Translated by: TaffyGirl13
Chapter 6: Old enemies are like haemorrhoids; they flare up at the drop of the hat and make it hard to sit still
The classroom returned to a tranquil state, and everyone thought of the tremours as a temporary abnormal fluctuation of the unique space. They naturally disregarded it and continued on with class.
The only person that knew what had happened – the one that had calmed the disturbance – was leisurely sitting by the window to observe his “king chess piece” as usual.
Youny’s eyes were on Fu Xing-as-Zi Ye, his lips curled up into a satisfied smile.
The shaking had been the result of the space being struck by a berserk special ability. If left be, the restrictive ward that contained all of Shalom in the unique space would collapse. Defenceless, Shalom would then appear in some corner of the material world.
As a variant, Zi Ye’s body contained powerful energy that was not compatible with the wavelengths of Fu Xing’s soul. This was what had caused the loss of control.
Youny rubbed his chin, pondering various possible developments.
Zi Ye seemed to possess a special power. Though he knew that it was nothing to be looked down upon when activated, it was still unknown exactly what type of ability it was and how it operated.
He had the feeling that Zi Ye seemed to know some things…Some things that should not be known…
Youny’s gaze abruptly darkened, burning like the dark flames of Hell.
If this will affect my plans, then I can only eliminate this obstacle—
A small commotion came from the other side of the window again, drawing Youny’s attention. His eyes focused on the inside of the classroom to see a brownie responsible for transmitting orders appear before the platform and pass a document to Professor Peiris.
Youny raised a brow. He recognised the red wax cord tied around the scroll that signified a Class A incident. This was an urgent document related to academy operations or the world of special animate beings.
Peiris hurriedly opened the document that had a restrictive ward designed to allow only the target audience. After skimming through, his expression abruptly changed.
“Next will be small group discussions. The homework will need to be submitted next class. I’ll be taking leave first.” With the paper scroll in hand, he left and headed towards the document’s instructed location at the swiftest possible speed.
Youny smiled thinly and patted off the dust on his body as he calmly watched Peiris retreat. Then, he controlled the wind to gracefully follow after.
Another interesting show to watch…
After the clash with the southern campus representatives in the Special Ability Application class, the northern campus representatives took the chance to flee the scene. On their way back to the dorms, they quietly chatted with each other.
“Are you alright?” Brad worriedly asked Zhu Yue, “Did those damned darkbloods hurt you—ah…um…” Only after he blurted out these words did he realise that he forgot to consider Zhu Yue’s current body was precisely that of a “damned darkblood”.
“I’m fine,” Zhu Yue smiled.
Brad felt complex emotions from seeing ｢Leon｣ smile. Although he knew that it was Zhu Yue inside Leon’s body, seeing that face felt very…Ahhh! Such a pain! We should just switch back to our original bodies soon!
“Your defensive skills are quite good.” Leon suddenly said, “Kyle and Muzter are experts in long and short weapons respectively. Escaping unscathed from their pincer attack is no easy feat.”
Everyone was stunned. Leon’s praising someone?
In reality, before all this had happened, Leon had always assumed Zhu Yue was a weak healer-type, that she was a feeble character with no combat ability whatsoever. As a result, he had slightly looked down on Zhu Yue. But after seeing Zhu Yue’s skills today, he felt ashamed by his own stereotypical assumption.
“Oh, thank you…”
“Why didn’t you attack? I believe you had plenty of chances to go for their weak points. Why not retaliate?”
“Ah, that? Just a habit.” Zhu Yue gave a helpless, bitter smile. “I was afraid of injuring them, so I could only rely on dodging. I had no plans of going on offense.” After all, her opponents for practice were always those she could not afford to harm; they were all family.
She was an older sister, after all. How could she possibly go all out on her younger siblings? It did not matter how much their actions crossed the line or how dangerous it was. Children did not understand propriety, and adults were the ones responsible. That was why she could only evade, only endure…
“If Brad had not helped you strike down that last attack, you would be lying in the medical centre now.” Momiji chimed in and asked, “But who was the one that sent the blade flying into the chandelier?”
Leon did not answer, indicating that it had nothing to do with him.
Brad shrugged. “No idea, they acted too quickly so it was impossible to tell who it was. Someone with that kind of skill is probably a professor?”
Flora coughed lightly. “Sorry, that would be me.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to gather on Flora, slight doubt showing in their astonishment.
“Don’t assume that gathering intel is all I can do. Besides, the more I know, the greater the risk.” The corners of Flora’s mouth curled upwards mercilessly. “To prevail over someone requires not only knowing their secrets, but also an appropriate amount of force.”
“How much longer are you going to talk? Can we hurry up and go eat dinner?” Rocort said, getting impatient from waiting.
“By the way,” Dan Juan turned to give a hard stare at Rocort as he looked the other up and down. “Hu Rong’s attack power isn’t low. Maintaining that kind of defensive screen isn’t a simple task either. Yet you were still able to somehow maintain that ward for so long!”
“Isn’t that a rule that we were always supposed to follow?” Rocort asked back in confusion, “The professors said in the first class that we have to activate a defensive barrier during Application class, didn’t they?”
“You mean that you’ve been putting a defensive ward up every class?”
Rocort muttered back, “I thought that we’d get points deducted if we didn’t. I didn’t want to end up doing supplementary work over the holiday.”
They all fell silent as they surveyed their companions.
Looks like our teammates are much more formidable that we expected…
They couldn’t help but tacitly think this.
Ding! The faint metallic clang echoed out.
The source of the noise was from the ring on ｢Shiran｣’s left finger. At the moment, it was emitting a purple-red glow. Leon glanced at Shiran in confusion.
“That’s an unplanned meeting summons; it’s usually just a ring. When it lights up red, it means there is an emergency meeting.” Shiran looked at the ring with a solemn expression and slowly said. “A situation that affects the academy’s operations or the safety of special animate beings.”
The others exchanged looks with each other, trying to guess what kind of critical issue would have occurred during the crucial school ceremony.
Leon did not show much of a reaction. He merely asked in a business-like tone, “What should I do now?”
“Head to the central conference room in the main bailey.” Shiran walked towards Leon. “Could you please give me your left hand?”
Leon paused for a second before complying.
Shiran reached out to tap the ring on his pinky against the ring on Leon’s second finger. After quietly reciting a spell, he pulled his hand away. When the two rings separated, a silver thread extended out between them like a strand of glue. As they got further and further away, the thread became thinner until it eventually turned impossible for the naked eye to see.
“We’re connected now. I can hear all the sound on your end and can directly communicate with you through the ring. Others won’t be able to hear.” Shiran chuckled. “This way, you won’t have to worry about not knowing how to respond.”
Leon stared at Shiran, then back down at his own ring. He nodded to express his thanks and turned to head towards the main bailey.
“It has that kind of secret function?!” Emerald was both shocked and angry as he grumbled, “If I had known earlier, I could have saved myself some calling fees!”
“The academy rings are advanced magic tools that include multiple enchantments and witchcraft. They can be called the iPhones for the world of special animate beings,” Shiran explained.
“Why conceal this kind of thing?” Momiji asked in confusion.
“It’s not concealed; you merely need to explore it yourself.” Shiran smiled thinly. “One of Shalom’s teaching philosophies is the expectation for students to learn independently. Did all of you thoroughly read every page of the academy’s student manual?”
They remained silent, indicating that the answer was no.
“I gave up when I saw the organisation’s vision in the third chapter. It was too oppressive and dull.” Dan Juan put a hand on his hip as he explained this to show that he had looked at it.
Momiji tilted her head in thought. “I think it’s still on my shelf.”
“No wonder. I was pondering why the student manual was designed like a telephone directory…” Flora muttered in a low voice.
Emerald wrung his wrists and cursed, “I didn’t even look at it!” Ah! Just how much money did I waste unnecessarily?!
“Brad, what about you?”
Brad awkwardly said, “I think I burned it as fuel for the heater…”
What an open-minded [move]!
Seeing their expressions of regret, Shiran hurriedly comforted, “Er, although these are these types of functions, some of the enchantments and special abilities consume a large amount of physical power when activated, so they’re not always good. Anyways, let’s meet at the same time as usual in the training room later.”
They looked at each other, then reluctantly glanced at their original bodies with unease. A sigh simultaneously left everyone’s mouths.
What a feat, Fu Xing…
Upon dispersing, Shiran headed to the Sacred Hall’s prayer room.
The Sacred Hall was Shalom’s location for religious worship. Believers of various faiths would seek out this place for spiritual cultivation and appropriate resources. The prayer room was an independent little room that had fairly high soundproofing and privacy. This was the most ideal location to engage in a long-distance communication with Leon about top-secret subjects.
Leon followed the instructions to the conference room. There was someone standing guard at the stairs who led him into the area. The precautions were very tight.
The door set-up with heavy layers of secret enchantments to obstruct spies slowly opened. What faced him was Shalom’s high-level instructors: Samukawa, Grod, Grey, Yan Zhen—all peak warriors superior in combat and witchcraft. There was also Shalom’s leader, Sanbi. In addition, several older special animate beings that were not members of the academy were present. Based on their appearances, they seemed to be people that were elder-rank.
Among this crowd of people was a person that was clearly much younger in age, a male with a frivolous air that sat in the same row. His long, light-golden hair, blue-green eyes, and the pair of elongated ears exposed his elven blood.
“You are late, Shiran.”
The elders raised a brow. “That is your response?”
“Leon, take note of your actions. You’re currently playing the role of Aquarius’s vice president,” Shiran reminded through the ring.
“Apologies…” Leon stiffly said. He was truly unaccustomed to apologising at others. “I was delayed just now as a result of handling some matters with the school representatives…”
“Hmph, a child’s game. Why treat it so seriously?” A brown-haired middle-aged man with a harsh face snorted in disdain. “Sanbi, don’t bother holding such a foolish activity, unless your objective is to lower Shalom’s standards.”
The faces of the instructors instantly fell. However, the headmaster remained as collected as usual.
“I have my own opinions, Hamilton. This is my school.” Sanbi looked at the other person with a trace of coldness in his eyes. “And you, are currently staying at my school.” The implication could not be more obvious.
Upon taking his seat, Leon remained low-profile by staying silent, quietly observing the developments.
“The reason for this emergency meeting summons is because of some information that came back from the investigators in Western Europe region.” Grod stood to report, “White Triangle has begun large-scale activity. This latest wave of attack caused the most disastrous number of casualties from the past century.”
“Humans are merely livestock. No matter how much they rebel, they cannot defeat the owner of the pasture,” Hamilton spoke up once more. “Although I don’t have any favourable impressions towards that livestock, I think that the special animate beings weak enough to be eliminated by humans are not necessary existences either.”
Leon gritted his teeth and clenched his hands into fists. He was using basically all his power to restrain himself from dashing forward and twisting the person’s head off.
Endure…for the sake of receiving information, I must endure…
Fortunately, the people present did not agree with Hamilton’s words.
“If the elder of the Kleisier wood elf clan counts as weak, then ninety percent of special animate beings are not necessary existences.”
Upon hearing this, everyone’s expressions instantly changed.
“Kleisier is dead?”
“This is the second matter. This large-scale wave of attack from White Triangle had several unusual common points. Firstly, not all the deceased were left at the scenes of the attacks. Some were brought away. White Triangle might have brought survivors, or merely dead remains. This is a major difference from their usual methods of directly silencing through cremation.”
“Oh, sounds quite comforting,” the blonde chuckled.
Leon really despised that frivolous attitude.
“There is something else that is very abnormal. These waves were sudden assaults. The victims were murdered while completely defenceless. White Triangle seemed to…” Grod hesitated for a moment before continuing, “Seemed to have known where we were. Some were even ambushed in their homes.”
Instantly, the room fell silent.
This phenomenon indicated two possibilities. The first was that there was a spy among the special animate beings, leaking out their companions’ intel; the second was that White Triangle was in control of some new detection technique that allowed them to locate where special animate beings were.
Both possibilities were far from encouraging.
Sanbi stood. “Talking about it any more will not be beneficial. We may as well start considering how to settle the matter.”
The others each suggested their own ideas. There were the radical assault factions and the conservative defence factions; all kinds of discussions intertwined in the hall. However, Leon remained silent from beginning to end, his brows tightly knit together as he fell deep in thought.
When Lia had been ambushed in Heidelberg in the middle of the night, only a large amount of blood had been left behind at the scene. Lia’s body had vanished without a trace. Could she have been brought way too?
Could…there be the slightest possibility that she is still alive?
“Send a warning out to the clans that every special animate being is now under Class B alert. If we wage war—all of Shalom’s personnel will take arms and prepare to be on call.”
“Very good. It was not in vain that the seven major clans have been focusing so many resources in this place every year…”
All personnel will take arms? Leon was somewhat astonished.
“Shalom’s existence was originally meant for instructing special animate beings on engaging in battle. This neutral zone is where various races can eliminate old grudges and work together as one,” Shiran explained. “Simply put, Shalom is the imperial guard for the world of special animate beings. Although the headmaster was originally an advocate for the peace faction, everything always has a contingency…”
“Shiran, do you have any opinion? If we sent you to investigate the scene, would you be willing?” The president was clearly looking down on him as he asked, “Would the flower of the greenhouse be able to face the burning fire of war?”
Isn’t that aggressive attitude too obviously trying to pick a fight?
“He is Aquarius’ President, Lanseley.”
“Erm, Lanseley has always had some misconceptions about me. He seems to think that I want to take Aquarius’ president position from him…”
“Heh, it’s the most capable people who do the most work…” Leon couldn’t help but mutter this to himself. Deeds that were too meritorious done by very capable subordinates often alarmed the superiors.
“What did you just say? You haven’t even gone into battle before, yet you’re already so frightened that you’ve become unintelligible?”
“Leon, don’t pay him any mind. I am the one he’s targeting. Just apologise to him and say your ability is insufficient so you are not qualified to take on such a challenging mission. Do not, under any circumstances, act rashly—”
“Honourable Lanseley, you are mistaken about me. I deeply apologise for having misled you…” Leon bowed his head to sincerely express his regret.
Lanseley raised his brows in satisfaction at ｢Shiran｣’s apology.
“Great, Leon, just like that—”
Leon immediately continued, “In order to live up to my clan’s reputation and be worthy of President’s expectations—” He gave a brilliant smile that was just like the Shiran’s usual refreshing one. “I would be quite happy to join the investigation team.”
Sorry, Shiran. This opportunity is very important to me…
“In addition, I strongly recommend for the eldest son of the Sagveiss clan to join me. Would the Elders permit this?” Leon added this to ensure that if he returned to his own body before going into battle that he would still be able to participate at the front lines.
This could count as his compensation to Shiran. He would not abandon this terrible mess for another person to tidy up.
“The elder son of the Sagveiss?”
“The one that ruthlessly slaughtered White Triangle in Ludwigsburg?”
“What, do you think this is an excursion? You want to find companions too?” Lanseley took this chance to mock him.
“After all, my abilities are not enough. I am not as outstanding as Your Honour.” Leon took advantage of the situation to flatter the other with a humble and respectful reply.
The elders discussed amongst themselves. The instructors seemed a bit surprised by Shiran’s suggestion, but ultimately, the unanimous decision was: “Permission granted.”
“I thank the Elders for your benevolence,” Leon modestly bowed his head in gratitude.
The matter had been settled. In a distant corner, Shiran also let out a sigh as he resigned to his fate.
As Fu Xing spent another depressing day in classes, he felt like he had turned into empty air. Everyone around him ignored his existence. Hm, no, not air. More like a fart. Because those people look at me like they suddenly smelled a natural stench in a crowded car.
Not a single person was willing to get close to him.
Although he knew that the one they loathed was ｢Zi Ye｣, those cold gazes were still very hurtful. Moreover, Zi Ye’s former acquaintance of the same race, Yu Tai, was constantly nagging him, always annoying him. It was simply impossible to be at peace…
He really missed his companions.
The instant Fu Xing finished class, he headed straight to the dorm plaza and sat on one of the stone benches along the main path to wait for his comrades’ return. As the last trace of the dusk’s orange glow was sinking under the horizon, he saw the familiar faces.
Fu Xing happily raced over and noticed that there were a few people missing from the group. “Where did Shiran and Leon run off to? And Dan Juan and Momiji?”
“Aquarius summoned an emergency meeting. Leon went over with Shiran secretly helping. Dan Juan was just dragged away by Yayoi and Tonya to discuss some ‘girl’ topics.” Brad yawned, appearing quite exhausted.
“Then Leon and Rachel had a group assignment they hadn’t submitted yet, so Zhu Yue was forced to go find Rachel just now. The darkbloods really are troublesome.”
“I see. How were the afternoon classes today?”
“Not terrible.” Emerald weighed the purse hanging from his waist. He probably used Rocort’s looks to swindle away money again today.
“Wind elf, any interest in collaborating?” Flora-as-Brad materialised multiple photographs in her hand like a magician’s trick, spreading them out like a fan. “Help me sell these, and I’ll split the profits 80:20.”
Emerald took the pictures and examined them closely. “Oho, these are quite brilliant photography skills. They can practically be considered as works of art.”
Fu Xing curiously went over and saw that they were various pictures of beautiful males. Every subject in the photo had no guard up, not knowing they were on camera. Some were chatting with others while only wearing a towel, some were soaked, some were standing naked in the baths or changing rooms, with the critical parts skilfully blocked by a locker or door.
The subjects were mostly people Fu Xing knew, such as Leon, Rocort, Mo Ling, and even Vice President Shiran. There was also a pretty good picture of the usually foul-faced Dan.
“Eh? How did you get a photo of Leon sleeping?” Fu Xing asked curiously. He thought back to his task for his first-year test – he had spent six euros to carry out the daunting experience of retrieving a photo of Leon’s sleeping face!
“That’s not Leon, it’s Zhu Yue.” Flora smirked. “It was a rare opportunity, so it naturally had to be used to its fullest.”
Emerald nodded in commendation. “I believe that many would be willing to pay up their wallets to contribute to this art.” He continued flipping through the photos. “Wait a minute! What’s with this photo?!”
Fu Xing lowered his head to see that the subjects of the picture in Emerald’s hand were precisely Emerald and Fu Xing. In the photo, Emerald was sitting in the corner of the training ground, his head tilted up with an innocent expression. Fu Xing was kneeling, his face looking down at Emerald’s face cupped in his hands.
“Eh?!” Why don’t I have any impression of ever doing this?! Unless it’s— “Taeharu!”
Taeharu and Momiji curiously went over. “Oh, that was during the training last night. There was some dirt in Momiji’s eye, so I helped her get rid of it.”
“Not a bad photo.” Momiji reached out to hug Taeharu. “Taeharu is too adorable! Even when she’s wearing Fu Xing’s foolish face, she’s still just as cute!”
“I’m not foolish!” Fu Xing shot back.
“Don’t use my body to do weird things!” Emerald lashed out, stopping Momiji from continuing to “play around” with his body. “This one can’t be sold!” He furiously whipped the picture out [from the pile] and placed it in his pocket.
“Are you sure?” Flora lazily reminded, “That series already has thirty orders. You want to give that up?”
Emerald furrowed his brows and then slowly put the photo back. “Damn cat spirit. Speaking of which, why don’t you sell these yourself?”
Flora bitterly smiled. “Because no one dares to buy them from me. Everyone thinks that I cursed the goods as a secret ploy against them. They really hold me with such low regard.” She helplessly shook her head. “So, will you collaborate?”
“By 80:20, does that mean I’ll get 80% and you’ll get 20%?”
“Were you assimilated by Rocort’s body?” Flora snorted. “The photos were taken by me, the negatives are mine too. You’re just responsible for selling. Giving you 20% is already plenty.”
“Hey! I know you’re insulting me!” Rocort shouted out in dissatisfaction.
“There are my photos too. I want to take photo rights. At least 60:40.” The shark attacked once again.
“It’s not like you’re paying Rocort for using his body to cheat away the money. Besides, why do you think it has to be you that sells it? Cut the narcissism, I have to bear the risk of poor sales too. 70:30,” Flora countered.
Emerald gritted his teeth and took a deep breath. “It’s a deal.”
Like this, history’s most evil and immoral business alliance was born.
“Ok, so can we go eat now?” Rocort pushed somewhat impatiently.
“You guys head on first. I want to go back and rest…” Brad rubbed his eyes. ｢Zhu Yue｣’s originally frail body looked several times more wan and pallid than before.
“Mn, I have some other matters to attend to.” Flora also prepared to leave.
As Emerald walked, he leafed through the other pack of photos Flora gave him. “Huh? Why don’t have you have any photos of Brad?”
Flora, who had already turned to leave, was silent for two seconds. “Didn’t get a suitable one.” Then she swiftly exited the area.
Momiji suddenly recalled something, so she spoke to the silent Zi Ye that had been spacing out in the corner the entire time. “Oh yeah, Professor Grey was looking for me and ‘Taeharu’. Seems to be some issue with homework. Zi Ye, come with me.”
Zi Ye nodded and followed Momiji out.
As they had been quietly discussing amongst each other, a small group of people were currently observing their every action from the top of a building in the distant west.
“The northern campus people are moving to the dining hall. Momiji isn’t there.” Zhu Yu sipped his drink with binoculars held up. “Zhu Yue-jiějie is heading back to the dorm. She looks pretty tired.”
“The ‘game’ from the afternoon probably drained her energy.” Hai Yue was curled up on the sofa, focused on playing a handheld game.
This was the southern campus representatives’ common room, located in the diagonal opposite corner of the staff break room and the top floor of the visitor lobby.
“The fight today provided quite a bit of information…” Ryner calmly analysed it to his comrades. “The northern campus representatives do have a few tricks up their sleeves, but they seem very unstable. My guess is that they’re trying out new battle styles.”
“Do they think we cannot defeat them that way?” Hu Rong sneered.
In his opinion, Dan Juan had not changed at all; in fact, he had gotten weaker. In the past. Dan Juan would still attempt to at least use extremely weak attacks. Yet now he only hid behind a ward—
Is he looking down on me?! Just because I’m an aristocrat from the okuri-inu?
But that ward definitely was pretty good for it to hold up against my successive attacks. Is he finally willing to get serious?
“Zi Ye is heading to the central dining hall with others. He looks pretty cheerful, not like how you described him.” Zhu Yu kept his eyes locked on ｢Zi Ye｣ as he doubtfully questioned Yu Tai.
“Impossible.” Yu Tai swiped away the binoculars from Zhu Yu’s hands to look out. Indeed, he spotted ｢Zi Ye｣ chatting and laughing with the northern campus representatives. He had never seen that kind of smile before. An inexplicable anger suddenly rushed through him.
The binoculars made a crisp sound as branch-like cracks began to spread outwards from the section he was gripping.
“Oi! That’s mine!” Margaret shouted in annoyance and hurriedly whisked it back. “You bastard, don’t vent your jealousy on others!”
“You shouldn’t blame others if you can’t take proper care of your own possessions.” Yu Tai chuckled and hinted, “Like your wind elf.”
“Do you want to die?!”
“Quiet!” Ryner let out a low roar, stopping the argument. “Psychological military tactics. Upsetting the enemy’s minds should be our plan. How can we be disturbed instead?”
Controlling special abilities and spells required a high level of concentration. If one’s state of mind was unstable, they would easily fail. When the southern campus had discovered that their opponents were “friends” they had past associations with, they had immediately grasped this concept and planned out the use of this tactic.
They believed that things would be the same as usual, with them being able to easily gain the upper hand in front of the northern campus representatives. And they were even more confident that their own minds would be as calm as water, without anything affecting their thoughts.
“Taeharu and Emerald just left first.”
“Emily reported back and said she saw Momiji and two other girls went to the garden.”
“Once you confirm that she’s returned to the dorm, you can start moving. Shiroizumi. Your behaviour with Momiji was abnormal today. It seems that she influences you quite a bit.”
Shiroizumi forced a smile. “If possible, I do not wish to meet her in this type of circumstance.”
“Good luck.” Kyle patted Shiroizumi’s shoulder. “If you’re lucky, you might even be able to relive past experiences in her room—”
A flaming blade cut through the air. Kyle dodged, the blade instead embedding into the wall and leaving a burn mark behind.
“You speak too much, darkblood,” Shiroizumi frostily said in a low voice.
Although disturbing Momiji’s heart was one of the tactics, he had discovered that he suddenly really wanted to say some things to Momiji. Especially after seeing her interactions with that wind elf today…
He shook his head to forcefully discard the distracting thoughts.
Just focus on the competition. If there’s anything I can use, I’ll use it as much as possible. Even if it’s former affections!
Momiji dragged Zi Ye over to a corner in the instruction building’s western courtyard. Lush trees surrounded the area, making it shady and tranquil.
“This isn’t Professor Grey’s office…” Zi Ye indifferently commented.
Momiji chuckled and said, “That was an excuse. I just had some questions I wanted to ask you.”
Zi Ye nodded without any other reaction.
“Is Taeharu’s body easy to use?” Momiji touched ｢Taeharu｣’s head. “Her body is very adorable, so please take proper care of it.”
“What did you mean by the words you said today?” There was no more chitchat as Momiji cut straight to the point. “’It’s something that can be done by someone that spans across two realms, standing on the boundary – the group at the centre of the balance. I am one, this body is one, and the guy that caused this is one too.’ What does that mean?”
“Oh, so that’s what this is about…” Zi Ye raised his head.
“You seem to know things related to Taeharu?” Momiji continued to ask. “Where did you hear them from? Who told you?”
“No one.” Zi Ye lowered his head again as he muttered, “It doesn’t need to be through words, since I can sense it. Taeharu and I, and that bat spirit, are all the same…”
“The same in what way?”
Momiji’s expression shifted slightly.
“I don’t know what ability Fu Xing has, but ever since changing into this body, I’ve known what ‘her’ ability is.” Zi Ye looked up to survey their surroundings. “These eyes can see the dead souls that still linger in this world…”
The short tree behind Zi Ye instantly exploded and turned into ash within seconds.
“Do you see the shrubbery behind you?” Momiji smiled as usual. “I hope you do not say these things to anyone else.”
Zi Ye was correct – Taeharu could see departed souls. This was also why Momiji and Taeharu had remained laidback and calm during the previous fierce soul uproar that had sent everyone flying into a panic. Since Taeharu had not been able to see anything, she had known that the “fierce soul” creating the disturbance did not exist. This was Taeharu’s secret that only Momiji knew.
This had also been the last straw that had caused her to break her engagement with Shiroizumi from the river clan—
“You don’t need to do such things. I wouldn’t say anything…” Zi Ye’s face void of expression. “Besides, no one wants to talk with me….” He could understand why Momiji was doing this, since it would land Taeharu in a beyond terrible situation if the matter of her being a “variant” was known to others.
His current situation.
The visible variants had troubles concealing their identity and would always become the target of the public.
Moreover, Momiji was not a threat compared to the one spying in the darkness.
“I’ll head back first…”
Seeing that lonely and desolate figure, a suffocating feeling filled Momiji’s heart. It was like she was staring at the past Taeharu – the Taeharu that had been exiled by the tanuki clan despite being called the “child of worship”.
“Wait!” Momiji shouted.
Zi Ye halted in his tracks and turned his head in confusion. “Is there something else?”
Momiji strode up and brazenly grabbed the other’s hands.” Let’s go eat together.”
Momiji’s actions were beyond shocking to Zi Ye, though his expression remained blank.
“I’m not Taeharu…”
“I know.” Momiji pulled Zi Ye with her as she took the lead. “But you’re just as pitiful as her.”
Zi Ye did not respond as he quietly followed Momiji. However, a flash of happiness passed through his usually indifferent and lifeless eyes.