Chapter 5 Part 22
Translator : PolterGlast
An Undead Dragon suddenly appeared during special training.
Because of this, the special training was canceled and a thorough investigation had to be carried out.
The students immediately returned to Arcazam. They were disbanded as soon as they arrived at the school and were confirmed to be safe.
Jihad was in charge of the investigation on the field, so Irisdina and the others were dismissed by their subst.i.tute teacher, then they immediately headed to the 10th cla.s.sroom.
However, there were neither Nozomu nor Mars in the 10th cla.s.sroom, and when they ask Jin and his friends, it seems that the two of them disappeared as soon as they arrived at school.
"Everyone, did you find where Nozomu and Mars are!?"
Irisdina and the others gathered in front of the main gate after searching around the school for a while. Maybe because they were running around in such a big school, everyone was gasping for air.
"Haa, haa. They're not at the training ground... How about you, Ai?"
"My side isn't good either. According to Anri-sensei, he was here when we arrived at Arcazam, but when I tried to ask the students in his cla.s.s, he wasn't around anymore..."
After visiting the 10th cla.s.sroom looking for the two, Irisdina visited the teacher's office. She tried to hear about Nozomu from Anri, but she wasn't in the teacher's office either.
Later, when she met Anri who was in the school building. Turns out Anri was also looking for the missing Nozomu and Mars. According to Anri's story, they already disappeared even when she took the cla.s.s rolls in the 10th cla.s.sroom.
"That means most likely the two of them aren't in the school anymore..."
"That's true, but where are they then..."
Feo muttered while looking out of the school, and Tom also agreed with Feo's opinion.
"It can't be helped. I think we have no choice but to find a place where the two of them are likely to go."
Mimuru suggested going out to the city and looking for them.
At that time, there was a figure calling from Ecross school building.
It was Somia. She rushed to Irisdina while attracting onlookers' eyes and jumped into her chest.
"Why are you here ..."
Irisdina was confused by the appearance of Somia clinging to her body with all her might. Despite being confused about what happened, she gently hugged her beloved sister.
"U-umm... I heard that Ane-sama and the others were injured in the fight against a Dragon during the training ... so I was worried ..."
Somia spoke with a stuttering voice and tears in her eyes. Apparently, Somia was worried about her sister's safety.
She was quite anxious when she heard that Irisdina had fought a Dragon and she was injured.
They are sisters who are tied by deep bonds. Somia, who heard that Irisdina was attacked by a Dragon, was frightened because she thought that she might lose her sister. Just like Irisdina who was swallowed up by despair when she was about to lose her sister.
"It's alright now. I'm here. I'm not going anywhere ..."
"Fue, hick! Egu ..."
Somia was desperately trying not to cry, but seeing her sister's safety might have broken her tension. Tears spilled from her eyes.
As Irisdina rubbed Somia's back to comfort her sister, Somia slowly regained her composure.
As Somia finished crying and slowly let go of her embrace, Shīna asked Irisdina.
“Hey, Irisdina-san. I want to ask you a little, it's about the things Mars-kun said, what does that mean?”
"... What do you mean?"
Seemed like, Irisdina didn't understand what Shīna meant.
"Wasn't Mars-kun said something like this, "You could defeat the dragon if you were serious". What does he mean by that? I know Nozomu is strong, but I don't think he could easily defeat a dragon. Somehow ... is there something we don't know? "
Irisdina hesitated to answer Shīna's question.
Shīna and her friends did not know that Nozomu could release his Ability Suppression, nor did they know about the extraordinary power that Nozomu exerted at that time. And recently, Nozomu's behavior has changed compared to before.
(But… it's the same with us… we don't know much about that power he has. That extraordinary power… it's too powerful if it is just a mere release of suppressed power ... )
He described his power as the release of his Ability Suppression.
However, if the originally suppressed power was released, it would be strange if Nozomu, who was good at controlling power, was drained of so much power. His way of fighting didn't rely on power but made full use of his good control and excellent swordsmanship to get maximum effect with minimum power. His appearance when he released his Ability Suppression was contrary to that.
"Irisdina-san... I wonder if you can tell me?"
Shīna stared at Irisdina. Her intentions were so strong that Irisdina immediately noticed that Shīna was unwilling to back down.
Irisdina's ears could hear Somia's small voice but contained a strong will. Her best friend, Tima, also looked at Irisdina with the same eyes as Shīna. Irisdina, who received their gazes, looked up at the western sky. The red-dyed sun was setting on the horizon.
Nozomu and Mars are somewhere in this city. What are they doing now...?
With that thought, she started to think about what happened on her sister's birthday. It's certainly not easy to talk about the secret agreement with the Waziart Family.
However, the view of the city, which was dyed in twilight and began to be enveloped in darkness, fueled Irisdina's impatience.
If this continued, she couldn't talk about anything… Irisdina thought she had to do something. Otherwise, nothing will change. Between Nozomu and Mars... and them...
Irisdina nodded as if she had made up her mind, and she faced Shīna straight.
"We knew it when Somia celebrated her 11th birthday ..."
While taking Shīna's gaze head-on, the black-haired princess started to talk about the beginning she knew about him.
In the forest where special training was held. After the special training was canceled, Jihad was investigating the cause of a dragon's sudden appearance along with the Arkazam Guards and the dispatched investigators. When they investigated the inside of the hole where the dragon had appeared, there was empty s.p.a.ce in it, and dragon bones were scattered here and there.
"In other words, there's a dragon's lair underneath. Is that right, Torgrain-dono?..."
Jihad's calm voice echoed. In front of him was a hole where the Undead Dragon appeared. A man in his mid-20s in a white coat came to report. He came along with his escorts who were knights of the Silver Rainbow Knight Order.
"Yes. I've examined the dragon remains in this hole. From the state of the scattered bones, they have died around 10 years ago. Moreover, most of the bones found are young dragons right before becoming adult dragons."
A young man named Torgrain answered Jihad's questions with humility.
The gentle eyes that could be seen behind the gla.s.ses exuded intelligence. He also had a delicate physique, and of course, he was not one to make a living from fighting.
In fact, he was a researcher at the Gloaurum Inst.i.tute who was convened to investigate this matter.
The Groaurum Inst.i.tute is a comprehensive research inst.i.tute built within Arcazam.
The facilities of this research inst.i.tute were built in parallel with the Solminati Academy, and researchers gathered from every country conducted various research day and night at the facility.
The results obtained from the research were announced to each country once a year and were useful in many areas such as agricultural land development, city infrastructure, equipment development, countermeasures against monsters, and preparation for a major invasion that might occur again in the future.
In addition, several researchers at the Gloaurum Inst.i.tute gave lectures at the Solminati Academy which was also actively developing human resources.
"10 years... in other words, it happened before Arcazam was built..."
"Yes. The exit was blocked with rocks and dirt, so the exit was probably collapsed for some reason we don't know. The young dragons that couldn't be fed due to being trapped were killed by cannibalism. In the end, there was only one left. Although it was dormant due to lack of food, it probably died debilitatingly. "
"Then it became undead ..."
Arcazam, which was built after the great invasion 10 years ago, is a very young city. No wonder some people even lived here before Arcazam was founded.
Of course, the surrounding area was investigated even before the construction of the city, but at that time the entrance to the dragon lair was blocked, and the surviving dragons were either dormant or had already become undead.
"Torgrain-dono, what about the Undead Dragon that attacked the students?"
"Nothing in particular. There was nothing special other than being undead."
Jihad exhaled as if he was relieved by Torgrain's words.
The escort knights stared at him with puzzled expressions.
Jihad looked up at the sky with his hands on his beard. Even though he was within a dim forest, he had far less visibility than before he started his investigation. Perhaps the day is getting dark.
"... Alright. We will conduct a detailed investigation later, but it's almost dark, so we are going back to Arcazam for today. Prepare for withdrawal ... "
After instructing Torgrain and his men to prepare for withdrawal, Jihad looked down at the large hole in the ground. Beyond the hole, deep darkness looked back at his face.
In the report, no demon beast-like creatures could be found in the depths of the hole.
He simply stared at the inside of the supposedly empty hole, watching the investigators and knights went up to the ground one after another.
Arcazam commercial district after the sun set in the west and starlight filling the sky. As usual, the lights never went out even at night, and the voices of people pa.s.sing over the stone pavement illuminated by street lamps resounded.
At Us.h.i.totei, an inn as well as a bar in the corner of the commercial district, a young man was drinking sake in desperation.
The young man, Mars d.i.c.kens, arranged the countless sake bottles on the table and increased to the number of empty bottles one after another.
He was quite frustrated, giving off an atmosphere that seemed like he would explode just by touching him. Because of the intimidation he gave, all the customers who just walked into the shop today had to return their heels and leave immediately.
"Glug, glug ... haa ..."
Mars poured the sake into the gla.s.s and drank it all at once. He didn't care about the deserted state of the store.
Along with a burning sensation in his throat, the sake fell into his stomach, and Mars' head became hazy and vague each time he drank.
However, no matter how much he drank, Nozomu still flashed through his mind.
Nozomu's appearance in mock battles at the end of the second year. Called him to the outskirts of the city and challenged him to a battle. After that brought him to Us.h.i.totei and mocked each other on the way home. Always training together at the outskirts after they start talking to each other. His figure overwhelmed the S-cla.s.s vampire, Rugato, in a battle. All of that shone so brightly, but the anger that burned his body did not subside.
(That guy! Why didn't he take it seriously! With his abilities, it would have been easy for him to defeat it! ))
However, the more he felt irritated at Nozomu who didn't do his best, the more Mars felt something different from anger welling up inside of him.
To deceive his own feelings, Mars drank sake once more.
At that time, Ena who couldn't stand seeing Mars' behavior, complained to Mars with an angry expression.
"Onīchan, please stop. If you drink in this place like this. All the customers will be going away!"
Ignoring Ena's complaint, Mars tried to pour more sake into the empty gla.s.s, but Ena reached out from the side and took the sake bottle and gla.s.s away from him.
"... Give it back."
"No. Onīchan today is just being a nuisance."
Ena refused Mars' request. In addition, Hannah at the counter went along with Ena.
"That's right, Mars. There's no more sake in the store for you to drink!
Mars who was drunk, glared at Ena and Hannah while clicking his tongue. But then, Dell, who was cleaning the floor, called his name.
"...What's wrong? Oi! What are you doing!"
Suddenly, Mars was grabbed by Dell. He desperately resisted it, but Mars' resistance was no big deal to Dell's st.u.r.dy arm.
"I don't know what happened, but you can't do anything with such a hot head. Cool your head in the night breeze for a while."
Dell dragged the resisting Mars to the store entrance and threw him down the main street.
While the thrown Mars groaned, the owner of the Us.h.i.totei quickly changed the "Open" tag hanging on the entrance to "In Preparation" and closed the door to lock it.
"Haa, we're in trouble because of onīchan, aren't we?..."
"There's nothing we can do about the store today. The customers are completely gone ... "
A sigh escaped from Ena and Hannah's mouths.
Inside the store, there was the sound of Mars. .h.i.tting the door violently. However, he realized that he couldn't enter, so he left. After a while, the hitting sound on the door stopped.
"But... I wonder what happened to onīchan. He hasn't been like that lately..."
"That's true. He hasn't gone berserk or gone wild since he met Nozomu-kun..."
While saying so, Ena and Hannah recalled Mars' behavior which had started to change recently.
After meeting Nozomu, Mars no longer rampaged as he used to be. Certainly, he still looked scary to everyone in the shopping district, and although he used his brute force to get rid of the bad drunkards who visited the store, he didn't bother other stores.
However, Mars' behavior since he came back today was the same as him when he was still rough.
Ena's gaze glanced at the locked entrance while cleaning the table where Mars was, wondering what was going on at school.
Dell's big hand gently rested on Ena's shoulder.
"Don't worry. He may be like that now, but if he calms down, he will come back. At that time, we should give him a scolding or two."
A warm hand rested on Ena's shoulder. The warmth she felt from those hands. Perhaps she was comforted by the warmth, Ena's expression that had sunk gradually recovered.
"That's right. He made Ena sad, so I have something to settle with him."
Hannah puffed out her chest with a smirk to rea.s.sure her daughter.
Ena's tension was loosened due to Hannah's smile, and Ena smiled back at her and gave a small nod.
At that moment, the entrance door was lightly knocked.
"Yes, who is it?"
Mars seemed to have left earlier, so Ena wondered if a guest had arrived, and when she opened the door, there was a brown-haired girl who was out of breath.
"Ti, Tima-san ..."
"Haa, haa ... I'm sorry for visiting this late at night! Mars-kun, is he back yet!?"
Perhaps she was in a hurry, Tima's white skin was burning red, and white steam was rising from her body. She turned her glance at Ena, while still breathing roughly on the chilly spring night.
"Onīchan had been drinking sake in the store a while ago, but he was kicked out by father just now ..."
When Tima heard her words, Tima dropped her shoulders.
At first, Tima tried to ask Ena about Mars, but when she felt Ena's innocent atmosphere, she didn't open her mouth.
"U-ummm... Onīchan's behavior has been weird ever since he came back. Certainly, onīchan hasn't done anything bad recently, but today he was drinking sake at the store... What happened?"
"Um, that is ..."
Tima opened her eyes wide upon hearing Ena's words. Ena was convinced that Tima knew something was going on, so Ena looked at Tima with her piercing gaze.
Tima tried to avert her eyes, but her eyes met Hannah's and Dell's eyes.
The two of them also looked straight at Tima, and Tima knew they were worried about Mars.
"U-umm ... Actually ..."
The moment Tima was pushed by their strong gazes. She thought she needed to find the whereabouts of Mars anyway, so she started talking about what happened at school.
"Haa, haa ... uph~!"
Mars, who had been kicked out of the store, walked through the back streets of the commercial district with an unsteady gait while being drunk.
Unlike the main street, which was neatly cleaned and illuminated by the lights, this place was dimly lit with dust scattered around. However, the dimness was rea.s.suring for the current Mars. At least he didn't have to be seen by others like this.
"Ugh~ ... Kuh~"
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He supported his staggering body with his hands on the wall.
"~! Where did you hear that story from!!"
Mars reflexively shouted and questioned Tima. The only one who should know about that story is his family.
"...After school, when I went to Us.h.i.totei looking for Mars-kun, Hannah-san who heard the situation spoke to me..."
After Tima visited Us.h.i.totei to look for Mars and told Hannah and the others about his situation at school, they looked down with serious expressions. Ena clung to Hannah as if she was afraid of something.
After that, Dell exhaled and started talking slowly about Mars and Ena's past.
Hannah and Dell are not Mars and Ena's real parents.
Mars and Ena's mother died from a pandemic when Mars was young.
Then, after losing his wife, their depressed father begins to drown in alcohol and women. And he gradually stopped returning home.
Their father gradually disappeared for a day or two. When he came home, he did not see them and locked himself in his room.
Mars and Ena, who were still young, desperately called their father outside the room, but the father who came out of the room did not speak kindly to them and used violence instead.
Their fathers did not stop using violence even if they begged him to stop. Mars and Ena, who were still children, had no choice but to endure the violence from their father.
When such days continued for about a year, their father finally stopped coming back. According to the stories they heard, he fled to another city with a woman he met at a bar.
After that, the relatives discussed what to do with the two who had lost their parents, but what happened was not a discussion, but throwing responsibilities at each other.
At that time, there were still various anxieties due to the lingering effects of the great invasion. All the relatives only think of protecting their own home. They threw cursing words at each other in front of the eyes of the brother and sister huddled together on the edge of the room.
It was at that time. The fire of anger lit up in Mars' chest. He shouted at them and told them to be quiet as he held Ena.
However, at that moment, there was a woman who suddenly shouted and interrupted the conversation between the disputing relatives.
She was an aunt in the neighborhood who befriended Mars' parents when they were alive, and she cherished the two of them very dearly.
She spoke to Mars and Ena, who were clinging to each other, and to relatives who didn't even see the two of them. She said, "I will adopt them", and took their hands and went to her own home.
Her husband was initially surprised when he saw his wife suddenly bring two children back. They were originally a couple who were not blessed with children. Her husband also nodded without saying anything when he heard the situation and agreed to adopt the two of them.
It was Hannah and her husband, Dell, who brought Mars and Ena back to their home.
When she heard this story. Tima opened her eyes wide in surprise.
It was true that Ena and Hannah often angered Mars, but that was probably due to their very close family ties, and Tima also felt that their entire family trusted each other internally. In fact, she heard that Mars never brought his entourage to Us.h.i.totei.
However, although his current family believed in each other, Mars still couldn't control his anger until now.
After hearing Hannah's story, Tima knew. It was a kind of self-defense.
The trauma he experienced when he was a child. It was his act of desperation due to the fact that he was abandoned by his relatives and the unreasonable violence he received when he was a child.
"...I want to be strong... I want to be strong enough to overwhelm such unreasonableness. In my heart, I thought that if only I had the same strength as Nozomu or you..."
That was the real reason why he continued to seek power. And he was jealous of those who had the power.
"I thought if you taught me magic I would be able to grasp that power, but that was my misunderstanding... In the end, I couldn't even control my anger."
Tima just sat next to Mars listening to him talking to himself while hanging his head down.
"...Such a pitiful story, huh? I drowned in my own anger, and what I did was the same as that d.a.m.n man..."
Mars' regrets and confessions. The days when he couldn't contain the anger raging in his heart, his jealousy towards his friends, and his confession of the mistakes he made. His thoughts started to overflow and never stopped, and it was the first time for Mars to reveal what was on his mind to others.
"It's the same... What I did to Nozomu today. I was overwhelmed and proud to be able to use that technique. Back then, if I had left it to Shīna and the others, this probably wouldn't have happened... In the end, I just... "
Mars gritted his teeth and blood dripped from his clenched fists.
Tima gently put her hand on top of Mars's hand.
Mars tilted his head, probably wondering about Tima's actions. Tima clasped Mars' hand and once again opened her mouth while looking straight at him.
"I know. Actually, Mars-kun is very kind. Everyone knows. Ai, Nozomu-kun, Somia-chan, even Shīna-san too..."
Tima spoke the words slowly so she could convey them to him.
"Mars-kun, you know... When we fought against Rugato-san before, this hand protected me... and this hand also helped my best friend."
Tima's hands were a little cold. However, for some reason, her hands felt warm for Mars. It was able to melt the frozen ice and unravel Mars' solid heart.
"What Mars-kun did might be a little wrong, but we can still fix it. Since you're not alone, Nozomu-kun and we are still here for you, right?"
Hearing Tima's words, Mars raised his face with a surprised expression.
The time with his real father, who is now gone, could no longer be brought forward. Ever since his father ran away, Mars really had nowhere to vent his anger in his heart.
However, if it's with Nozomu, he can still make it in time. Since Nozomu should still be in the city, Mars wanted to meet his friend once again.
"... Can I make it in time?"
His inner anxiety did not go away, so Mars asked Tima to make sure, and Tima answered in a firm tone.
"You'll make it in time. Yup, let's make it in time. You'll meet Nozomu again and say it properly this time. "You! What are you hiding from us!" let's tell him that."
"Haha... Are you trying to imitate me?"
Perhaps Mars found it a bit funny when Tima imitated his tone, a natural smile appearing on his face. Mars closed his eyes again and took a deep breath to organize his thoughts. Mars took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly as if he was dispelling his anger. Exhaling and opening his eyes as if he had made up his mind, and he stood up vigorously.
"...That's right. I have to meet him again and apologize. "Don't hide anything from us!", I have to say that to him."
A fearless smile appeared on Mars' face. It was his usual expression.
A smile also appeared on Tima's face when she saw Mars' expression. The same thing they were thinking about,
(Meet Nozomu, bow down and apologize to him, then ask Nozomu to tell us what he's hiding.)
"Then, for the time being, we have to find where that Nozomu guy is ..."
"That's right. Ai and the others are still looking around the city, so we ... aw~!"
Once they decided what they were going to do, the two of them tried to find Nozomu in a hurry.
However, Tima's face was distorted when she tried to stand up, and her body staggered.
In a hurry, Mars supported her body. Mars' eyes caught the sight of Tima's ankle which was swollen red.
"You ... that ankle."
Mars looked at Tima's ankle with a surprised expression.
The next moment, his expression turned harsh. He realized that her wound was due to him pushing her when he hit Nozomu.
"Eh!? Ah! I-it's okay. It hurt a while ago, but now I don't feel much pain anymore..."
Tima panicked when Mars saw the wound on her ankle. She tried to gloss it over, but Mars yelled at Tima.
"Idiot! Of course, it's not okay! It's getting worse!"
"Eh~! Wait! Mars-kun!?"
Mars put his hands on her shoulders and legs. He picked her up and hugged her. He immediately started running. His destination was Us.h.i.totei.
His head was full of the thought that he needed to take care of her right away, and he didn't notice Tima's face turning bright red due to the way he carried her which was princess carry.
"Anyway! Let's go to my house and treat you right away!"
"E~, ah! Wait, wait!... Kyaa!"
Mars ran across the city at night while listening to Tima's screams.
By the way, after arriving at Us.h.i.totei and treating Tima, he was scolded by Hannah and Ena, and they also questioned them about the princess carry, and both of them made their faces turn bright red.
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