Masquerade of Madness
A Message Soaked in Blood
[Extraction Protocol Successful]
[Sending Sinners Soul to the Tutorial Dream World]
[Scanning sinners memories…]
[Determining fatal flaw…]
[Fatal flaw determined! – Extreme Denial]
[Converting fatal flaw into primary trait…]
[Determining appropriate trial for the tutorial…]
[…Too many options, results inconclusive…]
[…Scanning Memories again…]
[…Solution determined… Selecting trial…]
[Trial selected – Trauma Re-enactment]
[All Parameters Stable…]
[Age set – 17 years old]
[Initiating Tutorial – Phase 1]
Sebastian regained his consciousness and slowly opened his eyes.
I am … not dead? (A.N.: I will put thoughts within single quotation marks, while spoken dialogue within double quotation marks)
He found himself sitting in a classroom surrounded by various students. The teacher seemed to be writing some equations on the blackboard.
Seb looked at his clothes to find out that he was indeed wearing the same uniform that he used to when he was in high school.
The all too familiar classroom, the nostalgic smell of chalk, the sound of pens scratching across paper. It all stirred up old memories hidden in the vestiges of his brain.
Sebastian was somehow back in time to his high school days.
He couldn help but mutter to himself in a low voice
”Have I perhaps, regressed? ”
Unfortunately, this is not a regression novel, and neither was Sebastian allowed to keep that misconception for long as blood-red words seemed to write themselves on the blackboard behind the teachers back.
It seemed as if an invisible hand was slowly dragging their bloodstained fingers across the board.
[Welcome to the Tutorial – Phase 1]
[Your fatal flaw has been determined to be Extreme Denial]
[The Title of the Trial is – Trauma Re-enactment]
[This is your first attempt]
[Free tip: The more attempts you take, the harder it gets!]
Sebastian was a little confused. What the hell did they mean when they said Trauma Re-enactment?
Did they want him to go through his traumas again? Or did they want him to conquer them and prevent them from happening? In the first place, why did they send him to his high school?
Seb didn remember having any traumas in his high school. It would have more sense if they had sent him back to the incident from six months ago. But then again… he wasn sure if he would be able to survive going through hat again.
Rather than wasting time thinking about useless things, it would be better to get a good look at his surroundings and pick up on the details left on stage.
Seb had majored in game design, so to him no matter what type of tutorial they make him go through he had the advantage of being able to notice the tricks behind it.
There are always clues left behind by the developers, these help push the players in a certain direction. Either way, being aware of all variables at play will help him deal with any situation that may arise.
After taking a long calming breath, Seb started to take inventory of his surroundings.
Its the Math Period. The teacher is Mrs Brown, she didn have much of a personality outside her work. Her teaching was to the point, never doing anything less or more than what was expected of her.
He checked the clock, and it was 1:40 PM. That was 20 minutes before school ends for the day. So, if anything was going to happen, it was within these 20 minutes, otherwise, it won make sense to drop him in at this moment. However, if everything goes according to schedule, no events should take place until the end of this lecture.
He was sitting in the last row of the class. It was not because he liked sitting there, in fact, he didn . It was way too easy to get distracted. It was just that the seating arrangements were out of his control. Sure, Sebastian was lazy in nature, but he was diligent whenever it was required.
He looked around him, trying to take in the faces of his classmates and recognize them.
To his left was Anna, a studious girl with smooth black hair and a ponytail.
She was staring intensely at the board as she was busy writing down notes. Now that he thought about it, he probably used to have a crush on her back then. He just never realised it.
She seemed to be lost in thought as she silently bit on her lips and brushed a strand of her hair behind her ears, revealing her slender nape in the process…
… Seb looked away quickly before she could realize that he was staring at her.
Now was not the time to get side-tracked.
To his right was Josh, despite the jock-like name and tall height, he was actually a big-time gaming nerd. The thin-framed spectacles perching over his nose were probably the only giveaway of his true identity. That and he always insisted on getting the window seat.
Thinking about the times they used to hang out after school made Seb smile a little despite himself.
”Have you fallen in love with me, Seb? ”
”Huh? Are you crazy? ”
”Its fine theres no need for you to deny it. I know that I am so attractive that I can even lead those of the same gender astray! ”
”Josh you better shut your mouth before I come over and shut it for you! ”
”Aww, someone is feeling shy~ weren you staring at me so intensely just a second ago. Let me tell you something Seb, nobody likes tsundere-types these days. If you like someone you should just go for it! ”
”Are you done? ”
”… yes, I am done… ”
What a waste of good feelings, for a second, he had forgotten how much of a narcissistic douchebag this fellow was.
Seb grumbled to himself before looking around at the other familiar faces.
There was Karen, the popular blonde girl. Her personality was closer to Blonde than Karen, but that wasn really saying much.
Then there was Charles, the class clown. He was funny 30% of the time but was annoying for like 100% of the time. Quite standard as class clowns went.
There were the football idiots- John, Jennifer, and Joseph. The moment the bell rang they wouldn waste a microsecond going to play on the field.
There were the honour students- Mary, Patricia, and David. Now that he thought about it, Anna and Josh were probably honour students as well. Well even though they were honour students, they each had their unique quirks and personalities.
Seb himself probably fit into the quiet kid archetype, though he did chat quite a bit with Josh and completely grew out of that phase in college.
The names not mentioned yet were Mark, Donald, Steven, Brian, Emily, Ashley, Jessica, Sarah, and Kayla.
Surprisingly, Seb was able to remember the names of everyone in the classroom. Even though as far as he remembered, he rarely interacted with most of them.
Their classroom was on the smaller side and thus could only fit 20 students in total – 5 rows x 4 columns. They were probably assigned to it at the last moment. It was right next to the entrance of the stairwell.
Despite being a small class, it was full of an ensemble of interesting characters. If the lot of them were to ever get mass-isekaid, one would probably be able to write like 30 volumes with all the drama that would happen, and they wouldn have even seen a hair of the demon lords 4 generals by then.
The class right opposite was that of their juniors which meant being assaulted by the noise of students rushing up and down the stairwell while yelling like a pack of hyenas was quite the common scenario.
No small amount of times had Mrs Brown walked out of the classroom over to theirs to yell at them to shut up. In retrospect, it was quite funny.
Thinking about the past really made Seb snicker a bit. The things that he used to worry about seemed really silly in hindsight.
Why did he stop being in touch with these idiots?
No wait, it wasn like they were completely out of touch.
He had seen quite a few of them at his birthday party last night, they were laughing quite hap-
”We are all going to die here aren we… ”
A sinking feeling suddenly assaulted Seb.
His breathing quickened and he grasped his head as a mild headache seemed to be building up.
Seb gathered his remaining willpower and forced himself to take a peek at the calendar.
And then right after, he glanced at it again.
No matter how many times he turned to look at it, the date wouldn change.
It. Just. Won . Change.
It was that cursed day after all.
2nd February 2019
The day of their ill-fated school trip- The one where all his classmates had died when their bus had crashed, took place on this cursed date.
So, the question was…
Why were they still in school?
For some reason unknown to himself, irrational panic was welling up his throat.
It was as if the whole world would come crashing down on him any second now.
Worst of all somewhere deep down,
He knew that the feeling was right.
His heart was beating as if he was in the middle of a marathon while sweat was gushing out of his pores like rain.
Deep Breaths Sebastian! Deep Breaths
Slowly and painfully, Sebastian managed to suppress his panic attack to take another reality check and tally up his facts.
Firstly, everybody was still alive, and he knew that he wasn supposed to be in school on this day, so that means that things are already going differently from what originally happened.
Secondly, they were supposed to be on a school trip, but everyone was still in school as if it were a perfectly normal day. Did they already come back? Or was it supposed to happen after school ends? But what kind of school trip happens after school ends. He was only sick in the morning that day; he would have totally joined in for the trip if it happened after school ended.
Never mind, it happened so long ago that his memories had gotten fuzzy.
Third, it seems as if he would be given multiple attempts at this, so even if he failed the first time… it should still be manageable … right?
And finally, he was no longer a scared little 17-year-old, he had the mentality of a 21-year-old. No matter what happens, he was sure that he would be able to take care of it.
Now that Seb had managed to regain a grasp over himself, he turned to Josh and asked a question to clear up something that had been bothering him.
”Hey Josh, are you excited about todays school trip? ”
”Have you finally gone crazy? We are going straight home after this. I managed to get my hands on the beta release of this epic… ”
Well, it made sense. It was already the end of the day, the afternoon sun was hot and everyone was already too exhausted to go on any trips.
”Ha Ha! I am just kidding, I meant how was the trip we went to this morning. ”
”Dude…. There was no trip… but you sure are tripping right now… ”
What did this mean, Seb checked the date again, he was sure the school trip was supposed to take place on this date. Something just didn seem to add up.
”…I mean in the first place, we are Seniors. The stupid school never takes us on school trips in the first place. We are supposed to prepare for college or something stupid like that… ”
Yes, they were in their senior year/grade-12/ final year of high school. Since everyone was busy preparing for college there were excluded from all school events.
Sebastian couldn help but get flabbergasted. What did he mean that there were no school trips at all? Was this scene not from his memories but an alternate reality instead? Or was the story that he was told a lie. Did the entire class actually get mass-isekaid when he wasn there or what?
”Dude, this is why I told you not to be a tsundere. If you suppress your emotions and true self, you are bound to go crazy one day. Seb, you gotta embrace it, don run away from it. ”
”Actually its fine if you go crazy too, everybody loves yanderes these days. ”
Just as Seb was about to go over and smack the living daylights out of Josh, he was interrupted by a loud sound.
No, it wasn the teacher who noticed their shenanigans and started reprimanding them.
No, it wasn someone accidentally falling down in their seats and breaking their seat.
And God no! It wasn Anna farting loudly over from the next seat, what is wrong with you!
It was the sound of something you would never imagine hearing in a school.
Let me correct the statement, it was a sound that you DARED NOT imagine hearing in a school.
It was a sound you hoped you would never have to hear when in a school.
*BANG!* *BANG!* *BANG!*
It was unmistakably the sound of a gun being shot.
And then came the screams…
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