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The Shadow before the Competition
Time: 12:45 am
Yado’s face had always been very gloomy, but now, his face was more like the face of King Yama sealing someone’s fate.
“How did you know that Yado freaked out?” I curiously asked Leido, who was beside me as though he was watching a show. When we were hiding, he said Yado had freaked out.
Leido smiled at me, “I’m able to feel Yado’s state of mind, and Yado is also able to feel my state of mind.”
Oh, oh! The legendary mystical power of a pair of twins, right!? My eyes immediately brightened up. Every time I saw this on TV it felt like a lie, but now there was a real life example in front of me, for me to determine it myself, great!
“So if one of us gets poisoned, we will be poisoned together. When we are injured, we would get injured at the same place. Very powerful, right.” Leido added, causing my curiosity to increase even further.
The atmosphere on the other side had already reached the height of the critical point of exploding.
The five-colored rooster head and Yado were mutually glaring at each other, it was as though they wanted to dig out the other person’s eyes.
“We should stop them, right?” I looked at Yado and the five-colored rooster head’s momentum, very afraid that once they start fighting, they would demolish someone else’s school. However, I really didn’t want to be the one to rush in and stop them, or else, I would break the record of being in the middle of a pincer attack for the third time. And the person who caused this, would always be that damn five-colored rooster head.
“Yes, or else we will get scolded by Yido when we go back.” Leido, who was obviously afraid of his older brother, forcefully clapped his hands. Yado, who was nearby, turned around. I saw that the black sword he was holding in his hand had already disappeared, and reverted to his normal gloomy face. And regardless of the five-colored rooster head’s clamoring, he walked over to our side.
“Sheesh!” Dissatisfied, with his beast claws already gone, the five-colored rooster head walked over as well, and said, “Why are you suddenly not willing to fight anymore?!” His expectation was not rewarded, making him feel very restless.
I noticed that chef panicked as he stood up, wanting to escape, “Leido, that person…”
Leido made a don’t-need-to-care-about-him gesture, “I remembered his face, so it doesn’t matter.” He was still smiling, but his smile made my scalp tingle.
“Yang~ Are you guys doing something fun behind my back again?” The five-colored rooster head draped his arm over my shoulder. As soon as Yado ignored him, he lost his interest in him, and was currently looking at me and Leido, very interested in our conversation.
I immediately shook my head, “We are not.”
You must be joking! I can predict that if we were to tell him now, he most definitely would immediately go and capture the chef. First, he would beat up the victim so that his head would resemble a pig’s, and then using a method no one else could think of to extort the truth from him.
“Let’s talk about this at the pavilion. Don’t let Yido know about this.” Leido said to his brother.
Yado nodded without uttering a word.
Including me, with the five-colored rooster head stuck to us, the four of us left, with Yado leading the way. A direct trip towards nature, I meant towards the school’s back garden. The back garden looked much wider compared to when we saw it in the beginning. There were huge old trees and vines everywhere, giving off a completely forest-like feel. I could occasionally see white rabbits, squirrels, and the like, running by in front of us.
Yado took us to a place where there were three huge trees intertwined, and underneath them was a white pavilion seat. It looked very elegant, especially the sculpture on top of the pavilion, it was extremely beautiful.
“How did you get Yado angry?” I quietly asked the five-colored rooster head who was beside me, feeling a little sorry towards Yido who kindly invited us here.
The five-colored rooster head shrugged, “Almost the same as Andy. I just dislike his face being so stiff and tight, as if I owed him money and didn’t return it.”
… Although I was also very afraid of his corpse-like face, there was no reason to provoke him to such extreme, right?
“Come in first.” Leido was already inside the pavilion, beckoning for us to join him.
I quickly ran inside, but the five-colored rooster head was moving slowly without any care, sauntering in afterwards.
I could see Yado, who was already inside, was treating the five-colored rooster head as air, not giving him a single glance.
Perhaps this would be relatively better? At the very least, I didn’t want to be chopped up by two people later on, who suddenly turned crazy halfway through the secret meeting.
* * *
“Someone is planning to use dirty tricks in the dark!?
As soon as he finished listening to Leido describing what had happened just moments ago, the five-colored rooster head’s expression became rather mysterious. I don’t know how to describe it, but I felt liked he seemed to be eagerly anticipating it.
“In fact, it’s normal for the sports competition, since it’s a grand-scale competition that concerns fame and fortune, there’s bound to have people who plans on using dirty tricks. The previous school competition seemed to have quite a lot of them, too. However, it was taken care of by the maintenance team.” Leido said, not a bit surprised there were people planning on using dirty tricks, “I never thought our small school, which loses every year, would also be targeted.”
I couldn’t describe Leido’s expression either, but for some unknown reason, I also felt like he was looking forward to it.
“Don’t want to tell Yido?” Obviously more of a goody two shoes, Yado frowned, “This is not a trivial matter.”
He then looked at me, “The both of you smelt that odor, which means there is someone from the Ghost Tribe who is planning this thing, it’s not a simple matter.” After pausing for awhile, he continued, “Since Alis Academy was already disturbed, it means Atlantis Academy will also be targeted. Please do notify Prince Icy Flame of this matter, so others can be warned and be aware of someone playing dirty tricks during the game.”
I nodded. However, the five-colored rooster head was still being completely carefree. I had a feeling I knew exactly what he was thinking. He must be thinking it would be best if he could win the lottery of having someone plotting against him, since this is the only way he would have a future. I’ve had enough!
“But we still don’t have any evidence, so it would be difficult for Yido to apprehend the offenders. Let’s take a look at the situation first before we tell him.” Leido, who was insisting on not telling Yido, said to his brother.
Yado hesitated for a moment, but he still nodded to show he agreed with Leido’s opinion.
“What’s there to be nervous about? If someone appears, just kill the person and be done with it.” From the point of view of a professional Assassin, the five-colored rooster head gave such recommendation, and was ignored by everyone present.
To be honest, I suddenly felt like my destiny seemed to have been intertwined with ghosts. Ever since the beginning when I entered school, I was chased by the Ghost King’s underlings, followed by the Evil Ghost King tomb, and now it was another conspiracy of the Ghost Tribe… There really wasn’t any place without any ghosts around here. So to say, when it came to Ghost Kings, I would it was another matter.
“Do you guys know what Dark Cult is?” As soon as I asked, everyone quieted down. Three people, six eyes, were all staring at me. Uh, did I ask something I wasn’t supposed to ask again?
“How did you know of this term?” The five-colored rooster head was the first to question me, his expression was serious, which was rare for him.
Leido was still smiling, but his expression was also very serious.
“I… I borrowed a book from the library and read it.” I had no idea why I lied either, but it was something I said instinctively.
Yado and Leido exchanged a look, and seemed to have believed my explanation. However, the five-colored rooster head looked like he doubted me, but he didn’t say anything.
“Dark Cult… it has already been a long time since anyone mentioned this word.” Yado was the first to speak, very, very lightly, it seems like he didn’t want to talk about it, “The last generation of Dark Cult, I remembered he died about two hundred years ago, and it’s currently not possible to find the presence of a Dark Cult’s successor.”
Ah? Already extinct?
“Dark Cult is a pretty horrifying existence. For us, he is a weapon that’s not supposed to exist in this world.”
To put it simply, it is a live biological weapon? I started to get rather curious.
“Why are you asking about this, it’s not like it has any use to you.” The five-colored rooster head used a very annoyed expression and looked at me. He seems to dislike Dark Cult, too.
“If you’re not comfortable with this topic, there’s no need to keep talking about it, just pretend I didn’t say anything…” I had a feeling I might be stepping on some landmines. It’ll be better if I simple don’t ask.
“It’s not because it’s not convenient for us to talk about it, but if we were to explain it to you, you might not be able to understand it clearly. Perhaps you could wait until I find some relevant books and pass them to you. We can discuss it afterwards, so you’ll be able to have a better understanding.” The one who said this was the expressionless Yado.
It turns out he really was a kind person with an evil face.
“Alright, thank you.” To be honest, I was touched. All I know of the Dark Cult were only the two words. I didn’t even dare to go to the library to research because the library was too horrifying.
I knew Yado meant well, but he didn’t even let up a smile.
Leido was once again staring at the five-colored rooster head’s steel brush head.
This time, the five-colored rooster head couldn’t hold it in anymore, and he smacked the table, (but because it was a stone table and he couldn’t flip it,) and stood up, “Are you picking a fight with me!? Very well, just now I didn’t get to finish the fight, so this time it’s your turn.”
“I really don’t want to fight, I will be nagged by Yido.” Leido, who obviously had no intention of fighting, shrugged.
“From the start, you were looking at my head, what is it you want?! You have any complaints against it!”
I also found it awkward. From the time we got acquainted with Leido, he had always been expressing strong interest in the five-colored rooster head’s steel brush hair. To me, it was nothing more than a colorful steel brush.
“Because it looks really fun, so colorful.” Leido naturally replied, without any bad intention.
“You like it, right?” The five-colored rooster head started cracking his knuckles, “I can help you dye it, see if you prefer it to be colorful or not.”
Leido’s eyes started sparkling, not realizing those words were actually threats.
“Not allowed to dye.” Yado issued a warning, “I don’t want to see poisonous mushrooms on top of my head.”
You thought the five-colored rooster head’s hair looked like a colorful poisonous mushroom chicken, right…
“You have something to say about the hair I’m so proud of!?” This time the five-colored rooster head smacked the table opposite of where Yado was, “You’d better look properly, this is art, an art!”
I began to doubt his artistic sense.
“That’s right, Yado, it’s an art.” Unexpectedly, Leido actually agreed with the five-colored rooster head and even nodded. “Look at his head, there’s the green of a bud in spring, there’s the bright colors of flowers blooming, and there’s also the dark beauty of a dark thunderous sky. Don’t you think integrating these together is a wonderful work of art?” He said with passion, his hazel eyes were shining, and also took a peek at the five-colored rooster head’s a few times.
To be honest, no matter how I looked at it, I still don’t feel that the five-colored rooster head’s hair was a work of art.
“I absolutely don’t feel that way.” Sure enough, Yado agreed with me.
“Yado, to think you’re someone from the Fairy clan, and you don’t actually know how to appreciate this type of wonderful color distribution!” The younger twin brother pointed at the older twin brother and they started fighting with each other.
So to say, people from the Fairy clan should know how to appreciate strange heads?
“Sorry, but I really can’t.” The older twin brother didn’t even feel there was anything worth appreciating about the five-colored steel brush head.
Leido took two steps back, with a startled look in his eyes, “You really don’t know how to appreciate it. Are you even my real brother?”
“Even if I’m your brother, I don’t think there’s anything worth appreciating about colorful poisonous mushrooms.”
“You’re not allowed to call my head colorful poisonous mushrooms!”
Then came the great sound of a stone table being flipped.
They are all crazy.
I walked out of the pavilion. I wanted to go back already.
* * *
I later learned that Fairies were a race who absolutely loves arts and crafts, and has a unique sense towards everything. In particular, they like handmade goods with thickly concentrated style.
I only found out after both Yado and Leido had a big fight in the pavilion together with the five-colored rooster head. The fight was then suppressed by Yido who, hurriedly rushed over, and explained it to me.
The pavilion was smashed. The three of them could, with their bare hands, smash a pavilion.
Very good, extremely good.
I was glad I had left the pavilion before the fight got out of hand, and I even took a stroll to the restaurant to get a beverage to drink. I came back exactly at the right time to see the scene of the pavilion historically collapsing.
Although it was unknown as to when Yido had rushed to the pavilion, he was standing in front of the fallen pavilion with his arms crossed. The twin brothers, who were fighting with each other, stood before him with the same exact posture, but one was facing left and the other was facing right. They both faced the other way, and were unwilling to look at each other. Both their faces magically had a black circle on their right eye, at the same exact place with the same exact size.
“Yang~” When he saw I had returned, the five-colored rooster head magically appeared beside me, and draped his arm over my shoulder, “Let me say this first, I only hit the short small crazy one, but in the end, a black eye appeared on the other one.”
…The magical telepathy of the twins?
I suddenly remember the conversation I had with Leido. He mentioned that when one of the gets injured, the other one would also receive the same injury.
It doesn’t make any sense for them to fight amongst themselves. After all, they would be simply hitting themselves.
Unsure of what Yido said to them, since I couldn’t understand their language, but in the end, Leido and Yado seemed to have reconciled, and both their tempers seemed to have subsided.
“I’m so sorry, this is embarrassing.” Yido came over and said to me, “Fairies are rather dedicated towards the things they take interest in.” Then he looked at the five-colored rooster head, his expression was most probably due to not understanding why Leido would like the five-colored steel brush, since he turned away after just a moment.
“It’s fine.” I’m very used to it already.
Two people fighting… I meant, three people. Three people fighting each other had nothing to do with me. However, it was much better compared to the last time when I was mysteriously caught in the middle between Andy’s and the five-colored rooster head’s fight.
Both Yado and Leido seemed to have applied some medicine or the like, since their black eye was suddenly gone.
“Allow Leido to send you guys back to Atlantis Academy. I just heard the news, there’s been something going on these past two days, and incidentally Leido could bring the news to Prince Icy Flame.” Yido said as he took out an envelope and passed it to Leido.
The enveloped looked similar to the invitation I had received, there was something like a family crest printed on top.
“Oh.” Leido took that letter, he stared at the five-colored rooster head again, and said, “Let’s go.”
He then opened his hand, I realized his action was similar to senior’s action. With his palm facing the floor, a magical array spread out in a circle, however the array wasn’t as large as senior’s, and wasn’t exactly the same.
The five-colored rooster head snorted twice, and he sauntered into the magical array.
“Student Chu.” Yido suddenly stopped me.
I stopped, turned around, puzzled. I forgot to bid him goodbye? I’ve heard that aristocrats were rather particular about some things.
“I sensed that you seem to be holding onto a talisman?”
He asked, and I nodded. I did indeed have one, and it was turned into a red and strange one eyed talisman due to senior’s additional work. Chifuyu still didn’t know about this yet.
“Please do not ever let the talisman leave your side, it’s very powerful, powerful enough to protect you.” Yido smiled, and took out a small white box from his pocket, somewhat similar to the size of the box that holds a wedding ring, “This is a little something from us. It’s our gratitude for coming to Alis Academy as our guest today, please do accept it.”
Gratitude? Does it mean I also need to give him something in return? However, I brought nothing with me.
Yido was still smiling, so I could only accept the box.
The small box was different from how it looked, it was rather heavy. I wondered what was inside the box.
* * *
In the end, we only took two seconds to return to Atlantis’s gate entrance.
“Leido, am I allowed to open this and take a look inside?”
I shook the white box in my hand, but not even the slightest sound could be heard, really had no idea what was inside.
The five-colored rooster head had also been staring at the box.
I opened the box, and inside was a small wooden carving. It looked like some sort of religious carving, resembling of delicate woman, two pythons were wrapped around her body, and on the woman’s body, were a lot of carved patterns, the handiwork was extremely delicate.
“This is a Pomerania statue, the legendary snake goddess who protects the Fairy clan.” Leido knew I had no idea what it was, so he kindly explained to me, “It’s a type of talisman used by Fairies. Sometimes, we would give this away to a friend we like, which represents ‘Please bless our friend to be safe and sound’.”
Turning the carving to take a look, I felt rather happy. For some reason, in this world, it was rather easy to make friends. This was something I had never experienced in the past.
Since everyone believed I was very unlucky, not many people wanted to be friends with me. They were afraid I would pass my bad luck to them. So even until I had graduated from Junior High, I only had a few real friends.
However, the people over here really treat me very well. So much better.
“Why was one given to Yang but not me?” The five-colored rooster head protested due to the unfairness.
“You still need the protection of a Protector God?” Leido asked in return.
“Ha! The great me doesn’t need that damn thing!”
“There you have it.”
I put the wooden carving back into the box.
“Yang~ You want to go to the right shopping street in the afternoon?” The five-colored rooster head still wasn’t planning on giving up, draping his arm over my shoulder, he once again asked the same question he did this morning.
“Not going.” Rebuffed in half a second.
“Then I’ll go and look for Prince Icy Flame, I’ll come and find you guys next time.” Leido smiled, and looked at the five-colored rooster head’s hair again, with a very nostalgic expression.
“Get lost!” The five-colored rooster head issued a warning.
“Alright.” Leido lowered his pointy ears and suddenly lifted his head, “What time is it now…”
“Don’t look at the clock!”
I was too late.
A huge sound, and my nightmare, fell from the building’s clock frame and was partly inserted into the ground.
Leido was stunned.
A very familiar black numbers started wriggling.
Then, using less than ten seconds, the clock stuck in the ground bounced up, and started rotating in one direction.
“What is this?” Leido took two steps back.
I saw a very familiar scene. It was similar to the one when I first arrived in school. However, at that time, I was the only one running, but now, the ones running were Leido and the five-colored rooster head (because the rooster head was standing right next to him).
The killer clock released loud “clang, clang, clang” sounds of rolling, and chasing people.
I suddenly understood why senior asked me to run that day, and only after running one lap did he deal with the clock. Because as long as you were not the one being chased, standing on the spot looking at someone being chased by the clock was rather funny.
Oops, I became evil.