[Omake] Puzzle and Mazes
Ader Tales: Monologue no.1
“Sometimes I don’t understand what father is thinking. Maybe it’s because I still have a long way to go.”
Sat’xahr, 4044 AOT
AB Academy, Nalkad Island
Becoming the Student Council President in my third year in AB Academy allows me to further hone my leadership skills. I need to practice having a wider view of different situations and circumstances. I want to see beyond the surface, and understand more of the underlying logic behind these events.
I want to be like him…I walk on my way to my next class while my mind is being occupied by the events from a few months ago. That mission is an unforgettable learning experience, especially since our lives are on the line. Because of that my thought process has been quite unstable. That plan was-…
“Azalea, what are you doing there?” I suddenly blurt out as I pass by the window.
The blonde girl with purple eyes who is leisurely sitting on a branch of the tree slowly turns towards me.
“Uhm… Bird watching?” She forces a laugh.
For a moment, I could not control my emotions and briefly glared at her. I have to compose myself. I straightened my back and cleared my throat. “Why aren’t you in class?”
“I can’t sleep in class.”
“You aren’t supposed to.”
I fished out my phone from my pocket and then started to dial on emergency contact. It starts ringing.
“W-what are you doing?”
“I’m calling Lillian.”
She jolts, quickly crawling towards the window. “Don’t-!! w-wait-”
She cannot finish whatever she wants to say because her hand slipped causing her to fall.
“Ah-. This is the third floor.”
I am hearing some girls below, screaming in shock while I am looking down at the commotion.
“A-are you alright?” Someone asks.
“Yup, totally!” She raises a thumb up.
I heard something inaudible form the phone I’m holding. I got occupied and forgot I am calling Lillian.
“Hello... Hello, Zharyx?..”
“What’s up? Why the sudden call?”
I heard her sigh. “It’s Azalea again, isn’t it? What is she up to this time?”
The commotion below is getting louder.
“Mhm. It’s fine now. It seems that she’s still having problems adjusting to her new environment.” Then I ended the call.
“B-blood-!! Someone call the school doctor!”
“Oh my! She’s bleeding!”
“No- w-wait-” Azalea struggles to get herself out of the trouble she created for herself. “I’m really fine.”
Meanwhile, two members of the BK have arrived to take her to the infirmary.
What a problem child…This brings me back that day when we first met her. My first impression is totally different from what I had then. She is now acting very different from how she was that time.
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20th day, Trinii’xahr, 4044 AOT
Mt. Crosspatch, Dimatagpuan Region, Uar
Azalea Blakewood… had a remarkable record that comes with a questionable reputation.
I was puzzled.
Why would the Headmaster want a person like her to attend AB Academy? What makes him so eager that he even sent us on a secret mission to fetch her? This child is already a Demon Hunter with great achievements.
There is no need for her to attend the academy.
I assessed the situation, considered possible circumstances to provide answers to my questions. My mind turned into a spiraling maze of thought. Yet, I was unable to come up with something conclusive. I resigned myself to the thought that some answers might come once I meet her.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
“Please don’t talk to me. You are polluting the air.”
She gave us the most impolite greeting I ever heard in my life.
Her rudeness stunned all of us for a moment. Nevertheless, we proceeded to accomplish our mission. Plan A was to try to convince her peacefully through a negotiation. We explained the deal with her but she could not care less.
“I’m a licensed demon hunter, I don’t need a school.” She said while picking her nose. “I can read and write. I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. What else should I learn?”
“How about we start from manners?” I shook my head in so much dismay I did not realize that I said my thoughts aloud.
The more I learn about her, the more puzzled I become…As per our deal, we went to hunt that demon, Al Duran. Once we defeated that demon, she will come with us and enroll in AB Academy.
“It wasn’t easy,” is something the four of us thought throughout and after the ordeal. However, for her, it would
go more like “it wasn’t easy because four inexperience people tagged along.”
Even if we were not there, she would have still slain that demon. She had done it before, adding more infamy to her name. It was something we were not able to realize until much time have passed. It was as though she let us come hunt with her just to quell these children’s capriciousness. However, there were probably more things that had gone through her mind than what we, who did not see the whole picture, could have imagined.
She often acts like a fool, but she is no doubt a very calculating person.
I purposely framed our situation to be an easy prey for monsters in that dangerous forest. Just one glance at us and she quickly took notice of our condition, and that was how I knew that my plan was on the right track. We were definitely unarmed and openly unprepared for a hunt. I was fully aware that I was putting our lives in great danger by doing so. But at the same time, I also have already judged Azalea’s personality based on the information that was gathered about her. I was positive that she cannot refuse my deal.
That child did not purposely let anyone die. If there is anything I can get from the fact that some of the hunters that teamed up with her before, it’s that she must be regretting not being able to save them. Many of the stories about her focused more on the time she failed, thus explaining her infamy. However, looking at how she does not care much about the rewards and would often leave it to the village chief or some other person she worked with, only shows that she have no motive to be so greedy. It contradicts the image that these articles wanted to paint her to be.
But if I’m wrong…
I was taking my life and my friends’ lives as hostages. It was me who was putting their lives in danger. For her, we should just be some random strangers, but she somehow accepted the deal and agreed to go back to the academy with us.
At first, I thought that it might be a trick. She could escape any time after that since we already have our guards down. She could have run away and not care what happens to us after. If that was the case, I would have just abort the mission and report it as a failure. There was no need for me to actually bring this team in front of death’s door.
But since that was not the case, I concluded that Azalea does have a conscience. She knew that we were in danger and decided to protect us. Again, it was me who was not aware of the extent of that said danger.
When she asked us whether we went around asking information about her, I thought it was an insignificant question. But I later learned that she was confirming that we were openly looking for her in an area where her pursuers have high chances of lurking around. They could already be following us that time. Our group has become associated with her that might have turned us into possible targets.
If she left us that time and we decided to go on our way back, could we have been attacked?
Even if we manage to avoid death, we could have been injured. Furthermore, some of Azalea’s pursuers were not really the kind of people who would appear in front of their target to fight fair and square.
There were so much things I haven’t put my thought into… and I am greatly reflecting on those mistakes.
Catra’xahr, 4044 AOT
Student Council Office, AB Academy
It was two days after we returned to Eldoon New City and had enough time to rest when we had our first official meeting after the mission. I called them to StuCo’s Office an hour after lunch. We were scheduled to report to the Headmaster as well that following day. It was a good time to discuss our report as well as for me to hear them out.
I knew that it was wrong of me to put their lives in danger that way without informing them of the whole plan. But none of them really got mad at me for that reason.
“I know that you have a lot to say to me now that the mission is over.” I told them while we sit facing each other in StuCo’s lounge.
“Well, I was so surprised about that plan, you know.” Earl Spade spoke first. “I was so shock. I mean, I was not informed that we were supposed to fight a demon. But! Lillian and Victor didn’t flinch so I wondered if I was just dumb and didn’t listen to the briefing well.”
“I wasn’t informed about any demon hunting either.” Victor followed up. He glanced at me before turning his gaze towards Earl Spade. “But that also gave me a clue that the declaration was a bluff.”
“Yeah right. You’ve known each other for a long time.” He responded with a frown.
Lillian chuckled listening to them. “I thought that the idea sounded so ridiculous so I was certain that it was a lie. But now that I’m reminded of it, the way Zharyx said it so seriously, I just- I can’t stop thinking it’s kind of funny.”
“Well, thank you for not laughing at that time.” I observed their unbothered and calm demeanor. “If you did, then she wouldn’t have taken me seriously.”
“But what would you have done if one of us protested after you said that?” Lillian asked.
“I have a few excuses prepared. I also believe that a little disagreement between us would make it sound more serious.”
“You really thought that far, huh.”
“Mhm. I’m sorry for putting your lives in great danger and hiding parts of the plan from you.”
“But you don’t regret doing it, do you?”
Earl Spade sighed loudly. “But… Our lives were initially in danger not because we were to fight a demon, rather it was because we were defenseless. I don’t really mind since it’s done and I don’t wanna dwell in the past. However, I don’t wanna be subjected in the same situation again.”
“I understand.” I responded.
“The biggest threat was the monsters’ ambush.” Victor added. “Azalea, she made sure nothing like that would happen to us… That’s why she was really weird after we already killed that demon.”
Lillian seemed like she had something to say but decided to keep it to herself for a while.
“It turns out that it’s not just because high level monsters naturally flock to the area where the demon died.” Victor continues, his pitch had gone deeper. “Some groups of demon hunters would actually purposely stir up monster hoards and lure them towards a group that just finished a hunt. At a time when they have been exhausted, the chances are they won’t be able to fight or defend, and so they die.”
“Why would they-” Earl Spade raised his voice but suddenly went quiet as he figured out on his own what the answer is. “To remove competition. How dirty.” He grumbled.
“Not only that.” I took a deep breath while checking on their expressions. “That method is a known secret among the demon hunters… it’s a way to get rid of someone they don’t agree with or a person they consider as enemy, without attracting the attention of the authorities.”
“That’s plain murder.” Earl Spade said.
“Yes. However due to the fact that the victims were killed by monsters and the mastermind behind… it is almost impossible to determine. These kinds of cases have always been dismissed as an accident.”
“What a bunch of fucking cowards.”
“Now that we are all aware of what Azalea was so cautious about back then, don’t you feel more thankful and apologetic?” Lillian inquired with a forced smile.
“W-well…” Victor cleared his throat. “I do feel bad… I mean, I thought she was suspicious and I did not trust her at all back then. Though I am thankful that she saved my life during the battle with Al Duran, I believe my distrust is not unfounded, rather it was normal.”
“True.” Earl Spade scoffed and then smirked. “I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
“Hm okay… But Zharyx…” She turned to my direction.
I knew that question was for me.
“I didn’t mind that you put our lives on the line… I knew that wasn’t really the case.” She looked at the stack of documents on the coffee table. She frowned. “After knowing all of this information about her background… Zharyx, you used that information to pressure her into taking responsibility for our safety. You used our lives as a threat. You knew how traumatic it was for her to carry our lives on her shoulders… she watched her friends die during a hunt not too long ago... because they were unprepared and inexperience… and we made her relieve that fear… and I was so ignorant of it all.”
She was also blaming herself. Lillian had always been too kind.
“The fault was mine alone.”
“That’s not it… Do you regret it?”
“As much as I don’t agree with your methods, I also understand the inner process you’ve gone through to arrive at that conclusion. You’ve made a decision. To take our lives as hostages, it was quite an underhanded move. Aren’t you remorseful?”
“Even if I am, I will still do the same given another chance.”
“Aren’t you going to explain this to her?”
“She doesn’t need to know.”
“She thinks badly of you, you know. Won’t it be a problem if you don’t get along?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
She sighed deeply. “You’re going to be the one looking after her once she enters the academy.”
“That shouldn’t be a problem. She’s well aware that people can’t always be the ‘good guy’ or the ‘bad guy.’ She’s younger than us…but it feels like she has experienced more in life than the years we’ve live.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Earl Spade cuts in. “But isn’t it because you all just lived a very sheltered life and you just let it be that way?”
Lillian forced a laugh. “I see. But I don’t think an adventurous life like that suits me.”
Earl Spade clears his throat. “Of course, of course. I don’t mean you have to chase that way of life. Like, why would anyone?.. If they have the choice to live more peacefully. Right?”
“Well, I hope Azalea won’t give you too much problems since I won’t be here anymore to look after her.” She turned towards me. “Zharyx call me if anything happens.”
“You worry too much. I should be able to handle one problem child.”
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Sat’xahr, 4044 AOT
AB Academy, Nalkad Island
Now that I think about it. I often caught Azalea making a displeased expression towards me before putting up her fake smile. Other than those occasional situations, she does not seem to openly show her dislike. It’s more like she prefers not to get involved with me as much as possible.
Her image from when I first met her is very different from the image she has now. It feels like she turned into a completely different person. I thought that once she starts attending the academy, she will start trouble with other students. She is not really the kind to have a “pleasing personality.” In fact, she is very rude.
I have witnessed her unimaginable power. Along with her cocky personality, she is bound to piss off so many. However, it seems that she has managed to stay out of major trouble by keeping a low profile… and pretty much staying out of class. Although, she is stirring up a different kind of trouble every now and then.
If one would ignore her flaws, in the end, she is still a powerful and skilled mage. It would help the academy’s reputation if someone like her could graduate peacefully. AB Academy is no longer the only school exclusive for reveils.
After attending my class, I decided to visit her in the infirmary during the in-between class break. If what I think of her is right, she should still be there. I peeked inside and it’s pretty easy to spot her. She is sitting cross-legged on one of the beds. I walked calmly inside. There is a faint scent of medicine mixed in the air. Nobody else is in the room at the moment.
“Good afternoon, Student Council Prez.” An enthusiastic tone with a dumb-looking face greets me.
“Your injuries heal quickly.” I took big steps towards her.
“I suddenly had a valid excuse to use this comfy bed, so I’m exploiting it.”
My eye twitched as I am reminded of her cunning personality. “Why can’t you just go and attend your classes
like normal students do?”
She does not even like sleeping on beds because it makes her feel vulnerable. Lillian told me how she would rather curl up on one corner of the room to rest. It is as if she is laying a trap for anyone who might come to attack her.
“I’ll go tell Yan.”
“Why do you always have to get her involved?!”
She grabbed my arm before I can take out my phone.
“She is your legal guardian.”
I do not know how Lillian managed to do it but the mere mention of her name can make this unruly child behave. She has a good grip on her leash.
If Azalea continuous to behave like this, then my expectations of her becoming the top student in her grade would become impossible dream. Lillian does not seem to put much expectation on her either.
“When will you ever get serious?”
She smiles as she tilts her head. “I am always serious.”
“No, more like the opposite.”
A loud bang broke the atmosphere. The door has been forcefully opened. A flash of red passed by my field of vision.
“What’s up with the loud entrance?” Azalea raises a brow.
“I heard some girls whispering about a blond idiot who got into an accident.” Blair strides across the room. She ignores Azalea as she nonchalantly checks the other beds. “I just thought that instead of getting into an accident, you’re more like someone who’ll cause others to get into one.”
Ah- This girl already has a good grip on Azalea’s personality. She’s quite sharp.
“You think I bring misfortune to the people around me?”
“I’m talking about your personality.”
“Bitch, you’re not worried for me at all, are you?”
“Of course, I’m worried too. What if you accidentally kill someone? You’ll be in a lot of trouble, you know.”
“That sounds more like something you’ll do. I have good self-control.”
“Hey! I know how to hold back too!”
“Yeah, like that time you sent three sophomores to the hospital.”
“That was an accident!”
“Since when was ‘beating people up’ categorized as an ‘accident’??”
Why are there a lot of wierdos this year? What was my father thinking? Now, I’m more confused whether he has a grand plan… or just bored.
“This is the infirmary.” The nurse on duty has returned with a cup of coffee. “Why is it so noisy in here?”
I decided to excuse myself after a short greeting.
“Neither of you seems to be sick or injured.” She continued to reprimand the two girls. “But aren’t you the injured girl earlier?..”
“W-well-…” Azalea forces an awkward laugh.
“It seems you have already been healed. If that is the case, then can both of you leave?”
“Damn.” Azalea grumbled.
Maybe my father’s train of thought is much simpler than what I make it to be.
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I’m planning to upload 2 more Omake... then either go for Book 3 or Heaven’s Wing… or both at the same time… I dunno, not sure. The future is bleak. ehhe~
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