kid number 2 with a mocking smile.
“Ha? What’s he doing here for?” Kid number 3 turned to them.
“For justice!” Kid number 1 laughed derisively. “Ah, those were the days.” He shook his head as if he began recalling his childhood past, then when he remembered Gary in the dirt, he started kicking him again in the stomach.
“I said stop!” I glared at him and balled my fists at my sides, readying a fighting pose.
These kids were getting on my nerves. I was a tall kid for my age, and although they were two years older, the difference in our heights were next to nothing. From all the club activities I had been doing, I knew my physical strength increased many folds over since the last time I had a dispute with Gary. However, I didn’t want to use my new strength to start a bloody mess right now, but it couldn’t be helped if they forced my hand.
When kid 1 was about to lift his foot to start kicking, I hunkered down to grab his ankles. I twisted his ankle as I cartwheeled on the ground, using my extended feet to knock down kid 2, who had been watching in astonishment. Not even a minute passed, and both of the kids were lying in the dirt. One was clutching his ankle in pain, while the other squatted with a broken nose.
“So?” I started dusting the filth off of my hands as I turned to face kid 3. “What’s the big deal? Why are you doing this?”
Despite what he had seen, and his bloody comrades, he sneered at me. “Why do you want to know? It’s none of your business.”
I raised an eyebrow. “It certainly is my business if my friend is involved.”
I saw Gary’s figure twitch.
“Hmph!” Kid 3 helped his comrades stand up. “You think just cause you’re a kid, you can get away with this?” Ah, this was a typical villainous line. He was definitely watching too much television.
“Why can’t I get away with it?” I folded my arms over my chest as I released a chilling smile.
“Shall I cripple you so you won’t be able to walk?” I stepped menacingly towards Kid 3. It was amazing how he wasn’t afraid. For some time I thought he had some secret weapon stashed under his sleeve, but upon closer inspection, kid 3 was actually shaking like a leaf!
My killing intent faded away just as a cool breeze swept the area.
“Scram, you brats! Never go near my sight again or I swear I’m gonna pound you to the floor!” I yelled as the pent-up frustrations welled up in my chest.
Kid 2 and 3 left in a hurry and kid 1 hopped after them with his sprained ankle starting to swell. Sorry about that, kid 1.
After I saw them fully off, I squatted to where Gary’s rigid body lay.
“Hey.” I poked his arm. “You dead?”
“No.” Gary was lying face first on the ground, and his voice was muffled.
“Are you okay? Should I help you stand?”
“Then get up. I don’t want to talk to a corpse.” I stood up and waited.
“Hey!” I shouted. “You didn’t just die right?”
“Did your brain get kicked too? How old are you? Two?”
I was impatient, so I turned him over to glare at his face.
I was shocked.
Although his face was full of dirt, two streams of tears were cascading openly over his cheeks. Snot dripped down to his lips, and he started sniveling when he saw me. What the hell? Who was this person? Had I mistakenly saved someone else?
“Sorry!” He immediately said. He covered his eyes with both arms, as if he was afraid to see me….or as if he was afraid I would see him in such a state.
“Huh? For what?” Shouldn’t he be thanking me instead for saving him? What was he apologizing for?
“For being so mean before.” He hiccuped. “And thank you.” He sniffed. His tears were dripping down his collar. “Thank you for saving me. I don’t have much pride left anyway, so I’m just going to say how I feel. Thank you.”
Wow…his tears and snot inundated his whole face and neck now, and I was rendered speechless.
While I was anxiously worrying about my next move, I heard a rustling sound behind me. I turned around and saw Kina.
“Do you have a towel or something?” I asked her. She usually handed me towels after my practices, so she probably had a bunch of them in her bag.
Kina looked at Gary worriedly. She fished out a clean towel from her bag and gave it to me.
“Hey Gary, I’m sorry for what I did to you before too, even if you deserved it back then.” I pulled his arms away from his face, but his thin arms felt as heavy as lead. I gave up on doing so, then started wiping the tears that fell around his neck. “Hey Gary, I don’t know what’s happening in your life right now, but I’ll be your friend.” I think what he really needed was a guidance counselor or a therapist, but I think an ancient grandma like me was sufficient. I was willing to reform potatoes for free!
I looked back at Kina questioningly and she nodded her head.
“Kina says she’ll be your friend too.” I wiped the tears and dirt on his cheeks. “Let’s be friends forever.”
When Gary removed his arms from his face, his eyes had become so red and swollen that he looked like he was having allergies.
“Pfft~” I could not suppress the laughter that escaped my lips.
“Why are you laughing!” Gary looked hurt.
“Pfft~” Kina couldn’t hold it back either.
Gary saw Kina’s laughing expression, and he couldn’t help but laugh as well.
The three of us started laughing together as the golden leaves of Autumn swept past our feet.