Chapter 3: Tradition
Shibusen was once again lively again with students and teachers alike, rushing through the halls between classes and activities. It was refreshing in a way. Summer session was never a very long one, but the feeling of all the meisters and weapons roaming the halls with excitement and adventure in their hearts seemed to bring the school truly to life. Kid had been a firm believer in that. He had watched, though not nearly as entertained as others, while Black Star scared a few of the newer students with his speech on his greatness; watched young girls swoon over Soul; and how Maka regulated and Tsubaki worked her maternal magic.
Yes, there was something about the school that you could only embrace if you were there. That was why he dreaded the agreement he had made with Death City officials. In a week, a small group, approved by the city and him as well, would be coming into his father's school and taking in Shibusen tradition. Letting out a sigh, the OCD Shinigami leaned back heavily in his seat, having completed all of his paperwork and completely absorbing himself in his thoughts. "KID!" Eyes flying open and lurching forward, he blinked owlishly at Black Star who was standing in front of his desk, Tsubaki at his side, both looking at him expectantly. When the hell had they come in. "Hey man, I need you to do me a favor." Gathering himself, Kid fixed the assassin with a stern look.
"Aren't you supposed to be covering a class today?" He asked. One of the professors was away and specifically asked Black Star to cover their class. Why Black Star of all people, Kid would never know, but he was called upon and was already proving to be unreliable.
"Yeah, see that's the thing," Black star answered distractedly, waving off Kid's annoyed expression. "You need to find someone else to take on this group. Tsubaki and I have something to do." The Shinigami raised a brow skeptically.
"And what is so important that you both have to abandon your classes?" he asked. Tsubaki took over.
"There's something we're taking care of in the city for Sid." She explained. "He and Nygus will be effectively taking over our classes until we return."
"Why are you doing it?" Kid asked skeptically. "Why can't Sid and Nygus go?" Black Star rolled his eyes. The pair never failed to take on their own assignments.
"It doesn't matter. We were asked to do it and we've got someone covering for us." He said irritably. "But more importantly, I need you to talk to my brats." Kid quirked a brow.
"Because our classes are combining for homeroom to be properly told about what to expect next week." Tsubaki answered, giving Kid a look that clearly questioned if he had forgotten. Clearly he hadn't since he had no idea what she was talking about. The Shinigami stared at his long time friends blankly before Tsubaki spoke again. "Liz said you'd at least be speaking to a few classes about the officials from the city that will be coming next week. Kids have been asking questions since the entrance ceremony after all."
"How do you not know about your own agreement?" Black Star asked.
"Because no one told me about it." Kid answered and pushed himself out of his seat. "I can't even explain what the hell is happening. These people are going to come in and want to observe a few things about our school to see if we're a threat or not."
"I don't see what there is to observe." Black Star muttered. "They're a bunch of kids. Who are they hurting?" Kid was standing now, allowing a serious look to cross his face. He understood what Black Star was saying, but he had sat through plenty of conferences over the past few weeks, if not months, filled with paranoid rants and accusations. There was something that they were afraid of.
"It's not so much the kids they're afraid of, but the fear of what they could become."
Rion walked a few steps behind Ava, absently listening to her go on and on about trying to be one of the first to grab an acceptable mission for them since Ayame and Zeke were busy 'biting each other's heads off' and the others were busy trying to investigate what Kid-Shinigami was planning. Traditionally, Ayame would cheat, go ahead in the middle of the entrance ceremony, pocket a couple of assignments and a week later take them on with Zeke as if she had just come across them. Aiden caught on last year and would give her a few dollars to give him one at least. Somehow, Ava and Rion would be among the few who wait a month or two into school before attempting anything. This year was going to be different however- you know, according to Ava. Ava had turned the corridor corner, only five seconds before the young weapon and he already felt, and heard, her outrage.
"WHERE'S THE POSTINGS!?" Blinking, Rion stared at the large board that was usually filled with assignments, now void of anything. He could have sworn there were sheets up on Entrance Day. Even Ms. Misery wasn't there. There was some other woman. She was thin with dark hair, heavy mascara, and a long face. She was sitting in Ms. Misery's usual spot filing her nails.
"Hey, Ava…" Rion started, but his partner had already stomped her way over to the woman at the desk.
"Hey lady!" she called out as her weapon let out a groan. The woman looked up from her nails with a thin brow arched in response. She didn't seem in the least bit fazed. "Where are the postings?"
"No assignments until you've all been a month in." she answered in a drawling tone. "It's for the best. Many of you need to focus on your academics if you want to succeed in the world outside these walls." Ava's eyes narrowed, but Rion had now cut in.
"Who exactly are you? Where's Ms. Misery?" The woman slowly lowered her file and fixed the pair with a bland stare.
"I'm Madam Scorpius and I was placed her because Ms. Misery is away and Shinigami wanted to enforce that the student focus on their academics before their missions. It's a new recommendation of the school as requested by Death City officials." The pair stared at the woman blankly and she let out a slow sigh. "If you were still in your homeroom like the rest of your classmates, you would be hearing the current situation the academy is in."
"Our class is on break." Rion answered, frowning slightly. "What trouble is Shibusen is? Are we getting shut down?" The woman had now busied herself with filing her nails again.
"Return to your class." She answered dully. Ava was annoyed but turned on her heal with a huff and walked away.
"I don't like that lady at all!" she grumbled bitterly. Rion hummed in understanding. "She's breaking Shibusen tradition, not having the postings up!" She was annoyed, her usually sparkling eyes filled with irritation as she grumbled their way back to their homeroom. Many of their classmates had returned, sitting in their usual seats, and in the front of the class stood Professor Stein with Kid. Both men fixed the pair with expectant stares.
"You were only supposed to be gone for 15 minutes." Stein drawled, somehow managing to balance an unlit cigarette between his lips. "Take your seats, there's something important we need to discuss."
"Does it have to do with the postings board being gone?" Ava asked but Stein decided to ignore her, dropping back in his swivel chair heavily and allowing Kid to take over.
"Take your seat, Ava." The Shinigami instructed in a calm tone. Without another word, she obeyed, dropping into her usual seat behind Aiden and Gabe who were both sitting straight and clearly intrigued. Only a few more students had scurried in with apologies before Kid began to speak. "As many of you know, there are rumors around that our academy is going to be under observation by officials of Death City."
"Are we getting shut down?" One student called out, panic on her face. Kid gave a slight smile.
"No, we're not, Becca." He answered. "There's been a lot going on in the past few years and people who aren't like us are worried. They believe that we are somehow a threat, or potential threat, to their way of life and for that reason, we have to show that we are every day citizens just like them, even if we have different abilities."
"So we can't do jobs because of these people and their fears?" Ava asked, frowning. "We've never done anything but try to help people. Why should our traditions be changed because of them?"
"She's right! We've never hurt anyone." Gabe interjected. "If anything, we've all been hurt in some form trying to protect these people!" Kid raised his hand to silence the now chorusing complaints of the students.
"You need to understand that what is being done now is to protect you from the ignorance of the world." He said in a sharp tone. "As of right now, officials will be coming next week. Shibusen has a tradition that we uphold and one of them is pride. Take pride in your school and protect it and those who attend it." There was a collection of silent nods.
"For now, only two and three star meisters will be taking on assignments and the board will be in place accordingly." Stein spoke up, completely taking over. "Many of you have bigger things to focus on because despite successfully creating a weapon worthy of Shinigami, your grades have an effect as well. We'll be taking into account your academics for the next few weeks while under these observations and if we see that even without distractions that you can't uphold that standard, you will be stuck in remedial courses."
"Are you kidding me?!" Ayame snapped, standing and slamming her hands on her desk. "That's not even fair! This is our third year! Why change anything now?"
"Because it's your third year and barely any of you are ready for two star meister missions, classes, or expectations." Stein answered. The girl glowered but sat down all the same. "That being said, take out a sheet of paper and pencil. I want to see what you remember from last year." Eyes widened in shock and even Kid looked at the professor in disbelief.
Welcome back to school indeed.
Walking amongst her younger classmates, Aimee couldn't help but to be at least a little sympathetic towards their complaints. She had gone to a more, I suppose you could say, traditional school before coming to Shibusen. She knew what it meant to have to stay on top of your grades and for recreational activities to be taken away based on grades and behavior. Besides all that, after Shibusen, they did have to think of where they would want to be career wise. Not everyone would be working in the school. "You know, Ayame, if you focused a little more maybe your grades wouldn't be nearly as bad." Zeke informed as his partner glared irritably down at the grade of her pop quiz.
"Two months is a long time to remember certain things…" she muttered bitterly. Zeke chose not to speak. In all fairness, her grade wasn't that bad, but next to a partner that scored a 95% on it, she wasn't all too happy. Even Rion had scored an 85.
"Well I look forward to this new way of school." Aimee piped up. "I mean in my old school it was kinda like this. We had classes and you couldn't really do anything fun unless you had good grades. No pep rallies, detentions, not to mention no trips… or prom!" The group stared at her in confusion.
"What's a prom?" asked Aiden causing the red head to pause in her tracks and stare at the clueless group in bewilderment.
"What do you mean what's a prom!? It's like the greatest thing to happen your final year of school! It's practically a rite of passage!" she declared. Ava and Ayame wrinkled their noses in response while the boys stared blankly.
"We have a rite of passage. It's called collecting that final soul." Liam informed with a bored expression. "What's the point of prom if we have that to celebrate?" Aimee rolled her eyes.
"It's more than just that! It's a dance. A celebration!"
"We have the Shibusen yearly party every December." Aiden chorused in but Aimee waved him off as they all started chiming in their own concerns, theories, and opinions. Shibusen had their traditions, that much she knew, but if there were going to be changes made, then she would waste no time with new suggestions.