Chapter 2 – ‘A Piece of Confusion‘
“What in the… d, did I fall asleep?” Aden wondered to himself out loud, half unbelieving of the situation before him.
The others in the classroom had all stopped mid-motion. No, to be precise, they were literally frozen in time. They didn’t so much as breathe!
Suddenly, Aden’s heart thrummed, his blood pulsating through his veins in a molten fury. They felt on fire, and at the same time his body became extremely cold. The room, although lacking color, seemed extremely clear to him as the hidden war waged on within him.
“Well, at any rate that’s about what I expected…” Somehow or another, the fox seemed to be laughing with a ‘ka ka ka’. She—at least, Aden assumed the fox was a she from its feminine voice—noticed his eyes darting around the room. She was obviously aware of what was going on.
Although students of Haven Academy were prided on being advanced for their age, he was still just fourteen years old. It shouldn’t be a wonder that he was quite unsettled by what was happening.
“Wha, what… no, who are you?” His voice started with a tremble, but grew more consistent as he continued. “What did you do to everyone!?”
“Me? Oh, I’ve done nothing but wait for you to Awaken for years now. All of this,” the fox gestured towards the rest of the classroom with her muzzle, “was done by none other than you.” She ignored his first question.
At a loss of what to say, all Aden could do was shake his head and shout, “It wasn’t me!”
The fox seemed to find something amusing about his response.
“Are you sure about that? Well, I thought you would react something like this.” Her body swayed slightly as she glanced around at the ones frozen in time. “Though this part… was unexpected.”
“What happened? What’s going on!?” Though not quite as violent as before, his pulse still raged on. He was having trouble thinking clearly.
“Your Awakening of course. It was supposed to happen when you were asleep, but it looks like you ignored the urge to sleep last night and woke up despite it. For so many to be roped in to this is truly unexpected.”
Aden was all but lost at this point, listening to the white fox’s words. “Th, then,“ He tried to follow what was going on, but just as he began the fox resumed.
“It’s almost time for this dream of yours comes to an end…” She turned around and leapt on to the floor. As she touched it, she began to disappear, leaving him behind with an addition. “… I’ll see you again soon, Master.”
After the mysterious talking fox vanished, the war inside of him began to end with both the heat and cold merging together. He felt as though he’d just soaked in a warm bath, feeling extremely at ease despite the extreme sensations from a moment ago. His vision had also mostly returned to normal.
Color returned to the world and everything resumed all at once. The sounds of the nineteen other classmates pulling out their pencils and scratch paper could be heard as everyone hastened to be ready.
“Just… what was that? That white fox could speak, and what was up with everyone…” Aden thought to himself, dazed from the occurrence.
When Miss Bells was about to hand out the exam to the students, she noticed Aden with his bag still open at his side and nothing on his desk.
“Aden?” He didn’t respond, and after a few moments she tried again with a slight emphasis, “Aden?”
He returned to his senses, remembering where he was.
Forcing a smile, he responded, “M, Miss Bells! It’s nothing, nothing!”
He hurriedly took out a scratch paper and the broken pencil.
Next to him, David noticed the half-pencil and held an extra out for him, nudging Aden’s shoulder with it. “Psst… here.”
The look on Aden’s face slightly concerned David, but ultimately put it aside. He knew that Aden tended to be weird about tests.
“… Thanks.” He accepted the pencil and quietly resumed waiting to receive the exam papers from Miss Bells.
Most of the room had quieted by now as everyone waited for Miss Bells’ instruction to begin. Most of the students dreaded mathematics and were either anxious or silently going over simple things, like ‘standard form’ or ‘point-slope form’ in hopes that the questions wouldn’t be too hard.
Aden on the other hand had blanked. If someone were to peak into his mind right now they would find a black abyss, devoid of anything but the image of that strange fox from earlier. He couldn’t think of anything else, and almost didn’t hear the teacher’s instruction to start the exam.
Tearing off the side that sealed the packet closed, he found everything to be completely… simple. Extraordinarily so.
The height of water in a cylindrical glass jar of a ten centimeter radius was four centimeters tall; after gently adding a small stone to the jar the height of the water increased by two centimeters… There is a square whose corners all touch a single circle; the area of the square is three hundred square centimeters… Every question seemed to him like someone asked what color grass was; it was obviously green, right? The ease he had with conceptualizing these problems would have astounded everyone if they knew how he was going about answering the problems.
The moment he saw the words, shapes and numerical symbols solidified in his vision on the page and reconstructed the problem with exact values calculated and displayed along its sides like a computer program would. He had always been good with logic-based work, but never like this.
The person in question did not notice in the slightest that this was out of the ordinary for him, however. He continued to think of nothing but that fox. Her words, ‘Almost time for your dream to come to an end…’ and something about calling him ‘Master’ unsettled him.
Before he noticed, fifteen minutes had passed and he had entirely completed the exam that should have taken nearly two hours. One should know that the sheer amount of proof work for each question alone should have taken at least forty minutes. His hand had not stopped writing since the moment he began, and his hand was slightly cramped.
He stood up to turn in the exam and leave for lunch, not knowing the speed at which he completed the exam was more than six times faster than the average. The teacher, along with a few of the less studious students, glanced up at him with a confused look.
“Here, Miss Bells.” Aden held out the packet and blank scratch paper to her.
“… Aden, are you giving up on the exam? You know that you can’t make it up in the future.” She looked at him seriously, slowly raising her hand to take the packet.
“Huh?” This threw Aden off slightly, and only now did he look up at the clock and notice the time. His eyes opened wide. After a moment of hesitation, “N, no, I finished.”
Miss Bells raised an eyebrow. “Really now?” She clearly had her doubts.
He handed it to her and bolted out of the door.
As he left the room, she opened up the packet and her expression changed to one of astonishment. The problems weren’t merely completely filled out, but his strokes also lacked hesitation on the pages and—above all—were entirely correct! Let alone writing down entirely correct answers, she had never seen someone finish an end of year exam this quickly! She turned to call out to him, but he was already gone.
Now in the hallway, Aden’s mind was entirely immersed in chaos.
The time stop.
The war in his body.
Everything whirled through his mind like a tempest.
“What happened to me!?”