“Lesson number one. The best laid schemes of mice and men… Often go awry.”
“Now get up and ready yourself to receive the rest of my guidance.”
“Ahahaha, my respected upperclassman. You’re here early.”
“You know the sayings, early birds and worms and whatnot.”
“Actually, I kind of distinctively remembered you saying and I quote 'After two hours and thirty six people, if you’re still standing, I would be more than happy to share my knowledge with you.'”
“Your point being?”
“Well, I’m currently sitting down…”
“Which can be remedied if you stand back up.”
“…and it’s not yet 4.40 pm…”
“It’s always 4.40 pm somewhere.”
“…and there's like nine guys in front you. It would be rude of me to keep them waiting.”
“Well, that’s a problem that can easily be solved.”
Rolfe Primero turns and greets the group of students behind him.
“Hi guys. Mind if I cut in line?”
All nine of them made a slight bow and an extravagant sweeping movement with their right hands that seems to signify: please go ahead, it would be our pleasure.
You godsdamn sons of bitches, the boy silently curses the nine remaining Ouroboros members. He was spot on with his earlier assessment regarding them. Smart and scary, the boy sighs.
“Now,” the entity turns and faces the boy back. “Do you wish to keep me waiting? Or shall I show this crowd of onlookers what happens to a human head when it tries to imitate a ball, kicked at full velocity.”
“And with all due respect, Master Cahris, there’s nothing you can say or do to stop our little study session.”
The male teacher opens and closes his mouth for a few seconds before he finally decides to be quiet. Whatever he wanted to say seems to have been swallowed down along with his saliva.
Thanks for trying to help me, Teach, the boy thinks silently. Looks like this is as far as I can go. The boy is about to stand up when suddenly…
“Hello there my beloved students. Nice weather we’re having isn’t it?”
“Afternoon, Headmaster Joss. Are you here to disrupt our study session too?”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.”
“I’m just here to offer my opinion as an old man.”
“Is that so? Then please, pray tell.”
“The elite students would probably cheer and applaud you when you’ve successfully beaten the boy. Gods know he needs to be taken down a few pegs…”
“You seriously think I’m doing this to gain their approval?”
“Perhaps not. Maybe it’s true that you don’t give a shit what they think.”
“But at the end of the day, when the dust settles and the applauses dies, one undeniable fact would still remain standing.”
“Which is you didn’t face the boy at his very best. And that’s the gods’ honest truth.”
Rolfe Primero sighs while closing his eyes and pinching and massaging the bridge of his nose with his right hand. After a while, he opens his eyes and gazes sharply at the people in front of him, making Master Cahris take a few steps back. The sharp gaze also makes Headmaster Joss shifts uncomfortably where he stands and the boy who is sitting on the ground flinch a little.
“You think you’re doing him a favor but you really aren’t.”
“Your kindness will kill the child someday.”
“He needs to know that there’s no such thing as a perfect plan… that time won’t always be on his side… and that he should never put his faith in his friends to come bail him out.”
“You really think I’m his friend?”
“I’ve told you before, I’m just an old man offering his opinion to his children.”
“Brothers should play with each other nicely… and fairly.”
Rolfe Primero looks up to the blue sky above him with a wry smile on his face. It looks like he’s quietly laughing at some private joke.
“If the child isn’t ready in 10 minutes for our study session, I’ll share my lessons with everyone in this school. And you can count on that as the gods’ honest truth.”
“No need to thank me, Headmaster Joss. I’m just showing some consideration to someone who is infinitely younger than me.”
“I’m sure the boy would appre-“
“I was not talking about the child. I’m actually referring to you, Headmaster.”
Before the headmaster could say anything, Rolfe Primero turns and walks away from the middle of the courtyard. It seems the diligent student has chosen to wait out the 10 minutes at the sidelines. The group of onlookers who were standing there just moments earlier has scattered and gave the entity a wide berth.
Headmaster Joss looks at the boy sitting in the dirt. “I just bought you 10 minutes. Use them wisely.” says the headmaster. Before the boy could thank him, Headmaster Joss also walks off to rejoin his deputy at the edge of the courtyard.
Now that only he and the boy remains, Master Cahris resumes to breathe normally again.
“Is he Ouroboros?”
“Hmm?” the boy is snapped out of his daze by Master Cahris’ question.
“Rolfe Primero. Is he also a part of Ouroboros?”
“Whew.” the male teacher lets out a huge sigh of relief. “I was beginning to think th-“
“Ten secret societies like Ouroboros would only amount to a speck of dirt in that guy’s eye.”
The boy continues to contemplate, not caring that the male teacher beside him has stop breathing normally. The boy is too busy calculating and searching for a favorable outcome to his inevitable duel with the entity known as Rolfe Primero.
Five percent. No matter how much the boy searches and calculates, a five percent chance is the only answer he could come up with to the question if he could beat Rolfe Primero in his current exhausted condition.
And that’s not counting into the equation the presence of the nine remaining Ouroboros members waiting impatiently for their turn. The boy chooses to ignore them for now and focus on regaining his strength.
Sure, his energy is gradually returning to him, but it’s too little and won’t be enough for what he’s about to do. The boy needs something extra, something additional, something…
“Master, I’ve brought you some food.” a voice of an angel calls out to him from the heavens.
“Synnove…” the boy nearly shouts as he looks up to his savior who is running towards his side, arms full of food.
“That’s the first time Master has called me by my name. I am so happy.”
“Synnove Ciro! You’re a godsend. If I ever tell you otherwise, I give you permission to punch me in the face!”
“Tee hee. If Master wouldn’t mind than later we could-“
“Ahem, we have polite company here.”
“Oh hello Master Cahris. Please forgive me. I forgot you were there for a moment.”
The boy begins to hungrily wolf down the supplies
“I need something to drink to wash this down.” the boy spurts out, mouth full of food.
“If Master insists…”
*raises skirt slightly
Coughs! The boy nearly dies from chocking.
“Just kidding. Here you go, Master.” The maid takes a water satchel hanging from her side and hands it over to the boy.
If the boy was his older self, he would have glared at the girl, maybe deliver a sharp chop to her head to cure the girl of her perversion. But the boy has gained some newfound respect for this maid, no matter how twisted or odd she may seems.
“Your time is up.” a voice calls from behind them.
The boy gets up as he turns and stares Rolfe Primero in the eyes.
“No. it’s nothing. Just a private joke.”
“Good luck, Master.”
“Thanks for the food.”
“Break a leg.”
“Very poor choice of words there, Synnove.”
“Are you ready?”
“As ready as I‘ll ever be.”
“Master Cahris, you know your role in this. Now play your part.”
“TH- THE DUEL STARTS NOW!”
*punches “Lesson number three. Never bite off more than you can chew.”
*parries “Lesson number three? What happened to lesson number two?”
*strikes “Lesson number two was unfortunately invalidated by Headmaster Joss.”
*blocks “I like to hear it if it’s all the same to you.”
*smacks “Fine. Lesson number two. The best time to hit a man is when he’s down.”
*dodges “I could have sworn it was ‘Don’t kick a man when he’s down.’”
*kicks “Knocking the man down wins you the first fight. Continuously kicking him will win you all future fights.”
*sweeps “Or maybe the man will learn to cut the legs out from under his opponent.”
*jumps “Perhaps. Which brings us to lesson number four.”
*gets up “Oh yeah? And what’s that?”
*chops “Cut off one head, and the rest will bow down.”
*sidesteps “Really sound advice there.”
“You are brilliant.” praises Rolfe Primero. None of the diligent student’s punches are getting through even though he is attacking using both arms while the boy is defending using one.
“Thank you. Although I have to confess I received some outside help.” says the boy as his mind wanders for a brief moment towards the little girl, wondering where she is and what she is doing. But his thoughts are immediately brought back down to earth when the entity unleashes a new flurry of assault.
“I admit it, you are faster and stronger than I am.” says Rolfe Primero as he continues to attack the boy relentlessly, not giving the boy any opportunity to rest at all.
“Then why are you smiling?”
“Because I know something you don’t know.”
“I highly doubt that. But please, do tell.”
“I’m only using 50% of my powers.”
Rolfe Primero’s punches gradually become swifter and heavier. The boy begins to have trouble parrying them with his left arm. He is forced to move backwards to escape the intensity of the attacks but the diligent student doesn’t let up. The entity continues to chase the boy, raining blow after the blow.
Hold on, my left arm, the boy whispers words of encouragement to his arm that’s currently undergoing terrible punishment.
Don’t go breaking on me yet.
Just a little bit more. Have to wait for the perfect opportunity.
We’re going to have only one shot at this. Let’s make it count.
“You are incredible.” says the boy, his face grim with determination.
“I ought to be, after going through so many lifetimes.”
“Oh, there’s something I ought to tell you.”
“Tell me.” says Rolfe Primero as he finally sends his fastest punch ever, a straight right, aiming it at the boy’s face.
The boy’s left arm screams in protest under the strain but it manages to do the impossible. It catches Rolfe Primero’s right hand around the wrist and pulls the diligent student forward, using the entity’s own momentum against him.
For a brief moment, Rolfe Primero is off balance. But to the boy, it is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“My right arm… it was never broken in the first place.” smiles the boy as he raises the said arm in a sling and unleashes a thunderous right hook that connects with Rolfe Primero’s left cheek.