Rainier State University. That's the name given to the large collection of modernized buildings set at the base of Rainier mountain, the massive natural phenomenon that gave the college its name. It doesn't sound like much from an outsider's perspective, but it was the pride of the city of Grenville. Set in the southern portion of the United States, it was a city renowned for its technological production. As such, the city's ability to produce well rounded graduates capable of furthering this trade allowed it to rise over its competitors, eventually becoming one of the top contenders in the country.

The school itself was relatively small compared to the more prestigious colleges up north, possessing only a few thousand students. Compared to the median range of 15,000 students, it only barely classified as a medium size school. Despite that, it's a well to do school with a focus on computer science and engineering. Because of that, graduates from this particular college usually don't have much trouble landing a job.

The students there generally know one another due to the smaller number of students, as well as the large community of students that live on campus. As a result, the general atmosphere of the college is generally friendly and "homey," as described by some commuters. Due to that, the community is tight-knit, and people tend to recognize one another easily. This includes myself, much to my general annoyance.

I'm sitting in my third class of the day, which happens to be foreign language. Today is Wednesday, so that means I've been in class ever since I woke up this morning. It's grueling to rush from class to class with hardly any time to rest in between, but I actually prefer it this way. I would rather have all of my classes for the semester all at once, and then I can use the rest of the week to square the rest of my schoolwork away.

This class, however, is the most grueling of the lot. I don't say that because it's hard, because it really isn't. Foreign language requires simple memorization, which really isn't that hard for your average college student. I'm good at memorizing, so this class is really easy for me. However, if I'm not challenged in class, I get bored easily, causing me to resort to other methods of keeping myself entertained.

I recline back in my chair, letting out a sigh and stretching out my cramped limbs. Sitting on your ass all day tends to take a toll on your body. In truth, I'd much rather get some of my homework done from other classes, or even sleep, but neither of those are possible for me right now.

Essentially, we have a professor that actually cares whether or not you're paying attention. It's a damn hassle, and I always get irritated whenever I'm called on to answer a question...like right now. Of course, I'm stretching, so she thinks I'm not paying attention. She likes to punish students like that by asking them a rather difficult question. However, I know the answer, because this class is easy for me.

I answer back to her in a short, clipped tone, my timbre that of a jaded baritone. My answer is right of course, so I get some small satisfaction from the disappointed look on the professor's face. Seriously, she should just stop. This is college, not high school. It should be our decision whether or not we're good students.

My head rests on my fist, which coincidentally allows my shoulder length black hair to fall down in front of my face. I sigh and move it away from my greenish eyes so I can keep staring at the board. I know most of this material, but it's better to be safe in case the professor actually decides to move on to something I actually haven't memorized yet.

The other people in the class are a general mix of men and women of various years, but their names escape my mind. I don't think I ever bother to learn the names of my classmates in any of my classes. I mean, why would I? People everywhere are the same, and here is no different. They're the usual types who would rather spend their time gossiping and participating in useless drama rather than focus on being productive. Even now, I can hear two men behind me snickering and exchanging some joke while the professor can't see them. I don't envy them their fate when the next test comes around.

My iPhone buzzes in my pocket, much to my surprise. I fish it out and glance at it, disregarding the fact that I'm in class. Apart from my family, there's only one other person I bother to hang out with, because she's the only one that I consider a friend. So that doesn't leave a lot of possibilities for who could be messaging me right now.

Sure enough, it's from my only friend, Amaryllis. Her name's a mouthful, so some people call her Amy for short, but I never do. Her name is very unique and original, as I've never heard anyone else with a name like that.

It's a short message. "Are you in class?" is all it says. My lips curve into a tiny smile, which only she or my brother can cause. She's so cute in that she never shortens or abbreviates her words like most people tend to do while text messaging. Not a single "lol" or even a "brb." She types out every word meticulously and consistently.

"Not for long," I send back, understanding the meaning of her message without even needing to ask for clarification. Amaryllis is usually very blunt and to the point, so if she's asking me a question like this, it means she got out of class early and wants to meet up with me. Of course, she'd never say it like that.

Generally I don't have time to hang out with her on Wednesdays, because of my packed schedule. Despite the fact that class isn't yet over, I decide to make an exception, as I hardly see her enough anyway. She's always busy with her schoolwork, class, or boxing, which is a huge interest of hers.

With that decided, I stand up from my desk and grab my messenger bag, slinging it over my shoulder once everything's all packed up. I push my way through the aisle to the front of the room, earning annoyed scoffs and murmurs from the other students that I jostle on the way up.

As expected, the professor isn't happy about me leaving. I get a rather irritated stare from her as I pass by her, but I ignore it. This is college, and it's my choice whether or not I stay until the end of class. Besides, I'm acing this class by a huge margin, so a few missed minutes won't matter in the long run.

It isn't long before I leave the English building behind. Amaryllis is already waiting for me outside. We exchanged schedules at one point, so she generally knows where I am at certain points of the day, and vice versa.

The English building has a concrete awning hanging above the entrance, supported by multiple stone pillars. Amaryllis is resting against one of these, one slender muscled leg curled over the other. She's not even looking at the doors, instead engrossed in yet another book. However, as always, she knows when I'm approaching.

"Took you long enough," Amaryllis commented in annoyance, snapping the book closed and replacing it in her own bag. She finally looks up at me, her typical ice cold expression locked on her face. She's as beautiful as always, though no one would ever dare say that to her face. She can be just as nasty as I can, if not more...something I know from experience. Her most defining characteristic, like mine, is her hair. It's a glittering crimson, and it cascades down her back like a waterfall, dangling just below her waist. It wows me every time I see it. She tells me she spends more time on it than its worth, but I can tell she really likes it. "I thought you were gonna keep me waiting all day."

"I was considering it, if only to see how pissed off you'd get," I return, equally as rude. Amaryllis scoffs and falls into step beside me as I walk right past her without waiting. I don't have that long before my next class, so we're heading there together.

"Whatever," Amaryllis grunts, not even bothering to argue with that statement. After that, there's a silence between us, but it's not awkward. Our friendship isn't exactly the most normal, so things that would usually be awkward in another friendship are comfortable for us. Eventually, she looks at me with her ice blue eyes. "How were your tests? You said you had two today."

"The first one was fine, but the second one was ridiculous," I snap in irritation. I've had two back to back tests this morning, just before my foreign language class. Suffice to say, my brain's a little fried. I'm surprised I didn't fall asleep during my last class. "I studied the textbook like nobody's business, but I still saw material on that test I've never seen before."

"How many times do I have to tell you not to just study the textbook in his class?" Amaryllis criticizes me harshly, causing me to wince. "That professor loves his stupid oral lectures, so the tests usually have material from them."

"Yeah, can you not patronize me right now? There's not much I can do about it now," I retort back, groaning. She's right; she did warn me at the beginning of the semester to actually pay attention to the guy, but his voice is just so dry it puts me right to sleep. In response, Amaryllis

"What do you want me to do? Pat you on the back and say, 'oh, you poor baby?'" Amaryllis returns sarcastically, speaking that last bit in a poor imitation of my mother's voice. I give a scowl at that.

"Screw you, Amaryllis," I groan.

"Only in your dreams, Seth," Amaryllis shoots back without missing a beat.


Yeah, this is typically how we act when we're hanging out together. It's pretty abnormal for your usual friendship, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. She's the only one I can act myself around. Practically every word out of our mouths is an insult to the other, yet we couldn't be better friends.

Soon, the science building comes into view, just across the street from the parking lot we're walking through now. Well, I say science building, but really it's a building where classes from a mixture of mathematics, sciences, and computers are housed.

Amaryllis and I stop at the crosswalk, watching for any passing cars. Sure enough, the crazy ass bus driver that always drives through here zips past at a high speed, causing wind to whip through our hair. The two of us watch him go, irritated. That guy always does this. If there's people at the bus stop, he keeps going that same speed, slamming on his brakes at the last possible second. This habit of his is well known, leading to the driver being known as an adrenaline junkie.

After crossing the street, the two of us make for the small park situated just in front of and to the left of the science building. I still have a little bit of time until my next class, so the both of us immediately move to what we consider to be "our spot." It's not much of a park. In reality, it's more like a bunch of trees with a small clearing in the center, where there's a single swinging bench. Nobody really comes to this area...though that's mostly because they know we'd be here.

"Anything interesting happen to you today?" I ask my only friend, sitting beside her on the swinging bench. "You know, besides 'annoying shit' and 'screw people.'"

"Well, there goes my summation of the day," Amaryllis retorts with a bit of a smirk. Of course it was. Those two responses are usually her go to phrases for whenever I ask her about her day. "Nah, though something actually did happen. Remember Sam?"

Immediately my mood drops at the mention of that name. Sam. Short for Samson. Basically he's a guy that had the balls to ask out the ice queen Amaryllis herself on a date. She accepted at first though, just because she was curious to see what he was willing to do to try and impress her. Even thinking about the guy pisses me off, because he was a piece of shit that thought he could "tame" her. Besides, I don't like the idea of anybody else spending time with her. Nobody is even close to being good enough for her.

"What about him?" I answer tersely, hoping that she doesn't say that she's going out with him again. Especially not after what he tried to pull last time.

"I caught him outside the dining hall, telling everyone he slept with me," Amaryllis relates, causing me to become furious. The thought of finding the guy for myself and beating the shit out of him crosses my mind.

"Please tell me you didn't just take that," I express irritably. Amaryllis scoffs, as if her response should have been obvious.

"Of course not. He was all bark. I had him on the ground squealing for mercy in front of all of his stupid friends," she answers, and my spirits rise a little, cheered up by the thought of her teaching that slimeball a lesson. "Besides, I'm pretty sure everybody else knew he was full of shit."

"Good. Otherwise I might have taught him a lesson myself," I grunt, though I'm feeling much better now. Amaryllis gives me a rather surprised look. Of course, that quickly turns into sarcasm.

"Oh? Are you feeling protective of me? That's just so sweet, Seth," Amaryllis teases, amusing me to groan and scoff in derision.

"Not on your life, bitch. I just hate people like him who think they can 'conquer' women," I retort.

"Uh huh," Amaryllis quips, her eyebrow raised. I look down, feeling my face heat up a little from her scrutinizing gaze. We soon fall into another comfortable silence after that. The bench gently rocks as Amaryllis's feet push against the ground.

It doesn't last very long before my phone starts to ring, breaking the silence while at the same time, promising a hated interruption of my rare time with Amaryllis. Knowing immediately who it is by the ringtone, I quickly answer it, giving an apologetic look to Amaryllis. My friend just shrugs and pulls out her book. "What do you want, mom?" I demand in annoyance. I hear a chuckle from the other end of the line.

"Nice to hear from you too, Seth," my mother, Elaine Rogers, responds in a dry tone. "If you can tear yourself away from Amaryllis for one second, you might interested to know that your uncle's company is offering you an internship down in Chile."

As annoyed as I am by her interruption, that bit of news causes me to pause and respond with interest. "Wait, seriously? All the way down in Chile?" I respond. Beside me, Amaryllis looks up from her book, raising an eyebrow in interest. "I'd have to take a summer off to do that. Is it worth it?"

"I'd say it is. They're offering to pay you well. Plus, if you do well, the job's pretty much yours once you graduate," Elaine answers. Huh, that does sound good. However, if I'm going to fly down to Chile, I'll need to work that into my school schedule. Technically I can afford to take a summer off if I tack a few more hours onto my spring semester. It'll be rough going, but I'm sure I can do it. Hard work has never been a problem for me before.

"Hell, if I'm being paid for it, tell them yes," I reply, resigning myself to a hard spring semester. Thankfully, that's a while from now. I'm still only in the middle of fall semester. I guess I'll worry about the hard stuff when I come to it.

"Oh, they'll be happy to hear that. I'm proud of the decision you're making," Elaine responds, the happiness easily detectable in her voice. I roll my eyes at that. I just did what made sense. There's nothing to be proud of.

"That's great. So can I go now? I was a little busy before you interrupted," I say in a tired sounding voice. If I let her talk any further, she'll start asking about my day and other typical mom stuff, and I'm just not in the mood for it. You'd think she'd know by now not to bug me, but she never stops trying.

"Yes, you can go. Make sure you remember to actually go to class," Elaine admonishes me. She then proceeds to talk in a slightly louder voice. "Amy, do try not to keep him too long."

"I'll keep him as long as I want, thanks," Amaryllis retorts without even looking up from her book. Elaine's response is to chuckle in my ear. "God knows without somebody to whip him into shape, he'll never do anything."

"Ha! I hear that!" Elaine agrees, much to my annoyance.

"Okay, do you two mind? I'm hanging up now," I grunt in irritation. The last thing I hear before I hit the end call button on the phone is the sound of my mother laughing. "Remind me never to let you two in the same room together whenever I'm around."

"Oh, I'm sorry if the truth gets on your nerves, princess," Amaryllis quips, putting her book away now that I'm off of the phone. I slip the device into my pocket, even as I look over at Amaryllis's smirking expression. "By the way, there's a sale on pretty pink dresses over at the nearby Kohl's, if you're interested."

"I...I'm just...I'm going to kill you," I groan in the most exasperated way possible. Amaryllis's musical laughter fills the air, which in turn causes me to give a small smile despite myself. Nobody else at this school is like she is. She's literally the only one I don't utterly hate out of everyone that goes here. She feels the same as I do too, which is why we're each other's only friend.

Once Amaryllis composes herself, she gives me a curious expression. "So what, you're apparently going to Chile now?" She asks. Once again I wonder why the hell my phone's speaker is so loud that she can hear my conversations. When I nod, she scoffs. "Well, have fun with that. All they eat down there is meat, as far as I've heard."

"Damn, I'll go insane if I can't get a decent salad," I complain, rubbing my forehead. That just gets Amaryllis to chuckle.

Finally, I glance at my phone and check the time. Much to my disappointment, it's time for me to get moving. If I want to get to class on time, I have to go now. "Well, I should probably get moving. There's not much time left before my class starts." Amaryllis shrugs and stands up, stretching out her arms and legs. As I start towards the science building, I notice she's following me. "What, are you coming with me?"

"Do I look like I'm going anywhere?" Amaryllis retorts as if it's no big deal. I shrug and keep walking, inwardly pleased. "Just to the door though. I have other things to do today besides babysit you."

"Please, you couldn't babysit even if you were being paid for it. You and children? Recipe for disaster," I snipe at her, grinning at my change to mess with her some too. Hilariously enough, Amaryllis doesn't protest and just gives a nod of agreement after thinking about it.

After leaving the park, it isn't long before we rejoin the throng of students moving to and from their classes. Because this building has a large amount of classrooms, it's generally one of the busiest. Because of that, it's pretty difficult to get from place to place...unless you're Amaryllis and I.

Those that know us move quickly out of our way. Those that don't...well...we pretty much shove them out of our way, having little patience for the slow moving students that are too busy checking their phone or some shit to walk at a reasonable pace. Yeah, we're assholes, but we don't care. I'm not going to slow down just because some person might find me rude.

Once we reach the entrance to the building, we come to a short halt, because this is where we're going to part ways. I turn to face Amaryllis with a rueful expression. I hardly get to see her during the week, so I don't really want her to go.

"I guess I'll see you later," I tell her regretfully. Amaryllis nods in understand. She looks uncomfortable for some reason. She appears to be hesitating about something. Before I can figure out what that is, however, she steps forward and gives me a hug, her slender arms slipping beneath mine and snaking up my back.

I'm so shocked by this, I don't even react for a good second, before I realize that she probably wants to be hugged back. I awkwardly reciprocate, but I'm tense as hell. Out of all the people that I've met, Amaryllis is the one I'd have pegged as least likely to try to hug me. She's more likely to break your spine rather than give you a hug. So how the hell do I respond to this? Oh yeah...the only way I know how.

"What's this? Is Amaryllis getting sentimental? I hope you're not getting soft on me," I comment with a devilish grin on my face. Amaryllis's immediate response is to shove me roughly against the wall, stepping away from me with a disgruntled expression.

"Oh, you are such an ass," Amaryllis complains, which only causes me to snicker at her expense. I bet she doesn't even really mean that.

"Yeah, hello? Have you met me?" I remark, waving a hand in front of her face. Amaryllis scoffs and walks back the other direction, towards the stream of students.

"Just go to class already so I can be rid of you," she shoots back. I watch her walk away with a warm smile. Just before I lose sight of her, she lifts up her hand and gives me a small wave without looking back. Heh, that's my friend for you.

Now that she's gone, any trace of good humor disappears, my smile dropping from my face. Now I'm surrounded by all of these people. Their loud voices are already getting on my nerves, so I take out my imported headphones and slide them over my ears. There. Now that I have some music playing, I can drown out the rest of the world for a few minutes.

I then walk through the double doors, pushing roughly past a guy who's trying to get out through the same door. The guy grumbles before disappearing into the crowd behind initial impact was an accident, but I don't agonize over it.

My class is on the second floor. There's an elevator on the bottom floor, but often I find it to be much slower than the stairs. Plus there's the chance of being in close proximity to people, so I'll take the stairs any time.

The stairs themselves are made of metal and concrete, and are colored a thick red. My feet tap on the smooth material as I push myself upstairs. On the walls, heating and cooling pipes for air conditioning and water are fastened, completely visible. In addition, multitudes of electrical wires snake across the pipes and open spaces. I guess that the school figured it would be too much money to bother hiding them, so the stairwell just looks permanently unfinished.

Turns out my hurry is mostly unnecessary. I arrive at my classroom five minutes early. As usual, the professor is nowhere to be seen. The guy's always late for his own class. Must be nice, knowing that you've got tenure and your life doesn't get screwed if you fail a test.

While this class is challenging, and I don't usually get bored in it, I actively hate my classmates. I sit between these two guys, and both of them drive me nuts. The guy on my left is your stereotypical jock, no doubt taking this class because it's a prerequisite for something else he wants to do. He always brings his girlfriend to class with him (she's not even part of this class either.) and proceeds to rant about sports to her every...damn...day. How one dimensional can you be?

The man on the other side of me is so annoying because he won't shut up. As in, whenever the professor asks a question, he'll answer it, whether or not it was rhetorical. If anybody else in the room asks a question, he'll try to answer it, even if it wasn't addressed to him. Some days I want to shut him up by shoving a sock down his throat.

Complaints aside, I should probably pay attention right about now. Wednesdays are the days when the professor lectures, in order to teach us all how the code works, rather than just how to use it. It's a necessary skill, I suppose, so I take my headphones off and follow along his lecture on my own laptop. I prefer my own hardware compared to the school's low end technology.

Just as class is starting to end, my phone buzzes in my pocket, alerting me to yet another text message. What, is it Amaryllis again? Hoping it is, I slip out my phone and check it...only to discover that it's my older brother, Adam.

Adam's a smart guy. He graduated from this same college a few years before me, and now has a job working in an electrical plant. He prefers to play sports and pursue other physical activities for his hobby, but he's using this engineering degree to help fund that hobby. That being said, I'm not really that close with the guy. I mean, I didn't even talk to him much until one day he walks in on me watching the anime Soul Eater.

So from then on, the two of us watch some anime or another whenever we're together. It's practically the only thing we have in common, due to his interest in sports. Therefore, he's probably texting me about something anime related.

Sure enough, this is the message I get. "Hey bro, check this out. Eureka 7. There are literally robots on hoverboards. We gotta do it!" My brow slowly raises up to my hairline, both from my brother's over-excitement and from the description of the newest anime he wants to watch with me. I've never heard of that one. I guess it can't be more ridiculous than the ending of Guren Lagann. Though it was awesome, once I suspended my disbelief in a black hole somewhere.

Class soon comes to an end, the professor wrapping up his lecture with the vague promise of a study guide later. Oh great, so that means I have yet another test coming up. Whatever, I can think about that later. I stand up from my desk and replace my headphones just in time to drown out the guy next to me as he calls out a goodbye to me. He does that every single class.

That aside, I should probably respond to my brother. Because he lives an hour or so from campus, we have to plan a time when we can both get together. We made a promise never to watch new animes without one another, so we generally meet up once every two weeks to binge watch.

I'm walking down the stairs, walking on the right side so that people can pass me on my left. I'm trying to type a response to my brother, so I'm not really paying attention to where I'm going. It's not really that big of a deal though. I've walked up and down these stairs so many times I...hold on, what is that green glow?

Right in the middle of my thought, I run into the broad shoulder of a man standing near the bottom of the stairs at full speed. The man grunts and unbalances, his body spinning around from the impact of my body on his shoulder. His hands press lightly on my chest for a second, and then he and I both tumble down the rest of the stairs. I thrust out my forearm to absorb some of the impact, but that doesn't stop it from hurting.

"Really!?" I yell out in irritation, pushing myself to my feet. The man had fallen right on his back in front of me, but he too is standing back up. I take off my headphones and glare at the man in front of me...but then any tirade I may have been cooking up dies in my throat as I get a good look at him. "Who the hell...?"

The man towers over me by at least a head. With the positioning of the lights behind him, he casts a dark shadow over me. His skin is ashen gray and completely smooth in complexion, to the point where it looks almost creepy. He possesses a square jaw and handsomely sculpted features. His face is framed by carefully trimmed sideburns, but the rest of his hair is long and wild, strewn back over his shoulders and held there by what looks like...a crown?

It's true. He's wearing an elegant circlet made from a polished metal that I can't identify, with archaic looking runes engraved into the band. The centerpiece of the crown is this strange red gem that seems almost like it's pulsing.

Getting more and more weirded out the more I look at him, I look down to see that he's wearing a tight fitting black suit, reinforced with steel plate metal. And not the fake stuff either...that's actually real steel the likes that you'd see in a medieval museum. To top it all off, there's a long red cape attached to his neck by an ornate gem, the edges decorated with white fur.

Nobody that I've ever seen wears something like this. The kind of material I'm seeing looks authentic and not at all cheesy, like most costumes do. What's...what's going on? Who is this guy? What is this uneasiness I'm feeling?

The man's eyes shoot open, revealing them to be a vivid red. He transfixes me with an angry glare, to the point where I step back, starting to feel a little intimidated. He growls, revealing a set of sharpened white teeth that wouldn't look out of place on a carnivore, serving to freak me out even more.

In the blink of an eye, his gauntleted hand is at my throat, causing me to cough and choke as my airway is suddenly restricted. Seemingly without effort, the man lifts me right into the air. My mind races and my legs kick at the air. My hands reach up and pull at his grip pathetically, my vision starting to narrow as he squeezes me harder and harder.

With an enraged grunt, the man hurls me right back up the stairs into the foyer with a simple flick of his wrist. My vision blurs as my surroundings pass by me in a flash, and before I know it, my back is exploding with pain as I collide with the railing. A cry of agony leaves my throat, and then seconds later I'm coughing, my lungs sucking in air as fast as I possibly can.

My heart jumps in my throat when I hear him slowly walking up the stairs, his metal boots resounding off of the concrete surface. I take off my bag and set it aside, standing up to face him. This man just tried to kill me...all for running into him. What is going on? Where are all the other students? Should I run?

A student actually steps out into the stairwell just as I'm trying to determine what to do next. He starts to walk down the stairs as usual, but then he catches sight of the man in front of me. His face soon exhibits the same confusion that I'm feeling, but it doesn't last long. The armored man transfixes the student with an intense stare, filled with so much intimidation and authority that the student actually runs back to the second level, wanting nothing to do with this situation.

Just as I'm trying to slip around him, the man's gaze snaps back to me, and he looks furious. "That spell was not meant for thee!" the man roars, his deep bass voice echoing ominously throughout the stairwell. I back away from him, pressing myself into the railing, utterly confused. Spell? What is he talking about? What does that have to do with me running into him? "Dost thou understand how much time is needed to prepare such a spell? Thou shalt pay dearly for crossing me!"

"What are you even talking about? All I did was run into you, so why are you so angry?" I demand, finally finding my voice. Nothing he just said makes any kind of sense, so now confusion is mingling with the anger and fear that I feel. The man remains silent, approaching me steadily. I lift my hands, hoping that if he tries to attack me again, I can try to do something. I'm starting to regret not asking Amaryllis to teach me any of her boxing techniques.

"That spell...was not meant for thee," the man repeats calmly, his teeth gritting together. The way he says that makes it seem like he expects me to understand, but I still have no idea.

"That doesn't make any sense! What spell? Who even are you!?" I shoot right back. The man shakes his head slowly and raises a fist. A strange green glow starts to leak out from between his fingers, confusing me even further.

"I hath no patience for meddlers..." he starts to say, but then he pauses, looking at me oddly. He emits a low hum, as if noticing something for the first time. He lowers his hand, and the glow disappears. "Intriguing. Perhaps 'tis not a total loss."

The man starts to walk in a slow circle around me, looking me up and down as if sizing me up. He focuses especially on my face, as if trying to memorize my features. Whatever he's doing, I'm really creeped out right now. I just want to get as far away from this strange man as I possibly can.

"What are you doing?" I try to ask, but the man doesn't respond, continuing to size me up. Hoping that this is a chance to leave, I try to move.

"Remain still," the man commands me. I blink in surprise, but that surprise quickly turns to irritation and impatience.

"Like hell. I'm leaving, and there's nothing you can do to..." In the middle of my statement, the man's eyes narrow, and then I swear I feel an intense pressure in the air, surrounding me and oppressing me. It feels like I've been wrapped in a blanket weighing over a hundred pounds. I can't move, no matter how hard I try. Finally, as sweat starts to bead on my forehead, the pressure disappears, and I'm left free and terrified. "How...how did you...?"

At last, the man appears to have seen enough. His stern expression changes, and he gives a satisfied smile, which looks plain unsettling with those pointed teeth of his. "Indeed. Thou shalt do just fine," he decides. Hr turns the other direction and descends the stairs, his cape fluttering in the air behind him in the process. As he gets further away from me, the fear I'm feeling starts to become replaced by utter confusion and anger.

"What? What the hell? You're just gonna show up, beat me half to death, and then leave? Who the hell are you!?" I shout after him incredulously. The man doesn't even pause in his stride, opening the door at the bottom of the stairs and disappearing from view. "Hey!"

I have to sit down, disoriented and completely at a loss for words. I have so many questions that I can't even begin to answer. I'd have just thought he was a crazy guy cosplayer with too much money, but that strength I felt...enough to toss a nearly full grown man like myself several meters up through the air...that was real. My back and neck still ache from the beating he gave me.

"Hey, I heard you yelling," another student steps out of the second floor hallway, looking with concern down at me. I recognize him as one of the guys in my foreign language class. "You all right down there, Seth?"

"I didn't ask for your help," I snap back at him. The edge in my voice as well as the callousness of my words causes the student to look at me in disbelief. He then scoffs and leaves me behind, angered by my rudeness.

I can't bring myself to move. I'm still trying to make sense of what happened. All sorts of possible explanations for his nature pass through my mind and are just as quickly disregarded. Deprived of any other solution, I start to ramble to myself. "No, it was probably just some guy who wanted to stay in character too much. It's not that hard to get some gray makeup for your skin, or contacts for the eyes," I reason senselessly "That strength...no, he probably just works out, and it's just so great because I don't...yes, everything's normal...I.."

There's nothing for it. I need to talk to someone. And there's only one person I know will listen to me seriously right now. I fumble with my phone, almost dropping it in the process. I quickly dial the number and hold the phone to my ear.

"Seth? You do know I'm in class right now, right? I literally went to the bathroom to talk to you," Amaryllis's annoyed voice sounds over the speakers, and I give a relieved sigh.

"Yeah...yeah I do...sorry...," I reply, stammering a little. Amaryllis notices something wrong in my tone, because the next thing she says is in a softer, more serious voice that she only ever uses with me.

"What happened? You usually don't call me sounding like a troubled toddler," Amaryllis questions. Despite her quip, I can tell that she's worried now.

"I have no idea what just fucking happened. I...I don't know what to think," I admit to her, hating how it makes me sound. However, I'm just happy she's here now, even if it's only over the phone.

"Okay. Calm down, and start over from the beginning," Amaryllis replies calmly and patiently. Gone are her insults and sarcastic remarks, which I'm grateful for. I do as she told me, breathing deeply until my heart rate returns to normal.

I tell her everything I can about the strange man, starting with how I ran into him, and then moving on to a physical description. I include the way he spoke, his unreal strength, and even the strange green glow I saw right before meeting him, and then in his hand. Amaryllis remains quiet for the whole thing, no doubt reserving judgment until I'm finished.

As I talk, I start to feel something strange in the pit of my stomach. It's difficult to describe, but it feels like something is buzzing inside of me, trickling through my veins to the furthest reaches of my body. I start to breathe harder, and I quickly finish up my summation of the previous events. What is happening to me?

"Seth, I'm not gonna lie, but this all sounds a little fantastic," Amaryllis admits, much to my horror. And here I thought she would... "But I've known you long enough to know you wouldn't make up crap like this. I'm cutting class now. Can you meet me in front of the science building?"

"Hell yes, I'm done with this whole situation. I'll meet you outside in...whoa..." I cut off, because the feeling in my stomach is getting worse, to the point where I'm starting to feel nauseous and a little drowsy. My legs wobble and feel like giving out, to the point where I have to steady myself on the railing.

"Seth? What is it? What's the problem?" Amaryllis asks sharply. It takes me a little while to respond, because now I'm starting to feel light headed, and it's getting even harder and harder to maintain coherent thought.

"I feel...really weird..." is all I manage to get out before the dizziness gets too much to bear. I collapse to the floor, barely registering the pain from the fall. My phone falls from my hand and lands on the floor just in front of me with a clatter.

"Seth! What's going on? Are you there? Shit...hang on, I'm coming!" I vaguely hear Amaryllis yell over the phone as my senses dull. I can't think...I can't move...and I can't keep my eyes open. Despite my efforts to maintain hold of myself, my consciousness slowly slips away, until I'm clouded in darkness.

Author's Note:

It came to my attention that despite the fact that I was replacing the chapters in the original version, there would be no way for those who read only on this site to know about the rewrites. Therefore, because rewritten stories aren't against the rules on this site opposed to Fimfiction, I decided to create a separate version for the rewritten Tales of the Oppressed. I have six chapters ready and rewritten that I'll start posting on a weekly basis. After that, I'll post them as I get them.

As for what I changed from the original, it's similar to what it was, but I went through and improved on the flow and the description, and made Seth into more of a well defined character instead of just a cursing mess. I also improved on the relationship between him and Amaryllis, such that his random declaration of love for her in chapter 2 doesn't seem...well, random.

The other thing I wanted to focus on was to show that Seth was cynical BEFORE his race died, because a lot of readers assume that he became the way he was because of the loss of his family and friend. I also stressed that Amaryllis was his only friend.

Lastly, I also removed every major mention of him indicating that what you're reading is his journal, because that idea didn't pan out and I ended up abandoning it in the end. I cut off the new chapter one just after he lost consciousness. I then bumped the rest into chapter 2, which will be posted later.

Most importantly, I dropped the rating to T, as there was really nothing M-worthy about the previous except for the stupid amount of cursing (which is one the things I'm cutting back on), and even now, a few curse words here and there won't justify a rating increase. T also allows for the odd sexual joke here and there, which is as far as I ever went in the original.

Please, leave a review and let me know if you think it's better than the original!