In the training grounds of the Kilenloth Church, The Saint and Hero exchanged sword strikes. Each strike is heavy and done with fluidity.
”Im proud of you, you know that? ” The Hero said.
Their blades continued to clash and echo through the facility.
”Just watch me, ” said The Saint as she stumbled a little from each strike.
And after being pushed back and on the ground, The Heros blade was at her throat.
”But… you aren there yet, are you? ” The Hero said with a gentle smile on her face.
e just too strong, ” The Saint said as she puffed her cheeks.
”Come on… don sulk now…. How about we invite Keilyn and go to a cafe? ”
”…Always treating me like a child…. ”
The Hero reached out to help The Saint back up on her feet, and as she got up, she received a firm and gentle hug.
e adorable, you know that? ” The Hero said.
”…..Hmpf, its always like this… but I don hate it…. ”
— :::: —
Near the coast of a prestigious school, a young man walks as he eyes the ocean. The spring winds are refreshing and cool. And as he looks up at the clear sky, he ponders.
[Do I want it with sugar or without sugar?]
Thats right… now in front of a vending machine, he wonders if he should pick sweet or regular black coffee. This is because he has yet to decide what sweets he will eat. In his opinion, if its already plenty sweet, hed like to balance it out with some black coffee, and if the treats are mild, then hed like some sweetness.
And as he kept pondering, someone lightly tapped his shoulder. While turning around and being greeted by a gentle smile. He sees Miu, a girl of Japanese origin and his best friends childhood friend.
”You need something, Miu? ”
”Nothing special… but are you having a hard time deciding what to pick? ” she asks.
”Yes… quite a dilemma actually…. ” he replied.
”How about 2 then? I see you drink black coffee quite often, after all. ”
”You think so too? Then, lets go with that. ”
Miu giggles as she waits for him while he gets his drink. But before he picks option 2, he turns around and looks at her.
”Oh? Which one do you want? ”
e treating me? ”
”Well, I guess? ”
”Then… strawberry milk? ”
”Okay… gotcha. ”
”…You know, you don have to force yourself to sound more informal…. ”
He tilts his head, reflects on his actions, and glances at her.
”…Did it sound strange? ”
”A little… I just can picture you like that…. ”
And after a bit of waiting, they both receive their drinks.
”Oh, by the way, Noel said hed be doing some errands in the morning and will arrive later in the seminar this afternoon. ”
”Oh? Then… isn that why you
e here? ”
”Hehehe~ maybe? Also, how about I treat you to some snacks? ” Miu says playfully.
”Hmm, if you say so. ”
She puffs her cheeks as she pouts.
”…You were supposed to laugh…. ”
”Hm? Is that so? ”
And as he asks her that, she sips her drink and keeps sulking.
[…..How does Noel usually deal with her?]
— :::: —
Later, arriving at a cafe, they see a familiar face as they are in front of the cashier and ready to order.
”….This was your errand? ” Miu asks with a deadpan look.
”Don look at me like that! They were short on staff, and a friend I know asked me! ” Noel retorted.
He then lets out a sigh and looks at the person beside Miu.
”Cheesecake, please. Oh, and an Americano too. ”
And, of course, ignoring both of them was Alum. He is relatively carefree and does as he pleases.
”Al… I thought youd be a little surprised, at least. ”
”I am. ”
”…You don seem so…. ” Miu commented.
”Well… he does have a stoic look all the time…. ”
”….Is that a compliment, or are you two teas—roasting me? ”
”No… as I said, you don need to use slang…. ”
”Why are you even starting to use slang? ” Noel asks curiously.
”I read a book. ”
”Of course you did….. ” he lightheartedly comments.
”Anyways, it doesn suit me? ”
”Well… I wouldn say that… but you just need to properly use them naturally? ”
”…Noel, should you really be chitchatting right now? ” Miu asks.
”Huh? Crap, you
e right! So… what do you want to order? ”
”A Cappuccino and strawberry cake. ”
”Noted. Then you can take a seat over there. ”
Noel points at a seat close to the window at the back. Heading over to their seats, Alum and Miu suddenly realise something.
”Shouldn we be in class? ” Alum asks.
”….I completely forgot, ” Miu said with a defeated look.
And, making it worse, Noel comes with their servings and asks them the same question.
”Wait, aren you guys supposed to be in class? ”
e the one to talk! ” ”
— :::: —
In the afternoon, as class was over, Alum, Noel, and Miu sat around and chatted for a bit. Some other classmates come up to them, joining the conversation as well.
Although… Alum wasn going to chat with them. Since most of his interactions are with his cousin, Noel or Miu. And by no means is he awkward or shy. He just has little to no interest in others.
Professor Emely, who was packing her stuff after the seminar was over, heads towards them. And calls him out.
”Alum, do you want to eat out today? ” she asks.
e still on campus, ” he replies.
”Buut my work is donee~ ”
This young Professor right here… was Alums cousin and the one that took him in as a child. And isn afraid to publicly display her motherly love.
Some people have even misunderstood and reported this to the school. They understood the situation and cleared things up… and well. Told her to tone down.
”Hahaha, its always fun watching Al get shy, isn it, Miu? ” Noel asks.
”Sicko…. Well, considering he doesn make many expressions… I guess so? ”
e so harsh on me…. ” Noel commented.
At that moment, some people started to be loud, and from the looks of it, the door was stuck. Baning on the door and tried to forcefully open it, but it was to no avail, and it won budge.
”Seems like we will be stuck here for a little longer, ” Emely said.
But then, things quieted down. And as she glances over, the students have collapsed. Emely rushes to them but feels a rather unpleasant drowsiness and collapses too.
Miu starts to panic, and Alum gets up and runs to Emely. Checking her pulse and breathing, ensuring she didn get injured during her fall, he then sighed in relief.
And looking at the other students, he wasn sure what had occurred but held his breath since they could have become intoxicated. But that would make no sense either….
Noel had rushed over to see how the other students were doing, and they were fine. However…. Soon Miu collapsed as well, and Noel and Alum followed suit.
— :::: —
Walking up while being shaken by a friend wasn the most pleasant thing hed experienced. But it sure was better than the headache he received before collapsing.
Looking around and seeing a bright blue sky as he was lying on something soft and ticklish.
e finally awake, ” Noel said with a concerned look.
”Where are we? ” Alum asks as he gets up.
”I don know… however, I doubt this is our world. ”
[Not our world? Did he play a few too many games?] Alum thought.
”….Did we get kidnapped? ”
”No… I don think so… and also, as I said. I don think this is our world. ”
”I see. The drug they used on us was very hallucinogenic…. ”
”….Not that Ive experienced being drugged, I don think this is it…. ” Noel said while he was slightly disturbed by Alums words.
He then shows Alum something to prove that they are in another world: fire.
Creating a fire on his hand without getting burnt and freely controlling it, he tries to prove that they are in a magical world.
And of course….
”I see, its all in my head…. ”
Noel sighed as if giving up.
”Well… thats what Id like to believe. ”
Noel looks at him and wonders what has changed his mind.
”I mean, it makes no sense, but I have absolute confidence that this isn our world either. And as strange as it sounds, thats exactly what an influenced person would say. ”
”….I was about to comment on that. ”
Looking around a little more, Alum sees Emely and Miu cheering people up; some are in denial and curled up in a ball. While others excitingly test their powers and compare them.
”They seem awfully cheerful, ” Alum comments.
”…They were also the ones in deep despair when we first woke up…. ”
”…..And the ones who are curled up? ”
”In denial as reality struck. ”
”Oh? How about you? ”
”Lost, confused, in denial as well, and in lots of stress. ”
”I can see that… Although, you do a much better job than those excited dorks. ”
”…..You used one correctly for once. ”
”…Whatever. Since when did you wake up? ”
”Around 3 hours before you did. ”
[3 hours?] Alum thought as he raised his eyebrow.
”Why didn you wake me up earlier? ”
”You wouldn wake up no matter what, so I tried every 1 hour or so. ”
Looking around and scanning the environment more carefully, he saw a forest not too far away and a river too. And looking closer at the students, to be precise. They had no water or food.
e telling me, in these 3 hours, you guys haven gathered water nor tried finding food? ”
Noels eyes widened with surprise and regret.
”…Not everybody can think as clearly in harsh circumstances as you! ” he clenched his fist and looked frustrated.
And Although he tried to keep his voice down, he accidentally let out a more aggressive tone than he wanted to.
”…..My bad. ” Alum apologised.
Which made Noel feel guilty, since. Alum didn do anything wrong.
”No…. Im the one that needs to apologise… sorry. ” Noel said as he lowered his head in shame.
He was then lightly bumped on the chest as Alum softly smiled.
”No need to apologise. I was the one being insensitive. Hmm… but then again, how do we tell if something is consumable since this isn our world. ”
Miu, who was close by, chimed in as she heard what they were talking about.
”About that…. My ability is to analyse and see what it is. So… Ill probably be able to tell if its fine to eat…. ”
”Then, shall we go and look around? ” Alum suggests.
Miu then nodded with a smile.
”U-um… can we come too? ” a girl asks them.
It was a girl and her friend. Miu knew them, of course, and glanced at Alum to see what he thought.
”Why not? ” he said nonchalantly.
”Lets go then! ” Miu excitingly cheered.
And as they gathered every water bottle that was empty and large backpacks, they wandered off.
Of course…. Alum received some stares from some guys who seemed against him going alone with 3 girls. Or rather, it was the fact he was with Miu, which they didn like.
They also wanted to come along, but Noel and Emely said that their ability to create walls and veins was helpful in constructing a camp, so… they were denied.
— :::: —
Walking to the nearby river and looking around to see if there was anything edible. There are some mushrooms and plants here and there.
And Miu would do her magic. That is to say, she looked at them and was able to tell if it was safe or not.
”How does your ability even work? ” Alum asks.
Miu was unsure how to answer his question as she didn know herself. But she did tell him what she knew.
”I don know exactly, but I can just tell somehow? ”
”A bit abstract, but Ill trust your judgment. ”
She smiles and giggles while playfully hitting his arm.
She was actually so relieved that some people are just the same no matter what the situation.
And the girls who witnessed this started to whisper among themselves.
Hey… don you think they look good together?
I do, but… I thought Noel and Miu was an item, though….
…I have a crush on him, so this works out just fine!
You can still say that in this situation…?
”Hey, you two, are you finding anything? ” Miu asks.
Not prepared that Miu would call them out, they jumped a little.
”Uh… then, please take a look at this. ”
Miu receives the plant and analyses it. And then had a satisfied look on her face.
”Yup, we can eat this too! ” she said excitedly.
The two girls sigh with relief and start to look for more as they walk toward the river.
[…..One has heightened sight and hearing, and the other says her memory is almost photographic and draws our findings on paper… wait, don we have phones for that? Oh… right, no way to charge them. And Miu can tell if something is safe…. Wait, aren I useless?]
And as Alum was in deep thought, they arrived at the river. It was pretty deep, but that was only in the middle of the river, so it was generally shallow.
”We finally arrived! ” the girls excitedly said.
And before they could approach the waters, Alum stopped them. He glances at Miu.
”….Its fine to drink, however…. ”
”There may be something in the water, ” Alum comments.
” ”…. ” ”
”Well, I won stop you now that you know, ” he said nonchalantly as he grinned.
e quite meanspirited, ” Miu said teasingly.
Heeding their warning, the two girls approached the shallow water, and from the looks of it, there wasn anything in it. But they couldn say that for the deeper parts….
Bending down and scoping up the water with their hands, they carefully sipped and felt refreshed. After all, theyve been walking in this heat for quite a while.
Alum and Miu did the same, and surprisingly, the water was cool and refreshing. And they started to wash and fill the water bottles.
[I feel as if I can manipulate this water.]
And thinking that, he effortlessly manipulates the water to his will. Miu and the girls were surprised and watched with sparkly eyes.
Unlike the other classmates who clumsily used their powers, Alum created vivid shapes and creatures that seemed to be alive, like a butterfly, fish, and so on.
”…You have a vivid imagination, ” Miu comments.
”Well, you could say that? ”
”Wow, Alum, we didn know you were artistic. ” one of the girls said.
”Hmm, I don think I am, but it felt like I could do it. ”
Later, releasing his control over the water, he created water on his palm. And as expected, he felt something draining from him faster than when he used the existing water.
After this, the girls would shyly glance at him for whatever reason.
”Is there something wrong? ” he asks.
”….Well, no, but we do want to wash ourselves a little…. ” Miu said.
”Go ahead then? ” Alum looks at them, not fully understanding.
e just going to watch? ” Miu teasingly asks.
”Are you guys getting naked and jumping in then? ” he replied.
”….No, ” Miu replied as she sulked since her teasing had no effect.
[The two other girls think otherwise, though.] he thought.
”Anyways, enjoy yourself then… Ill be over there, and if anything happens, just scream. ”
Walking along the river and playing with the water, he learned that he was able to freeze it or make water vapours.
Compressing the water and freezing it while retaining its shape. He launches the ice needle at a fish in the water and kills it without much effort.
I wonder if this is edible, he mutters.
He dragged up the fish, which was on the rather large side, around 1 meter in length, and it was pretty large.
Though there were more fish around, he didn want to needlessly kill them if he didn know they could be consumed.
[Well, Ill just ask Miu later.]
And even from this distance, he could hear the girls playing around and giggling in the shallow water as he drained blood from the fish.
He stores it in the bag and looks for another specimen, also killing them. But he has a problem… he doesn have enough space in the backpack.
[….It should be enough for 14 people.]
And as he walked back to where the girls were, they were in their underwear, playing in the water.
”…I thought you guys wouldn strip down, ” Alum comments.
Mui, who notices him, glares at him with ruby-like eyes as water drips from her silky white hair while covering herself.
”P-perv! how long are you going to stare…!? ” Miu says as she blushes.
”Hm? Oh, sorry? ”
The other girls also covered themselves as they got out of the water and looked at him apologetically.
” ”Its our fault… sorry ” ” they said.
”I don mind, anyways. Miu, there is some fish I want you to look at. ”
…Be a little shy or excited at least…. Miu mutters to herself.
And as the girls got out and changed, he took out the fish he had caught.
”Are they edible? ”
”….They are, ” Miu said as she sulked.
”Come on… I apologised, didn I? ”
”Im not mad, just a little frustrated. ”
From the girls point of view, it was clear why Miu was upset. He didn react at all toward her, and If a guy you were interested in didn react to you, youd be pretty sad.
She really is interested in him…. one girl whispers.
They look good together, as I said. said the other one.
…You only say that since you don want her to get together with Noel, do you?
What! Accusations…! Well, it is true….
As the two chitchats, Miu and Alum, obviously overhear, he asks her if she likes him.
So… you like me?
…I don know, but I am interested in you, Miu said in a low voice.
Are you asking me out then?
No… I don know… how about you? she shyly asks.
Ive never fallen for someone. Then again, Ive been pretty blind my whole life until Noel forcibly opened my eyes, so maybe soon?
….He really did drag you out of the dark… didn he?
Yes, Im grateful for that, Alum says softly.
Anyways… we don have time to think of romance in this situation, do we? Miu mutters.
Well, if things settle down and you still approach me as boldly as you do, I might fall for you, Alum says teasingly.
…! Thats so unfair! Miu retorted.
Her face was then flushed as she was thinking of something and stared into his deep golden eyes.
Fine, only if Im interested at that point. Hmpf!
— :::: —
After the incident, they went back to the rest, which was about 20 minutes away. Back to where the otters were, they had built a camp with their newfound powers and a campfire as well.
”Oh? Welcome back, ” Noel greeted them with a bright smile.
”We got some water and fish, mushrooms and vegetation, ” Miu says.
Professor Emely walks up to Alum and checks if hes alright before she also checks Miu and the girls.
”Good, no injuries! ” she says happily.
”Alum caught some fish, ” one of the girls said.
”Nice! ” one guy comments.
Although some exchanged snarky comments with each other.
Tsk… I couldve done that as well.
What does Miu even see in him?
Yeah… he is a psycho after all.
And so on.
Later, when they cooked the fish, mushrooms and vegetables, they had a feast, and everybodys mood seemed to have improved considerably.
Some of them seem to have come to terms with the fact they were in another world and would cooperate as much as possible for survival. And things seemed to be going smoothly as they had to build shelters out of veins and earth and had a warm fire, food, and freshwater.
And seeing everyone finally being more positive. For most of the day, he has been going around and helping others out and instructing them on what to do. He honestly doesn feel qualified for this, but… he had to, and with the help of Professor Emely, things went smoothly.
He then leaves their little base since he wants to be alone for a while. After all, the day had been rather taxing, and he didn have to put up a strong front.
He sits down and hugs his knees while burying his face in them. The day had been very hectic, and he felt so frustrated and sad. Unlike everybody else, he didn have time to collect himself. He also bets Miu and Professor Emely haven either.
As he sobs alone, someone approaches him, he peeks to see who it is, and it is Alum.
”How are you doing? ” Alum asks.
”….A little better, ” Noel answers honestly.
”I got a little worried since youve been gone for a little while. ”
”…My bad. ”
”Don apologise. ”
”….How is Miu doing? ”
”Shes been relatively stable for the whole day. ”
”I see… she used to be so fragile in the past…. ” Noel says as he looks up at the stars.
Looking up and lying on his back, Alum sighed a little.
”Did you know she was interested in me? ”
”…I did. ”
”I guess it was because we became friends? …At first, she wanted to ensure you weren as bad as the rumours said you were…. So she probably got more curious from there on. ”
”I see…. ”
”Did she tell you? ”
”Well, more or less? ”
”I see, so, are you going out? ”
”She said she was only interested in me, and well… this isn the best time to be romantically involved. ”
”….Cold as always. ” Noel comments.
”She was the one that said it…. ”
”You know… some girls just say that but mean the opposite. ”
”Thanks, ” Noel says as he bumps Alums shoulder with his fist.
[Cheering me up, of course.] Noel thought.
He then smiles and looks up at the stars again.
”Nah, nothing, ” Noel said energetically.
— :::: —
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