Apex here, with another late chapter... Whew, where to start.

Okay, so my absolutely amazing beta reader read the draft and went basically "WTF is this". So I had to take suggestions from them, and revised an entire scene away. Like, this was supposed to be an early chapter, but I'm glad my beta reader told me that it was a pile of mess. That is why it took long.

So I ask of you, please forgive me! I just wanted to give my (few) readers a good time, so I revised this entire thing. I really hope you enjoy this chapter. And please, your opinion matters. If there is something that seems off or is just plain bad, don't sugarcoat your words and give me your honest opinion.

Now with that out of the way, its time to fight the boss! I suggest you listen to some video game OST of boss theme while reading this chapter! I personally wrote this chapter while listening to the OST of "7th Dragon III: Code VFD". The music was composed by Yuzo Koshiro! Specifically the "Battlefield - Threat of 7" theme.


CHAPTER ONE – STRANGERS LOST IN PARADISE/3

UTOPIA ACADEMY – COMBAT ROOM

The Monodrake towers menacingly above us, like an eclipse blotting out the light. It moves before we do, bringing down a heavy arm upon the Utopics. As we scramble away from the giant reptile, debris and shattered fragments of the pure white floor fly into the air from Monodrake's sheer strength. Letting out a blood curdling snarl, it signals the beginning of its hunt-and we are its prey.

However, the brave (and probably foolish) mecha pilot stands her ground, waiting for the monstrous reptile to charge straight at her.

Asuka jumps out of the way, just narrowly avoiding being gored to death by those massive horns. She then tries to kick the creature, but that only served to annoy it as it casually swats aside the mecha soldier using its massive arm like a baseball bat. Asuka manages to land on her feet as gracefully as possible, but it is apparent that she has sustained damage.

As if laughing, the Monodrake makes a shrieking voice-relishing in the raw emotion of fear seeping from us. In fact, just the sight of the most powerful among us students get hurt pretty much seals the deal that we are definitely its prey.

It's like we are all food on its dinner plate-and there's no such thing as food that fights back.

Meanwhile, I see the rest of the Utopics-notably Cass and Misao-arguing. I decide to approach them cautiously.

"Well? Aren't there a lot of smart people here?" Cass demands, glaring at Misao. "What's the plan!? I bet ya sure didn't expect a fuckin' dragon to murder us, eh!?" The hacker just clicks her tongue in annoyance, not meeting Cass in the eye.

"Fine, you're right," Misao admits begrudgingly. "But before we argue, we have to find a way to defeat that thing!"

"Oh yeah?" Cass challenges, not backing away from the hacker. The painter's intimidating glare and obvious height advantage doesn't scare away Misao, however. "I'd like to see you cook up a plan then!"

Before the heated argument could potentially evolve into a fight, Harukaze steps in.

"Please, we shouldn't fight like this! That immense hellspawn will try to attack us while we are distracted!" The spirit medium emphasizes her point by pointing at the Monodrake. Thankfully, the two Utopics stop arguing at this.

"Guys! Asuka is going to get killed if we don't do something!" Kensuke yells, prompting all of us to glance back at the mecha soldier.

The drake tries to slice her in half as it swipes it claws, but Asuka manages to dodge each and every attack. However, without a weapon, the mecha pilot cannot do anything against the vicious creature and she is forced to continue evading.

The mecha pilot grits her teeth in frustration as she continue to launch swift strikes upon her draconic foe, but none of her kicks or punches can even scratch the creature's obsidian hide. I then manage to catch a glimpse of Shiro, who seems to be shivering in fear and is huddled close to Yuki.

"Even if we had weapons, just the monster's scales are enough to shield it from attacks!" Zange notes worriedly as Asuka continues to hold off the Monodrake by herself. Everyone just stares in terror. Even Norio looks scared, despite being a virtual gladiator and an all-around brave guy.

I honestly don't know what to do. And neither does anyone else. Harukaze seems to be in prayer, her hands together as her mouth opens and closes but without a word coming out.

Everyone else aside from Norio and Asuka are not capable of even standing up to the Monodrake. Zange looks absolutely worried and is trying his best to calm down the others. Masumi, Cass, Misao and Dexter are arguing about something, debating about the monster's potential weak points.

Then there's Seiko, who has a deep frown on his face. I doubt he is worried about everyone else, so maybe he is worried about himself only?

And of course, small and powerless me is just standing still, taking in the horrifying situation with a blank stare. Is this our final resting place?

The vicious battle between woman and beast continue, with the Monodrake gaining the upper hand. The black dragon's claw comes down faster with each passing second, and it manages to slash up the pilot's skirt.

Asuka decides to ditch the skirt, ripping it in half. She also slings off the uniform's outer jacket. Underneath her skirt, she is thankfully wearing black shorts. Without the school uniform impending her movement, Asuka is noticeably much more agile. She quickly unleashes a barrage of rapid and continuous attacks upon the monster.

The floor guardian continues to try and kill the mecha pilot, twisting its body in an effort to reach for its smaller foe-reminisient of a cat chasing mice. If I were in Asuka's place, I would already be dead. There's no way I can possibly dodge those attacks without tiring out!

Asuka leaps around the Monodrake like a gymnast. She whips her body to the limit to evade the lumbering creature's blows. Raising its right foreleg, the enormous drake tries to flatten the mecha pilot, but Asuka just used the monster's foreleg as a leverage and kicked off, effectively boosting her jump. She delivers a kick straight to the creature's eye, which causes it to reel back in pain.

Satisfied that she finally damaged Monodrake, the mecha pilot lands on the floor and then dashes towards the monster. However, she instantly sidesteps to the side in just a split second, as the monster nearly crushes her by suddenly swinging its mace-like tail at her. The creature then goes back to attempting to tear Asuka in half with its dangerous claws. Not really a smart animal, I see.

"I'm impressed she managed to last this long," Dexter comments. He eyes the mecha soldier with awe. "Nonetheless, I have to dismiss the notion that she could take it down alone, so we need to think of a plan."

"Yeah, you're right Dexter!" Suzumi suddenly springs up nearby the prodigy. "We have to think of something!" But then, a certain someone decides to abandon the concept of planning.

"Yo, mecha girl!" Norio calls, rushing towards the fight recklessly. Just what does he plan on doing!?

"N-no!" Asuka yells between claw swipes, "Stay back! I shall sacrifice myself so that you may all leave the combat room!" Is she insane!? No one should throw in the towel like that!

"Hell no, dude! No can do." Norio says casually before thrusting himself into the battlefield. He gallops like a parkour practioner would, and lands on the head of the drake, grabbing onto its horns.

Monodrake, of course, tries to shake off the virtual gladiator by thrashing about like a bull would. Each footstep shakes the combat room, and I try my best not to trip and fall.

"Alright, get out of there, Asuka! Before this thing decides to aim for ya again!" Norio yells, struggling to keep holding onto the horns of the monster as it continues its rampage. Asuka reluctantly agrees and rushes towards us.

"Are any of you hurt?" The mecha pilot inquires, not possessing the slightest bit of fear. She's so emotionless despite the imminent threat looming over us.

"Thankfully none are too injured," Zange starts, then he eyes her with worry. "You on the other, look quite roughed up! Are you sure you're alright, dearie?" Asuka nods, and then glares at the black beast.

"I can't even damage its body… I need a plasma rifle to be able to penetrate its thick scales." A plasma rifle, huh? That creature sure is tough! Normally I would be ecstatic about the discovery of a new organism, but this one is actively trying to kill us, so I'll pass.

"Well, what do you propose we do now?" Seiko wonders, walking towards the mecha pilot. "I'd rather not die at this very moment, you know." Asuka closes her eyes in concentration-or maybe it is to drown out the salesman's arrogant and selfish squabbles.

"For now, we need to help Norio. He won't keep up for long."

Sure enough, the scaly monster successfully shakes off the Utopic in question. He falls to the ground with a crack. That's got to hurt! I hope he's okay.

"Ow! Damn this thing…" Norio winces in pain.

"Hey, meat shield! I'd dodge if I were you!" Misao shouts, alerting the gladiator. He tries to stand up, but fails upon doing so.

"O-ow… Shit, it hurts!" Norio cries out, clutching his left leg. This is bad; the Monodrake might go after him!

"HEY! YA BIG BOZO!" Cass yells so loudly, that the Monodrake actually looked at Cass instead of pursuing Norio. The painter is holding a piece of crumpled paper, all balled up.

"Take this, you motherfucking son of a BITCH!" The painter tosses the paper ball, and it harmlessly falls on top of the monster's head. Needless to say, nothing really happened.

"Um, where did you get that paper?" Tokiko asks casually.

"Just from my personal doodle notebook."

This prompts the black drake to walk toward us slowly, its drool still dangling off its maw. Hideous indeed. Most-if not all-of the Utopics back away slowly in the same pace as the monster that is stalking us like a hunter scanning its food.

However, Chihaya suddenly took off flying with his space board. With insane speed, the athlete grabs Norio just before the monster could go back to targeting the injured gladiator. They return, landing near us.

"Nice save, buddy!" Norio cheers, giving the space surfer a thumbs up. Chihaya nods solemnly before bolting away again on his board.

"Alright, you big lizard," Chihaya murmurs, his usually absent-minded expression replaced with one of quiet determination, "take this...!"

The space surfer flies around the Monodrake in a circular pattern. This somehow manages to confuse the beast, and it tries to attack him but fails in doing so. Chihaya flies towards the edge of the combat room (which is a feat, given how far and vast the place is) and then blasts towards the monster in a jagged line.

Just before the space board collides with the Monodrake, Chihaya jumps off and lands on the floor spectacularly, without sustaining a single injury.

Due to the sheer acceleration of the board, the ensuing crash toppled the massive beast as it tumbles down with a large 'boom'. It was a direct hit on the head, and the Monodrake lies there, motionless. The space board, seemingly unscathed, hones in and floats back to Chihaya, who grabs it and grins softly.

Cue the cheers of the Utopics, ecstatic at the fact that the creature has fallen. However, I can still see its chest moving up and down, meaning it isn't kicking the bucket just yet.

"Me, 1. Monster, 0." Chihaya notes triumphantly, pumping a fist in the air in a lazy fashion. He turns around to face us. "Did you guys just see that!?"

"Whoa! How did your space board survive such a collision!?" Hayato asks, moving towards the athlete as he scans the board. "There's not even a single scratch on it!"

Chihaya proudly knocks on his space board with his knuckle. "This baby is made of Anti-Asteroid alloy. Nothing short of a comet... could break this thing!" Hayato's eyes sparkle in delight as he continues to ogle Chihaya's equipment.

"Alright, back on topic! I've thought of a plan after constant debating with Masumi Hoshikawa and Misao Kitagawa, my fellow classmates!" Dexter announces. Everyone veers towards the prodigy.

"Make it quick, or we'll be lunch. I doubt that thing is actually dead," Misao interjects nonchalantly.

"Agreed!" Masumi adds in.

"So as we all can see, the underbelly of the foul creature has no protective scales," Dexter points out. I glance at the Monodrake's fallen figure and sure enough, there wasn't any sign of those obsidian scales. "That is its weak point, so we have to concentrate all of our attacks on there!"

"How will we attack its belly if it's always on all fours?" Tokiko wonders, cocking her head while placing a finger on her chin.

"We take it out now, and we distract the monster if it gets up," Dexter answers, his expression serious and leader-like. His gaze reminds me of an instructor giving out commands. Maybe Asuka was right; he could become a chief tactician or something.

"Now here's how it will flow. First, Asuka, I need you to distract the creature by jumping above him. However, the leap needs to be quite high. This is because you need to make sure that it tries to reach you by standing on its hind legs. After that, we will all tackle the beast on his stomach, hopefully causing it to fall on its back. Then we can proceed to damage its soft underbelly!"

"Sounds good, but how sure are we if we can hurt it without any weapons?" Kensuke asks.

"Well, we could use Chihaya's space board. It should be strong enough to damage the monster's internal organs," Dexter reasons.

"Another question. Are you sure we can topple that thing? Monocifer mentioned that it's 8 tons in weight!" Shintaro exclaims.

"Well you know the old saying; the bigger they are, the harder they fall!" Dexter answers with confidence.

Naturally, all of our lives are hinging on this plan. I know I can trust his intellect, but I still have my doubts. Nevertheless, it's the only thing we've got!

"U-um, guys?" Yuki calls out, his face contorted into one of fear. "It's awake and angry!"


The Monodrake lets out another mighty roar, confirming Yuki's statement. It charges towards us, wide eyed and snarling. Oh great, here we go again!

"Alright, everyone split up! Now!" Dexter commands, yelling at the top of his lungs.

We all run away in different directions. I just hope the prodigy's plan will work!

As soon as I am sure that the Monodrake isn't chasing me, I stop and rest for a bit. I then look at the monster, who is currently being confronted by Asuka.

"Everyone! Gather up now; I shall handle the distraction of the beast!" The mecha pilot cries. As soon as she said that, all the other Utopics quickly converge a safe distance behind Asuka, as I hear everyone's heart beating wildly from their chest.

The overgrown lizard swings its left front leg in an arc, intent on striking down what it perceives to be prey. Thanks to Asuka's superhuman combat skills and honed reflexes, she manages to leap over the Monodrake's left foreleg and uses it as leverage to jump up high above the beast.

This prompts the drake to arch its back in an attempt to catch the soldier using its jaws, forcing it to stand on its hind legs.

"Perfect!" Dexter cheers. He points at the creature's soft underbelly, which is exposed for all of us to see. "Now, gather around! On the count of three, we will tackle the creature and hopefully, it will fall on its back! One, two...!"

Now this is the crucial part of Dexter's plan. If we can make the Monodrake fall, we'll be able to damage it!

"Three!"

Upon Dexter's count, all the Utopics (minus Chihaya and Asuka) charge the black beast, targeting the monster's weak point. The drake groans as it flops back. Asuka lands on the throat of the beast, adding more pain to its fall.

"Yaaay, we did it!" Suzumi cheers, having successfully tumbled the beast.

"Now, Chihaya!" Dexter yells, giving the space surfer the signal.

From above, Chihaya's smirk can be seen even from afar. He jumps up and delivers a solid kick to his space board.

"Take… THIS!" Chihaya shouts, his space board bolting towards the beast with near instantaneous velocity. It crashes straight to the throat of the monstrosity, hopefully killing the massive lizard.

Chihaya, who is still suspended in the air, begins to fall. But like a boomerang, his space board returns to him, and he sails through the air effortlessly. He lands near us with a confident smile decorating his face.

"Yes! You did it, Chihaya Soh!" Dexter cheers triumphantly, his smile reaching the ends of his face.

"Thanks," the space surfer replies, his small burst of excitement already gone. He doesn't have much more to add, apparently. The virtual gladiator approaches Chihaya and slaps him on the back hard-hard enough for the thinner athlete to almost fall over.

"You were really great, man! You should consider being a virtual gladiator!" At this, the space surfer rubs his back, muttering a soft "nah, its fine".

"Hey, Monodrake isn't moving… I think we successfully killed it!" Misao cheers, and for once she looks happy. Either that or she's just glad that she's alive.

"Look like targeting the unprotected throat was a good plan after all," Yuki comments, for once not stuttering. "I'm so glad we all made it through!"

I go near and stare at the body of the massive creature. Being a geneticist, I decided to try and observe what this being could possibly be. Sure, it has scales, but I doubt it was a reptile, even though it also looks like one. Based on how it attacks and acts, it seems to be energetic and active, akin to a tiger. No cold-blooded creature could move that fast at a sustained pace…

It bears a striking resemblance to a drake from mythology. But it can't possibly be an actual drake, so is this perhaps an undiscovered species?

I continue to probe its corpse, poking and staring at it with wonder.

But then I fail to notice that I'm not touching a corpse, but rather a living, breathing being.

The Monodrake springs up, back to life in mere seconds. I try to scream, but I instead close my eyes. No way can I dodge this monster's attack, now that I'm well within its striking range.

I feel a gust of wind blow me away. It pushes me with considerable force. I land on the pavement with an audible crash, but I am somehow still alive.

I hear a rather loud scream. The same kind of scream when one is experiencing excruciating pain. Then, other screams were let loose. I hear my classmates scrambling about in panic. Despite my aching back, I push myself upwards, and slowly open my eyes. There, I see the horrifying truth.

Kensuke hangs on the black monster's jaws, his face contorted into one of extreme pain. I stare at the horrifying scene with a slacked jaw.

"Hey," Chihaya starts, blasting off yet again with his space board. "You are not going to eat my buddy."

Chihaya crashes his space board onto the Monodrake's face, causing it to open its mouth and drop Kensuke. He falls to the ground, but is caught by Norio in the nick of time.

After a few seconds, I snap out of it. There's no time to waste; he needs me.

"Kensuke!" I finally scream after having my body frozen in fear. This is bad, he's in serious pain now! He could die if we don't do something!

Norio then places the injured form of Kensuke on the floor. He looks at me and says, "Take of care of him, will ya? This lizard's gonna pay, I swear." The virtual gladiator walks up to the black beast with an angry look on his face.

"I'm going to whoop your ass. Hard."

As soon as Norio said this, he rushes towards the monster and punches it on its unprotected area. It growls in annoyance, but then it seems that the monster has forgotten about Chihaya as he interrupts the enormous reptile by ramming the Monodrake again, causing to teeter. It manages to stay upright, and hisses at the two brave students.

Norio takes up some sort of battle stance, with his fists raised and guarding his face-akin to that of a boxer or something. He unleashes a barrage of extremely quick strikes, each looking like a blur due to the speed. He tries to damage it by targeting the unprotected underbelly.

Fed up of all the attacks, the Monodrake leaps into the air and lands a safe distance from the two Utopics, his landing causing a large quake and breaking large pieces of white debris. It roars again, and bull rushes towards Norio and Chihaya. The two dodge almost effortlessly.

I immediately run up to my best friend and crush. I sit down and let him rest on my lap. It seems that he has some scratches on his being, and his left rib seems to be bleeding slightly. Did he… get his rib damaged!?

"H-hey… Miku…" Kensuke weakly rasps, his breathing getting more irregular. "…You're safe, thank goodness…"

I grip his hand tightly. I want him to know that I'm still here-that I can help him!

"K-Kensuke, don't speak! Save your energy!" I say in a panicked tone. "Kensuke, stay with me!" However, his grip on my hand gets weaker. I turn pale white in fear and worry. This can't be happening!

"Kensuke!" Suzumi yells in fear. She goes beside Kensuke and holds his other hand while crying, "We're both here for you… Both of us…"

The animal tamer manages to stifle a laugh. "Haha… Whenever I'm with you two, I also feel a lot more relaxed." He then looks at the Monodrake, battling Norio and Chihaya. Heck, even the other Utopics like Hayato and Shiro are trying to distract the creature by throwing some small debris made by the monster when it crushed the pavement.

"Look Kensuke, everyone is distracting it from us… To keep you safe," Suzumi informs, trying her hardest not to cry. However, I could not hold my sadness any longer.

Before long, tears started to fall from my eyes. Seeing Kensuke, the boy who I love with all my heart, hurt like this is heart wrenching.

"Please, Kensuke!" I cry, my vision blurring. "You can't die, not now! I… I need you…" I bury my head into his bloodstained jacket. I don't care if his blood gets to me, I just want to touch him and tell him its okay… He doesn't have to take this pain all alone.

"It's unfair… You already suffered enough… It's too much…"

I feel someone patting my head. I look up and see Kensuke straining himself just to smile.

"It's okay Miku… As long both of you are safe…" Suzumi is silently crying as well, her ability to speak seemingly vanished.

"…As long as I know both of you are safe… Then that's enough for me."

Kensuke then winces in pain, and I immediately stop leaning on him. Oh stupid Miku, what have you done now!?

"Hey, that's it! You need to be treated now!" Suzumi shrieks, her tears falling uncontrollably as it stains the animal tamer's jacket. "We won't leave you here!"

"Hehe… I think my right leg is damaged, and my rib is hurting like hell as well. Don't think… I can walk for now…"

"Monocifer, please call off the fight," Dexter declares suddenly, his body tense and alert. His jacket is drenched with sweat; most likely from dealing with the Monodrake.

"Oh? It seems that one of our students is dying!" Monocifer says in a sing-song voice, pissing me off. Suzumi stands up, looking even more furious than I am.

"No! Kensuke is not going to die! We just have to call off the fight and treat him now!" Another deeply grating and aggravating laugh drowns out from the speakers, courtesy of Monocifer.

"No way, please try to read the rules more thoroughly! No shall leave or quit unless the floor guardian kills one of you or it dies."

"You better reconsider, you motherfucker!" Cass yells, taking our side. "Kensuke's here and sacrificing himself for his friends, an' all ya gotta say is wait it out till he fuckin' dies? Where the fuck is the morality in that, you shitty asshat!?"

"Whoa, watch your language, my dear Cass," Monocifer says casually. "We're only rated T, but your constant cursing might bump up the rating…" What the hell is he saying now!?

Masumi stops throwing rocks for a while and approaches the beaten form of Kensuke and examines him.

"Thankfully the Monodrake didn't chomp on him too badly, but…" Masumi reports with a low tone, her cheerfulness all gone. "He needs treatment!"

"Monocifer! Let us out! We need to treat him, now!" I plead, but the crazed headmaster doesn't oblige.

"If I were you, I'd think of a way to kill that floor guardian~" Monocifer chirps cheerfully. "Or you could all just wait for him to die. Now hurry along! Oh, I just love a good bloodbath!" At that, the speakers stop, meaning Monocifer chooses to just ignore his students.

"That jerk! What do we do now?" Masumi clicks her tongue in annoyance. "Earth seriously needs help right now…!" Kensuke is thankfully still alive and has a pulse, but he seems to have fallen unconscious. But if this takes too long, then…

I reach into my pocket and grab the handkerchief Kensuke handed to me way back when we first met Monocifer in the assembly hall. I then use it to try to wipe away some blood.

At this, Asuka tenses her body, her gaze on the black monstrosity fierce as a flame.

"If that's the case, then I'll willingly sacrifice myself. Kensuke is a very reliable and mature person-he deserves to live on," Asuka declares. Of course, Zange won't have any of this.

"No, Asuka! You shouldn't do that!" Zange interjects, trying to convince Asuka to not kill herself. "We should instead find a way how to kill the Monodrake instead, so we can hurry and treat Kensuke!"

"First things first guys," Norio starts, as he points at the monster. "Run!"

Everyone else scrambles about again, fear painting their faces. Some Utopics try to attack the Monodrake, but their efforts are futile as the beast continues unpertubed. However Suzumi and I don't move from our spot; no way were we going to leave Kensuke alone!

"Don't worry Kensuke, we'll be with you…" Suzumi say softly, brushing Kensuke's hair as if she were a caring and loving mother. I just hug him and close my eyes, ready to die with my two best friends.

"Hey… Suzumi…" I call out to my friend with a hushed tone, a gentle smile on my wet face. My ever-loving idol friend gives me a smile of her own, and her cheeks are tinged a slight pink, and there are very faint streaks, most definitely left behind by tears.

"It's sad really, that I won't be able to confess to Kensuke. It would be an amazing wedding, really. I would invite you as one of my bridesmaids. There would be singing and dancing…" Before I know it, I start to cry. I sob and hiccup, as Suzumi continues to hug both me and Kensuke.

"I just want to live on… There's so much I want to do in life…!" I say, my voice increasing with each passing second. "I want to keep researching, I want a family… I want… a future…"

"Me too, Miku… Me too…" Suzumi answers solemnly.

I can't take it anymore. I shut down my mind and opt to lower my head and cry miserably. This is it, I've hit rock bottom…

I hear my classmates screaming "get out of there!" and the sounds of the massive monster's footsteps closing in. At this point, I don't care anymore. I'm at a paradox. I want to live, yet I want to die now.

If Kensuke were to die, then I would die inside. My soul would by torn to a trillions pieces. If that's how my life concludes, then so be it.

But then, I hear a sound. Something colliding into the Monodrake. The ebony beast roars in pain, and its footsteps shaking the room.

I slowly open my eyes and decide to see what happened.

"…Don't give up," Said none other than the timer, as I sense something from her. My eyes open even wider when I realize that she's livid.

"I loathe it when kindness loses," Tokiko starts, her back facing me. She then tightens her fists, and even I can tell that it would not be a good idea to interrupt her. "And I especially hate it when Stupidcifer just lets others die for his own enjoyment! He REALLY makes me… ANGRY!"

At this point, I'm just glad that the timer's anger is not directed to me.

Tokiko screams in primal fury and leaps towards the massive monster, who was still staggering from her first assault. She then kicks the creature from midair, which causes the Monodrake to whimper in pain. She lands on the floor with immense force, causing some of the white pavement to crack and send some debris flying.

"After I'm done with this overgrown newt of yours, I'm going to punch the living daylights out you, Stupidcifer!" Tokiko shouts, obviously directed towards our headmaster. Nice try Tokiko, but newts are amphibians, not reptiles.

The timer decides to demonstrate just how scary she can truly be when furious. Using one of the larger pieces of broken concrete, she somehow manages to lift the large wreckage (a feat given that the debris is as big as her).

"HRAGGH!" With a loud battle cry, she tosses the piece of concrete, as it crashes directly on the face of the ebony reptile.

The Monodrake whimpers in pain again, which is actually the first time that we went close to actually damaging it. Upon closer inspection, the Monodrake's face has some slashes and grazes, finally spilling a few blood.

Asuka kneels beside me, and looks at Kensuke. "He's still alive, but it would be advisable to treat within the next hour or so. Also, it seems that his right leg and left rib are fractured. And judging from the small amount of bleeding, his inner organs thankfully haven't been damaged." I gape at the mecha pilot in surprise.

"How do you know these things?" I ask incredulously. She ignores me, gently and easily picking up Kensuke. She's pretty strong if she can lift a boy who is taller and heavier than her.

"On the battlefield, injuries can be fatal," Asuka starts, then she urges us to follow her. Suzumi and I nod our heads and we head back to where the rest of the Utopics have gathered. "As such, I must be prepared to give first-aid treatment, so I have adequate knowledge in these things." Asuka never ceases to impress me.

"T-thank you so much…" Suzumi thanks the mecha pilot softly, as she smiles softly through her tears. Asuka glares at her for a few seconds, but doesn't verbally respond.

As we approach the group, everyone seems restless. While Tokiko is finally angry and battle-ready (I still don't know why she's so scary and strong when mad; it's a mystery worth looking into), even she can't defeat that beast alone. In fact, Chihaya and Norio are helping her out to the best of their abilities.

Chihaya confuses the Monodrake with his quick space board, tackling the drake on its blind spots and utilizing a hit-and-run strategy. Norio is attacking the creature's unprotected underbelly, which seems to have some effect at the least. And Tokiko is focusing her attacks on the creature's head, tossing rocks and other debris while evading its attacks.

Then we have Harukaze, Cass and Shintaro throwing small pieces of debris, which further annoys the Monodrake. Even though the other Utopics are not the best of fighters, they still try to fight…

"We have to believe that we can take down that beast!" Zange cries, trying his best to alleviate everyone's worries. "Kensuke bravely stepped in to save his friends. We should repay his bravery by taking this monster down!"

"Yes…" Suzumi chimes in, her face back to normal and grinning again. "For Kensuke… And for our freedom!"

Asuka continues to treat Kensuke with some first-aid things that she knows. While she is undoubtedly one of the most capable of fighting from all of us, we at least have Tokiko and the others to rely on for now, since the mecha pilot is busy trying to help Kensuke.

We all anxiously look at the three Utopics. Sadly, it seems to be a downhill battle.

The massive floor guardian swipes its deadly claw at Chihaya, finally hitting him. Thankfully only his board was scratched, but that was enough for the space surfer to lose balance and fall off. He lands by rolling on the floor, so his bones aren't broken, thankfully.

Tokiko continue to shower the Monodrake with smaller rocks to its head. However, this only serves to further aggravate the monster. The drake continues to thrash about, lashing out at the timer.

The drake's bulky arm accidentally bumps the timer head on. Thankfully it wasn't an actual attack, but this was still enough to send Tokiko careening away from the huge monster.

"Tokiko!" Zange screams in fear, and everyone else gasps as the timer takes the full brunt of the (accidental) attack. As she falls to the ground, the virtual gladiator stops attacking the monster and runs toward Tokiko.

"Whoa, gotcha!" Norio says, catching the timer right before she crashes onto the floor. Norio holds her up in a princess carry, as he examines the girl's face and moves her bangs aside, showing her forehead and eyes. Since Tokiko's bangs are usually covering her forehead, this is new.

"Yo, timer girl. You alright?" Tokiko slowly opens her eyes. She is slightly bruised, but thankfully she isn't bleeding. What a tough girl!

"O-oh…! Thank you… um, what's your name again…?" Tokiko asks absentmindedly. It seems that her anger has subsided, meaning she's in no condition to fight now!

"Norio Iwata," Norio answers casually, then he suddenly jumps out of the way, narrowly avoiding being smashed into paste by the massive foreleg of the black drake. "Don't forget it!"

"O-okay…" Tokiko mutters, and upon looking closer I can see that she is blushing slightly. The gladiator then lets her down, allowing her to stand up on her own. She seems to have some scratches and wounds, but she seems okay. I mean, she is still standing.

"This is getting out of hand," Seiko comments bitterly, shaking his head in disgust. "Can't someone just die so that everyone else can leave?" Seiko is STILL being a bastard, I see. He doesn't even TRY to help.

I mean, even Shiro, the top candidate for most timid of the Utopics, is trying to help by distracting the monster and pelting it with small rocks. While her actions are pretty much useless against the Monodrake, at least she is trying.

"If you want someone to die so badly, why don't YOU kill yerself, eh!?" Cass snarls, her temper mixed with fear and disgust. "I've just had ENOUGH with everything in here! We're all gonna fuckin' die! We CAN'T take that thing down!"

"C-Cass, calm down-" Yuki tries to calm down the hysterical painter, but he is immediately cut off.

"SHUT UP!" Cass shouts, but immediately quiets down. "We'll all going to die to this thing…"

Everyone else seems to be visibly affected by the painter's outburst. Shiro is now bawling, and so is Harukaze. Everyone else looks scared-and too much fear destroys us.

"I-I… I can't…!" Hayato shrieks in fear, as he crouches and covers his head as if he was doing an earthquake drill test. "S-she's right…! We shouldn't have tried to challenge the guardian in the first place!"

Even Hayato, the one who usually acts all loud and knightly, is cowering in fear. All of a sudden, my legs feel weak. Despair seeps into me like poisonous gas, choking me as my entire being feels like its energy is being sapped away...

...And all while the Monodrake slowly walks toward us, akin to a tiger stalking its prey.

"Asuka, why don't you sacrifice yourself?" Seiko suggests in a very polite manner (Which doesn't fit the words he's spouting). "Didn't you say you are ready to help all civilians?"

"What!? No, don't listen to that prick!" Dexter orders angrily. However, Asuka shakes her head.

"No, Seiko is right," Asuka states, suddenly standing up. "I am ready to give my life to protect all of you. As a soldier and member of the Japanese Mecha Army, I swear to keep everyone safe!"

Of course, Dexter doesn't have any of it. He blocks the mecha pilot's path with a defiant look on his face.

"Absolutely not, Asuka Minami! Listen, being a soldier doesn't mean you should kill yourself for civilians! You should consider your family! How do you think they would feel if you were to die!?" Asuka glares at the prodigy, and then she delivers a swift chop to his neck, causing him to faint. She picks him up and lets him lie down on the floor. Everyone else looks at Asuka with shock.

"Take care of him." Then, the mecha pilot races towards the Monodrake.

"W-wait! Asuka!" Zange shouts, but to no avail.

But then, the unexpected happened, causing Asuka to stop her advance. A small figure charges at top speed, ramming the Monodrake in its flank with tremendous force. The Monodrake teeters, but manages to stay on its elephant-like feet. It then glares at the new adversary. Smoke was covering the new figure, but its faint outline could be seen.

And while I wear glasses, that doesn't mean my vision is wonky, since I instantly recognized the shape.

"Monofairy!?"


The smoke finally cleared, and Monofairy in between us and the massive Monodrake. My whole mind was filled with worry as I stare incredulously. I mean, this is essentially a battle between a 3-foot tall pixie against a 50 foot long abomination. Obviously Monofairy is as good as toast here!

"Monofairy! You came to save us from thine vicious beast!?" Hayato bursts out in surprise. His stage actor persona seems to have reemerged in this strange and shocking turn of events.

"Uh, but what can a little fairy do against a dragon? This isn't a video games where fairies are strong against dragons, ya know..." Norio said, looking Monofairy with worry.

"Stand back," Monofairy suddenly commands in a stern manner, causing everyone else (Including me of course) to back away in surprise. An ethereal, bluish aura enveloped her, and all of a sudden Monofairy looks legitimately intimidating (Even for a three foot tall fair folk).

But then a large blue flame stops the monochromatic pixie dead in her tracks. And obviously, Monocifer comes out from the flames-as if he has just returned from the depths of Hell.

However, what is surprising is that he looks like he is about to burst in laughter

"HAHAHAHAHAHA!" Monocifer laughs rather loudly, with more blue flames erupting near him. "Why, I cannot believe this! YOU, trying to defy ME?" The small pixie was about to speak, but then the crazed headmaster stopped her from talking by nearly strangling her. His laughter immediately dissipated, and with it comes a very scary, angry look on his visage.

"SO, YOU THINK YOU ARE ABOVE CONSEQUENCES!?" Monocifer yells. Monofairy struggles, but the demon-angel hybrid's grip proved too strong. "What the hell did I say about interfering!?"

"H-hey!" Hayato stutters, but nevertheless, he stands up against the wicked headmaster. "U-unhand thine fair folk, y-you h-hellspawn!"

Monocifer glares at the engineer, shutting Hayato up. The vile headmaster then threw the innocent Monofairy to the ground. How mean!

"Hey, that's not nice! You shouldn't have done that!" Harukaze steps in, clearly furious at the headmaster. She then cradles the little girl, picking her up. "Are you alright…?"

Monofairy opens her eyes and coughs. She nods slowly, and floats away.

"Y-you think you can just TRAP these students with a monster..." Monofairy starts, with every word accompanied with a heavy wheeze. "Without any way... to defend themselves...?" Monocifer simply glares at his slave.

"I cannot believe you'd just DEFY me like that..." Monocifer is furious now, and he looks like he could kill someone. "Do you have an explanation for this!?" Monofairy stays vigilant despite the headmaster now glowering over her.

"From the start, I... I was worried about this battle. I knew there would be a catch," Monofairy says, her stamina coming back to her as she floats up to meet Monocifer eye to eye. "I couldn't turn a blind eye to this madness! Throwing kids into a gladiator-like battlefield without even giving them weapons? You are soulless!" At this, Monocifer unleashes a torrent of blue flames around, causing us Utopics to back off even more. Even the Monodrake is scared, and sits down in manner similar to a frightened puppy.

"Who died and gave the authority to you?"

"I don't care about that anymore," Monofairy says as she clenched her small fists. Her lips snarled with rage as she summoned electricity from her fists. How does she do that?

In a fit of anger, Monocifer stretches out his hand. From his palm, a stream of blue flames erupted, and they engulfed Monofairy.

"What the fuck, you sadistic asshole!?" Cass thunders, absolutely angry at the fact that he just roasted the little pixie. "She did something good, and you go and fuckin' burn em'!?" That's new, considering Cass was very suspicious of the little pixie before. I guess she finally trusts the magical fairy.

As soon as the blue flames of Monocifer dissipated, we all see Monofairy, encased in a small forcefield-though bubble would be a more accurate description.

"You're safe!" Chihaya cheers. I guess he really likes Monofairy, doesn't he? The space surfer then replaces his lazy look for a more intimidating and serious face. This is new.

"… You've got some nerve trying to hurt little Monofairy here." Chihaya then raises his fists in some sort of fighting stance (Not sure exactly what martial art it is, I'm a geneticist not a fighter) as he hops from foot to foot.

"If you're gonna hurt Monofairy, then you're gonna have to tussle with-"

The space surfer was instantly interrupted as he just falls to the ground, unconscious. What the heck happened?

"H-hey, what's wrong Chi-Chi!?" Tokiko kneels and tries to wake up the space surfer. Norio then kneels down as well and scans his body.

"It's like the dude was hit by something…" He then stares at Monocifer accusingly. "The hell did ya do to him?" The deranged headmaster just scowls at the gladiator. He's really not in a good mood.

"I just put him to sleep. He was annoying me," Monocifer explains with frightening strictness. He then flaps his wings and hovers above the ground.

The psychotic demon floats up high above Monofairy. The pixie responds by intensifying the electricity in her fists. Then, Monocifer raises his hand, and it suddenly ignites a gigantic blue ball of flame.

An intense heat boils the entire room. Immediately, I feel sticky as my sweat drips faster than a leaking faucet. All of us look at the giant ball of blue death with horror.

"I WILL TURN YOU INTO ASHES AND SEND YOU TO THE CREMATORIUM-WHERE YOU TRULY BELONG!" Monocifer yells threateningly as he brings down his hand. The giant sapphire sphere of flame also falls down, akin to a meteor striking down towards the Earth. I screamed in fear and hid behind Suzumi, powerlessly watching the battle unfold.

However, Monofairy decides to use a magic spell of her own. In fact, what transpires next becomes strikingly similar to a magical girl anime.

The monochromatic fairy holds out her arms in a cross-like position, summoning a strange, blue circle with inscriptions on it just behind her. From the said circle, a huge torrent of electricity gushed forth, and disintegrated the giant blue sphere.

Everyone (Except Monocifer) stares at our caretaker with awe.

"Whoa, did she just summon a lightning storm!?" Shintaro exclaims, his eyes sparkling. "She's like a really powerful magic fairy!" Suddenly, it makes sense for her to bravely stand up against the Monodrake. She could certainly take that thing down!

"YOU FOOL!" Monocifer yells, absolutely livid. His eyes flare up like a bonfire; alight with eerie blue flames. His temper has skyrocketed, and suddenly the entire combat room grows dim. With each passing second, all the lights turn off one by one, and we are now blanketed by an inky black darkness.

The darkness gave way as red lights suddenly flooded the room and a warning siren blared on. I woke up from my shock and noticed the only entrance closing.

"Normally, I wouldn't waste my powers on you of all people." The ungodly headmaster's entire being was emitting some sort of energy-yet somehow I can't seem to pinpoint on what it is exactly.

"But, since you pissed me off, I'm going to have to give you a VERY special punishment." The powerful entity of black and white lets out a primal roar similar to that of a demon's. No-to that of Satan himself. All the Utopic look at Monocifer in horror.

And with such an ominous and fearful atmosphere and situation, Monofairy is paralyzed in terror, her eyes wide and her pupils dilated. If I were her, I would be screaming so loud in the inside.

The whole room changed into its lockdown status. The walls and floors turned into a scarlet color, strengthening the integrity of its foundation as I hear multiple Utopics shriek in surprise. In its high red alert status, I guess no one would be able to leave the room until Monocifer calmed down.

The next thing that happens was a fist hitting the little fairy right on her face. She torpedoed straight towards the wall and she bounced off comically. The enraged demon followed her and continued landing vicious and tremendous attacks on her, like a savage animal tearing apart its prey. Monofairy didn't even bother to dodge or block but instead absorbed all the punishment by summoning a forcefield around her.

To my right, Suzumi winced from the onslaught. And I wanted personally to smack Monocifer and his beautiful face for his decision on not deciding to end the fight when Kensuke was hurt. But seeing Monocifer lash out like a crazy demon utterly scares me. Not even a furious Tokiko could dare hope to match up against the ungodly being known as Monocifer.

No one dares to interfere with the battle between the two magical beings-not even the T. rex or the Monodrake. The two titanic lizards are just cowering in fear, watching on hopelessly.

"Ugh… My head hurts…" Dexter says, finally waking up. "Hey, Asuka, how dare you-"

The prodigy immediately stopped whatever he was going to say and just stared at the ongoing duel. He stood up and dusted off his clothes, marveling the sight of the battling beings.

Two figures-obviously Monofairy and Monocifer-fly across the now scarlet red combat room at high speeds as the two looked like streaks of light from just how fast they are. Multiple fireballs, electric bolts, icicle blades and other various elemental attacks flood the combat room as if the weather became wonky.

Both fairy and demon-angel attack and move at speeds I can't even begin to comprehend. One fraction of a second they were right in front of us, and then suddenly they appeared in the far corner of the room.

In fact, massive sonic booms crack the battlefield with immense force as various shattered debris fly across the room like a storm-except one of rocks and concrete. This means that the two must be fighting at speeds way beyond the speed of sound. Unbelievable!

"Oi, they're going too fast," Norio notes, trying his best to keep up with the two but failing. "Can't even see their movements and attacks!" The gladiator is right about that. However, I did not expect Monofairy could actually fight back against-

A large shockwave stops my train of thought, and the ground shook with the force of a catastrophic explosion. For a few seconds, smoke covers the battlefield. But by the time the smoke clears, a massive crater formed. And on the crater is the beaten form of Monofairy.

"Monofairy!" Suzumi cries out. Everyone else gasps in shock-even Seiko and Misao.

As if descending from heaven, Monocifer slowly floats down and picks up Monofairy. He then tosses her aside, and she lands right in front us like a discarded doll.

Ominously, Monocifer floats above us like a vulture awaiting a corpse. His face says it all; this isn't the jovial Monocifer we all know. And no one dares to speak back at him.

"In the end, you're still weaker than me," Monocifer says coldly, glaring at Monofairy with soulless eyes.

"Heh, so this is how it is?" The monochromatic pixie coughs as she floats to meet Monocifer eye to eye. She is still weak, but manages to stay aloft.

"You won't give them any sort of protection to help them out in killing the floor guardians? And here I thought you love despair..." Huh? What's Monofairy saying now!? Monocifer lands on the floor gracefully, and then turns his attention to the fairy.

"What are you blabbering about now... Oh..." As if an idea crossed his head, he smirks. "I see where you're getting at. Why didn't I think of this in the first place?" Okay, I am now really worried about what going on right now.

"I like your idea, Monofairy. Now, let's see..." Monocifer snaps his fingers, as if something is supposed to happen. Well sure enough, something does happen.

Without any warning, my Holo-ID rings, and I hold it out in front of me. In the screen, there is a new set of rules for the combat room.

RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR COMBAT ROOM – By Monocifer!

*UPDATE* 1. Students may not leave the room or quit fighting when the battle starts. Students may only leave if the floor guardian is successfully killed by the students or one or more of the students die to the guardian, and to the guardian only.

2. No harm can be done to the Headmaster during the battle. Any students who tries to harm the Headmaster will be instantly executed. Even if by accident.

3. Students may choose to cooperate or compete with each other. Killing of other students while there is a battle going on is allowed, but the battle will continue on.

*UPDATE* 4. In battle, students will be provided with weapons. Under no circumstances can you bring the weapons out of the Combat Room.

*UPDATE* 5. There will be a time limit in each battle. If the none of the students are killed by the floor guardian or if the students fail to kill the floor guardian within 10 minutes, all the students will immediately be executed.

6. Additional regulations may be added if deemed necessary by the Headmaster.

My jaws drop at the revised rules. It's nice we get weapons now, but now there's a time limit!?

"Don't me wrong kids, I'm not doing this to help you kill the guardian with less effort. I'm just doing this to make things more fun," Monocifer explains, his lips curling into a cat-like smirk. "Besides, despair is best tasted when given false hope. Just because you have weapons, that doesn't mean you'll win..."

"Holy hell, you are INSANE!" Cass exasperates. She is visibly shaking in anger, yet I could sense fear somehow.

"HOWEVER! Monofairy will have to face the consequences for disobeying me," Monocifer states without a trace of mercy, emphasizing the word "consequences". Monofairy is visibly shocked, and she looks down on the floor, a dejected look on her face.

"At least I got you to change the rules- GACK!"

Monocifer then holds up Monofairy by her collar, and brings his face dangerously close to hers.

"You think I'm doing this for you? Fat chance," Monocifer says. "Now, I don't want to erase your existence since you're a perfect slave, so instead...

A strange, obsidian colored gem materialized out of nowhere on Monofairy's forehead. Then, Monocifer unhanded her and snapped his fingers.

Monofairy's face suddenly contorted into one of intense pain, as if she were being tortured brutally. She screamed and fell to the floor, as the black gem on her forehead emitted some strange black electricity.

"W-what are you doing!?" Zange stammers. Monofairy breathes in and out heavily, and weakly looked up at Monocifer.

"Y-you... i-implanted a... curse on me...?" The beaten fairy manages to choke out some words, and she honestly looked like a wreck. Monocifer then approached her and stepped on her head cruelly.

"Why kill you if I can just torture you for my own satisfaction? Dying right now is no fun after all~" Monocifer chirps cheerfully. What the actual HELL? So instead of killing her, he just chooses to make her suffer endlessly!? And to makes matters worse, he can do it at a moment's notice.

"You are one sick, twisted, demented monster," Dexter grimaces, showing the ungodly hybrid a face of absolute disgust. I second that, Dexter.

"Now let this be an example for everyone!" Monocifer suddenly perks up, and his smile returns to decorate his angelic face. He claps his hands, then the combat room returns to its normal state. All the scarlet highlights vanish like the wind, and the red sirens stop, bringing back the vast whiteness that room originally had. And of course, the steel shutter is removed from the exit, and it opens as well.

Bless karma for that. We can all finally escape!

Monocifer then stares at the Monodrake without saying a word. The Monodrake somehow understands this and nods in response, and then a hatch opens up. The ebony beast that has tormented us so much has finally retreated.

"This will be the first and last time I'll let you leave like this," Monocifer comments, a weird grin emerging on his face. He turns to face all of us and bows like a gentleman. "Now let's see that pathetic hope of yours grow, just so I can crush it! To that, I bid you adieu."

And with that calm and sophisticated farewell, our insane captor teleports away in an instant, gone without a trace. Naturally, everyone flocked the little fairy after that.

"Are you alright, Monofairy!?" Zange asks worriedly, his face paling just examining the various burns, wounds and cuts that the benevolent pixie has sustained.

"Yes… I can easily recover, but let's focus on getting Kensuke back to health!" Our caretaker cries, her kind eyes bearing into Kensuke. How is it that even after she's been cursed with that immensely painful torture device and STILL worry about others? She's truly a saint

I then notice Norio picking up the unconscious space surfer on one hand over his shoulder.

"Welp, I gotta help this dude too," Norio adds.

"Guys, let's go to the infirmary! Kensuke needs to be treated as soon as possible!" Suzumi announces. Asuka nods and pick him up. She checks for a pulse.

"He definitely need treatment as soon as possible. Let's hurry along," Asuka states matter-of-factly.

"Wait, let me teleport you all to the infirmary!" Monofairy suggests, flying near Kensuke. "I may be weak now, but I have just enough energy left to do this." Suzumi and I nod, and she envelops all the Utopics with a bright light.


UTOPIA ACADEMY – INFIRMARY

Upon teleporting into the infirmary, Asuka immediately lets Kensuke rest on the bed. Suzumi and I stay beside him while Monofairy sprinkles some uh, pixie dust. I eye her warily.

"Oh, this is just my healing powder. It disinfects wounds, closes them and stops harmful bacteria from attacking your body. He should be safe from further infection," Monofairy reassures Suzumi and me, giving us a cute and gentle smile. So she can cook, is kind, and can heal people? Why did I ever suspect her in the first place…

"T-Thank you so much for saving Kensuke's life!" Suzumi beams, crying tears of joy. She gently caresses Kensuke's crimson red hair. "I… I don't even want to think of what would have happen if you didn't intervene…"

"Yeah… Thank you so much, Monofairy," I thank the little pixie sincerely. Thanks to her, I have a future-no, Kensuke has a future.

"Think nothing of it," Monofairy states, her gentle smile growing wider. "It's the least I could do as a caretaker." She then sprinkles her pixie dust into the rest of the Utopics. I was so focused on Kensuke that I forgot all the other Utopics are in here.

"Hey, my scratches are healing up!" Tokiko exclaims, looking at her wounds as they close.

"Thanks, Monofairy," Norio says sincerely. "And hey, looks like the space dude is waking up!"

Sure enough, Chihaya lazily opens his eyes. He yawns and stretches his arms as ig he has just woken up from a deep slumber. He then immediately tenses up, which of course surprises me.

"… Did that demon hurt you in any way?" Chihaya asks in a calm yet stern voice. Monofairy giggles and shakes her head.

"It's quite alright, Chihaya! Thanks for sticking up for me, though." At this, Chihaya relaxes and he now sports a small grin. But just seconds after that, Monofairy suddenly drops down, looking exhausted.

"Monofairy!" Chihaya yells in concern, which is quite possibly the most emotion he's shown for now. Monofairy smiles weakly, but stays on the ground.

"I think I'm better off walking this time..." After that intense beat down and all that inhumane torture, she deserves rest. Chihaya sighs and backs off a bit, allowing the pixie some space.

I then spot Asuka bowing her head in respect and thanks. "My thanks, Monofairy. I feel as if the wounds I have sustained from the previous battle do not exist." That's amazing! Monofairy giggles weakly, but still manages to smile lovingly at all of us.

"But didn't you say Monocifer has you completely under his thumb?" Misao wonders, stepping forward.

"Well, that's true," Monofairy interjects, her eyes hardening at the mention of the unholy hellspawn. She then pounds her chest with her fist, her determination shooting up. "But that doesn't mean I should always yield. You all showed me how powerful hope can be; so I intend to stay hopeful! That's why, I decided to fight back… And also, I cannot allow any of you to die in any way…"

It seems our efforts have inspired Monofairy to rebel against our captor. However, the look on everyone else's faces prove otherwise. I can't blame them, after that has happened even I wouldn't be 'inspired', for a lack of a better term...

Everyone else seem scared… Hope is definitely not the correct word to describe what we were all feeling right now.

"I guess we should go now," Seiko suggests, heading towards the exit. "I'm just glad I'm still alive." And with that, the jerk of a Utopic has left. Soon enough, all the other Utopics leave in silence, though some say "get well soon" towards the animal tamer, while others continue to give their thanks to Monofairy. I guess everyone else is just tired, so they leave.

Before long, the only ones left in the infirmary (aside from Kensuke) were Suzumi, Monofairy, and I. For that I am thankful for, since I desire privacy.

"I will be treating Kensuke now. Please excuse us," Monofairy bows as she pushes the bed of Kensuke towards the farther corner of the infirmary, then she covers the area with curtains. I guess she's going to try and fix his bones and fractures. But I hope Monofairy doesn't strain himself, since she very tired now...

Regardless, I sigh in relief. I'm so glad Kensuke is going to be alive. How could I live through life without him? I sit down on one of the extra beds and look forlornly at the ceiling. Noticing my sorrow, Suzumi sits down beside me as she pats my back gently.

"Rough day, huh Miku?" I look up to my best friend. She looks genuinely worried, her smile no longer visible.

I grin sheepishly, trying to fight off all the negative thought swarming in my head. "Yeah, pretty rough. After all, Kensuke nearly died…" Suzumi was quiet after that. There was a heavy silence in the air, which is rare given I am in close proximity to the most talkative person I know.

"Hey, Suzumi," I call, and she looks at me while cocking her head slightly. I take it as a confirmation to continue speaking.

"If I didn't speak out about going and fighting the Monodrake… Maybe Monofairy wouldn't have to force herself to save us, and Kensuke wouldn't have to get hurt so badly…"

The teen idol's gaze hardens as I said that. Without a word, she embraces me.

"Don't blame yourself, Miku… You were only speaking based on what you truly believed in," Suzumi consoles in a gentle tone as she tries to comfort me. I don't entirely believe her. Kensuke wouldn't have to be hurt so badly if we didn't have to fight in the first place, right?

"I…" I trail off, my strength and resolve slowly sapping away. "…I don't know anymore. This place is just… too much for me."

Suzumi's hug tightens, as if protecting me from something, even though it's just the two of us in this area of the room

"Kensuke would never blame you for that… And we're both still here with you… Just the three of us, remember?"

"Yeah. Just the three of us…"

I return the hug of Suzumi, bearing into her as if she were an older sister that I never had. I allow time to pass by as the two of us just silently embrace each other as we feel each other's warmth. This feeling fills me with hope. With determination, determination that we will indeed leave this school, together.

I lose my sense of time as the hours pass by. Suzumi and I huddled close to each other, just like that one time when we were stuck in a shed while waiting for the rain to stop. Speaking of which…

"Hey Suzumi," I call her name softly, and she smiles.

"What is it, Miku?" I then recount my fond memories from when the two of us were in grade school.

"Remember the last time we cuddled this close before?" The teen idol nods, and her face brightens up.

"Of course!" She giggles softly as she smiles and looks at the ceiling, recalling all those tales of our youth. "The both of us didn't bring an umbrella that day, and then the rain came tumbling by!" I playfully punch her shoulder as I recall another event.

"Yeah, it was your idea in the first place," I tease, smirking at my best friend. "You kept on telling me that the sun was happy that day, yet look what happened!"

Both of us exploded in a fit of giggles, and we also made sure our laughs weren't too loud as to disturb the ongoing healing of Kensuke. Such fond memories indeed.

"I also remember that Kensuke came by, panting as he held two umbrellas!" Suzumi recounts. Even as a child, Kensuke was particularly mature. Though he won't admit it now, as a kid he was pretty clingy towards us.

"Yes, indeed. How I miss the simple days," I remark.

"But you know," Suzumi starts, her eyes glimmering like the night sky filled with stars. "Time goes by quicker than you think. Having fun, eating awesome foods, becoming a Utopic, crushing on animal tamers-"

"-Suzumi," I interrupt her nonchalantly. She laughs it off, but apologizes either way.

"Anyways, time never stops." She then turns to me with a joyous expression on her face. "That's why we should always believe that will get out of here. We have a future ahead of us. I strongly believe that this isn't our stop. That's why I am hopeful."

Optimistic, friendly, bubbly, yet surprisingly wise. There's nothing else I could ask for in a best friend.

"Good news, you two!" Monofairy calls, as she pushes back Kensuke's bed into its original spot. He was wearing a white patient's gown, and it seems he is still asleep.

"Kensuke's in stable condition now! He's fine now, and he should be able to stay awake by tomorrow evening." Monofairy is the best! She's a great mother figure, an excellent cook, and an amazing nurse!

"Thank you so much, Monofairy! I really appreciate all the help you've given us," Suzumi says excitedly.

"Now he's still asleep, but I need one of you to stay and sleep with him for the night. He can't go to his dorm for now, and it's almost Night Time," Monofairy explains. Suzumi then cracks a silly smile at me. Oh boy.

"Obviously Miku is going to sleep with Kensuke!" Knew it. I instantly turn red, and shake my head vigorously.

"No, no! Y-you stay the night with him," I retort, still feeling rather embarrassed. Monofairy notices this and giggles.

"I see! So you like Kensuke! How cute!" Monofairy chirps, spinning around in glee. Oh no, now another one knows about my crush!

"Please don't tell anyone else, Monofairy!" I plead the monochromatic caretaker.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about it!" Monofairy then snaps her finger, and her hospital gown is removed. "So, who will stay with him?" I immediately speak, not wanting to let Suzumi one me up.

"Suzumi will stay tonight. I'll stay tomorrow night instead. Deal?" Suzumi nods a little too enthusiastically.

"Okay then! But you have to promise me that you will confess to Kensuke tomorrow night!" W-w-what!?

"Why!?" I ask incredulously, but I immediately cover my mouth, seeing as Kensuke is still sleeping.

"Because he needs to know now," Suzumi answers calmly. "And you two need to start dating now, of course!" My blush grows more furious-akin to a spreading wildfire.

"F-fine…" I say reluctantly and then sigh. I was planning to confess sooner or later anyways…

"Hee hee! How cute. Well, now that that's settled with, good night girls!" Monofairy beams, then she walks away. She's really much more pleasant than that evil headmaster of ours. I now have a new found respect for her.

DING DONG DING DONG

Suddenly, the Holo-TV boots up. Monocifer appears behind the holographic TV screen.

"Good evening, my dear students! It is now 10 in the evening, so Night Time starts now. The cafeteria doors will be locked shortly. I hope you all have a good night's sleep!"

The Holo-TV then shuts down. It seems that the cafeteria is one of the few places which gets locked during Night Time. I then see that Suzumi crosses her arms and puffs her cheeks.

"Hmph, Monocifer ruined the mood," Suzumi pouts. She then waves her hands at me. "Well, good night Miku! Sleep well tonight, okay?" I nod in response, and then I head towards the exit.

It's been a long day. A lot of things has happened, and so far we've been stuck here for one night. So far, there's been no rescue attempts, and no escape routes. Yet with Kensuke and Suzumi by my side, I know we can all escape.

After all, Monocifer made one big mistake: trapping three best friends who'll stick together through thick or thin!


Well finally, the boss battle is over. Whew, looks like Kensuke nearly became a snack! Anyways, how did you feel about that chapter? Remember, this one underwent heavy revision, so please forgive if the quality is not up to par.

Right after I post this chapter, I'm putting up a new poll for the next free time event. You can vote for two people again, and you may vote Chihaya and Cass again if you so truly desire. However, let's give the other characters the spotlight this time!

Anyways, on to the reviews!

IfTimeWasStill - Massacre indeed. The Monodrake is truly a ferocious beast! And I'm also surprised about the positive feedback to the Combat Room. Thanks.

Haha, no one is safe, not even your favorite characters... *insert evil laugh*

See, this is why I need your honest opinions. Thanks, I will strive to improve even more. I won't be surprised if this chapter is all over the place, though...

PSISomething - Haha, thanks! Really, one of the most interesting!? Ah, you flatter me! There are a lot more interesting SYOCs out there, like "Of Magic, Mystique and Memoirs" or "Clinic of Despair" (My personal favorites!). But thanks anyway! You people give me strength to write on.

Shyjoker - Oh man, be careful about spoilers! Hope they aren't too angry with you...

By the way, I incorporated your drawing in this chapter. Hope you don't mind! ;) I absolutely adore your art!

Yeah, Tokiko definitely needs to sleep. After such a grueling battle too...

Guest - Wow, thank you for your review! I really appreciate it.

Well, Asuka is even more of a badass here. I also noticed that Asuka has become quite the fan favorite.

To be honest, I have no idea if they are following still or not. But no matter, I will still continue writing this! Besides, I can always PM them about their OCs, so no worries there. :) But still, thanks for worrying and stuff. But its going to take a hell lot more to make me stop writing this!

Nemris - Yeah I know right? They actually went and fought the floor guardian. These kids are crazy!

Well, its a good thing that our resident cute fairy saved the Utopics then!

Ah yes, my bad. I hope this chapter compensates then, since Norio takes on the Monodrake pretty well.

Everyone, thank you all! Don't forget to review, and give your honest opinion. It really helps me improve.

*UPDATE* I updated the chapter and changed stuff. I HOPE it still keeps Monocifer as scary...

Apex out!