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Chapter 9 - He Shoots, He Scores?



Arthur and friends spent the majority of the break catching up, talking about what they've been up to the past couple days. Quinn started talking about a new character shooter game coming out in a year.

Arthur remembered aspects of this game, it attempted to bring the character shooter genre back into relevancy, unfortunately it didn't do anything interesting enough to survive the announcement of New Genesis.

"I'd hold off on the pre-order, something is going to be announced next year that you'd kick yourself for not saving up for." Arthur wanted to warn him, but knew he couldn't say what it was yet, company policy and all that.

Quinn tried asking what he meant but Arthur just responded with a cheeky smile, adding an extra note that it's rather expensive, roughly the price of a high-end gaming computer, but still not specifying what it was.

Quinn was curious, but seeing as Arthur kept refusing to say he eventually gave up. Although he was in a slightly irritated mood after getting teased so he playfully jabbed Arthur with his elbow. "It better be good then."

The group continued to chat until the bell rang, and their next class was about to start. The group made their way to their lockers, past the crowds. Arthur's shoulder bumped into the shoulder of someone travelling in the opposite direction, although there was more weight than expected behind it, making Arthur realise it must have been intentional. As he turned around he noticed the figures of Ruslan and his group disappearing behind the incoming wave of students.

After reaching their lockers and obtaining their relevant materials for the class, they slowly made their way to the gymnasium, hoping that the class would be cancelled, unfortunately this wish would go unanswered.

As they entered the gymnasium, a relatively overweight man spoke to the incoming students with a loud, somewhat obnoxious voice. "Hurry up, class started six minutes ago, you should have been here a minute after the bell rang."

"For the physical part of the class, and the final evaluation, we're playing soccer, any complaints? No? Good." When the entire class had finally made their way into the building, the teacher spoke up once more. "None of you are sitting this one out, if you don't participate, you fail, it's that simple."

Arthur stood up, attracting everyone's attention, alongside a glare from both Ruslan's group and the teacher himself.

"What is it this time Arthur? Sore feet? A headache?" The teacher spoke out in an almost mocking tone, as though this was a regular occurrence.

"All of the above, plus a doctors note." Arthur spoke out in a confident and equally as mocking tone, pulling a form from his pocket and holding it up a few inches from the teachers face, he countered his teacher's glare with a smug grin that was completely out of character for Arthur.

"I know how easy it is for you to ge--" The teacher's complaints were abruptly cut off by Arthur, who spoke with a stern voice.


"I'm sure you've already been informed about my hospitalisation by the faculty, save yourself the paperwork and just do as you're told for once." Arthur's blatant disrespect towards this teacher caught everyone off guard, especially the teacher himself, it was as if his personality had completely changed.

What was once a timid child who didn't react to blatant abuse of power and injustice against him was now threatening that very same abuser, throwing his weight around and seeming entirely confident in following through with his threats.

His teacher was going red in the face, he scanned his students and his eyes locked on Ruslan, his favourite student. A nasty grin formed on his face, he was aware of Ruslan's constant bullying against Arthur, so naturally he was the perfect candidate for his next idea.

"Fine, if you want to sit this one out, all you need to do is block one goal." The teacher pointed towards Ruslan and signalled him to approach. "If Ruslan scores, you play, if you block him, you can sit it out."

Staring at the teacher's disgusting grin, a memory resurfaced, this event had happened before, but in a different yet similar circumstance, it was odd that the main events repeated themselves although Arthur had acted differently.

"I'm not sure you're understanding." Arthur's tone went from confident to irritated, "I have the right to sit out regardless, if you want me to engage in your harassment... You need to add some risk."

Arthur reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellphone stealthily, quickly navigating to the camera application, he set it to record as he announced his terms. "No... If you want me to join in with your harassment, when I win, you will give me full marks for the physical evaluation."

His teacher stared daggers at him, he knew he should have declined, but Arthur's attitude had brought him to a level of anger where rational thought wasn't possible. "Fine, and if you lose?"

"If I lose, I'll join in with your soccer game." Arthur's arrogant tone returned, "Despite my doctors warning that any physical exertion of a moderate level or higher is not allowed, and that by ignoring his warning I risk serious bodily harm and potentially further hospitalisation."

"Deal, if you block one goal, you pass. If Ruslan scores, you play..." As soon as the the teacher stopped speaking, Arthur stopped his recording. If Arthur had learnt anything in the last thirty-two years, it was to always collect insurance, he learnt that humans were fickle creatures, and the best way to counter that was to plan around the fact that they will eventually betray their promises.

"Fine, lets do it... Hey Ruslan, try not to miss." Arthur shot Ruslan a wink as he walked over to the goalpost. The rest of the students were loudly talking about the situation, and how Arthur had seemingly changed overnight. Ruslan heard a few whispers mentioning his name, and that only served to make him angrier.

Ruslan slowly walked over to the centre of the field with the soccer ball, as he waited for the teacher to give the signal to start, he decided to start showing off by juggling the ball. Another memory surfaced as Arthur stared at Ruslan, strangely enough, Arthur began seeing two of them, although one was lagging behind the other by about three seconds, their actions matched each other perfectly.


'This can't be a coincidence. I'll need to research this later.' Arthur made a mental note to research this phenomenon.

He was experiencing something much more intense than déjà vu, it was as if the universe was forcibly attempting to line itself back up with the original timeline. If that were truly the case, than no matter how large of a deviation Arthur caused, it would always attempt to repair itself, within reason.

But what would happen if he stopped something that couldn't be lined back up, like saving someone who would have died, what would happen then? Arthur couldn't help but get lost in thought, but he was quickly snapped out of it when he heard the piercing sound of a whistle.

Arthur turned his attention back to Ruslan, the physical Ruslan had not moved yet, but the memory projection began moving, and three seconds later, another whistle could be heard, while the real Ruslan began following the same path of the memory.

As if they were following the same choreography, Ruslan and his future projection moved in sync, albeit with a three second delay. Dribbling off to the side, attempting to show off with his footwork, running straight for the goals yet pulling away at the last second in an attempt to taunt Arthur, he could see it all three seconds before it happened.

Arthur couldn't help but feel overwhelmed, this odd situation left him with an indescribable feeling, that made him feel somewhat nauseous, and it showed on his face.

Ruslan's choreographed dance started to finish as his projection began dribbling the ball to the leftmost corner of the penalty box. As the projection reached the corner he twisted his body and dug his foot underneath the ball, sending it into the opposite side of the goals, it scored.

Seeing this, Arthur began moving as Ruslan's real body did. Ruslan dribbled the ball to the leftmost corner and followed the exact same actions, Ruslan was too focused on his feet, he looked at Arthur's position once, and only after kicking the ball did he look up at Arthur with a smug grin plastered on his face, but what he saw wiped his grin away instantly.

Standing stationary in the exact path the soccer ball was about to take was Arthur, it didn't look as though he just got there, it was more like he moved to that position well before Ruslan even kicked the ball, as if he knew where it was going to go.

The ball flew towards Arthur as he began bracing himself, and then with a thud sound, the ball had hit his chest, and Arthur wrapped his arms around it, successfully catching the ball.

"I win." Arthur spoke out in an extremely arrogant tone, before walking off towards the teacher.

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