Chapter 47 – Mysterious Allure

  • by lemuel moo

Morning arrived, and the students prepared breakfast for themselves to start their day.

“Good morning, Clere!”

“Good morning, Reynard!”

Clere and Reynard greeted each other as Clere walked into the kitchen. Gale was preparing some toast, ham, and eggs, and Clere welcomed Gale softly.

“Good morning, Gale.”

“Oh, good morning Clere!”

Clere’s greeting immensely relieved Gale because it meant that the cold war had ended. Clere went to her spot to prepare some breakfast for Jacinta and her.

Afterward, Gale sat at his usual spot. Clere came and sat next to Gale, and Gale was overjoyed!

“Have some scrambled eggs, Clere!”

Gale acted as he usually would, and Clere received as per usual. However, Clere sliced a piece of sandwich from her plate and placed it on Gale’s plate.

“Try it. I’m trying a new recipe today.”

Clere rarely gave Gale anything to eat in the past, and Gale was surprised.

“You’re killing me softly, Clere! If there was anything I did wrong in the past few days and I’m unaware, I sincerely apologize!”

Clere looked at Gale in his eyes and smiled. “Don’t be stupid. Just eat what I gave you and tell me what you think.”

Gale gingerly took the sandwich and ate it.

“It’s good.”

“That’s great. Do you want some more?”

“No, thanks!”

Clere acted as nothing happened on the surface. However, Clere thought she should be more honest with her feelings, and after hearing Gale’s hidden feelings about her last night, her heart basked in a warmness which she had never felt before.

Gale’s heart burned with many questions, but he decided to refrain from asking and let everything flow by itself.

Jacinta and Reynard chuckled at Clere’s new behavior and Gale’s confused mind. Sang was walking about as though he was looking for someone.

“Have you seen Hideki?” Sang asked Gale.

“Nope. Isn’t Hideki sharing the same tent with you?”

“I woke up in my tent, and he’s nowhere to be found,” Sang replied. “I thought he went for a morning walk or something, but it’s already breakfast time, and he’s still not here.”

Gale pondered for a moment and stood up from his seat, but Clere pulled his arm.

“Eat your breakfast. Hideki needs time alone.” Turning to Sang, Clere said, “Don’t worry about him. He will be back by the first training session.”

Clere seemed very confident about Hideki’s state of mind, so Gale sat down.

———-

Valerian saw Kasumi walking about as she busied herself with the affairs of the camp. He wanted to have some alone time with Kasumi and purposed to be kind to win her over.

But Kasumi maintained a healthy distance from Valerian. Valerian didn’t know what else he could do to bridge the gap between them.

“What’re you thinking about, Mr. Valerian?” Gwen asked. She spotted Valerian by himself as he was eating his breakfast.

“Nothing much. Good job in training the students for the past few days,” Valerian said.

“Of course! I’m a combat instructor. I never knew school could be this much fun!” Gwen replied.

Both Valerian and Gwen took a moment of silence to munch on their food.

“Want me to help you get closer to Ms. Kasumi?” Gwen suddenly asked.

“S-She’s busy with camp,” Valerian stuttered. He was caught off-guard by Gwen’s question and almost choked on his food.

“That’s no excuse for not spending some time together!” Gwen cheekily said. “I’ll help you out and don’t worry; it will not be awkward.”

Eager to switch the conversation topic, Valerian asked, “what were you doing before you became a combat instructor?”

Valerian didn’t know anything about Gwen because he came from another country, and Gwen replied, “I run a debt collection service. I’m good at numbers and analysis so that I will calculate interests rates and loans for our clients. Asti and Beatrix will run around to get our dough and Porneia is responsible for getting new clients.”

In actuality, Gwen ran a loan shark business.

“Principal Stella came to me for a teaching job, and I thought it’s interesting, so we signed up,” Gwen concluded.

“School is indeed interesting. More interesting than being a SPAW operative,” Valerian said. “I would like to retire as a teacher one day.”

Gwen realized that despite Valerian’s accolades, he was a simple man with simple desires.

“Are you good with cooking, Mr. Valerian?” Gwen asked.

“It’s not my forte, but I can try,” Valerian replied.

“Good. I will call you up when Beatrix needs help with her special food.”

———-

Porneia retook the morning workout. Victor had contractors repair the ground and replace the stage the day before, so they were back at static drills.

Because she was afraid that Gale would intervene, her workouts weren’t as sexy as before. It did make many of the girls squirm though.

“Rub both sides of your chests in a circular motion as you bend forward. That’s to improve blood circulation on your melons.”

All eyes were on Jacinta, Kasumi, Satori, and Vanessa as they followed the training regime.

Gale realized that Porneia wasn’t doing her sexy workouts because she wanted to tease the students. From her breathing techniques, Porneia was absorbing natural energy from the surroundings and melding them together with her [qi]. The workouts made the students absorb natural energy subconsciously through their skin.

However, Gale refused to participate because it was too raunchy. Instead, he practiced his own techniques on the side.

As Gale moved his arms and palms gracefully, after-images formed. His [qi] circulated around his body and through his acupuncture points. It was like a slow dance.

“Isn’t that [Tai Chi][1]?” Valerian mused.

It was an improved version and experimentation of [Tai Chi] from Gale. Similar to Porneia’s training, Gale used his [qi] to draw in natural energy from his movements and skin. He wanted to create a technique that gave him endless amounts of energy.

His [qi] would float upward like steam, and flow back to the soles of his feet. It was invisible to outsiders, but Gale had some success with his new technique and was determined to perfect it.

On the surface, Gale looked like he was waltzing with his after-images. Everyone saw Gale’s display of martial arts and dance, and they were deeply impressed.

“Wow, was Gale this good? I thought Hideki was the best among the first-years.”

“Nah, Dylan had supplanted Hideki for that spot. But it will be interesting if Gale fought Dylan!”

Murmurs among the students could be heard during the workouts, and Porneia was displeased.

“If you’re going to talk among yourselves, I’m going to increase the intensity of our sexy workouts!”

The guys didn’t mind, but the girls didn’t want the workouts to be raunchier. Instantly, the girls went quiet, and one could hear a pin drop.

“Good.”

Gale’s display of strength served as a warning to Porneia, and the students breezed through the morning workouts without a hassle.

———-

The students moved on to the next activity after the workouts, and Gwen banned Gale from participating. Kasumi took the opportunity and asked Gale to help her with some of her duties.

“We’ll need to craft some obstacles for our obstacle course. Help me make some of these traps, Gale!”

Gale obliged, and Kasumi was happy that both of them were working together. However, it wasn’t long when Asti ruined their blissful moments.

“Ms. Kasumi, Beatrix needs help in the kitchen indoors. We’re going to show the students how they can strengthen their bodies with special foods, and we’ll need to create a sizable sample for them to try,” Asti said as she walked towards them from a distance.

Kasumi and Gale got up together, but Asti said, “Gale, stay here with me. We’ll need to sort the ingredients for our afternoon session.”

Kasumi and Gale looked at each other for a moment, and Kasumi felt a little sad. However, duty called, and she headed towards the indoor kitchen.

Gale peered at the dozen baskets of herbs. “Aren’t these very expensive?! How do you get all these herbs?”

Asti shrugged. “Principal Stella is generous, I guess.”

Gale and Asti sat down and bucketed the herbs into their different categories together.

———-

Kasumi headed into the indoor kitchen and Beatrix was there. “Hey Ms. Kasumi, I have the recipe written here. Can you follow the instructions and make some of these foods? I’ll need to prepare other things.”

Kasumi nodded and took some time to read the recipe, while Beatrix left the kitchen to focus on her other duties.

After a while, Valerian came into the indoor kitchen, and Kasumi looked up.

“Oh, Ms. Kasumi. They told me we need help in the kitchen.”

“Yup, here’s the recipe. It says we’ll need to close the kitchen door when we start brewing because the smell from the brew is going to be pungent,” Kasumi said.

“Shouldn’t we wear gas masks too?” Valerian laughed.

“There’s an incense here, and it is giving off a good smell. We should be okay in here,” Kasumi said.

Kasumi and Valerian proceeded to follow the recipe. Valerian gathered various herbs while Kasumi managed the heat beneath the pot.

As the stew brewed, the indoor kitchen was filled with a pungent smell. It was choking at first, but the incense mitigated the effect.

Suddenly, Kasumi looked at Valerian’s face, and she said, “G-Gale? When a-are you in the k-kitchen?”

Valerian wondered why Kasumi called him Gale, and she turned to look at her. Kasumi’s eyes were soft, her face blushed, and her facial expression seemed intensely alluring. Her breathing grew harder, and Valerian thought Kasumi was inviting him to come towards her.

Kasumi realized it was Valerian after a moment and tried to shake herself out of her hallucination. “T-That c-can’t be right! I’m sorry, Valerian.”

However, Valerian seemed very alluring to Kasumi too, and Kasumi wondered why. As Valerian moved closer to Kasumi, Kasumi took half a step back. “V-Valerian?! What are you doing?”

“K-Kasumi? Y-You looked so pretty today!” Valerian’s soft words pierced deep into Kasumi’s heart, and she was aroused.

Kasumi fought hard to resist her primal instincts. “B-But I h-have someone else!”

However, Kasumi’s weak resistance only prompted Valerian to inch towards her. Kasumi was taking half-steps backward while Valerian was taking full-steps forward.

Their bodies came to proximity, and Kasumi could feel Valerian’s hot breath as their lips were an inch away from each other. Kasumi’s body craved for Valerian intensely, and she fought against her instincts. But there was nothing to restrain Valerian since he longed for her from the beginning.

“No!” Kasumi attempted to push Valerian back, but she fell backward. Valerian fell forward, but he stopped himself from landing on her body.

Kasumi was in a very compromising position as Valerian was over her body. She was like a lamb before a wolf, and Valerian inched forward to kiss Kasumi.

Suddenly, the door broke open, and Gale came in! With his ultra-keen ears, he heard Kasumi fell in the indoor kitchen from where he was sitting, and he rushed to see what had happened.

Kasumi saw Gale, and quickly pushed Valerian away. “G-Gale! T-This is not what it seems to be! I — ”

Gale smelled the aroma in the air and realized something was wrong. He quickly activated his [Turtle Breathing Technique] and held his breath. Afterward, he rushed to Kasumi and pressed on several acupuncture points with his [Heaven And Earth Acupuncture Fingers].

Gale forced Kasumi’s [qi] to flow and expel the influence that was causing her to hallucinate.

“Both of you breathed in a drug called [Mysterious Allure]. It’s a date rape drug, and it forces the victim to give consent to sex by arousal.”

Valerian heard Gale, and he quickly used his [qi] to expel the influence. Kasumi submitted herself into Gale’s hands, and Gale immediately imparted the [Turtle Breathing Technique] through his energy.

With his [Fire Cloud Fist], Gale swung his arms and blew the air out of the kitchen. The recipe fell before Gale, and he took a look.

“This isn’t the [Mysterious Allure] though. Where is the source?”

“How about that incense over there, Gale?” Kasumi pointed.

Gale used his black aura like a cloak and carried the incense to him. He observed the fragrance and realized something important.

“This isn’t the [Mysterious Allure] either, but it’s one of the main ingredients for it. This is some high-level prank where the aroma from the stew mixed with the incense and it created the [Mysterious Allure] drug.”

Gale surmised that even if he caught the culprit, he wouldn’t have evidence against the person at all.

“Let’s report this to the camp commandant immediately.”

———-

The combat and student instructors were called for an emergency meeting by Victor. Everyone heard about the incident in the indoor kitchen and were grim. Lizzie Velmont took a look at the incense and the recipe and was hugely surprised.

“Brings me back to my younger days where lawlessness was rampant,” Lizzie said. “Indeed, the smell from both the recipe and the incense would cause a chemical reaction, and create the [Mysterious Allure].

The recipe itself is legit, and it will boost the students’ energy if consumed. There’s nothing wrong with Beatrix’s recipe, and that’s why I approved it. By itself, the incense is harmless too. But the combination of both was not widely known. Not at least for the last fifty years.

Gale’s quick reaction saved both Kasumi and Valerian. Who put this incense in the kitchen?”

Beatrix raised her hand. “I did. We have many of these in our store because it smells nice and it keeps mosquitoes out.”

Lizzie looked at the incense again. “Perhaps it was an honest mistake. This incense is uncommon but not completely unheard of.

I will look into the recipes again and see if there are any potential hazards by accident.“

However, Gale was unsatisfied with Lizzie’s conclusion. He knew his way in the underworld, and he knew that this type of ‘coincidence’ was human-made.

“That’s fine. Let’s leave it like that. I will scrutinize the recipes and everything in the store as well,” Gale said.

The combat instructors hate to admit it, but Gale seemed more capable than any of them.

After the instructors were dismissed, Kasumi went up to Gale and apologized.

“I’m so sorry, Gale! You found me in a — ”

“It’s not your fault, Kasumi. Someone wanted to mess with Valerian and you, and I’ll need to expose this rat out,” Gale said. “I will be in the forest for a while.”

Gale promptly left Kasumi, and Kasumi looked at his back with longing eyes. Valerian stood before Kasumi and apologized for his carelessness earlier.

“We are both at fault, Valerian. I guess we shouldn’t work together alone to prevent such things from happening again.”

Valerian nodded in agreement and looked at Kasumi’s back as she walked away.

———-

Gale went to a secluded area of the forest and got on his knees. He took a black dye from his pocket and drew “[东]” on his right, “[南]” behind him, “[西]” on his left, and “[北]”[2] in front of him.

With a hand sign, Gale activated a ninjutsu and the black dye from the four words extended four distinct black lines toward him. The black lines crept onto his body and drew on his arms and his forehead. His forehead had a “[北]” imprint by the black lines.

“[Four Corners Of Communication], call Aunt May!”

Gale slammed the ground with his right palm, and the earth beneath him shook a little.

———-

Aunt May was watching TV on her own while Raine was in her room. As she picked up the remote control, she saw black lines emerging from her wrists.

“Gale?! Why did he use such powerful ninjutsu to call me?”

Aunt May used a hand sign and hurriedly accepted Gale’s call through her ninjutsu. The black lines were communication lines, and as Aunt May spoke, it sent signals back to Gale, and they were able to talk as though she was using a phone.

“Yes, yes, Gale. What kind of catastrophe has happened at the campsite that you would use the [Four Corners Of Communication] to talk to me? You could’ve used the smaller version of the technique, and you’ll still be able to catch my attention!”

“You’re a treasure hunter, Aunt May. You wouldn’t accept any call except this if you were treasure hunting.”

“Right,” Aunt May replied as she scratched her head. “Stop pouring so much power onto this technique! Do you want to draw black lines all over me?! Shoot! What exactly happened at the campsite?”

“I nearly lost Kasumi to Valerian, and I need your help.”

Aunt May was surprised. “I know you aren’t stronger than Valerian now, but if you remove one more silver needle — “

“It’s not about fighting. Someone incited the use of [Mysterious Allure] on both Kasumi and Valerian, and I barely managed to save both of them.”

As Gale explained the incident to Aunt May, Aunt May’s countenance became darker and darker. Raine heard a conversation in the living room, and she walked out to see if it was Gale.

“Aunt May, is that Gale?”

Suddenly, Aunt May was cloaked in a purple aura, and her muscles were enlarged! Her clothes stretched thin, and she was furious that somebody messed with Kasumi!

“I’ll be right there in the shadows. Kasumi is family to me, and I will break any neck who dare come between both of you. Just be yourself out there.”

Gale ended the call, and the black lines on Aunt May’s body dissipated.

“Yes honey, that was your brother Gale. I’m going to check on him for a while,” Aunt May said.

Raine thought Gale met with another group of assassins. “Please be safe, Aunt May!”

Aunt May walked to Raine and caressed her head. “Don’t worry. Nobody’s going to die, but to me, it’s something worse than death. I’ll personally attend to it.”

Aunt May went to her room to pick her gear, and Raine prayed for Gale’s safety.

———-

[1] [Tai Chi] is derived from [太极].
[2] [东南西北] is “East”, “South”, “West”, and “North”, in Chinese.

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