Chapter 3: Expelled
As soon as we got home, me and Alex headed straight into my room. We set my PS5 up and put my new game in. As we sat down on my bed, we saw that Theian was standing by my door.
"Hey Theian! Wanna play with us?" I asked, patting a spot on my bed for Theian to sit.
"No, that's okay." Said Theian. "I need to get going."
"Alright. See ya tomorrow Theian!" I said.
Theian nodded and walked to the door. Alex and I stood up and watched at the window as Theian opened a portal and stepped into it. Once the portal had closed, me and Alex sat back down on my bed and grabbed our controllers. I pressed start and the game took us to the main menu. I scrolled down to V.S. Battle and pressed X which took us to the character select screen.
"Hey Alex." I said as I scrolled through the list of characters, trying to find one to play.
"Yeah?" Alex replied, also looking through the character list.
"Where do you think Theian and the others go for the night?" I asked.
"The dragon realm. Where else?" Alex said.
"No, I mean like where do they sleep? I mean if the dragon realm knows that they work for dad, they can't be very safe there."
"Hmm… Well…" Alex began. "Well…maybe they share a cave together."
"C'mon! Theian and Girido sleeping in the same cave together?" I laughed as I picked Superman to be my character.
"Eh, you never know. Don't really have a lot of options." Alex said, choosing Guile for his character.
"I guess not…"
For the rest of the night, me and Alex continued to play Street Fighter, going through just about every single character and stage. It wasn't until one thirty in the morning that we went to sleep.
The next day, it was back to school for me and Alex which meant no training for us today. Dad assigned Theian to work with Z'haer and the others in searching for a good place to start making his kingdom.
Alex and I sat at the table having breakfast. We both had a glass of milk and a bowl of cereal. I had Cocoa Puffs while Alex had Fruit Loops. As soon as we were done, we cleaned up, got our clothes, and headed out the door with dad behind us. We climbed into dad's car, Alex sitting in the front with him while I sat in the back.
Just like always, dad dropped me off at school first since mine was closer to our house. Alex and dad waved goodbye to me and I waved back as dad drove off in the direction of Alex's school.
Well, here I was again, back at school. I never liked going to this place. The teachers knew about what happened at my last schools and that I burned the students who tried to be my friends. Because of that, they said I was a "pyromaniac" and treated me differently than the other students. I didn't know how but somehow, some of the kids found out about what happened and would tell other kids about it and tell them to stay away from me. While most kids didn't come near me, there were some that would. These kids that would bully me, calling me names like "Fire Boy" and asking if I brought any matches with me and if I was going to burn down the school. I always tried my best to ignore them and make it look like they weren't getting to me but deep down, their words really made me feel terrible.
Just as I was walking to the front doors, I heard a voice call me. It was a voice I knew too well. I froze in fear, growing nervous, my heart beating faster. Two kids approached me, one standing to my left and the other to my right.
"Hi, Zack. Hey, Jacob." I said, hoping they would go away.
"So how was your birthday, Fire Boy?" Zack asked in a taunting voice.
I didn't say anything. I figured that if I didn't respond to them, they'd just leave me alone.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" Zack shouted in my face.
I still didn't respond. I wasn't going to give these jerks what they wanted.
"You know, that's not very nice to ignore someone, Jake. And especially after we went out and got you a present yesterday." Jacob said, walking behind me.
"That's okay. You guys can keep it." I said, looking down as I walked past them.
"Nah! We really think you should HAVE IT!" Jacob exclaimed as he ran up behind me and knocked me down. I fell right on my face. I placed both arms by my sides and pushed myself up just as I saw Zack and Jacob run past me, laughing.
"Happy birthday loser!" Zack laughed as he ran into school with Jacob behind him.
I stood up and brushed myself off. I looked around, noticing everyone staring at me but no one trying to help me. I looked away. I felt like I was about to cry but I tried my best to keep myself from doing that. I didn't need to give these kids another reason to make fun of me.
As I walked into school, I noticed that my nose was bleeding a little. So I headed for the boys bathroom. When I got in there I took a paper towel and ran it under some cold water. I put it over my nose to try to stop the bleeding. I waited for a little bit before I removed the paper towel and looked at it, finding a dot of blood resting on top of the water that had soaked into the paper towel. I looked in the mirror. Some blood still stuck to my face so I ran more water on a dry part of the paper towel and washed the blood off. I put the paper towel on my face one more time and held it there for about five minutes. I looked in the mirror one more time, finding that there was no more blood on my face and that my nose wasn't bleeding as much. I threw the paper towel away and left the bathroom as I headed for my locker.
When I got to my locker, I saw that Jacob and Zack where standing by it, waiting for me. I sighed and just went to my classroom with my backpack. There were already some kids in the classroom when I got there. They didn't seem to notice me which I was happy about. I sat down in my seat and put my backpack by my leg. As I sat in my chair, waiting for class to start I thought about how badly I wanted to leave this place and get away from everyone, especially Zack and Jacob. They were in the fifth grade, same as me. They were also the bullies of the school. It wasn't just me they'd pick on. They picked on kids younger than them, they picked on the kids in the special ed. class. I wished I could teach them a lesson but dad had told me never to show my half-dragon form around anyone. I also didn't want to use my powers anymore in case they ended up hurting someone again but for them, I was ready to make an exception.
After awhile, the bell rang and the teacher walked into class, carrying a few books. He sat the books on the desk.
"Good morning class." Said the teacher.
"Good morning, Mr. Falkson." All the kids, except for me said.
I stared at the wall, thinking to myself. Mr. Falkson called my name a few times but I didn't hear him. He was finally able to get my attention when he walked up to my desk and tapped his finger on my shoulder three times.
"Uh, y-yes, Mr. Falkson?" I stuttered.
"Why how nice of you to join us today, Jake! And here I thought I was, talking to the air!"
The kids all giggled which annoyed me a bit.
"Now Jake, could you please tell me what that is by your foot?" Mr. Falkson asked, pointing to my bag.
"Uhh…my backpack?" I replied.
"Good. And uh, where is your backpack supposed to be?"
"Correct again! Now why is it not in your locker where it belongs?" He asked for what felt like the millionth time.
"Mr. Falkson, you shouldn't get mad at Jake." A girl said from across the room. "If you do, he'll burn the school down."
Some of the kids burst out laughing. Their laughter filled the classroom which could also be heard out in the hall. The other kids didn't join in, probably because they didn't want Mr. Falkson to yell at them.
"That's enough!" Mr. Falkson shouted. "Jake, you will go put your backpack in your locker, you will get your things for class, and you will come back to class. Is that clear?" Mr. Falkson said angrily.
"Yes…" I said quietly.
"Good. Now go." He said, pointing to the door.
I grabbed my bag and ran out the door as quick as I could. I walked to my locker and sat my bag down as I put in my locker combo "6-15-20". I opened my locker, opened my bag up and pulled out the stuff I needed for class, zipped the bag up again, and put it in my locker. When I shut my locker, I stood there for a moment before I looked down, placing my head on my locker's door. I squished my eyes shut and bit my lip, feeling again like I was going to cry. I remembered then that if I didn't get back to class soon, Mr. Falkson would come and yell at me and I didn't want that. I picked up my folder, my social studies book, and my pencils and ran back to class.
After three hours and three classes, it was time for lunch. As usual, I sat by myself at a table in the back. I had a milk, some mashed potatoes with gravy, and a piece of bread. That was another thing I hated about this place: The food. The food here sucked. We never had anything good to eat and it was always the same thing. Sometimes on Friday, we'd get cheeseburgers but even those tasted awful and I loved cheeseburgers. Unfortunately, this was all I'd get to eat for the next three hours so I had to take what I had.
I quickly finished my food and headed outside. I ran behind the school and looked around, making sure there was no one in sight. When I saw that the cost was clear, I closed my eyes and turned into my real self, my half-dragon self. I flapped my wings and flew up to the roof of the school. I sat down by the vent and took a deep breath. I could hear the kids below me laughing and talking, playing games and playing on the playground equipment. The roof was the one place where I could get away from them for a little bit. It was nice being by myself, not having anyone make fun of me or hurt me.
I took another deep breath as a cool breeze splashed against my face. I played with my tail, holding it in my left hand and twirling its tip with my right finger as the wind ran through my wings and my hair. I closed my eyes and imagined myself as a full dragon, flying through the sky. I had no school, no kids to bully me, nothing. I was free. I was flying high over the city, looking down at all the people who to me looked like ants. Whenever I'd find bullies picking on other kids, I'd swoop down, beat up the bullies, and the kids I saved would thank me. Then I would fly off on another adventure after saving the day.
I smiled just thinking about it. I opened my eyes and stared up into the sky. I couldn't wait. Soon, this world was going to be dad's and that meant that nobody would ever be mean to me or Alex again. Dad would be the king of the world and me and Alex would be the princes with Theian and the others as our loyal servants. Alex and I would have all the friends we could ever want.
With that thought in my head, I laid down on the roof and closed my eyes again. I wrapped my wings around my body, using them like a blanket. I curled into a ball, my tail being the only part of me that didn't curl up. I yawned loudly as another breeze sprayed into my face. Then I fell asleep.
I woke up a little while later. As I started to move, my wings unfurled from around my body. I sat up and stretched as I yawned. I noticed that it was a lot cooler now and the sun was starting to set. I panicked. Did I sleep through my last few classes? I thought that I should probably get back into the school right away. I stood up, stretching one last time, and opened my wings. I jumped off the school roof and flapped my wings as I descended to the ground. Once I was back on the ground, I closed my eyes and my ears turned back into a human's ears, my wings went back inside my body along with my tail.
I ran into the school and went to my locker. I put in my combo and grabbed my backpack and slammed the door shut. I put my arms through the straps of my bag and headed out the door. Just as I was about to head for home, I heard something going on by the side of the school near the baseball fields. I wasn't sure what all the noise was about but it didn't sound good. I put my backpack on the ground as I closed my eyes and changed back into my half-dragon form. I picked up my backpack and flew up to the top of the school roof and ran towards the noise. I looked below me and saw Zack and Jacob picking on two kids. I laid down on my stomach, trying to stay out of their sight in case they looked up here, and tried to get a better look. The kids they were picking on were Sam and Max, two boys from Mrs. Marxi, the Special Ed teacher's class. Unlike most of the other kids, the kids in the special ed. class never bothered me but that was probably because Mrs. Marxi told them to stay away from me. They never talked to any of the other kids either. They would usually just hang around each other.
Sam and Max stood against the wall with Zack and Jacob standing in front of them. Zack moved closer to Max and put his hands on the wall, preventing Max from getting away. Sam just stood there, too scared to do anything.
I couldn't just sit here and watch Sam and Max get beat up. Whether they liked me or not I had to protect them. I stood up and grinned excitedly. I was about to be a hero, like Batman. I already had planned how I was going to save them: First, I'd shout at them to get their attention. Then I would drop down and tell them to leave Max and Sam alone. If they didn't listen, I'd tell them that if they don't get out of here, I'll make them sorry for trying to hurt them.
It was time. I stood up and looked down at them. Zack had his fist raised and he was about to hit Max. I took a deep breath.
"HEEEEEEEEYYYYY!!!" I shouted at the top of my lungs.
The four of them looked up and saw me standing on the roof. I jumped off the roof and dropped down, flapping my wings as I got closer to the ground, landing in between Sam and Max and Zack and Jacob, making Zack and Jacob step back a few feet.
"Oh, it's you, Fire Boy. Nice costume. What do you want?" Zack said, folding his arms and grinning evilly.
"Leave these two alone!" I said angrily.
"Oh? And what are YOU going to do if we don't, huh?" Jacob asked, also smiling.
"If you don't get out of here, I'll make you sorry for picking on them!" I replied in an even louder voice.
Zack and Jacob didn't say anything for a few seconds. They put their hands over their mouths, trying to keep themselves from laughing. Then suddenly, they started to laugh obnoxiously and loudly. Their laughing just made me even more angry.
"Oh no! I'm soooo scared! Please don't hurt me, Fire Boy! I'm sorry!" Zack said, mocking me.
I sighed. I tried to warn them. Now it was time for plan B: My powers. I hated the thought of having to use them. What if I ended up hurting not just Zack and Jacob but Sam and Max as well? I didn't want to hurt Jacob or Sam, just scare them into leaving.
I took a deep breath and squished my mouth shut. I held my arm out in front of me and when I exhaled, fire came erupting out of my mouth. Hovering above my hand was a small ball of fire. I brought my arm closer to me and stared at Jacob and Zack with an angry look on my face. The two of them were watching, eyes wide with fear at my fireball. I took a step towards them, causing them to take a step back.
"Wha-what ARE you?!!" Zack exclaimed, shaking in fear.
"Don't EVER let me catch you picking on these two again! You understand me?!" I yelled in a very angry voice.
"Y-yes!" Jacob said, shaking just as much as Zack was.
"Then GET OUT OF HERE!!!" I yelled at the top of my lungs.
My yell was enough to send the two of them running. Once they were out of my sight, I chucked my fireball into the sky and watched as it flew high into the clouds until I couldn't see it anymore.
Once that was done I turned around and saw Sam and Max still standing by the school. They looked at me frightened. I guessed that they thought I'd try to do something to them. I walked closer to them as they watched me nervously.
"It's okay. I'm not gonna hurt you." I said softly.
"Th-thank you." Said Max, still a little nervous.
Sam and Max were a bit younger than me. They were only in first or second grade. They were also the second and third youngest in the special ed. class, the youngest kid being a little kindergarten girl. Max and Sam were both best friends. Wherever one went, the other was with him. I think the reason they were such good friends was because, like me, they'd get picked on too, mostly by Zack and Jacob.
"He-hey, are-aren't you that-that fifth grader th-they call F-Fire Boy?" Sam asked.
"Yeah…" I answered, ashamed of that name.
"Mrs. Marxi said we should stay away from you because you like to burn things." Said Max.
"Oh…She did?" I said sadly.
"But we don't think that's true anymore! We think you're nice!" Max said, smiling.
"You do?" I said with surprise.
"Yeah! You stood up for us when Zack and Jacob were picking on us. You've gotta be nice to do something like that!" Said Max.
"Ye-yeah. You're li-like a super…superhero." Sam added.
"I am huh?" I said, thinking to myself. Well…That's because I am!!"
"Really?!" Sam and Max gasped at the same time.
"Yeah. To everyone else, I'm just a normal fifth grader. But…when there are kids being bullied, I become…Dragon Boy! With my Fire Breath, I protect all kids and punish bullies and all kinds of evildoers!"
Max and Sam started cheering and chanting my "superhero name". I flew up to the roof, grabbed my backpack, and flew back down to the two kids.
"But remember, you can't tell anyone who I really am. Okay?" I asked.
"Your secret's safe with us Dragon Boy!" Max said.
"And now I have to leave. There are other kids out there being bullied." I said, trying to sound heroic. "You two should try to get home as soon as possible."
"We will Dragon Boy!" Max said.
I waved goodbye to the two of them and flew home. On the way home, I couldn't stop smiling. What started as a bad day actually ended up being pretty good in the end. I stood up to Zack and Jacob and I protected two kids! I thought I might've actually made some friends.
I giggled as I flapped my wings faster. For once I was actually looking forward to school tomorrow. I imagined it: When I walked in tomorrow, everyone, even the teachers would be cheering for me and congratulating me for sticking up for Max and Sam. Everybody would want to be my friend and I'd probably get an award.
That night, I laid in bed, drawing a picture of me, Sam, and Max at the park. In the picture, I was wearing a superhero costume with the letters "DB" drawn in the middle. My wings took the place of a cape and my tail was in the back, wagging around.
Once I was done with the picture, I held it up and looked at it for a while. I stood up and put it on my dresser. I looked at it for a moment, then I turned off the lights and went to bed.
The next morning, I leapt out of bed. I cleaned up, had my breakfast, got my stuff ready, and headed out the door. When I got to school, already things seemed to be a little different. I didn't see Zack or Jacob waiting for me by the entrance to the school like usual. I thought it was kinda strange but I also thought it might just mean that this day is going to be great.
I walked to my locker and still no sign of either of them. I couldn't believe how good things were turning out today. I pulled out my book and my notebook for class and put my backpack in my locker. Just then the school bell rang. I grabbed my things and headed straight into Mr. Falkson's class.
"Good morning class." Mr. Falkson said coming into the classroom.
"Good morning, Mr. Falkson!" All the kids, including me said back.
"Umm, Jake, Principal Thompson wants to see you." Said Mr. Falkson.
"Ooooooh!!" The kids all said at the same time.
I wondered why the principal would want to see me. Did he hear about me protecting Sam and Max yesterday? Maybe he was going to reward me.
As I walked into the principal's office, I was surprised to find that my dad was there along with Zack, Jacob, Sam, and Max.
"Dad?!" I said confused as to why he was there.
"Ah, Jake." Said Principal Thompson. "Please, have a seat."
I took a seat next to my dad. I didn't know what was going on but the way the room felt made me certain that I wasn't called here for a reward or anything like that.
"Jake, I heard that you got into a fight with Zack and Jacob the other day. Also, Mr. Falkson tells me that you were not present for your last three classes yesterday." Principal Thompson said, sounding serious.
"Yeah but only because they were bullying Max and Sam. I was trying to protect them!!" I exclaimed, ignoring the part about me not being at my classes for the moment.
"'Protect??' Both Zack and Jacob told me that you took out a match and threatened to burn them alive."
I couldn't believe what I just heard. It wasn't like that at all! I didn't even know what to say to that. The only word that managed to come from my mouth was "What?"
Dad gasped. "Jake! Is this true?!" My dad said, sounding surprised.
"No sir, it's not! I didn't—"
"I received testimony from Sam, Max, Jacob, and Zack and they've all said the same thing!" Principal Thompson shouted.
"Wha-what! N-no we-we didn't! We-"
"That's enough!" Principal Thompson said, interrupting Sam.
"Mr. Jones, we here at Newton Elementary School have tried to provide a hospitable environment for your son despite his…past endeavors. However, with this recent turn of events, as well as your son skipping his classes it is clear to me that we cannot risk the safety of our students by allowing your son to continue to go here."
"Wait! Sir, you don't mean--" I panicked.
"But I do. Jake Jones, you are expelled from Newton Elementary!" Principal Thompson said.
"What! But sir, that's not—"
"Principal Thompson, at the very least, please allow my son to tell his side of the story." Said dad.
The whole room became quiet for a little bit. Then he finally spoke.
"Very well. Jake, let's hear your side of the story." The principal said.
I told Principal Thompson what happened. First I explained to him that the reason I wasn't at my last three classes was because I fell asleep during lunch, although I didn't say where. I then explained to him that I saw Zack and Jacob picking on Sam and Max and I tried to stop them. I told them to leave Sam and Max alone but they didn't listen. Then…when I got to the part where I went into my half-dragon form and used my fire to scare them, I paused.
"Then what?" Principal Thompson asked, leaning forward in his seat.
I didn't say anything.
"Well Jake?" Principal Thompson asked again.
I still didn't say anything.
"Why aren't you saying anything?" The Principal asked for a third time.
"I can't…" I said in a quiet voice.
"Why not?" The principal asked for a fourth time, pushing back his glasses that were sliding off his face.
"I just can't." I said quietly, looking down at my feet.
The Principal sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Jake…please go and empty your locker."
Principal Thompson didn't have anything else to say to me. And I didn't have anything else to say to him. I stood up and quietly left the room to go and grab everything out of my locker. I didn't get it. I thought I did something good. I protected two kids who couldn't protect themselves so why was I the one being expelled? Zack and Jacob should have been getting expelled, not me. It wasn't fair! What did I do wrong?
When I got to my locker, I just stood there with the door open for a few minutes before grabbing all my stuff. I stared inside my once now empty locker one final time before shutting the door.
I walked to the exit to find my dad standing there waiting for me. I sniffled a little and sighed. I walked over to my dad and we were just about to head out of the school when I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw that it was Sam and Max.
"Jake, we didn't say that stuff Principal Thompson said we did!" Max said.
"I know." I said, smiling sadly at them.
"We-we're sorry, J-Jake." Said Sam.
"It's okay…See ya around guys." I said, sadly, turning away from them.
Me and dad left Newton Elementary. I took one look back and hoped to myself that Sam and Max would be okay without me. Dad continued to walk to the car so I ran to catch up with him.
"Dad, I'm sorry." I said. "I just wanted to do something good and I thought—"
Dad cut me off by putting his hand on top of my head. He looked down at me and smiled.
"What you did was good. You stood up for those who were weaker than you. However, there are those like the principal who see their way as being the only right way. They look at things entirely in black and white and enforce their ideas of right and wrong onto others yet…when it comes down to it…none of them would have raised a finger to help those kids or anyone else that needed it." Dad explained.
"But why? If you saw somebody that needed help, why wouldn't you try to help them?" I asked, not understanding at all.
"Because that's the kind of world we live in, Jakol. Just like the wolf that preys on defenseless sheep, the humans with more power will prey on those that don't and lie to and manipulate them. Once those weaker humans have served their purpose, the stronger ones will throw them away and seek and use others just like them."
"That's horrible!" I cried in disgust.
Dad nodded in agreement. "But I plan to change that. What I want is to make this into a world without lies, without manipulation. There will be no weak or strong. There will just be people. Everybody will be the same. However, in order to see this new world born, I need your help Jakol. Will you help me?"
"Yeah! You bet I will, dad!" I said eagerly.
"Good." Dad said, smiling at me.
Dad turned around and headed to the car as I followed behind him. I thought about what he said and it made me think: if we did make this world into dad's kingdom and made it so that everyone was the same, then would that mean that people like Sam, Max or, even Alex wouldn't have to suffer anymore? If dad wanted to save the world that much and stop people from suffering then I was more than willing to help him.