Updated: Nov 17, 2019
A few days later, Tetsu – in new clothes and high spirits – was hopping merrily on his way to the University. Things turned out good for the catboy – he even managed to wiggle his way out of the punishment that Doctor prepared for his negligent apprentice. Well, not entirely – but when Bangloss heard that Tetsu got acquainted with Professor Hardenberg, he was so surprised that his fury evaporated – for the most part. The venerable doctor tried to worm himself into Professor’s good graces many times, and it was failure after failure. Not that Bangloss particularly liked Karl Hardenberg – rather the opposite – but he feared the eminent scientist, whose authority in the scholarly circles was high. So when Professor met with Bangloss the next day and talked about Tetsu’s attending the University courses, Bangloss graciously gave his permission – as was expected.
Approaching the University gates, Tetsu saw Leon, walking a bit ahead of him in the company of other students. Almost all of them were Tetsu’s acquaintances, but he also spotted an unfamiliar face.
“Ohayo, minna!” Tetsu waved and sped up. The students stopped and waved in response.
“C’mon, Tetsu, move your legs! If we are late, I’ll tell Professor it’s all your fault!” shouted Leon.
“Uwaaah, wait!” Tetsu sprinted forward and caught up with the company. “S-sumi masen,” breathed he out, panting.
“Haha, it’s okay, Tetsu!” The students were smiling and laughing – all except the guy whom Tetsu hadn’t seen before: a black-haired miqo’te in glasses, looking totally unamused. The black-haired catboy cast an arrogant glance at Tetsu’s blushing cheeks and snorted.
“Lame,” muttered he, turning away. Leon smirked and put his hand on Tetsu’s shoulder.
“Oh, Tetsu, you don’t know Aki, do you? He’s like you!” Leon winked and leaned closer. “He’s cute, isn’t he?” whispered he into Tetsu’s ear.
“Go to hell, Leo!” snarled Aki.
Leon grinned and continued, “Don’t mind him, Tetsu, he’s a genuine tsundere.”
“I AM NOT TSUNDERE, YOU DUMBASS!!”
“Hahahahaha!” Leon dodged Aki’s swing and shouted, “C’mon, guys! We need to hurry! Let’s go!”
They walked past the gates and headed to the Faculty of Natural Sciences. Everything there, inside the University campus, looked old and majestic. Tetsu twisted his head right and left, his eyes sparkling with excitements. They passed a large church and were about to make a turn toward the faculty building, when, all of a sudden, the church bells started ringing. Its doors opened, and a small procession led by a bulky and solemn priest slowly made their exit. The members of the procession were carrying crosses and icons, and the priest was holding a large gonfalon. On the gonfalon, Tetsu saw the image of an emaciated man, whose face was twisted with fear. There was an inscription under the image; taking a narrower look, Tetsu read, with astonishment: “The banana is great, but the skin is greater”.
“Wha… What is this?” Tetsu stopped and pointed at the procession. Aki, who was trailing behind, bumped into Tetsu and, cursing, cuffed him on the nape.
“What are you gawking at, dumbass?” hissed Aki angrily.
“Aaa-aa-aaah! S-sumi masen…” cried Tetsu.
“Oh, Tetsu, you are still new to this spectacle,” Leon grinned and gestured toward the church. “This is our Church of St. Phobos and this,” Leo pointed at the priest, “is Monsignor Lewdoux, Dean of the Theological Faculty and Head Priest of the Church.”
“Yeah, St. Phobos. A minor saint renowned for the fact that nothing in particular is known about him. Apparently, he was phobic to almost everything and died as a martyr during an especially nasty nightmare. He’s a patron of those who are suffering from all kinds of inexplicable and irresistible fear.”
“Haaaaa…” Tetsu looked at the gonfalon cautiously and asked, “What about… banana?”
“Oh, that!” Leon guffawed. “The 17th Revelation of St. Phobos. Monsignor’s favorite.”
“Eeeeh? What about the first sixteen?”
“Dunno. And who cares anyway? C’mon, Tetsu, are you religious or what?”
“Aaah! No, no! I am not religious at all. Just curious…”
“Pffft. Curious!” Leon snorted. “Well, you better not be too curious. I warn you, Tetsu, stay away from Lewdoux.”
“Eeee ja ne! C’mon, let’s go!”