Chapter 21 – A Nemesis Approaches
by lemuel moo
Right after the Babel Square tournament, Zeel spent most of his time gathering information about Dinah, Dylan and Mr. Raul. He wanted to visit Dinah in the hospital since she was accidentally stabbed by Sunny when she shielded her brother, but after searching in the nearby local hospitals, it was a fruitless endeavor.
Undaunted, Zeel used his network of friends and found that Dinah stayed into a private hospital and there were many guards around her. However, one of his worker’s girlfriend worked as a nurse at that hospital in pure coincidence, and he began sending private letters to Dinah through the nurse.
At first, Dinah was hesitant to reply and told the nurse to convince Zeel to give up on her. However, the nurse refused after hearing about what had transpired at Babel Square, and she continued to coax Dinah day after day with Zeel’s letters.
Dinah’s heart softened after a while, and eventually, she replied to the letters. Her phone was monitored continuously by Mr. Raul, so there was no quick way to communicate with Zeel outside of handcrafted words. She was relieved that Zeel was doing well, and Zeel was elated that he could talk with her just like old times.
As Mr. Raul was anxious about Dinah’s health, she spent way more time than she needed at the private hospital. Thus, she was able to communicate with Zeel regularly, and her love for Zeel grew because Zeel was very tender to her in his letters.
But alas, after a few months in the hospital, the doctor released Dinah to go home, and it was time to say goodbye.
“Take good care of yourself, alright? You have been working too hard as a nurse. You need a break soon!”
“I will! I’m sorry I can’t help you any further than this, but I’m sure that man will do something about it!”
Dinah sighed. She knew Zeel was a relentless and stubborn man, and she feared that he might get into trouble. Nevertheless, this was the very reason why she fell for him.
“I hope he doesn’t go too crazy! From here on out, we’ll see how it goes. Let’s keep contact as friends!!”
“Alright! Give me a call anytime!”
A big man with curly hair walked in with two bodyguards. That big man wore a suit and had several expensive rings on his fingers.
“Ready to go now, Dinah?”
Dinah’s expression immediately turned cold. She didn’t say a word and walked out of the hospital room. The men followed her, and the big man tried to get into her good books.
“I’ve prepared some tonic for you! Staying on the hospital bed for too long isn’t beneficial for your health!”
With a straight face, Dinah coldly asked a question. “Mr. Raul, what is my brother up to these days?”
Mr. Raul frowned with disappointment at her tone. “’Mister’? Isn’t it about time you call me without the honorifics already?”
Unrelentless, Dinah repeated herself. “Mr. Raul, I have not seen my brother during my stay at the hospital. What is he up to now?”
Mr. Raul stopped pushing for intimacy with Dinah, sighed and he replied.
“Dylan has been doing lots of martial arts training lately. I bought him some new manuals from an assassins group, and he’s focused on getting stronger.”
“…I see. Dylan’s trying to get back at Gale, isn’t he?”
“Well, yeah. I told Dylan that we have more important things to do, but that boy never listens.
What would you like for dinner today? I should bring you out for dinner after such a long time!”
“I prefer to cook for myself today. I missed cooking a lot, and I have been eating food prepared by others for months now so I will be going to the supermarket.”
“Let me accompany you there then!”
Dinah knew that was as far as she could go in rejecting Mr. Raul’s advances. She never forgave him for violating her body, and Mr. Raul knew that Dinah was only talking to him because of her brother. Dinah also knew that if she was too cold to Mr. Raul, one day he might lose control and could start abusing his power on her again.
Mr. Raul desired not for a sex toy, but a life partner. He admired Dinah for her maturity, good sense, not taken in by money and all the traits of a good wife. That’s why Mr. Raul was extraordinarily patient with Dinah. Hopefully, he could convince her to accept his love one day.
Dinah became deep in thought as she walked. As much as Dinah despised Dylan’s antics, she still loves him since he was her only kin. But Zeel was precious to her too. Both Dylan and Zeel shared the same family situation where they were orphaned early, and it was heartbreaking for her that the people who grew up with her were at odds with one another.
But Dinah knew Dylan had been abusing her sisterly love for him to get what he wants. Clenching her fists tightly, she resolved in herself to disrupt Dylan’s schemes before Zeel and Sunny get hurt again.
“I’m in the mood of cooking something for you today too, Mr. Raul. What would you like to have for dinner?”
Mr. Raul couldn’t believe his ears. “Really?! That’s very rare! I prefer a steak!”
“Sure, we will have steak tonight. Get my brother to this dinner too, because he owes me an apology for the stab wound I took for him and he hasn’t even visited me once!”
Mr. Raul cursed his luck for not having private time with Dinah, and he motioned his bodyguard to summon Dylan for tonight’s dinner quickly.
“He will be there at the dinner table, Dinah! I will make him come to you and apologize.”
It wasn’t comfortable for Dinah to manipulate others to get what she wants, but she knew she needed to do that, or she would forever be in this invisible prison.
It was four in the morning, and Gale arrived at Clere’s house to train Clere. After doing some basic warm-ups and stretching, Clere was caught yawning, and Gale laughed before handing her a bottle of pills.
“Take one of these pills. It will keep you alert and nourish your brains even when you are sleep deprived.”
“…Are you sure you are a qualified pharmacist?”
“Well, don’t eat it then. I will be taking one for myself.”
Gale popped one of the pills into his mouth and started using his [qi] to digest quickly. Clere didn’t want to be left out, so she popped one of the pills too and after activating her breathing technique. Almost immediately, she could feel her weariness lift from her shoulders!
“T-This pill is amazing! It is almost a cheat pill for late studying!”
“Aunt May and I depend on these pills for many years so that you can trust us on that.
Now, try to release your [qi] in your meditative posture and let me see how far have you progressed in your practice.”
Clere sat upright, closed her eyes, and began using her [Turtle Breathing Technique]. After a short while, she released her [qi] and cloaked herself with her energy. It was impressive because martial artists could only envelop their bodies with [qi] were generally at least a ‘C’ class assassin!
“Not bad, considering the amount of time you took to get to this level. Looks like you could cloak your entire body with your energy and it feels stable. You are on for the next stage.”
Clere stopped her breathing technique and enquired further. “So what’s the next stage?”
Gale looked into Clere’s eyes as he readied himself for battle. “Produce [Cursed Ink] on your own and fight me with your abilities.”
The Sigrun family has a family technique called [Cursed Ink]. It was a combination of magic sequences and martial arts, where users use blood and mark their bodies with incantations. Using a unique breathing technique as a catalyst, users meld their [qi] with mana generated by the chant, and the mixture would produce [Cursed Ink].
[Cursed Ink]’s strength lies in its versatility. Its strength grows in the imagination and power of the user, and it can transform itself into basic magical elements, or as sealing techniques to restrict movement.
The drawback of this technique is that it uses a lot of energy. [Qi] and mana must be melded together as a ratio of 1:1 before [Cursed Ink] can be produced.
It wasn’t after Clere learned the [Turtle Breathing Technique] that she could even produce an ounce of [Cursed Ink]. The fruits of her hard work began to appear as she drew in the air as though there was an invisible canvas.
“You gained significant strength over the past month, and now is the time to use it. The [Cursed Ink Technique] requires a tonne of [qi], and it’s crucial for you to learn how to be efficient with your power while fighting.
For today’s lesson, let’s try to generate [Cursed Ink] with one of your trainee pens.”
Trainee pens were brushes made by Agatha from a particular tree which absorbs magical power. Using trainee pens, Clere found it much easier to combine mana with [qi] since the wood acts as a catalyst.
These trainee pens’ length was about a short sword’s length, and its bristles were soft. Thus, Clere must harden them with her energy, or it wouldn’t be much of a weapon.
Clere took one trainee pen and began activating her [Cursed Ink] technique. Glyphs with an unknown language started to glow in her arms, and her [qi] began to mix with a magic power that was flowing from the glyphs.
A magic circle appeared under Clere, and black ink started to ooze out of the tip of the pen! It was Clere’s first successful attempt at creating [Cursed Ink], and she was so thrilled that she leaped for joy!
“I can’t believe it! Athena managed to create [Cursed Ink] at eleven, and I thought I had no talent for our family’s skills! Now, I am a proud member of the Sigrun family!”
Gale looked at Clere’s adorable smile and savored the moment. When Clere looked at Gale, he hurriedly caught himself and began giving training tips to Clere.
“I heard from Athena that magic circles aren’t supposed to appear while you fight with [Cursed Ink]. If magic circles appear, it means your melding with magic and [qi] is not optimal at fifty-fifty. On top of training your [qi] with [The Turtle Breathing Technique], you will have to spend an hour practicing your [Cursed Ink Techniques] every day.
We will meet daily at four in the morning for sparring sessions. I will try to impart my experience as much as I can and teach you how to regulate your energy during your fight. Remember, if you are out of power, you’re a sitting duck!”
Clere was fired up with the success of her [Cursed Ink Technique], and she assumed her battle pose immediately for a sparring match.
“I’m ready! Bring it on!”
It was the start of the week at Aelfsige Academy.
During the first lesson, a dozen black cars drove into Aelfsige Academy. The screeching noise from the wheels caught everyone’s surprise in the class, and some students peeked through the windows to find out what was going on.
“I’ve heard a rich kid is coming to join us in our school! I wonder which class it would be?”
“It’s the ‘A’ class!”
“I hope he’s handsome!”
Clere heard murmurings across the classroom, and she stole a glance at her friends. Hideki was looking around for someone to tell him about this new person. Gale couldn’t care any less as he was hiding his comics with his textbook and pretended to be studious.
Reynard didn’t dare to look anywhere else, but his textbook and Jacinta was daydreaming while she stared mindlessly.
Miss Mia had enough of the murmurings and started to explain the commotion which was happening on the ground floor.
“Class, since all of you are so curious, I will just let you know what’s happening today. A student by the name of Dylan is coming to study at our school today!”
At once, Gale put down his book and stared at Miss Mia. The latter didn’t know why Gale was staring at her and she nervously asked.
“W-What’s wrong, Gale? Is Dylan your relative or something?”
“No, I need to go to the toilet urgently now!”
Miss Mia nodded, and Gale rushed out of the class. Clere heard everything that transpired during the Babel Square tournament, and she knew in heart that Dylan was terrible news.
Is Sunny going to be in danger?! I heard that this Dylan is obsessed with Sunny!
Clere raised her hands and asked to be excused to visit the washroom too. As she promptly left the classroom, Hideki’s eyes were following after Clere and wondered what was going on with her.
Gale called Zeel during this toilet break. “Zeel, you’re not going to believe this. Dylan has enrolled in our school!”
“WHAT?! I’M COMING OVER RIGHT NOW!”
“Chill, dude! There’s nothing you can do if he’s an official student at Aelfsige Academy! However, you were telling me that you communicated with Dinah through letters. Did she mention anything specific regarding Dylan?”
“…She just mentioned Dylan’s been beefing up his martial arts with the skills Mr. Raul bought from various assassin groups. Outside of that, he didn’t do anything abnormal!
YOU’VE GOT TO PROTECT SUNNY FOR ME, YOU UNDERSTAND?!”
Gale held his mobile phone away from his ears for a while. Zeel shouted into his phone with anger.
As Gale looked to the other end of the corridor, he quickly summarized his reason to call Zeel. “You need to relax! I don’t want you to charge into school with your workers and create unnecessary trouble! I-I have to hang up. Dylan’s right in front of me with Kasumi.”
“Wha — “
Clere managed to catch up with Gale from behind and wanted to tap on his shoulder, but she found herself looking at Kasumi and a new face as they walked towards both Gale and her.
Kasumi saw Gale and Clere, and she innocently asked a question.
“Hey, Gale! Isn’t there supposed to be class right now?”
Gale didn’t look at Kasumi and glared straight into Dylan’s eyes. Dylan laughed as he saw Gale’s murderous expression.
“Relax! I’m just here as a student! And what a beautiful place this is! Full of beautiful structures, and beautiful ladies…”
Dylan purposely stole a glance at Kasumi’s skirt, and Gale’s blood began to boil. However, Gale knew better than to react to Dylan’s taunts, and he turned to Kasumi.
“I’m just going to the bathroom, Ms. Kasumi. I will be heading back to class shortly.”
“Oh, okay. Many teachers were busy, so I was tasked to bring Dylan to bring him to his class. It seems like both of you know each other…”
Kasumi noticed the tensed atmosphere between Dylan and Gale, and she knew that it was unwise to probe further at that point.
“By the way, Gale. You still owe me your combat assignment report, so I want to see you after school.”
It was a lie, and Gale knew what was Kasumi after.
“Sure, I will give you my ‘report’.”
Clere didn’t say a word and followed after Gale, but before she could take a few steps, Dylan stepped in front of her and introduced herself.
“I’m Dylan, and I’m new here! Nice to meet you!”
Clere was feeling extremely awkward because he heard all about Dylan and now she was required to shake his hands for courtesy’s sake.
“…And I’m Clere. Nice to meet you.”
After Clere shook Dylan’s hands quickly, she followed Gale, and both of them went in the direction of the bathrooms. Dylan immediately turned to Kasumi.
“This school is like a nest of beautiful girls! I should’ve enrolled here earlier!
Do you happen to be single, Ms. Kasumi?”
Kasumi didn’t turn her head and walked straight on. “…Let’s get to your class quickly, Dylan! It’s getting late!”