Updat𝓮d fr𝙤m 𝓯𝓻𝓮𝓮𝙬𝓮𝙗𝓷𝒐𝓿𝓮𝙡.𝒄𝒐𝙢
Chapter 23: Testing
After donning the night robe, I immediately tried it on, relishing the feeling of its fabric against my skin. It felt remarkably comfortable, and I couldn't help but strike a few poses, adjusting the robe to find the best fit. I wished I had a mirror to see how it suited me, and I turned to Meralda for her opinion.
"Hey, Meralda, does it suit me?" I questioned, looking at her expectantly.
Meralda glanced at me with a look of disdain, clearly still harboring her dislike for our interaction. Despite her evident reluctance, she replied, "Yes, it suits you well."
I held my chin in thought, nodding my head in satisfaction.
I supposed the night robe would indeed complement my physique, given that it was tailored for Adrian's build. After a few more minutes of admiring the robe, I decided it was time to return.
"I guess I'm done here now. I better head back to the academy," I stated.
Upon hearing my words, Meralda's expression unexpectedly brightened, and she couldn't conceal her happiness. "S-so you're going now?" she asked, her voice tinged with uncertainty. free(w)ebnovel(.)com
"Yes, I guess it's time for us to bid farewell to this forest," I replied, feeling a hint of disappointment as I gazed at the beautiful surroundings.
"Wait, what do you mean by 'we'?" Meralda inquired, her confusion evident.
"We, as in the two of us, of course. As my personal spirit, you're coming with me, you know," I responded nonchalantly, expecting her to have grasped that idea from the moment she became bound to me.
"I can't leave this forest. Who will protect the moonlit tree and manage this forest? The seal of Kaksan has become unstable due to your presence, so the forest needs me more than anyone right now," Meralda hurriedly tried to explain her situation, desperately hoping that I would understand.
"Hmm? I don't care about all of that. If anything, it's your fault for trying to attack me in the first place. I would've just hurried up and left if you guys had just talked to me or something," I replied, showing little sympathy for her plight.
She wouldn't have been enslaved, and all the other unfortunate events in this forest wouldn't have happened if they hadn't attacked me in the first place.
I wasn't sure about how I had influenced Kaksan's seal, but it was clear in my mind that killing him was Tristan's job, not mine. Even if he did wake up faster than expected, I made a silent promise to take care of him myself the next time I visited this forest.
"Let's get out of here. I don't want to be late," I said, impatient to return to the academy.
"Wa-wait, listen—" Meralda attempted to plead, but I didn't give her the chance to finish. My decision was clear, and I was determined to bring her with me, whether she liked it or not.
It took some time even after Meralda used her full speed to carry me, as I had ordered her to fly straight to the Academy for convenience. I couldn't help but chuckle slightly, looking at Meralda's irritated expression.
As we landed near the commercial district of the academy, I was in awe. It was 2 am in the morning, but the commercial district was still alive and bustling. There were even some students roaming around. Had I worried for nothing, or were these students who had managed to escape the dorm curfews? How resilient they were.
I strolled through the streets, checking out all the shops. It felt like a festival, a truly wondrous sight. Of course, the nearby people couldn't see Meralda floating right beside me, as she was a spirit. They could only see her when she manifested. The only people capable of seeing her right now would probably be the principal and Louise.
Then, it happened. I bumped into someone, and a frail-looking guy fell to the ground as he collided with my shoulder.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Are you okay?" I asked, reaching out my hand to help him up.
"Watch where you're going, kid," he said angrily, slapping my hand away before getting to his feet and storming off.
I couldn't help but think he was a rude person, even though I had only tried to help and apologize. However, something about the tattoo on his shoulder looked awfully familiar.
Where had I seen it before? I pondered for a while, but nothing came to mind. Minutes passed, but still, nothing. Then, it suddenly hit me—it wasn't because I had seen it, but because I had read about it. That guy was part of the Black Lion Organization, hidden deep within the academy. What a coincidence.
The memories of the Black Lion Organization flashed in my mind. The moment they showed their true colors and involved the students in their crimes, the school immediately blacklisted them and, they had been easily wiped out when the principal made her move.
I tried to recall their boss's name. Was it Rosal? No, maybe it was Rosil? The exact name escaped me, but I did remember reading about the brutal descriptions of his demise as he tried to enslave innocent students. He had met an ending deserving of a villain.
Then, an idea popped into my head. If they were bound to get wiped out anyway, why not take matters into my own hands? I chuckled at my own genius. These guys were basically free offerings. I looked at Meralda and instructed her to find the man who had bumped into me.
"Why?" she asked, puzzled by my request.
"You don't need to know," I replied, my thoughts already racing ahead.
The night, a representation of the absence of day, brought with it an impenetrable darkness, the perfect cloak for those who deemed themselves as predators.
In a dimly lit basement concealed within the bustling commercial district of Estelle Academy, beneath the veil of the night sky, a harrowing scene unfolded.
Amidst the shadows, a man's agonizing screams pierced the eerie silence.
"B-boss, please wait," the man whimpered, his voice trembling with fear.
"Acckkkk!" he screamed, his plea echoing through the dimly lit chamber.
"We seriously did not harm a student—" another man attempted to explain, but his words were cut short as a brutal kick landed squarely on his head.
"Aghh!" he cried out in excruciating pain, clutching his injured skull.
"Tsk," came the disapproving sound from a muscular figure with a conspicuous lion tattoo etched on his face. He sat regally in a worn chair, leisurely puffing on a cigar, his eyes filled with disdain as they fixated on the two unfortunate souls.
"I don't care whether you harmed a student or not," he said, rising from his seat with a slow, deliberate movement, his subordinates who was beating the two men immediately moved away.
"What I care about is how you let that student escape. You allowed a single, insignificant student to sever one of your arms! You are members of our Pride, the black lions of this academy, and you let this disgrace occur?"
The Black Lions, a dark underground organization operating discreetly within the confines of Estelle Academy, held an enigmatic presence that eluded the scrutiny of the academy's upper echelons.
Although they didn't boast an extensive membership, their influence reached deep into the academy's underbelly, where they orchestrated a dark web of operations.
One of their most notable ventures was their iron grip on the institution's black market.
Estelle Academy, despite its esteemed reputation, still had its dark side, as it expanded over the years, and grew larger, the sprawling institution became increasingly difficult for the academy's administration to control every facet of its existence.
Unbeknownst to the academy's higher-ups, an intricate black market had emerged within its labyrinthine corridors and hidden recesses, beyond their scope and jurisdiction.
The Boss's kicks rained down mercilessly upon the two battered figures. They desperately tried to offer explanations; their voices drowned in the chorus of their own agony.
"Badil was with you, damn it! What happened to him, HUHHH?" the man roared in fury, his subordinates unable to meet his seething gaze, knowing that it was their incompetence that had invited this violence upon them.
Badil, despite being one of the most unsettling members of their group, held a unique place in the boss's heart.
Among the motley crew of misfits and rogues, he stood out as the only mage capable of wielding high-ranking dark magic. His talents were exceptional, and they were a crucial asset to the gang's operations.
What set Badil apart was his mastery of hypnosis magic. This particular skill proved invaluable when it came to misdirecting the authorities and throwing them off the organizations trail.
His hypnotic abilities allowed them to weave intricate illusions, manipulating the perceptions of those who sought to apprehend them.
The boss becoming more and more irritated that they somehow lost Badil, tried to end the two right then and there, but before he could do so a man's scream stopped him.
"B-boss!" gasped a man with wild green hair, his chest heaving as he struggled to catch his breath. "We're under attack," he managed to convey between labored breaths.
To this, their boss, known as Rosil, scoffed dismissively. "So what? Hurry up and beat the living daylights out of them," he retorted casually, as though confrontations like these were everyday occurrences.
"Are you a newbie or something?" Rosil questioned mockingly. "Fights like this tend to happen sooner or later," he explained, his subordinates chuckling at the green-haired man's expense.
"Is this kid for real?" one man guffawed, his laughter mingling with the others in the room.
"Go back up there, kid, and prove yourself!" another man chimed in, the mirth in his voice undeniable.
Amidst the cruel laughter and their colleagues writhing in agony, the two unfortunate souls continued to gasp for breath, the darkness of the night concealing their torment, while the predatory instincts of their boss and comrades ruled the shadows.
"You guys don't get it! They are all DEAD! ALL OF THEM!" The green-haired man screamed, his voice strained and frantic, as if he had just witnessed the unthinkable.
"Huh?" Rosil, the leader of the Black Lions, was about to inquire further when, abruptly, the room plunged into darkness.
It was a mere flicker, but in that brief moment, Rosil's sharp eyes caught sight of a vivid purple slash before everything was engulfed in shadow.
Suddenly, something wet trickled down Rosil's cheeks, causing him to instinctively touch his face. His fingers came away damp and sticky.
His instincts set in, and he urgently demanded that someone restore the lights.
"Hey, you idiots! Someone turn the lights back on!" Rosil's voice was laced with a growing sense of dread.
"We can't, boss," one of his subordinates explained, their voice quivering.
"What do you mean you can't?" Rosil demanded, his patience wearing thin. His subordinate, sensing his boss's rising anger, scrambled to rectify the situation.
A fire mage among them acted quickly, conjuring a low-level fire spell, Torchial, which cast a flickering fireball-like torch into the air.
"You could've done that from the start!" Rosil snapped at his subordinate.
But instead of the expected apology, the subordinate's face contorted with fear as he gazed past Rosil. "B-boss," he stammered, pointing a trembling finger behind him.
Rosil turned, and a chill raced down his spine. The comrades who had been standing close by just moments ago were now decapitated, blood gushing from their necks. It was then that Rosil realized what the liquid on his cheeks had been: the warm, crimson spatter of their blood.
Tension and fear surged through him, and he swiftly drew the sword from his waist, adopting a defensive stance.
"Everyone, be on guard!" he shouted, trying to rally his remaining subordinates. However, eerie silence greeted his command. He knew the answer without needing confirmation.
In that dimly lit basement, it became chillingly apparent that only he and the fire mage remained.
"Are you Rosil?" a mysterious voice echoed from the shadows behind the fire mage.
"Aghck" The fire mage gasped and sputtered blood as a sword pierced his heart from behind. The figure twisted the blade before withdrawing it, plunging the room back into darkness as the fire spell was extinguished.
"I'll ask again, are you Rosil?" the enigmatic figure's voice reverberated through the darkness.
Rosil, undeterred, attempted to launch an attack, slashing at the air where he believed his unseen assailant to be, however, his blade struck nothing but empty space.
"A muscular build, red hair, and that lion tattoo on your face fits all the description" The voice continued, describing his appearance, even mentioning the distinctive lion tattoo etched onto Rosil's face.
Though the situation was unexpected and unsettling, Rosil refused to panic. His mind raced, searching for an escape strategy.
He had survived countless life-and-death scenarios, and he maintained the confidence that he could emerge from this one unscathed.
"Who are you?" Rosil demanded, closing his eyes to concentrate and extending his aura to sense the presence of his mysterious adversary.
To his astonishment, he felt the figure already in front of him. He swung his sword horizontally, intending to cleave his unseen foe in two, but before he could connect, both his arms were severed from his shoulders.
"AGHH!!" Rosil's anguished scream echoed through the room as he fell to his knees, clutching the stumps of his arms.
Suddenly, the lights flickered back to life, and what Rosil saw horrified him. The room was littered with the mutilated corpses of his twenty men, seemingly hacked from all directions.
Hundreds of small, black hands with mouths in their palms crawled toward the remains, slowly devouring them.
Laughter and tears mingled in Rosil's mad outburst. "Hahaha," he cackled, gripped by sheer madness.
"Who the hell are you? Why are you doing this to us?" Rosil finally demanded of the mysterious figure. Now that the lights were on, he could see the stranger clearly: dressed in black robes that concealed their entire body and head, with a smiling white mask and wielding two ominous black swords. The figure spoke, but Rosil couldn't comprehend their words.
"Hmm, your worth is lower than I thought," the mysterious figure remarked. "As expected, those with pure hearts would have been better, but that would have caused me trouble."
"Hey!" Rosil shouted, but his plea was cut short as the figure swiftly beheaded him. With a simple slash, his head rolled from his body. Rosil, the leader of the Black Lions, was no more.
The mysterious figure then turned their attention to two men who had been brutally beaten but somehow survived the massacre. Approaching them, the figure remarked,
"Hmm, I thought you guys looked familiar. What a coincidence, eh?" the mysterious figure said with amusement.
The battered men tried to mumble incoherently in response.
Raising their hands, the mysterious figure murmured
"Don't worry; you'll be in a much better place now." A colossal black hand manifested beneath the two men, engulfing them whole.
After only a few days, the aftermath of the gruesome incident sent shockwaves through the heart of Estelle Academy's secretive underworld, plunging it into a state of profound chaos and turmoil.
The news of Rosil's demise, along with the annihilation of the Black Lions, spread like wildfire, and the academy's hidden denizens were left reeling from the sudden power vacuum.
In a certain room, a sharp, distinctive beep echoed through the air, cutting through the ambient sounds of the environment.
Simultaneously, a holographic blue screen materialized in front of Adrian's eyes, surprising him with its sudden appearance.
[Complete] [Protect the Innocent]
[Reward: mana +500 aura +500]