"36 Days left till the jBTEE! Don't Give UP!"
Those were the words written in bold all over the blackboard.
When I came to, I found myself sitting in my high school classroom.
Well, it was more like an alternative version of my classroom.
I recognized most of the students around me, except for a few unfamiliar faces that seemed to be part of the altered timeline.
I looked at the form teacher giving some lecture in front of the class and couldn't help but wonder…
What the hell was I doing actually sitting in the classroom?
Didn't I bunk classes most of the time and just show up for the examinations?
Did the influence of my family decrease thanks to it being an alternate timeline?
First things first.
I poked at the student sitting next to me.
"What the hell is the jBTEE?"
The guy gave me a look that screamed you-gotta-be-kidding-me-bro before realizing that it was me.
He then proceeded to look away from me and avoid any eye contact.
As if I am something to be avoided at all costs.
Well… that's what I get for being so unsociable during my high school years.
In my defence… those were a rough couple of years.
I still hadn't matured back then.
Looks like my little chat wasn't gone unnoticed by the form teacher.
I stifled a groan as I stood up in my seat.
"What did I tell you about chatting in the middle of my class? I am giving you important information about the jBTEE right now. It's very important if you want to get into a decent university."
"What were you talking about anyways? You can ask me instead of troubling your classmates."
I grumbled to myself yet again.
Well since I have already come back to this time period … it would be better for me to act like my old self rather than having a sudden change of personality.
There's no need to turn any heads and raise suspicions.
"I was wondering about the full form of jBTEE. What was it called again?"
The teacher put her palm to her forehead.
"Nathair, Nathair, Nathair. I understand that you still haven't gotten over the deaths of your parents from 3 years ago… but you really need to clean your act up."
"Don't I score well each semester?"
"You know that's not what I am talking about… I know you are a good kid, please just be more serious about your future."
"Just… sit down. Listen to what I am talking about this time. I was talking about the jBTEE either way."
I sat down barely able to contain snickering at the teacher.
Of her naïve poor soul.
Who gave her the eyes that made her think that I was a 'good' kid.
"As I was saying, the jBTEE or in other words – The Joint Beast-Taming Entrance Examination will take place in 36 days."
Ahh, so it was the entrance examination.
I would have known such basic information if only I was able to buy some.
I just had to buy the chakra art.
Well, it's not like I regret it.
"In order to be eligible for the university, you need to reach the ether manipulation realm, condense your first soul chain and form a contract with your first soul beast in time for the examination."
"All of this is only the bare minimum that you need to do. The top-scoring students have already made contracts and are training daily with their beasts until the day of the examination."
"If you are not able to nurture your beast to at least the first stage… you will fail the combat segments."
It wasn't until the bell rang that the form teacher finally finished her speech and let us all leave.
Just as I was packing my belongings to leave, I was interrupted by someone.
"Come to the alley behind the school."
I looked at the back of the student who rushed away after whispering the message in my ear and realized who it was.
It was the bread shuttle used by the bullies of the school to run all sorts of errands for them.
I couldn't help but smirk to myself.
Some things never changed no matter which world I was in.
I slung my bag over my shoulder and walked toward my appointment.
It was that time of the week again after all.
I wonder if things would go differently this time.
It was the same disgusting little routine.
All the school bullies were loitering around and smoking cigarettes in the back alley.
Some of them had weird tattoos, others had died their hair in ungodly colours.
To be forced to enter a place full of people with no sense of style or decency is something I would never get used to.
I sighed as I walked over to their leader.
Jimmy was a lanky blonde teenager, with chains and piercings all over his body.
He wore a green overcoat like a classic delinquent despite the clearly hot weather.
He held a spiked baseball hat over his head as he ground his foot into the face of the poor fellow grovelling at his feet.
As I approached him the other bullies in the street all noticed my presence and sent creepy smiles down my way.
Jimmy however still didn't notice me.
He kept on assaulting his victim of the day.
"Didn't I tell you to bring me 5 low-grade ether pills, why are there only 3 of them."
The bullied victim could barely utter a word as his trachea was being crushed by Jimmy.
"HAAA! Are you looking down on me prick? Just because I didn't ask for 7 pills, you thought I was easy?"
I sighed at the unnecessary show of cruelty.
Did they think they were a real criminal gang?
Not that I was complaining,
The fact that they overestimated themselves was to my advantage.
I still decided that they had gone far enough.
"Jimmy, don't you think you should stop choking him if you want to hear his answer."
Jimmy finally stopped crushing the poor fellow and looked up to notice my presence.
He flashed a toothy wicked grin my way before giving a sadistic smirk at his victim.
"Haha, my bad. I should have just knocked him out first. He will be much more cooperative when he wakes up. There is no way that just choking him will make him talk."
That's not what I meant…
Some people were just slow in the head.
Luckily Jimmy didn't keep me waiting for long.
He kicked the victim away before looking at me again.
He cracked his neck to the right and stretched his shoulders before approaching me.
As soon as he came in front of me, he bowed down and yelled.
The rest of the bullies also stopped with their embarrassing grins and bowed down together.
Remember the part I said about being unsociable?
This is what I meant.
I was clearly hanging out with the wrong bunch!
Now nobody likes to associate with the boss of all the bullies, do they?
Maybe I should just cut off all ties with them?
"Boss! I am sorry for not noticing you earlier! We have managed to gather about 50 low-grade ether pills for your use. It should be enough to last you for the whole week."
Ah, these kids were really cute and sensible after all.
I will keep them around for a little longer.
I can be such a softie at times.
Haa, looks like I have no choice but to play along.
I opened my hand as I asked for the pills.
Jimmy nodded enthusiastically as he ran back to the storage and brought me a pouch full of pills.
"With the talent boss has, I am pretty sure he will be able to reach the energy realm with this batch as well!"
"Tsk! Just say that you want some of the pills."
"Boss! I dare not!"
I just snickered before taking out 5 pills from the pouch and handing it to the delinquent boy.
"Here, distribute these amongst the brothers who have the hardest in collecting revenue for me this week."
Jimmy flashed the same toothy and annoying grin before saluting.
Ever so easy to please.
Just this paltry amount of pills wouldn't be enough for my needs at all.
He then turned to the rest of the kids and yelled at them.
"All of you fuckers! Thank boss for his generosity!"
The others bowed down once again.
"We thank the boss for his generosity!"
I just waved my hand to shut them up.
Seriously who taught them to do such embarrassing stuff?
Oh… it was the 'past me'.
Fuck you 'past me'.
I just put the pouch into my bag before giving them a new set of instructions.
"There's no need to give me any pills from next week. I will be focusing on some private matters and won't have time to deal with you guys. Just prepare yourself so that you can enter the exam with me. I will need your help to get rid of some annoying people once we got there."
Seeing that they had understood, I took my leave and took a taxi back to my home.
Yes, a taxi.
I was living at my uncle's house during the time period when I was in high school.
There was no way that they would send me in their car.
However, as going via a bus would malign their 'dignity' they always gave me some taxi fare.
Trying to save up that money wasn't an option either as I would just get beaten up for not taking the taxi.
I leaned back in my seat in the taxi as I recollected more about my high school days.