[Omake] Yan's Trump Card
Trifling Past Time no. 2
Triini’xahr, 4044 AOT
Reshte, Eldoon New City, Adams’ Main Residence
While still fixing her legal documents, Azalea is staying in the Adam’s main residence under Lillian’s guardianship. It has been a few days since they arrived and settled in.
Lillian, with the help of the family’s secretary, is working on all the papers in preparation of enrolling Azalea in the academy. However, gathering the necessary documents proves to be quite difficult due to certain circumstances, like some calamities destroying the records that they need. She can already see that this issue will take more time to work on and if it’s not handled properly, various problems will come up later.
As she walks deep in thought, she passes by the third floor balcony and sees Azalea standing at the edge as if she is looking at something far away. She almost drops the folder that she is carrying. Looking at that scene feels like she is about to have a mini heart attack.
“Azalea!” She calls as she hurriedly walks closer.
“Yan?...” Azalea turns; looking at the person who called her as if nothing is wrong.
“Get down from there.”
“…’Kay.” She lightly jumps down.
She frowns. “These were made to prevent people from accidentally falling from the balcony. And what do you do? You stand on them.” She scolds her while fiercely tapping the colonnades multiple times.
“I’m not that stupid to fall from here.” She responds with a cheerful tone.
“You fell from a tree the first time we met.”
“Oh… R-right.” She scratches the back of her head. “Well, even if I fall it won’t be that ser-... ious….”
Lillian pauses and then looks straight into her eyes. The short silence is heavy. “Don’t do that again.” This complete disregard for safety is bothering her.
Her deceptive smile vanishes for a moment. “Mhm. I’m sorry, I made you worry. I won’t do it again.”
Until now, Lillian still cannot figure out whether Azalea is just saying this to appease her. Are those words really sincere? She sighs. “Okay, follow me. We need to talk about some important things you have to work on… Now that you are here. What were you doing, anyway?”
“Your place is high. I was just looking around… the landscape… what kind of stuff surrounds this place… I just did it out of habit.”
She suddenly stops. “Habit? Wait. So you were inspecting the house like that these past few days?”
“How about we call it familiarizing myseif with the new environment?”
She sighs again before continuing to walk. “We’re secured inside the city. There aren’t any monsters for you to worry about here.”
“In my experience, monsters are easier to deal with.” She says softly as they go down the stairs.
“I see… Then, that’s another thing you have to work on.” She looks back for a moment to check on Azalea. “So, after your small explorations, what do you think of this place?”
“This house is too big for a few people who rarely come home.”
“Father and my brothers are always busy working.” She explains. “We’ll be moving out once the preparation for my own place is done… Maybe around next month.”
“Once you move out, this house will be emptier. Why do you want to move out?”
“Let’s just say I want to be more independent.”
“What’s the point of having a huge house if no one wants to live in it?”
Azalea looks around. “The parlour?...” She mumbles as they enter. “I thought we’ll be heading to the study room.”
“Take a sit.” Lillian places the documents beside a blender on the table.
While taking the chair opposite Lillian, Azalea cannot hide the perplexed expression she is wearing. She stares at the unusual set up on the table.
Lillian has observed Azalea’s behavior for the past weeks. Though there are still a lot of things she cannot understand about her, there are also some important points that she has noticed. Azalea has her own concept of “safety” that is different from the norm that the city people grew up with. She is cunning. She lies a lot, in a way where she would answer the truth while omitting the crucial details that will likely lead to misinterpretation. This way, she can downplay the graveness of the topic in question. And, the brighter she smiles, the more likely that she is hiding something.
“How are your studies?” She looks straight to her eyes.
“Don’t worry. It’ll be fine because I’m a genius.” She responds casually.
Lillian frowns. “Really?” She opens the folder and then checks the contents one more time. “When was the last time you went to a proper school?”
“Well.. that was like… around... kindergarten?.. hehe”
“Isn’t that more than ten years ago?!” She pinches her nose bridge. “At this rate, will you actually be able to pass the advancement and entrance exams?”
“I told you-”
“You’re not planning to botch them, are you?”
“Ha, ha, no way. Why would I-”
“So that you’ll have an excuse to dismiss going to the academy.”
“So, you’ve thought about it.” She lets out a deep sigh.
“I feel like we’ve come to know each other better these past few days.”
“I know it will be difficult to make you listen to me.” Lillian prepares the blender. She takes out a card from the folder. “So, I’ve prepared a recipe you cannot say ‘no’ to.”
Azalea’s jaws drop as she recognizes the card. “My license!” She yells as Lillian drops it inside the blender. “What the actual fuck are you doing?!”
Lillian takes the blender, with the license inside, out of Azalea’s reach. She then puts her finger over the power button threatening to turn it on.
She jolts up. “Holy shit! Holy shit! Yan, please calm down!”
“I am very calm; you’re the one who’s not.” She clears her throat before smiling menacingly. “I’ll be taking your demon hunting license as hostage for now. I heard that these licenses are special. If you lost it or it got destroyed, you will not be allowed to get another one. Furthermore, you can only pass the licensure exam once. You can’t take it again. In conclusion, if this card gets destroyed, it will spell the end of your demon hunting career.”
“I swear, you are the scariest person I ever have to deal with.”
“If you want this card back safe and sound, you better listen to me and behave yourself.”
“One yes is enough. Sit down properly.”
“Let’s see.” Lillian starts looking through the documents again.
Lillian recalls her experience on that first mission outside the city. She was born and raised inside this secured city. Even when she travels, it was always within a safe zone. She never had the opportunity to step outside of the protection that the enormous magic circle grants them. It keeps the cities safe from monster attacks. She did not give much thought about “adventures” before. That was until she joined that mission.
For the first time, she saw what it means to live surrounded by the threat of monsters. She experienced the inconvenience of camping outside. She understood what it means to literally fight for their life as they face that demon. She watched her friends bleed and almost die. It was terrifying. However, for her, it will only happen that one time. She has the choice to avoid getting involved in such missions again.
The life outside is like a different world from what she had known.
“You have a lot to learn. But first, I have to teach you about manners… and common sense.” She puts down the documents.
Azalea scoffs. “I have common sense. I’m a pretty decent person.”
“O-okay…” She glances at the blender with her license inside. “So, can you, like, take my license out of the blender? You know… What if it suddenly turns on?”
“For someone who said that the license is just an accessory, you seem to care a lot.”
“Well it has benefits. It’s very convenient to have. Not only do I need it to claim rewards and send loot item to the market… It also allows me to enter cities, and even cross country borders, without having to get so much documents, and go through so much security checks to verify my identity.”
“That seems to be your biggest problem right now.”
“Anyway, it seems that you’ve been involved in more trouble than I expected.” She sighs while pinching her glabella. “I can’t do anything about that. Fortunately, none of your actions have been recorded as a crime under ICA’s archive. This is impossible, unless-”
“I have the devil’s luck!” Azalea cuts in.
Lillian pauses and stares at her for a moment. She sighs again. “The only reason why there are no criminal records is because they did not file one,” is what she is thinking.
“So much trouble but not a single complaint…” She continues to think silently while staring at Azalea who is smiling innocently. “They could have limited her movements if they have filed a complaint to the Hunter’s Council to get her license to be either suspended or revoked. But they didn’t… Why?..”
“Calling it the devil’s luck does make some sense.” Lillian tilts her head. Her voice is clear as she relaxes her back on the chair. “But something like that won’t always work… Especially here. It seems that I have to start teaching you about the things you need to keep in mind from now on.”
“Don’t worry I can keep myself out of trouble.”
“It’s seems you haven’t been doing a good job at it.” She picks up the folder again. “First, don’t beat people just because they annoy you.”
“Don’t freeze them either.”
“Also, don’t bury them neck deep.”
“But that’s one of my most effective methods of interrogation.”
“You won’t need that here.”
She clicks her tongue. “Fiiiine.”
“Don’t set things on fire, or make them explode.”
“Now what? You think I’m some sort of arsonist or terrorist?”
“I won’t go that far, but then again, how come there’s always some pub, inn, or restaurant getting burned or destroyed in many villages you’ve visited?”
Azalea coughs. “Those were some accidents.”
“The plantations in Aesbyl too?” She turns to another page.
“Well…” Her tone drops for a moment before answering with enthusiasm. “I did that on purpose. I’m sorry I didn’t put much thought into it. I deeply regret that I wasn’t able to personally beat the shit out of the bastard brothers that owned them.”
“I’m sorry, it seems I’ve said my thoughts out loud.”
Lillian sighs heavily. “Keep those thoughts to yourself… and don’t act on them.”
“K. I’ll try.”
“What?!” Her eyes move towards the blender.
“I mean, I won’t! I won’t.”
“What’s this?.. You destroyed a laboratory in the border of Uar… just at the end of last year…”
“Oh, that-… Things happened.”
“That doesn’t explain much.”
She smiles. “Where the hell are you getting all these information?”
Lillian ignores her question. She read the details of the incident and starts to think. “The owner definitely lost a lot but they didn’t file a case and just officially written it off as an accident… So, that’s how it is. They are avoiding investigation because they are doing something that they don’t want the authorities to learn about.”
She flips another page. A brief silence follows as she reads the contents.
“What’s this?...” She says softly. “You got involved with a human trafficking incident just last year?” She turns her sigh towards Azalea whose expression barely changed after hearing her. “How could there still be illegal business that involves selling human beings?”
Azalea stared at her for a second before casually answering. “Something like kidnappings and missing people that are never found is a very common occurrence in Zone-0, as well as many small villages.”
Lillian shows an expression that cannot comprehend how could something like that still happen in this time of peace and prosperity. She is in disbelief but she contained it and kept her composure.
“This can’t just be a small scale operation; a big organization is likely behind it.” Lillian says with a worried expression. “Won’t those criminals get back at you? You should have left it to the authorities instead of getting involved. I’ll file a report to let ICA know about these illegal activities, and let them take care of the rest.”
“Mhm.” Azalea’s tone is low, almost inaudible. Her eyes almost lost its spark for a moment. “Do they… really not know?”
Those soft words are painting ideas in Lillian’s mind.
If one would think about it profoundly, such incidents are not entirely impossible. It is just that it is something she has not put her mind into. Not even the media would report about crimes committed on people that anybody barely cares about. After all, why does it matter if a child from the slums outside the city barriers disappears? They could have just gotten lost in the forest, got into some accident or run away from home which is not uncommon. They could have wandered too far and stumbled into monster territory. For people who have no resources to look for the missing family member, they can do nothing but assume that they are dead. It is unfortunate and heart-breaking.
That is their reality that she has not considered until now. She feels ashamed of her ignorance.
Do they really not know?...
It sure does cast doubts but she decides that assuming the truth behind these incidents is not favorable for them.
“Azalea.” The brief silence is broken by her call. “If something happens that bothers you, you have to let me know about. Don’t just jump into trouble all on your own.”
She brings her business smile back. “Okay.”
Lillian raises a brow. “You know AB Academy is attended by reveils from all over the world. Each has different status and background.”
With Azalea’s personality, Lillian is sure that at some point she will draw the nobles’ ire. There is nothing good about getting needlessly involved with them, especially if it’s in a bad way.
“You know ICA’s nobles will be in the academy too. Don’t do anything that would attract unwanted attention.”
She stares intensely at Azalea who is casually smiling. That momentary pause and the look in her eyes carry heavy silence. She stares specifically at her face. If she doesn’t open her mouth, she is sure to become a campus celebrity. She then frowns as her forehead crease. She lets out a deep sigh before massaging her temple as if she suddenly got a headache.
“Nevermind… Even if you don’t do anything, you’d still attract attention.”
Azalea slightly tilts her head. “What now?”
“Azalea.” Her tone is solemn. “Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation again, okay?”
She pauses for a second. “… Mhm.”
Azalea smiles softly. “I’ll do everything in my power to stay out of trouble, I promise.”
At this point, Lillian is starting to reconsider how delicate the situation is. With the way things are moving, it sure is not ideal to leave Azalea on her own devices. When she was traveling and hunting alone, she was bound to trip either into an unfortunate accident or a planned tragedy. However, the academy is not the safest place for her either. It seems that there is something else at play that she currently cannot catch a glimpse of.
“What could Headmaster Dimasalang be planning?” She quietly ponders while blankly staring at the license inside the blender.
“What’s wrong?” Azalea’s voice rings.
She might have spaced out quite long to make Azalea worry. She locked eyes with her.
“O-oh… Right.” She collects her composure. “A train of thought just caught my attention. You may now go back and catch up with your studies.”
“Don’t forget what we just agreed on just now.”
Azalea then quietly leaves the room, while Lillian stays behind to ponder. She peeks at the blender with her demon hunting license for the last time before closing the door.
“She could have forcefully taken if she really wanted to.”
Everything seems fine in the surface…but there are sparks of chaos spread hidden behind these brightly painted scenes. If any of the sparks get ignited, it will cause a massive explosion. Such future might be inevitable. So, she must prepare as much as she can when the time comes... so that there will be less consequences.
∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞××× End ×××∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞
It took so long coz I didn’t know how to end the scene properly. It just didn’t feel right… but I think it’s ok now.
Look forward to Book 3 and Heaven’s Wing.
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