Chapter 26: Sweet candy and midnight screech
“What was it about you being very familiar with the medical masters inside?”
“We didn't meet anyone, what does it have to do with being familiar or not?”
He'd gone through a tunnel following after Belo, gone through a sewer, gone through a ventilation shaft, gone through a room filled with skeletons, where weird, frightening organs were soaked, gone through several outside stairs no one used, then finally climbed through a trash tunnel before reaching this passage. Ayrin was about to collapse.
“What kind of conspiracy are you plotting?” Ayrin couldn't help but ask, looking at Belo's glasses glittering with starlight inside the darkness.
“Eh? I'm helping you meet Chris, no matter what I already successfully brought you here, she should be in there.” Belo pushed his glasses and said in a whisper, “Just go and see for yourself if you don't believe me, but I advise you not to make any sound, otherwise it'd be a waste my efforts.”
Ayrin walked to that ward, holding onto one last glimmer of hope. However, his gloominess and frustration disappeared into nothingness all of a sudden when he pushed the door to the first ward Belo had pointed to.
“Didn't I say she would be in this room.”
Belo said softly beside his ear, just like the whisper of a fox inside a dark night. “The Holy Dawn teachers will of course also have selfish motives, they'll naturally leave the room with the best conditions and the tightest security to a student of their own academy.”
In front of Ayrin was a very big room.
The room was suffused with a herbal fragrance, covered in a blue carpet, with a single bed. The curtains in a magenta velvet were slightly parted; a fresh wind and faint starlight flowed inside from half the window opened slightly ajar.
Chris slept peacefully in the middle of the white sickbed. Her face and hair seemed to glitter under the starlight.
“Where did that guy run off to?”
Ayrin wanted to say something to Belo, but he found out as soon as he turned his head around that, even though he was still whispering against his ear moments ago, Belo had already vanished like a ghost or a devil.
Just when Ayrin was thinking he better not wake up Chris after all, and just softly leave his gifts behind before leaving, her long eyelashes suddenly fluttered a couple times. She opened her eyes.
She blinked a few times, a little confused. She stayed very calm when she ascertained her surroundings along with Ayrin standing in the doorway. “Are you the teacher on duty? Why do you look so young?”
“I'm not the teacher on duty, I came to see how you were doing.”
Ayrin said, a little embarrassed, “Don't you recognize me? You invited us to eat many things inside the Thinker's Stone Forest, back when we were punished to stand.”
“A freshman punished by Huston?”
Chris blinked her eyes in astonishment. “I remember you guys, but how did you come in?”
“One of the friends who were standing with me took me in here earlier, I don't know if you still remember him. He wears glasses.” Ayrin said, vexed, “I have no idea where he ran off now though.”
“He can actually sneak inside with you, he's that good?”
The trace of an admiring smile rippled on the corner of Chris' mouth. “I don't remember how he looks like anymore, I remember there were three of you back then though.”
“Yeah, there's a red-hair called Moss, the glasses is called Belo, I'm Ayrin.” Ayrin said full of spirits, “I watched your match today. I thought we were going to lose for sure, are you feeling better now? ...Oh right, I brought you a gift. Green-wrapped candy with chocolate stuffing, a shopkeeper said it tastes great. I also have little bear gummies.”
Chris' mouth was open wide in a somewhat exaggerated fashion. “Is that chocolate-stuffed candy from the little shop with the green iron roof? That's my favorite, it's just been a long while since I went there to buy some.”
“That's right.” A giant happiness descended upon Ayrin. He kept nodding. “You want to eat it now?”
“I very much want to,” Chris said in all honesty, but then she became a little bashful. “But right now I can't move, can you unwrap it for me?”
Ayrin went inside the ward, sat on the edge of Chris' bed. He carefully unwrapped one and put it in Chris' mouth.
“That's the spot...” Chris' eyes immediately filled with little stars in satisfaction.
“You must have been training too assiduously, that's why you even forgot to buy your favorite.” Ayrin looked at her long eyelashes, the corner of her mouth, small and delicate. “I heard Belo say that someone from an ordinary human bloodline has to spend at least several times the effort if they want to train their strength, agility, and coordination to an even stronger level than those with beastmen blood.”
“I want another one.”
Chris seemed far removed from her incomparably domineering self during the match. She pursed her lips and confidently said, “Nothing to be done about it, it's the only way to beat those powerful guys.”
“You can't move at all?” Ayrin unwrapped a candy, worriedly watching her at the same time. “How are your injuries, can you make it to the next match?”
“The next match's in three months. I asked teacher Namin, there's absolutely no problem, I'll just be missing a lot of training time.”
“Three months? There's such a long interval between a match and the next one?”
“A competition like this leaves a certain amount of time to allow for treatment of injuries, since injuries are unavoidable.” Chris sucked on the chocolate-stuffed candy and slowly said, “Today's match was a preliminary qualifier though, that's why there's an especially long time until the main qualifying round. There's only half a month between matches when the main qualifiers begin.”
“Half a month? Then in case of serious injuries, you can't participate in the next match?”
“Yes, that's why the tournament is harder the further you go.”
“So it's easier to become champions for teams with five very powerful people, or academies with very powerful figures outside the five?”
“That's right. That's why you have to pay attention to tactics sometimes and have a plan in place to counter your next opponents, see which members you can't afford to lose because of injuries.” Chris said seriously, “If it weren't so hard, there wouldn't be so many people risking their all to become the tournament's ultimate champions.”
“I'll train very hard too, I think this tournament's very interesting. I want to help you grab the victory in this tournament,” Ayrin said, with equal seriousness.
“Alright then.” She watched Ayrin with a smile. “You have to find a way to beat the other members of our team first. We'll see after you're strong enough to join the academy's team. Give me a small bear gummi, I've never eaten these before, I want to try what they taste like.”
“Mm. I'll definitely beat them and join the academy's team!”
Ayrin made an earnest promise, then he poured out a gummy from a glass bottle and put it in Chris' mouth.
“What are you doing, stop!”
“Who the hell are you, how did you come in!”
An exceptionally astonished and angry scream echoed at this time. A black shadow rushed inside the ward with a shrill windy sound, just like a bat. This black shadow pushed him against the wall. Ayrin couldn't oppose the slightest resistance.
“Teacher, he's my friend, no need to worry.”
Ayrin only noticed after hearing Chris' voice that the one clutching his neck and pressing him against the wall was a thirty-something short-haired female arcane master with a face white as snow.
This female arcane master's body trembled nonstop.
She still couldn't believe at all what she saw with her own eyes. This was a sickbay area heavily protected by arcane masters of the medical branch, and there were also battlemasters helping with the site's security with their patrols outside. Everyone here was on high alert because of Namin's special order. What no one could imagine was, someone actually found their way inside and was even feeding something to Chris!
After rushing inside, she'd already decided it was an ordinary candy from the smell, that was why she wasn't heavy-handed when dealing with Ayrin. Still, cold sweat covered her from head to toe.
Chris was the most elite student in the academy, she was the academy's most treasured asset. She just couldn't imagine the result if the one who'd sneaked in had been an enemy feeding Chris something harmful instead.
She couldn't even speak for a short while.
A dozen shadows arrived in this room in an instant, whistling through the air, dashing in from the windows or the door.
The big empty spacious room became congested with people in an instant.
“How did you come in!”
“You actually secretly sneaked in here?”
All the arcane masters inside the room were thoroughly shocked, their expressions all unsightly to the extreme.
“I came in from the rear wall.” Seeing those arcane masters' expressions, Ayrin realized severe punishment would probably be oncoming, so he gave Chris a wink. He didn't want to expose Belo, he didn't mind shouldering the punishments by himself.
An arcane master with hair wrapped in blue cloth shouted in a stern voice, veins popping on his forehead, “Details, speak up!”
“There's a tunnel in the small woods behind, it connects to a sewer...”
“Go check immediately, see if his first sentence is true or not!” This arcane master immediately issued a command.
A silhouette immediately turned into a blurry shadow and shot out. It skimmed back from the windows not even one minute later. “It's indeed there.”
“How did you know there's such a tunnel! What did you do after you came in?”
Just as Ayrin was considering how to answer, an urgent warning cry suddenly rang in the night. This warning cry very much resembled the piercing call of a bird.
“What happened?” All the arcane masters inside the room shook, their expressions becoming even more unsightly.
“The members of team Southern Monsoon all disappeared!”
Another arcane master rushed in, dazed and beside himself. “There's a side door open. Someone must have infiltrated in while you all hurried here and taken all those wounded people away.”
The leading arcane master with his hair wrapped in blue cloth was sweating cold sweat. It dripped down from his face as if it were flowing water. “Why didn't you chase behind if you saw the side door open!”
“I already did, haven't found them yet!”
“Who the hell are you!” Several arcane masters closed in on Ayrin who stood there dumbfounded.
“Don't be anxious, just let us handle it.” A crisp female voice came at this moment.
“It's Ciaran!” The arcane masters inside the room all looked at each other, all heaving a sigh of relief.
Ferdinand woke up from his dreams.
At first he thought the bed felt really hard, totally different from how soft it was before.
Then he suddenly discovered myriads of stars hanging above his head. He wasn't inside the room, but in a wide open space!
Following that, he noticed he was simply in the desolate countryside!
He shrieked the next second. He had no idea what was happening. He and Riley and the others should have been comfortably lying inside Holy Dawn Academy's infirmary. But now he could see that he and his teammates had all been rolled up, together with their bedding, and thrown onto a wild grassland. In addition, the surroundings were filled with burial mounds brimming with ghastly, ghostly auras. It was a cemetery!
“Impossible! Why are we here?”
Crewe was awake now, wakened by the loudness of his yell. And then he also became totally confused by the situation and let out a loud frightened yell.
“Hmph, you actually dare poach someone from my Holy Dawn Academy in broad daylight, you totally disregard me. I'll let you see some ghosts!”
“Acting so arrogant to my face...”
The back of a seeming gentle figure traveled in the desolate forest near this cemetery, whispering arrogantly to himself. Not far away, shrieks rose one by one from the Southern Monsoon team members.
“This guy, he spent so much effort just to do something like that and blow off some steam. Really worthy of the Impulsive Freshman who had the guts to break into the Beasts Enclosure.”
A soft lazy voice rose very quickly on the edges of the wild forest. “He's actually able to lure so many people away and take these people here. I didn't even have that kind of talent back then.”
“Liszt, how should we deal with that little guy?” Minlur's coarse voice also rose very quickly.
“It's just a kid's mischief, no need to bother.” Liszt smiled. “I'm guessing it won't be long before you get the opportunity to teach them and sort them out.”
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