Back when Iris and Lyra went their separate ways, Carbuncle went to trace Iris’ whereabouts. It wasn’t that hard for her to locate Iris’ whereabouts. However, she stopped midway when she was about to take a turn and inch closer to Iris.
She seemed to think for a while before she decided to turn around and approach her other friends.
“Carbuncle, where are Lyra and Iris?” Kiri immediately saw Carbuncle and asked.
Meanwhile, Luca seemed to detect that there was something wrong when he saw Carbuncle’s expression.
Sure enough, Carbuncle then said, “Something happened between the two of them. I’m going after Iris now, but I feel like Lyr’s condition is a bit off. It is better to have someone check on her as well.”
“Something happened? What something?” Harvey overheard their conversation and became concerned.
“Not sure. Seems like a fight,” Carbuncle shrugged as she turned around to chase after Iris.
“Wait, I’m coming with you!” Harvey promptly chased after Carbuncle in worry.
“It’s too bad for Ein, but I need to check on Lyra,” Altaire decided quickly.
“Ruru!” Rurune was about to follow Altaire when he stopped her from coming—instead, Altaire instructed Rurune to stay with his younger siblings.
“Alt, wait, I’ll come with you. I can find Lyra faster as I’m a wolf,” Clavis also sprinted.
“I’m coming too,” Luca suddenly decided, surprising Kiri.
“Eh, then I’m coming with you as well!” Kiri was conscious of his position as Luca’s aide, so it would only be natural for him to follow Luca.
“Alright, Kiri. You guys stay over here for Ein. It’s also not good to have a whole pack coming,” Luca noticed that the others—the younger ones and the trio—wanted to tag along as well, so he commanded before leaving with Kiri.
In his mind, he remembered that the dark aura around Lyra seemed to be unstable recently. It was highly likely Lyra’s mind was troubled over something that made her really uneasy.
But the necklace that her mother gave her managed to control everything so far. Even so, it was good to be cautious.
Carbuncle’s speed when she ran exceeded that of humans, even human males. Harvey was trying so hard to catch up with her, but even when he exerted his maximum efforts, there was still quite a considerable amount of distance between the two.
In the end, Carbuncle managed to find Iris, sitting on a bench alone. In her hands were some drinks she bought from the nearby stall.
Carbuncle stood in front of her and didn’t say anything. She was only looking at Iris.
“…Kuu-chan…,” Iris understood that Carbuncle didn’t say anything out of her consideration for Iris.
Now that her head was cooled down—be it with the passage of time and the cold drink she got—she felt that she was horrible and too emotional back then. She was so scared that Lyra would hate her after what she said before. Therefore, her eyes turned teary.
“So what if you guys have some quarrels? I believe you won’t stop being friends with just a quarrel. Although that depends on each person and the content of the quarrel… I believe you and Lyr won’t become enemies just because of this. You held yourself back a lot and the moment you opened up, you couldn’t stop. It’s good to be honest with one another from time to time. Lyr isn’t a petty person too. Don’t worry too much.”
Iris wanted to cry the more she listened to Carbuncle. How could she not cry when she saw how caring Carbuncle was towards her. Carbuncle had never been this serious before.
Before Iris could say anything else, Harvey called out her name as soon as her figure entered Harvey’s vision field.
In no time, Harvey stood next to Carbuncle.
Iris realized that her insecurity might turn her blind—even if she was ordinary, she still had people who cared for her. Harvey was quite renowned for his craftmanship, but he still cared about her. Carbuncle was a dragon—her identity was the most out-of-ordinary—and yet, she cared for her.
Iris had a mixed feeling of happiness, shame, anger towards herself, and guilt towards Lyra. Her feelings welled up so much that tears started falling from her eyes.
Harvey instinctively sat down next to Iris as he patted Iris’ back, comforting her. Meanwhile, Carbuncle leaned at the nearby post as she remained silent, waiting for Iris to calm her emotions.
With his enhanced senses, Clavis led Luca, Kiri, and Altaire to where Lyra was.
They noticed that Lyra was probably comforting herself at a secluded place with little to no people there.
Remembering what happened this morning, Altaire became more uneasy. He enhanced his speed with his [Wind] magic as he now could run side-by-side with Clavis.
Clavis turned to look at Altaire in surprise. The two’s eyes matched as they seemed to have a tacit understanding and nodded. The two then focused their gaze to the front, running as fast as they could.
Clavis still managed to get a little bit ahead of Altaire as he unconsciously poured more power after seeing Altaire next to him—it seemed like seeing Altaire worried caused him to be more worried as well.
The moment he was about to take a turn, Clavis sensed someone’s presence and immediately stopped.
Altaire was surprised and tried hard to stop himself as well. Luca and Kiri managed to catch up in no time as they were confused on why Clavis would abruptly stop.
“…Someone is here. My instinct told me that they had something going on…,” Clavis said warily.
“Is Lyra somewhere beyond that person?” Altaire asked.
Luca closed his eyes and expanded his dark magic slowly—before he detected the familiar Lyra’s dark magic aura that she unconsciously emitted whenever her power was unstable… and another dark magic aura—one so strong and seemingly corrupted—near the chapel. The chapel was just past this place.
Luca opened his eyes and nodded at Clavis and Altaire, “Lyra is near the chapel. …There seems to be someone near her. …I’m afraid they are with evil intention.”
Hearing that, Altaire didn’t hesitate and erased their presence as he sneaked closer to see just who was standing alone in this place right before the chapel—as if they were guarding this place, blocking anyone who wanted to go beyond them.
Sure enough, the figure that Altaire eyed seemed to be guarding the place. And judging from the appearance, they appeared to be a female. She was wearing a robe and covered her head with the robe’s hoodie. Even so, the hoodie didn’t manage to conceal all of the woman’s loose brown hair. The lower half of her face was covered in a dark cloth mask, so Altaire couldn’t really see who it was… until he noticed the woman’s eyes.
Brown crazed eyes like a lunatic’s…
“She is the one who attacked me and Lyra back in Chinosato!” Altaire immediately declared. Although the incident happened long time ago, the memory of the whole incident was burned so vividly in his mind. The mad lunatic woman’s characteristic was even more printed in his mind.
“So, it’s true she’s here to block us from coming!!” Clavis suppressed his growl.
“…I’ll take her on,” Altaire felt his blood rising. He couldn’t tell whether it was due to anger or concern over Lyra.
“No, wait, Lyra’s safety is the top priority here,” Luca stopped Altaire.
“Then, what do you suggest we do?” Altaire asked.
“I can take her on too,” Clavis hissed.
“Altaire. What do you know about the woman?” Luca was the calmest out of the bunch.
“She is crazy. And she seems to possess [Lightning] magic.”
“I see… How about this? One person should go notify the teacher or any staff so we can have reinforcement just in case. One person should try to divert the lady’s attention as the rest have to go and rescue Lyra. The moment Lyra is secured, the person who’s holding off the lady can also escape,” Luca immediately laid out his strategy.
“That sounds good. But who is doing what?” Kiri asked.
“That is… I think the fastest one should go ask for help. The two who will go to secure Lyra should be strong as I sensed the presence of a strong being… a strong person next to her. How about it?”
“Then, I should go and call reinforcement?” Clavis was obvious of his own power.
“Yeah, will that be fine for you?” Luca studied Clavis’ expression in order to see whether he was willing or not.
“Then consider it done. Take care of Lyra,” Clavis didn’t hesitate and lightly sprinted to find a help. As much as he wanted to rescue Lyra himself, he realized that Luca’s strategy might as well be the best for them.
“Then I should be the one to divert that lady’s attention, right? Okay, I’m ready whenever you are,” Kiri seemed to be nervous, but he didn’t protest at all.
“Kiri, be careful of the lady. Try not to get electrocuted by her magic,” Altaire advised as he chanted a spell on Kiri.
“A void barrier. I put it around your body so it should protect you for some time. We will try to get Lyra before the barrier is broken.”
“Alright, shall we go, Alt?” Luca asked.
“Alright, let’s go!”
Altaire strengthened presence erasure spell on both himself and Luca as he removed the same spell from Kiri.
Kiri ran straight towards the lady and stopped in front of her.
“Who are you? This path can’t be used, boy,” the lady said. Kiri felt like he had goosebumps from listening to the lady’s menacing voice.
“That’s my question! I am a student here. I know my friend is around the chapel over there. You should be the one to get lost!” Kiri tried to summon the courage of a knight that was instilled in his heart and declared.
“Then you should get lost, boy!” The lady immediately hurled an electric ball to Kiri—which he dodged at the same time as he unsheathed his sword.
By the time the lady was focused on Kiri, Altaire and Luca managed to slip by the lady and ran as fast as they could to the chapel.
Once again, with the help of his strong wind magic, Altaire imbued his speed and arrived faster than Luca.
What he saw right after he arrived at the scene was how his little sister seemed to be struggling to stand up—and a stranger boy in a hoodie was about to get close to her with evil intent.
Altaire shouted immediately as he was worried the boy would manage to do something to Lyra before Altaire could get between them.
Sure enough, Altaire’s shout surprised the boy as he turned reflexively to look at Altaire.
Altaire ran as fast as he could towards the boy, shielding his little sister.
“Tch!” The boy clicked his tongue as he ran into the woods near the chapel.
“Wait right there!” Altaire wanted to run and chase after the boy when he remembered that something seemed to be off with Lyra. He halted his steps right away and turned around.
His little sister seemed to be fatigued as she supported herself by grabbing on the chapel’s wall.
While he was hesitating on chasing after that boy or not, he suddenly heard Luca’s voice.
“Don’t, he… or something that’s backing him up is… out of our league. You can’t possibly win alone.”
Luca was right in front of Lyra by this time as he locked his eyes with Altaire. Altaire believed Luca’s assessment and didn’t try to chase after the boy. He walked until he was next to Lyra.
Now that they were so close, Luca sensed that Lyra’s dark magic was going out of control.
“What’s the matter, Lyra? Are you alright?” Altaire had never seen Lyra like this before, so he asked in worry.
“Uhm… I’m feeling a bit unwell but it’s probably because I was attacked just now. I’m fine, though…,” Lyra answered.
Though Lyra’s words seemed reassuring, her mind was actually thinking of something else.
Why have I become so weak? Why is it that I can only trouble people near me? Domi and Adel… Iris… Then I even worried Alt-nii and Luca…
I should be strong now, and yet… why am I feeling so weak?
Her mind then replayed the unpleasant memories that had been bothering her recently. Starting from her misjudgment of Erneste, the trouble she ‘contributed’ to at Domi’s birthday party, the fact that she wasn’t a good enough friend to sense Iris’ insecurities before it escalated to this… Then the fact that she was attacked and couldn’t even defend herself properly.
She felt as if she became weaker after reincarnating. Despite the fact that her reincarnation should be an advantage that could make her stronger…
Lyra suddenly felt like she was suffocating.
Her breathing turned heavy, sweats started to roll from her forehead, and she could feel her heart thumping more loudly.
The atmosphere around her felt so heavy she wanted to cry, but she couldn’t.
“Lyra? Is something the matter?” Altaire noticed that Lyra was weird, so he immediately leaned his body towards Lyra in case she lost her strength and fall.
“…n’t… ome…,” Lyra tried so hard to voice her thoughts that stemmed from pure instinct, but she couldn’t even voice her thoughts clearly.
She felt that something was going to happen—something bad, as she felt a surge of power—one that caused her head to be heavy—that was uncontrollable.
“Altaire, back off!” Luca sensed and perceived what was going to happen and immediately extended his hand to pull Altaire back a little bit from Lyra.
Before Luca’s mind could clarify what was going on, a surge of strong dark magic waves appeared from Lyra’s body.
And before the dark magic waves exploded, Luca immediately used his other hand towards Lyra. At the same time, Altaire instinctively used his free hand to emit void magic towards Lyra as well.
An explosion of dark magic happened, causing Lyra to collapse to the ground as Altaire and Luca were thrown back due to the impact.
Lyra managed to maintain her consciousness for a bit as she hazily saw the figure of Altaire and Luca thrown back. She felt guilty and sad before her body could no longer withstand the heaviness that she felt.
That was Lyra’s last thoughts before she lost her consciousness.
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