Chapter 41 – Start Of The Training Camp

  • by lemuel moo

The evening before the school camp for all first-year high school students in Aelfsige Academy, Ivy met Dylan for dinner at a luxurious restaurant. As Dylan and Ivy were eating, Dylan asked. “So, have you come up with a new plan to get Sunny into the Flowers Of Death yet? It’s been some time since we talked about it.”

“About that,” Ivy said. “The Flowers Of Death decided to drop the pursuit of Sunny completely.”

Dylan raised his eyebrows. “That can’t be right. You wanted Sunny’s [Steel Maiden Technique] badly!”

Ivy replied. “It is what it is. I’ve been ordered to cease my pursuit of Sunny. If I disobey, it will be a death sentence.”

Dylan didn’t understand the sudden change with Ivy’s attitude, so he probed further. “Didn’t you tell me your goal is to be the boss of the Flowers Of Death? How are you going to the boss of the Flowers Of Death without power?”

“Power can be increased easily,” Ivy answered. “And it is not worth the risk to disobey the Flowers Of Death to get power. My boss is merciless if I transgress his command.”

“Cheh.” Dylan clicked his tongue. “All you’re saying is you’re chickening out because of your boss.”

Ivy retorted. “Excuse me. Rafflesia is one of the top five strongest in the world. There’s a reason why SPAW does not mess with us.”

Dylan gave up and mocked. “Fine. It’s not a big deal if Sunny joins the Flowers Of Death or not. I only wanted to see the suffering faces of Zeel and Gale. I can do that in my own way.“

“There’s another thing, “ Ivy continued. “This will be my last meal and contact with you. From here on, we’ll go on our separate ways.”

Dylan stared at Ivy. “What?! Why?”

“Boss’ orders, and it’s final,” Ivy said.

Dylan was confused and upset. He knew Ivy was a commander in the Flowers Of Death, and he wanted her support over his plans. Mr. Raul always complained that Dylan’s plans were expensive, and as Ivy and Dylan had the same goals of getting Sunny, Dylan tapped into Ivy’s strength and resources without paying a single dime while he supported Ivy with his own funds.

Ivy’s annulment of this relationship was too sudden, and Dylan felt he was played like a fool.

“C’mon Ivy! I was this close in getting my revenge on Gale! He was poisoned and caged like a bird, and suddenly someone saved him!

I’m only a hair’s breadth away from getting what I want! Once Gale is out of the way, Sunny will be easy! We should finish this together!”

Ivy answered coldly. “Dylan, don’t spoil my last meal with you. I’m not interested in destroying Gale because he has nothing to do with me. In fact, the entire Flowers Of Death will not accept any assassination jobs for Gale.”

Dylan couldn’t believe his ears. “How can this be?! What’s so special about Gale that none of you will accept an assassination request?”

“Beats me,” Ivy said. “You can always try with your money. Just see what they say at our front office.”

Dylan was desperate. “Truth be told, I’m planning a major operation during the school camp. Because of increased SPAW activity over the last week, many assassin guilds refused to be hired, and I’m stuck.

I was hoping to meet you today to talk about how we can cooperate to take down Gale. I’m not asking you to do it for free. I will pay you according to your market rate!”

Ivy saw that Dylan was relentless, so she knew she had to put a stop to his pursuit once and for all.

“Dylan, even though I’m a commander in the Flowers Of Death, I always cooperated with you alone without asking my underlings to help. Do you know why?” Ivy asked.

“No, I don’t.”

“We believe that girls should be independent, and if the task is about an individual, we do it ourselves and not rely on others. I had to recruit Sunny by myself, and that’s because it’s for my team.

The time has come for you to do it yourself. I’ve said we can’t take assassination jobs on Gale, and if you don’t believe me, check with our front office.”

Dylan was dumbfounded, and Ivy sighed. She placed her utensils down, took a sip of wine and wiped her mouth.

“I’m done, Dylan. Good luck in your endeavors and if you ever need my services again, call our front office.”

Ivy arose from her seat and headed towards the exit without looking back.

———-

It was a bustling Saturday morning at Aelfsige Academy. First-year students reported to school at 7 am with their bags and camping equipment. Each class had a dedicated bus that would take them to the mountains of Gilbor.

Clere looked around and saw Satori with her classmates from Class 1B. She noticed Dylan from Class 1A too and tried to avoid him. Clere thought to herself. “Where’s Gale? He’s not the type to be late.”

Clere spotted Reynard running up to a tree, and there was Gale amid the branches. Gale was reading a book and sitting on a thick branch to avoid the crowd, and Reynard his partner called out to Gale.

“Ms. Kasumi is looking for you!”

Gale nodded and jumped. He landed softly without a sound, and Clere saw that Gale could make himself as light as a feather. She walked up to him and asked. “Have you seen my partner, Jacinta?”

“Yeah, Jacinta’s over there with Hideki.”

Gale pointed to a corner, and Hideki and Jacinta were chatting. Clere heard from Reynard that Kasumi was looking for Gale, so she thought she should find her partner instead.

“I’ll catch you later on the bus!”

Gale replied. “Sure!”

As Clere walked towards Jacinta, the latter waved and greeted Clere. “Good morning! I was about to look for you!”

Clere walked up to both Hideki and Jacinta. “Good morning, both of you! What’re you chatting about?”

Hideki replied. “I was just advising Jacinta on some of the sword techniques we learned yesterday at the dojo. Jacinta’s progressing very fast, and I’m looking forward to seeing her shine in this training camp.”

Hideki didn’t know that Jacinta was a capable fighter before she enrolled into Aelfsige Academy, and he thought Jacinta was a quick learner. Clere could only smile wryly and agreed with Hideki.

“I’m sure Jacinta will shine in the training camp. Let’s go and meet with our class. We’ll be boarding the buses shortly.”

After settling the logistics and loading it to the buses, Class 1D began to board. Instead of Kasumi, Valerian was taking attendance of the students as they got on the bus.

The other classes looked at Class 1D with jealousy while the girls in Class 1D swooned towards Valerian. Miss Mia was talking with the school driver, and Kasumi was rounding up all the students.

Clere asked Hideki. “Where’s your partner?”

Hideki sighed. “Sang is running late! He called me this morning and — “

There was a commotion at the school gate, and Sang was running in. Sang was a brown, tall guy with very short spiky hair, and he ran up to Hideki.

“I-I’m so sorry! I almost missed the bus!” Sang panted.

Kasumi walked up to Sang and hit his head lightly with her roll of paper.

“And here you are, drenched with sweat before we even begin. Hurry up and put your stuff in the bus before boarding.”

Sang smiled sheepishly as he loaded his bag into the bus.

In a short while, Class 1D boarded the bus, and they began their four-hour journey to the mountains of Gilbor. Gale mischievously took some of Reynard’s snacks and started passing around.

“Here you go, folks! Reynard’s snacks for our bus ride!”

Reynard protested. “Don’t take so many, Gale! We need to savor them at the camp!”

Gale retorted. “But you have so many! I could feed the entire bus with your snacks and still have plenty left over!

What’s this here, hard-boiled eggs? You even have hard-boiled eggs for this bus ride! Did you have a stove here too?”

Reynard blushed with embarrassment as he attempted to hide the snacks, while Gale playfully stole and exposed them. The rest of the class giggled, and Clere sighed.

“Gale’s just like a little kid.”

Jacinta quipped. “That just makes him adorable!”

Kasumi was happy that the class was enjoying themselves, and she sat with Miss Mia while Valerian sat alone at the other side. Valerian attempted to communicate with Kasumi, and he offered some snacks of his own.

“Try this! I got this from my hometown.”

It was chocolate layered with fragments of peanuts. The surface was crunchy, and at the core of it was liquid chocolate. Biting it would fill the mouth with sweet ecstasy. Kasumi and Miss Mia took one each, and Miss Mia exclaimed. “It’s so good!” Kasumi loved it too, and she placed her hand on her cheeks while enjoying the chocolate.

Pleased that Kasumi enjoyed the snack, Valerian pulled out more tricks from his hat to keep her entertained. He had marshmallows, candies and other sweets in store. Kasumi had a sweet tooth, so she gave in to those sweets.

As Valerian inched closer towards Kasumi, Miss Mia cheekily said. “You seemed to have a lot you want to talk with Kasumi about, Valerian. Why don’t we exchange seats?” Kasumi tried to protest. “But — “

It was too late. Miss Mia got up from her seat and Valerian swiftly too hers. The class saw Valerian’s smooth move and whispered among themselves. Kasumi didn’t want to embarrass Valerian, so she didn’t say anything else. Valerian offered another sweet, but Kasumi rejected. “I’ve had enough of them. Thanks!”

Valerian then said, “I’ve met Athena Sigrun during Operation Spitfire. She was our informant and told us where Charlie Spitfire was hiding.”

Raising her eyebrows, Kasumi said. “Should you be telling me about this? I’m not part of SPAW.”

“I figured you already know Athena’s background,” Valerian replied. “Besides, her sister is in our bus and from what Hideki told me, Clere and him were childhood friends.”

As Kasumi was Agatha’s agent, she knew not to confirm anything which Valerian said because she was sworn to secrecy. “We may be childhood friends, but that doesn’t mean I know what Athena is doing. Besides, Hideki and I moved away from Aelfsige City for five years, and we haven’t been in contact with the Sigrun family until we moved back.”

Valerian continued. “Outside of Athena, could you tell me more about Gale?”

“Gale? He’s right at the back of the bus, so why don’t you talk to him?” Kasumi asked.

“It seems that Gale isn’t fond of me, so I thought it would be better for me to ask you.”

“Well…” Kasumi pondered and replied. “Gale’s tongue can be blunt, but I’m sure he doesn’t think negatively of you. There’s a lot of things he was dealing with lately, and so I understand. Don’t take it to heart if he offends you.”

“I won’t,” Valerian replied. “I don’t see myself fighting against a student.

After this training camp, the students will be forming their teams for the upcoming annual competition. Are you going to encourage your class to build a team to represent the class?”

“I leave it to Gale for that matter. Principal Stella wants Gale to lead a team to bring them to the finals. Gale’s team will be placed under my care,” Kasumi answered.

Valerian laughed. “Gale stood his ground against over one hundred assassins! I’m sure it will be a piece of cake for him to be in the finals.”

“Oh, Gale won’t be fighting,” Kasumi responded.

Intrigued, Valerian asked. “Why?”

“It’s just not his thing. Gale doesn’t see the point of it, but Principal Stella wants him involved somehow, so Gale will be my training assistant to the team he’s overseeing.”

Valerian thought it was a pity that he couldn’t see Gale in action.

“In fact,” Kasumi continued. “Gale won’t be participating in some of the training that the rest are doing. Principal Stella wanted Gale to start forming his team and train them from the get-go, so after we are done with group training, I will inform the class.”

The training camp was going to split into two phases. The first phase was to train everyone together on basics, while in the second phase, the students gather in their individual classes customized training by their respective combat instructors. By two weeks, everybody should have basic fighting skills and the students would decide if they should form teams to compete in the annual competition.

Valerian nodded. “I see. Not everyone is adept in fighting, and not everyone wants to join the annual competition. The first phase will help Gale to identify who was going to be interested in the competition.”

Kasumi thought of something else and asked. “Will you be around during our academy’s fighting competition? I’ve heard you’re on tour and you usually stay for a few months. Perhaps you might miss the competition if you’re required to go somewhere else.”

“I’m allowed to stay here as long as I want,” Valerian replied. “I’ve been traveling too much, and I’ve told my superiors that I want to station here for a long-term stay. They’ve agreed so I should be there at the competition.”

Kasumi wished Valerian wasn’t doing it for her, but Valerian was doing it for her.

———-

Jacinta and Clere were sitting behind Gale during the four-hour bus trip at the back of the bus, and Jacinta tapped Gale’s shoulder to catch his shoulder. Gale turned and asked. “What’s up, Jacinta?”

“I’ve changed my mind. I want to be in the competition so include me in your team.” Jacinta said.

“Oh, why the sudden change of thought?”

“I’ve been talking with Celinda. She said I’ll need training for the upcoming challenges, and she wanted me to join the competition to train. But I will not be able to use my psychic powers in my fights.”

Gale and Clere looked at each other and nodded. “Sounds about right. Sure, and we need two more to join us.”

Reynard was especially pleased that Jacinta was joining the team and he grabbed her hands. “That’s awesome news! I’m glad to train with you again!”

Jacinta returned a smile and nodded. “I’ll share your pains with Gale’s brutal training.”

“Absolutely,” Gale concurred. “Reynard hasn’t completed that flash flood training, because we only had a week when the training needs a bare minimum of three months. After we’re back from our camp, we’ll spend two to three hours a day doing that training together.”

Jacinta and Reynard were horrified, and Clere was upset because she was left out. “What’s that training?! Why haven’t I been in that training of yours?!”

“That training is also useful for you, Clere. However, your [Cursed Ink Techniques] need a lot of finesse while the training which Reynard did was to boost raw power and physical strength.

Because it affects muscle memory, I needed you to master all your physical fighting styles from your [Cursed Ink Technique] before you do the flash flood training with us. Once you’re done with that, you can suffer from Jacinta and Reynard together.” Gale answered.

Gale’s explanation convinced Clere, so she eased back into her seat. She had been training faithfully with Gale so she knew it wouldn’t take long before she could join Jacinta and Reynard in their training.

Jacinta asked. “Who else are you going to ask to join your team, Gale?”

“Hideki. And we’ll look for another potential candidate within our class to represent Class 1D. If not, I will get Sunny to join. The annual fighting competition has no age restrictions, and so Sunny should be able to join us.

I haven’t told Hideki about my team though. I’ll ask him in the course of this training camp.”

Meanwhile, Hideki was sitting near the front of the bus. Thus, he couldn’t hear Gale’s conversation as the rest sat at the back.

“Sounds fun!” Jacinta remarked. “Looks like it’s going to be an interesting competition!”

———-

After four hours, the students finally reached the base camp of the mountains of Gilbor.

It was a mountain range with thick forests and fauna. Part of the mountain range was for casual hikers, while another portion was assigned for camping. Organizations register with the government if they want to hold camp there.

As it was in the wild, not every part of the mountains of Gilbor was safe. There were crocodiles and dangerous animals lurking, so campers must be careful and not stray too far off from their designated areas.

There were log cabins for teachers to sleep in and to keep logistics, while the students were expected to pitch tents on the concrete floor. Each class had a designated area to pitch their tents.

Also, there was a large community kitchen and dining area. Students were expected to cook their own food, and Aelfsige Academy provided a set of raw ingredients for students to learn how to cook every day.

Academic teachers were tasked to keep the place and account logistics, while combat instructors were tasked to train the students. As soon as the students disembarked from their buses, Miss Mia assigned them to carry logistics into their respective cabins.

Kasumi signaled Gale out and said. “Come with me as I need you to get something from a shed.”

“Sure, Ms. Kasumi.”

There was a shed at a corner of the base camp, and Gale went into it. As soon as Gale was in the shed, Kasumi locked the door behind her.

Turning around, Gale asked. “Ms. Kasumi? Wha — “

Kasumi leaped forward, embraced Gale and gave him a passionate kiss. Gale wasn’t expecting Kasumi to lunge forward like that, and he struggled because they were amid a camp. However, Kasumi was undeterred. She forced her tongue in and played with his tongue.

“Ka-Kasumi?! T-There are people around!”

Kasumi didn’t care and overpowered Gale as Gale’s weakness toward girls hit hard. Gale could only allow himself to be hugged tightly, and he felt Kasumi’s breasts on his chests as he began to pant from arousal. Kasumi’s perfume enveloped Gale’s senses, and the latter struggled to think. Kasumi was aroused too as her breathing got harder and harder.

“G-Gale… Why are you so tasty?”

It was some time before Kasumi was willing to let Gale go.

“My gosh, Gale. Every time I kiss you, you taste better and better! One day, I might not be able to hold myself back from you!”

It was the same for Gale. How could anyone resist Kasumi’s charms? Gale knew he was inching toward an irreversible outcome and the only reason he was holding him back was Raine.

Gale stuttered. “S-So… w-what was that f-for?”

“To remind you that my heart is yours. The people here are going to tease me with Valerian, and I don’t want you to get jealous!” Kasumi answered.

Gale put his hands around Kasumi, caressed her hair and kissed Kasumi lightly on her forehead.

“Thanks for thinking of me always, Kasumi! With that kiss, I won’t.”

Kasumi rested her head on Gale’s chest, and she snuggled in satisfaction.

“It’s a pity that we have to wait before we go public. I wish to go all the way with you, Gale.”

Gale pondered hard and then said. “You might not have to wait that long. I’ll probably tell Raine about us soon.”

Kasumi’s eyes brightened, and she looked at Gale. “Really?!”

“Yes. Raine’s a grown girl now, and she should understand. Aunt May often said that I shouldn’t treat Raine like a little girl. Besides, Aunt May is living in my house now. She’ll be able to help me with Raine.”

Kasumi hugged Gale tightly in response.

“I’m so happy, Gale! That will keep me away from potential suitors too, and let me know if you need any help with Raine!”

Someone used the loud hailer to get the students’ attention, and Kasumi peeled herself from Gale and held his hand.

“We must go! Or else, they will find us alone in this shed!”

Kasumi led Gale to the entrance and swiftly unlocked the door. They emerged out and walked their separate ways as though nothing had happened.

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