The time passed aimlessly as the team rested for several days.
Ever since that confession by One’day High, my life seemed to have entered a lull of sorts. Firstly, the revenge against Ferdila seemed to have stopped for now. Most likely it was because her anger from that day had begun to recede.
The other reason was that since I was given that trial by Hilda Karlyle, there was no longer a need for me to attend school. That was why Breman decided to fill in the papers for my official departure.
If only I knew what Hilda wanted I could’ve just skipped out on all these theology lessons…but then talking about this in hindsight was just as pointless as well.
Either way, life in the Checkered Path began to slowly revolve around One’day High and Breman.
The opportunities I had to talk to Breman had decreased noticeably and more often than not, he was found discussing some matter with One’day High.
Regarding One’day High…the impression I got from him was that of a flippant person however, that impression was nowhere to be seen now.
Di Qi Ju:…Mo Chuan.
Mo Chuan: What’s the matter?
Di Qi Ju: What’s going on with him these past few days? Breman hasn’t given us any missions since that day.
Mo Chuan: One’day High? Him huh…
Mo Chuan: He wants to take part in the Three Battles and he has been making his case to Breman.
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju: One’day High wants to join the Three Battles?
Mo Chuan: Mhm, he has even prepared his weapons.
Mo Chuan: Speaking of weapons, they are nothing more than a water dragon and a fire dragon plus that water dragon can’t even be considered a weapon.
Water dragon…that’s the tool we used to shower in the expedition. As for the fire dragon, that’s the tool we used to burn those plants near the edge of Starfall.
Di Qi Ju: What did Commander Breman say about this?
Mo Chuan: Naturally, he wasn’t too receptive of that request though he seemed to have softened his stance recently.
Mo Chuan: Who knows, we all might have to participate as well.
Di Qi Ju:…why?
Mo Chuan: Once a soldier from the Expeditionary Forces participates, it’s no longer a personal matter.
Mo Chuan: It concerns the army’s image and reputation so Breman won’t take it lightly.
Mo Chuan: Although…the Commander doesn’t seem to know how that image should portray itself in the upcoming Three Battles.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Are you guys talking about One’day High’s matter?
Di Qi Ju: Ah…that’s right.
In the midst of our conversation, Halfmoon Leak’age happened to walk by and decided to join in.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Last night, I managed to get some answers out of One’day High. do you guys want to hear about it?
Mo Chuan: Let’s hear it, One’day High is the whole reason for these issues now anyway.
Halfmoon Leak’age: That man is Nine Heaven, a citizen of Numbers just like him.
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, he’s no ordinary Numbers citizen.
Halfmoon Leak’age: According to what he heard from Three’floral Dawn, that man has an ambitious heart unlike that of a traditional person from Numbers.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The majority of the citizens in Numbers value wealth and authority, in short they have a interest-seeking personality. Nine Heaven on the other hand, desired strength and position even from a young age.
Halfmoon Leak’age: He hadn’t gone through the typical education of a Numbers citizen but had instead experienced that of Molten Steel’s where he spent the majority of his youth in.
Halfmoon Leak’age In the north, Molten Steel and Cold Iron had been engaged in perpetual skirmishes against each other so the power and influence of the army and its soldiers had always been high there.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Nine Heaven joined the army then with the intention of gaining the strength and position he desired.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Initially, his performance wasn’t that bad either. He managed to gain the position of a low ranking officer and was assigned a platoon of his own.
Halfmoon Leak’age: However, after a certain scouting mission, he was accused by his subordinates of hiding some “treasure” he found in the midst of the mission.
Halfmoon Leak’age: He ended up being investigated by the military police of Molten Steel who swiftly stripped him of his rank and demoted him to a normal soldier.
Halfmoon Leak’age: This led to him deciding to leave the army and to return to the financial world.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Roughly a year ago, Nine Heaven decided to leave the financial world and Numbers once more despite having made some name for himself. He wanted to pursue the strength and position he desired from young and thus left for Skills.
Halfmoon Leak’age: From last night’s chance encounter, I can vouch that his skills are top notch and that he is a formidable warrior.
Mo Chuan: Hmm…this guy, he seems rather competent in whatever field he works in.
Di Qi Ju: Putting aside One’day High’s misgivings, this Nine Heaven seems like a pretty good role model to follow.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Is that so? To me, he seems rather suspicious.
Di Qi Ju: Hmm? How is he suspicious?
Halfmoon Leak’age: I can understand his decision to come to Skills to be a warrior.
Halfmoon Leak’age: But, why did he decide to become a merchant for several years after being chased out of the army for hoarding some “treasure”?
Di Qi Ju:……
Halfmoon Leak’age: Do you guys see the inconsistency?
Mo Chuan: If he was as principled as we thought, there’s no way he would be tempted by any “treasure” nor would he leave the army so calmly.
Mo Chuan: In other words…
Di Qi Ju: …what he was accused of hoarding wasn’t some treasure at all?
Halfmoon Leak’age: —but was instead some kind of power.
Halfmoon Leak’age: If it’s similar to what we know, then it should be wish points or wish abilities.
Mo Chuan: That is…definitely possible.
Di Qi Ju: Then why did he become a merchant? Shouldn’t he have come to Skills directly to become a fighter?
Mo Chuan: That’s right. Why did he do that?
Halfmoon Leak’age: If my theory isn’t wrong, it’s likely that he needed an environment to test his own abilities.
Halfmoon Leak’age: He probably wasn’t sure about the limits of his abilities and wanted a relatively stable environment to test it out.
Halfmoon Leak’age: The financial world is a rather secretive field and given that he was a Numbers citizen to begin with, that environment was definitely suited to his needs.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Should anything go wrong, he could always call it a commercial secret and use non-disclosure agreements to prevent the news from leaking.
Mo Chuan: …while I’m not too sure about how the Financial World works, it seems rather shady to me.
Di Qi Ju: Then…exactly what kind of power was that?
Halfmoon Leak’age: That’s something I can’t speculate on.
…a power he stumbled upon?
If that was true, this Nine Heaven is rather similar to me in some sense.
With that in mind, I subconsciously rubbed my chest. That blade was still lodged inside my chest though it wasn’t because I couldn’t take it out but rather the thought of ripping open my own chest to take it out, unnerved me.
Just the thought of that grisly act brought up memories of that burning pain I experienced outside that restaurant. If I were to try and pull it out myself, will I have to go through that level of pain again?
…fear, and more fear.
Well, I’ll just endure it for now since it’s not affecting me in any way. I can always pluck it out once I’ve recovered from this trauma.
Breman: You guys—I’m going out for a while.
Breman walked up to us and interrupted our conversation.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Roger, where are you headed to, Commander?
Breman: Today is the last day of the Three Battle’s registration, I’m going to register One’day High.
Mo Chuan: So you’ve decided already?
Breman gave us a bland nod.
Breman: Do you guys want to come along? I don’t mind if you guys join as well.
Mo Chuan: I’ll pass.
Mo Chuan: Competition and fame is fine and all but once it crosses the species line, a lot of meaningless and irreconcilable things that to get involved.
Mo Chuan: If my frenzied state were to flare up, the ones who would have to pay would be you guys.
Halfmoon Leak’age: Lee Sole’shot?
Breman: He’s definitely on the side of One’day High so I wouldn’t be surprised if he joins.
Halfmoon Leak’age: I guess that’s true, those two have always been together since they met…
Halfmoon Leak’age: —I think I’ll join as well.
Di Qi Ju: …huh?
Breman: Oh? I thought you wouldn’t want to join, Halfmoon.
Halfmoon Leak’age: I thought so myself as well but there’s a nagging pain in my chest that keeps telling me to do so.
Halfmoon Leak’age: I guess I can’t really stand up to my own heart after all.
Breman: Alright, I don’t mind if it’s another, or perhaps two more…Di Qi Ju.
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju: Mhm, I’m participating.
Thus, in such a casual manner, I managed to obtain a reason to join the Three Battles under both “Breiya” and “Breman”.
One’day High’s matter was completely unexpected but that was something he had to solve himself.
As for me, it was about time for me to focus on the matter of Hilda’s task —finding that “sinner” who could steal another person’s wish abilities.
That person…could it be Nine Heaven?
Was this mysterious power he gained the reason why he became a sinner?
It might just be that…I had better observe him closely when he interacts with my friends. Plus, that incident where I inexplicably lost my wish points after running into him was noteworthy as well.
Somehow, it feels like this matter wasn’t as simple as it looked on the surface…
Doubt began to fill my heart once more…just like that time when I first opened my eyes in world.
Whenever this happened, my thoughts would always drift towards a certain person. No matter what, it was always that person.
Di Qi Ju: About that…Commander Breman.
Di Qi Ju: I want to go out and find someone.
Di Qi Ju: It will just be for a short while…I’ll be back real soon.
Running all throughout that short trip, my shoulders collided multiple times with the incoming crowd as I recklessly weaved my way through the crowd.
Standing before me was the school gate, slightly ajar as always as if welcoming me in.
Pushing open the gates, I entered the school. Along the way, Bailey who was usually sweeping the grounds was nowhere to be seen. It was soon after that I found out that she hadn’t come to school at all for these past few days.
She…where could she be?
Within one of the cubicles of the teacher’s office…
Slowing pushing open the door, my breathing subconsciously stopped.
Poppy: Oh, Little Ju.
Di Qi Ju:……
Di Qi Ju:…hah.
Calmly breathing out, I suddenly let loose a laugh.
Di Qi Ju: Mhm, I’m here, Poppy.
Special thanks to Kaung Thant Win Naing!!
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