Chapter 66. Hatching (2)


I was caught off guard at the seed’s sudden hatching, but then quickly snapped back to reality.
Currently, a densely packed golden dust blocked everyone’s vision. No overseers or drones could capture what was happening, and Rachel had also fallen asleep. As long as I remained calm, I could deal with everything easily.
First, I took Evandel off of Rachel.

“Come here.”

“Ah, aaang.”

Evandel struggled to stay with Rachel but widened her eyes when she saw my face.

“That’s right, I’m the one who raised you.”

Consoling her, I held her in my embrace. She looked just like a 3-year-old child, but she was as light as a feather. Hugging me tightly, Evandel muttered.

“Daddy.”

“Huh? No, I’m not. Anyways, can you change back to a seed, Evandel?”

“Seed?”

“Yep. Small and circular. You have to hide.”

“What about Mommy?”

Evandel spoke as she glanced at Rachel. I was a bit perplexed at Evandel calling Rachel Mommy.

“Rachel… um, Mommy is really busy. So….”

“Huaam. I’m sleepy.”

Evandel yawned as her eyes narrowed. It seemed Boss’ golden dust was also affecting Evandel. I was feeling a bit panicked. If Evandel fell asleep now, there wouldn’t be a way to hide her….
But thankfully, Evandel listened to my request.
With a golden light, Evandel transformed into a giant seed that floated down on my palm.

“Whew.”

After breathing a sigh of relief, I looked around.
The field was full of the mysterious golden dust. Kim Suho, who was resisting the drowsiness fairly well, had now fallen asleep. The few overseers who were watching us from nearby trees also fell down, unable to withstand the dust’s power.

However, I was fine. It was thanks to Aether’s ‘owner defense function’. I could feel that Aether had formed something like a filter for my nostrils and throat.
Although breathing was a bit difficult, I could remain unaffected by the sleeping powder. With my mind clear, I approached Seo Ijin.

**


Butterfly Seedling Dust.
Byproducts of elementals generally fetched a hefty price. Boss didn’t know what function this dust had as it was her first time seeing such an elemental.
However, she was quite a greedy woman.
She kneeled in front of the Butterfly Seedling’s corpse, and from the huge gaping wound on its body, she could see a clump of blue, glowing dust. Her eyes flickered with greed, and she carefully picked it up.

“Put it down.”

At that moment, the deep voice of a man stopped her. She slowly raised her head. There, she saw Kim Hajin.

“…Hello.”

“That’s not something you can take.”

Kim Hajin’s face distorted viciously.
She stared at his face, then looked around.
The surrounding air was filled with her sleeping powder, but for some reason, Kim Hajin was unaffected. The golden dust was something no cadet should be able to endure, yet Kim Hajin was doing so with nothing but his bare body.

“….”

It was strange. There was too much about this man that she didn’t understand. At this moment, she felt a powerful urge to observe him.

From under her feet, black magic power shot up fiercely. The magic power formed a spherical shape that swallowed her and Kim Hajin, forming a sealed space of sorts.
Even though Kim Hajin was trapped in what should be an unexpected sealed space, he showed no signs of being unrest…. No, his hands were trembling.

She revealed her real face to Kim Hajin, whereupon his body shook greatly.

“You know me.”

Kim Hajin retorted concisely.

“Li Xiaopeng-ssi.”

“….”

‘Who was Li Xiaopeng?’ Boss pondered momentarily. Then, realizing it was one of her fake identities, she nodded.

“Right. Then why would I be here?”

“To serve as an overseer, I assume.”

“Hmm.”

Kim Hajin seemed to have a strange misunderstanding, but Boss didn’t go out of her way to correct it.

“…When did you find out I was Li Xiaopeng?”

“Just now—”

“If you lie, I’ll kill… no, hit you.”

Kim Hajin let out a dry cough.

“…When I took your watch, I was looking at you from close range. It was then that I realized something was off.”

“How?”

Jain’s Gift couldn’t be seen through so easily. It was close to impossible to notice anything just by ‘looking’.

“I have great eyes, you see….”

So what Kim Hajin was saying didn’t make sense.
Kim Hajin had not only seen through Jain’s Gift, but also her necklace. It couldn’t be explained with him just having good eyes….
Countless thoughts raced through her brain. Repeatedly considering all possibilities and selecting the most logical choice, she came up with a hypothesis.

‘The attribute of his magic power is itself anti-magic?’

If the attribute of Kim Hajin’s magic power was anti-magic; in other words, if his physique made it so that all magic power he took into his body received the property of anti-magic, he could indeed see through Jain’s Gift just with his eyes. He would only have to concentrate magic power in his optic nerves.

In other words, this wasn’t a matter of his Gift, but his ‘physique’.

Of course, this was pure speculation, one that was extremely unlikely because of the absurdity of the matter. To confirm this, she would need to observe and measure his power carefully.
However, if he really had such a physique, Kim Hajin was a resource that she couldn’t lose.

“….”

Boss silently kneeled down, then grabbed the clump of dust lying in the Butterfly Seedling's body. Kim Hajin swallowed hard, but to his surprise, Boss handed him the Butterfly Seedling Dust.

“I will give this to you, but in exchange…”

She paused.
Her silence continued for a long time. It was because she couldn’t think of what to say next.

—Don’t say strange things, Boss.

Jain’s voice rang out in her ears. It seemed she was properly observing the situation this time.

—If you don’t know what to say, just ask him for a way to contact him. Don’t rush it and take it slow.

Jain’s voice was solemn, which was a rare occurrence.
Although the Chameleon Troupe already knew all of the ways to contact him, Boss took Jain’s advice.

“…Give me your number.”

**

The uproarious fourth day went by, and the morning of the fifth day arrived.
The laborious final exam came to an end at last.
The Butterfly Seedling was a monster that overseers didn’t expect to see, causing a small disturbance, and in the end, they agreed to give the four cadets who defeated it 20 points each.
Cadets then turned in their exam smartwatches before getting on the ship back to Cube. The eliminated cadets had already left last night, so only about 700 cadets remained.

The ship cut through a blue sea. Leaned against the guardrail on the ship’s bow, I admired the beautiful waves before taking out my smartwatch.
The Chameleon Troupe, or Li Xiaopeng, had yet to contact me.
But why was Boss interested in me?

“Hey.”

While I was in thought, Chae Nayun approached me.

“What.”

“…How did it end?”

“How did what end?”

“The fight. I don’t have any memory of what happened after the middle.”

Chae Nayun scratched her cheek with her eyes on the sea.

“Kim Suho said your bullet destroyed the monster’s wings… he’s lying, right?”

“Obviously, how could anyone destroy that monster’s wings using a gun?”

I spoke honestly since it really wasn’t me who did it.

“…Right? That’s what I thought too.”

Seeing Chae Nayun looking relieved for some reason, I asked.

“Why did you use a sword instead of a bow?”

“What? You’re the one who told me to switch. How can you be so back and forth? Do you have an illness or something?”

“I mean, you have to be flexible. It’s dangerous if you use a weapon you haven’t practiced much with in real combat.”

If Chae Nayun was gravely hurt, half of the responsibility would have been mine. After all, I was the one who made her switch to a sword.

“I’m not so weak that you have to worry about me.”

Chae Nayun spoke with a sidelong scowl. I nodded without arguing with her.

“So, how did using a sword feel like?”

“It wasn’t anything spe—"

“You’re still scared, right?”

“…What? W-What are you talking about? Why would I be scared?”

…She really wasn’t good at hiding her feelings. I looked into her eyes, then grinned. When she lied, her eyes shook like they were having miniature earthquakes. This was one of the unique settings I gave her, and it had remained the same in this world.

“You’ll get better if you keep at it. You’re a born swordsman.”

**


The exams were completely over.
While other cadets spent their weekend enjoying the feeling of liberation, Rachel used the time to contemplate on life. The mystical experience she had on the island had given her much to think about.
Because it didn’t seem like a problem she could solve on her own, she even called the English Royal Court’s Department of Analysis.

—A tree elemental?

“Yes, I saw something in the pollen. No, I felt it. I think it may have been the power of an elemental. What do you think, Raymond-ssi?”

Of course, it might have just been a hallucination. However, the memory from that day was too vivid and distinct. Not only did she remember the child’s face and voice, the warmth she felt when the child embraced her remained in her heart.

—Mm… that might be possible, but there’s no way to be sure. The power of elementals is something that still remains a mystery. In the first place, we aren’t sure if what Princess saw was an elemental or a fairy.

Rachel nodded, then asked the analyst with a tinge of nervousness.

“Then, do you think an elemental could show the future? Even if it’s not the future itself, something like a portion of a future….”

—Ah, something similar has been reported to the academia. It caused quite a stir.

At that moment, Rachel felt her heart drop.

“…Really? What was it?”

—Mm, it was a plant type elemental as well. Someone became covered in mushroom spores, then said he saw a portion of his future.

“Huk!”

Rachel let out a short scream. The analyst laughed briefly.

—Judging by that reaction, Princess must have seen something too.

“Yes, I saw a child.”

—….

For a moment, silence descended. The analyst stayed speechless for three whole minutes.

—…Child?

Then, the analyst barely managed to eek out a word.

“Yes.”

—Mm~ well, it could have been any child…

“She called me Mommy.”

—Yes?

This time, the analyst let out a short scream.
Rachel’s cheeks flushed red as though she was embarrassed.

“And… she looked just like me. She looked just like when I was young.”

—Uh….

“Raymond-ssi, don’t you think that I saw my future?”

With that, Rachel smiled bashfully.
It was a precious experience. Rachel engraved the child’s warmth and smile in her head. She felt like she could smile every time she thought of her.
If what she saw was, in fact, her future, if she would someday come to have that child… she felt like she could finally stop rejecting her life.

At that moment, she realized that the analyst was quiet.

“Um, Raymond-ssi?”

—Ah, sorry. The chances of it being Princess’ future is… very small, but… I just couldn’t ima… imagine it…. Did you perhaps see the father as well?

As the analyst asked, his fists were shaking. A child to a 17-year-old princess. As a loyal servant of the English Royal Court, that was something he could not accept….

“No, I didn’t see anyone like that.”

Rachel smiled bashfully, then dodged the analyst’s gaze.

“But if I really saw my future, I’m sure he is somewhere.”

**

“Daddy!”

“….”

A child about a meter shorter than me shouted with her arms open.
For now, I held her in my embrace. To be completely honest, she was incredibly cute, but I knew I couldn’t spoil her. I had to be a good parent.

“…Evandel, you can’t call me Daddy, okay?”

“Why?”

Evandel tilted her head and asked.

“Mmm… because people will misunderstand. You should call me Uncle.”

“Eeeh? Why?”

“Uh…”

But I didn’t know how to go about raising her. I had no experience raising a child. I was only thankful that next week was a break.

“Mm… why don’t we watch some TV? You know what a TV is, right? You saw it before when you were young.”

By young, I meant when she was a seed. Back then, I left the TV on when I went out, just in case the seed got bored.

“Un! I like TV!”

“Good.”

I turned on the TV and went to an animation channel, which showed a penguin with glasses and a green dinosaur.

“Woaaaa….”

Evandel quickly turned her attention to the TV, her eyes sparkling, and I sat down in front of the kitchen table alone.

“…What do I do with this?”

I stared at the Butterfly Seedling Dust, glowing brightly on the kitchen table. I managed to take it, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

[Butterfly Seedling Dust]
—Attaches to a target with magic power and helps them awaken a part of their hidden potential.

Its description was simple, but upon breaking down the sentence, you could see two keywords – ‘target’ and ‘potential’. That is, the dust could be used to awaken the potential in people, as well as potential in objects.

“…Do I have to give it to Kim Suho?”

The Butterfly Seedling Dust was supposed to give a clue to enlightenment for Rachel, and help with Kim Suho’s future second enlightenment. But because of Boss’ interference, neither Rachel nor Kim Suho obtained the Butterfly Seedling Dust.

“Hm.”

It seemed I needed to think more about how to deal with this dust.
For now, I wrapped the dust in a cloth, then put it in my drawer.

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FudgeNouget's Thoughts

English Royal House has been changed to English Royal Court.