DDD-2: Failure and Success

Story Title: Diary of the Dreamers and Dreamless
Chapter Title: Failure and Success
Chapter 2 Quick Peek: 
Ailia simply shook her head. “I’m a level 6, remember. Two test hassle.” “So you have one more?” Yoshii said with a frown on his face.
Disclaimer: 6k words long— Read with caution.  Expect new characters and probably a lot of typos, which will be fixed once I decide to reread this chapter out of boredom.

“So let me get this straight…” Ai began. “You went against orders just to get suspended?”

Ailia nodded as she surfed through the internet. She was on YouTube listening to voice covers of different anime songs. Technically, she was supposed to engross herself in anime, but the music covers were better at getting her attention.

“You’re being too nonchalant about it.” Ai pointed out. Ailia looked at her roommate who was giving her the look- the look that asked for explanations. Ailia sighed. She gave in to the look of Ai.

“I need some time away from the Dreamless team to figure out… er…” Ailia searched for the proper term to describe the item currently in her hand- the music player.

“Your dream?” Ai suggested as the word filler.

“Kind of…” Ailia’s voice trailed. “My dream doesn’t sound like me.” Ailia contemplated as she looked at the screen of her music player. She liked listening to music from original songs to instrument or voice covers. She didn’t have a set favorite in the music genres, but she knew how to appreciate each genre for its worth. Each genre had a unique characteristic in it, which is what made each genre distinct. Music is the reason why she always had her music player with her— even before she found out it was her Dream Diary.

“You mean it doesn’t sound like what your dad wants.” Ai corrected as she continued to draw on her sketch pad, which was situated on top of her lap.

Ailia sighed at the correction. Ai did say the truth, but she really didn’t want to blame her own dad. He had good intentions when he planned out her education— from preschool to college. It was all sure she’d have a decent future wherein she wasn’t suffering. Sadly, the plan wasn’t one that Ailia could move in freely because it aligned along the sciences. It’s not that she was inept in the sciences— on the contrary, she was skilled in all the major categories— except Math. It’s just that she has done so well in the sciences that her dad was adamant that getting a course in the science did her intelligence justice.

“Anyway, I don’t have the skill to pursue my dream.” Ailia attempted to cover herself up, which made Ai facepalm. That was the overused scapegoat of Ailia during these discussions. Ai knew that Ailia didn’t want to think about it anymore, but Ai cared about Ailia’s condition. Was Ailia going to surpass that hurdle of hers? Ailia was deep in thought— should she tell her father about her dream? Suddenly, she saw a chibi of her favorite character walk at her peripheral vision. It stumbled as it attempted to get to the laptop, which she found insanely cute. She picked up the drawing and placed it at the bottom right of her laptop’s screen. Ailia looked at Ai, who was still drawing on her sketchpad as if nothing had happened, but the thinned out paper at the corner of Ai’s sketchpad gave away the sweet gesture. “Thanks, Ai.”

Ai looked up and gave Ailia a warm smile— a smile that told her that everything would be okay. It was a smile that told her not to worry. “In the end Ailia…” Ai trailed as she tried to find a certain quote that related to Ailia’s problem— one that would tell her not to give up— she found it and continued. “If fate wants you to have that dream, the world conspires with it so it can happen.”

Ailia noted that quote. It may come in handy at some point in her life when she found herself over-thinking the problem she couldn’t escape— yet. Then it suddenly hit her— why was there a moving chibi on her laptop? “Ai, I thought you said you wouldn’t use your powers.”

Her artistic roommate continued drawing as she replied. “I need to practice. It’s power examination week.”

“Shit.” Ailia muttured as softly as she could, but Ai still chuckled. She knew what Ailia had said even without hearing it because she knew Ailia that well.

It was ASA’s semestral power examination. Technically, it’s a simple check-up of the powers of the students. It was a time wherein levels can increase and when potential is also found for a certain test is open to the public. Whenever a person has a Dream Diary, he or she also gains a power with them. At times, the power appears before the Dream Diary, so simple tests are done to check if a person has a power or ability. Also, a Dream Diary’s form varies from person-to-person, so it’s easier to figure out if a person has the ability through the power he or she has.

The testing for the existence of powers is through a machine known as CRB, Color Resonance Box. A person is simply asked to stand inside the box while it’s operated outside by the technician. The box lights up at different wavelengths to check if it matches up to any color except black. Powers emit a certain wavelength of energy relative to the type of power. Now a person is simply normal, without any power, when he or she emits no energy wavelength. Black is a special case for that’s the color power wavelengths end up at when a person is Nightmarized. The power wavelength becomes negative energy, which is why people who are Nightmarized are usual void of hope.

Now the other tests are exclusive to ASA students and alumni. For alumni, they are required to visit once a year in order to check up at what level their powers are at. When left unmaintained, powers tend to go down a level or two and vice versa if used often. Now with various powers in existence, ASA lacks testing facilities for some powers and levels, so they have to transport students to facilities that can test their power— which are usually out of town. That is why ASA’s semestral power examination usually takes two weeks to finish.

Ailia waved good-bye to some of the people she knew that had to take the test outside of school— one of them was Train. While Train’s power was at level 3 last time they had the examination, it has been rumored that he had gotten better and that he shut down the school’s network for three days just so there wouldn’t be an English examination. The school didn’t have a system that could withstand constant break-ins, so Train was sent to an intelligence facility at another city.

Well, it’s not like Train was going to be alone with no friends. Apparently, his girlfriend, Saori, was also sent to the same facility as he is. While the power she held was at level 1, it was the Creation power. It was the ability to conjure objects from one’s mind. Now it’s a powerful power, but it takes a toll on the person’s body, so it can only be used once a month. The reason it couldn’t be tested in ASA’s facilities is that when used, the power creates a ball that sucks anything into it— except for the user. It was like a black hole and the reason behind it is that it needs the stored energy from surrounding objects to create the item even though it can be created from just the energy the user donates.

Ailia looked at the distancing bus. She sighed for she wished that she could be sent out of town— to go to a different place. It would be a great vacation and it’d give her time to contemplate on her problems, but no. ASA was renowned for its testing facilities concerning Elemental Manipulation. From the typical water manipulation to the uncommon but deadly blood manipulation.

Tests are done at random and the schedule assigned to Ailia was 5 days from now. She passed by the field to watch the different tests done. Powers that simply needed a big space for testing were usually done in the field. One of the students testing at that moment was Yoshii. With a power currently at level 4, he was above average. Yoshii was asked to supply as much needles and paper as he could in a span of one minute. Well, he was able to supply the items though leaning towards needles instead of paper. This high amount of needles was theoretically born from being partners with Teito in missions. What was amusing about the sight was how haphazard the items were stacked. Yoshii sure knew how to supply numbers, but somehow, they were always disorganized.

The grass rustled and Ailia felt the contortion of the grass shift. Teito sat beside her as they looked at the field. The air around them was dead, but it was one most welcome. They had no clue what to talk about, but the assurance that someone was with you was appreciated.

“Here for Brittany?” Ailia asked as her gaze shifted to the petite girl with wavy hair who currently donned cat ears and a tail. Teito simply shrugged, but his eyes gave it away— his disproportionate yet soul-reaching eyes. They were unusual eyes, but they never failed to place Ailia at a trance when looking at them. Then she took a look at the girl on the field.

Did she miss a certain category in Teito’s checklist of must have characteristics? She couldn’t have for they were together for more than a year. Was it her domineering personality? Well, that was the most sensible explanation. How lucky the blonde girl was to have Teito’s interest. Then again, Ailia had his for a long time, making her take it for granted. Now the effects are before her, making her wish she could turn back time. But she couldn’t for it isn’t in her power to.

“When’s your schedule?” Teito inquired.

“Five days from now. You?”


Once again, their conversation had become stale. They really had horrible conversation-maintaining skills, then again, that was the same problem they had in their relationship— but not the reason that broke it. Ailia stood up and told Teito that she was going to the cafeteria. Teito joined her because he too was looking for something to eat.

At the cafeteria, Teito and Ailia sat at the red tables area. The area wasn’t meant to be labeled that way, but to make it more distinguishable, it was called that way. Plus, it gave away exactly what was unique about that area. Even when eating, there was still silence. Were they that horrible at maintaining or even starting up conversations?

“How many people know your power?” Teito suddenly brought up.

Ailia stopped twirling the noodles on her plate. That was a random question and certainly one she didn’t expect from Teito. Why was the brown-haired boy sitting in front of her asking such a question? She contemplated on how to answer. She didn’t want to disclose a lot of information.

“Whoever has seen it, I guess.” She settled as the answer. It gave a description of the people while being vague about the number. The answer would probably infuriate Teito.

“That’s not a number!” As expected, Teito complained at the lack of a decent answer. It was partially the truth. Only those who have seen her power are the ones who know it- and Scott.

“I don’t have an exact number, okay? It’s not like I know who watches me during exams.” Ailia explained her side without showing how peeved she was.

“Then how come Yoshii doesn’t know it?” Teito said with a hint of annoyance. He wasn’t supposed to get heated up or even annoyed with the conversation. He was probably over-analyzing the situation, but his rational side told him to do so. He needed answers— clear cut ones.

“Because he hasn’t seen it? I know I didn’t tell him.” Ailia said, but Teito was skeptical. Did Ailia want to protect information so badly? Her carefree and open nature had disappeared- a nature that made people appreciate her.

“What would you do if he found out?” Teito asked with a look hoping for a decent explanation this time.

“Nothing. If he knows, he knows. Those who have seen it usually keep it secret. Probably because of the power’s intensity.” Ailia theorized before eating the fried noodles in front of her.

That was the end of their conversation. Teito managed not to get himself angry- then again, Ailia helped by ending the conversation through answering decently.

Five days have passed since their conversation. For the Dreamless team, no cases or missions occurred during the week, so it was relatively quiet at HQ. Teito spent his five days watching Brittany from afar— of course with someone in tow so he wouldn’t look suspicious. He found Brittany’s power to be a cute one albeit useless. It’s no wonder Brittany kept her power hidden and used it during times of need— like being chased by death. Along with trailing Brittany like a lost puppy, Teito monitored the list of ASA applicants for someone with a certain power.

Teito didn’t mind being partners with Yoshii. Hell, he found Yoshii amusing from time to time albeit noisy, but Teito wasn’t helping in Yoshii’s growth. Unlike Teito, who was stuck at level 5 because of personal problems, Yoshii could be promoted to level 5 at any moment, but was stuck at level 4 because of his unbalanced skill. Since they were partners, Yoshii used his infinite supply of needles more than his paper’s to the point that needles always tripled papers in amount. Their partnership worked; hell, they always got the award for best partnership. But Yoshii was never going to improve at the rate he was going— not at the rate he’s supplying needles as opposed to paper.

All these happened to Teito during the five days that have passed. Currently, he was in line to have himself tested through CRB. Even though powers have been determined, ASA students still undergo the test due to power changes, which are detected by wave color changes. Now that issue happens once in a blue moon, but ASA still monitors it because that student will have to be tested from level one.

With him in line was Ailia. She was 4 people in front of him, chatting with Haru who was also in line. The two seemed to have a close bond- one that easily got easily reformed upon seeing each other in ASA. Haru was one of people Ailia let her walls down for. Apparently, they were childhood friends who were separated in the 3rd grade when Haru transferred schools in a different city.

His train of thought was put to a halt when the room became noisy. A certain event unfolded before his eyes that never happened in ASA’s power examinations. While it has been explained that people’s powers change, a person having two was simply crazy and that’s exactly what occurred in front of him. Haru’s face was etched with worry while the technician looked perplexed. That’s when he noticed that Ailia was missing. Was Ailia the person inside the CRB— the person with a second power? Wait, is having a second power even possible? Maybe it was a malfunction in the machine due to numerous test takers.

A doctor hurriedly appeared to the scene. He looked at the wavelength details and in truth, there were two. Or maybe that’s how Teito saw the fuss in front of him unfold.  Teito was quickly pulled out of the line and dragged to the front by Haru. He was surprised by what Haru did that he stumbled for the first few steps. Teito found himself by the CRB with the people analyzing the situation.

“This guy works with Ailia in the Dreamless team.” Haru explained to the doctor. The doctor discerned how Teito looked. It was as if Teito was being analyzed by Ailia’s parents, which he had gone through before and one he didn’t want to go through again.

“Boy. Has the girl inside looked off at any point in time?” The doctor inquired.

Teito backtracked. Was there a time wherein Ailia wasn’t herself? Well, besides her PMS days, she was basically normal and her usual self— usual in his point of view. She also didn’t display any abnormal reactions since the last examination. Nothing popped-up if that’s what the doctor wanted to know. “Nothing that I know of, doctor.”

The doctor looked at the screen once again. The screen was dominated with the color purple, which is the general color classification of element manipulators. Yet at the center of the purple blob was the color orange— a color classification Teito wasn’t familiar with. That was until the doctor gave him a hint.

“If she starts attracting people or living things, please tell an ASA doctor.” The doctor mentioned before he left to check up on the other tests.

As the technician opened the door for Ailia to exit, Haru had a small conversation with Teito about the happening.

“Don’t tell Ailia. She might freak if she finds out.” Haru requested.

“Not planning to. I don’t want her over-expressive self attacking me.” Teito assured Haru. The statement made Haru chuckle even though it was partially degrading Ailia. “Although…” Teito trailed off, which caused Haru to stop laughing. Was he planning to go against the request? “…do you happen to know what general classification of the color orange is?”

“Oh.” Haru noticed Ailia approaching them, so she whispered the answer to Teito. “Anything pheromone-related.”

“Hi Haru!” Then Ailia saw Teito. “Teito.”

“What’s with the bitter welcome?” Teito complained.

“Well I’m sorry that it sounded bitter.” Ailia replied. “I’m just a bitter person in real life. I can’t put a smile on someone’s face unlike Brittany.”

How did Brittany appear in the conversation was what went through Teito’s mind right away. Haru knew where Ailia’s rant was going and bid Teito farewell before dragging Ailia away. The two were talking about Brittany before Ailia entered the box, so it’s probably the first thing that she remembered after getting out of the box.

“What was that about?” Ailia expressed right after Haru stopped dragging her. They were far away from the CBR testing room, so the annoyance must’ve bottled up in Ailia during that period.

“You were about to drop a rant bomb on Teito. Do you think that was the best thing to do?” Haru asked in an authorative tone.

“I was?” Ailia attempted to fake cluelessness her way out.

“Don’t you try that tactic on me.” Haru ordered.

“What tactic?” Ailia smirked.

Haru faceplamed. “The one you’re using right now.” Ailia was about to but in, but Haru stopped her. “Don’t you dare. Look…” Haru attempted to calm down. “You were starting to belittle yourself— something you always do in partnership with your rants.”

“Force of habit.” Ailia accepted. She felt Haru give her a short hug before Haru continued.

“You are who you are. Don’t let what others have put you down. You have something that others won’t have— I mean, no one can get as expressive as you.” Haru ended with what was an inside joke.

Ailia laughed. Although what Haru said was right, Ailia found it challenging to stop belittling herself. It was a habit that grew over time with the reprimands her father would give her when she didn’t attain a goal. Her father would degrade her to the core, so to avoid that, Ailia always tried to excel. She tried to avoid getting grades lower than a 2.00 for that was the lowest she could go. Hell, the first time she got a 2.00. her dad didn’t talk to her for a month. But she couldn’t get mad at her dad for it because his constant reprimands and angers got her to excel.

“How’s it going, Teito?” The cheeky boy also known as Yoshii caught up to the walking boy.

“Horrible!” Teito shouted, which Yoshii knew meant ‘do not bother to prod in further’.

Teito had just finished his exam and beads of sweat were trickling down the side of his head. Teito’s exam didn’t go that well in terms of leveling up. He knew he was going to be stuck at level 5 because he lost his temper during the exam. But that’s exactly what Teito needed to control in order to be brought up to level 6. It was just a horrible combination of events that led his temper to explode even though he had practiced on how to keep it cool.

First Ailia mentioned Brittany to him during their short encounter. Hell, he didn’t even know why to begin with, but the mere mention of Brittany signaled his streak of terrible events. Right after that encounter, he wanted to get a drink at the vending machine, which was supposed to be as simple as putting the bill in, getting the drink, then the change. But no, the machine decided not to cough up his change, which resulted to Teito kicking the machine. Next, one of his teachers gave out the tentative grades for the quarter. While Teito wasn’t grade-conscious, he was furious that his teacher wouldn’t round up his percent grade. Hell, his grade was in the 1.75 mark. But no, his teacher wanted to troll him that quarter and decided that there’d be no round ups. Talk about stingy and plain injustice. To top all the unfortunate events that happened around him was his encounter with Brittany.

Apparently Brittany figured out that Teito was following her for the past five days. The idea of having a stalker freaked the girl out— much more that it was her ex-boyfriend. She knew it had to stop, so she confronted Teito about it. Their conversation got pretty intense with Brittany basically telling Teito to give up and move on because she’ll never like him again. To make it even worse, she said she just dated him because he looked like his brother— the original guy she liked. Also, Teito was so nice to her, she decided to give it a try, but that’s about it. There wasn’t any genuine feelings and that’s what made Teito blow up. He walked away from Brittany without a good-bye or even on a good note— it was pure fury and negativity.

“Where are you going now then?” Yoshii inquired, attempting to avoid angering Teito even further. Yoshii had to be on his toes when deciding what to talk about.

“Anywhere.” As soon as Teito replied, the ground shook.

“Earthquake?” Yoshii wondered when it abruptly stopped. “Or not.”

“Ailia.” Teito remarked.

“What about Ailia?” Yoshii asked as he tried to connect the pieces.

“Ailia did that.” Teito explained. The wave of confusion took over Yoshii’s face, which made Teito sigh. His partner had the tendency to be clueless, so Teito decided to spell it out for Yoshii— well, more of show it. “Come with me then.”

Teito pulled Yoshii into a run. Teito was faster than Yoshii in running, so Yoshii was tripping every single step. “Where are we going?” Yoshii asked, attempting to get proper footing. Teito quickly halted and looked at Yoshii incredulously. How clueless can his partner get? Yoshii clearly saw Teito’s face of disbelief, which was how he understood what Teito was doing. “You’re taking me to the location of Ailia’s test, right?”

Teito dragged Yoshii again upon the question’s end. So his partner wasn’t clueless— just slow. Well, slow is better than clueless. Teito knew that Yoshii was as curious as a cat, so finding out Ailia’s power must appeal to Yoshii’s curiosity. Teito noticed the willingness of Yoshii to follow when he didn’t need to exert much energy in dragging Yoshii. Teito slowed down to give Yoshii time to adjust his footing. When Teito started running again, Yoshii quickly followed.

The two arrived at the site of Ailia’s test. Not a lot of people were watching the test due to the inconvenience of getting to the location. As one nears the test location, the ground shakes more vigorously, preventing him from standing properly. For Teito and Yoshii, it was an inconvenience, but one they’ve been trained to adjust to. They were at the school’s swimming pool and above it hovered a helicopter. The people on the ground were strapped in place to avoid stumbling from shaking. Ailia, on the other hand, looked like she was at home with the shaking. No straps were on her; add to that, she was perched at the edge of the pool.

“Ready.” The technician signaled. Ailia stretched out her arm with a coin snugly on top of her curled index finger. Her thumb was just below the coin— ready to flick the coin at any moment. A surge of electricity travelled through Ailia’s right arm until it piled up at the coin, which she flicked.

The coin crashed down into the pool of water, which was literally sent up. The helicopter above was located strategically to measure the height of water at its highest point. Apparently, that’s how the strength of Ailia’s element manipulation was measured. But it measured strength and not the ability of Ailia to manipulate such an entity. That’s why she was one of the few who needed to have two tests. Then again, all level 6 students had to take two tests— to measure both strength and wield potential of the student’s power. If both standards were reached, that meant the student has the right to earn the level 7 power— the right, but not necessarily. Because earning a level 7 ranking is meant to be difficult because it’s the highest level attainable.

“How much more until level 7 potential?” Ailia anxiously inquired.

“Two meters.” The technician replied. Ailia sighed since that was her 7th try that day. All her tries couldn’t reach the level 7 mark, which Ailia wanted to attain badly. She wanted to have a chance of getting the level 7 label. “Another round?”

Ailia shook her head. “I don’t think I’m meant to reach level 7 this time.” She removed her utility belt and some of her clothes before jumping in the pool. She collected the seven coins that were at the bottom of the swimming pool. When she surfaced, there were three coins in her hand. After placing them beside her utility bag, she dove under again to collect the remaining four. While she was underwater, Teito decided to help Ailia by drying off her coins and placing them in the utility belt. When she had resurfaced, she saw Teito putting her utility bag down. She was about to flip out when she noticed that her coins were dried up and neatly placed in her utility bag. She couldn’t get enraged by such a nice gesture— that’d be irrational. By being irrational, she would confuse Teito.

“Thank you.” Ailia muttered as she placed the remaining four coins by the bag. As she dried herself up, she noticed Yoshii approaching her. “You showed him?” Ailia inquired.

“Hey, you said it yourself. You don’t really care.” Teito pointed out. Ailia simply shrugged the thought off and continued drying her hair. “Was jumping in the pool necessary?”

“If it removes the sweat, then yeah.” Ailia replied nonchalantly. Teito had to agree behind the logic, but it was a ‘to each’s own’ kind of logic. Some people prefer avoiding the hassle of jumping into a pool. But then Ailia isn’t your average person, which she clearly shows with her actions.

“Electricity manipulation. Awesome!” Yoshii butt in. Well, the boy had horrible timing in saying things, but he didn’t care. If it was his fault, then it’s his fault. “So are you done?” Yoshii quickly asked. “‘Cause if you are, we can hang out and play Osu for the remainder of the day.”

Ailia simply shook her head. “I’m a level 6, remember. Two test hassle.”

“So you have one more?” Yoshii said with a frown on his face. He wanted to play games with Ailia even if it were the ones he didn’t play often. It was better than having no game companion at all. Ailia nodded before picking up the clothes she had removed. “Can we wait for you then?”

“Er… sure. You’ll be waiting outside the testing room though.” Ailia explained. The two boys didn’t mind and followed the girl, who was being led by the technician.

The group went down flights of stairs. It looked like they were going underground, which was exactly happening. The next room for testing was semi-underground. Teito knew the next room all to well— the combat simulation room. It was a room meant for offensive-based powers— a power Teito also had. There were rooms for the same purpose scattered all over campus— this was conveniently situated below the swimming area.

The entrance of the combat simulation room was monochromatic and bland. It was a white wall with a gray metal door. Beside the door was the machine used to monitor the simulations and to input the type and wave of enemies. Of course, like all ASA exclusive tests, there was public viewing except here, it’s through a flat screen TV. Talk about high-tech facilities and the rich-folk that fund them.

“I’ll set up the system so take you time preparing the items you’ll need.” The technician, while pressing buttons on the machine, ordered Ailia.

Ailia knew the drill— being stuck in level 6 for 1 1/2 years wasn’t the best thing in the world especially if you have a parent who loves excellence. She took out from her utility belt a metal rod that lengthened with a mere push of a button. She twirled the rod with her right hand then her left. She didn’t use the metal rod often because she was a long range type of person. She didn’t want to have contact at all— even during fights. But the simulation room was designed for offensive fights, so she had to use the rod. Well, it wasn’t like she didn’t know how to work the rod. It was the first tool she perfected from her arsenal of conductor weapons.

Moreover, coins did have its disadvantages— one of which is its attack distance. The attacking distance was determined by the aim and strength of the person’s flick. What was measured at the pool was the strength of the bundled energy Ailia placed in the coin, but the strength for distance was different. It relied on the strength of the flick, which Ailia hadn’t nailed properly. She could use coins up to a certain distance only, so for enemies out of her range, she had no choice but to charge.

“So you actually have a close-range weapon.” Yoshii’s eyes sparkled at the mere showing of the metal rod.

“It’s not a projectile, so I can’t wield it properly.” Teito said indifferently, which made Ailia stick her tongue out at him. “Though I surely don’t want to be at the rod’s end especially if you’re using it.” Teito cleared up in order to save himself from a barrage of Ailia’s harassments.

Ailia was content with Teito acknowledging her skills. She entered the room, which was bolted shut the moment the door met its frame. Through the TV, Teito and Yoshii noticed Ailia position herself at the opposite end of the room— far away from where the first wave of simulations exit.

The buzzer rang and the boys knew it was about to start. The inside turned from dark gray to the typical white simulation color. Suddenly, the simulations appeared and were moving towards Ailia. Ailia charged the rod in her hand, which she waved around. Dashing forward, she swung the rod to hit the enemies, which, by a single touch of the rod, disintegrated. Quickly, all the simulations disappeared without Ailia even breaking a sweat.

The technician simply rolled his eyes as he placed the enemies to the highest level. The two boys heard him mumble, “She’s going to cheat her way out of this.”

“Excuse me?” Teito glanced at the technician, who simply sighed at the fact he got heard.

“I’ve been assigned to Miss Kira even since she reached level 6.” The technician explained. “She’s perfected the combat simulation from last time’s test— all because she was able to shut down the system.” Using the screen, he pointed at the mechanism at the end opposite of Ailia. “You see that button. The goal of the simulation is to basically stop the simulation from working, which happens with the mere press of the machine’s button.”

“Which Ailia has done?” Yoshii continued.

“She found out through serendipity.” The technician cleared out. From the technician’s tone, he was bitter that Ailia found out through a fluke because how to end the simulation was never told to the taker. “Just watch.”

From the looks of it, Ailia was having difficulty avoiding blows from the waves of simulations. She was avoiding them by a mere hair and beads of sweat were trickling down her arms and face. The look of frustration took over her face, which looked like was about to blow in any second.

Five— Ailia knew what she had to do in order to get out of her predicament.

Four— She swung her rod with her right hand while her left arm was engulfed with electricity.

Three— She fixed her stance while ducking to evade the punches and swings of the simulations.

Two— Ailia raised her left arm and dealing the swing that would lead to the wave’s end.


A ball of electricity was released from her arm and soared to the ceiling of the room. Upon contact with the ceiling, the ball broke up and hit every simulation. With the sheer number of enemies, the effect of the blast wouldn’t last long— probably three seconds at most.

Three— Ailia swiftly took a coin from her utility bag.

Two— The coin quickly charged up the moment it hand contact with Ailia’s two fingers.


The simulations were back on, but a millisecond to late. The coin had been flicked out of Ailia’s hand and headed straight for the button, which like all typical stories— got hit. The technician sighed. She had beaten the simulation again even if he added more enemies to make sure she wouldn’t make it in time. “Told you.” The technician, who was bother, rubbed the side of his neck.

“So do any you have a chance of leveling up?” Ailia casually said as they headed back to the dormitory.

A cheeky ‘nope’ and a stoic ‘no’ were said simultaneously. The two boys glared at each other. Sure, they were partners, but they shouldn’t be that in sync. The unified reply made Ailia laugh, which she tried to hide through a smile.

“I had an imbalance in the number of items I supply.” Yoshii said as though he didn’t mind.

“I don’t think that should be taken lightly.” Ailia commented, only to receive a shrug from Yoshii. She sighed and looked at the brown-haired teen. “And you? Didn’t you say you’d have a chance this examination?”

“I didn’t ’cause I lost my cool this test.” Teito explained.

“That explains it.” Ailia rolled her eyes, which Yoshii quickly commented as a horrible gesture.

The two-week long examination had come to an end— along with Ailia’s suspension, which in Ailia’s opinion wasn’t as fruitful as she hoped it’d be. Here she was once again scurrying through the hallways in an attempt to not be the last in the Dreamless meeting. She appeared in the meeting room and to her surprise, she wasn’t the last.

“I win!” Yoshii rejoiced before pointing at Train. “Pay up the 100 Kesh.”

“What just happened?” Ailia cluelessly watched the scene unfold before her.

Sir Dalv explained to Ailia that Yoshii & Train had a bet who’d arrive later— her or Teito. Apparently Teito, an early arriver, was late for once. Train was adamant that Ailia would be late no matter what since she was all over the place— too many priorities in her hands. Ailia glanced at Train before giving a face filled with mockery.

“Sorry I’m late.” Teito entered the room just to feel an unserious atmosphere. Teito threw a look towards Ailia asking for an explanation. As Ailia was about to reply, Sir Dalv ordered the two to sit so that thee meeting could end early. Being the latecomers, Ailia and Teito sat beside each other, which was when Ailia quickly told Teito about the bet.

“We have a new member.” Chief Dalv said. The monitor showed a picture of a girl with mid-length black hair and hazelnut-colored eyes. Beside the picture were the credentials of the girl. “Her name is Chyse Shall. She’s an orphan who Train had a chance of running into during ASA’s power examinations. Before I give the floor to Train, let’s congratulate him as he attained level 4 status.”

The applause engulfed the room, which gave Ailia time to make a remark about Train’s level up to Teito. The remark made Teito laugh a bit, but not loud enough to overpower the applause.

“Back to business.” Train deduced that enough applause had been given to him. “Chyse Shall. To Be Placed in Junior year.” Train took a momentary pause. “She’ll be placed in Teito and Yoshii’s team.”

“What?!” The said boys exclaimed in unison, which Ailia couldn’t help but snicker at. There they go again, answering and reacting in unison. How long were they partners? Ah right, for more than 2 years.

“She’s the person Teito’s been searching for secretly— someone who can control paper.”

That ending phrase is what sealed the deal for Teito.


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