Asta had never been big on school due to his learning disabilities and his poor hearing. However, when he learned that he could study agriculture at college, he buckled down in high school and got into the same college that Yuno did (Yuno was going to be a Literature Professor someday).
Yuno was the best in Asta’s opinion. He and Yuno grew up in the same backwater town at the same orphanage. They were childhood friends. Yuno was naturally gifted at pretty much everything, handsome and book-smart. There were only a few things that Yuno was bad at, that only Asta was privy to, because Yuno was a disaster at taking care of himself.
Going to college had two benefits—one preparing him for becoming a tatoes farmer and second to look after Yuno.
Looking after Yuno was like breathing at this point for Asta, he never minded it. College classes, on the other hand, gave Asta a lot of trouble.
Thankfully, his new best friend Noelle and the co-workers at the café and bookstore were good at organizing so they helped Asta plan for all his assignments and schedule. He really appreciated it. The agriculture side of school was easy, but the regular classes (that were required) were a bit harder.
Asta struggled, but he did his best and that was all he really could do and the professors and the university were accommodating to a point. Mostly everyone was pretty neat, the other serious students suffering together tended to bond. Asta did not care much for the lackluster students, who didn’t seem to do any work or even try.
There was one guy in his biology class, Bah-ha or Sekke or whatever, was so goddamn annoying.
“They are called potatoes, you hillbilly, Bah-Ha,” said Sekke, after Asta sat down from his presentation on his experiment to grow tatoes inside. Sekke was unfortunately Asta’s seat-mate.
“Tatoes,” grumbled Asta. He had good-natured arguments with Finral at the café and the bookstore about it, but this guy was just plain rude. The professor, Dr. Swallowtail, did not ever correct Asta when he was giving his presentation, so it meant that it was okay.
“Tatoes,” replied Asta, not liking the tone. He really should turn off his hearing-aids so he didn’t have listen to this jerk, but he did not want to get scolded for taking out his phone in class. The phone controlled his hearing-aids; they were new thanks to his friend Leo’s parents, who were renown doctors gave him them. They said he would be the test subject, but he really knew that they just wanted to do something for him, after whatever Leopold, or his two older siblings told their parents.
“Professor, tell him they are called potatoes,” said Sekke, jumping out of his seat, interrupting Dr. Swallowtail, who looked right through Sekke like he was a moron. She was an awesome professor. She always came to the café where Asta worked and ordered the same thing and left a good tip.
“There are multiple ways to refer to tatoes,” said Dr. Swallowtail, in all her deadpan glory. “Now, sit down, you’re disrupting class.” Sekke deflated and shut up for the rest of the lesson.
After class, Asta waved at Dr. Swallowtail and thanked her on his way out. He needed to get to the library to study with Noelle, Leopold, Kahono and his other friends at college. Yuno was even coming to this study session!
Asta cringed and tried to ignore Bah-ha. Sekke stepped in front of Asta. Asta cursed his short legs for not going fast enough.
“What do you want from me, Bah-ha,” asked Asta, rolling his eyes.
“That’s not my name. Why can’t you get things right,” asked Sekke, glaring.
Asta leveled his breathing. This was like high school and middle school AND elementary school all over again. Did he have a target on his back? Gritting his teeth and clenching his fists, but reminding himself that violence was not the answer because he promised Sister Lily and Father Oghi that he wouldn’t fight anymore, Asta almost snarled. “Are you calling me stupid?”
“Ye-ah,” started Sekke, only to be grabbed by two intimidating figures—the mohawk-sporting, leather-wearing biker, Magna Swing, mechanics/art major senior and the tattoo artist near Asta’s jobs and the Amazonian tall barista from the Spade Café, Sol Marron, who was a mechanics/art major senior as well. Sol and Magna were good friends of Asta—they were like older siblings. It looked like they were just coming out of one of their robotics classes since it was the STEM building.
“Are you picking on our Little Rasta, Boo-hoo,” asked Magna, sneering.
“Why are you being an asshole, asshole,” asked Sol.
Asta almost snickered.
“Nope! I was just leaving, BAH-HA.” Sekke screamed, as Magna and Sol let him go, and Sekke ran off in the opposite direction.
Magna looked at Asta. “People think because you’re tiny that you won’t defend yourself. You good?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” said Asta, completely used to select people being jerks to him.
Sol patted Asta on his head. “Tell us if he gives you anymore trouble and we’ll sort him out. Some people can’t leave that high school shit behind, it’s pathetic.”
“Thanks, guys, but I’m fine,” said Asta, grateful. Then he remembered he had people waiting for him. “Ah! I gotta study session! See you later! And thanks!”
“Stay out of trouble, ya hear,” demanded Magna and Sol, both at the same time.
Asta just laughed.