Breman: Mo Chuan, these are for you.
Mo Chuan: Hmm?
In the morning, Breman had already gotten up bright and early to prepare for the day. Within the dining room, he was already in the midst of giving out instructions the moment I entered.
Mo Chuan: What are these pills?
Breman: A lasting version of those medicinal pills.
Breman: If you ever encounter a situation that causes you to enter a frenzy, swallow one of them and you’ll see the effect within one minute.
Breman: You should be able to completely return to your normal state of mind.
Mo Chuan: …alright then.
Breman: Then I’ll make a move first, make sure to look after my belongings.
Mo Chuan: Alright. Have a safe trip, Sir.
Mo Chuan: ……
Mo Chuan eyes narrowed slightly as he looked at the pills in his palm, a moment later he shoved them into his pockets.
Mo Chuan: So what’s our mission for today?
One’day High: Same as before.
Lee Sole’shot: —then I’m off!! *cough*
With a quick step onto the table, he somersaulted off it and out of the window.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Halfmoon Leak’age: His wounds just closed up and he’s already like that…
One’day High: It’s fine, just leave him be. Being lively is always a good thing.
One’day High: By the way, today seems to be rather quiet, all the other guests seemed to have left real early.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Of course, today is the registration day for the Three Battles. I bet the Grand Coliseum is already packed with people.
One’day High: The Three Battles huh…
Mo Chuan: What’s that?
Halfmoon Leak’age: A martial tournament to determine the strongest person.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The “Battle of Righteousness” has the most regulations and is the most holistic battle.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The “Battle of Death” has the least regulations and nearly every battle ends in death.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The “Battle of Loyalty” forbids most weapons and equipment. It’s a primitive brawl with one’s body until your opponent concedes.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Every battle will produce a champion of its own and the new candidate for the throne will be chosen by the current King from these three winners.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Winning a battle could be said to be a double gain for one’s reputation.
Mo Chuan: In a sense, that’s rather barbaric.
One’day High: Skills is just such a country.
Halfmoon Leak’age: I heard that the previous Three Battles gave birth to a rarely seen double champion.
Halfmoon Leak’age: That person was the winner of the Battle of Righteousness and the Battle of Death. Not only that, that person is a lady named Savile Kuine.
Mo Chuan: From the way you describe it, being champion of all three battles must be pretty hard?
Halfmoon Leak’age: Of course it is. It’s extremely difficult because the rounds of each Battle take place on the same day in succession.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Registering for all three means that one has to participate in multiple battles every day until he or she wins or forfeits. There’s no way anyone can have that much stamina.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Even the double champion christened by the King as “Sword Soul” only registered for two Battles, she didn’t even bother participating in the Battle of Loyalty.
Halfmoon Leak’age: A “Grand Champion” has only existed in legends with no one alive having witnessed the birth of a triple champion.
Mo Chuan: You seem pretty familiar with this. Have you participated in it before?
Halfmoon Leak’age: ……
Halfmoon Leak’age: No, and I have never thought to do so either.
Mo Chuan: Why not?
Halfmoon Leak’age: I’m not the kind of person who fights for glory or reputation, that kind of competition doesn’t suit me.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Why don’t you take a shot at it?
Mo Chuan: Would you humans accept a non-human king?
Di Qi Ju: ……
Thinking about it, that reply was rather arrogant. But then again, it suited his frenzied state.
Halfmoon Leak’age: What about One’day High?
One’day High: Do I look like the kind of person who competes with his fists, Leak’age-chan?
Halfmoon Leak’age: No, I guess not…and don’t call me Leak’age-chan…
Di Qi Ju: About that, I guess the person amongst us most suited to this would probably be Lee Sole’shot.
Mo Chuan: That goes…
Halfmoon Leak’age: It’s pretty much just him.
One’day High: —just obey Breman’s commands. We aren’t here for the Three Battles.
One’day High: If we wanted to participate in the Three Battles, we wouldn’t have joined the expedition in the first place would we?
Di Qi Ju: …that makes sense.
Di Qi Ju: —oh right, it’s about time for me to leave as well according to the mission given to me.
Mo Chuan: You’re going to school again?
Di Qi Ju: No…somewhere else.
One’day High: Is it Skills?
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: You could say that.
One’day High: Then, I have something I need you to help me with.
Di Qi Ju: Hm? Go ahead.
One’day High lifted his head and gave me a solemn look.
One’day High: If you see a certain man, please inform me.
One’day High: Look at my hair.
Di Qi Ju: ??
I looked at him; he had a center parted hairstyle with flowing hair that reached his shoulder. It was the same hairstyle as always.
One’day High: Imagine my hair but two to three times longer.
One’day High: If you see a man like that, please tell me.
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: ……
One’day High: Hmm? What’s wrong with your chest?
Di Qi Ju: …nothing, it just suddenly felt itchy so I scratched it, haha…
Di Qi Ju: If I meet him…I’ll be sure to tell you. Then I’m off—*cough*
One’day High: …
Halfmoon Leak’age: …
Mo Chuan: Hmm?
According to Breman’s plan, I was to meet up with Breiya near the Grand Coliseum and then register for the Three Battles.
Breiya’s story was that she so happened to meet me in one of Reitdarke’s casinos and ended up arranging for a date in Skills.
There’s no way I could use that bookkeeper identity to register for the Three Battles. Or rather I should say that that would get exposed in an instant, so I might as use my original identity.
If Breiya were to appear as Breman, she might end up meeting Ferdila and get impeded by him. Her performance in that trial was rather provocative after all.
Our current pairing of the Cold Wind Empress and an undying brat was the best option available to us at the moment.
Even if Ferdila wanted to strike out at me, he would have to consider the reputation of Cold Wind Empress. On the other hand, if Breiya was surrounded by gamblers, I was a convenient excuse she could use.
I had to give it to her: Breman was a lot better at crafting covers than Poppy.
That stuff about being Poppy’s fiancee was basically laying a bunch of landmines for me…
As I thought about Poppy, my mind inadvertently wandered off to that incident last night.
Summarizing some of the conclusions I came to regarding last night: I suffered a blow that was meant to be fatal and lost some wish points. That loss might have something to do with Starfall.
With that, some of the simpler clues had been pieced together.
Firstly, last night’s attack was definitely what my wish ability was warning me about a few days ago.
In all likelihood, that was also when someone picked up the fragment of Starfall which was why I didn’t notice anything strange around me.
If it’s Starfall, then losing wish points was to be expected seeing as that was its innate ability. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fragment of his body had that ability as well.
With that in mind, I’ve come to another conclusion:
That man probably got his hands on that fragment during that attack and used that rock to steal my wish points.
But this conclusion had a number of holes in it.
Firstly, how did that man know what that rock did?
Next, when he attacked me, he merely used a cheap dagger and not a fragment of Starfall, so how exactly did I lose my wish points?
At that, I couldn’t help but think of another possibility; the criminal mentioned by Hilda Karlyle.
However, according to her that criminal had the ability to steal another person’s ability and not his wish points.
Furthermore, why did One’day High suddenly bring up that long haired man…did he happen to be there when I was attacked? Did he have some kind of grudge with that man?
Ah……my head is going to explode from all this information, too confusing…
Looks like I had been too hasty in my conclusions; there’s still not enough clues to make a definitive statement.
I guess I’ll have to put aside this matter for now and focus on today’s mission instead.
Other than the registration, we still have to go visit the most recent victim mentioned by Hilda and suss out some clues…
??: Little Ju.
Di Qi Ju: …huh?
As I turned around, the person that I saw was…
It’s Poppy alright, it’s just that she seemed a lot more different standing in the open streets.
She wore a commoner’s dress with her hair completely tied up and hidden underneath a headscarf that wrapped around her head. All I could see of her hair was a few strands that dangled behind her ears.
With only her face visible, she lost some of her feminine charms but instead gained a certain youthfulness and energy.
If I wasn’t so familiar with her, I might not have been able to recognize her at all.
Di Qi Ju: Oh…what are you doing here? Didn’t you say that leaving the school premises was dangerous…
She didn’t answer my question immediately but instead looked at me with a calm, natural smile on her face; after which she meekly walked up to my side and casually wrapped her arms around mine.
Poppy: …I saw it.
Di Qi Ju: What?
Poppy: The conversation you had with Hilda Karlyle yesterday.
Oh, was she using her wish ability to see that just now?
She laid her head on my shoulders and tilted it slightly to the side as if she was trying to whisper to me.
Poppy: You…mentioned me to Hilda Karlyle.
Di Qi Ju: Oh, yeah.
Di Qi Ju: So I shouldn’t have done that after all?
Poppy: No no, you’re free to tell her if you want.
Poppy: Since you already said that much, all I can do now is rely on you.
Di Qi Ju: Ah…sure, I’ll try even harder..
Poppy: Hmm? How do you plan on working harder?
Di Qi Ju: Naturally, by finishing the task Hilda Karlyle gave me and stopping them from pursuing you.
Poppy: Is that all?
Di Qi Ju: …is there something else?
Poppy: Of course there is.
Her arms unknowingly tightened around my own, pulling me deeper into her soft bosom.
Di Qi Ju: Err…aren’t you a little too close?
Poppy: Hm? Close?
Di Qi Ju: I can’t even walk naturally anymore…
Poppy: No matter which country you’re from, isn’t it normal for a married couple to be this close?
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: But that’s just a cover story.
Poppy: Why must it just be a cover story?
Poppy: Shouldn’t it be…a wish that is infinitely close to reality?
Di Qi Ju: …
Di Qi Ju: I didn’t make such a wish…
Poppy: Aww–how cold.
All of a sudden, I felt something warm and moist descend upon my lips. It was Poppy, she had leaned in and gently kissed me on the lips. With her lips to my face, her tongue swept tantalizing around my own, triggering a stimulating response from me.
Di Qi Ju: ……
As our lips parted, I felt like something else had been taken away with it…
…it wasn’t enough.
I want it back.
I want another kiss from Poppy. I want to taste the sweet embrace of her slender tongue again…
Di Qi Ju: —!
—those desires raced across my mind until I laid eyes on Poppy’s roguish smile which hung upon her flushed face. It was then that I realized that she was teasing me.
She was trying to make me in submit to that desire.
Di Qi Ju: ……
Di Qi Ju: Ah ah, I get it, I get it. I said all that to Hilda Karlyle for your sake didn’t I? Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you company.
Di Qi Ju: That’s enough time spent for now, let’s hurry up and register—
I mustn’t give her another chance to attack again…regarding my sexual desires, I have need to manage that as well!
Poppy: …hold on.
Di Qi Ju: ?
Poppy’s expression suddenly darkened.
Poppy: Yesterday night, someone injured you?
Di Qi Ju: Huh??
I instinctively glanced down at my chest and this was immediately picked up by Poppy.
Poppy: Little Ju!
Poppy reached for my shirt and rapidly undid my buttons before sticking her hand in.
In broad daylight and under the watchful eyes of the crowd, her actions seemed almost like a cougar searching her prey as she felt around under my shirt.
Di Qi Ju: Hey…stop that!
Her rummaging fingers brought with it a stimulating sensation that made me double over as I tried to struggle free. Yet all that was in vain as she continued her searching.
In the end, she finally stopped at my heart.
I stopped struggling as well; I could clearly feel her touching the spot where I got stabbed.
Di Qi Ju: Errr…
Di Qi Ju: You heard that as well?
Poppy slowly closed her eyes and the expression on her face disappeared along with it as if she wasn’t too willing to let me see the reaction on her face.
Poppy: Who is that bast*rd?
Di Qi Ju: …I don’t know, it might just be a normal drunkard.
Poppy: What about his appearance?
Di Qi Ju: Oh er, it was pretty normal, nothing special about it…
Poppy: Anything unique about the way he attacked?
Di Qi Ju: It was a very normal stab.
In the face of her cold questioning, I deliberately lied to her. My instincts told me that if I were to let her know who it was, she would do something out of line. Just like what she did with Alvin. However, in her current position, this was the last thing she should be doing right now.
Poppy: Little Ju…
A slightly angry voice.
Poppy: …does it still hurt?
Di Qi Ju: No, not at all.
Di Qi Ju: My wish ability is still there.
Poppy: Why don’t you remove it?
Di Qi Ju: It’s…slightly troublesome, I’ll do it when I have time.
Poppy: But like this…
Di Qi Ju: It’s alright. Look at me, aren’t I perfectly fine right now? It’s not like I’m a ghost.
Poppy: …are you sure you don’t mind it?
Di Qi Ju: Of course! But if you continue paying attention to it, I would also have to pay attention to it then.
Poppy: Aren’t you just forcing me to ignore it then…
Di Qi Ju: That’s why I said it’s alright.
Di Qi Ju: Just believe me.
Poppy: …alright then.
She finally opened her eyes, within it I could see the same faint hint of anger within them.
However, I couldn’t be sure what kind of expression she would have in them had she kept them open during that chilling interrogation.
After discovering that stab wound, she became much quieter. Instead, she hugged my arm even tighter and stuck closer to my side as we slowly walked.
It was a level of closeness that almost made it difficult for me to breathe, as if she couldn’t wait to combine with me.
I no longer objected to her actions; instead, I merely hoped that she would continue not minding the fact that I got injured.
Finally, we stepped out onto the main street and right ahead of us was a corner of the Grand Coliseum.
The crowd had grown markedly larger with a gamut of strange apparel seen within. From time to time, I could hear the sounds of weaponry clashing with each other.
According to our agreement, this was the spot where Breiya and I were supposed to meet.
Poppy had probably heard the conversation I had with Breiya using her wish ability so there was no need for me to explain this to her.
It’s just…exactly how should I explain her hugging me to Breiya?
Di Qi Ju: Ah, over there.
Seems like there’s no time to think about this anymore.
I turned to the left and spotted Breiya; at the same time, she spotted us as well. Behind her was a bunch of gamblers stalking her from a distance away. Looks like they managed to figure out her identity pretty quickly.
As she turned towards us, she had a slight look of confusion on her face but quickly recovered and immediately headed straight for us. Ah haha…hurry up brain, there’s still a few seconds left to think of an excuse for this.
In front of me a short distance away came a familiar voice. I withdrew my gaze from the left and looked at the two approaching ladies in front of me.
Carmen and Naysis Ferne.
The stiff expression on her face seemed to have been there for a while as she mechanically raised a finger and pointed at me and Poppy. The look she had reminded me of a child who was petrified by the sight of a ghost.
Naysis Ferne: Why…
Naysis Ferne: Why is Miss Cherry hugging Di Qi Ju…
Naysis Ferne: You…what is your relation with her?
Di Qi Ju: …
Special thanks to Steve Granger, Kaung Thant Win Naing, and Antoine Thompson!!
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.