Instant Death / Instant Death Chapter 3

All the students’ glowing and beaming made it feel like a rainbow was running through the bus, giving it the air of a modern day fairy-tale.

“Your powers differ based on color, but for convenience just think of it as the more vivid the glow the stronger the power. Everyone’s light will fade in a moment, I recommend you take mental note of who looks powerful before that happens; getting on the good side of strong companions continues to prove a solid method of survival.”

Taking Shion’s advice to heart the students began frantically scanning their classmates for promising individuals.
Tomochika wasn’t the only one that wasn’t sparkling, but they were a drastic minority.

“Version 02.87.05.11 of Battle Song has just been installed in you all. With the install successful you should be seeing all the licence holders’ logos right about
now. Vexing, I know, but they’re only there during boot-up so please bear with it as it finishes setting up.”

Tomochika, who had still been standing, sat down again and stared forward. All she could see was the bus seat in front of her.
Whatever Shion was talking about, she couldn’t see it.

“Mikochi, are you seeing anything?”

With a rising sense of unease Tomochika asked Romiko in the neighboring seat.

“Yeah. A bunch of colorful text is floating around, not sure what’s going on. ‘Status,’ it says. Oh, it’s in our language. That’s strange, right?”

So it really was visible to everyone else.
Tomochika was wavering, it seemed to have been a bad sign after all. The feeling of being left out just wouldn’t leave her alone.

“With this you will gain the ability to use various special powers. Use them and work towards becoming a sage. You have one month.”

“E-excuse me!”

Tomochika bundled her resolve, rose to her feet and directly addressed Shion.

“Yes?”

“Ah, is it fine to ask questions?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

Shion smiled gently.

“Um, I didn’t glow earlier, and I’m not seeing any logos or anything either…”

“My oh my.”

Shion’s gentle smile quickly turned into one of theatrical pity.

“It’s regretful, but occasionally there are incompatible individuals. Nothing to do about that, you’d best give up.”

Being told off just like that Tomochika was puzzled for a response. The premonition telling her she was heading towards a hopeless situation was growing more and more intense.

“Moving on. You are all part of the same clan, a community of sorts. From here, please produce a sage from within that clan. You may work together on turning only one of you into a sage, or even split up and become sages by yourselves, on your own. I’ll leave your course of action to you.”

“One more question! Why us, if I may ask!”

Tomochika’s despair gave birth to belligerency.
In response to her question she was stabbed with stares, the same message in all of their eyes: “Don’t act out of line!”

“Oh, just a matter of statistics. Calculations suggested that this group has a high probability of producing a sage.”

“One more! Please tell me what happens if none of us turn into sages, if I may ask!”

“Hm, what indeed. I suppose I’ll have you turned into livestock and wrung of your magical power. You will be shoved and locked into a dark magic tank where you will spend the entirety of your life. Work hard, okay?”

It was a future more miserable than what Tomochika could have imagined.
That was her last question.

“On the other hand, if you do produce a sage the rest of you will turn into that sage’s acolytes, a position of quite some influence in this world. Now then, your first mission will begin in an hour. Don’t go and die off on me now.”

With those words Shion left the bus. The students she had left behind now released their pent-up hysteria and the bus’ inside became chaotic.

“What the heck, I don’t get what’s going on at all.”

Tomochika slumped into her seat.

“Ah-, the mission’s description came in.”

Romiko spoke in her usual manner, not seeming particularly perturbed. According to Romiko, the mission’s contents were as follows:

First Mission
Objective: Escape from the Plain of Dragons and reach the city in the north!
Main Enemies: Dragons (Average Level of 1000)
Advice: Dragons’ preferred food are humans. As such, being attacked upon leaving the bus is close to certain. Furthermore, defeating a dragon is beyond your current abilities. You have one hour until the mission starts, during that time a barrier around the bus will guarantee your safety. Use that time to come up with a strategy.

“No way, dragons?”

Tomochika looked out of the window.
All she could see was an idyllic plain of grass, it was difficult to imagine a monster like a dragon to suddenly appear. However, what she did spot were castle walls, far off in the distance.
Seemed like the town was over there.

“Everyone, please listen!”

The panic was still ongoing when suddenly someone raised their voice and stepped forward.
A male student, Suguru Yazaki.
After his shout everyone turned quiet.

“We’re in a confusing situation, but for the time being it doesn’t look like we’ve got a choice but to clear that mission, and for that we’ll need everyone’s cooperation.”

A sudden leader-act.
Tomochika expected someone to voice an objection, but, surprisingly, everyone appeared to go along with it.

“Hey, is it really fine to leave it to Yazaki-kun like that?

She asked Romiko in a hushed voice.

“Well, having someone take the role of mediator sounds reasonable, I guess?”

“I mean, yeah, but…”

There was something about it that gave her a bad feeling.

“First of all I would like to get a grasp on everyone’s abilities. Can everyone write down their name and status on a memo and bring it to me?”

Somehow no one opposed Yazaki’s proposal.

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Thanks for reading. Next chapter sometime soon.

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