"A restaurant owned by the Victory Foods Corp was bombed last night with more than thirty bodies reported as casualties...."
Steffy who turned on the TV to check the time flashing on the bottom of the screen momentarily stopped to listen to the morning news.
"Aww, that's awful. This Victory Foods is actually running a brothel underneath their restaurants? That guy who bombed them is bad, but at least, he did it after letting those more than eighty victims escaped from there."
Steffy shook her head on the news and walked towards her sister's bedroom.
It was already 7:15 am. Classes start at eight. And her sister who rarely goes home was still asleep. She didn't know what her sister and her best friend did that made them stay up late. But both of them ended up spending the night at her apartment, taking the room next to hers. And nope, they only slept and did not do anything else.
"Sis! Sis Wendy! Wake up!!!!" she shouted after popping her head in the doorway.
When she came in, the two friends were still asleep and based on how tightly shut their eyes were, they looked like they wouldn't be waking up soon. However, Steffy wouldn't allow them because they all have to go to school. After all, it was only Tuesday, and there were only two days left before the finals.
Left without a choice, Steffy picked up one of the pillows that had fallen from the bed and started hitting the two sleeping ladies on the face!
"Wake up!!!! It's already 8 am!!!!!!!!!!!"
"You don't want to wake up? Okay, fine! Don't wake up because I'm enjoying hitting you two!!!! Hyaaaahhhh!"
It was Wendy who reacted first. Her hands moved to protect her face from whatever was hitting it and then when her other body parts started getting struck, she grabbed on the blanket and pulled it up to her face, trying to make it her shield. Of course, what she did was a no-brainer. But at least, when it failed to get her some peace, Wendy's drowsy eyes finally half-opened.
"Okay, one's up! Time to focus the firepower on the still sleeping dinosaur! Haaaah!!!!"
"Steffy?" Wendy dumbfoundedly called out.
Her mind had been blank for a while, but then pieces of memories started surging in, allowing her to remember that she overnighted at Sofony's place. A decision she made whimsically after getting pissed off by her brother's colleagues.
A few seconds later, Steffy's cries echoed in the room because Sofony had already woken up and was now pinching her sister's cheeks.
"Steffy!!!!!!! You have guts!!!!!! Of all things, you call your sister a dino?!"
"O-ouch, hey, I'm just joking! I swear you're the prettiest big sis, okay?"
Sofony snorted before laughingly letting go of her sister's cheeks. She yawned after, and then looked at her frowning friend who seemed to be having a headache.
'Ugh, actually, I'm also having a headache. We arrived here at 1, but then I have to go back to the station, so I slept around 2:30 am.'
"Sis, and you trespasser, go wash up now, or else we're all gonna be late. It's already past 7 am. I don't think we can even eat a decent breakfast," Steffany hatefully grumbled while caressing her slightly cheeks using both hands.
Wendy drowsily asked, "Why did you only wake up us now?"
"Why did you two have to be woken up? I thought you two are honor students?"
Sofony yawned once again. After some time, she stood up, walked towards a small cabinet and pulled up two towels. She threw one to the girl who was still massaging her forehead on the mattress, then strutted unsteadily to the bathroom. Her mind was still not totally awake.
After a few minutes, she was already in her uniform, sipping coffee in the living room. She still felt like dozing off, but thankfully her constitution was now stronger and the coffee was already showing some effect. Her sister was on the nearby sofa, busily checking if nothing's missing on her bag.
A freshened-up Wendy came out of the room, smilingly commenting,
"It's been a while since I came over at your place, Sofy. I remember that time, this little mischievous is still not here."
"Yeah," she nodded while handing her friend a cup of coffee.
Wendy accepted it using her right hand, then responded,
"Changes really happen every second, huh? See, now, you have a rude girl at home hitting people's faces with pillows. Sighs."
"It's fun, you have to try it sometimes. It's especially refreshing if the target's face is very pretty."
Steffy's cheeky reply earned an eye roll from Wendy and a laugh from Sofony. The latter had her eyes at Wendy, glad to see that her friend didn't act out of character and was back again to her usual self.
A couple of moments later, she looked away and started to reflect. What happened yesterday was a close call and if she had not moved early, then her friend would have ended up really jailed for attempted murder.
Despite being a bit relieved, she was still guilty. It was her feud with Clarissa that almost caused two lives to be destroyed.
This was why she realized, with a hostile enemy nearby, she could never slack off again. She had to always protect her loved ones.
A bitter smile arose from her lips. It then vanished a second later, replaced by conviction.
'I'm extremely sorry for what happened to Teacher Matthew. As an apology, I will visit him after class. I will also shoulder his medical expenses.' Of course, she planned to do the latter anonymously.
'As for Wendy, Steffy... and Gio, I guess I have no choice but make them resistant to mind control through hypnosis.'
She was skeptical about it though.
Would this plan work?
The system told her hypnosis could 'probably' triumph over mind control if the latter was contrary to a command already left to an individual. For example, if she commanded someone to forget a conversation, it wouldn't easily be canceled out by a subsequent order from a mind-controller. Sadly, it's not guaranteed to work all the times. It still depends on the skill levels. She was afraid because Clarissa was obviously on a higher level than her.
'...I'll try it first, then I'll save up points to buy something from the shop. Unfortunately, the least expensive barrier is 10,000 points, and I'm not even sure if it can shield people from mind control. My system is so useless. It won't explain a thing unless I'm really planning to buy.'
With a sigh, she got the attention of the two and initiated the conditioning. She wanted to do it in a traditional way so that there wouldn't be any bad effect on their brain.
On the TV's screen, the time shown was 7:48. Today, it seemed they'd really have to prepare to be late.
Someone almost died yesterday but the school admin didn't cancel today's lessons. The whole academy came to learn about this through the words of mouths and hearsays, and now an air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all. This was despite the fine weather.
Drowned in her thoughts, Sofony unconsciously mumbled. "Clarissa didn't come to school and I can't help but wonder why."
It was already lunch break and people were talking about yesterday's case. Wendy who just arrived at the reserved table heard her and asked, "Why the heck are you asking about that annoying woman?"
"Wendy, you're finally here," she exclaimed as she watched her irritated friend took the seat opposite her. "Ah, nothing. Just hearsays. How's the talk with them?"
"Hmp! You won't believe this, but those guys from the admin office are so annoying! They kept asking if I am fake or real. The heck! It's me who called the police! Are they seriously thinking the impostor who tried to assault a teacher would do that? What? To make them arrest her? My gosh! This is why I want to sometimes punch our principal because he always chooses the wrong priorities over the correct ones. You see, instead of checking on Sir Matthew and hunting that stupid and hateful fake, they're questioning and interrogating the real!"
As the girl continued complaining, Sofony was studying her friend's face, the relief she felt this morning made way to her heart again.
Wendy was really someone who should stay strong, righteous, and frank. And she thought her friend should stay this way forever. Not the one who broke down after being mind controlled to do something against her will.
Shaking her head, Sofony commented, "What did they ask you?"
"What else? They want me to prove if I'm really the second Wendy. The one who came to those teachers' rescue! I have to call my brother in front of them to believe me!"
Some nearby students turned their heads to Wendy and looked at her curiously. Because of them, the girl scowled more and said in an almost shouting voice,
"Uggghhhh! I really want to arrest that fake Wendy and pull all her hair out until she becomes bald!!! She pisses me off so much! How dare she impersonate me? Is she that jealous of my goddess-level face? I'm already angry at her copying of my beauty, but now I even feel like strangling her because she used my face to commit a crime!"
The real 'fake' sitting across her could only smile wryly at her outburst.
After a moment, the bystanders and other free students started whispering and chatting with each other.
"So it's true! Someone who looked like Miss Wendy tried to kill Sir! I wonder if Sir is still alive."
"Yeah. I'm also worried. Even though Sir is fat and can't run in the field anymore, he's at least someone who knows so much about basketball. It's always nice to debate about teams with him."
"Wait, what if this Wendy here is the impostor?"
"Idiot. Not many can imitate Miss Number One's explosive temper. But if you're really doubting her, why don't you make her answer a one thousand items test? Then let's buy it as reference for the finals?"
"Wow, you're so genius. You want to deceive Miss Wendy? You're gonna test him as a way of proving she's the real one when in fact you're after her reviewers? Good luck."
"Just saying, maybe we can pull it off. Haha."
Sofony didn't know whether to laugh or what. When she looked at Wendy again, she saw her gnashing her teeth in anger.
To divert her friend's attention a bit, she stood up, asking, "I almost forgot. What do you want to eat? I'll go line up for us."
"Something very spicy," Wendy replied grumpily.
Sofony nodded, leaving the other girl sitting with legs crossed, arms folded across her breasts. She joined the long line of students while looking at the menu board above them. There were some appetizing dishes listed, but everyone knew not to expect much since the cafeteria's cook was not that skilled. Aware of this, Sofony only had to glance at it for a second to know which she should order.
Thankfully, almost everyone let her cut the queue. It was 'almost' since the person in front of her had already paid, only waiting for the tray of her order.
Five minutes later, when she arrived at their table with the tray on hand, she was surprised to see no one waiting for her there. As she shifted the food and drinks from the tray to the table, her eyes also roamed around, searching for Wendy's figure.
And there she saw her, two tables away at the back. Both her eyebrows and forehead creased when she laid eyes on who Wendy was speaking with.