Poppy: Class is now starting, will the uninvolved personnel please leave.
Naysis Ferne: Just go about your business for now, I won’t be in any danger here.
Carmen: …alright then.
Once she left, the red haired teacher on the podium handed a stack of books to the front desk of each column and instructed them to pass down the text books.
Poppy: Today, we’ll be going through the basic knowledge on the Divine Hall starting with theology theories that everyone should know about.
Hearing her voice for the first time since we entered, I finally realized that she was seated directly behind me.
Bailey: Teacher, how do we address you?
Poppy: Ah…oh my, I actually forgot about that.
Poppy: You may address me as “Cherry”.
Bailey: Alright, Miss Cherry.
Di Qi Ju: ……
A fake name. That’s definitely Miss Poppy standing atop that podium.
Poppy: Well first off, we’ll get the student who won’t turn around to read us the introduction paragraph.
Naysis Ferne: Oh, no problem.
With that said, she proceeded to recite an essay full of arcane words, all the while maintaining her current seating position.
So you didn’t even need to come for revision…
Poppy: Very good, however can you please pass down the study materials.
Naysis Ferne: …okay.
Oooh, the textbooks are here. Even though I did not understand a single word on them, it was a brief respite.
As I passed the book to the back, I took the chance to talk to Bailey.
Di Qi Ju: Err…can we change seats?
Bailey: …that won’t help. How did you end up in her sights?
Di Qi Ju: It’s not like I wanted to be targeted…and why won’t it help?
Bailey: Haven’t you heard the stories? Any man she set her sights on has never escaped her evil clutches.
Bailey: All the boys who were originally in our class transferred away immediately because of this.
Di Qi Ju: So you’re saying it won’t matter where I go…
Hah…why couldn’t she just be a monster like a beastial wrath or something…that way I could just bash her head in…she just had to be a humanoid….and a young girl at the same time…now what…
Poppy: Miss Naysis, will you please answer this next question.
Naysis Ferne: Ah? Tsk…alright.
Even while standing up, she refused to turn around and answer the question.
Exactly what’s so interesting about my face. Should I just use my disguise ability to fake a scene of my face getting torn up?
If I did that, it would probably be social suicide wouldn’t it?
Come to think of it, isn’t she getting called up a little too often?
Poppy: Miss Naysis, please read this paragraph as well
Naysis Ferne: ……
Poppy: Miss Naysis—
Naysis Ferne: AHHH!! Why is it me again!?
Bailey: Ah, she finally turned around.
Di Qi Ju: Nice job!
Poppy: Miss Naysis, when facing God, one must purify one’s mind, leaving only the name and image of Westrealm.
Poppy: Your preoccupation with another will merely disappoint him.
Naysis Ferne: Huh? So what? We aren’t in the Divine Hall right now, once the time comes for my Sacred Rite, I’ll be sure to purify my mind.
Poppy: Faith, is shown by the actions you perform every day. If you do not have faith, even the gifts given to you by God will become weaker…
Poppy: Your wish ability might just run out of its God-given strength…
Naysis Ferne: —!!
Naysis Ferne: This…why haven’t I heard of this before?
Di Qi Ju: …?
Amazingly, Naysis’s arrogant tone had become noticeably more subdued with just a few sentences from Poppy. It was as if she was afraid of losing something near and dear to her.
Poppy: Of course you haven’t heard of this before, that’s because…
Naysis Ferne: …because?
Poppy: Because God didn’t say such a thing, hahah.
Poppy: Remember to pay attention in class, Little Princess.
Naysis Ferne: …………
Naysis Ferne: You tricked me?!
After being pranked by that little lie, she became more docile and finally turned around to face the blackboard.
Throughout the entire class however, she kept biting her nails while staring at Poppy, as if mulling over how to get back at that teacher.
Poppy: Before we end this class, we’ll have a pop quiz.
Poppy: The contents will be what we just went through in this class. I hope NO ONE will fail this test.
Poppy: However, if someone actually does, he’ll have to stay for remedial lessons in my office.
Poppy: I’ll hand out the test sheets now, once you have finished it, hand it over to me and you may leave for your break.
Naysis Ferne: Huh? Just these questions? I can finish them in a couple of minutes.
Bailey: Is this it…don’t tell me there’s a deeper meaning to these questions? Is it a test of our literary abilities?
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: ……
As I listened to both of their mumbling, a million f*cks sped through my mind.
I get the logic but…
—isn’t it illogical to expect me to answer this without being able to write????
The teacher’s office in this school was essentially a cubicle fashioned out of flat wooden boards placed within a classroom. Each cubicle had a desk and could accommodate a maximum of three people.
Having been “invited” to the office, I stepped into a strangely isolated space. It was as if the cubicle was somehow soundproof thanks to those wooden boards. It didn’t take long before I verified this fact within Poppy’s office; there was even a slight echo within the cubicle.
Just as I was busy pondering this issue, I was enveloped in a warm softness. She had wrapped her arms around me in a tight embrace.
Poppy: Little Ju…
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: Mhm.
It really was Poppy.
Di Qi Ju: Poppy…what’re you doing here?
Di Qi Ju: Why did you suddenly become a teacher?
Poppy: I had faith in your words, had faith that you will free me of my bonds.
Poppy: So I had to stay close to the Divine Hall…plus…I wanted to be near you…
Di Qi Ju: …mhm.
I accepted her reason as if it was the most natural thing to do.
Poppy: Being a teacher here was something I started only a few days ago. In order to stay close to the Divine Hall and not get found out, this was the best option.
Poppy: The only better solution was to bury myself in a coffin underground.
Di Qi Ju: Err…this method is better.
Poppy: Yeah, this way I get to spend more time with you. Everyday we can…see each other.
Poppy: Do you like this school?
Di Qi Ju: Mhm, I would like it even more if I knew how to read and write.
Poppy: No way, I’ll have no reason to approach you if you don’t underperform…
Di Qi Ju: …alright.
Even though becoming literate was probably the better choice, I chose not to reject her, or rather I couldn’t bear to reject her.
She was always like this, always able to exert that bit of influence over me, to persuade me.
Just like her name…Poppy.
Poppy: I heard it.
Di Qi Ju: Huh?
Poppy: It’s…Hilda Karlyle’s voice.
What she meant to say was that her wish ability picked up on the verbal information left on my body.
Poppy: She found the marking I left behind and even sullied your mouth while doing that…
Di Qi Ju: Marking…exactly what is that? When was it left behind?
??: It was left behind when you guys separated for the first time at the lakeside.
??: It has even been strengthened recently so locating it wasn’t that hard.
Di Qi Ju: —!?
Unknowingly, the tiny office space gained a new occupant.
Underneath the garb of a middle ring clergyman was the telling snow white hair and skin of Conney.
Conney: It’s me, Conney, the clergyman in charge of “contact”
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: —crap! We’ve been discovered!!
Conney: What do you mean by that, Little Mad Dog.
A hand chop suddenly pricked the top of my head.
Conney: Right after you split up with Poppy, I met up with her. Naturally, I know of your existence.
Di Qi Ju: …huh?
Poppy: You came a little early didn’t you…
Poppy: Don’t worry Little Ju, she’s on our side.
Conney: —strictly speaking, I’m conditionally on your side.
Conney: At the very least, I need to know how mad this little dog is before I can continue to make my stand.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Special thanks to Steve Granger!!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.