Chapter 1- I Don't Belong

Written by: Duck Rogers

Pre-read by: hawker-748


Stepping off the bus, Tsukune scratched his head. As he examined his surroundings it was obvious that the weather on this side of the tunnel was completely different than the other side. Numerous cumulus clouds dotted the sky; however, he could still make out faint patches of blue. His eyes shifted from the sky to a short figure standing directly to his right. He took a couple steps toward it in order to get a better look. What stood before him was not your everyday scarecrow. This one had a jack-o-lantern for a head and a wooden plank ran vertically down its body. Tsukune squinted his eyes as he read the faded board.

Yokai Academy

Tsukune let out a heavy breath and released the tension in his shoulders. I guess this is the place, he thought. Tsukune's eyes drifted past the scarecrow and to the cliff side behind it. The water was a grimy red color, almost like it was actual blood instead of sea water. A shiver rode its way up his spine. Come on, Tsukune. You're acting stupid. It probably just has something to do with the lighting or something like that.

Before Tsukune's thoughts could continue the bus doors behind him closed shut. He turned around just in time to see his only way home speeding off into the distance. Well, if I'm going to spend the next couple years of my life here I might as well make the best of it. One of his hands dug into his pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. Class should be starting in a bit. I better hurry or I'll be late.

Tsukune looked up from the paper and saw off into the distance what he assumed was Yokai Academy. His jaw hit the ground. From what he could see this "school" looked like anything but. The various stories of the school rose from the dead trees surrounding it. To be honest, it looked more like an old mansion than a school.

Looks like this year is going to be interesting,Tsukune thought as he started making his way to the school.

XXX

Trekking through the forest of dead trees, Tsukune's eyes passed over his surroundings multiple times. Besides the bad landscaping, he could see that tombstones lined the trail leading to the school. Instead of stopping to read them, Tsukune quickened his pace. All these ominous things were starting to make him nervous. Suddenly, the boy's foot connected with something solid, causing him to stumble and fall flat on his face.

"What was that?"

Tsukune's eyes darted back and forth. They stopped on a circular white object that rested a few feet from where he fell. Wiping himself off, Tsukune walked slowly over to the object and picked it up. His heart skipped a beat. He dropped the object as he shrieked and fell back. Instantly, he began wiping both of his hands on his slacks, attempting to cleanse them from their recent violation. The skull itself wasn't what had scared him, it was the fact that it didn't look human. It was like something from a science-fiction novel. Instead of two eye holes, the skull had three. But that wasn't all, instead of regular human teeth, the skull possessed a row of vicious looking fangs.

What could that have been? he thought, continuing to sit off to the side of the trail.

Tsukune snapped out of his daze as the sound of spinning wheels entered his ears. Glancing back towards the sound, he saw a beautiful pink-haired girl riding a bicycle. Her hair was flowing behind her in the wind. Tsukune felt butterflies beginning to flutter in his stomach as he stared on. Unfortunately, these feelings were short-lived as the girl blew right past him. His eyes followed her fleetingly as her figure grew smaller and smaller.

Yeah, this year is definitely going to be interesting.

XXX

Tsukune was able to make his way to his homeroom classroom without much of a problem. Walking into the room, he saw that at least this aspect of the school was normal. Desks were lined from the front of the room to the back in multiple rows just like every other school he had attended. In the very front of the room sat the very largest desk, obviously the teacher's, and your standard school issue blackboard. Everything was exactly how it should be.

From what he saw he could tell most of the new students were just as nervous as he was. Some of them were sitting silently, while others tried to make some small talk each other. He quickly looked around the room to see if there was anybody he knew at all. Unfortunately, there was nobody, which didn't surprise him. Slumping his shoulders slightly, Tsukune made his way to the back of the room and collapsed into his chair. He rested his head on his hand and shifted his eyes out of the window. He never had many friends in middle school and it looked like things weren't going to be much different here.

I'm all alone, aren't I? he sighed. Tsukune passively watched the waves from the sea as they brushed harshly against the cliff sides. Hearing the door open, he saw a flash of pink from the corner of his eye.

"Oh my god. Who is that!"

"She's so hot!"

"I think I'm in love!"

The voices of all the male students rang out like howling wolves. The girl, noticing all the attention, timidly walked to a seat on the opposite side of the room from where Tsukune sat. Her body was like a magnet, coaxing his eyes to follow her every movement. Tsukune raised an eyebrow as something peculiar caught his eye. Chained around the pink-haired girl's neck was a strange looking cross. But before he could get a better look, almost every male student hastily left their seats to swarm around her. Tsukune swept these thoughts to the back of his mind as a young female took the stand in front of the classroom.

"Okay class, please quiet down and take a seat so we can begin!"

Accompanying the friendly smile on the teacher's face sat a pair of red rimmed glasses that rested lazily upon her nose. If he had to make a guess, Tsukune would have estimated her age from around her late twenties to her early thirties. The two knots of hair that protruded from her head looked astonishingly like ears.

The seats around Tsukune filled up rapidly until only one seat in the whole class remained, the one directly in front of him. Once everyone had calmed down, the teacher started up again.

"Good morning, everybody! Welcome to your first year at Yokai Academy. I will be your homeroom teacher this year. My name is Shizuka Nekonome."

Yawning, Tsukune sat listening to Shizuka's introductions. It wasn't anything he hadn't heard before so his interest was waning dangerously.

This was until, "As you all know. Yokai Academy is an entire school built by monsters, funded by monsters, and attended by monsters!"

Tsukune's eyes widened. Huh...?he thought. What did she just say?

With a weak smile, he looked around the room to see if anybody else caught what Shizuka had said. To his horror, all the students had expressionless looks on their faces. Not one of them was smiling. Tsukune quickly turned back towards the teacher.

"Did I just hear you say this school is for... monsters?" he asked, straining his ears this time.

"Of course, that's exactly what I said," she responded as a cat-like tail revealed itself from behind her. "Okay, now everyone stay quiet while I take attendance. It's in no particular order so just tell me you're here when I call your name. Let's see..." Shizuka glanced down at the sheet of paper "Mizore Shirayuki?"

Shizuka was met by silence. Frowning, she looked back down to make sure she had read the name correctly. "Mizore Shirayuki?"

Her eyes scanned the room. Once she saw the empty seat in front of Tsukune, she marked something on the paper in her hands. "Hmm, I guess she's absent," Shizuka said worriedly. "Moving on. Tsukune Aono."

Unfortunately, her words never reached him. Tsukune's entire body was trembling uncontrollably. Beads of sweat rolled down his face like rain water on glass.

"Tsukune Aono?"

Tsukune's hand shot up. "Y-yes. Yes, I'm here," he choked out.

An awkward silence ensued as once again the entire class was staring directly at Tsukune. His face turned a bright red. I'm an idiot! I can't be attracting too much attention to myself!

The teacher smiled knowingly. "It's fine to be a little nervous. It is your first day after all. Just try and relax. You're kinda acting like a human."

Tsukune's stomach did a backflip. "Me? A human? Of course not! Don't be silly!" Tsukune mocked a chuckle. And with that, the class turned back to their own desks and waited for their name to be called; however, Tsukune felt a set of eyes continue to linger on him.

"Your scent... It's distinct. Just like a human's, and I happen to like the taste of humans."

Tsukune's breath snagged in the middle of his throat. His head turned mechanically to the origin of the sound. Glowering at him was a menacing looking student. The elongated tongue hanging from his mouth made Tsukune's blood churn. Even though the student looked human, behind his eyes Tsukune could see something monstrous—a cold-blooded killer.

Reflexively, Tsukune gulped, making up an excuse on the spot. "W-well, I'm not human. H-how could I be here if I was?"

The boy frowned. "It d—"

"Saizou Komiya."

The boy flinched as he turned to Miss Nekonome. "Yeah, I'm here." Luckily for the human, their brief conversation ended there.

Tsukune slowly grew more and more nervous as around him he could see more hints that this was actually school for monsters and not some elaborate prank. I have to get out of here now! he thought urgently. Suddenly, a light bulb went off in his mind. Feigning a look of pain, Tsukune raised his hand.

"Is something wrong, Tsukune?"

Tsukune gripped his stomach tightly. "I'm not feeling too good. Can I go to the nurse's office?"

"Okay, go ahead. Just go straight down the hall and take the second right."

"Thank you," Tsukune grunted, walking out the door. Once the door had been shut, he quickened his pace to a jog. I'm out of here. I'd rather stay home than be stuck in this nightmare for a year!

XXX

Tsukune's breath was coming out in wheezes. His eyes fell to the slip of paper in his hand. Good, I'm in luck. This will be the last bus stop until next month.He read the list of arrival and departure times. It should be getting here in about half an hour.

As he approached the bus stop, something caught his eye. Off to the right of the scarecrow and sitting upon the edge of the cliff was a girl. Getting closer and closer, Tsukune could see that her hair was a light violet color that drooped down to her shoulders. She wore an open top sweater accompanied by thigh-high striped socks.

Tsukune's face lit up. Hey, it looks like I'm not the only human who got mixed up at this school. She must be waiting at the bus stop to get out of here just like me.Tsukune approached the girl from behind.

"Excuse me. You mind if I sit next to you?" Tsukune asked politely.

Slowly turning her head around, the girl looked at him. Tsukune's breath was cut short. She had to have been the cutest girl he had ever laid eyes upon. Her eyes had a magnificent blue hue that rivaled the sky in beauty. The lollipop that rested on the corner of her mouth was a perfect addition to her look as well. Her cool demeanor was mesmerizing.

"No, do whatever you want," the girl said evenly. Tsukune didn't wait another moment before he sat down beside her, watching over the blood-red sea.

He waited for a few moments before breaking the silence. "This is a really scary school, isn't it? I think everyone here is crazy!" he joked.

The girl made no inclination that she heard him. Tsukune felt the tension thicken between them but he continued on. "I'm a bit disappointed though. I was really hoping to start a new life here. Back at my old school I really didn't have many friends at all. I was a real loner. That's why I thought, if I went to a completely different school, I can be different and make more friends. But it looks like that plan is a bust." Tsukune's eyes fell to his hands. "I don't belong here."

"I don't belong here either."

Surprised, Tsukune glanced to his right. The girl was staring back at him. He instantly read her expression, because it was one he had seen many times before on his own face.

"I don't understand these people. How they can so easily get along with one another. I've never been one to make friends," she said.

"How about we become friends?"

She raised an eyebrow as if he had spoken some hideous unknown language to her. "O-okay," she murmured.

He gave her a small smile. "Maybe we can meet up once we go back to the human world?"

"Why would we go back there?" she asked, tilting her head to the side.

Now it was Tsukune's turn to look confused. "You are...human, right?"

"Uh, no."

"...What...?" Tsukune exhaled, subconsciously rising to his feet.

"So I take it, you're a human?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah, I am," he said, his mind spinning wildly.

"You're scared of me, aren't you? You don't want to be friends anymore."

Tsukune turned to her. Her face was downcast and she looked as if she wanted to cry. Frantically, Tsukune waved his arms in the air. "No! No! That's not it. You're different from the others. You're more gentle and not scary at all. In fact you're actually really cute!" Tsukune's hand shot to his mouth as his face went red.

The girl's face was flushed too. "So you still want to be friends?"

"Of course I do," Tsukune said, rubbing the back of his head.

"Does that mean you're not going to leave?" she asked worriedly.

Tsukune paused for a moment to think. "No, I guess I'll stay. I do have a friend now to keep me company."

"Come on then, let's head back. I guess ditching homeroom was a good idea today," she said coolly. "My name is Mizore Shirayuki."

"Nice to meet you. My name is Tsukune Aono." They both exchanged a smile before heading back to Yokai Academy.