Hunt 22: Asylum
The attention of those three guys shifts to the loud simultaneous footsteps that are stumping heavily on the ground. When they turn right at that direction, their eyes widen peering at the flash of blazing red surrounded by a cloud of dust as if something is burning. Along with her sudden brake, she cracked her knuckles all the while giving out a fiery glare.
“Hey there,” she frowns.
“What’s with this red head?” One of the guys with dark brown hair and piercing on the lips says while putting his guard up.
“Do you have business with this geek?” Another one with properly groomed blonde hair asks stepping forward. “Friends with her?”
“I’m not particularly friends with her but I owe her a favor. She helped me out one time and it appears to me that she’s in a pinch right now.” Blair answers casually.
“Oi oi~ playing out to be a hero now?” The blonde scornfully smirks. He raises his hands up as if he is giving up. “We ain’t hurting her, ya see. So, piss off red head.”
She tilts her head to the side with her chin raised up. “I’m gonna ask you nicely just this once… Leave her alone now and you can go home without missing a single tooth.”
“What’d ya say?” The blonde guy from the farthest back with four pairs of piercings on both ears turns his enraged eyes towards Blair. “I don’t know what your deal is but, hey we’re just teaching her some lesson her clan failed to learn.”
“Her powers ain’t even worth shit, man. What a shame.” The brown haired guy with piercing on the lips crackles.
The girl looks more down than a while ago. Her knees shake as she leans on the wall behind her.
“I see.” This time Blair’s frown turns right side up. “That makes me curious about your powers. Are you really that strong? ‘Coz if not, I’ll make you bow to me instead.”
The blonde in front of her looks more irritated. “What?! You think you’re cool just ‘coz you have red hair?!” He swings his fists and imbued it with fire magic.
Blair dodges easily and then counters with a quick uppercut hitting the guy right under his chin. The blond guy flies few meters back before falling on his back knocked down on the ground. One look at her grimacing expression and anyone with a weak heart is going to be intimidated. Watching his buddy get beaten, another guy follows up casting a spell creating a blade of ice on his right arm.
“Bitch-! Try this!!!” He swings the ice blade with noticeable intent to cut through the girl who knocked down his friend.
Blair, again, dodges effortlessly like she could see every swing coming towards her. Meanwhile, at the moment she is occupied by those simultaneous attacks, the other blond guy casts another spell creating an ice projectile flying directly towards Blair’s direction. Like a dart, the icicle almost drills on her left arm leaving a shallow cut on her flesh. While she is inspecting the red liquid dripping from her arm, the guy with an ice blade sees an opportunity. He strengthens the ice blade and then slashes her from the lower right making an arc up to her left shoulder. His rapid move makes him believe that he clearly cut his enemy but at the same time he cannot shake off his looming sense of anxiety. In the spit second he is engulfed by the thought, the truth dawns in front of him, what he cut was nothing but air and the body of an after image. Without a moment’s notice he falls of balance as his view shifts in a blur. It seems that Blair has given him a low kick on his legs resulting in his fall. The building’s wall he is looking at in front turns into a scarlet painted skies sprinkled with silvery glitters. Upon that sight, the shadow of the red demon with gleaming eyes shows up. All he could do is groan as she forcefully stomps her foot on his stomach which drained all of his remaining energy.
“W-what ‘da hell?!” The guy from the furthest back cowers as he leans on the wall of the Irog building.
Blair confidently walks towards the guy who is like a frightened cornered mouse looking for a way of escape. The girl who is just standing amidst the entire rocket falls speechless in terror as she watches all of the guys get knocked down. The last guy desperately throws a couple more of those icicles but Blair dodges them like she has seen it all coming.
“Hey, you’re the one who grazed my sleeve,” her voice sounds deep. She glares down at him and then touches his chest. In a glance, it is clear in her eyes that she perceives this person as an enemy. “Have you ever wondered… what color your heart is?”
He gulps watching her right hand slip through his chest like it is digging into his body. “N-no… D-don’t! I’m going to die!” He screams like a man gasping for his last breath.
“Ah… would you rather…” Her hand goes deeper into his chest. “Have me relocate all of your organs now?..”
“S-someone… save me…” His quivering voice croaks.
“BLAIR!!!” A familiar voice echoes loudly.
Then the next thing Blair realizes is that she is already being pulled away from the guy. She watches the blond guy fall leaning on the wall with knees shaking in terror. A few steps in front of her is the shadow of someone she knows all too well. This blond girl’s stance does not look at composed.
“Have you snapped out of it already, Blair?” Azalea’s powerful voice resounds in Blair’s mind.
Blair’s eyes widen and then she looks around. “Az?..”
“You should get some anger management therapy,” she responds while smoothly walking closer to the frightened girl aside. “Hey, are you okay?”
“Umm… Y-yeah.” She replies while keeping her gaze on the ground.
Azalea observes her. “This is my fault.” She tells herself while turning her sight to Blair who is rubbing the back of her head. “I should have anticipated that she’d be good at fist fights. I should have moved in faster. I shouldn’t have wasted a second discerning what’s going to happen next.”
At that instant a group of five junior students from Balaam Knights arrive at the scene. It seems that the bullied girl called them in when she had the chance. They picked up the trouble makers, two of which lie unconscious while one is standing wobbly on his feet.
One of them with black hair formally brushed back strides to their side. It appears that he is the one leading the group. “You all should be aware that any form of fight inside the campus is prohibited and you will receive appropriate sanction once you are caught guilty.”
“Can’t we like settle it?” Azalea asks giving out a forced smile. “My friend didn’t particularly start the fight.”
“When a fight brakes out, both parties are always at fault,” he coldly answers back. “We will be taking all of you to Balaam Knights office in the admin building, please follow us.”
“Sir, it seems that these two won’t make it. These guys are totally out cold.” One of the BK says while lifting the unconscious boy.
“It can’t be helped then, bring them into the infirmary and call out someone from the faculty,” the leader directed. “It’s almost curfew. I’ll be taking your names for now. All of you girls, and the guy over there, go back to your respective dorm. We’ll settle this matter tomorrow, first thing in the morning. Please go to the BK’s office before your first class tomorrow. In case you don’t show up, additional penalty will be imposed.”
The next day, Azalea, Blair, and Primrose are called in the Guidance Councilor’s office. Once, again they are lectured by Ms. Malupit. After that, Primrose is fetched by Duke since she is not involved with the incident. Next stop is the Balaam Knights’ Office, at the left wing of the Administration Building. While Primrose and Duke wait for Azalea and Blair’s return, they decide to stay in the garden. While idling around they notice Tristan nervously sitting in one of the empty benches. Few minutes later, Emil arrives and sat on a different bench.
“Yoh,” Duke greets Emil. “What are you doing here?”
Emil looks at him. He pauses for a moment. “I’m waiting for someone.”
“You’re skipping, huh?” Primrose says while opening a box of pocky. “Mind if we sit beside you?” She asks nonchalantly while taking the space beside him without waiting for an answer.
“It’s study period in our class,” he answers casually. “I’m amazed at how you always achieve to get called in the guidance.”
“Well, I’m amazed at how you disregarded study period and come here instead,” she talks back after taking a bite from the pocky.
Duke chuckles while walking behind the bench and then he leans on it. “Is this person you’re waiting for a friend? Hmm… Let me guess, a girl?”
“W-what--?!!” Emil bites his tongue in surprise.
“I see. You’re chasing some chicks, huh.” Primrose blurts out in monotone.
Emil cringes. “Are you two siblings picking a fight with me?”
“No. I’m eating pocky.”
Meanwhile, from the Admin building, they notice someone coming out. She is wearing a displeased look on her face. She waltzes in leisurely as if she does not notice them.
“Azalea!” Duke calls out loud while waving his hand. “What happened?”
She turns towards them and then walks closer. “I was kicked out, because apparently I’m just a by-stander watching from afar. They want to settle the incident with those who were directly involved.”
“Why do I feel that the reasoning’s kinda off?” Duke wonders.
“Zharyx was there.” Azalea tells herself. “He probably pulled some strings to get me out before I turn the situation into something more undesirable.”
“I don’t really get what’s happening here but why are you guys talking so friendly with a green?” Emil falls in confusion. His brows furrow.
“Ah, you’re--” Azalea fixes her eyes at Emil then she notices Tristan alone in the adjacent bench. “Tristan! Why don’t you join us here?”
“Err… but they are…” He is very hesitant and anxious to move.
“Don’t worry, they are our friends too.” Azalea smiles while walking closer to Tristan. She then pulls him. “I want to introduce you. This is Tristan dela Torre, an esper from the green zone.”
“Hello,” he greets shyly while bowing his head.
“Good day. I’m Duke and this is my little sis, Primrose Saintgregor. We’re both contractors.” He politely says while he patting Primrose’s head who is still eating.
Everyone turn their eyes towards Emil.
“Am I required to introduce myself too?” Emil crosses his arms while everyone’s reaction. “Emil Franz Dreo. A mage.”
“My name is Azalea Blakewood, also a mage.” She smiles and then she pushes Tristan to sit beside Primrose. “Let’s see, I already got the form so all we have to do is to fill it up here.”
“Shouldn’t we wait for her?” Primrose asks while opening a pack of chips.
“Why does she keep on eating?” Tristan mumbles.
“It’s fine, it’s fine.” Azalea answers wearing a foolish smile while waving the piece of paper. “Should we start from, club description?...”
“Are they all idiots?” Tristan is feeling overwhelmed looking at their behavior.
“Let’s just write in, slacking off or sleeping, since that’s what we’re about to do anyway.” Primrose says with a straight face while munching chips.
“Put odd jobs too.” Duke suggests.
“What are you trying to achieve with that kind of club?” Tristan joins in making an argument.
“At least give the student council something decent, we won’t get approved with those suggestions.”
“Somehow I’m getting pulled in by this crazy group.” Emil mumbles.
They start to flock together and voice out their opinions. While they are doing so, Blair silently creeps in closer and peeks at what they are doing. She listens in for a while and thought deeply.
“How about playing games and reading comics?” Blair suggests with a teasing tone.
Everyone looks at her with jaws dropping.
“How long have you been there?” Duke immediately inquires.
“This one looks scarier than the actual red-students.” Tristan tells himself.
“A while?” Blair answers casually. She rolls her eyes to the side and spots Emil. “Hey, you’re here too.”
“Didn’t you call me out here?” Emil replies with a displeased look.
Blair chuckles. “Yeah. So, did you get to know each other already? By the way Az, I invited Emil to join our club since he doesn’t look like a bad guy.”
“He doesn’t look like a bad guy, she said.” Tristan mumbles. “Are all of you even serious about getting this club approved?”
“Well of course.” Primrose answers with her monotonic voice.
“Hearing you say that doesn’t make it sound any more convincing.” Tristan remarks with dissatisfied expression.
“Who cares about the small details,” Azalea says negligently while filling up the club registration form. “Let’s just put whatever’s come to mind. Hey, we need a club name.”
“The laidback idiots,” Emil suggests.
Tristan accidentally lets out a heavy sigh. “You are in this club too, aren’t you?”
“Yeah. But who cares?” He responds with a sneer.
Primrose continues munching chips. “How ‘vout ze lehgyeon ov ranwomnezz?”
“What in the world did you just say?” Blair’s brows furrows trying to decipher the weird message. “Eat or talk, just pick one.”
“The legion of randomness, she meant.” Duke cuts in with a gentle smile.
“What does that even mean?!!” Tristan raises his voice as one vein pops on his forehead. “Are you a bunch of mentally ill teenagers or what?”
“Come now~ come now~ don’t be so grumpy.” Primrose consoles him with her monotonic voice and straight face while patting him on the back.
“Gaah--!!” He felt more irritated than usual. “The most fitting name for this damn club is… right, call it asylum!”
“Asylum, huh,” Azalea repeats as if she is thinking deeply. “I like the sound of that!” Then she starts writing without brake.
“W-wait, are you serious?” Tristan panics trying to sneak a peek on the registration form.
“Don’t worry, I made you president.” She makes an ominous smile.
“THAT’S MAKING ME EVEN MORE WORRIED!” Tristan gets hysterical.
“By the way Blair,” Azalea brushes off Tristan’s complaints. “What happened with that meeting with BKs?”
“I got suspended for the rest of the week for unlawful use of power within the campus and beating up three sophomores.” She answers as if it is not a big deal.
“WHAT--?!!” The boys get alarmed.
Azalea rolls her eyes to the side with disappointment. “I guess it can’t be helped.”
Primrose simply opens another pack of chips.
“Whatever this club is… it definitely won’t become official!” Tristan sighs. “What the hell am I doing with my life?..”
“But the other guys are suspended the same way too,” she continues. “Apparently, the two who received a beating from me was sent to the hospital in district one while the other one only needed to be checked by the nurse in the infirmary. By the way, what does being suspended here means?”
“It means you’ll get to spend all your time inside the dorms. You can’t go out at all until the suspension gets lifted.” Tristan answers.
“Ugh… that sucks…” Blair pouts. “Az, what should I do?”
“Keep calm and follow the rules,” she answers bluntly.
Blair pouts even more. “Easy for you to say. Oh yeah, I’ve just remembered that the student council prez told me that the next time the three of us gets into trouble again, he’d be calling our guardians.”
“How sad for you.” Primrose is nonchalantly unwrapping a piece of lollipop. “Duke and I don’t really have any guardian to be worried about.”
“You’re the one in the worst situation here, idiot.” Emil flicks Primrose’s forehead. “One wrong move and you’ll be off to Juvenile Detention Center.”
Primrose rubs her forehead and clicks her tongue. “Is that so…”
“How could you all take all of these like nothing concerns you?” Tristan grumbles while shaking his head.
“My home village is very far from here so my current guardian is my uncle.” Blair laughs while recalling her father and uncle. “I don’t think he’s someone who’d get upset over some school matters.”
“Is your uncle an idiot, too?” Tristan mumbles.
“Just how did your parents raise you?” Emil feels confused.
“Azalea probably won’t care eithe--” Duke says then they turns their sight to Azalea whom they found to be crouching on the ground looking terrified.
“Yan would be really upset if she learns that I’ve only been goofing around this past week.” She has her hands on her head while muttering something as if she is chanting some curse.
“What an unusual sight.” Blair tries to approach her. “Az?..”
She looks so disturbed. “I could just imagine Yan’s disappointment and… I gotta have a word with Zharyx later and maybe beg him not to tell Yan…”
“Hey what’s wrong with you?!” Blair smacks her heavily at the back.
“Ouch-… I-it’s nothing.” Azalea answers with her usual business smile. She then taps Blair’s shoulder. “There, there. I’ll behave from now on so I trust all of you to do the same… I’ll be turning this paper in so let’s meet again later.”
They are so surprised that they are unable make a single comment.
“Aah--!!!” Tristan shouts after Azalea is completely gone from their sight. “She left my name on the president’s position, didn’t she?!!”
Tristan tries to follow her but failed to catch up. His free period came to an end so he needs to return to his class feeling a little down.
Azalea turns in the club registration form to the Student Council’s Office but only the faculty in charge is there. Feeling restless, she decides to go directly to the Headmaster’s Office, so that she can discuss the matter with him in person.
Headmaster Dimasalang is sitting cozily on the sofa in his office with his feet leisurely lying on the table. “Oh, hello there. What might have brought you here?” He greets her with a laidback tone.
“The reward you were talking about last time, can I still claim it?” Azalea asks while she freely lets herself in.
“So you are prepared to tell me who the other two scholars are?” He puts down his legs to sit and face his guest properly.
“The other two you have enrolled into this academy are Blair Lisiantha and Primrose Saintgregor.”
“Hm… You’re not including Duke?”
“Yes! He really is a gentleman, isn’t he?” He laughs over-enthusiastically. “So, what is it that you want, something that you think only I can grant?”
Azalea shows her business smile with a hint of annoyance. “We want to start a new club… You can do something about it, right?”
“I see.” For a moment he looks surprised. He smiles genuinely while standing up. “A new club, huh. Consider it done.”
She lets out a deep sigh. “I feel like a fool playing along with you schemes.”
“My~ What might that be?”
“The Guidance Counselor… she’s in this too? Everything’s way too convenient.”
The Headmaster chuckles.
“You are willing to tell me anything about what your real plans are. However…” She smirks.
“The surprised look in your face a while ago, I like it. It seems that not everything went
according to whatever you had in mind. As long as it’s not a nuisance, I can play along.”
“But I have no idea what things you might consider as nuisance.” He pouts.
“So you really were plotting something shady!”
He coughs. “Nothing shady. I swear.”
“Old fart.” She clicks her tongue before turning her back away to leave.
“Ah, but before you go, let me ask you one thing.”
“Where do you belong?”
She tilts her head wondering. “Does it matter?..”
“Wrong answer,” he snorts. “I guess it’s too early for you to realize the significance of what you’ve just built. I will ask you again once you are ready to accept it.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” She raises her brow.
A week later, early morning Weih’zien, the list of new clubs is posted on the electronic bulletin board near the entrance of Alapaap building. A lot of students from the green zone are flocking in front of it, checking out the newly approved clubs. There seems to be a commotion, they are whispering and gossiping like flies buzzing around. Azalea’s group arrives hovering through the flood of people. Most of the students give way the moment their eyes meet Blair’s glare.
“Don’t look into her eyes.” They mutter. “You’ll get into her bad side.”
“I heard she just beat up some sophomores a while ago. They are still in the hospital.”
As Blair walks closer to the board Azalea, Tristan, Primrose and Duke follows. Everyone stares at the only two students who came from the red zone. For them they are a very unusual group.
“Oh~! Look-!!” Blair says with pure enthusiasm. “Our club got approved!”
Primrose sneaks a peek. “Wow, this is pretty weird. After all that happened and all that crap you wrote on that piece of paper…” She sounds suspicious but does not bother to protest.
“Isn’t that great?” Azalea remarks playing innocent.
“H-how-?..” Tristan mumbles from behind.
(From left to right) Duke, Primrose, Emil, Tristan, Blair, Azalea, and Evancross.
(From left to right) Duke, Primrose, Emil, Tristan, Blair, Azalea, and Evancross.
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