This chapter is T.T
Translated by: TaffyGirl13
Chapter 7: Is it just a common practice for old women to pretend to be innocent girls?
They crossed the campus to enter the teleportation portal, traveling through most of Europe to arrive at Marseilles.
Their second visit to Marseilles was still very late at night. The harbour’s familiar sea breeze carried the fresh and clean scent of salt.
The two of them did not utter a single word along the way. Fu Xing kept wanting to say something, but he did not know how to start. He silently walked in front, leading Leon towards the place marked on the map.
How should I speak up?
He had so many things he wished to talk about, but his heart was in turmoil and he had no idea what to say. The past him had always been able to extensively ramble on about this and that. The words he meant to say and the words he didn’t mean to say would inexplicably come tumbling out of his mouth together. But now, due to his feeling of guilt and his apprehensions about the charm spell’s effect on Leon, he was unable to open his mouth.
“What are you unhappy about?” A low voice suddenly rang from behind him.
“Huh?” Fu Xing started and whipped his head around.
“Do you not want to travel with me?”
“That’s definitely not true.”
“Then why aren’t you speaking?”
“Er, um, I thought you liked peace and quiet more, since you always find me noisy in the dorm…”
“Since when did you respect my opinion?”
“What are you apologising for?”
“Er…” For a ton of things… “Sorry…”
“You’re too quiet. It’s unlike you.” Leon continued, “Concealing your emotions, hiding your pain, and pretending to be happy are all skills that are too profound for you. Since you’re not proficient at it, you shouldn’t force yourself to. It just looks ridiculous to others.”
Seeing Fu Xing’s blank face, Leon murmured something to himself before letting out a sigh. “What happened?”
“A few things happened…there were some problems related to my work duties…”
“Do you need help?” Leon’s tone was level, but filled with intense concern and worry.
Fu Xing looked up and nearly spilled everything inside his heart. However, when he saw the softness in Leon’s eyes, he hesitated.
Is this Leon’s true thoughts, or a response produced by the charm spell’s effects?
If it’s the latter, wouldn’t I be taking advantage of my friend’s vulnerable condition to exploit him?
“Mn, no need, thank you! This is my own task, so I feel bad about inconveniencing you guys.” Fu Xing chuckled foolishly, “Besides, I’ve given you all plenty of trouble as it is…”
“So one more wouldn’t make a difference,” Leon indifferently stated, seemingly a bit unhappy.
Fu Xing raised his head. He did not understand why Leon was angry.
The fire fairy Fram resided in a small dock near the harbour, approximately two kilometres away from the teleportation portal. It was a tiny house built from wooden planks. Time had left its marks on it; the run-down house felt as though it could collapse at any moment, or be swept away any second.
The shabbiness gave it an extremely eye-catching quality. Logically speaking, it should have left a deep impression, but the people passing by turned a blind eye to it. Even Fu Xing, who was standing straight at the house, forgot it existed right in front of him when his concentration lapsed for a few seconds.
Fu Xing compared it with the image and map Samukawa had given him and walked up to the tottering front door. He reached out to grab the rope hanging down from the bell on the door and gave it two light shakes.
The house trembled slightly, and its appearance flickered like a reflection disrupted from the ripples caused by tossed stone in water.
The next second, it collapsed.
Fu Xing’s eyes widened, his hand still holding onto the bell rope as he stared at the ruins before him. When he turned his head, he saw shock on Leon’s usually collected face.
“Er, this doorbell seems like it needs fixing…” Fu Xing cautiously placed the rope down onto the post originally holding the bell.
There was a flash of silver as Leon caught sight of some fluctuation out of the corner of his eye.
Leon reached out to pull Fu Xing backwards into his arms, then flung his windbreaker out and swept it downwards.
A red-hot branding iron punctured the windbreaker before getting easily wrapped inside it.
“Shalom students?” A low female voice came from the mound of ruins.
Fu Xing whipped his head around to see that the voice came from a girl with golden-coloured pigtails. Her skin was as white as snow, her eyes a blazing red. Her childish face wore a detached expression beyond her years.
“The fire fairy, Fram?”
“Yes.” Her mature voice did not match her face in the slightest. She glanced at the ruins behind her and furrowed her brows. “Did that damn fart Samukawa tell you to do this?”
“Erm, no. It just turned into that by itself when we rang the doorbell,” Fu Xing awkwardly explained.
“Do I look like an idiot?” Fram coldly stated, “How would I not understand the defence mechanism I set up myself? Looks like Samukawa’s brain is just as withered as his appearance if he sent a fool to deal with me.”
“The reality is as he stated. Clearly you do not understand your own defence mechanism enough.” Leon’s tone was just as frosty as he replied, “You don’t seem to know enough about yourself either. Allow me to answer your first question: Yes, we are indeed.”
“You have quite the guts when you speak, don’t you, darkblood.”
“As do you.”
Mutual hostility radiated from the two of them, as though they would open fire the next second.
People’s natural affinity was a bizarre thing. Sometimes, two people that were clearly meeting for the first time could instantly become familiar at first sight and feel like they had known each other their whole lives; sometimes, two people were clearly strangers yet found each other disagreeable and found each other offensive to the eyes.
Leon and Fram were evidently the latter.
“Er! Um! Please excuse us! I might have touched something without knowing just now and accidentally destroyed your ward. I’m really very sorry!” Fu Xing hurriedly spoke to stop the meaningless conflict about to occur.
“Whatever…” Upon seeing Fu Xing apologise in addition to the [effect of] the dream spirit’s charm spell, Fram’s displeasure immediately died down quite a bit. She turned to lower her gaze as she researched the destroyed ward.
“With such a rotten defence mechanism, you might as well get a dog.” Leon snorted. “Or dig a pit outside and stick some bamboo poles inside. That’s how people from the sixteenth century defended against thieves.”
“Rifles were already invented by the sixteenth century, foolish brat.” Fram chuckled. “While you were still fighting your millions of brothers in the uterus, I had already set up mechanical wards for the headquarters of all six major clans.”
Fram spun around and strode into the ruins. She bent down to stick her hand inside and pulled out a fulcrum.
The ruins vanished, turning into an enormous machine-like castle built from gears, conveyor belts, pipes, bolts, and spells, magic arrays, stone tablets, and talisman ropes. It was a freak castle that balanced on the border between science and magic.
Shock simultaneously appeared on both Fu Xing’s and Leon’s faces, which gave Fram immense satisfaction.
“Want to come in and drink some tea?”
“If there’s just engine oil stored inside, I’ll pass.”
“Uh, thank you but there’s no need. We need to rush back to campus.” Fu Xing shot Leon a glare as he tactfully declined.
Fram strode into the house with a thin smile. A moment later, she came out with a wooden box.
“The item is inside. Samukawa can assemble the rest,” Fram insinuated at Fu Xing.
Fu Xing nodded and prepared to place the wooden box inside his backpack.
“Wait a minute, shouldn’t you confirm it?” Fram suddenly suggested, “Open it and see, it’s safer that way.”
Fu Xing halted his action. “Mhm, that’s true…” Sounds a bit reasonable. But why do I have a weird feeling?
Fram took the wooden box back without permission. She opened it to reveal the finely woven blue ribbon lying on the red velvet cushion. It was identical to the missing Shalom’s Star; the only thing missing was the ping-pong-sized elf crystal embedded on top.
“Want to try taking it out to see if there’s any damage?” Fram pointed her gaze at Leon. “Darkblood brat, you come and try. That way, if something goes wrong, it won’t be on me.”
Leon stared at Fram for a while, then reached out to slowly pick up the ribbon. He held it up in front of his face and carefully scrutinised it before putting it back in place.
Throughout the entire process, Fram’s eyes were fixed onto Leon as though observing something.
Fu Xing scratched his head.
I feel like I’ve seen a similar scene before…
“It does not appear to have any issues at the moment.” Leon placed the ribbon back and closed the wooden box before stuffing it inside Fu Xing’s backpack. “Farewell.”
Fram raised a brow and gave him a bored sneer before turning to enter the house.
“Oh right, you bat spirit,” Fram abruptly called out when she reached her door.
Fu Xing and Leon both stopped in their tracks.
“The ward’s destruction is probably affected by the chaotic energy you possess, isn’t it.”
“What?” Fu Xing did not understand at all.
“You don’t know?” Fram chuckled again and shook her head. “Make sure to properly enjoy the bliss of ignorance then.”
The door shut. A moment later, the castle’s image gradually faded and vanished. The image of the run-down harbour cleared again as it reappeared.
Upon leaving the fire fairy’s castle, Fu Xing’s companion only heard wonder and unending praise.
“What a cool house! How did she hide it? The defence mechanism’s illusion seemed to only be this big. How was it able to cover a building that large?”
“She might have set up a sub-space or space rift. A technology similar to what Shalom uses.”
“Is it like the 4D pocket in Doraemon?”
“Do you mean the semicircular area on the lower half of that strange creature made of two spheres? The blue one that sits at the head of your bed?” Leon recalled the alarm clock on Fu Xing’s bed shelf. It was the alarm clock that played noisy music every morning at seven, the one that Rocort liked a lot.
“Er, that’s right….but your description sounds a bit bizarre…”
“Then don’t place that kind of bizarre object in the room.”
Without them realising, they had seemingly fallen back to interacting as they usually did.
Did the dream spirit’s charm spell lose effect? Could it be that there were too many spells added on top yesterday that something went wrong with the charm spell?
Logically speaking, he should have been worried. However, he truly very much enjoyed and missed interacting with Leon like this. This feeling was beyond amazing.
Fu Xing chuckled, his mood instantly improving.
Tonight’s moonlight was in the shape of a very slender, silver fishhook. The stars glittered brightly, the sea breeze was refreshing, and the murky ocean surface reflected the lights from the homes along the shore to form another night sea of stars.
When I get back, I need to thank Samukawa for giving me the chance to improve my relationship with Leon…
Fu Xing suddenly remembered that Leon was not yet cleared of suspicion.
“Oh yeah, um, Leon, there’s something I want to ask you.”
“Well…do you really want to win the contest?” Fu Xing cautiously probed.
“Why? It doesn’t suit your style.”
“When you agreed to help me win the contest, you did not ask me for the reason. Why are you bringing it up now?”
“In that case, why do you want to participate in the contest? It doesn’t suit your style either,” Leon retorted.
“Actually, I just want Shalom’s Star…”
“You also want Shalom’s Star?” Fu Xing’s heart felt extremely uneasy. He swallowed hard and hesitantly asked, “Leon…for the sake of obtaining Shalom’s Star…would you use any means, fair or not?”
Leon stopped in his tracks and looked at Fu Xing with a frostiness that rivalled the night sea.
“Why do you ask?”
“No reason, it was just-just a random question!”
“Some words should not be spoken so casually.” Leon took a step closer to Fu Xing and lowered his head to fix his gaze on Fu Xing from above. “It can be hurtful…”
Fu Xing’s eyes widened, his internal alarms going off like crazy.
He seemed to have stepped on Leon’s sore point.
Whoosh! Coloured threads glowing with red light suddenly spread around the two of them to form an unsettling net.
Fu Xing and Leon had not even reacted before three people wearing snow-white uniforms and full-face masks dashed out from the darkness of the alley like specters instantaneously materialising.
Leon frowned and let out a low curse as he immediately unsheathed a blade to slash the red strings. It did not seem to cause any damage.
“Tch!” He had been too careless.
If they had no path on the ground, they would go by air!
Leon lowered his gaze and gathered his special ability. His dark pupils turned crimson, and red droplets appeared at the back of his clothes. Blood passed through his skin and then his clothes to form a scarlet bloody mist that took the shape of two enormous bat-type wings.
A darkblood’s second stage of transformation: winged form.
This was Fu Xing’s first time seeing Leon in this state, and he was completely stunned.
It was awe-inspiringly beautiful, like the Monarch of the Night had descended from the skies.
“Don’t just stand there and wait for death!” Leon grabbed Fu Xing by the collar and flapped his wings to soar above the array of red threads.
He had originally assumed they could escape from this predicament, but gloomy, ash-coloured figures slowly floated up from the ground. Two black-haired cursed souls had been summoned, their bandaged eyes turning to face Leon and Fu Xing’s position. Target locked on, revolt!
“Watch out!” Leon subconsciously spun around so that his back faced the cursed soul as he held Fu Xing against his chest to protect him.
Right as a cursed soul’s dark claws were about to stab Leon, numerous black feathers shot out to stop the cursed soul’s movements. The next instant, a team of familiars with talismans on their faces appeared and launched a fierce attack at the cursed souls.
“Quick! Run this way!”
A familiar voice rang out, followed by the appearance of a short figure. The shota Samukawa was wearing a yukata, his two pitch-black wings extended outwards from his back like a tengu arriving in battle stance.
With Samukawa in the lead, they advanced towards the opposite direction of the teleportation portal. Leon kept one arm hooked around Fu Xing to drag him along while flying after Samukawa.
“Samukawa! What are you doing here?!” Fu Xing exclaimed in astonishment, “Didn’t you have other business?”
“Do you have to ask those questions right now?”
Fu Xing glanced backwards. “Huh, they don’t seem to be chasing after us.”
“Do you think you’re sitting on a fucking cable car?! Do I need to serve you refreshments too?!?” Does this guy understand the situation at all? He’s way too relaxed!
“There’s no need to be worried with you guys here,” Fu Xing chuckled as he scratched his head.
For some reason, he was more concerned about his relationship with Leon at the moment than he was about White Triangle.
“If you knew it was dangerous, why did you send him over?” Leon frostily asked, “If you were traveling with him, why not directly show your face?”
“That’s right, Samukawa, why did you come too?” Fu Xing blankly echoed the question.
Samukawa hissed out a curse through clenched teeth. “I was fucking worried that you would shield him and let him go, so I followed you to watch!”
He had originally been tailing to listen into their conversation in hopes of finding out where Leon had hid the medal. However, now there was no need!
“What?” So I was dragged into Samukawa’s scheme?
Leon’s expression turned unsightly. “You guys…suspected me of something?”
While he did not know what he had been suspected of, he could tell from the previous exchanges that he seemed to be a suspect for some type of crime. Moreover, Samukawa had planned to capture him.
What made him resentful was the fact that Fu Xing seemed to know about it!
“Don’t worry, you’re cleared of suspicion,” Samukawa huffed with a scoff, paying absolutely no mind to Leon’s displeasure.
Fu Xing was astonished. “Why?”
“The ribbon has a spell.” Samukawa quietly muttered to Fu Xing with a roundabout explanation, “Touching ‘that’ would leave a magnetic resonance; the ribbon’s spell uses this to make the criminal’s fingers glow red.”
He had entrusted Fram to set this mechanism up to leave a mark that indicated a sinner’s crime.
Realisation suddenly dawned on Fu Xing. That was why he had thought the scene earlier was so familiar. The same program had been rudely used by Lansely on Isaac when they had previously transported Shalom’s Star.
“How could you do that! So despicable!”
“Would relying on you be of any use?” Samukawa fired back.
“What is my criminal charge?” In contrast to Fu Xing’s agitation, Leon was extremely calm, calm to the point where it was disturbing, filled with a harsh stillness.
“Sorry, that is a secret.” Samukawa made it clear that he had no plans of revealing the answer. “But congratulations, you just proved your innocence. Make sure to enjoy the rest of your school ceremony.”
Leon glared at Samukawa, then swept his gaze over to Fu Xing.
“You suspected me? And even wanted to try seeing if you could detect my intentions through my words?”
“That’s not it…” Fu Xing suddenly felt very powerless.
“This can’t be entirely blamed on him either.” For once, Samukawa spoke up in Fu Xing’s defence. “After all, when Fu Xing stayed at the warehouse five nights ago, your whereabouts were unknown. Could you take this chance to explain?”
Leon quietly muttered, “I was outside the warehouse.”
“Mhm, we know. Your reason was?”
“I was concerned about my friend.” Leon coldly glanced at Fu Xing. “Though it seems he did not need it, nor does he believe I have the qualifications to do so…”
“If letting me go right now would make you feel better, please go ahead…” Fu Xing weakly said in a quiet voice as he hung his head.
Below them was the city ablaze with lights, as well as the silent expanse of the black sea.
“How could I do such a thing,” Leon murmured extremely softly.
Fu Xing raised his head, his eyes filled with hope and expectations.
“I wouldn’t want to tarnish this beautiful ocean.”
His expectations were dashed, evaporating into nothingness.
They flew for approximately ten minutes and arrived at a very small grocery store located in the reserve transport station in Provence.
“We’re here. You can return to the coffee shop in Interlaken from here. Someone will pick us up when we arrive. The reason we aren’t using the main teleportation door is to avoid White Triangle’s spies.”
Samukawa led them into the store and opened the storehouse door to enter the backup teleportation room.
Along the way, Leon did not say a word or even look Fu Xing straight in the eye.
Upon returning to campus, Leon strode off on his own, abandoning Fu Xing and Samukawa behind. This action made Fu Xing’s depression reach an all-time low.
“What a terrible personality,” Samukawa scoffed in disapproval as he watched Leon leave.
“You’re the one with a terrible personality! You terrible, demonic, fake shota!” The unhappiness and grievances in his heart exploded from Fu Xing at once. He threw all caution to the wind as he shouted with everything he had, “Rotten Samukawa! Dumb Samukawa! Idiot! It’s entirely your fault! Why were you tailing us instead of sleeping this late at night! You won’t grow any taller for the rest of your life!”
Samukawa was caught off guard. “How dare you talk to me like that?!”
“So damn noisy! You’re just as stupid and self-opinionated as the rotten brat that lives next-door to my home! Why didn’t you go raise some silkworms? Why didn’t you go play with some water beads? Why did you have to bring up such trivial things? Why did you have to destroy my relationship with Leon?!”
Samukawa’s eyes turned stormy as flames of cruel fury coursed through him. “I can use my demonic fire to instantly turn you into ashes…”
“You just instantly turned my friendship with Leon into ashes! You idiot! Ahhhhh—”
I hate it! I hate all of this! Hate it, hate it! I hate myself!
The accumulated pressure in addition to his pent-up frustrations and worries collapsed in a flash. He could not hide them, could not keep them at bay, and they spilled out in front of Samukawa.
Samukawa was stunned, his fury dissipating in his astonishment.
“…Are you crying?”
“I’m not! Not at all!” Fu Xing gritted his teeth, his hands clenched into fists as he refused to concede. He raised his head so that the things in the rims of his eyes could not fall down.
“Then why are your eyes all wet?”
“They’re not!” Fu Xing furiously rubbed his eyes with his sleeve. “This is just mucus! It’ll be fine if I just use some eyedrops!”
“What are you going on about…”
Samukawa stared at Fu Xing. He found the entire thing beyond strange.
This was his first time seeing a special animate being crying over such a minor thing.
It was not that special animate beings did not value friendship, as there was no small number of those that would sacrifice their own lives for their friends. However, he had never seen someone cry over a matter like this.
So candid, so pure. So pitiful…
Samukawa reached out, instinctively wanting to touch the thick black hair at the back of Fu Xing’s head. However, he realised he was not tall enough, so he stood on his tiptoes to pat Fu Xing’s shoulder. Then he pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and gently wiped off the traces of water at the corner of Fu Xing’s eyes.
“If he truly values you, he wouldn’t break off relations with you over such a small thing,” Samukwa softly said.
“How am I worthy of being valued by him? I’m stupid and weak, just an ordinary, lousy bat spirit. Why would he value me?”
He was not even certain if there was friendship between them. It was possible that Leon had only been tolerating him, only compromising for him simply because there was no other alternative.
“Don’t say such things.” Samukawa pressed the handkerchief into Fu Xing’s hand and went back to where he had been standing earlier. “Optimism and self-confidence are your only strengths. Don’t lose those as well.”
Fu Xing clutched the handkerchief as he looked at Samukawa.
This was the first time he had felt the little boy before him was a tengu: a respected god that protected the people, a symbol of peace.
“Tomorrow starts the countdown to the school ceremony. Just go back to class in the morning to provide assistance there. You can come to the warehouse later in the afternoon.” Samukawa turned and began to walk back to the staff dorms.
“Samukawa, this handkerchief…”
Samukawa chuckled and casually waved his hand. “No need to return it.”
“You like Hello Kitty?” Fu Xing peered at the handkerchief. “This is the limited edition handkerchief sold at the specialty store in Tokyo’s Rainbow Paradise. My mom has one too…”
Samukawa’s expression stiffened slightly, and he turned his head to shoot Fu Xing a glare.
“That’s something my nephew forgot to take back with him! If you don’t like it, you can give it back!” Samukawa angrily lashed out, then whisked the handkerchief away.
The usual haughty and arrogant shota made its appearance once more. Fu Xing couldn’t help but smile and chuckle.
“What the hell are you laughing at!”
“Nothing.” Fu Xing rubbed his eyes, then changed to a somewhat helpless smile. “Thank you, Samukawa.” Then he bent down to give Samukawa a hug before quickly striding off.
Samukawa blankly stood in shock, confused as to whether he should be feeling angry or delighted since his heated cheeks made him too embarrassed to think properly.
It’s all because of that dream spirit’s charm spell…
Southwestern Vatican City, World Sanctification Court’s headquarters.
There was a knock on the door of Executive Director Fidel’s research room. Fidel was currently “producing” a cursed soul. He placed the corpse’s damaged limb back down onto the operating table, feeling a bit unhappy about being interrupted in the middle of his work.
The mid-ranked squad leader came in and respectfully gave his greeting before beginning his report. “Yin beasts were detected in France’s Marseilles area this evening. The Seventh Unit proceeded to encircle and annihilate them, but they escaped. Our casualties are zero.”
“Is such a minor matter worth specially coming to report on?”
“It’s because that street just happened to have a surveillance camera that captured some images. This subordinate thought there was a need for you to look over it…” The squadron leader took out a folder and passed the screenshots from the camera footage over to Fidel.
There were two figures with blurry faces in the image. This was caused by the special animate beings’ wards. In order to avoid unnecessary trouble, special animate beings always set up image-disturbance wards before going outside. That way, cameras and video cameras would be unable to capture their appearances.
Between the two figures was a fear-stricken Asian face. The dark-haired youth was staring with wide eyes at the cursed souls surrounding them.
Fidel furrowed his brows. He recognised this face…the youth that had been seized by the darkblood Yin beast last time!
He hasn’t died? Why did he appear again in Marseilles? Could he be a Yin beast too? But then why didn’t the hunting apparatus react to him? Plus, based on his response and his actions…he seems like nothing but an ordinary human senior high student?
Fidel took the photo. His face remained blank as he mentally made some plans.
“Does this require a report to the Patriarch?”
“There’s no need for such a trivial matter.” Fidel kept his eyes locked onto the picture. “I can handle it myself.”
It seemed like he would have to investigate this youth’s identity…it would be much easier to find him with a photo.
Fu Xing returned to his dorm and timidly pushed open the door. The inside was pitch-black, with only the faint moonlight dimly shining through the window.
He walked in and glanced inside the innermost bed area as he passed by. The flat bed was completely empty, as the owner had not yet returned.
Fu Xing let out a long sigh and stood by the door. As if repenting, he said, “Leon, I’m sorry…”
The sun rose in the east. A new day had arrived once more. The school ceremony was now in its final three-day countdown; the closing school fair was about to begin.
He Fu Xing’s name plate had been placed in the top ten section of the chart list. However, he did not feel the least bit happy.
Five days ago, the areas surrounding Shalom’s bronze, carved gates had been sealed off. All the professors, as well as several outstanding students, had raised a space-connecting array on the door that was to operate non-stop for seventy-two hours. This array turned the entire gate into an enormous teleportation portal which connected both northern and southern campuses, as well as to a few fixed locations around the world.
At five in the evening, the day and night intersected to form the magic hour that was neither day nor night.
Under everyone’s watch, Headmaster Sanbi activated the spell on the bronze gates.
The dense, interwoven runes emitted a pale green light that immediately enveloped the gates. A few seconds later, the southern campus students and visitors from various parts of the world began to instantly appear from the other side of the entrance. They passed through the towering arched doors and entered Shalom’s northern campus.
The clamour and joyful commotion gradually spread through Shalom like a tide.
Outsiders walked in and out. Aquarius members had been dispatched to act as field personnel; Fu Xing had been sent over to the logistics group at the last minute, running around campus non-stop. Only once it was nearly eight did his shift end and he was finally able to catch his breath.
I wonder how our class booth is doing…
Ever since Shalom’s Star had been stolen, he had felt estranged from the class. He had missed many things, and had some emotional tangles with his companions…
Fu Xing suddenly felt afraid to face his friends. With the effect of the charm spell in addition to his feeling of failure because he had messed up so much, a shameful guilt would surge through him when in front of his companions.
He aimlessly wandered around campus, passing through crowds as well as multiple gorgeously dazzling exhibits and lively booths. He unconsciously ended up at the northern campus’s instruction building.
2-C’s stall was in the large training room on the first floor. He crossed the hallway and saw people rushing in and out of the classroom to set things up. Compared to the other classes that had started their businesses long ago, 2-C’s progress was a bit behind.
As the general planner, Zhu Yue was holding a list of items and busily directing the work; Brad and a few other beastmen were carrying wooden tables and chairs into the area; Emerald stood in front of the cash register while excitedly counting the money and lovingly organising it in rows inside the box; Rocort and Dan Juan stood in the dining area to help organise food—this work allocation clearly had issues, because Fu Xing witnessed Rocort steal a bottle of cream and wildly spray it into his mouth.
Fu Xing couldn’t help but chuckle and he subconsciously quickened his pace to walk towards the classroom.
“Hi! Is everyone doing well?” Fu Xing greeted with a grin. “Is there anything I can help with?”
Zhu Yue and the others paused and turned their heads towards Fu Xing.
There was a moment of frozen silence. Despite lasting for less than a second, it was enough to create an uncomfortable awkwardness.
“Oh, not at the moment,” Zhu Yue replied with a smile. “Everything’s under control. You can go do your own work, Fu Xing.”
Fu Xing turned his head to scan the classroom. The tables and chairs had only just been arranged, with the tablecloths folded and stacked on one table waiting to be laid out. The cutlery was still in paper boxes. Everyone was scrambling with work, and many people’s uniforms were soaked with sweat.
Doesn’t feel like it’s under control…
“Zhu Yue, um…”
Brad, who had just finished moving the final table, just happened to pass by. When he saw Fu Xing, he bluntly stated, “What happened between you and Sagveiss?”
“Eh?!” Fu Xing hadn’t imagined Brad to actually know about the matter with Leon, and he was momentarily at a loss on how to respond.
His eyes shifted around and discovered that Momiji, Emerald, and the others were also peering at him, their expressions and gazes extremely unnatural, almost strange.
Did Leon tell them everything? Do they know that I betrayed my friend, deceived my friend?
Fu Xing suddenly had the powerless feeling of falling into an abyss.
Ah, I’m screwed…That loathsome old fable reappeared in his mind.
The bat that thought it had won favour from both sides had its lies seen through. Eventually, it was rejected by both land animals and birds, and was met with a lonely ending.
“Sorry…I’m really so sorry…” He did not know what to say. All he could do was apologise. Apologise for everything, apologise for his own existence.
“Why are you apologising?” Zhu Yue forced a smile. “Did you do something wrong?”
Fu Xing did not speak…
Yes. He had done many, many things wrong. His existence itself was a mistake.
“Is there something you’re hiding from us?” Momiji gently asked.
Fu Xing silently dropped his head.
There is. He was hiding numerous matters from his friends. His words were filled with lies.
He did not want to win favour from anyone. He just wanted to belong. He wanted to be together with his friends.
He did not want to be alone…
I don’t want this…
The ground faintly shifted, sending a quiet tremor at an undetectable frequency.
Still. Not. Time.
A voice rang out from the depths of his mind.
Then, come here.
Fu Xing stepped back, his vision starting to shift and blur together. “Um, I still have some business to do…Sorry, I’ll be leaving first…”
A familiar summon echoed through his brain.
Fu Xing turned on his heel and left the classroom. He left blindly, complying to the insinuated command like a tamed animal.
“So, what happened this time?”
A calm, laid-back voice naturally sounded out next to him and Fu Xing snapped out of his daze. There was an out-of-place sensation of being in the wrong location that he struggled to connect, as though he had suddenly switched TV channels.
“Ah?” What’s going on now?
“You look very miserable.” Youny leisurely flipped a page of the book placed on his legs. The night’s lighting gave the paper a dull yellow shine. “What happened?”
“Youny?” When did I get here?
“Is the school fair not interesting?” Youny continued asking without paying Fu Xing any mind. “You don’t need to help your class?”
“No.” Fu Xing hung his head. “Besides, they don’t need me…”
“Are you certain?” Youny closed his book and smiled at Fu Xing.
“Did you mess up something again?”
“How did you know?”
“It’s not difficult to guess.”
“For real…?” Has my stupidity already become a universal law? Like earth’s gravity?
Youny reached out to gently stroke the side of Fu Xing’s face. “Pull yourself together, He Fu Xing.”
“I wish I could too…”
“You are my king chess piece. I don’t want a stray dog,” Youny coldly stated.
The abrupt change to a frosty tone stunned Fu Xing. “Wh-what?”
Youny smiled and softly touched Fu Xing’s forehead.
“Just go back to being yourself. Depression and gloom do not suit you, He Fu Xing.”
Youny quietly murmured these words, which gently shook Fu Xing’s entire consciousness like hypnosis.
“Do not underestimate yourself. You don’t need to rely on a lascivious dream spirit’s charm spell. You are more powerful, and you possess an intrinsic influential quality…Go and use this natural trait to influence the people by your side.”
Fu Xing’s consciousness gradually grew fuzzy. He wanted to push aside the hazy and muddled sensation, but he was unable to resist.