Chapter 2: Ordinal Scale SAO
“Micchan, let’s go,” shouted Amber.
“Uhh. Leave me alone. I want to go to the library,” I responded unsympathetically. But seriously, the only thing I wanted to do was to take a nice long nap.
“But... I can’t eat without you. The others have their club meetings and I hate third-wheeling. C’on Micchan. Please?” I can see Amber begging me to join her third wheel party with those puppy eyes, too bad so sad that I was too tired and really needed a nap. Despite her innocent puppy-dog eyes, I shook my head real hard.
“Sorry Amber. I’ll make it up to you next time, I promise.” I apologized, feeling no guilt at all.
“You should feel sorry for leaving me alone to embrace the emotions of being a spare tire while watching their Pocky Game, ” mumbled she. She pulled my arm and gave me one huge arrogant look before she left and entered the cafeteria.
Still, I gave her a friendly wave and took my leave to my paradise. Yes, I repeat, my paradise. I pulled open the heavy door to paradise. The dusty old smell of rusted books embraced me, chapters of cemeteries were waiting for me to be sepulchred as if the venue was consulting me and telling me that the time has finally arrived, the time that I could throw away all my concerns about my GPA or the colossal amount of uncompleted homework. When I look around, students my age had their minds buried in their lovely fairy tales, they were enjoying themselves in their little daydreams. There, sat Michiko Ayase, our diligent straight-A senior that completed AP Calculus as a freshman with a score of 5. Her marshmallow chocolate hair and big bright eyes caught my attention. She was that dazzling sprite of life that lived in the library and my inspiration. She was loved and pampered by everyone, If only I could switch lives with her. I quickly switched my attention to the gigantic bookshelves before she caught me staring at her and started to think that I was a weirdo.
I ran to the corner of paradise, hoping that my spot had not been taken. Immediately, I emptied my school bag and placed all my belongings on the table in order to protect my precious spot from being taken by others. Selfishness is born innately. Despite the nasty children poking me during my peaceful sleep, the door to paradise still managed to stay open and welcome me. I gently placed my chubby cheeks on the table and it was finally the time that I could escape the haunted house filled with homework and angry teachers. I closed my eyes and the world, once again, was shining brightly in front of my eyes.
“Hey there. Let me sit beside you,” a shy voice reached my eardrums.
“It’s not happening. It’s not happening. It’s not happening.” The neurons in my brain were all activated and firing nonstop like a bowl of tangled spaghetti.
“It’s happening!” It really was happening, she was talking to me! My legs were shaking so badly as joy loaded my brain cells and took over the motor controls of the thalamus. Believe me, it was incredibly difficult to force my tense little mouth to open and say, “Hello. My name is Mitsuki, nice to meet you. I hope we can get along well.”
“I heard a lot about you. I’m Michiko, by the way. I saw you struggling with Calculus a few days ago, you want my help?” replied she, with the sweetest voice that I have ever heard before. Without a second-thought, my face and ear were bright red, I was blushing real hard.
“Yes, Thank you,” I whispered. My stubborn brain cells refused to believe the situation. Michiko was right beside me, I could faint at any moment.
“Heyyyyyyyyy!” Michiko’s voice suddenly changed into a monstrous low voice as she began tapping my shoulders.
“Yes?” I asked, politely.
“Heyyyyyyyyy!” She yelled, again. My retroactive memory interference convinced me that she was still that gorgeous fairy that lives in paradise. This time, she quit tapping my shoulders and started poking my face.
“Michiko?” I asked, again. Michiko turned her face towards me and gave me one big wicked grin that shocked me. The configurations of her face were spiralling; her nostrils grew larger, her charming hair underwent instant alopecia and left her half bald, her cheeks expanded so much that it gave her a double-chin... It was a total nightmare. Wait, a ‘nightmare’? Indeed, it was just a brief passage of time, nothing remains constant, including nightmares or sweet daydreams. If it wasn’t a dream Michiko wouldn’t be having conversations with someone like me.
The shaking and tapping continued. My puffy eyes, tired from those nonstop tests and exams assigned by my savage teachers, searched for the criminal that disturbed my sleep.
“Teacher, someone is sleeping!” The kids babbled as they continued to poke me. Because their ugly little hands perfectly ended my conservation with Michiko, I really wanted to punch and destroy their disgusting faces. And because I did not want to deal with the punishments afterwards, instead, I yelled, “Do you dorks have a problem with your life, huh, are you sick? Scumbags! You dorks really want to get punched huh? Want a taste of my fist? Get out of my sight before you dorks get punched!” My face turned bright red, instead of being embarrassed, I was furious. Straight away, I could see fragments of tears sparkling and rolling down their faces.
They started running towards their teacher, “Tee-cher, der gu-rl-bu-bubu-llyy-uss-sh-shi-saaayy-da-da-dat-uweee-uree-dd-orks-a-ann-uwi-ill-ponch-uwusss,” cried the ugly kids.
Thank God the teacher had a 180 opposite personality of the sorcerer. He apologized to me and told the kids to leave the library, he saved me from detention. I need to admit that this teacher was one of the few teachers that actually understood what the students were going through hell. If the sorcerer caught me then the situation would be different. Just thinking about the sorcerer standing in front of me gives me goosebumps. I couldn’t imagine the possible outcomes of the punishment the sorcerer will give me after catching me performing ‘stupid actions without manners’. Still, I should have been wiser or at least learned to restrain myself from these types of situations. Who would have guessed that yelling at dorks could cause me bad afterwards.
It didn’t take me long to notice that Michiko was both staring and smiling at me. Warning: this is not a dream! She grabbed her purse, stood up, and gradually walked towards me. Still, the way she walked, brushed her hair, and smiled was so elegant that it describes the exact opposite of me. She tapped my shoulder benevolently and smiled, unlike the ‘other Michiko’ that I met while sleeping. She pulled out a pair of earplugs from her purse and lent them to me.
“I think you might need these,” she laughed. I could see the dimples on her pretty face, even the way that she laughed was gorgeous.
“Thank you,” I whispered as I imitated the way she brushed her hair.
“You’re welcome. It’s nice talking to you. I’m Michiko. I have seen you sleeping in the library since the first day. Isn’t it strange? This is my first time talking to you but it feels like we have known each other for years.”
“Yes. It’s nice meeting you too,” I whispered. Deja vu, I guess? My face turned bright red, so red that my face looked like a monkey’s butt. “ざるのお尻見たい！” was the phrase that my grandma often uses. I was normally not a bashful person, perhaps I was paralysed by Michiko’s beauty. Jamais vu, I guess? The whole conservation felt like a dream, it was unreal.
Because I live without any regrets, I decided to add a little courage into my brain cells and get the conservation going. “Is it okay if I sit beside you tomorrow? Can we be friends?” I have to admit that this was the first time in my life being polite, I wasn’t being myself.
Without noticing, I was squeezing the earplugs due to my nervousness. To my surprise, there were stickers of Kirito and Asuna present on both sides of the earplugs. Wait, what? The diligent senior was a fan of Sword Art Online too? I never thought I’d live to see this day coming!
“Michiko, Are you a fan of SAO? I could not believe that Kirito actually killed Kuradeel in order to protect Asuna!” I asked, surprised.
“Right? I thought so too! I still have more stickers, I’ll bring them to you next time! I started becoming a fan of this anime after seeing Kirito’s wonderful combat skills...”
Riiiiiiinnnngggg. Riiiiiiinnnngggg. Riiiiiiinnnngggg. That was the bell that reminded the students it was time to go back to hell. Nevertheless, the practice that I have after school refilled my mind with excitement and joy. 2 more hours to go before practice.
“Oops. Looks like it’s time for me to go. I’ll see you later then.” She walked away with a smile on her face. To be honest, I was jealous of her smile. I wonder if I could force a smile on my face twenty four seven despite everything that I had been going through. Still, it was possible, wasn’t it?
Because another detention would definitely ruin my mood, I decided to start packing up and getting ready for the next class. I’d got two minutes to go. It didn’t take me long to realize how crumbled up my uniforms were. My face was so puffy as if I was a water tank. I grabbed all of my belongings and headed to the bathroom. Run, Mitsuki, Run. I was confident that the smirk on my face would freak other students out when they saw me in the hallway. My thoughts were tangled up like that sweater that I could never knit perfectly.