[The next morning.]
Seiji and I followed the same route we had yester-morning. Much like yesterday, we were completely silent. Though the atmosphere surrounding that silence wasn't as hostile as before. Once we passed through the school gates, we went separate ways. I made it to the lockers to change shoes before Takehiro had walked up out of nowhere and leaned his back against the lockers.
"Good morning, Satoshi. You don't look too excited today. Is something bothering you?", he asked with a suspicious look on his face.
Unfortunately, there was something bothering me. The possibility of the Demon King's return. The start of a new Human-Demon War. Though we were trained for this, I never thought it would actually happen. "I'm fine. I just didn't get enough sleep last night.", I lied.
"Rough night, eh? Well, have you seen the news recently? Apparently, the random disappearances have stopped.", Takehiro had a scary expression of curiosity on his face now.
"Did they figure out what was causing the disappearances in the first place?", I asked hoping the answer would be no.
"That's what makes it strange. They didn't give any details. I'd say it was probably some lunatic gone mad." Takehiro stood up straight as I finished with my shoes. I placed the others in my locker then closed it and threw my bag over my shoulder.
'I wouldn't be so sure. That demon was the least of our troubles. The worst is yet to come.' I thought to myself. We headed to the classroom at this point and sat at our desks. Ms. Yuno didn't take long to begin her lecture. First class was math, which wasn't a problem for me. I took some quick notes then looked out the window and went into deep thought. 'What was the King's goal all those years ago? What could be so important that he'd go so far as to destroy a whole species just to obtain it?'
The bell rang to end class and I was so stuck in my thoughts that I didn't even realize how much time had went by. "Hey, Satoshi. You still in there?" Takehiro called as he lightly shook my shoulder.
"Huh, what?" I suddenly came back to reality. "Oh, is class over already?"
"Yeah, man. The bell just rang a moment ago. You've been staring out into space a few minutes after class started."
"Well, I didn't get much sleep so..." I rubbed my eyes then shook my head to be sure I was seeing straight. "Did I miss anything important?"
"Not really but-"
"Masutano-kun?" Ms. Yuno had called just before Takehiro had finished speaking. "Could you come over here for a minute?"
Takehiro gave me a coy look. "Ah, I see you have a thing going on with Ms. Yuno. Well then, I'll leave you two love birds alone for now."
"Wait, Takehiro..." Before I could finish, Takehiro quickly left the room. I walked over to Ms. Yuno's desk. "Yes, Ms. Yuno?"
Ms. Yuno stacked her papers and tapped them lightly on the desk to even them out. Then she stuck them in her portfolio and closed the latch on it. As she lifted it off the table, she stood up and looked my way. "I heard about what happened yesterday at lunch. I just wanted to know if you are okay." She smiled upon saying this which didn't help the paranoia I was feeling thanks to Takehiro's previous comment.
"Oh, well I'm fine. It was just a little misunderstanding." I said reassuringly. It didn't surprise me that she'd be worried. After all, as a teacher, we were all her responsibility while on campus. I could sense something different about Ms. Yuno, however. Her tone of voice showed that she truly cared. I was surprised how quickly word about that- altercation, had gotten around.
"Good. If you get into trouble like that again, don't hesitate to let me know right away, okay?" Her smile didn't fade at all.
"Thank you, Ms. Yuno. I'll be sure to remember that." I returned the smile and she gestured to let me know I was able to leave now. The moment I stepped foot out of the classroom, Takehiro suddenly jumped me from the side, throwing his arm over my shoulder and pulling me towards him, nearly suffocating me with his random action.
"Woah, Satoshi! I never would have guessed that you'd be able to land a woman like Ms. Yuno. Congrats, man!", he began to nudge my head slightly.
"Takehiro, I'm only going to say this once...let go of me." I said slowly and in an 'or else' kind of tone.
After letting me go, he waved his hands as a gesture that he was only kidding. "Sorry man. I was only joking. Besides, Ms. Yuno would never date her students. She loves her job too much. Anyway Satoshi, I must ask you this, have you joined any clubs yet?"
'Clubs? I never even considered the idea.' I thought. "No, I haven't actually. Why?"
"Well, since you haven't, I felt like this'd be the perfect time to show them all to you." He then started walking off in the other direction, gesturing for me to follow, which I did.
Takehiro spent almost a half-hour showing me around the clubs. From the Photography Club to the Drama Club. From the Fencing Club to the Swim Club. There were many choices to choose from. As we made our way around the school, I noticed a building separated from the main one. Wondering what it was, I made my way over to it. Of course Takehiro was too distracted to notice I had disappeared. I slowly opened the door just enough to see inside. There were students lined up across the room holding bows. Each of the students had a pouch filled with several arrows on their backs. I watched as each student fired the arrows toward the marker down at the other end of the room. Some got close but didn't hit the mark. I decided to step into the room and closed the door behind so that I wouldn't distract the archers. It was at that moment I had realized that this was where the Archery Club must have practiced. It made sense now that they'd have their own building separate from the school. Safety issues, right? I took a seat on the benches along the wall and just watched.
"You're really good at this, Tsuyoi-chan." I heard one of the girls say. I looked around the room, and after realizing that this club was full of nothing but women, I saw Rida holding her bow steady. She seemed completely focused on the target. I couldn't sense any bit of unease from her. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened her eyes and released the arrow. The arrow flew all the way to the target, hitting the bulls-eye. Rida relaxed afterwards and her friends all ran over to her with excitement. They all laughed and giggled together and for a moment, I had forgotten I was the only male in the room.
One of the girls turned around to collect her stuff. When she did, she managed to look right in my direction. "Oh my god, there's a boy in here!", she said out of nowhere and with a snotty sort of attitude. Each one of the girls walked up and surrounded me. They gave me looks of disappointment. It was as though they viewed males as inferior beings. The aura resonating from them at this point wasn't pleasant at all.
"Girls! I'll take care of him. You all take a break for today. Practice is over." The girls stopped staring at me and turned at Rida who had been walking over towards us. The girls hesitated at first but, after giving me one last suspicious stare, they all walked away.
"That was a close one." Rida said with a sigh of relief. "They almost had you for dinner."
I laughed inwardly. "Is this club really made up of only girls?"
"That's right! This Archery Club was started by me during my Freshman year here at Izayoi High. Since I loved archery so much, I decided to run for Student Council President so that I'd be able to make this club possible."
I stared curiously at this point. "That's pretty cool. I mean, to win a title like that during your Freshman year. That's just, amazing."
"Yeah. Well, my father was pretty strict as I was growing up. He always told me that being a follower wasn't acceptable and that being a leader showed I had power. It didn't take long for me to realize that he took the phrase a bit too seriously." Rida sighed once again. She must not have enjoyed that memory. "So, that's one of the reasons I decided to take up archery. To prove to my father that I could have power to lead and still be kind enough to follow."
"I see. I'm sorry to hear that." I said comfortingly. "I never-" as I was about to finish, the doors suddenly flew open and Seiji stepped in breathing a bit heavily as though he'd ran to get here. "Seiji, what the hell?"
"No time to explain. We gotta go. Now!" he signaled for me to come with him and I turned back to Rida.
"Sorry, but I have something I have to get done. Please excuse me." I bowed then ran to the door and followed Seiji.
Rida stared at us as we left, surprised by the sudden urgency.
A/N: Sorry to leave you all with a random cliffhanger like that. I just didn't want to reveal the next part just yet. All will be explained in Chapter 6. Til then, catch you later.
Also, I would like for it to be known that I will be starting work soon and I might not have my chapters uploaded as quickly as I would want so you'll have to bear with me. Sorry if this becomes an inconvenience for some of you. I do what I can.
P.S: I know this chapter was a bit short but believe me, the next chapter will make up for it.