Chapter One - A Forced Field Trip
As the incessant beep of my alarm clock brought me back to reality, I sat in bed for a few seconds, surprised to find that I could remember nearly every detail of my dream. I went through it again, trying to cement it into my mind.
Everything was hazy, like a heavy fog covered the surroundings, but I could tell I was in a large cavern of some sort. I could hear what sounded like distorted wolf howling somewhere nearby but the source was difficult to locate.
I was afraid, quietly shivering and curled up on the ground like a child.
I was there for what felt like forever, until a sudden flash of movement caught my eye. More and more shapes began to convene around me in the darkness, and I could feel something was off.
My body suddenly shot up into a standing position against my will, as if someone had taken control of it.
An almost audible voice could be heard from one of the figues, the details were lost to the fog though.
As I opened my mouth to respond, an unfamiliar voice escaped my lips.
“You little monsters. I should have expected such treachery from you.”
One of the figures stepped forward. He was wearing what looked like a futuristic hazmat suit. Every inch of his body was covered, and the entire thing, including the mask was nearly skin tight. A faint glow could be seen coming from underneath the surface of the suit. If I didn’t hear him speak I may have thought he was an alien or something.
“After everything you’ve done, you still believe you have any right to speak of treachery?”
I couldn't control my body. It didn’t respond despite my attempts to slap myself awake. A cynical laugh I didn’t know my voice could make rang out and quickly died in the surrounding fog, sending a chill down my spine.
“And now what. You can’t kill me, I can’t kill you… clearly.” I detected some disappointment in the last part of the sentence
I, or whoever I was, paused for a moment before continuing.
“We’ll be here forever, or you could just let me go, and we’ll perform this whole song and dance some other time. Believe it or not i’m actually rather busy.”
I felt my lips twist into a cruel smile at the last part.
Despite the mask, I got the feeling the man in the suit was smiling. My own smile quickly vanished in response.
“Actually, I have a better idea.”
Suddenly a bright light enveloped the ring of people, with me at the center.
The light filled my vision, and the dream abruptly ended just as it began.
I sat in bed for a while longer, unsure if my shivering was from the open window, or the dream. Eventually I rolled out of bed. Unfortunately, I still have to go to school.
The sounds of my morning routine cut through the utter silence common in the rest of the large house. My parents are both constantly busy, and at the moment they’re away on a trip to Taiwan on business. Not that they’re particularly bothered by leaving me behind like this.
I left the house with 30 minutes until the beginning of class, much later than usual. The dream must have caused me to sleep in. I forgot to make myself something for lunch so I decided to stop by the store to grab something pre-made.
“Sabi!” A familiar voice called from behind me as I turned onto the street leading to the store.
I turned to see one of the people I'd least like to run into excitedly running towards me.
“Isabel!” I forced a smile and waved politely. “How’s it going?”
Her name is Isabella Perez, but she usually goes by Isabel. She is considered to be generally attractive, with long light brown hair and blue eyes.
She grinned and matched her steps to mine. This girl has made it her mission to get close to me recently, and I don’t have the heart to tell her I'm not looking for friends at the moment, so i've been humoring her for almost a month now. She's nice, at least. But it's surprisingly hard to avoid her.
“This must be the first time i’ve run into you on the way to school! What’s the occasion?”
She hit me with a smile that was too bright to handle this early. I was tempted to raise my hands to shield my eyes, but thought that might be a bit rude.
I gave a dry laugh “Just woke up a bit late today. Do you normally take this route?”
Mental note: Do not ever take this route again.
We made small talk until I diverged from the path to stop by the store.
“Careful, wouldn’t want to ruin your perfect attendance.”
With that warning she waved and continued on her way to school.
I don’t really have much of a problem with her, I can deal with her level of annoying, but I just really don’t have time to do so. My parents have made it very clear that average won’t cut it in school, and I like having money to eat. Anyway, i’ve never had much of a problem with being alone.
The store was relatively empty, so thankfully I was able to get a sandwich and leave with about 15 minutes on the clock.
It didn’t take long for me to reach the school gates, which were full of students pouring through. There were only about 5 minutes until the beginning of class, so I quickly walked to my homeroom and took a seat.
Homeroom came and went relatively uneventfully, thankfully nobody other than Isabel pays much attention to me, so I was able to avoid any comments about my late arrival. And speak of the devil, as soon as homeroom ended Isabel appeared next to my desk before I even noticed her.
“How’s it going? You’ve been looking kind of distracted since I first saw you.”
Her face was full of concern.
One of her most annoying traits is how observant she can be. It’s also one of the reasons she seems to get along with most of the people in the school.
To be honest I’ve been thinking of the dream I had all day. For some reason I can’t get it out of my head. Not that I'm about to confide in her about it.
“It’s nothing, my shoulder is just a bit sore. I think I pulled a muscle in basketball practice the other day."
The worry in her face became slightly more pronounced.
“Don’t push yourself too hard, from what I’ve seen you have nothing to prove."
Clearly she hasn't met my parents.
I nodded in response to her question, but before I could respond to it, I felt something akin to the ground shifting from underneath me.
The look on Isabel’s face and the immediate confusion in the classroom confirmed I wasn’t the only one who felt it.
Before I could finish the sentence, a bright light exactly like the one in my dream shone from the floor beneath us.
The masked man flashed through my mind, but I didn't have time to dwell on the thought.
"Get down!" One of my classmates shouted.
Probably not good advice considering the light was coming from the floor.
I panicked and tried to make it to the door, but before I could I felt my body become weightless, and it felt like my stomach made a brief vacation to my throat.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by darkness, with no sign of my classmates.
It felt like I was stuck in a black void for days, unable to move. Even when I tried to speak no sound came out. It got to the point where I began to wonder if I even had a body to begin with.
Without warning, I felt gravity’s pull once again, and as if a switch was flipped, the world around me was flooded with light and sound.
I found myself on the floor of a dimly lit room, surrounded by my classmates who were either passed out or just waking up.
Hurried footsteps surrounded us, and before I knew it the entire class was surrounded by a group of men and women dressed in white robes.
"What do we do?"
I heard one of the men urgently whisper to a man next to him.
"Call His Grace"
The first one who spoke nodded and hurriedly left the circle of people. A streak of daylight emerged briefly from the door he left through, blinding me temporarily.
I was frozen in place, unsure of what to do. They must have hit us with a flash bang and pumped in some form of sleeping gas or something, and kidnapped us.
That doesn't explain the similarities to my dream, but these people were definitely not the ones from it.
Our school is generally full of rich kids, so the motive is there. The question is, how did they get into the building, and did they attack the entire school, or just our class?
The distressed voices of my classmates quickly rose to a level where I could hardly make out any one voice as the rest of them woke up and took in their surroundings.
As the chaos seemed to reach a peak, a booming voice suddenly cut through the cacophony.
"Please! Try to calm down!"
The door from earlier opened, briefly blinding us again, and a somewhat short man with the face of an old general stepped into the circle of robed people, who parted to let him through. They bowed respectfully when they saw him. Clearly this guy is some sort of big shot here.
Most of my classmates quieted down upon hearing his voice, so he continued at a lower volume.
"I'm very sorry, but may I ask where you're from?"
Where are we from? You're the one who kidnapped us! Shouldn't you be well aware of where we're from?
"Excuse me, but we're the ones who should be asking questions here! What do you want from us?"
I whipped my head around to find who spoke, surprised to hear an unfamiliar voice among my classmates.
I recognized him immediately. His name is Nathan Robeck, he's a senior, one grade above us. He has short black hair, and is pretty much your standard pretty boy. He's the student council president, and his good looks and intelligence make him popular with the girls. For some reason he and another unfamiliar upperclassman were sitting a distance behind me, looking about as confused as the rest of us.
"My name is Aureo Ascia, I am the humble Leader of our lovely Terram. And you are currently in a test chamber within the science wing of the state building in our capitol, Sanctus Petra."
Hushed whispers broke out among the students.
"This guy's totally gonna sacrifice us to some god."
"Nah, didn't you hear what he said? We're gonna get experimented on, aren't we?"
"Terram? Is that supposed to be some sort of country?"
"What, so we aren't in America anymore?"
One voice stood out among the others, and I looked over to see Isabel in nearly the same location relative to me as she was back in the classroom. In fact, looking around, most of the students seem to be in the same relative locations as they were in the classroom for some reason.
Despite the situation, she seemed calm and collected.
"America?" The Aureo guy seemed confused. "Where would that be exactly?"
The confused whispers turned into confused outrage.
"Where- how the hell do you not know about America?"
"No big deal, just one of the most highly developed countries on earth"
"Where are we? I want to go home!"
Aureo waited patiently for the noise level to decrease, and most of the students realized he wasn't going to speak until we quieted down, so the volume quickly returned to a manageable level, despite some students continuing to talk to one another.
"I'd very much like to learn more about this 'Earth' you speak of." He nodded towards the student who brought it up. "Given the circumstances, I believe you all may be of a different world from ours."
At this the loudest cry of outrage yet exploded from the group of students, and unlike before I couldn't help but join them.
"I want to see my mom!"
"Just tell us where we are!"
"You fucking isekai'd us?"
"Send us home!"
"You're full of shit!"
A couple students stood up and tried to push through the circle.
In response, a couple of robed "scientists" struck different poses, and the students were sent flying back by some strange light which lashed out at them.
They sat in shock and disbelief, and the room suddenly went silent.
Aureo's voice rang out like the roar of a lion in the relatively small room. He helped one of the students up, and made sure she was okay before continuing.
The ones who acted went pale and immediately went back to a neutral position.
"I apologize for the rough handling by my scientists, as well as this mess they've made." he glared in their direction again.
Nobody spoke up this time.
A strange atmosphere hung in the air. The old man didn't seem like a kidnapper. Everything about him was kind and gentle, and he didn't seem to be lying. But none of it made sense.
"What the hell was that"
I'm not sure why I said it, but I immediately regretted it as the focus of the room turned to me.
Aureo gave a hearty chuckle.
"Am I to take it you've never seen magic before?"
He laughed as if he was talking about something as ordinary as the rain.
"You mean, you people can use magic?"
Nathan spoke this time, which was relieving.
"We can discuss this later. For now I believe a change of venue is in order for our esteemed guests, wouldn't you agree?"
I wanted nothing more than to leave this room as soon as possible. For some reason I'd been getting a very hostile feeling from it this whole time. Normally that'd be expected, given the large amount of unfamiliar people surrounding us, but for some reason the feeling I was getting wasn't from them. They probably wouldn't do anything with Aureo here, after all.
The robed people parted to reveal a large door set in the wall of the room, and Aureo opened it, gesturing for us to exit.
I took another look around. I didn't pay it much attention before, but in the center of the room is a large, intricately designed machine with faintly glowing purple lights covering its' surface. Strangely enough, the room is completely empty save for the machine. I identified the machine as the source of the hostile feeling. A shiver went down my spine as I gazed at it.
I snapped back to reality to see the students all looking to Nathan, Isabel, and a few at me, who seem to have become the de-facto leaders of the group at this point. Not that I'll ever accept such a responsibility.
Isabel, one of the first to stand, walked warily to the door, and turned back to the rest of the class.
"I don't know about you guys but this place gives me the creeps."
The rest of the class must have agreed, because those who were already standing helped those on the ground up and or shuffled towards the door; with more than a few dirty looks shot towards the scientists.
Not wanting to be left behind, I followed suit.