40% The Dao of Cuteness / Chapter 2: Announcement and Schoolday

Chapter 2: Announcement and Schoolday

As Mr. Darthorn began talking the room was completely silent. His baritone voice filled the classroom as he began to clearly enunciate each word. "Class, I believe you're all aware that Anthony Bates reached the Moe Channeling Phase a few weeks before break started, ranking him first within your grade. What you may not be aware of is that a week ago, about halfway into the break, another student, Macy Degurechaff, also reached the Moe Channeling Phase. We normally don't have two Sophomores reaching this phase every year, and even at graduation the Senior class usually has under 30 people in the Moe Channeling Phase. The faculty would like to extend their heartfelt congratulations to Macy and encourage you all to follow in their footsteps. Normally I'd end the announcement here, but Macy and Anthony actually agreed on something interesting. With the school's approval they will be competing in unarmed combat at the next quarterly examination in order to decide who will be ranked first until one of them breaks through in their cultivation. This is a great chance for you guys to observe what a fight will look like once you reach the Moe Channeling realm and we encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity. In addition, if anyone is able to breakthrough to Moe Channeling by then they'll be able to participate as well. Good luck and may you benefit from the experience." Mr. Darthorn coughed before finishing up with a seriously spoken "And now, onto our regularly scheduled program," evoking a few chuckles.

Marcus knew he wouldn't be able to participate, but he was still interested in the fight. He probably wouldn't gain another opportunity to watch a fight between Moe Channeling cultivators in person until sometime in his Junior year once more of them started appearing among his classmates. Battle techniques were actually one of his best subjects, and part of what kept him ranked above some of the Stage 8 Moe Sensing cultivators, so it could be said that Marcus had a real chance of benefiting from the experience. As Mr. Darthorn began preparing to lecture, Marcus glanced over at Roland and noticed that he had a serious look in his eyes. Marcus was taken aback and only one thought filled his head: When did Roland get so interested in history? Didn't he usually sleep through it? Just as Marcus was beginning to question his sanity, Mr. Darthorn began talking and Roland's head began slowly lowering towards his desk. Marcus scratched his head as he guessed that he had just imagined things, moving his attention from Roland's now unmoving head and the puddle of drool forming near it to Mr. Darthorn's lesson.

Mr. Darthorn pointed to a map as he said "...and that's how, 50 years ago, the war between Danzonia and the Atolenmy-Boshivia Alliance in the area ended. Now Danzonia has about five times the population of Atolenmy, 15 billion, but since we remain allied with Boshivia in leadership of the Multi-Island Alliance, there's no real threat of war unless Danzonia suddenly decides that they want to declare war on the rest of the region. I'd say something about taking down the enemy or making friends or whatever, but our foreign policy changes with every change in parliament anyways. Danzonia and our alliance will likely switch back and forth between being at odds and trying to stop being at odds for a 100 years before we actually get anywhere. Make sure to cultivate diligently so that you actually get to live that long. Now, onto that bit about science that I'm supposed to teach you..."

As soon as Mr. Darthorn stopped talking, Marcus's head traveled downward and Roland's head began to move back up. Their heads were almost like synchronized parts in a machine; Once Roland's head was up Marcus's was down, and he had begun sleeping. This happened like clockwork twice a week, as history lectures bored Roland to tears and Marcus could barely understand anything once Mr. Darthorn began speaking about any science not related to cultivation. A few hours passed and eventually it was lunchtime. Jake pulled his desk towards Roland and Marcus before pulling over the two other desks that they had claimed for themselves to form a circle. The three pulled out their food before two nearly-identical looking boys wearing beanies walked into the room and sat down in the remaining two desks. One of them excitedly said "Jake, Jake! Marcus texted me and told me you got tons of chicks during the break for once, tell us about it!" before the other spoke up and said "Yeah, I was really surprised to hear that you didn't strike out for once, tell us what happened!" Marcus laughed manically on the inside as the evil plan he had hatched over 20 minutes ago reached fruition. Marcus finally had retribution for Jake ignoring him the entire break and trying to pick up women instead. Jake nearly choked on his food before staring at Marcus blankly.

After a couple seconds of this he turned to face the two new arrivals and said "What do you two mean 'for once'? 'Jake the Renowned' always gets the ladies! Anyways, you guys heard right, I really made it big this break. I have so many girlfriends now that I don't really know what to do with them. Mason, Kramer, maybe I can even set you guys up, I'm having trouble dealing with so many ladies." Marcus and Roland stared blankly at Jake, wondering how much more shameless he had become over the break. Mason and Kramer seemed to eat Jake's stories up however, as every lunch, without fail, they would come over and listen to him brag while Marcus and Roland listened. Neither of them seemed to actually believe most of the things Jake said, but none of them ever seemed to call him out for it either, so it was a sort of symbiotic relationship. Immediately after Jake finished saying something Marcus asked, still chewing his food, "Hey, Jake, why do you wear that leather jacket all year round? It's January now and it's still not cold enough to wear something like that. In the summer it must be sweltering." As Marcus finished his question, he broke out into a coy smile while Roland barely held back his laughter. Surprisingly enough neither Marcus nor Roland knew the answer to this question, despite both of them having asked it dozens of times over the years. The problem was that every single time they asked the question the answer seemed to change. The only constant was that it would lead to a long speech about true manliness and 'greaser culture' and that it would eventually branch off into some lovely story about Jake getting the jacket from a girl he picked up, or getting it after leading a biker gang or something. It didn't matter what Jake said though, Marcus and Roland would end up in tears of laughter every time.

As the bell for the end of lunch rang Marcus said "Jake, you're really lucky that we're in one of the male classes." before Jake immediately cut him off and loudly disagreed. "Lucky?! What do you mean lucky?! Every single day in here's it's a sausage fest, I can't hit on anyone in here!" Marcus continued on, apparently unperturbed by the interruption "Yes, yes, it may be a sausage fest....but if you were in a class with 90% women then you'd end up getting ganged up on or something and then Roland and I would have to go to the hospital to see you." As the two of them returned to their seats Jake simply stated "I'll take on any pain for love. It's all worth it for love man." Class continued on as Mr. Darthorn continued lecturing on various ordinary subjects. Eventually it was 3:00 PM and the last bell rang. Mr. Darthorn yelled out "Have a good day and make sure your gym clothes are clean for tomorrow, I don't want to smell you wearing clothes you haven't washed since the start of break!" Marcus got out of his desk, stretching after sitting for hours while groaning out "Ahhhh, Jake, Roland, you want to hang out at my house?" Jake shook his head before saying "Sorry man, I have to take care of my little sister this week, my parents are on a trip. Maybe after that." Marcus glanced at Roland before Roland also shook his head no, only finishing with "I'll be doing something important for a while. I'll tell you guys eventually." Marcus shrugged his shoulders at the response and then went into the parking lot of the school, skipping the buses and instead walking into the city. Normally he was a proud member of the going home club, but today he decided that he may as well wander around the city. He made some money recently and there were plenty of things to do, surely it couldn't be as boring as sitting at home cultivating without success and browsing the internet.

Marcus wandered around the narrow, crowded streets of the city for a few hours, mostly doing some window shopping and some errands which his mother had bugged him about recently. He was about to head home because it was beginning to get dark, but out of the corner of his eye he saw three young teenage girls walking towards an alley. Marcus thought the situation looked suspicious and cautiously neared the location before he saw a tall, buff looking man being stared down by the three teenagers. It was probably a mugging. The man looked strong, but if the three were cultivators who were already in the Body Refinement Phase, then it could be dangerous for him unless he was armed. Not waiting to see what would happen, Marcus moved forward and yelled out "Hooligans! Stop!"

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