“Well, its late now. Let’s all take turns watching the fire and go to sleep. That’s all I have to say.”
And like that, we all got ready to sleep, with different thoughts drifting in our heads. Taniizumi had turned into an organizer, and as if to take responsibility, decided to take the first half of the watch. We all had to lie on the ground…which did not look comfortable.
Damn it…saying that I was the downgrade. Did I have no choice but to think of other ways to use it?
“I can’t sleep…”
I partially opened my eyes. Perhaps it was because they had trouble sleeping, but everyone was checking their abilities. Even Shigenobu was doing it.
…Of course, he would. No one knew what would happen to us from here on out.
“Yukinari, are you alright?”
“Hmm? Yeah, I don’t feel any pain now, thanks to Himeno’s recovery spell.”
My ability used magic in order to activate. That magic had replenished completely because of Himeno.
“It seems that my smithing ability can create all kinds of things if I have the materials and points.”
To be honest, I was jealous. It wasn’t that my ability was bad, but it was being mocked as an inferior version. There were some people saying it could be useful for storage, but Taniizumi would not change his stance about me being useless.
“I’m sure there is a good use for your ability, Yukinari. It’s like that in the games, isn’t it?”
“…I guess so.”
Uh, I guess he was trying to cheer me up? It was in these types of situations when a person’s humanity really showed. As I looked around, I could see that my other classmates were also desperately trying to see how their abilities could be used.
That was then Hiyama walked towards me.
She sat down next to me. What? What happened?
“Oh, it’s nothing. It’s not your fault, anyway.”
To be honest, it was all just because Taniizumi was mocking me, that’s all. There was no reason for her to be bothered by it. Just then, my stomach began to growl.
“Yeah…you would be hungry.”
Uh…that was a little embarrassing.
“I have some leftover lunch with me. Do you want to eat it?”
I understood why she was worried about me, but how could I accept food from a girl under such desperate circumstances! I would look horrible.
“If anything, I should be the one sharing my food with you!”
I said so, but there was barely any food left even though I had saved some just in case. Either way, it’s not like it would keep for long. Tomorrow’s breakfast was the limit.
“Aren’t you hungry, Hiyama?”
She smiled and then chuckled at my question.
“I am fine. But you’re sweet to ask.”
“No… I’m not… I don’t think so.”
“Well, you’re worried about me when you’re in this situation. I think it is sweet.”
Oh, this was getting even more embarrassing.
“Well, uh, since we’re all here, we have to do our best.”
Hiyama looked up at the sky and nodded.
“Yes. I don’t know what will happen to us, but we have to stay strong. But are you really okay, Hanebashi?”
Uh…as I said. You don’t have to worry about me! As I thought this, I saw Shigenobu on the other side making faces at me and whistling. Shut up! That’s not what this is! We had the same ability, so she was just worried over the fact that people were making fun of me!
“I’m fine. If you keep asking me that, I’m going to make you eat my leftovers. Got it?”
I threatened her by using my own food. Hiyama nodded as if she were seeing something very amusing.
“Alright. Then…have a good rest.”
As Hiyama knew I wouldn’t rest with her around, she quickly got up and left. Phew… I had never really thought much about her before… But having such kind words directed towards me made me feel a tightening in my chest.
I had to calm myself down. Or I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Maybe I could check on whether there is something I could do with my abilities? There could be a trick to improving it. And so I decided to experiment as much as I could.
First, I brought over some firewood and thought of how I could use it. …If I could launch this into other people, maybe it could act as a weapon. I thought as I moved the cursor around. It was then that I realized that I could select myself.
Huh? Well, it depended on the game, but there were some where you could use recovery magic on yourself. While I expected it to fail, I tried selecting myself. It probably wouldn’t do anything, just like earlier… The location selection area was floating?
Before I finished, I remembered Taniizumi mocking me and Otsuka punching me. …What was the point if only I could do it? They’d just mock me again.
It would take long to activate. Also, it just wasn’t enough to surpass Hiyama’s ability. However, she wasn’t my enemy and she showed me the differences between our abilities.
I shouldn’t compete with her. Not in this environment.
First, I had to experiment. Try different things. What can I do…I had to think. A place I wanted to go that I could imagine… I imagined my own room back in Japan.
I didn’t think it would work. In these stories about going to other worlds, you usually had to achieve something first. But then, the sand timer appeared, just like when I had moved the firewood!?
What? But it hadn’t worked on Otsuka, the hysterical girl! I continued to watch the timer…then the last of the sand…fell. My surroundings changed in a flash and I fell to the floor.
I withstood the pain and looked around. It was familiar. It was my own room!
I could see outside my window. It was the same old scenery of Japan… But like the other world, it was also night. I rushed out of the room and went down to see my parents.
“Hm? What is it? Yukinari.”
My parents greeted me as if nothing unusual had happened, though they looked a little puzzled. They seemed overly calm considering that a whole class of us had disappeared during the start of the second period. Surely the school had not covered it up?
“What’s this all of a sudden? Do you need something? Don’t try to get a raise on your allowance.”
“That’s not it! Uh…does me being here mean nothing to you?”
“What are you saying?”
“Uh, but…the school didn’t contact you? Nothing about the entire class going somewhere?”
“Huh? What are you saying, Yukinari? You came back this afternoon, like you always do.”
…What? The discrepancy in what we were saying caused a cold sweat to run down my back.
What if…I was being brainwashed by my ability? Or maybe I had gone to an alternate Japan in another world… There were all kinds of possibilities running through my brain.
“Me and my old friend, Shigenobu, went to another world…you wouldn’t understand that, would you? Another place.”
“Shigenobu…? Who is that?”
…Huh? No, how could they not know? I brought him home a number of times. He even stayed the night once.
“Shigenobu! He’s been my friend since elementary school. Mom, dad, both of you should know him. We’re in the same class this year as well.”
“Who are you talking about? Besides, I’m pretty sure you don’t have many friends.”
Don’t talk as if I’m a loner! What is even happening here?
“Maybe you’re talking about Marui, you used to play with him in junior high school, I think?”
That’s Shigenobu’s friend! A friend of a friend. And not even from the same school.
“After all, Yukinari. The only one in your class…is you.”
“What are you saying! What kind of class is that! Ahh! This is going nowhere.”
I took out the family album and was about to point to Shigenobu…and was shocked when I saw the photo where we should have been together. Yes…all traces of Shigenobu were gone, as if there never was anyone there. This was the same with the class photos as well. I was the only one standing in the photo.
Only, I wasn’t standing in the middle. It was unnatural, like everyone else had just be erased. It was a strange…picture.
“Uh, alright then. Look at this!”
Even though I had returned to Japan, I could still bring up the status screen and use my abilities.
I chose teleportation without hesitation, disappearing right in front of my parent’s eyes and returning to Shigenobu and the others. They should be surprised that a person just vanished.
I landed smoothly the second time and looked to the side where Shigenobu was checking his abilities.
“You saw it, didn’t you? I disappeared right in front of you.”
He tilted his head to the side. He was just like mom and dad.
“Yukinari, you were in front of me the whole time.”
What did this mean!? Should I tell him now that I was able to teleport?
…I knew that he would believe me, but judging from Otsuka and Taniizumi’s reactions…it might be dangerous. If they knew that only I was able to return to Japan now. Otsuka would definitely go crazy.
And who knew what the others might do. They had just laughed it off when I was getting punched. For now, I should just try to understand my ability first.
“Uh…yeah, you’re right.”
I said evasively. Then I used teleportation again to return to mom and dad. As expected…their reactions were the same. They insisted that I had not moved at all.
What was this? It was like some mysterious and powerful force was working against me. A class photo with only me in it. The disappearance of Shigenobu and the others. No one in Japan knew about it since they never existed in the first place.
I had returned under those circumstances…and every time I moved, their conscience seemed to get overwritten. In any case… Even while being involved in an incident where my whole class had been summoned, I had a way of returning to Japan. That meant I had a very rare ability.