Chapter 119 Arrival (Part 3)
He’d already been made curious like everybody else by why Daichi had been given so much attention but that had all been blown away with a casual comment from Daichi earlier. The way he described his ‘attack’ was far too close to the truth and the secret behind how he could utilize mana-vibrations. Not even the two instructors could figure it out, but the way Daichi had casually commented made it seem as if he had.
After giving them an appraising look. Especially Haeru who Daichi seemed to feel some sort of affinity with, he asked them a strange question that left them both creasing their brows.
“If I were to ask you what your biggest secret was. If I was to ask you to tell me something extremely personal, something you wouldn’t tell anyone else. What would you tell me?”
Daichi wanted information but knew it was going to be hard. He wasn’t good with beating around the bush and he just wanted conversation and not more restraints. He knew that he still wasn’t in Lumea and his situation was precarious but also knew this was the time to make connections. These other kids were likely the crème of the crop. Anyone entering Lumea Academy was special. Whether it was before or now. So he was planning on telling some of these people the truth… Part of the truth anyways. That he wasn’t from Lumea city, that he was from somewhere far away and that he was proof that other people elsewhere were still alive or could be. After the conversation he’d had with Lydia, he knew how big of a deal that would be to anyone.
This would already be a big sign of friendship, except he knew he couldn’t go around telling just anybody. ‘The guy before was funny, but I don’t need funny people I need useful people.’ The only person that qualified to fill this role so far was Haeru.
After a rolling awkward silence Leo began discussing the events that transpired with Haeru and whether they were occurring to the other teams as well. Leo commented on how even though most of them had made it out alive, they’d still suffered some serious casualties.
“We took some serious hits…”
“Yes but it could have been so much worse” Haeru responded. He was an optimistic person that bordered on realism and even though they’d suffered some seriously dangerous situations, he was more than happy to acknowledge that he’d escaped unscathed.
“That’s my point… It could have been much worse. It wasn’t but it easily could have been. Those monsters you basically dealt with by yourself could have been all it took to wipe all of us out. If you hadn’t been able to do what you did we could all be dead. It’s not as if we didn’t deal with any other dangerous creatures along the way too. I shudder to think about all of the mishaps we may have just narrowly avoided and didn’t even know about.”
Haeru let it all sink in. He wanted to argue about how lucky they’d been but he was starting to realize where Leo was going with this. If they had just narrowly avoided so many difficult situations and had gotten so lucky, what about the other teams. Haeru had long figured out how strong his group should have bene relative to the strength of a lot of the other groups.
Seeing the look of confusion and fear spreading across Haeru, Leo couldn’t help but clench his fists together wondering about Marcos. Up until now his own life had been in constant danger and whether it was his own life or the lives of the people around him he simply hadn’t had any time to think about anything else. Now that things seemed to have finally settled down he finally had the time to realize how dangerous the entire situation had been and whether Marcos was doing alright. ‘His group should have been much weaker than ours…’
While Leo was worrying about his friend, Haeru was wondering how this exam could have been so dangerous. “This exam was supposed to have danger. They all do. Except, if all the other teams experienced the same number of casualties as we did. Wouldn’t we have lost more than double the number of lives as any other previous exam? That’s absurd.”
It was only after speaking his thoughts out loud that Haeru realized that Leo was probably thinking about Marcos. Leo had mentioned him on multiple occasions when they’d had a few minutes to discuss things other than life and death and being the closest friend Leo had. It was only natural that he’d come up.
Leo didn’t glance at Haeru because everything he’d just said was something he’d already been thinking about. Except he was being more pessimistic. In his mind they’d already been too lucky, too lucky.
What were the odds that everyone else had gotten as lucky as them and circumvented their odds as well as they had?
Misreading the situation Haeru decided he should liven the mood and recalled a fortunate scenario. “You’re right, we’ve been very lucky. Aside from the things we encountered and fought, we also ran into that one beautiful woman right? She all but said she wasn’t human and yet she didn’t seem to harbor any ill intensions towards us. Maybe it’s just been but I felt as if she was really terrifying. She seemed so normal and yet the fact that she could make herself seem so normal.. Isn’t that by itself terrifying?”
The words luck were a sore spot at the moment for Leo who was wondering how lucky his own friend had been. Surprisingly these words were the trigger for Daichi to speak up and join their conversation. “Would you mind telling me more about her? What makes you so sure she wasn’t human?”
A little surprised by Daichi finally jumping in on the conversation, Haeru hid his surprise and was more than happy to oblige the request. “She all but basically said she wasn’t. She spoke of humans as separate from herself. Not that we confirmed it or anything.”
Haeru watched Daichi looking for any reaction and when he got nothing he chose to continue.
“Even more strange is that she knew that Damien’s group was in trouble before they even seemed to begin their fight. She told us that if we wanted to help them we had to hurry back to them. Except, when we left it took us way longer than the fight they had actually lasted.” Haeru was a little confused about this himself. He hadn’t had too much time to think about it, but clearly they’d left before the monsters had even reached Damien’s group.
Instead of reciting a story, Haeru lost some of his focus on Daichi’s expressions and began speaking out loud instead “We left before they’d begun. Either she could see the future or maybe she was involved somehow. I guess it wouldn’t be too strange if she was a monster and therefore knew what other monsters were up too.”
‘Maybe. Maybe she just knew everything that was around her and what direction they were moving’ Daichi thought to himself unable from wondering whether it was one of the mare he’d known in the past. Even if she wasn’t one he knew, it wouldn’t be strange if she was a mare he simply didn’t know.
Although unlike the others this didn’t trigger a contemplative mood in Daichi. It just made him feel further refreshed at having participated in a conversation where he didn’t have to pretend to be multiple himself to get multiple perspectives.
Daichi didn’t seem like he was going to comment and Leo looked overly worried “I’m sure he’d okay Leo. You’re probably overthinking things.”
Leo didn’t relax. “I’m sure you’re right. Let’s get some sleep. We still have a long journey before we get back, and it’s not until we get back that we’ll get some answers to anything.”
“Right.” Haeru wanted to say something else. He felt a little guilty as if he’d only made things worse for Leo, but decided if he said anything else he might only make it even worse again. Instead he chose to say nothing and gave Daichi a curt nod and laid down on the grass with his hands under his head. Leo didn’t move for a while but eventually did the same. All the while Daichi watched the others as most of them decided to get some sleep.
He found it strange that they could sleep and somehow still have so much mana. He’d wondered about this during the day and figured they all meditated instead of sleeping. He considered sleeping but knew that regardless of how safe it might seem, they were still out in the open. Moreover, there was no reason why he should trust any of them just yet, but he did decide right then and there that he would share part of his secrets with Leo and Haeru. They seemed reliable and leaders amongst the others from what he’d garnered throughout the day. Even though they were viewed highly by the others, they weren’t arrogant and they’d made the effort to approach him.
Daichi got into a cross legged position and entered a meditative state that felt all but too familiar. It didn’t take more than a moment to enter and he felt like he was returning home. Although Daichi couldn’t gather mana in the mist he could still meditate and often did. The soothing sensation of giving his mind a rest was a well needed reprieve. He’d meditated often in order to gain some clearheadedness while trying to contemplate a difficult concept.
The night passed by quickly and soon they were on the move again. Leo and Haeru stayed close by to Daichi and they made some small talk about the length of time it would take to reach Lumea and the things they’d encountered in the forest. The more he got to know them the more Daichi liked them. He’d never had many friends before, actually he’d never had any friends before and the closest he’d come had been Kaden/Hannah/Ava and none of them had truly been friends. Ava was always wary of him and trying to gain some upper hand. Kaden and himself were far too different. Hannah was the closest one he’d felt some actual attraction towards, except in the end her thoughts were always on her brother first. It had been a barrier that had always kept them from ever being on the same page and able to connect.
Daichi was enjoying occasionally speaking to these two new comers while paying attention to their conversations. Especially anything concerning Lumea which all seemed so foreign to him. They travled for days like this with Daichi slowly getting closer to them with the odd and occasional conversation with Lydia.
Although a hundred years or so had passed, Daichi would never have anticipated that so much had changed and so drastically. In the end it could all only be attributed to the change in the world they now knew that had to do with what had happened to the gods.
It truly made him wonder for the first time what had happened in-between the gods and just how much power they had that a dispute between them could truly alter the course of events of so many lives. Daichi finally felt the disparaging difference between the lives of mortals and the power the gods held.