1 Chapter 1: First Day Lows

"It looks like it's going to be another beautifully dull day..", Seijurou thought as he sat up from his bed to get his bowl cut hairstyle head to look out the window. However, his hair never really looked like a bowl since it was always so messy that one would think he just woke up.

"Player Characters (PCs)", or persons of different "Builds" or jobs, filled the streets with the regular morning buzz indicating business was as usual. Knights having their swords repaired by the smith, young Mages getting the trendiest potions available from the resident alchemist, and rangers buying supplies of arrows from fletchers were among the few things that woke Seijurou up first thing. 

"Why the hell did oyaji decide to live in this busy street anyway?..", muttered Seijurou as he irritatingly crawled out of the bed to look for his thick black rimmed glasses. 

He lacked sleep that day, all thanks to reading a newly released light novel throughout the night. "But tanuki-hime was so cute..", Seijurou thought about the story's racoon princess protagonist with hearts starting to float around him. "This sleeplessness is worth it."

Cherry blossom petals floated slowly inside his room as a gentle breeze carried them. It seemed that the seasons changed overnight indicating a subtle warning of the consequences of being sleepless on that day. 

It was the beginning of spring in Seijurou's homeland, "Jihon". Thus, it was the first day of high school for him. It was the day he dreaded the most in his entire life, the time to enter the renowned military school, "Fujiishima Squadron Gakuen" also known as "FSG".

It wasn't that Seijurou hated school. In fact, he had always been the top of his class ever since he entered school with his high marks. He always loved reading and was well versed with the basic sciences, arts, and magic. His teachers would always commend him and call him a genius. 

However, high school was a different story. It was where all the knowledge Seijurou learned from elementary school would be applied. And that was fighting. 

And Seijurou hated violence with a passion. He had many reasons to abhor such barbarism as he always contemplated. 

His body was never built for a fighter's stature. His height was just average. He was lanky as if puberty never permitted him to grow muscles. With that, he could barely even throw a punch, much less swing a sword. And he always had poor eyesight, which was probably caused by excessive reading. 

But besides having a substandard physique, having that kind of body led him in his extreme beliefs of self preservation. To him, fighting simply implied the opposite. It was the destruction of one's self and a useless way of passing time. 

Seijurou sighed as he looked at himself in the mirror while he buttoned his "gakuran" school uniform. "There's no helping it.. let's just get this over with.."

It would be safe to say that Seijurou's stand against violence was understandable, given the fact that it should always be the last resort when it comes to conflict. However, there was one inescapable fact that the world he lived in revolved around. 

The intricate balance of war and peace was everything to the citizens of Jihon and the six other great nations outside. Even the highest paying jobs were combat based. 

The best player characters of the four hero classes, warrior, mage, ranged and stealth, were always highly sought after by the largest guilds, companies, and even the government. Not only that, the smaller populations of the support classes such as blacksmiths, alchemists, healers, fletchers and more, were all also based on combat. 

But besides having the different nations of the world prepare for the unthinkable, there were all so many causes of concern regarding the disturbance of peace. 

"Non Player Characters (NPCs)", such as beasts, spirits, youkai and the like, wander the countryside. Usually, it would never be a problem for large walled cities like Fujiishima, where Seijurou is from, but smaller towns were always in constant threat from the raids of these creatures. Mercenary guilds were the usual contacts for these kinds of extermination jobs.

And even a job as small as hunting beasts for food and ingredients necessitates combat training. The "hunter build" is a job that falls under the "ranged class". Fletchers that supply these hunters must also have some degree of knowledge when it comes to using ranged weapons, even if they fall under the "support class". 

Seijurou may have escaped the realm of violence during his elementary years, but sooner or later, he would've needed to face it. At the age of sixteen, beginning at the first year of high school, everyone was required to learn how to fight.

"Seijurou! That you?..", a man's voice resounded from downstairs as Seijurou hurriedly went down. "Come here for a second. I need help with something."

"Eh?! I'm already in my uniform, oyaji. I can't get dirty in the forge now..", Seijurou answered his father as he approached the workshop.

"You won't get dirty, I promise."

Seijurou reluctantly went to the forge to see his father. He knew very well that a half baked promise was about to be broken. 

The moment he arrived at the doorstep leading to the workshop, a tall, dark and not so handsome man wearing a blacksmith's apron gasped. He had straight dark brown hair growing at neck's length and a burly but slim physique to match that childishly surprised expression. 

"Well. I'll be damned..", said Kajiya to his son as tears started to well up in his eyes. Then, he started to wail jokingly and ran towards Seijurou with arms flailing. "Look at you.. so grown up.."

Right before Kajiya got to hug his son, Seijurou whacked him on the head. 

"It's a little too early to be cheesy, oyaji. I told you, I can't be dirty".., Seijurou said stoically. "So what do you need?"

Kajiya stood up slowly with a smile and a small head injury growing out of his scalp like a tiny bulb. Shortly after, he walked towards the forge and grabbed two newly made swords. "Which one should I take in the front gallery for display?"

Seijurou looked at the two weapons skeptically, but it did not take long for him to answer. "The one on the right."

"Sure about that? You're not even going to hold them?"

"No. And besides, I told you I don't want to get dirty."

Kajiya just smirked as his son slowly turned away to walk towards the front door. He valued his son's opinions highly when it comes to craftsmanship. He knew very well that Seijurou only needed one look to distinguish which one was for display and which one was a real weapon.

"Oi, Seijurou..", Kajiya called, which caused Seijurou to stop abruptly to look back. "Enjoy your day."

A little surprised with the gesture, Seijurou reacted with a wide eyed expression. A little while later, he slowly smiled. "You too, oyaji."

And then, he was off to school.

As the horse carriages ran through the streets like brooms sweeping through the cherry blossom filled foliage, Seijurou walked while being deep in thought. Player characters who knew him as the neighborhood's blacksmith's son, interrupted his pondering every few minutes by greeting him. He was told by them of how much he looked more matured in his gakuran or the like. 

The local townsfolk's gestures actually caused his irritation from the fact of going to high school into curiosity. Then, curiosity turned into a form of excitement somehow. A smirk managed to form on his face as he turned a corner. "Well, how bad could it be?"

Suddenly, Seijurou's "console command", or a rectangular pocket book sized magical holographic status board, appeared in front of him as it rang. It is considered as the most important magic tool for every player character. In fact, everyone was born with it. It has basic information like health points, magic points, stamina, character level, and other specific skills. It's also considered the primary tool used for communication.

"What?..", said Seijurou in an irritated manner as he pressed the answer button below an image of a red haired girl. 

"I'm on my way to your place! Wait for me!..", chimed a playfully high pitched voice. 

"Why on earth would you come to me? You live closer to school.."

Before Seijurou was able to finish the sentence, the line got cut. His painfully earned feeling of excitement about going to school was shattered back into multiple pieces of irritation again. "Seriously, that girl."

And before he was able to call her back, she was already there. A petite girl, wearing a "sailor fuku" school uniform with red hair flowing down her shoulders, greeted Seijurou with all smiles and waves, and luggages. 

"Kinjou, why the hell are you here? The school's that way..", Seijurou asked while he continued walking. 

The girl struggled to lift her heavy looking bags and followed him, but her cheerful state did not diminish. "It was a shorter walk to your place compared to school!"


There was something devious about how Kinjou Satsuki smiled at him. She was a head shorter than Seijurou and had the ability to blush at the right moment, making her quite adept with getting what she wanted all the time. That was at least, almost all the time. 

"No..", Seijurou said blankly upon glancing at Satsuki once and continued walking. 

"Oh come on, Erida-kun! It's heavy.."

"Who told you to bring all that anyway? Are you going on a vacation?"

"I'm a practicing 'sword fighter build'. I need all these equipment!..", replied Satsuki, somehow managing to change her tone from a pleading one to a proud one.

"It's the first day of school. You won't need them..", replied Seijurou coldly as he walked without even looking back. "Carry them yourself."

However as the two walked on, with Satsuki lagging a little, Seijurou began to hear whispers from townsfolk saying, "poor girl", "doesn't he realize it's heavy", or, "what kind of man lets a girl carry all that stuff". He couldn't help, but glance quickly at Satsuki. 

Satsuki acted surprised at first when Seijurou looked back. But she just immediately grinned at him with all her teeth appearing and her eyes disappearing. She was just probably reassuring him that she was fine. 

It all ended up with Seijurou carrying Satsuki's bags while they walked to school together. He just looked like he was about to pop a vein in annoyance.

Turning another corner got them greeted by the backside of the enormous statue of Orca, the god of the sea. Facing the great ocean to the east, the monument assumed the stance of a warrior waiting to impale the rising sun with its trident. 

"Awesome! It's so huge!..", Satsuki exclaimed in astonishment as she trotted and skipped towards it. 

"What? Is it your first time to see it up close?"

"What's with you? Such a killjoy..", replied Satsuki, momentarily abrupting her joyous expression with a frown. "But yeah.. I've never been here."

"I've always been here.."

Satsuki just smiled at her friend before surrendering to the silence afterwards. It was not an awkward moment for them. The two had known each other for a long time since Satsuki became Seijurou's mother's apprentice back in their first year in middle school.

It actually sort of reminded Seijurou why he was always there at the statue of Orca. For some reason, it made him wonder if he could see his mother again if he ventured out to sea. 

"Seijurou, when I'm out for work, and you're sad, look towards the sea..", his mother would always say before. "Somewhere beyond that vast ocean, I'm there. Call me, and I will answer."

"Then.. how did you get yourself enrolled in FSG? The school's basically at the base of Orca's monument on the west side..", Seijurou said to Satsuki, bringing himself back to the present. 

Satsuki stumbled backwards in surprise after Seijurou said something after the long silence. "You know, you've got that bad habit of taking long intervals of silence in between conversations.. anyway, okaa-chan did all my paperwork.. so this really is the first time I'm going to FSG."

For the first time on that day, Seijurou smiled but only in his thoughts. It was the thought that maybe things were going smoothly and normally. 

However just as he assumed the day would not be so bad after all, he also thought that it was going way too normally. And he was right. It was just the beginning.

"Satsuki-chaaan!..", a boy with short black hair and about a head taller than Seijurou called. He had narrow eyes and a prominent jaw on his head that topped a chiseled physique. He may have tried to sound adorable in front of Satsuki, but Seijurou knew that this boy was up to no good with the way he glared at the former in between the smiles.

"Oh good morning, Xi-kun..!", Satsuki greeted the boy with a smile.

"Satsuki-chan.. I thought we're familiar with each other already? Call me Jax."

Satsuki just gave a pleasant eyeless smile to Jax as a response while she continued to walk. 

"I was wondering.. would you like to hangout after school?..", Jax asked as he scratched his head. 

Seijurou thought this guy was trying to act pathetically like a puppy in front of Satsuki to look cute. But he just continued to walk with all of his friend's luggage.

"Sure! Why not? I'd like to try that place with lots of pastries!..", Satsuki answered cheerfully as always. It actually did not surprise Seijurou even if he did not feel at ease with this "Jax". 

"Great! And let me carry these for you..", insisted Jax as he glared at Seijurou again while taking the luggage from him. 

But immediately after that, Jax gave the bags to his friends that were almost as big as him. They appeared out of nowhere as he handed the equipment. "Satsuki-chan, I'll follow in a sec. The boys will accompany you to class."

Confused at first, Satsuki just said "okay" with her usual cheerful self. 

And then, Jax walked side by side with Seijurou. "What is an 'otaku' like you walking Kinjou Satsuki to school?"

"I'm quite surprised that the simian brain of yours realized I was carrying Kinjou's equipment.. and you even used your gorilla subordinates to carry them."

Jax laughed out loud right after Seijurou made the comment. Then, he grunted and said. "If you know what's good for you while you attend this school.. better stay away from her. Got it, glasses boy?"

The gate of FSG loomed before them as Jax gestured towards it. A gentle spring breeze went along with a few cherry blossoms in between them and Satsuki. There was a track oval on the right side and a football field in the middle of it. A baseball field was on the left. 

As they entered and walked on the pathway towards the main entrance of the school, students stared at the unlikeliest of pairs and gossiped among themselves. 

Seijurou somehow realized that Jax was not someone anyone should mess with. The smug look on everyone's faces gave it away simply as he looked at them. Everyone knows who Xi Jae-jin, or Jax, is.

And everyone also knows who Erida Seijurou is.

"Why don't you say that to her? She's the one who's always clinging on to me anyway..", Seijurou said coldly and without looking at Jax. 

"I'll pretend I didn't hear you say something like that about her, but it actually makes me want to beat you up now..", replied Jax, suddenly almost snapping out.

The FSG building seemed like it was centuries old with its rustic coloration, but it is actually modern in design. As the two newly acquainted and safe to assume enemies entered the main door, they were greeted by a bright light coming from another exit straight ahead. It simply implied that there was an enormous courtyard in the middle of the building. 

From above, FSG is an octagon shaped complex with classrooms and offices in it. And in the middle, an enormous octagonal courtyard rests with an octagonal shaped stadium at the center. It's basically an octagon in an octagon within an octagon. 

But there's still another octagon. It is the one inside the stadium, which everyone calls, "the Octagon", an obviously octagonal fighting platform.

"You want to get expelled before you even get to high school?..", asked Seijurou while he squinted as the bright light of the courtyard's entrance welcomed them.

"This isn't middle school anymore, loser..", replied Jax as he stopped abruptly and gestured towards the gigantic stadium in the middle of the courtyard. "Any affairs regarding this school can be settled in a duel there."

"Oh yeah? Not interested."

"You know.. staying by Kinjou Satsuki's side cannot protect you forever.. so, how about it? Let's do it in the Octagon, 'son of the Swordmaiden'.."

For some reason, something inside Seijurou woke up and got his fists clenching.

Translation Notes:

Oyaji - another word for "old man", referring to one's father in the ancient language of Jihon (Japanese in real world context)

FSG (Fujii Island Squadron Academy) - the actual acronym stands for "Fujiishima Sentai Gakuen" in Jihon's ancient language (Japanese).

Gakuran - the most common school uniform for boys in high school in Japan in real world context. The top has a standing collar buttoning down from top-to-bottom. Buttons are usually decorated with the school emblem to show respect to the school. Pants are straight leg and a black or dark-colored belt is worn with them.

Youkai - a class of supernatural monsters and spirits in real world Japan, which happen to appear as Non Player Characters (NPCs) in Jihon.

Sailor Fuku - the most common school uniform in real world Japan for girls. Much like the male uniform, the gakuran, the sailor outfits bear a similarity to various military styled naval uniforms.

Okaa-chan - an informal way of saying mother in the ancient language (Japanese). It is close in meaning to English's "mommy".

Otaku - another word for geek, or a Japanese term for people with consuming interests, particularly in anime, light novels, and manga. It can also be defined as a person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills.

Honorifics guide:

-chan - expresses that the speaker finds a person endearing. In general, it is used for young children, close friends, babies, grandparents and sometimes female adolescents. It may also be used towards cute animals, lovers, or a youthful woman.

-kun - generally used by people of senior status addressing or referring to those of junior status, by anyone addressing or it can be used when referring to men in general, male children or male teenagers, or among male friends.

Next chapter