Hunter Academy’s Battle God
[Translator – SCM]
[Proofreader – ilafy]
When did it start? Was it the moment she walked alone across Volterra's cold winter? Was it when she ate the tasteless beans? Could it have been when her parents left her behind?
There had been a certain moment for Adela when many things became less fun.
It was weird. The teddy bear and the books she liked to read were still there, but why couldn't she feel anything anymore?
The people she loved had disappeared, and the things she liked diminished. Maybe that was why she’d become obsessed with fighting.
She only felt alive when fighting a strong opponent, but no matter how much she fought, she had an insatiable craving.
To think that she'd fight to feel emotion… That was the life of an addict.
A broken vase would still leak unless the cracks were fixed, so it was just a temporary solution. There was no way that much was enough.
'Was I broken?'
After she saw the sculptures of her parents, Adela began to notice changes in her emotions from the moment she left the castle.
"Ah! That's right! Sumire! I saw something interesting in Academy City yesterday."
"Weren't you in school, Amy?"
She became more interested in what others were saying.
"When are EunAh and YuSung going to come back?"
She even began to show interest in SiWoo’s words. She especially cared when he mentioned YuSung returning.
Adela didn't dislike the changes. It was evidence her emotions which had been frozen since she was seven years old were thawing out.
She closed her eyes while making an expression somewhere between happiness and sadness. She was able to easily remember her parents’ voices.
[Adela, we’ll be back soon. Alright?]
She knew her father was a brave person who, despite wanting to stay with her, had left to save Volterra.
[You just have to wait by yourself for three days. Three days, okay?]
Her mother was a warm person who could smile to console her despite being sadder than anyone else.
Adela slowly opened her eyes. What was before her wasn't a hell-like scene but a warm residence.
She wasn't sure if they got along, but Amy and SiWoo were talking, and Sumire was looking at a flowerpot from the terrace.
Unlike the hellish winter in Volterra, the house was too harmonious.
'What I was searching for… What I needed… wasn't a strong opponent.'
She'd be lying if she said she didn't miss that heart-throbbing battle against YuSung during the selection, but that wasn't all. What she really wanted were emotions. That's why YuSung was special to her.
YuSung had thawed her frozen emotions and stayed by her side.
'As expected, I…'
Adela smiled lightly as if she finally understood something.
* * *
Translator - SCM
Proofreader - ilafy
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* * *
Even the Shinsung Group's terrace was impressive. It was comparable to a botanical garden.
"It's my first time seeing so many diverse plants!" Sumire said in excitement.
She heard Laplace’s disapproving voice.
- To think that you'd look so happy. Is watering flowers that fun?
"Of course! There are violets, primroses, and even morning glories."
- If you're happy, I'm satisfied with that.
Laplace didn't care about the flowers Sumire was talking about. Rather, she had a different reason for speaking.
- My child, there's something you should know before you enter the Tower. A penalty that interferes with one's mind won't work on you. Fufu, you could say it's thanks to your contract with me.
The 'mental interference' Laplace was talking about was her becoming younger from the Tower's effect.
Sumire could bypass the Tower's penalty thanks to Laplace, which was quite shocking.
"But the Tower's power is absolute. How could something like that…?"
- Of course, not even I can stop your body from getting younger. No being can go against the Tower directly, but…
Laplace took a breath, laughed, and added…
- There are exceptions. I don't have a body, but my mind is intact.
- That's why your body can't bypass the Tower's penalty, but your mind can. It’s thanks to me having an 'ego'.
- I can take that penalty instead of you. It’s simple when you think about it.
After hearing Laplace's detailed explanation, Sumire nodded.
Laplace could take the effect upon herself instead.
"I see. That definitely… will be a huge help."
Even if they faced the worst condition of the participants’ minds getting younger, Sumire could at least keep her memories.
With that, they'd basically gotten a reliable foundation if the rest became uncontrollable kids.
"Thanks as always… Laplace," Sumire mumbled in a low voice.
- Don't even mention it. You're the one who has my fragment. It's obvious that I'd care for you.
Sumire smiled at Laplace's kind voice.
"I sometimes wonder why you were called the Plague Witch." Laplace didn’t answer, so Sumire quickly waved her hand.
"Ah! It isn't that I'm trying to blame you! I… I was just curious," Sumire said while making a troubled smile, "Maybe there's another reason for our high synchronization rate?"
- For example…?
Laplace said after a long silence.
Sumire made a strange smile. "I've also hurt people because of my ability… but that wasn't because I wanted to. I thought there might be a similar misunderstanding with you…"
- No, you're wrong… I spread the plague because I wanted to.
Laplace's voice sounded firm but bitter.
- There’s nothing I would change about that, even if given the chance to go back and do it all over again.
Sumire looked at a potted flower for a while before changing the topic. "Do you know the flower language of the evening primrose…?"
She’d always thought of Sumire as someone who had to be protected, but her changes were surprising. She was getting close to Laplace and was trying to break down the wall between them.
That's why Laplace didn't want to answer. Although she was a fragment of the original, she was still a prideful witch. She didn't want to show a kid that side of her.
Still, Sumire's kind and calm voice was, little by little…
"The flower language of the evening primrose is patience."
—Beginning to crumble.
"It's okay if you don’t tell me. I'm happy with you by my side. I can wait."
- If the fragment’s power runs out, I will disappear. If it's short, it’ll be for a year. If it's long, three.
Laplace talked about disappearing as if it were nothing. Maybe it was obvious. She was just a fragment of a memory that Laplace had left behind. She wasn't given a life in the first place, so she didn't have any lingering feelings for it, but…
- My child, don't give me any more affection.
If Sumire kept treating her well…
- This isn't for you, but for me.
If they kept getting closer…
- Because of your warmness… I might feel sad when the day comes for me to leave you behind and vanish.
"Laplace…" Sumire began tearing up, but that only lasted for a short while before she rubbed her eyes with her hands and forcibly smiled. "I’d prefer that! Once that day comes, you have to cry a lot, okay?"
* * * *
It was the day they were going to challenge the 10th floor.
"We buy all hunter's equipment made in Agenda! Contact us via the Pocket!"
"That's why you keep failing…"
"Yes. It's easy to blame it on someone else! What about you?!"
The Tower's 1st floor was as noisy as always. EunAh, Sumire, and Amy had already cleared up to the 9th floor, so they naturally went to the desk.
EunAh placed her hand on top of the warp stone.
"There isn't anyone new, right? If there's something you don't know, ask. By the way, this is a warp stone. It's similar to a portal~ You just have to take a look."
"Hngh~ Our EunAh has become a specialist." Amy moved her eyebrows while making a proud expression.
EunAh seemed to be feeling good at Amy's praise. "Then, since I explained it all… YuSung?"
As she asked YuSung, the party leader, to speak, he slowly placed his hands on top of the warp stone.
"Everyone, please remember this… We don't know what might happen once we enter the Tower, but everyone has the same goal."
As YuSung stopped explaining, everyone began placing their hands on top of the warp stone.
[Will you move to the 10th floor?]
A hologram appeared over the warp stone. YuSung looked at his party members and said, "Yes."
A blue light surged from the stone and covered them.
* * * *
Within a room made of blocks and filled with toys, a teddy bear looked at a monitor with a serious expression on its face.
"Another bunch of fearless guys have appeared…"
It was a teddy bear that talked. If someone that didn't know looked at what was happening, they would've laughed. Of course, the Toy King wasn't a dangerous boss for most hunters. His true difficulty was between rank 2 and 3.
Compared to a human, he had the intelligence of a 10-year-old child, but the story changed when all of the challengers were seven years old.
"Okay, then…" The Toy King looked at the new prey.
There was a sharp-looking kid and one with purple hair summoned into a cave.
A kid who was pretty despite being a boy and a silver-haired girl with a blank expression were summoned in the toy kingdom.
Finally, a kid who looked like they'd gone through a lot and a too-energetic kid were summoned in the desert forest.
"Let's start the hunt," The Toy King said as he donned a cape that went well with his teddy bear form.
Then, he began walking toward an army of toy soldiers.
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