Arthur spent the rest of the duration of his sport class in the infirmary talking to Emily. Arthur couldn't help but feel like he was talking to an old friend he hadn't seen in years, even though that was technically the case, in this timeline he most likely saw her just last week. He made an attempt to act more like a young boy than as a forty-eight year old man.
Their conversation was coming to an end as the sound of the school bell ringing echoed down the hallway, signalling that class had ended.
"Well, that's my cue, I'm going to go grab lunch." Emily hopped up off of the stool and began walking to her desk, "Feel free to leave when you're ready, just pop the ice-pack on a table somewhere, I'll deal with it later."
"I think I'll just sit still for a while, it still hurts pretty bad." Arthur pitifully winced while trying to adjust himself, the bruise that formed on his back had already started changing into a more dark red colour, indicating that the blood within the wound was already losing oxygen.
"I wish I could give you something for it, but government regulations and all that." Emily looked at him with pity, she was disgusted at the sport teacher's behaviour, and this wasn't the first time Arthur had come to her because of his actions.
"Yeah, I know. Don't worry about me, go get lunch. I'll be better in no time." Arthur gave Emily a friendly smile to prove to her that he was alright, and after a few seconds, she nodded and walked out of the door.
A few moments later, Arthur began feeling drowsy. Laying idle for such a long time typically had that effect on him. He attempted to fight it, but his attempt was in vain, as he dozed off shortly after, only to be woken up by the same ear-piercing ringing from the school bell.
"Oh crap." Arthur involuntarily swore out loud. He tried to get off of the bed, his head was spinning and his back was aching, but he had to move or he'd be late. Arthur managed to stabilise himself using the nearby table as he stood up, his world stopped spinning as he regained his sense of balance.
"Alright, time to go." Arthur looked around, but noticed he was still alone in the infirmary, Emily hadn't returned yet. He grabbed the ice-pack that had fallen onto the bed and placed it on the table as he was previously instructed, and then walked to the door.
Arthur opened the door and made his way through the hallways, through the quickly diminishing hoard of students, towards his locker. When he arrived he saw less students than last time, these were the stragglers, and if he didn't hurry up, he'd be even later than them.
Arthur quickly cobbled together his materials he needed for his history class, and grabbed the sandwich out of his prepared lunch, he was starving, but didn't have time to eat it all. He managed to just finish off the ham and cheese sandwich by the time he reached his history classroom.
"Ahh, there is a first for everything it seems, Mister Arthur Holmes, you're late." A bald individual with a big bushy beard turned to Arthur, his current facial expression made him look disappointed, angry even. But the tone of his voice gave away the fact he was clearly joking.
"Sorry sir, I just got out of the infirmary. Had a nasty accident during sports class." Arthur limped through the door. "I don't have a note or anything, but you can go confirm it with Emily if you need."
"Alright, take a seat, we haven't started the test yet." The teacher signalled to an open chair with a small stack of paper on it.
Arthur took a seat, flinching as his bruised back hit the chair's backrest. He placed all his materials on the desk and arranged them as he liked, before paying attention to the front of class.
"Well, now that we're all here, is there any questions before we begin?" The teacher asked while panning over all the students in his class, "Nobody? Very well, you may begin."
Arthur flipped open his test and began filling it out with ease, the questions didn't seem to have a theme, it was a random mix of mythology, folklore and general history, all crammed into one large test.
The questions weren't even based around a single culture, it was vast, some sections were extremely niche. One second Arthur was answering questions about Greek mythology, the next he was answering questions about mythological characters from North American indigenous cultures.
One character that caught his eye was Coyote. In some stories he is treated as a sacred creator, in others, he is a malevolent trickster god. Arthur used to enjoy listening to Holly ramble on endlessly about the disparities of mythological characters within similar cultures.
Several more questions began sparking memories of New Genesis, such as a question asking who the queen of the underworld in Greek mythology is. Persephone, who within the game was just a kidnapped princess, whose rescue was a legendary quest that several thousand guilds failed to complete. But upon completion released the denizens of hell upon the mortal world, it was one of the many world changing quests, such as the Quetzalcoatl quest.
The next main question involved an evil spirit from the folklore of the First Nations, the Wendigo. Although in the west, the Wendigo was turned into a generic human/animal hybrid monster, such as a werewolf, New Genesis retained a lot of the original meaning behind the creature upon it's incorporation within the game lore, making it one of the more terrifying but memorable villains in the world.
While it still retained the horror creature aspects from western culture, such as the heavily emancipated humanoid body, with decaying skin and a deer skull for a face. The aspects taken from it's origin were a lot more frightening, such as the effect it had on the nearby villages, driving them to insanity, waves of famine and starvation, until they turned to cannibalism and became monsters of their own.
With each village destroyed being entirely preventable by the players actions, and each NPC lost due to the Wendigo's curse being permanently removed, regardless of their position as quest givers or salesmen. New Genesis was it's own living ecosystem, with each NPC being more than a couple dialogue options, they had their own lives, thoughts, and some would argue, even dreams.
Last, but not least, a question appeared about the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl. Specifically questions noting the similarities, yet differences, between the Aztec's Quetzalcoatl and the Mayan Kukulkan. Naturally, this brought back a few recent memories, and he couldn't help but feel sorry for himself again, even though he just recently received a miracle. Just how long will it take for him to get back to that place, seventeen years?
There were surely hundreds of thousands of mysteries hidden within that game that Arthur missed, yet he was so fixated on this one. He calmed himself down, there was no point in being impatient, even with his prior knowledge, there was no possible way to reach the level required in such a short amount of time. But he did know how to stay at the top of the pack, and especially how to gain a massive lead. Arthur began plotting out his plan in his head and he filled in the last few questions he had left.
When he finished, Arthur raised his hand and directed for the teacher to collect his test papers. Once they were collected, he was free to leave, he waved goodbye to his friends silently as he left the room, as he walked down the hallway towards his locker, he remembered what he was told earlier that morning.
"Hey Donovan, I finished early, can you come pick me up? Thanks." He gave a call to his father's secretary as he slowly made his way to his lockers, unimpeded by any traffic.
"Oh, Arthur, are you going home?" A voice spoke out from behind him. As Arthur turned around he saw Emily poking her head out of the infirmary's door frame.
"Oh hey, yeah, I finished my exam early." Arthur smiled at her, she was quirky, but that just made her more fun to talk to. "Oh yeah, I left the infirmary just after the bell rang, and rocked up to class a little late because I was walking slow. I couldn't find you to get a note, could you back me up if the teacher asks about it?"
"Yeah, no problem." She responded with a smile, and then a hint of worry flashed on her face, "So, how's the back?"
"Not as bad as it was when I left the infirmary, but I'll have Doctor Hudson look at it when I get home. I should be good as new the next time you see me." He rubbed his back
"How is Martin these days?" The mention of Doctor Hudson brought a blush to Emily's cheeks.
"Busy, especially because of what happened to me." Arthur knew Emily's feelings for Doctor Hudson, they were pretty close during med school, and even did their residency together, but Hudson became constantly busy when he was employed by Arthur's father, which led to him not having as much free time for a social life.
"He mentioned wanting to catch up with you a couple times when he was checking up on me, maybe you should ask him out for a coffee." Arthur decided to tease her a little. "I'll order my father to give him a much needed break, and I'll tell him to give you a call when he's free."
Emily's cheeks flushed bright red, and she began stuttering her words, Arthur managed to only make out the works, "Thank you" and "Take care", before she ran back into the infirmary.
Arthur giggled to himself as he continued on his way to his locker.