Chapter 4: Being Helpful is not so Bad
“Fuck off,” I growled and walked past him, sitting down on the brick floor with my back against the lower side of the fountain.
I saw Lisandro coming towards me with no goodwill in his eyes, but I closed my eyes and began healing myself before I bled to death.
“What was it?” Lisandro hissed.
I ignored him.
Then, after an awkward silence, he spoke again. “You’re ignoring me, ah?” He said with anger in his voice and the slapped the top of my head.
I gritted my teeth and brushed off the hit. I had more important things to do.
“You pissin’ your pants there, kid?” I felt his voice come closer as he bent over me.
“What the hell are you doing, you damn clown?” Another angry voice approached.
I opened my eyes and looked at the person. I had no enemies besides Lisandro as far as I remembered.
The one coming towards us was Ronel, another one of my classmates. Then I knew that his words weren’t meant for me.
“What does it matter to you?” Lisandro turned towards the incoming Ronel and planted himself in an aggressive manner.
Ronel stood in front of Lisandro, not backing down.
Here we go again. I rolled my eyes. Ronel and Lisandro were always arguing over something Lisandro had done that Ronel didn’t like. He was the only one in our classroom that would call Lisandro out on his bullshit without giving half a damn. He could back up his attitude.
The guy was half a head taller than even Lisandro and way more muscular, making him tall even within the 11th graders. He also had practiced taekwondo since he was very little and was already winning tournaments when I met him in 7th grade. A total beast, basically. As far as I knew Lisandro never beat him in a fair fight and even with one or two guys backing him up he just managed to fight on equal terms.
“Just get the fuck away before you make a fool of yourself again.” Ronel crossed his arms and snorted.
Lisandro’s gaze moved to Ronel’s legs and then he clicked his tongue and turned away like a good boy. “Yes mom, don’t scold me.” He snorted.
So they already fought. I watched as the idiot went away with the tail between his legs.
“Are you okay?” Ronel said.
“I’m fine.” I shrugged. “It was just some silly harassment.”
“No, I mean that,” He pointed at my leg. “and that.” Then at my side.
“Ohh..” I nodded. “It’s okay. I have a way to deal with it.”
“You also have a skill, then?” Ronel tilted his head.
And there I was, thinking that the system was a secret benefit only for me, the main character. In all honesty, Ronel was the one that looked like the protagonist or something like that. He had the behavior down to the t.
The strength as well probably.
And the looks…
Damn bastard. I lowered my head and answered through my teeth. “Yes, I have a skill that helps me heal faster.”
“That’s amazing!” Ronel’s face brightened. “You think you could help out with some injured people we have back there?” The pointed behind him at some people gathered near a light post. “There’s another healer-” he paused for a second. “Oh, right. Brian is also a healer. He helped out earlier, but he is out of, um, NP.”
“You mean MP?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah, that,” he snapped his finger. “MP.”
“I guess I can help if I have some spare mana after finishing with myself.” I shrugged.
“Of course, of course.” Ronel nodded repeatedly. “Look for me when you’re done. I’ll be over there with the others.” He pointed to the other side of the fountain—I couldn’t see who was there from where I sat. “Oh, right.” He slapped his forehead. “The guys from our classroom are gathered there.” He pointed at the same place again. “Mr. Rivero as well. There are also people from other classes around.”
“Okay, I’ll-” I flinched and held my side. A twinge of pain stabbed the wound.
“I’ll leave you alone, then.” Ronel backed away. “See you later.” He waved his hand and left.
Finally left alone, I began healing my wounds as fast as I could.
It took around fifteen minutes and 10 mp to get back in good shape but not all pain went away. My damn stomach hurt too much because of hunger. It was like it was eating me from inside out.
Maybe Ronel and the others had some food. Hopefully.
I got up and approached Ronel and the others. He wasn’t lying when he said the guys were there. More than half of our classroom sat by the fountain and it was true that the grumpster was there as well. Laura was there too, as smoking hot as ever. My fellow healer Brian sat a little separated from the group with his friend, just like usual.
It was a little funny that the other healer just happened to be a quiet guy, similar to myself. Maybe healing ran in quiet people’s blood.
“Hey, Elan. You okay now?” Ronel got up and came to me.
“As good as new.” I patted my bloodied side.
“Nice.” He nodded. “Then do you want to go help out those guys now or later?”
“We can go now if you want.”
“Perfect.” He patted me on the shoulder and began walking.
I followed him from behind.
“Those guys were injured really badly on their way here.” He said. “Attacked by monsters.”
Obviously. “I see…” I said as I began looking around at the people in the plaza.
There were at least 200 people—most of them high schoolers or maybe college freshmen—and quite a few of them were people from our high school. Like almost half of them. They gathered in big groups, but quite a few stayed in smaller groups of two to four people or even alone.
There were also around 20 or so adults, maybe more if you counted some young-looking people. A few of those adults were teachers from our school as well.
The mood was overall no good, with people sitting in silence or even sobbing. There was also a heated argument somewhere at the other side of the plaza. Hunger should also be another cause of the moody faces. Which reminded me…
“Um, I was wondering if you guys, um,” I scratched my nose. “perhaps had any, you know,” I said with my voice lowering as I got to the final of the sentence “food?”
“Ugh, I’m afraid not.” Ronel shook his head. “A good soul shared some food with us earlier, but it was really too little and I think it ran out already.
I sighed. “Me and my luck.” I shrugged. “First time sleeping with an empty stomach, then.”
Ronel let out a weak chuckle. “I’m sorry…”
“You don’t have to be.” I waved my hand. “When did you get here anyway?” I changed the topic to avoid thinking about food. “It took me so long to get here and I was in the area already. I also never saw anyone on my way or when I was walking around for hours. It’s really weird.”
“I don’t know about the others, but I came here as soon as I got the message. I was pretty far, but I got here in an hour or so.”
“So fast?” I frowned. Then realization hit my face. “Ohh, so you already knew the way.”
“Of course,” Ronel spoke as if it was obvious. “Millennial Plaza is a popular gathering spot for people going out.”
And that was the answer to why so many people got there so fast. I was a damn recluse that didn’t know the world outside home.
“I also heard others got the message way earlier in the day, and have been around since earlier this afternoon.” He stopped walking suddenly. Or not suddenly, since we got to a group of people already. “He’s the one in the worst condition.” He crouched next to guy laying down. His face was pale and was soaked in sweat as he held his left side. “Guys, this is Elan,” Ronel said. “He’s my classmate and has a healing skill. He’ll help Alfredo.”
All the gazes moved to me as if magnetically attracted. “Thank you so much, man,” Alfredo said in a weak and forced voice.
“It’s alright.” I lowered my head smiled weakly. “As long as I can help.” I sat next to the guy and put my hand on his injury and began channeling my skill, hoping that it worked with other people as well and I was not making a fool of myself.
In the beginning, I could not transfer my skill’s power to the guy’s body but I just kept trying until I figured it out. Five minutes later, the guy was back to normal.
Alfredo got up and began patting his side, then he looked at me. “Dude…” he said, his eyes watering. “Thank you, man. Thank you a lot.” He grabbed my hand and shook it over-enthusiastically. “I thought I was gonna die.”
I stood in silence for a few seconds, stunned at the display of gratitude. It was the first time having someone thanking me so passionately, but… it was not a bad feeling. “No problem. We should help each other.” I gave him a reassuring smile.
“If you need anything from me, man, just tell me. I’ll do…”
The guy continued thanking until Ronel stepped in. “Do you have any juice left?” He said.
I checked my status. 4 mp remaining. “For a small heal, yeah.”
Next Ronel took me to a girl with a deep gash in her arm.
This time the healing went quicker and the girl also thanked deeply.
I hated to be that loser, but it felt even better when a girl thanked me. Not to mention she even hugged me…
With light steps and a nice feeling in my heart—and chest—I returned with Ronel to our group.
They sat talking about random stuff, mostly the status screen and the system. Further away from us, in front of the fountain, a bigger group of people gathered around some adults, Well, an adult. Mr. Torres, the math teacher at our school.
Of course it’s him. I rolled my eyes. He loved acting as the ‘cool teacher’ and having children gathered around him as he told them bullshit stories about his life any sane person wouldn’t believe. But credit where credit was due, the guy had a way of telling stories that made you listen attentively even if you knew everything that came out of his mouth was bullcrap.
Still, I was in no mood for the teacher’s fantasies, so I found myself a ‘nice’ spot to lay down and try to sleep.
It took some time, but I finally was able to drift into the land of dreams and nightmares as I resented the system for making us gather in a plaza with hard bricks for floor and without a single patch of lawn.