Chapter 7: The Man in Black
Ms. Grimmrock smiled kindly.
"I was wondering how long it would take for you to realize it was me." Yuri heaved a sigh of relief, what could've happened if it wasn't her? The worst outcome would be embarrassment, but he still found it relieving to find someone he could trust.
"I'm glad it's you, what are you doing here, anyway?"
"I teach here, believe it or not." Martha chuckled warmly. "33 years and still going!"
"So, is it a coincidence that you're here or..."
"Yes and no. Mainly this is my 'surface job', it's basically like a cover up for what we really do, so I'm stuck teaching here though I must say the lasagna is supreme."
She nodded to herself, most likely fantasising about when the next lasagna meal would be.
"I'm also your guardian for the time being." Martha added.
"Like a body guard?" Yuri asked.
"But you're..." He couldn't think of a better way to put it. "Old." Martha simply laughed, her smile spreading wider.
"I may be an old woman, but you should learn to think outside of the box. It could save your life." She patted Yuri on the shoulder.
"Now get back to your friends, we'll talk later tonight." She went back to her desk, filing papers. Yuri couldn't believe he'd met someone from his dream this quickly, now he definitely wasn't crazy. He slid in his seat next to Hikari and Kazumi, who was talking rapidly with Chiyo about a new outfit she planned to make.
Hikari motioned over to Martha.
"You know her?" He asked. Yuri smiled, and nodded.
"She's an old friend of mine." He hated having to lie to Hikari, but he wasn't quite ready to tell him about his dreams and... Power.
"Wow, small world. Oh, remember how you asked what a girlfriend was earlier?" Hikari cracked his knuckles, as Yuri felt the blood drain from his face.
"Y-yeah... What, is it bad to have a girlfriend?" Hikari giggled.
"No way! But what I will tell you..." And before he knew it Yuri was dragged into a long, painful, and detailed conversation about girls. He slowly felt himself get tortured on the inside, how could Hikari's innocent mind have those sort of things lurking in there?! Guess you really can't judge a book by its cover, Yuri thought.
"...So, are you?" Hikari broke his thoughts.
"Sorry what?" He inched closer, lowering his voice to a whisper.
"Are you and Kazumi together?" Yuri felt an odd heat rise in his cheeks. It made him feel awkward and embarrassed.
"What? No, I just met her!"
"But you like her." Hikari had that I-know-exactly-what-you're-thinking look, Yuri played with his hair as to avoid eye contact.
"Maybe I do, I can't say for sure. I only just met the girl."
"Suuuuuure." Yuri felt completely creeped out by this, he'd never even been friends with another girl, never mind together! Kazumi stuck out to him from the others though. It could have been because he collided heads with her. No, that definitely wasn't it. Though that can make someone memorable in its own way. Yuri took a glance at Kazumi out of the corner of his eye, and couldn't help but smile.
"See, this one is going to have a blood pattern on the bottom, to make it more horror-like! I'm thinking long sleeves, though cause spaghetti straps would just look weird. Man, when prom rolls around its gonna be a hit!" Kazumi's eyes flashed with excitement. From what Yuri could understand, she was making her own dress.
"You make clothes?" He asked. She grinned, holding her fist in the air.
"Hell yeah! It's way better than buying, which could take forever. Eventually I thought 'why not jut make it myself?' so the Kazumi brand started."
"She has a dream of being a fashion designer." Chiyo smiled pleasantly.
"You bet I do, world famous at that! Where do you think my hoodie came from?" Smirking, she zipped and unzipped one of the many zippers on her sleeves.
"What would you like to be once you get out of school, Yuri?" Chiyo asked politely, she was about a complete opposite of Kazumi.
"I don't know. I never really gave it much thought." Yuri felt bad that he couldn't answer her question, but he never really sought a life outside the lab.
"Well I'm going to be a vet." Hikari pitched into the conversation. "I take care of sick animals." He added, seeing Yuri's confused look.
"Really? How nice!" Chiyo beamed.
"But I was also thinking of a scientist or a doctor... Guess I don't really know either. What about you, Chiyo?" She pondered the thought for a second, but heartily replied.
"I'm considering becoming a teacher." She blushed, embarrassed.
"Hey, don't feel bad about it or anything, that's a great idea. Make sure you call me in as a special guest sometime, 'kay?" Kazumi give Chiyo a thumbs up. Chiyo grinned.
The bell rang after a couple minutes, Yuri, Hikari, Kazumi, and Chiyo rose from their seats and went on to find their next class. Yuri had Science, but Hikari had Math.
"You'll be fine." He had said, but Yuri couldn't shake the feeling of nervousness he had. He found the classroom easily enough, though it was harder to somewhere to sit, or someone to sit by. It must have been a miracle, when he saw Chiyo wave at him from a table near the middle of class.
"Thank goodness you're here, I thought I might be stuck alone this time around." Chiyo seemed relieved, as did Yuri.
"Same here." He breathed. The class went by slowly, most people found it boring. Yuri was fascinated even though it was just the course outline they were going over. His teacher, again an older man, had a mad scientist look in his eye. Chiyo seemed intrigued in class as well, at least he could relate to someone. Before long, the bell rang once more.
"Remember to keep your wits about you!" The teacher said as a farewell. Yuri found the man to be odd, but nice nevertheless. Him and Chiyo compared schedules.
"Oh, I have Math now. See you later, Yuri." She gave him a last smile before heading down the hall. Yuri had English next, which was strange, he already knew the language so what more was there to teach? He shrugged, opening the door to the classroom. A dark sense came over him, something was amiss. Kazumi sat by an empty desk, clicking her pen, but grinned when she saw Yuri slip into the desk next to hers.
"Hey hey, long time no see." Yuri exchange a smile with her in returned, but still couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. Before long, their teacher walked in. He was the youngest one of all his other teachers, by far. Silky long black hair was tied in a loose ponytail that ran down his back. He wore rather dark clothes as well, walking to the front of the classroom. The mans eyes glistened a dark violet, as he examined each one if his students. His eyes fell on top of Yuri, and his eyebrows raised slightly. Pushing up a set of narrow glasses, he spoke to the class.
"Hello. I am Mr. Yukimura. This will be your English class, as of today. Now I don't have much to say, but it would do well for you to remember this: don't get yourself caught in something you have no chance of escaping from." The class was surprised at his words, and remained silent.
"Can anyone tell me what form of poetry this is?" He pointed to the board, where the words 'let us dance, as the stars in the night sky have taught us.' were displayed. Kazumi's hand shot straight into the air. Mr. Yukimura adjusted his glasses.
"Oh? And who might you be Miss...?"
"Arakaki, sir. Kazumi Arakaki. That's personification, isn't it?"
"Correct." Kazumi smirked.
"Well Miss Arakaki, I hope you keep your creativity skills running high, you'll need them here. That goes for everyone else as well, you're advancing through grades like wildfire. I won't accept cheap or poorly done work." He went on about the rules and expectations of the class. Yuri finally knew where the ominous feeling came from. It all directed straight to Mr. Yukimura.