The battle in Ariake City. The mysterious giant AS that had run amok and self-destructed. The beyond-repair destruction of the Tokyo Big Sight. The involvement of the JSDF. Those topics were all over the morning news, so there was a fair share of discussion of them in class. Still, they also had a test coming up; they didn’t have time to just gossip all day.
Classmates were busy showing each other printouts about test questions, lending each other notebooks, and fervently studying vocabulary lists. Tokiwa Kyoko could usually expect Kaname to be her study buddy at times like these, but things weren’t quite going as planned today.
“Hey, Kana-chan. Hey!” Kaname was passed out on her desk, and Kyoko was shaking her as hard as she could. “Yesterday, you said you’d help me with my English. Come on, wake up!”
“Ugh... Please... Just a few more minutes...”
Noting Kaname’s lack of cooperation, Kyoko sagged. “Darn it... Did you pull an all-nighter studying last night?”
“Well, I didn’t get any sleep, that’s for sure...” Kaname groaned. “But I also didn’t... do any studying...”
“Then what were you doing?”
“Oh, sure. Fine, then. Forget it. Don’t help me.” Kyoko switched gears immediately. “Hey, hey! Sagara-kun!”
She approached Sousuke, who had grown up abroad—meaning he was fluent in English—in the hopes that he would help her instead. He was sitting in a corner of the classroom, arms folded, stock still.
He said nothing. His eyes were fixed ahead.
“Hey.” No reaction. Kyoko waved a hand in front of his face, but Sousuke didn’t even seem to see it. She leaned a little closer, and noticed that his breathing was quiet and regular.
“N-No way...” she whispered. He was sleeping with his eyes open. The reminder that such freakish abilities existed caused sweat to bead on Kyoko’s forehead.
“Okay, everyone, take your seats! Class is about to start!” The classroom door opened, and their teacher Kagurazaka Eri came in. The students hurried to take their seats. They stood, then bowed.
Kagurazaka Eri seemed in high spirits today. “Good morning, everyone,” she said cheerfully. “It’s a dangerous world out there, but at times like these, it’s best to focus on our studies. Now, it’s the last class before the test! Let’s all give it our best! Open your textbooks to page 61!”
They were going to review all of the material to be tested. The students all quickly opened their textbooks— even Kaname, with great difficulty, managed to execute the task. Only Sousuke remained silent, arms folded, desk empty, staring vacantly ahead of him.
Eri noticed immediately. “Oh. Sagara-kun, did you forget your textbook?”
“What’s wrong?” she asked in concern. “Answer me.”
“Wh-What... Don’t glare at me like that.” With a slight wince, Eri walked up to Sousuke’s desk. “Sagara-kun. Are... Are you refusing to participate in my class? If you have a problem with me, I’ll try hard to fix it. But this behavior...”
“This behavior... it’s a little excessive, don’t you think?”
“Please say something, Sagara-kun. Please.”
Half in tears, Eri pounded the desk hard with her textbook. “Sagara-kun!”
Sousuke snapped awake, and then into action. He leaped out of his seat, pulled a pistol from his hip holster, grabbed the teacher by the neck, dragged her to the floor, pressed the gun to her head, and—
Kaname leaped in from the side with a flying kick, knocking him out cold.
If not for Kyoko’s quick reassurances, Eri would have probably run out of the room crying.