Chapter 50 – The Only Way Is To Fight

  • by lemuel moo

Kasumi fell asleep by herself in the log cabin, and Gale walked to the brook to gaze at the stars. The beautiful stars became a familiar sight because they spent time with him when he was frustrated.

Aunt May emerged from the shadows and took a spot beside Gale. Both of them rested on the soft grass as they gazed the stars together.

“How long has it been that we gazed the stars together?” Aunt May asked.

“… At least a few years ago.”

“What’re you going to do about Reyna?”

“I don’t know, Aunt May. You tell me.”

Both Aunt May and Gale spent a few moments of silence to enjoy the serenity of the place.

“Have you found out anything about the [Mysterious Allure], Aunt May?”

“You already have a lot on your plate. Do you really want to hear more troubles?”

“Does it matter? Bring it on.” Gale said.

Aunt May sighed. “It’s not the Four Abominations who messed with Kasumi and Valerian. It’s Kenji Mizushima and Hideki.”

Gale stared at Aunt May as he was shocked to hear that Hideki was involved in the [Mysterious Allure] case.

“Kenji got Hideki to replace some of the incense in the storeroom when all of you arrived at the campsite. I tracked her cousin, Naomi Mizushima, and found Kenji Mizushima at the foot of this mountain.

Kenji wants Kasumi to marry Valerian. Valerian is the son of General Tze, one of the supreme commanders of SPAW. That sly fox would do anything to grow his name.”

Gale was incredibly disappointed with Hideki. He thought Hideki was an upright man, but he followed the wrong footsteps of his uncle.

“Furthermore, Kenji wants Hideki to marry one of the daughters of Agatha,” Aunt May said.

“Aren’t Hideki and Clere already in love? I don’t see a problem,” Gale replied.

Aunt May glanced at Gale for a moment. “You are so dense, and nothing seems to get to you until the very end. Kenji is going to force Agatha’s hand with an arranged marriage.”

Gale looked at Aunt May. “That’s counterintuitive. He should allow the romance to blossom between Hideki and Clere naturally.”

“And I’m saying it’s not counterintuitive. Agatha told me Clere would reject the arranged marriage. Agatha’s going to reject Kenji on Clere’s behalf.”

“What?! Why? How does Aunt Agatha know?”

“Because that’s her daughter,” Aunt May said. “Agatha is aware of Clere’s inner feelings.”

Gale paused to ponder about the multitude of things that were flying through his mind.

“Is harem the only viable solution to my problems?”

“Yes,” Aunt May said. “Without a shadow of a doubt.”

“I can’t trust you. You keep wanting me to have children.”

“Then would you allow Reyna to live with a broken heart for the rest of her life?” Aunt May asked.

“And in doing that, I will break Kasumi’s heart.”

“Nonsense. Kasumi said she’s fine with it. Can’t you trust Kasumi’s words? Why do you think your dedication is the only way to make Kasumi happy?”

Gale couldn’t find an answer to Aunt May’s retort.

“You’ve spent all this time training Reyna. You shared both good and bad times with her. Rescue her first, and think about the consequences later.

If you don’t, you’ll regret it for life.”

Gale stretched his hands and noticed a wrapper from Reyna’s snacks stuck on one of his hands. It reminded him of the conversation he had with her when he agreed to fight for her behalf. He clenched his fist and made up his mind.

“Yeah. I will fight. If I don’t, I will regret.”

———-

“I will be returning to Raine. Agatha will be dealing with Kenji Mizushima, so I don’t expect any trouble from him soon,” Aunt May said.

“Okay. Send my regards to Raine!”

Aunt May disappeared into the shadows, and Gale walked back to the log cabin where he left Kasumi. The day was breaking, and the first light began to shine from the horizon.

Kasumi was sleeping soundly within the log cabin, and Gale lovingly covered her with a blanket. She turned, and she realized she had fallen asleep.

“Gale? Have you been watching me sleep all these while?”

Gale caressed her hair and said, “You looked beautiful when you sleep, Kasumi.”

Kasumi reached out and gave Gale a morning hug and a kiss.

“I’m so glad the moment I wake up, I see you.”

“And I’m glad to be awake with you, Kasumi.”

Kasumi rewarded Gale with another hug and a kiss.

“You must stop saying sweet things to me, or I will eat you up.”

“I’ll do it after the camp when we’re alone.”

Kasumi got up from her seat and stretched. Gale waited for her to look at him before he made a declaration.

“I’ll fight and bring Reyna back.”

Kasumi rewarded Gale with yet another kiss.

“That’s my Gale!”

———-

Reyna dressed in a beautiful dress as she waited in a dining hall. She was at one of the luxurious hotels in Aelfsige City.

The door opened, and Prince Regulus walked in. Prince Regulus was handsome, tall and with brown hair.

“Finally, my bride-to-be. You’ve been flying and exploring the world. It’s about time to return to your home.”

“We haven’t fought yet, and our marriage deal isn’t sealed. I’m not your bride-to-be,” Reyna said.

“Why would you go through such a hassle? All you should do is to spread your beautiful legs for me to play.”

Reyna turned away at Regulus’ repulsive comment. “Disgusting.”

“My men heard something interesting when they went to fetch you. Is there a person by the name, Gale Gainsborough?”

Reyna glared at Regulus. “And what about him?!”

“You asked him to fight for you, but he already has a lover in his heart,” Regulus said. “Turning yourself into a man fooled me completely, but it also backfired on you.”

“I’ve never expected him to fight for me. I trained under him so that I can defeat you.”

“Oh really?” Regulus said. “I’m sure you wouldn’t mind if he disappears then.”

Reyna slammed her hands on the table. “Don’t you dare!”

“He kissed my bride-to-be. Death is the only possible outcome,” Prince Regulus said. “I’ve heard that the girls around him are rather pretty. Should I get you some sisters so you won’t be bored? I wonder how does his lover look like.”

“Don’t burn your hand while you’re at it. Gale isn’t a person you can trifle with.”

“I’m so scared,” Prince Regulus mocked. “I guess I shall have my twenty royal assassins to ease my fears.

Your father should be arriving at Aelfsige City soon. We’ll be holding the duel here to minimize the delay. I suggest canceling it altogether, but I would like to see the fruits of your labor after training under Gale Gainsborough.”

Prince Regulus left the dining hall. Reyna sat her seat and began her [Turtle Breathing Technique] training.

“I’ve got to win! And I’ll return to Gale when it’s all over.”

———-

Aunt May returned home to an empty house. Raine went out with her friends and left a note on the refrigerator.

Suddenly, Aunt May’s watch rang, and she picked it up.

“Agatha? What’s up?”

“Seems like you’re already back home,” Agatha said.

“Yeah. Gale can handle it out there after I told him about Hideki and Kenji Mizushima.”

“Prince Regulus sent twenty royal assassins to take Gale’s head.”

Aunt May took out her gear as she replied, “Oh really. How nice of Prince Regulus.”

“Don’t you think you should be there to help?”

“Nah. My boy Gale can handle it,” Aunt May said. “Besides, Athena is already there. Clere is blossoming into a strong lady. I’m not a glory hog, so let those kids have their fun.”

“… I can’t just think of Gale. I know he can handle it, but there are innocent people there.”

“The combat instructors are not bad themselves,” Aunt May said as she took out orange juice from the refrigerator. “Especially that Ayumi Sato. There were a couple of times where she almost noticed my presence.

Don’t worry about those kids. They won’t grow if they don’t meet new challenges.”

“Sigh. You were all upset when Kasumi was about to get eaten by Valerian, but when twenty royal assassins are coming for Gale, you don’t care much about it.”

“Of course,” Aunt May said as she grabbed something quick to heat up for a meal. “I have absolute faith in my boy’s fighting capabilities. But Gale can’t handle deviousness well. No one can, and that’s where I come in.

By the way, Gale is going to save Princess Reyna. I’ll need you to prepare for him.”

“… Has Gale accepted a harem in his life? He can’t interfere with a royal marriage duel without taking up responsibility.”

“Oh, Gale will take responsibility,” Aunt May said. “However, those lofty folks may not allow Gale to take that responsibility, and I don’t want to take the nuclear option if I don’t have to.”

“Okay. I’m glad Gale has a change of heart. There’s hope for Athena and Clere now.”

“Why do you sound so happy?” Aunt May laughed. “Clere has a marriage proposal waiting for her, so she doesn’t need that hope.”

“…Stop it, May. You know how much I dislike Kenji Mizushima. He keeps trying to be part of my family ever since he knew I’m the Mistress of Secrets.

Anyway, I’ve got to prepare to protect the campers out there. Prince Regulus is going to stop SPAW from deploying at the mountains of Gilbor to weed out Gale.”

“Alright, I’ll catch you later.”

Aunt May took her food from her microwave and began to eat without a care in the world.

———-

The camp continues, but the students’ mood was dampened because Reyna was taken away. During breakfast, everyone was stealing glances at Gale as he ate.

The seat across Gale was Reynard’s, but it was empty. Vanessa saw that Gale was staring blankly, so she sat across Gale instead.

“Cheer up. If you’re willing to fight, Reyna will sit across you again.”

“Yeah.”

“So are you willing to fight?”

“Yeah.”

“What is one plus two?”

“Yeah.”

Vanessa sighed as she bit on her sandwich. Gale asked a question.

“So does it mean I can waltz in and challenge Prince Regulus with your ticket? How does it work?”

Vanessa stared at Gale. “Wait, are you going to fight?”

“Didn’t I say so? Yes, I’m bringing Reyna back!”

The students around Gale cheered and applauded as they heard Gale’s declaration. Vanessa could not hide her smile.

“This ticket only grants you entry to witness the duel, but it’s not a public contest where anyone can participate. You’ll need endorsements from people with high standings to be eligible.”

“And where do I find such endorsements?”

Vanessa tapped her chest and said, “me.”

“Okay, so I’ll have your endorsement. Is that enough?” Gale asked.

“It should be enough.”

At that moment, Athena stepped into the midst of the campsite. Clere saw her sister and rushed up to hug her.

“What are you doing here, Sis?”

“Mom sent me to protect all of you. SPAW will not be deployed in these mountains because Prince Regulus is sending twenty royal assassins after Gale.”

The combat instructors and the students heard Athena’s words, and Victor immediately approached Athena for confirmation.

“Is this true? We’re only doing a training camp here!”

Athena looked at Victor in his eyes. “The Sigrun family is famous for intelligence and network. We would never lie about such things.

Have a call with Principal Stella. She has left it to me to protect all of you.”

Victor rushed into one of the log cabins to call Principal Stella with a landline. Valerian stepped forward and greeted Athena.

“I can’t believe SPAW is not deploying to protect the students here! I’m going to — ”

“After Victor is done with his call, use the landline and call SPAW,” interrupted Athena. “You’ll notice their emergency call and helpline are down. You may not even reach your father, because they know you’re here and have blocked the calls.”

Athena’s words shook Valerian. He always believed that SPAW is the protector of the people and the beacon of hope against crime, but recent events had challenged his faith in SPAW.

Shortly, Victor returned to Athena and the combat instructors convened around her.

“Athena’s right. Principal Stella has left it to Athena for our protection. We’ll not be able to leave this mountain until this is over.

Tell us what we should do!”

“Simple,” Athena said. “Prince Regulus wants Gale’s head. We’ll send him far out into the woods, and they will fight there. The rest of us will stay at the campsite to guard the students.”

“Gale again?! What’s Prince Regulus problem with Gale?!” Clere said.

“Gale stole Princess Reyna’s first kiss, so Prince Regulus is jealous,” answered Athena.

Upon hearing Athena’s words, Gale got up from his seat and reached out for his tools to sharpen the sword that he forged for Reyna.

“When do you expect the assassins to arrive?” asked Gale.

“Tonight. We’ll send you out there before dinner.”

Gale took his tools and rebuilt his makeshift forge. Hammering sounds echoed across the valleys, and Gale began to improve and sharpen the sword.

The students didn’t like what they heard, and Serena asked Athena. “Shouldn’t we help Gale?! He’s our classmate, and none of us could’ve anticipated that Reynard was a girl!”

“You’re only allowed to help Gale if you can stand toe-to-toe against Asti,” Athena said. “None of you except the combat instructors can. The combat instructors are duty bound to protect all of you, so all of you will stay here until everything is over.

Don’t worry about Gale. He can handle himself.”

———-

Jacinta and Clere skipped the training sessions to help Gale. Jacinta went to Beatrix to gather herbs and create special pills for Gale, while Clere strategized with Athena.

“Do we know anything about the assassins?” Clere asked.

“The royals are private about how they gain their armies and strength. Their assassins could be someone from the military or hired with money from an assassins’ guild. You will never know,” Athena asked.

“Let’s set up a [Cursed Ink Defensive Array] around the campsite. If we can determine the number of assassins where Gale is, we can send help to him without compromising our defense,” Clere said.

“Agreed. The combat instructors are willing to fight so we’ll determine the enemies’ numbers before sending help,” Athena concluded.

Clere went to Gale and used her [Cursed Ink Technique] and wrote [说] on his left forearm.

“Verify the number of assassins you are facing by talking to my seal here, is that clear?” Clere demanded.

Gale didn’t answer a word but continued to sharpen the edges of the sword. Clere knew what Gale was thinking, and she yelled at him.

“Gale Gainsborough! Don’t you dare take on all the assassins alone! We barely got you safe from the City Plaza battle, and now you’re heading into another fight!”

Gale looked up and said, “I’m also duty-bound to protect you. To leave my post and deal with this trash is frustrating enough, and I’m sure you’ll be the first one to charge in for my help. How can I endanger your life?”

Athena stepped in. “This is different, Gale. I will relieve you from your duties of protecting Clere, and we’ll want to help. Clere isn’t just concerned for you, but Reyna as well.”

Gale remained silent, and Clere was on the verge of tears. She knew that Gale felt responsible for letting Reyna go, and also for putting the students in danger. Thus, he wanted to shoulder everything by himself.

Gale glanced at Clere’s teary face and sighed. “Fine. I’ll call you and report the number of assassins before I fight.”

“You better!”

Clere wiped her tears from the corner of her eyes and headed to the kitchen to help Jacinta with the special pills.

———-

The sun began to set, and it was time for Gale to head to the forests. Gale picked up his sword and suited up with his equipment which Athena brought for him.

“Jacinta and I made these pills for you and your dinner. Eat them as you fight,” Clere said.

Gale looked at the bottle of pills and saw thirty-six [qi] enhancing pills in it. Gale knew it wasn’t easy for the girls to make these pills in a short period.

“Thanks, Jacinta and Clere! I’m sure these will come in handy.”

Kasumi walked forward and placed a small dagger in Gale’s hands.

“This dagger belongs to my mother, and I’m entrusting it to you now.”

Gale pushed it back to Kasumi, “I can’t receive such a precious memento from you!”

However, Kasumi refused. “You’re coming back with this dagger, and this will remind you never to give up.

I have my katana ready. Once you’ve verified your enemies, and the students are safe here, I’ll come running to you.”

Gale nodded.

“I’ve got to go. The sun is setting and night will be upon us.”

The combat instructors and the students looked upon Gale’s back as he walked into the forest to prepare for his battle.

———-

Gale ran five miles into the forest and found a clearing that was suitable for battle. The stars and the moon were his companions as he waited for his enemies.

“The campers should be having dinner about now.”

Gale unwrapped the sandwich which Jacinta made for him, and he ate it happily. “Honey mustard sauce. How did she know I like that?”

Gale promptly finished his dinner and had some water before waiting again. Time flew by, and Gale noticed it was nine at night.

“I hope the assassins aren’t waiting to fight at the break of day. It will be incredibly annoying to wait this long.”

Hours passed, and it was midnight. Gale noticed a presence, and he was on guard. A royal assassin came into the clearing and stood before Gale. He was wearing full body armor with twin swords on his back

Gale looked at the assassin and remarked, “only one assassin?”

“Heh, I was looking for traps, but I found none. Students are weak novices,” the assassin said.

Gale stretched himself and readied his sword. “Are you guys trying to find me in the forest? Call them here.”

“For what? I’m more than enough for a student like you.”

Gale slammed the ground with his sword, and an explosion rang across the valleys. He wanted the assassins nearby to locate him.

However, the assassin laughed instead. “It’s no use. My companions aren’t coming.”

“How unfortunate. After all this time I’ve prepared for you guys, and only one of you is here.”

“Whatever for? My companions are searching for your lover at the camp,” the assassin said.

Gale’s veins twitched. “What do you mean?”

“Prince Regulus thought we should find Princess Reyna a sister to accompany her on his bed,” the assassin said. “If there are any pretty friends of yours, we’ll bring them in as well.”

Gale suddenly disappeared, and the assassin instinctively sidestepped to the left because he sensed danger. However, Gale sliced off the assassin’s right arm, and the latter yelled in pain.

“Prince Regulus’ problem is with me, and he had the unmitigated gall to mess with my friends?!” Gale said menacingly. Gale hid his killing aura and only unleashed it just before he struck the assassin to deal maximum damage.

The assassin quickly pressed the acupuncture points on his right shoulder to stop the bleeding, and he readied his sword for a fight.

“Take your time. Call your friends or Prince Regulus,” Gale said as he walked towards the assassin. “Tell him I’ll be visiting him soon. After you’re done, wait patiently in hell. I’ll be sending your companions over shortly.”

In a couple of minutes, screams of pain echoed through the valley, and it marked the battle of Mount Gilbor.

———-

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