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Iceflame// Chapter 20: On the Eve of the Battle

by SalisRuinen

The day before the Class Battle between Earthling Class #1 and Martian Class #3 had come. And Tenji Line had a couple of bad news for his students.

He had just left a special meeting with the headmaster and all the teachers of Sunbird to search for his class, many students running around the corridors he passed through and spreading chaos in the absence of their teachers.

The Biology teacher was not going be teaching anymore today however and thus such concerns were beyond him, having focused solely on finding the Earthlings and relaying the information he had learned.

His hot heads were supposed to have a Sculpture class and were causing as much mayhem inside the classroom as their schoolmates did outside when Tenji got to them.

Hikaru had created a figure of Hock from clay and Seiren – of Gorudora, getting ready to destroy them, King having tried to attack Tokura from the back with his Daroid after he had taken away some of his food for himself. The giant was pushed back by the invisible shield around the pseudoknight, throwing aside a couple of desks and destroying what was on them. Among those things was the sculpture of a deer Yuki had just made, the baby doll’s sorrow for losing her new toy being immeasurable.

Many of the girls were throwing clay at each other with joyous smiles and shouts, Annabel using her deva to heal the ones who had been hit too hard, Exo having taken refuge behind the teacher’s desk. Meanwhile Vega had gathered the rest of the girls around him and was giving a passionate speech with all the seriousness a drunk young man could have, his classmates laughing at him.

When Mr. Line entered the room, everyone’s attention turned to him, most likely because they thought their Sculpture teacher had returned, each student stopping what they were doing up until that point.

(Tenji) ‘-Well, it sure seems like you’re enjoying your teacher’s absence a great deal.’

(Exo) ‘-Not me! I’m just trying to survive here!’

(Tenji) ‘-I think you’ll be safe now, Exo. The rest of you, your teacher should be returning shortly, so if I were you, I’d get to cleaning up my mess fast.’

(King) ‘-More important than that … you really look like crap, sensei.’

A coughing fit came over Tenji then, his students gathering around him with concerned faces in an attempt to help him, but the Biology teacher stopped them, taking out a napkin from his pocket to cover his mouth.

After it passed and he stopped shaking, the sick man continued talking.

(Tenji) ‘-That’s one of the reasons I came to you now. (he turned his face away from all his students in order to not meet their eyes, his expression quickly being overtaken by guilt) I’m afraid I … I won’t be able to come to the Class Battle tomorrow.’

He paused for a moment, realizing no one said a word in response to his announcement, deciding to look at the class now. As expected, many of them appeared very saddened by his words, some still being mostly worried.

(Hikaru) ‘-What’s going on, sensei? Are you OK?’

(Tenji) ‘-Not really, Hikaru. The results of my tests from the hospital came in today. It seems I’m very sick. Some bacteria have found their way into my lungs and they told me it’s serious, so I’ll have to be admitted in a hospital without delay. I’ve spoken with the headmaster and I just wanted to tell you about this in person before going home to get my things and transferring to the hospital.’

(Seiren) ‘-But we … can’t we do something about this? Help you somehow?’

Tenji’s brats really were a bunch of hopelessly kind people. Although he had expected at least one of them to say something like this, as more students said the same as Seiren, a smile inevitably found its way to the homeroom teacher’s face.

(Tenji) ‘-No, no, don’t worry about me. I didn’t tell you this so you can focus on me. I’ll get better in time, so it’s OK. I just … I wanted to apologize to you for not being able to be by your side tomorrow. The last couple of weeks have been quite wild for this class and just when that reaches its climax with your first ever Class Battle, we’ll be separated. (another cough had already started making its way up his throat, but he focused all of his will on delaying the fit as much as possible) I’ve always told you all that even if I’m coughing blood, I’ll be by your side, but in my current condition, which is probably going to worsen by tomorrow, I won’t be able to either comment on or monitor the Battle properly. Hell, I won’t even be able to support you guys. The last thing you’ll need to see before facing your opponents will be my sickly image. What you’ll need is someone to inspire you and in that regard, I’m happy the Summerbolts were chosen to monitor the Class Battle. They’ll be able to make up for my absence just fine. (Tenji could no longer suppress the cough, being struck by another fit that made him pause for a while to find the strength to keep talking again) I arranged for the Martians’ homeroom teacher to not be present as well, though, so they won’t have an advantage over you in that aspect. (his eyes focused on Yuki) And about Yuki’s situation … despite my pleading about it again and again, they just won’t agree to let you participate. All I could do was to get permission for you to join the monitoring group. You’ll get a uniform like your classmates just in case. I was told that if things get bad enough for both sides, you and Ulura will be allowed to join the fray, but otherwise you’re only to watch.’

(Yuki) ‘-That’s more than enough for me, sensei. I don’t even know how to thank you for doing this, especially in your condition. We’ll be sure to pay you a visit at the hospital after the Class Battle. And we’ll stay by your side just as you’ve stood by ours all this time.’

(Tenji) ‘-I’d appreciate that, but like I said, don’t worry about me now. Focus on the Battle and the Battle only, unless you yourselves want to wind up in a hospital. (he sighed) I’ve only been bringing you bad news lately and I can’t say how sorry I am about that, but … (he coughed again, barely being able to hold back another cough at this point) … no matter what happens to me tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about you guys. And I know you’ll win. I know it. If everything turns out well, I promise we’ll celebrate afterwards.’

(Vega) ‘-That’s a must, sensei!! I’ll arrange all of that! But you have to make sure you’ll attend the party!!’

(Tenji) ‘-I’ll do my best, Vega. Just like I want you hot heads to do your best. I’ve left your uniforms for tomorrow with the headmaster. If you have any more questions, you can turn to him. As for me … (he stood by the door frame) … I want to wish you all the luck in the world. We’ll be seeing each other soon, hopefully with news of your victory and my recovery.’

(Tokura) ‘-We’ll do our part. And our command for you is to get well soon!!’

Tenji gave the class a nod and one final smile, going out of the room and waiting until he had reached the corridor’s end before letting himself be broken by the cough he had been holding in.

This sickness was really getting on his nerves. The sooner he got home, the better, so he could be rid of it. In order to do that, the first thing he did when he arrived was to get to the sink in the bathroom and force himself to throw up.

A sense of relief washed over the man almost immediately. After he breathed in air to fill his lungs properly for the first time in a while, the Biology teacher looked at what he had thrown up in the sink, noticing its strange bluish color as the last time. And the time before.

The good thing was he wasn’t going to have to take any more sachets to make him sick. His deception had come to an end and now he was free to be himself, the thing he longed for the most.

Next up, he needed to go to the Nightsong mansion because he had pressing business with that family.

Rale was the one who greeted him upon arrival, Ukris probably hibernating in the pool at the top of her tower as it was still daytime.

(Rale) ‘-Are you feeling well?’

(Tenji) ‘-Knowing that I won’t have to take any more of those sachets you gave me, I’d say I feel terrific.’

(Rale) ‘-That was the best way to fool everyone. They bought it, I suppose?’

(Tenji) ‘-No suspicion whatsoever.’

(Rale) ‘-Excellent. We can move on with the procedure, then.’

(Tenji) ‘-Something I’m looking forward to very much. I guess Ukris is not up yet?’

(Rale) ‘-No. She’ll have plenty of work tonight with all the fuss around prepping the companies after they arrive and getting everything else ready for tomorrow. Ulura’s out in the back training. You can join her once you wake up to test your new output and to improve you teamwork with her. The two of you will be leading one of the companies, after all.’

(Tenji) ‘-I’d love to work with any of the students from her class. If she’s the first of them, even better.’

(Rale) ‘-How does it feel, Line? To finally be fighting on the right side in a Class Battle? (a devilish sparkle flashed across Rale’s eyes as he smiled) Not that this will actually be a Class Battle, but still. I suppose it’s a lot better than what you experienced three years ago when my daughter’s class beat yours. Most of the brats from that class moved away from Deckstoru after what Ulura and the others did to them, right?’

(Tenji) ‘-They did. Because they were all pathetic weaklings without a thought of violence in their heads, who were willing to accept the ordinari rule. Fortunately, I’ve learned my lesson since then. (Mr. Line turned to Ukris’ husband with a mixture of gratitude and happiness on his face) You showed me the path I should really be following. And now I’ll finally be able to repay you for that.’

Ulura’s father stopped, he and the Biology teacher standing in front of a double black door with golden bands near the frame now.

(Rale) ‘-Are you ready?’

(Tenji) ‘-This is the final step toward gaining my freedom. I am more than ready, Rale.’

The black-haired brute took out a key from his back pocket, unlocking the door and revealing a stone staircase that led into the darkness of the mansion’s underground section.

(Rale) ‘-Go on, then.’

Mr. Line went down a couple of stairs first, his guide following suit, pressing a switch on the wall to his left to power on a number of electric-green light bulbs on the two sides of the stairs, lighting the two’s way as they descended further.

Eventually their path led them to a metal door at least three meters wide and four and a half meters tall, bearing the Nightsong insignia. The insignia consisted of a black circle with a green crescent on the one side, three green spikes coming out of the other and a purple quaver note at the center, all this put against a purple background.

Rale placed his palm on the door’s surface, running dark blue lasers through it, the sound of gears moving being heard, swiftly followed by the opening of the door. The way this happened was the black circle with the note and the crescent moved to the side while the rest of the door remained static.

(Tenji) ‘-Deva-sensor lock system. That’s very advanced.’

(Rale) ‘-As is everything that lies beyond this door. Don’t focus too much on any of that right now, though. Your body will need some time to adapt to the new output if you are to use it tomorrow, so the sooner the procedure is done, the better.’

Tenji followed Mr. Nightsong beyond the door that closed after both of them passed through it, what lay beyond being a big hall split in two sections with enough space to walk between them. Each of those sections was split up into a number of smaller compartments with glass walls, the right section being lit by electric-purple lights and housing high-tech weapons, armor, vehicle parts and other equipment of that type. The left section was full of tanks of different sizes containing different liquids, some of them having something stored within the liquid. A number of tubes, medical tools and operating tables were visible in between the tanks, all of that being lit by electric-green lights.

The lighting of the entire hall proved very strenuous for the eyes of Earthling Class #1’s homeroom teacher, deciding to stop looking around and just follow the black-haired brute who was currently headed toward the left section. Just before the two went inside, though, he caught a glimpse of another compartment at the far end of the hall beyond the two sections. That compartment was the only one made of metal and the only one not illuminated directly, so it was difficult to see any details. The one thing Tenji could make out, however, was that it had an egg-like shape.

(Tenji) ‘-You’re right. The sooner we get out of here, the better. Is there any part of this place with normal lighting?’

(Rale) ‘-We’re Nightsongs. Normal lighting feels unpleasant for us. We’re forced to deal with that more than enough while being outside, so having the same kind of environment in our home is unacceptable.’

(Tenji) ‘-I thought your home was the mansion.’

(Rale) ‘-We and especially me and Ukris spend a lot more time down here. There’s so much more to do in the basement and due to the secrecy of our operation, few people know of it. (the two entered a compartment with an operating table in the center and a number of different medical and non-medical tools attached to the walls)

Hence, whatever needs to be done around here is usually performed by me and her. If you prove yourself tomorrow, you’ll get access to some of this stuff as well. (Rale stood next to the table and turned to Tenji) But first you’ll have to officially join our new deviant society.’

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Wed May 25, 2022 1:30 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

Ooooh this chapter name makes me think we must have had a slight time jump and also that we're preparing for the big event. In reference to my earlier comment about not knowing what the plot was focused on I have next to no idea how much longer of this novel we're actually going to have. In ordinary circumstances of course I'd be able to see how many pages were left, but this really goes back to not having a clear idea of the plot and the arcs that we are following (less for character, more in terms of storytelling).

Poor Tenji! I hope he's ok and that whoever has messed with his health hasn't given him anything too serious but given that Ulura's mother tried to kill her own daughter I don't have a huge amount of hope for him. I can't believe he isn't in the hospital already and he's actually running errands? It felt a bit strange to me.

The good thing was he wasn’t going to have to take any more sachets to make him sick. His deception had come to an end and now he was free to be himself, the thing he longed for the most.

Oh no, no wonder it felt strange!! Tenji seemed so lovely I don't want him to be a bad guy.

Oh this family is creepy! I'm guessing the output they are messing with is the same as what they did to Ulura? I'm surprised they tried it on a member of the family first when they had a willing teacher they could use it on, but never mind.

I'm upset after this one, but I've only got one more chapter so I guess I better keep going haha!

Looking forward to the next one.


SalisRuinen says...

Appreciate the review!!
Initially I was thinking about putting the whole Class Battle Arc and the events before it in one novel, but seeing as how at present the Class Battle seems like it will be longer than expected, I think I'll leave it for a second volume, the first one focusing on everything that leads up to it. As for informaton about the overall plot, the Class Battle Arc serves as an introduction into a much bigger story.
The output-augmenting implants Tenji is about to receive are indeed the same as the ones Ulura was given. And the reason she was the first to receive them was it would be a lot easier and less suspicious for her to pick a fight in school to test her new output than any of the adults starting fights elsewhere.

They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.
— Kurt Cobain