Hunt 23: The 7th Member
Twenty-third day of Sat’xahr, 4044 AOT, Weih’zien
Past four o’clock in the afternoon
In the fourth watch tower, located behind the Irog building, is where the clubroom of the newly authorized club Asylum. The tower is composed of two stories and is about twenty meters tall. It was used as guard post during the academy’s earlier establishment. However, since the modernization and rapid advancement of technology, the Balaam Knights no longer needed an actual guard to keep watch twenty-four hours a day. Most of the monitoring duty is being controlled by a group of specialists that guards the whole island.
The ground floor of the watch tower has become dusty; janitors clean it only once every month. Because it is left unused for several decades most of the leftover furniture are shabby. They look around at first until they notice how Duke suddenly starts cleaning the place. While all of the six members celebrate their new found place and camaraderie, they suddenly hear a weak knock on the tower’s main door.
“Who could it be?” Tristan wonders.
Blair runs cheerfully towards the door. “I’ll go open it.” She is then taken by surprise. She takes a step back while greeting the guest with shaky voice. “Good afternoon, sir. What might have brought you here?”
“Good afternoon.” He greets back while exploring the interior with his dark brown eyes with dark bags underneath. “I’ll be your club adviser, Jhalil Claws.” He walks past Blair, observing all the members. “I hope we get along… and that you brats won’t make too much trouble for me.” He pulls one of the unused chairs lined across the wall and then takes a sit there.
The room is enveloped with silence until Azalea’s voice rings. “We’re very lucky to have you as our adviser, Prof. Claws.”
“That sounds very sarcastic,” His squinted eyes gives her a piercing stare.
“Have I always been such a terrible person in your mind?” Azalea leans on the worn-out table behind her. “You said you are a licensed Rune Adventurer, I honestly think it’s great to have you as our guide, sir.”
“What’s great about that?” Primrose who is sitting around the corner opened a can of cookie. “Aren’t we going to slack off?”
“You were eating gummy bears a while ago, weren’t you?” Tristan recalls.
“Even if that was our original objective, I don’t think we can always spend as much peaceful times here.” Azalea answers directing her gaze on the ground. “Did you notice? This academy isn’t as peaceful as it appears to be.”
“I see.” Professor Claws scratches the back of his head, messing up his already messy hair. “In just about two weeks of staying here, you’ve already perceived some unseemly stuff in the shadows.”
Blair, Emil and Tristan’s eyes widen as they listen to their conversation. The air inside the room is starting to feel tense.
Azalea laughs teasingly at them. “Don’t make those stupid faces. Whatever it is that might come out of the dark shadows lurking around, we or should I say the students, won’t be dealing with them directly. That’s why we have these Balaam Knights to keep peace and order within the academy.”
“That’s a relief. I have zero fighting skill,” Tristan lets out a heavy breath.
Emil turns away while putting his hands in his pockets. “I don’t want to be dragged into the sort of trouble that could throw me straight to jail.”
“How long have you been investigating these dark shadows?” Duke asks while putting the feather duster aside.
“I am not specifically investigating them,” she answers modestly.
“Your disinterest over everything seems to have eaten your entire personality,” Professor Claws says lethargically while fixing his cold eyes on Azalea. “Such a wasted potential… I mean not only Blakewood, but everyone here. I’m amazed as how all of you had found each other and actually gathered here just to goof around. What a pain.”
“I don’t particularly get what you’re talking about,” Blair wonders in a more serious tone.
“Well--” He is about to disclose something when they hear a knock on the door.
As the one closest to the door, Blair opens it immediately to see who the guest might be. She is surprised to see that at the other side of the old rusted door stands a young lad from the blue zone. He is wearing a radiantly kind smile and stunning electric blue eyes. His hair has an unusual blue highlight on the left side. An earring with blue gemstone dangles from his right ear. But what really caught their eyes is the creepy looking sword he carries by his side.
“Hello,” the lad with bright aura around him greets courteously. “Is the room of the newly formed club, Asylum? I would like to talk to the club president regarding the signing up process of your club.”
They are all taken aback after hearing his inquiry.
“Sorry,” he humbles his tone. “I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Evancross Naoe. I want to join your club.”
“N-naoe?!” Tristan gulps. “I heard that it’s very rare to have a blue come out of their zone and join in a club established by the green. Did we get caught up into some trouble again?..”
“Ah… Please come in.” Blair gives way to let Evancross into the room. “I never would have imagined that we’d get a new member as soon as our club becomes official.”
“Well… What made you want to join Asylum?” Azalea asks suspiciously. “We don’t have a good reputation here, you know. Most students already called us the ‘trash club’ or ‘chaotic gang.’ Are you sure you didn’t get us mixed up with a different club?”
Professor Claws keeps his silence while watching them deal with the situation. It seems that he does not have any objection, or he plainly just do not care about the it at all.
“Yes, I’m sure I want to join your club.” Evancross answers gladly. He then walks closer to Azalea while keeping his left hand on the sheath of the sword by his side.
“Why this club?” Tristan ask.
“Because it looks fun.”
Azalea tilts her head slightly to the right while fixing her eyes on Evancross. “Are you crazy?”
“I might be. That’s why I’m going to join Asylum,” he teasingly answers with a smile.
“I can’t stand this guy,” Azalea mutters. “Tristan, please talk to this noble boy.” She pulls Tristan to the center while she slips farther to the back
“Hey, don’t just pass the work to me!” Tristan complains but Azalea only gives him a thumbs up from the distance.
“Well, you are the president after all.” Duke says with a teasing smile. “You should take proper care of our seventh member, prez.”
“So, we aren’t going to kick him out?” Emil says with an unpleasant look on his face.
The air around Evancross suddenly changes becoming cold. “If you have a hidden grudge towards me, then we could settle that right now.”
“Really, are you sure you can take a fight with me, shitty noble?” Emil seems pissed off.
Tristan gulps not knowing what to do amidst the brewing trouble. “Please don’t fight or else we might end up getting disbanded right after today!”
“That would be troublesome,” Evancross says and then he turns back to Emil. “Whatever it is that I’ve done to offend you, let’s settle it some other time.”
“Are you mocking me?” Emil takes a step forward but is stopped by Duke.
“Mister Evancross,” Primrose calls while munching some cookies. “The blue highlight on your hair really looks familiar. You have a twin?”
“I have an older brother,” he answers politely then the atmosphere around him turns light again.
Primrose thoroughly observes him from head to toe. “Your brother helped me one time, so I guess I have no objection.” Then she continues eating.
“If my sis is fine with him around then I don’t have any objection either.” Duke continues on dusting the piled tables beside him.
“I’m not particularly against him either,” Blair adds before turning her back to go up to the second floor. “How about you, Emil?”
“I don’t trust him at all,” he answers frankly.
“It seems that you’re the only one with objection. Won’t you give me a chance?” Evan states making his stand firm.
“He just counted me as one of in favor of him,” Tristan whispers in his head. He looks around trying to find an escape. “Err… why don’t we all arrange the place at the moment so that we could have a sit and talk things out, later?” He tries to calm the awkward situation down.
“Well, we don’t have a specific reason to reject your application,” Azalea says while standing behind Tristan. “However that does not erase the fact that everything about you looks very suspicious.”
“Now, aren’t you just being rude?” Tristan turns scolding her off softly.
“It’s okay,” Evan replies wearing his suspicious gentle smile. “We can all take our time getting to know each other.”
“May I ask a few questions then?” Azalea raises her hand.
“Go ahead,” he replies politely.
“Did Ivanryd send you here?”
“It is my decision to join. Are you an acquaintance of my brother?”
“Did Zharyx ask you for a favor?” She continues asking ignoring his question.
“No, I am not that close to the Student Council.”
“Are you doing this for the headmaster?”
“I do not serve the headmaster.”
“Who do you serve?”
There is a sudden distinct pause before he gave his answer. “At the moment, there is none.”
“Prez, what do you think?” She smiles kindly towards Tristan.
Tristan hastily turns at her growling, “Don’t just call me ‘prez’ whenever it’s convenient for you!”
“Come on, don’t be too grumpy now.” She laughs but then again immediately reverted to her serious expression. “Regardless of my personal impression,” she feigns a smile while rubbing her nape. “I believe we should give him a chance. Maybe we could also make use of him in some way too.” She forces a laugh.
Primrose rolls her eyes towards Azalea making a cold stare. “You sound very uncomfortable and you’re not even hiding it.”
“Make use? What in the world is she thinking?” Tristan sighs.
“For now…” She lowers her head. “Since we have nothing to d--”
“You kids will have to start with cleaning this tower and making it look like a proper clubroom usable by humans.” Professor Claws cuts in.
Blair clicks her tongue. “I hate cleaning, it’s tiresome.”
“Did I just hear you complain?” He glares at her.
“It’s called freedom of expression.”
“If you are going to continue having that kind of attitude then I guess I have no choice but to throw away all of those little animals you are keeping sheltered in AB forest.”
“W-what?!! How did you even learn about that?!”
“Because I’m not an idiot.”
“Coward! Low life! Animal abuse!”
Professor Claws dials on his phone calling someone. “Hello, pest control?”
“W-waah--!” She shouts as she jumps towards the professor reaching for his phone but he manages to quickly avoid her. “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Prof?”
“What do you think you’re doing?!” He looks down at her while she lies flat on top of the table. “Get off there and go back your seat before I become serious.” Everyone stares at them like they are watching some comedic duo on tv while Evan casually continues on filling up the registration form. At that moment, Blair quietly and obediently goes back to her seat. “I only want you kids to do nothing and leave me with no trouble as the years pass. I hate dealing with the aftermath of every distasteful situation you will surely get into. If you are going to do something against the rules, either don’t let yourself get caught or keep it low. Alright, now that we have properly introduced ourselves to each other and I have given you some activity to get yourselves busy for today, I guess I’ll have to go.” He yawns before taking Evan’s application form and then he leaves.
“We got one hell of a prof, huh?” Emil sighs leaning on the back of his chair.
“Hey, red head.” Evan calls.
“Don’t call me red head or I’ll break your face!” She growls while clenching her fist.
“Sorry,” he scratches the back of his head while making a soft laugh. “It’s just that you haven’t introduced yourself to me yet.”
“It’s Blair Lisiantha.”
“You’re not a Rouge?”
“Rouge? That Rouge?...” Tristan wonders.
“Hey, would you cut that out?” Azalea reacts unusually.
However Evan does not sway. “What is your middle n--”
“Stop asking stupid things and let’s just get into that cleaning task now.”
He pauses and then thinks to himself. “I see.”
Azalea stares at his reaction. He has definitely figured something out.
They are about to begin sweeping when a knock resounded in the room. When Tristan opened the door a light blonde boy with aqua-marine like eyes from the blue zone is standing in front. He humbly smiled and bowed at him while he stood speechless.
“Hello, my name is Keito Ikari. I came here to get Sir Evancross Naoe.”
“Yeah, he’s here.” Tristan tensely gave way showing the interior.
“Have you had your own fill of fun? Evan, your brother wants to have a word with you.”
Evan stood up and nonchalantly walked towards the door. Primrose, Emil and Blair just watched him while Duke made his way up the second floor.
“Hey, blue-boy--!” Azalea called as he exits the door.
He turned his head a little just enough to keep a glance of her. “Please call me by my name. Don’t worry, I won’t be doing anything. I won’t talk about it either.”
She stared at him quietly as he leaves the room with the other guy, until Blair tapped her shoulder. “What’s wrong, Az?”
“He wasn’t sent here to keep an eye on us, was he?” Primrose said softly and suspiciously.
Tristan closed the door and obliviously strolled back inside. “Why would they do that?”
“Probably because we have three reds and two greens that got an awful record gathering in the same place in the pretense of engaging in some sort of school activity.” Emil answered sarcastically.
“Hey,” Duke called peeking from the second floor, “we should start from the top and see which of these pile of stock up stuff can be of use.”
Meanwhile, Evan goes directly to meet Ivanryd in the Balaam Knights Office. He casually goes inside the main office strolling through the living room. He takes a few seconds to stand in front of the Commander’s door before knocking courteously. He then gently opens the door revealing the interior of the quiet and tense-filled office. The sound of several refined steps echoes inside followed by the click of the closing door. A freezing silence surrounds the man occupying the commander’s seat.
His cold eyes are fixed directly at his rebellious little brother. “So, what kind of play are you trying to make? You’ve never made such unexpected decision before, Evan.”
“Brother,” with unyielding voice he responds, “I am not playing around. I am seriously showing how interested I am this time. I want to take a different path.”
“Everyone had been expecting you to join Balaam Knights and someday replace me here. I know a lot of people are going to compare us to each other simply because we are brothers. I know it’ll put great pressure on you… BUT that doesn’t mean you have to take complete turn and join a newly formed club composed of mischievous lot.”
He smiles kindly. “I know. I thought I’ll follow your footsteps as well since I have nothing better to do. However, brother, one day I’ve suddenly realized that I should stop chasing after the traces you’ve left behind but rather chase after something that made me realize what I should be.”
“And what might that be?” His usually cold eyes sparks with curiosity.
“I won’t tell you… you’ll end up learning about it anyway.”
He sighs. He is spinning a pen in his hand while keeping his gaze down on his table. “Is this the reason why you decided to finally carry that cursed sword?”
“I had a talk with the young lord. For the years that I am going to spend in this academy, I have been permitted to act freely, regardless of the will of the Naoe clan and the House of Kirihara.”
They keep silent while staring at each other for a long time; fixing their eyes right on each. It is as if they are calculating their resolve and sensing who is going to make a step back first. The pressure on the air is so thick that the room feels like a steaming underground lava cave.
Evan breaks the silence sweeping the fog of animosity with his sweet but dubious smile. “It seems that you have nothing to say to me anymore. I’ll be going then.”
“I’ll let you play around for now,” is his brother’s goodbye quote while Evan steps out of the door without turning back.
Keito enters after Evan left. He closes the door gently and then salutes shortly.
“Take this.” Ivanryd pulls an envelope from the files inside his drawer and placed it at the corner of his table. “I want all and any kind of information you can dig about the students in that envelop, ASAP.”
“Yes sir,” he immediately complies with a straight face before leaving.
Ivanryd closes his eyes while pressing the bridge of his nose out of weariness. “He had always been very compliant before, just what could have gone wrong with him?”
Yup, I changed the format to something easier for me to keep doing.... So, the rest of the chapters will be like this from here on until the end. Hope you don't mind.
Yup, I changed the format to something easier for me to keep doing.... So, the rest of the chapters will be like this from here on until the end. Hope you don't mind.
Evancross being badass.
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The Bewitched Demon Hunter
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