Chapter 22 – Rivals
by lemuel moo
Upon Kasumi’s orders, Gale went to look for her after school. He didn’t tell her about the Babel Square tournament, and after seeing Gale’s hostile expression towards Dylan, she was determined to find out more.
Gale walked towards a secluded area of the school where they keep piles of historical records. No one used those rooms anymore and it became a storage area of sorts.
As soon as Gale entered one of those storage rooms, Kasumi locked the door, promptly handcuffed him and sat him on a chair. Gale tried to resist but his weakness towards girls overtook him, and she overpowered him easily. After seating Gale down on a chair, Kasumi then sat on his legs and began to stroke his hair gently.
Gale was a helpless lamb in the face of a wolf.
As Gale gazed into her eyes and then explored the body curves of Kasumi, it was no doubt that she was beautiful. No one could give an adequate description of Kasumi. Feminine as a peony, but sporty and daring when the situation requires, she has a fantastic attractive personality that would move hearts even if she didn’t look attractive. Gale couldn’t help wonder why on earth did Kasumi choose to like him when she could have any guy in the world.
“So, you mind telling me why this hot shot Dylan transferred especially to Aelfsige Academy with such fanfare? What’s your beef between him and you?”
As Gale was in school, he tried to be polite. “M-Ms. K-Kasumi?! Why am I handcuffed and y-you’re on top of —“
At that moment, Kasumi licked Gale’s ear, and he squirmed because his ears were sensitive. His face was beet red, and he tried to back away, but Kasumi leaned her chests onto him and whispered into his ear.
“I’m the one asking questions, my dear Gale. And no honorifics when we are alone. Tell me what I want to know.”
For some reason, Kasumi appointed herself as Gale’s custodian. She didn’t like the fact that Gale hid something from her and she would resort to anything to dig it out.
Gale sheepishly replied, “I…I helped Zeel… in a tournament…”
Gale then explained what transpired in Babel Square, and how the situation between Zeel, Sunny, Dylan and Dinah came together. It dawned upon Kasumi that Gale nearly lost his life in such a dangerous tournament, so she started licking his inner ear profusely and refused to stop!
“Don’t stop. Continue speaking!”
Gale felt immensely aroused and ticklish as he struggled, but with his hands were handcuffed behind him, and with Kasumi’s weight resting on his laps, his struggles only provoked Kasumi to arouse him even more! Kasumi enjoyed Gale’s embarrassment and licked into his ears mercilessly!
“W-Why l-lick me w-while I explain?!”
“Then tell me, why are you always placed in situations where you could’ve lost your life?! If you can explain it, I will explain why I am going to eat you right now.”
Kasumi teased Gale’s ear till he blanked out in embarrassment and ecstasy! Gale’s breathing became hard, and there was no room for Gale to recover.
After some time, Kasumi whispered into Gale’s ear. “…Do you know why I choose this method of punishment?”
“Don’t you understand that it will break my heart if you lost your life?! I will do everything in my power to make you fall in love with me so that you will not throw your life away carelessly!”
Gale was taken aback from the forthcoming nature of Kasumi. Kasumi didn’t hold herself back from Gale at all! Gale struggled because she was her combat instructor, so he wanted to wait until he graduates from high school. But Kasumi kept pushing her boundaries, and his heart was getting stolen piece by piece.
Kasumi stared into Gale’s eyes and uttered these words. “…Do you like me?”
Gale looked into Kasumi’s big brown eyes and trembled. With that one question, a myriad of feeling and thoughts erupted within his heart. He couldn’t understand why Kasumi would fall for a guy like him, and he is more than happy to reciprocate her feelings back.
However, there was one secret he had been hiding for a very long time.
“…I-I have feelings for you, Kasumi. However, I-I need some time to think it through so I can’t respond properly yet.”
Kasumi was disappointed. “Why?!”
Gale paused to gather his thoughts for a moment.
“The truth is, Raine and I are not blood siblings, but our family kept it from her. You know how obsessed she is with me. If I date you now and afterward reveal that I’m not her blood brother, she is going to be very hurt. I need some time to think about it before we’re official.”
Kasumi froze for a moment as she contemplated on the magnitude of his secret.
“…Y-You mean, you’re not family with Raine?! T-Then…”
Gale sighed. He never intended to reveal his secret to anyone, but humans are complicated. Mouths run loose when people fall in love. Kasumi stopped sitting on Gale’s laps and pulled a chair to tune in to his seriousness.
“I promised her parents that I would reveal my secrets to her when she is fifteen. As you know, I’m a bodyguard to Clere, but my actual background is more complicated than that.
If word goes out and people start digging into my past when they found out that I’m not Raine’s blood brother, it may endanger her life. While I don’t want to keep you waiting, I need some time before I can respond to your feelings adequately!”
Kasumi leaned back on her chair and asked, “Do you like Raine romantically?”
“…No. I’ve only seen her as my little sister.”
Satisfied with Gale’s response, Kasumi leaned forward and kissed Gale on his lips. “I will wait for your response until you’re ready. Don’t keep me waiting for too long.”
Gale nodded and was immensely relieved that Kasumi was understanding towards him. He didn’t want to keep her waiting too.
At the same time where Gale went to meet Kasumi after school, Clere and Jacinta were chatting in their classroom, waiting for Gale to go home together. As there wasn’t kendo club that day, Hideki came to talk with them while Reynard had an errand to run.
Suddenly, Satori came running in and hugged Hideki’s arm!
“Hideki! Help me! There’s this new guy who’s been harassing me ever since lunchtime!”
Jacinta felt disgusted because Satori loved to stick close to Hideki whenever she was around. However, Dylan walked into the classroom and saw the group having a conversation together.
“Wow! There’s no lack of beautiful girls around here! Hello ladies! Nice to meet you!”
The group stopped chatting, and there was an air of awkwardness as they didn’t know how to respond to Dylan’s greeting. Hideki then turned to Satori and asked, “Is it him?”
Satori nodded while hiding behind Hideki. Hideki didn’t want to be rude to a person who just transferred into the school, so he took the initiative to greet Dylan.
“I’m Hideki Mizushima. Nice to meet you.”
“Oh! You’re the famous first-year student who’s supposed to great in swordsmanship. Nice to meet you, and I’m Dylan.
I was looking for you. Let’s have a duel!”
Everyone in the class heard the word ‘duel’ and fixed their eyes between Hideki and Dylan. Hideki didn’t understand why Dylan wanted a duel, so he began asking questions.
“We have an annual fighting competition in our school, and that’s coming this year. What is the duel for and why a duel now?”
Dylan laughed. “Don’t feel so flattered! You’re not the only person whom I asked anyway! I asked the seniors as well, and I thought it would be a good way to introduce myself to this school.”
Disgusted, Hideki shot back at Dylan. “So this challenge is only for your ‘ego trip’?!”
Dylan was happy that Hideki was so easily riled up. “It’s not so much an ‘ego trip’. I just thought I should see the popular fighters in the school are worthy of their name, that’s all. Besides, Satori liked you for your strength, doesn’t she? Every girl loves a strong guy!”
Satori was infuriated that Dylan mentioned her name and she snapped back. “Hideki is a gentleman and knows how to take care of girls well! Unlike someone who’s just a skirt chaser!”
Dylan attempted to put his face near Satori, but Hideki stepped in front and blocked him. Dylan then backed away and laughed.
“Girls still like alpha males, don’t they? Well, enough said. Let me know if you are willing to take me on. I’m sure Satori wants to see you shine, doesn’t she?”
Hideki remained silent and did not say a word. At that moment, Sunny came running into the classroom.
“Hey, guys! Have you seen Gale — wait, Dylan?!“
Dylan turned and saw his childhood sweetheart before him. He immediately walked towards her, but she took a few steps backward before scurrying towards Clere and Jacinta. “I’m here to look for Gale and not you. Go away.”
Dylan was unperturbed. “C’mon, we were childhood friends! And you are still the fairest among every girl I’ve seen around here!”
“Don’t make me puke.
Does anyone know where Gale is?”
Clere responded immediately to avoid Sunny from being harassed by Dylan. “Jacinta and I are waiting for him as he went to see a teacher. Do you want to wait with us?”
“Sure. And what’s Dylan doing here anyway?! He doesn’t belong to this class.”
“He came to issue a challenge to Hideki for a duel.”
Sunny was wide-eyed from the news. “Really?! What for?! Is Gale going to fight too?”
Jacinta and Clere looked at each other before the latter replied, “Gale’s not here, so we don’t know this challenge is going to involve — “
Immediately, Dylan interjected and responded to Sunny.
“Gale is my final boss fight. We can’t go for the ‘King’ in our first turn for chess, can’t we?”
Sunny smirked and taunted Dylan. “You have some unmitigated gall to challenge Gale! Do you want to be impaled by Gale’s stone swords again?”
All eyes were upon Sunny’s remark. Outside of Sunny and Dylan, no one knew anything about Gale’s stone swords, and everyone’s eyes glued at Sunny with interest. Dylan was displeased with Sunny’s words, but he remained his composure and walked away.
“He won’t be the ‘King’ for long, Sunny. Watch me dethrone him!”
Those chilling words echoed to everyone’s heart in the room and lingered for a while. As soon as Dylan leave, everyone who was in the place came to Hideki, and the class began questioning him.
“Are you going to respond and fight Dylan?!”
Hideki looked around and saw that the class had expectations written all over their face. Only Sunny, Jacinta and Clere were stoned-face as at least a dozen students crowded around Hideki.
Unable to let his class down, Hideki responded to their expectations. “I think someone needs to teach him a lesson or two. Dylan’s practically looking down on everyone in school!”
Sunny saw how strong Dylan was and remarked innocently.
“You’ll need to be as strong as my brother before you can fight Dylan. They are at least on par with each other, Dylan isn’t going to be easy.”
Hideki froze in disbelief as thoughts raced through his head. He was beaten by Zeel not too long ago, and his pause caused Clere to respond.
“You don’t have to respond to Dylan’s challenge. As you’ve said, it’s just his ego trip. There isn’t a need to — ”
Hideki didn’t like what he heard from Clere. He considered Gale as his rival and to witness Gale’s victory over Zeel while he resulted in defeat was unbearable. Moreover, Gale used a wooden sword, and Hideki saw himself as a swordsman.
“That means I have to become stronger than Zeel, isn’t it? I might ask him for practice before my duel with Dylan.”
Clere couldn’t believe Hideki’s words. In the past, Hideki was too cool to be provoked. But at that moment, Hideki was provoked by Dylan whom he hardly knew. Jacinta and Sunny looked at each other, wondering why Clere was looking surprised and Satori was all over Hideki.
“I know you can beat him, Hideki! Show Dylan what you’re made of!”
Clere could only smile wryly at both Satori and Hideki.
Dylan arrived home to see Mr. Raul, Dinah and Ivy chatting on a sofa. A sweet aroma of honey roasted turkey permeated the house, and at that moment, Dylan felt lucky to have a sister who was such a good cook.
“Smells good, sis! You’ve been outdoing yourself in the kitchen for a while now!”
Dinah was sitting away from Mr. Raul, with Ivy between them. Lately, she made attempts to bridge relations between Mr. Raul and herself by inviting him to dinner. However, Dinah made sure there was an extra guest because she couldn’t stand being alone with him.
Mr. Raul was in high spirits though. It seemed to him that Dinah was giving him a chance, and he hoped one day he could sit side-by-side with Dinah.
Dinah got up from her seat and walked towards the kitchen. “We’re still early for dinner. I’m going to get you some tea. Why don’t you join Mr. Raul and Ivy in their conversations since they are our guests?”
Dylan’s eyes trailed his sister’s movements as she walked away. He couldn’t help feeling suspicious because her recent change in attitude towards Mr. Raul was too abrupt. However, according to Mr. Raul, she never asked him anything about his work or Dylan’s plans, so there was no substance to his suspicions. She merely gripes about things that a sister would towards him.
Mr. Raul came to believe Dinah was trying to take steps to bridge communication between them. He surmised that Dinah was suffering from post-traumatic experience from being violated, so she required someone else around when he was with her. Psychiatrists urged Mr. Raul not to rush Dinah, or everything could head south very quickly since he was the cause of it all.
As Dylan sat down and Dinah brought him a cup of tea, Mr. Raul envisioned a happy family in his mind before snapping out of his daydream when Dylan stared at him.
“How’s the first day of school for you? I still can’t believe you wanted to enroll at Aelfsige Academy when you are a boss now!”
Dylan sipped his tea quietly and then replied. “Thanks to you, I’m a boss. However, I should still enjoy my teen years in school, isn’t it?
Have you looked into the people whom I requested to join me at school?”
Mr. Raul paused for a moment before replying. “Your plans are expensive, Dylan. You requested for assassins whom you can masquerade as teenagers and have them as your personal combat squad in school. Not only was it difficult to scout them out, but I also have to make sure they pass their background checks before Aelfsige Academy can even consider them.
Is all this effort worth it? Why don’t you focus on being the boss as you are now instead of getting your revenge on Gale?”
Dylan frowned at Mr. Raul’s words. He stole a glance at Dinah before looking back at Mr. Raul, and Mr. Raul knew what Dylan wanted to say.
“You’re only saying this because you got what you wanted. I’ve not gotten what I wanted!”
Mr. Raul knew that Dinah detests the fact that she was just a bargaining chip between Dylan and him, and he quickly tried to appease Dylan in order not to irritate her.
“The paperwork is under process, so it will be some time before they enroll in Aelfsige Academy.
More importantly, are you sure you can defeat Gale? It seems like a piece of cake to him when he fought against the Four Abominations!”
Dylan suddenly realized he was revealing his plans by accident in front of Dinah, and he looked at her instinctively. However, Dinah was reading a fashion magazine while Ivy stayed quiet when the men were talking. Thus he figured this wasn’t something too important to hide anyway.
“I’ve watched the match between Gale and the Four Abominations, and consulted other experts on it. Gale’s strength is just a fluke.”
Exasperated, Mr. Raul leaned back with a dry laugh. “A fluke?! You almost died when those stone swords impaled your body! If you didn’t have [The Iron Curtain] skill which I bought from those assassin’s, you would have died!”
Dylan quickly retorted back. “That’s just a miscalculation on my part! I didn’t realize the greatness of the [Five Elemental Wooden Sword] which Gale was wielding at that time.
I’ve done my research on that sword. It is only a trainee’s sword to master the [Ten Thousand Elemental Skill]. It lacks power, and it only allows the user to meld his [qi] and natural energy easily. In other words, with proper preparations, Gale’s techniques can be easily countered.
I have also consulted other experts with the video, and they commented that Gale’s strength is at most an ‘A’ grade assassin. He usually wouldn’t have the required energy to create stone swords from the ground, if the wooden sword wasn’t acting as a catalyst.”
Mr. Raul heard and nodded in reply, but he was a man of experience. He knew there was something more to Gale and he probed Dylan further to understand his train of thoughts.
“Then why did the Four Abominations lose to Gale?”
“They were careless. The Four Abominations wanted to take it slow by testing Gale’s strength, but unbeknown to them, Gale was familiar with the Drunkard’s moves. Thus, he went all out in his first battle and quickly overwhelmed the Drunkard.
Shocked by Gale’s sudden outburst, the rest of the Abominations became too cautious and lost their composure. Had they sent in a different fighter or kept him at arm’s length from the start, they wouldn’t have lost.
Lastly, Gale seemed to have stamina problems. Lucy stepped in at the right time and stopped the fight between the Glutton and him. There are limits to Gale’s strength.”
Mr. Raul reviewed the match himself, and he nodded his head in agreement to Dylan’s exposition. However, he wasn’t convinced still.
“That may be so, but Gale’s level of experience is unheard of at his age. He’s merely a teenager, but he fights like an 80-year-old veteran! We should look into where he got his battle experience from.”
At that point, Dylan was unwilling to reveal more since Dinah was around. He retook a side glance at Dinah, and then replied Mr. Raul.
“I already have some leads to his wealth of experience, but we will discuss this in your office. We can’t bore our ladies here, can we?”
Ivy responded enthusiastically. “Don’t worry about me! I want to know how to beat Gale! However, it may not be so for Dinah. She’s been browsing for a dress in these magazines for some time now.”
Mr. Raul hurriedly mellowed his tone and sounded like a squirrel. His usually arrogant tone as a boss was reduced to fluffiness as he sought for Dinah’s favor meekly.
“D-Dinah, if you find anything you want, just let me know, okay? I will get it for you as soon as possible!”
Dinah looked at Mr. Raul coldly and then resumed reading the magazine.
“Of course you are paying for it. It’s for the dinner-party you wanted me to accompany you in.”
Mr. Raul was elated at Dinah’s response. “Y-You agree to be my partner?! I’ve never heard you agree to my proposals!”
Dinah didn’t turn her head and replied coldly. “Just for this party. This is not the first time I’ve accompanied you to a party since you used me like a trophy to brag to the other lynchpins.
However, I’m getting bored with all your secret agents following me around anyway, so I thought I would use this opportunity to get a breather. I also thought I should reward you a little since you swore you would never bring another girl to a party and you’ve been keeping your word.”
Mr. Raul was embarrassed before Ivy and Dylan, but he was immensely happy that Dinah was willing to accompany him for a party.
“I-I’ll tell my agents to be more careful and inconspicuous — “
Before Mr. Raul could complete his sentence, Dinah cut him off sharply. “What for? I can’t talk to a storekeeper without you checking his background. It will just inconvenience your agents further, and I feel bad for them.”
Mr. Raul realized his over-protectiveness was such a nuisance to Dinah. He immediately flipped his phone and barked an order to his men not to follow Dinah around.
“There! I’ve told them to stop following you! Perhaps this will make you feel happier — “
Dinah shook her head and heaved a sigh in disappointment.
“Do you really think I’m that clueless? Dylan’s men are watching me as well.
I’ll go take the turkey out as it should be ready.”
Dinah stood up and removed herself from them. Mr. Raul was shaken to his core because he thought he made two steps of improvement when she agreed to accompany him to a function, but yet he took three steps backward with his over-protectiveness. Mr. Raul turned to Ivy for advice as a result.
“Ivy! You’re a woman so what should I do?”
Ivy was suspicious of Dinah too. She discussed with Dylan that Dinah’s behavior was indeed too abrupt. However, she detested insecure guys, and she thought Mr. Raul and Dylan were taking it too far.
“If I were her, I would be offended if my man is so stifling with his over-protectiveness. There’s no way romance can blossom without some level of freedom.
Dylan, you need to remove your men from monitoring your sister as well.”
Dylan glared at Ivy because she had the same suspicions as he had. However, Ivy shook her head and sighed.
“You men are just too much. Isn’t it enough that you are actively monitoring her mobile phone?!
I’ll go help Dinah in the kitchen.”
Ivy stood up and walked to the kitchen, leaving the men speechless in frustration. Mr. Raul then took his mobile phone and overrode Dylan’s commands to his men, to the latter’s dismay.
“All of you, stand down immediately! I don’t want to hear anything about monitoring Dinah! If she even gives a slight sigh about it, I will have your heads rolling on the floor!”
Mr. Raul’s actions angered Dylan, and the latter clenched his fists tightly. Dylan knew he was only a ‘puppet boss’ because Mr. Raul could always override his authority and assume control on a whim.
At that moment, Dinah overheard Mr. Raul’s scream from the kitchen, and she gave a slight grin.