"And so class... Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Fitzpatrick !" the old professor called out.
Nezha awoke with a startle." Mr. Fitzpatrick you were falling asleep."
"Yes, sir." Nezha said, his eye-lids still feeling like weights.
"And why is this?" Professor Mathews said sharply.
"I didn't get much sleep last night."
"Then in the future go to sleep more early. This is class, not your bedroom. I expect my star pupil to be bright and awake." Nezha heard snickers and laughs, and he went red in embarrassment.
"Yes sir." Nezha replied. The old professor turned back to the chalkboard.
"Can you tell me when the Jin Dynasty fell?"
"Which one, the one that lasted from 265 to 420 A.D or the one that lasted from 1115 to 1234?" Nezha asked, oblivious to the fact he had just answered the question. The old man had taught him this stuff weeks ago. He didn't know why he was testing him.
"Good," Professor Mathews said." When was the religion of Buddhism brought to China?"
"About 65 A.D," Nezha said.
"Who cares," a boy from the back shouted. Other students voiced their agreement.
"Mr. Evans, did I just hear you correctly? Who cares?" the old man asked.
"Yes, who cares? Who cares about China, India, or any other ancient empire?" several of the students echoed his statement.
"Because by learning the past, we may better the future." Professor Mathews said." In those days, the poor and sickly were spat on and treated like second-class citizens, which I suppose they were. Women were treated like property which could be sold and bargained for. It is precisely for these reasons that we learn about the past so we know not to let this happen again."
"Again, who cares," the bully said again. This time, most of the others didn't agree with him.
"Can anyone tell me when Taoism was founded." the professor asked again.
"About six hundred B.C." Nezha piped up. Everyone looked at him, he could see the words written on their face, Teacher's pet. He grind his teeth together and tried to to ignore them.
"Really," the old professor said." It seems like only yesterday."
After class, Nezha stayed behind. He waited until all the other students had left the classroom before walking up to the old teacher. The teacher was reading an old Chinese book, Fengshen Bang. Silently, Nezha kowtowed. He must've stayed there for an hour before his master looked down at him." What are you doing my boy," he asked inquisitively." Kowtowing went out of fashion years ago."
Nezha stood up." Chao Tzu, you wanted to see me?"
The old professor smiled." Yes. It is time to act."
Nezha nodded." You've figured out the identity of the other seven?" he rested his hand on the toothpick he kept in his pocket.
"Yes, but we must be quick and quite. I fear there is someone in this school who is not what he seems." Chao Tzu said. His voice low." I am giving you a list of the student's name. Be ready for anything. Remember the spells I taught you, keep your cudgel close."
"I will," Nezha kowtowed and his master sighed.
"You remind me of yourself in a past life, so rash and aggressive but formal as can be." Chao Tzu patted his student on the head." Perhaps this adventure will free you from all bad karma."
"Okay, okay, how am I going to do this?" Nezha asked himself." 'Hey,I'm Nezha, would you like to save the world with me?' no, that's ridiculous. Uh,' Hey, I'm Nezha, and I have the once in the lifetime opportunity for you.' no, that's not quite right. Gah! This is impossible!"
Nezha was muttering to himself as he walked down the hall. Two students who heard him muttering to himself looked at each other awkwardly." That kid really needs psychological help." Michael told Klara who nodded.
"Let's see,' Hey beautiful, want to save the world with me?' No, all that will do will get me a restraining order and possibly put on the list of potential sex offenders." Nezha opened his locker. He didn't know how he was going to bring it up to any of them." Let's see, who's first? Samuel Saini, no. Gabriel Moore, no. Bellona Brocchus, well, maybe."
"Hey Bells, can I carry your books for you," Bellona turned around to face Alex.
"I told you, don't call me that." Bellona hissed," Go away you pathetic little worm before I crush you."
Alex winked at her." If you're into that sort of thing." Bellona went red and stomped off.
She hated Mondays, they were always so painful. She opened her locker, trying to find her math book." Hi Bell-"
"Don't call me that!" Bellona shouted but when she closed her locker, she saw her friend Alice's face.
"I wasn't going to." Alice rolled her eyes,
"Don't roll your eyes, it's rude." Bellona said sarcastically." Don't you have to go somewhere. Sigh over Abhibhava Kakkar, giggle with the other girls?"
Alice looked indignant." He's just so exotic. An Indian exchange student? How exciting!"
"Yes, but what you and everyone else doesn't seem to know is that there are no exchange student programs in public schools, at least none that I know of. Also, no one has been exchanged. Goddamn it, use your brain. For a brunette, you sure don't act like it."
Alice glared at her." Do you want to know what I think?"
"Not really, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me anyway."
"I think you're going to end up alone, selling yourself for drugs. Or at least married to the monkey boy, what's his name?" Alice said coldly before walking away.
Bellona simply shrugged. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. she thought before opening her locker again. Where was her math book?
"Looking for something?" a voice rang out and Bellona closed her locker again.
Nezha, the "monkey boy" stood, four feet and eleven inches tall. His hair was chestnut brown and eyes were the same color. He was three inches shorter than her. Everyone joked about how ugly he was, and how he was more fit to be a monkey than a human.
"What do you want?" Bellona asked harshly. A couple of girls were giggling, seeing Nezha and her talk.
"Is this a bad time," Nezha asked, losing his cheerful expression." I'd come back later but it can't wait. Mind if we talk in private," he said, pointing to the janitor's closet.
"Why you little!" Bellona growled, the girls were giggling non-stop now.
"Why you little what?" Nezha asked, confused. He hadn't said anything to offend her, had he?
"I'll give you until the count of three to start running in the opposite direction, else I can't be held responsible for what happens next." Bellona nearly shouted, her voice dangerously low.
"But, but, but-"
"THREE!" Bellona clawed into Nezha until a schoolteacher tore them apart.
Nezha never felt so mortified in his life than this. He and Bellona were sentenced to three days detention, which they would( luckily) be spending in different rooms.
This wasn't working out well. Chao Tzu needed him to recruit the other seven now. His recruitment time would be limited now but he was sure he could get the other seven.
And the first person he would have to recruit would be Bellona. Best to get the worse over with. Procrastinating wouldn't make the maid any prettier( metaphorically speaking.) and she was the first on the list. Chao Tzu had a way of leaving hidden messages and orders. Could this be one of them?
After the lunch, Nezha ran into Bellona again." Stay away form me." she hissed. Nezha couldn't decide whether it sounded more like a snake or a cat.
"I need to tell you something," Nezha said sharply." Unfortunately, when I tried it didn't end well."
Suddenly, Abhibhava appeared." How are you doing, Monkey Boy." he grinned.
"Alright... I guess." Nezha said quitely, looking at Abhibhava nervously.
"So, what've you been up to?" the Indian boy said, his smile not leaving his face.
"The usual schedule. I wrote my report on Chinese culture the other day," Nezha said, noticing Bellona rolling her eyes.
Abhibhava leaned in, his smile now demonic." No, I mean what have you really been up to?" Nezha went stiff and Abhibhava leaned in closer," My cousin says hi." within a second he transformed into a demonic goblin. Students screeched and ran as it shouted and roared.
"You're a rakshasa!" Nezha said, stunned. He only had an instance to dodge the demon's scimitars.
"And I thought you were a threat," the demon said sarcastically, swinging at him. Nezha dodged blow after blow until he pulled a tooth-pick out of his pocket. Within a second it was six feet tall cudgel. Suddenly, the two clashed, staff and swords clashing against each other.
(a/n this chapter wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. I'm terrible at trying to create fillers. Anyway, Chao Tzu's name is a parody of Lao Tzu. Rakshasa are Indian goblin-like creatures. I am not an expert on Chinese, Hindu, and Buddhist mythology so I may make research errors. Also, I may add stuff to improve the story that aren't necessarily in mythology.)