Inside my home sweet home I spend time alone, but a relative of mine came over to play for the first time in a while. He is in elementary school and lives in the neighborhood.
“ ‘s been a long time!”
Who knows why, but the kid had adopted a fake kansai dialect.
While I was in the kitchen rummaging for snacks to serve, the boy unexpectedly took out his homework and spread it out on the desk.
What a hard working kid.
He’s the opposite of me back when I was a kid.
“Hm? Is that your maths test?”
“Yep. We have to redo the questions we got wrong and hand it in. But I don’t get this question so can you teach me?”
“Eh, are you serious?”
No matter how bad I was at studying, there’s no way I can’t solve an elementary schooler’s math problem.
But teaching is another story.
Fortunately, after a lot of hiccups, I managed to help him solve the problem
“I’m in awe!”
The kid arrogantly stuck his thumb up.
“Teaching is harder than I thought…”
How hard are the other questions?
Out of curiosity, I glanced at the first problem.
“Takashi is running at a speed of 3,000km per hour. Yuuki is 400km behind him, flying at a speed of 70km per minute… wait, hold up.”
The young boy puts on a curious expression.
“What do you mean what’s wrong? What the heck’s up with this question? The one from before was normal but this one is clearly weird.”
“It’s not that weird.”
The boy had a face of disbelief.
So this must be the harm of yutori education, to feel that nothing is off about this question.
True, I did go through a period where I changed the words or numbers in questions with my friend for fun. But this is proper printed words.
(TL: Yutori education is a Japanese education policy which reduces the hours and the content of the curriculum in primary education. In recent years, the mass media in Japan have used this phrase to criticize drops in scholastic ability)
“Ahh… I see, the teacher must’ve made a typo in the question.”
“I mean, isn’t 3,000km per hour a bit too weird?”
“Takashi and Yuuki can run faster than the speed of sound and also fly so it’s not weird.”
I took a look at the second question.
“Takashi who was in his summer uniform was gradually climbing as he flew at high speeds… hang on. Flying? If I’m seeing this right then Takashi is flying here.”
“I told you that he can fly.”
He replied as he puffed out his cheeks.
“Wait no, something’s clearly weird! And that bit about the summer uniform wasn’t necessary was it? So next is, let’s see, When he began flying, he was climbing at a speed of 500m per minute but after 12 minutes had passed, he raised his climbing speed to 800m per minute. After how many minutes and seconds will he reach the stratosphere which is 11km above the Earth’s surface?… What the heck!? There’s so many things wrong about this!!”
“Nothing’s wrong! He became able to fly after training!”
The boy argued back, his face reddening.
What is wrong with these math problems?
Looking through more of the paper, I found that these superhuman feats continued: running at 3000km per hour, moving whilst dragging a truck, lifting up a building, cutting three apples into slices in one second.
Other than the first question I did, the rest were all like this.
And, the subject of all these questions was “Takashi”.
“Really… What is up with these math problems. Was the only legit problem that one!? And what the hell is Takashi!?”
“It’s the results of his training!”
He said as he took out a thick stack of files from his backpack.
“What are those?”
“I kept all my math tests. This teachers test questions are super interesting ya know!”
I roughly flipped through the files handed to me.
Then, I was hit by an unbelievable truth.
There it was, at the very bottom of the files, what was presumably the very first maths test.
“Takashi is running at a speed of 3km per hour.”
“W… What? Impossible?! That Takashi is walking at an ordinary pace?!”
“Takashi can cover 5km in an hour if he runs.”
“How can this be, he’s only that fast even when running?! N- No, think this through, me. This is what’s normal and the test paper from before was the weird one!”
The kid put on a gloating expression and insisted.
“He gets faster and faster from there because of his training! Ain’t it passionate!”
I then take a look at the second test paper.
He’s still running at a speed of 3km per hour.
I take a look at the third paper.
It’s still completely normal.
I take a look at the fourth paper.
Wh- What is this?!
“While Takashi was playing with 5 other friends, Takashi’s mother brought over 24 oranges. How many can each person eat?”
This question was normal, but the next one wasn’t.
“While Takashi and his 3 friends were playing, Takashi’s mother brought over strawberries enough for 6 to each person. However, Takashi used the shadow clone technique to become 3 so they have to redistribute the strawberries. How many can each person eat now?”
“Hey?! Where did the clones come from!”
“Everyone in the class was laughing, we really liked it ya know. So the teacher began makin’ the questions more interestin’ ya know.”
The boy tagged “ya know” to the end of every single sentence as he explained.
“I see, so they were having some fun but it was well received so the teacher got carried away…”
I flipped to the next test.
“After completing his grueling training, Takashi can now run at 8km per hour.”
It’s probably fast for an elementary school kid but this feels a bit slow after the shock from the 3,000km per hour.
I flipped to the next paper.
“As a result of training for moving at high speeds, he became able to run at 20km per hour.”
It must be fast to Takashi but this feels a bit slow after the shock from the 3,000km per hour.
I flipped to the next test.
“Takashi completed his high speed movement training, and finally acquired the secret power. As a result, he can now run at 40km per hour.”
The fastest man on land world record holder Usain Bolt runs at about 40km per hour.
Takashi now rivals the world champion.
And, considering how he’s been maintaining that speed for two hours, I think it’s safe to say that he is no longer in the realm of humans.
I flipped the page again.
“Takashi is now able to run at 100km per hour after inventing his own training method.”
In no time, he’s able to rival the cars on a highway.
He’s a complete monster now.
Rather, I’m more curious as to what training he is doing.
Thus, throughout Takashi’s training, all sorts of “ïmpossible” occurred one after another.
- Entering a car race for some pocket money and coming out first place by outrunning the cars.
- Delivering an item his dad forgot to bring by chasing after the bullet train his dad was on.
- Winning a dogfight with no external help.
- Outmaneuvering a missile.
- Supporting a falling building with his bare hands.
- Sometimes, there was a note on the question that read “Assume that the shockwaves are negligible”.
Afterwards, he continued to study under different teachers, trained himself, and occasionally, he experienced some setbacks, but still continued to raise his speed.
At first, I was fed up with his superhuman abilities but gradually, a sense of satisfaction welled up from my heart.
Soon enough, a change occurred.
Until now, there were only two or three questions among the many in the maths test about Takashi’s training story.
However, things developed in a frightening direction. From that test onwards, a clear “enemy” appeared and Takashi made an appearance in almost all the questions.
This is no longer a test.
By the way, Takashi’s top speed has reached 800km per hour and he has mastered the sky dance technique by this point.
“Finally, he has come to battle his arch nemesis, one of the four heavenly devas; the Flame Man. After a discussion between the two, they decided to settle things with a speed contest. The track length is 3000m and when the Flame Man reached goal in 11 seconds, Takashi was 300m ahead of him. How fast was Takashi running? Give your answer in kilometers per hour.”
Next to the young boy’s answer of “1080km per hour” was a bright red tick.
“So he’s finally passed the 1000km per hour mark… Wait what’s with the four heavenly devas!?”
“You’ll get it later, ya know.”
The kid gave a smug grin.
“The Flame Man said,”Ugh, it’s my loss. I’ve never seen someone as fast as you. It’s my utter defeat’, then he and Takashi exchanged handshakes. Suddenly, a strong gust of wind blew away the umbrella of a young girl who happened to be walking close by at 60km per hour. Three seconds after it was blown away, Takashi ran after the umbrella at 90km per hour. How many seconds would have passed from when Takashi starts running before he catches up to the umbrella?”
“There’s a bloody conversation inside this maths question… is that even allowed? Why was that girl even walking with an umbrella somewhere that dangerous!? And why is it assumed that Takashi would run after the umbrella!? Dammit, I can’t keep up with the retorts!”
“While Takashi was chasing after the umbrella, some glass shards 500m ahead of him flew towards him at 100km per hour. The Flame man shouted, ‘Watch out!’ and ran but when he reached Takashi, the glass shards nearly hit him. Takashi asked ‘Why did you protect me?’ to which, Flame man responded with, ‘I couldn’t just watch my rival get injured could I?’ and lightly laughed. How many kilometers per hour was Flame man running? Assume that Flame man has not moved from his spot since shaking hands until the glass shards came flying.”
“A problem which is an application of the previous question huh. But what’s with this slightly moving story…”
The later tests were riddled with Takashi defeating the four heavenly devas and saving people, progressing the story.
In the end, he defeated his arch nemesis Totemarch and the world was once again at peace.
I had my fun reading and retorting until the story came to an end.
“Man… This test is amazing.”
“He’s a teacher who came last year. Everyone was hyped when the test ended ya know.”
The boy chimed in.
Apparently, the teacher who wrote this was a new employee.
A feeling respect for making this possible, and a slight anxiety rises from my heart.
“Lately it’s gotten even more interesting ya know.”
So the boy says. He seems to be aware that the plot has gotten rather dry.
From the beginning to mid-story, a lot of things happened, such as training to increase speed, learning how to move through air, bread eating competition, fighting against the four heavenly devas and such.
But after defeating his arch nemesis Totemarch, it was like the teacher had run out of ideas.
All that remained was the recycling of questions and constant power inflations.
The questions gave an impression that they were just reworded questions of running and walking to fool the kids.
“Come to think of it, what’s that teacher’s name?”
“It’s Mr. Takei.”
“Takei…? Is he a fat man with a big mole under his right eye?”
“That guy was my classmate!!”
Correct, he was the friend who rewrote test questions with me in elementary school.
One week later, under the guise of the guardian of a relative’s child, I stormed into my old classmate, Takei’s house.
“Really, it’s been so long. Back when we were elementary school students, we would always rewrite the questions and stuff. Our teacher, Mr. Sawai from back then was nice enough to draw a little flower next to all the questions I changed. I was really moved by that. So I aspired to become a teacher like him…”
Immediately when we met, Takei begins his passionate speech but I ignore him and-
“You idiot! What’s with this endless inflation game!?”
I said as I dramatically slammed the test paper onto his desk.
“H- Hey, let’s go down the memory lane for a bit. It’s been so long since we met…”
“Who cares about that! I’m angry!? What is this!?”
I stared daggers at Takei as my finger remained pointed at the paper on the desk.
“Isn’t this… my maths test?”
“Exactly! I didn’t raid my relative’s kid’s house at midnight after they had overtime, causing them trouble just to read this bland stereotypical story! How much pitiful stares do you think I had to endure from an old man and woman in pajamas!? ”
Indeed, this test was the latest test from a few days ago which I definitely very gently coerced from my relative’s kid.
“Y- You did that? You could have just visited again some other time…”
“I wanted to know the continuation that badly!! Plus, these things are the most exciting when you get them on the day of the release. But honestly, I’m disappointed. What is this inflation game!? You know full well that this can’t go on right!?”
“No, release… this isn’t some magazine, and even if you call it bland, I don’t have any more new ideas… I can’t do this anymore.”
Thus, I began my desperate pleas to Takei who gradually sank into depression.
It was a fierce debate that night.
When dawn broke, both Takei and I were exhausted, but his eyes were gleaming.
“You can look forward to the next one.”
“Yeah, I’ll be waiting.”
Takei and I exchanged a firm handshake.
Next week, the relative’s kid came to visit.
As he came in, he gave me a test paper and said with a beaming smile;
“It was really interesting this week!”
I returned a satisfied nod as I read over the paper.
“I see, he’s finally there.”
In order to save the world, Takashi left for outer space.
Of course, in flesh and blood.