TGL Volume 5, Chapter 5 (1)

Senior Fluffytail was taken away by the law enforcers yesterday. Perhaps taken away isn’t the right phrase to describe it. After poisoning the law enforcement chief, she voluntarily went with the law enforcers to the station. I thought she was resisting arrest, but as it turns out, it was a simple misunderstanding. When the chief used a threatening tactic to force her into compliance, she, being a squirrel, mistook his words for their literal meaning and attacked him because she really thought he wanted to be beaten. This is why I don’t get along with other squirrels. They don’t understand nuance and sarcasm; their ability to read between the lines is dreadful. As a bright and witty individual, there’s no one I can banter with, and I can feel my brain shrinking whenever I have to dumb down my language to match my audience. It’s miserable. Yes, yes, normally, bright and witty individuals don’t identify themselves as such, but it’s really hard not to when my peers literally eat paper and drink glue for entertainment. 

“Look at Devourersdottir Three go! She’s drinking the whole bucket without stopping!” 

“I bet she’ll be the first one with a name in our class.” 

“She’s impressive, but Smithsson Seven can eat a pile of homework faster than all of us combined.” 

There’s a short period of time between the start of school and the arrival of the teacher. In that time, my classmates don’t hold back their animalistic urges. Personally, I don’t see the appeal of drinking glue, but I get why they do it. It’s for bragging rights and status. If someone can drink glue, then they can drink the slimy stuff that comes out of the entrails of their enemies—not that students are allowed to participate in anything as gruesome as that. 

“Yo, Slayersson One!” My desk buddy sat down beside me and raised his eyebrows. “Are you alright? I can’t believe your parents let you skip class yesterday; I remember that time you had a really high fever and could barely see straight, but they forced you to come anyway. Nothing looks broken to me. Did an organ fail?” 

“It’s good to see you too, Branchtrimmersson Three.” Amongst the named families of squirrels, education is taken extremely seriously. Anything short of death won’t stop parents from sending their children to school. I might be the first student within my class to have missed a day of studies. “I wasn’t injured or anything. I ran away from home.” 

Branchtrimmersson Three’s eyes widened. He looked me up and down before furrowing his brow. “Well, you didn’t do a very good job at it, did you? You ran away from home, but you’re back already? If I ran away, you wouldn’t see me for at least a hundred years.” 

I couldn’t stop the sigh from escaping my mouth. My experience really just was too pitiful. “I was unfortunate enough to encounter a squad of human immortals hunting hours outside the border. They captured and imprisoned me, but a newly ascended squirrel bailed me out and took me home.” 

Branchtrimmersson Three patted my back. “That really is quite unlucky,” he said. “At least you got to take a break for a day; being imprisoned must’ve been nice. You weren’t forced to study or anything in there, right?” 

“I suppose that’s true….” Some people look towards the bright things in life. Branchtrimmersson Three is one of those people, capable of seeing the tiny bit of positive in the tremendous pool of negative known as existence. 

“Heh. As if someone like you would actually try to run away from home,” someone said from behind me. “I bet you didn’t even make it out of the mountain, much less the mountain range.” 

“Hey, shut up!” Branchtrimmersson said, whirling around to confront the squirrel behind me. “Your dad is named Noble Heart, so why are you such an a**hole?” 

Nobleheartsson Two snorted. “This is why you’re at the bottom of the class,” he said. “Slayersson One thought up of such a poor lie, and you actually believed him. A squirrel just happened to ascend from a lower realm at the same time Slayersson One was captured? The squirrel just so happened to have the right currency to bail him out of jail? If you paid any attention at all in class, you’d see right through the holes in his story.” 

What happened to me does sound unbelievable. How incredibly unlucky would one have to be to go through what I did? “I’m not a liar. If you don’t believe me, you can go to the law enforcement station and find Lucia Fluffytail; she’s the squirrel that brought me back home. Since your mom is an elder, it shouldn’t be an issue for you to enter the station.” 

“I don’t have time to verify your lies,” Nobleheartsson Two said and sneered. “Unlike you, I take my studies very seriously. If I didn’t, would I be at the top of the class?” 

A response came to mind, but I shut my mouth. Through the din of my classmates talking, I heard loud rustling along with stomping footsteps. That’s how my teacher walks. He expects everyone to be behaved, sitting quietly in their seats with their books out by the time he arrives, so he moves extra-loudly on purpose to give us time to shut our traps. As expected, the whole class fell silent a second later. Not long after, the teacher came from around the bend in the branch, and right behind him, there was … Senior Fluffytail!? 

“Good morning, class,” the teacher said and gestured behind himself. “This is the new assistant teacher. She recently arrived in the mainland, and she’s going to assist you while learning about our rules and culture herself.” The teacher glanced at Senior Fluffytail. “Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself?” 

Senior Fluffytail puffed her chest out and placed her hands on her hips. “Hello! I’m Lucia Fluffytail, but all of you better address me as Lucia, none of that Senior Fluffytail crap, okay? I’m warning you!” 

“What happens if we call you Senior Fluffytail, Senior Fluffytail?” Smithsson Seven asked with his front paw raised in the air. 

Senior Fluffytail looked at the teacher. “Am I allowed to hit him in the name of education?” 

“Yes.” 

“Really!?” Senior Fluffytail’s eyes lit up. “I’m—” 

“But only once you’re an official teacher,” the teacher said, grabbing Senior Fluffytail’s shoulder. “You’re assisting me, and that means you have to follow my instructions. It’s not your job to educate the children.”

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