Monday. Week 1. Year 1.
An annoyingly loud alarm blasted from nothingness.
[Congratulations, you triggered peaceful sleep. Vitality increased by 20% for the entire day.]
Clyde flinched as the memories returned. It was kind of surprising that he dreamed normally. All things projected were from the real world. This transition felt…unsettling.
"Have a nice sleep?"
Clyde stiffened as he turned around to see Mortem floating a few feet behind him, arms folded, grinning like a great white shark. "I won't be babysitting you, mortal. No-no-no, we won't have any of that. But as it's your first day here, the masters wanted to make sure you didn't kill yourself. Oh, and this."
[You received passive skill: Hostile Detection 1! With this, you will be able to detect hostile intents from beings of Satovia.]
"If you get into a fight, incapacitate your foe and you'll get experience," Mortem continued. "If you kill someone, that's on you. I won't be bailing you out of prison."
"What's the point of attending this school when I should be out looking for the Viper?" he said.
"Figure that out for yourself," Mortem said. "I told you no babysitting." He vanished without saying another word.
"Fucking dipshit," Clyde said as he angrily marched to the bathroom. He dressed into a pair of sweat pants then took a jog around the block. This was mostly to burn off his anger.
After washing and brushing his teeth for the morning, he set off to the academy. The arrow and map in his head were a godsend. The school uniform felt a bit uncomfortable. The spring's heat didn't make it better.
He practiced his analyze skill as much as he could, hoping that it would level up. Any advantage is better than none. What if the Viper turned out to be some kind of demon lord like in the games. Well, he'd be fucked if that was the case. His stats didn't show him with any special powers. Where would he learn?
"Morning," a voice said from behind as he reached the school gates. Harumi. He was prepared for this—mentally trained himself not to look at them. This turned out to be one of the fatal flaws of anime main characters. They easily fell off task when a pair of enormous boobs flung into their faces.
"Morning," he replied, voice casual.
"Shall I show you around?" Harumi asked warmly. "What class are you in?"
"One C," Clyde said. Wait for it….
"I knew it," Clyde said under his breath. Couldn't he at least get his own preference of girl? Not that Harumi bothered him. Things could've been worse. What if the system gave him one of the bad tropes. Not that he knew Harumi well. He'd have to increase his relationship level with her to find anything interesting about her. Somehow, that just felt invasive.
She gave him a quick tour of the college before taking him to their class. It looked just like a Japanese high school. Or to be more specific, an anime high school. The number of young women seemed to outnumber the men. His professor wasn't an exception to the tropes, predictably being a young beautiful woman. He introduced himself then took his seat which was surprisingly not behind Harumi, but some silver-haired girl.
[Class in session: Satovia History 1. If you possessed the Stream-learn skill, you would be able to learn the material without paying attention.]
Clyde cursed under his breath, but tuned in. What kind of history did this world possess? That could clue him in on where to find this Viper person. He felt surprisingly energetic as the instructor went on and on. Could this be due to the vitality boost? Clyde had no other explanation—normally dry lessons made his eyelids heavy.
"Uhm, Chika. Since you seem to think of my class as naptime, you will be in charge of catching Clyde up with unit one."
The silver-haired girl groaned. Clyde did not want to be taught by someone who was unable to take the class seriously.
"No, it's okay, Professor," he said. "I'll just read the chapters—"
"While that's admirable, this isn't your punishment." She gave Chika a dark smile. "If she doesn't catch you up by Friday, let me know. I'm sure her father or even that sponsor would love to know how many times we've had to deal with her snoring—"
"Alright—I'll teach him," she said. Clyde could see the anime girl blushing like a tomato and strained to hold back the laughter. The rest of the class wasn't so nice.
"Good attitude," the professor said. "You may be an honor student, but in this academy, if you want to be treated like a child, we'll do so. We take our jobs seriously. If we didn't, our reputation wouldn't be so high. Now, that will be it for today. You two exchange phone numbers and agree to meet up. The faster you catch him up, Chika, the faster you redeem yourself."
The teacher left, leaving the poor girl to sigh.
"Is she always like that?" Clyde asked. Chika seemed taken aback a little, but quickly composed herself. She was probably expecting a rude comment.
"She is," she said, "but, she's right."
"I'm guessing you have a reason you're tired," Clyde said. "But you don't have to worry about me. I'll catch up through the book tonight—"
"Let's exchange numbers," Chika interrupted. "I don't mind teaching. Besides, there are some things she talked about that can't be found in the book."
Clyde shrugged and then pulled out his phone. Both his device and Chika's flickered.
[You have exchanged phone numbers with Chika. Your speed dial has been updated.]
[Your relationship level with Chika has changed from stranger to classmate.]
[QUEST: get caught up in History with Chika. This quest is mandatory and cannot be refused. Reward: 20 EXP and 5 dollars.]
Twenty experience? Clyde was not complaining. He'd let the anime girl explain away while taking notes, send her off, and be done with it. Why mandatory? Could this meetup be important?
"I will contact you this evening," Chika said. "I know of a diner that's quiet and has the best coffee."
She gathered her things and left. Harumi awaited him outside the classroom. Clyde never felt so thankful because he forgot where his next class was located. Or to be precise, forgot to activate the map.
"Exchange numbers with me too," she said cheerfully. "You don't seem to know anyone here, so if you need anything, you have my number."
"You really are a kind person," Clyde said as he revealed his phone. "Don't really get many of those in my life." He chuckled.
[You have exchanged phone numbers with Harumi. Your speed dial has been updated.]
[Your relationship level with Harumi has changed from friendly and neighborly to Friendly and associate. Harumi will help set you up for success. Your comment has increased the 5% relationship boost to 10%. Let it be known that Harumi may be attempting to increase her relationship points with you. Not stealing from her wallet has set a great impression on the young woman.]
Clyde was doubly sure that the system wanted to push him into the slice of life trap. Not on his watch. Everyone within this world had consciousness. They were real, just…alien. In that case, Clyde shouldn't overthink this. He should be able to go about his life like normal while maintaining friends and leveling up, right? But…how many times did he get warned about the tropes? Fucking ridiculous.
As he and Harumi rounded the corner, the girls around began to gasp or make comments, but not at him. It took Clyde a second to notice the anime pretty boy walking down the hall, girls at his side, others loudly exclaiming. He played the part of the kind noble.
"Guessing he's someone rich and famous?"
"That's Toru," Harumi said in a non-enthusiastic voice. "His dad's the CEO of a few popular sporting companies."
Toru looked in their direction as if noticing them for the first time. Clyde took that chance to analyze him.
Stats: Relationship isn't high enough.
Special abilities: Relationship isn't high enough.
Skills: Are we really doing this again, idiot? Close out the prompt!
Magic abilities: see above.
Clyde forced himself to remain calm at the prompt. Mortem could be behind it. As for Toru being level thirteen, he felt a little confused. Why was Harumi simply level one? Is she the Viper in disguise? No…there were a few others low-leveled too, but only children less than five years old were at the first level. Clyde set the mystery to the side for later digestion as Toru approached.
"Hello, my dear Harumi," he said. "Had any time to think on my invitation?"
Harumi scowled at him.
"I already told you, I'm not interested."
Clyde's anime trope senses activated. He took a few secret steps out of Harumi's reach so that she couldn't grab his arm or hand, then give off the wrong message, which would drag him into her mess. She was a sweet girl, but he had no intention of sticking his nose into anyone's affairs. He had enough on his plate.
She indeed grabbed at the air that was supposed to be his arm. Something seemed to spark within her because the girl marched right over to him to snatch his arm anyway.
Toru and Clyde shared surprised expressions. "Please excuse us while I show the new student to his class."
[Your relationship with Toru has dropped from Neutral to Distaste.]
Great, so much for befriending a possible powerhouse. Clyde couldn't get mad at Harumi for using him to avoid an unwanted advance. He also didn't want to be on a hit list for someone who could possibly make him disappear.
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