IX Shingue

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After their long period of rigid training and hardwork, the time had come for them to face the one whom the students feared the most... Master Serge, the master instructor for the master level of their training.

Claude caught Kenji's attention who seemed relaxed and whispered. "Hey Kenji, you seem so unafraid to our master instructor," and then he added jokingly. "Almost like it's just a cockroach who will be teaching you. You aren't afraid of him!"

One of the students was making his way out of the room who was actually the envied guy. He was accompanied by a blonde guy with streaks of pink highlights on each side of his hair. The envied student said something on top of his voice where almost everyone could hear. "Dude, look at that Kenji guy. He is one hell of a trying hard who wants to impress us. Can you believe it, Shingue? He finally reached the master level at last. What a joke!" there was a hint of bitterness in his tone.

Kenji heard this and threw a dagger look towards the envied student's direction. He shrugged the student's remark off as he always did. And come to think of it, he never bothered to ask his name - until now. He did not even know the guy. Apart from Shingue, whose name he just heard for the first time now.

The envied student, together with Shingue went to where Claude and Kenji were standing and started talking to them.

"Hey dudes, I'd like you to meet Shingue. He's a good friend of mine and is not a 'trying hard dude' like someone here does, ya know," it was clear that the last remark was directed to Kenji. "Let's go dude. We have no more business here."

With that, the envied student walked away.

Kenji's rival dashed on, unaware that Shingue remained behind and whispered to Claude and Kenji. "Hello, I apologize for what Arthur said to you earlier. He's just a jealous nuts, that's all," so Arthur was the name of that student.

"Hm, I don't even bother to answer back to his taunting. He's been pissing me off for seven months already. You can ask Claude, have I ever done anything to that... that... Arturo guy before?" asked Kenji smirking.

Shingue went near them. "Does it mean, you've been here for long time? I wonder why it's only today we meet for the first time."

Kenji shook his head. "Huh? I've always seen you around, but you haven't seen me? Where've you been hanging around? I could still remember, you didn't have those pink highlights in your hair before."

"Ahhh..." Shingue replied. "I wonder? Ah, maybe it's because my training with Master Serge takes the whole day, That's why I never have a chance to see you."

"Why? Didn't you have any vacant time with Master Serge before?" asked Claude.

"N-Never..."

Silence. No one replied to what Shingue said. Later, Shingue asked the two. "Um, can I ask you a favor?"

Kenji wondered. "What is it?"

"Um, can I come with you two? 'Coz actually, I've been alone in this school for long and Arthur is really an unfriendly guy to be with. Well, you know what?" he whispered. "Do you know why Arthur always acts like that? Because he never got any friends here due to his bad attitudes. D-Don't tell it to him, okay? Because every time he meets someone, he'll criticize them! He is bullying every guy he wants."

"So Arthur is totally that crazy person, isn't he?" asked Claude. "Then why the hell he has to do that on us?"

"But I do understand him," said Shingue. "He revolted long ago after his parents split... In other words, he came from a broken family!"

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