Chapter 56: Family Gathering
PROFESSOR GLORY’S POV:
I’m too late! F*ck! What happened to her? Why did she suddenly collapse? Is something wrong with her mana core? Why now?
I could only watch in horror as Prince Curtis’ breath attack made its way towards Princess Tessia. With absolute no defenses around her, was she going to live? If so, would she even be able to continue being a mage? Forget mage, she might have to live the rest of her life as a cripple!
I could feel tears well up in my eyes as I desperately made my way towards them, but I knew I wasn’t going to make it. What would the consequences be? I would be happy if it just ended with me getting fired. I was more concerned that this would start a civil war. During this important time period in the Continent, was I going to be the cause of the split between the three races?
“NOOOO!!” I scream in dread as Curtis’ World Howl engulfed the Princess. Prince Glayder had a look of shock in his face as well when he realized after releasing his attack that Tessia was already unconscious. There was no way, though. There was no way to stop the attack.
After what seemed like hours, the beam slowly dissipated and what I saw shocked me even more than the worst possible scenario I imagined.
In utter incredulity, I just stammered. “A-A-Arthur Leywin?!?”
How the hell did he get there? Just moments ago, he was occupied inside Inferno’s Cage by Lucas. Instant teleportation? Was that even possible?
No… no no… no… that wasn’t possible.
I jumped off of Torch as soon as I got close enough and rushed towards Arthur and Princess Tessia. Arthur was in bad shape. Most of his clothes were disintegrated, with only patches of his uniform intact and a strange bandage around his left arm. He was bloody all over and I could see deep gashes near his sides where a rib bone was visible. His body was wrapped around the Princess and from what I can tell; he used most of his mana to protect her. Thanks to that, she was almost unscathed.
The rest of the students all rushed out of the viewing platform and made their way here. Fortunately, the Princess was okay but Arthur needed immediate attention. As soon as I got close enough to try and help them, though, Arthur’s little bond stopped me in my tracks.
“Grrr…” Normally, I’d find the cute white fox that rides on top of Arthur’s head to be cute but right now, the killing intent it was giving off was anything but cute. The amount of pure menace radiating from that little fox was no joke. It seemed to be protecting its master and Princess Tessia.
“It’s okay little buddy, I’m only trying to help.” I try to slowly ease my way closer but its growl only gets louder. Torch, who was normally unafraid even in chaos of battle, was holding me back with her beak clutching the back of my shirt.
“P-Professor, I-I didn’t mean to. I mean, I didn’t think Princess Tessia would suddenly faint.” Curtis runs to me, his face pale in fright.
“It’s alright, I know. I don’t know how, but Arthur managed to protect the Princess. His bond won’t let me get close to them though.” I clench my fists in frustration. Arthur needed immediate attention. Why was his bond risking his master’s life by doing this? What was it trying to protect? Curtis’ attempts at trying to get Arthur and Tessia failed as well, so we all just stood around the two of them.
Every attempt at getting even a step closer to Arthur and Tessia resulted in the bond lashing out at us. “Someone get Director Goodsky!” I barked out. Some of the students regained their senses but when they were about to leave, a loud screech filled the air.
From above, a green owl soared down and landed in front of Arthur’s bond.
“A-are they communicating?” Prince Glayder couldn’t help but stammer out in confusion.
“I-I think so?” I scratched my head at this. Can mana beasts of different species communicate?
As we all stood there, watching a white fox and a green owl ‘talk’ to each other, a couple of minutes later, Director Goodsky arrived looking quite flustered.
“Oh my.” She kneeled in front of the two of them but this time, Arthur’s bond didn’t do anything to stop her.
“Director Goodsky…” Before I have the chance to tell her what happened, she stops me.
“Please. I’ll hear what happened later. Taking these two to the infirmary is top priority. I will take the two of them myself. Go contact Guild Hall and have them send over their top healers.” She said while levitating Arthur and the Princess.
I give her a nod before getting on top of Torch.
ARTHUR LEYWIN’S POV:
“COUGH! COUGH! Aughh…”
I’m woken up by a jolt of searing pain throughout my side, causing me to have a fit of coughs. My whole body is in a concoction of different kinds of pain. From the stabbing pain to the burning pain to the throbbing pain with the occasional tearing pain radiating over my entire body.
Without the strength to even scream, I’m left gritting my teeth as I clench the side of the bed I was lying on.
They really needed to hurry up and invent anesthesia.
A few minutes later as I got a little more used to the agony that my body was in; I feebly turn my head to see Sylvia sleeping next to me.
“How are you feeling Arthur?” Director Goodsky’s familiar voice comes from the other side of the bed.
Without the strength to turn my head again, I whimper. “Never better. Why do you ask?”
“Kuku~ if you have the will to answer sarcastically, I’m sure you’ll be okay.”
If I had the strength to roll my eyes at her, I would.
“How’s Tessia?” I ask, my voice hoarse.
“Well, good news is, Tessia is in a much better state than you.” She sighed.
“…Her body can’t handle her beast will, right?”
“H-how did you know?” Director Goodsky comes around so she’s facing me.
“Because I was the one that gave the beast will to her.” I try to sit up but the pain from my body makes me stop almost immediately.
Continuing what I was saying, I grit my teeth to bear the pain. “Make sure no one knows that Tessia has a beast will, at least for now. I’d help Tessia with the assimilation myself if I was able to but I’ll leave her to you.” I can tell she wanted to ask more questions but she held back for my sake.
“Once I got you both back into infirmary, I didn’t let anyone else see either of besides the healers. I contacted the royal family, as well as your own though. They should be coming soon. I assumed that she acquired the beast will from Virion but to think it was from you. Get some rest, Arthur. Your body is unusually strong though, so I don’t think there will be any repercussions but it’s better to be safe than sorry.” She heads to the door but turns back before leaving. “Thank you for saving Tessia.”
I give her a weak smile as I slump back to sleep.
I stir awake from Sylv licking me on my cheek. ‘Papa, are you feeling better now?’
I must’ve been having a nightmare because I’m drenched in sweat.
“Honey! Art is awake!” I hear my mother’s voice to my left.
Turning my head is a lot easier now if I ignore the pain.
“Hey Mom, when’d you guys get here?” I give her the best smile I could muster up.
“Are you okay? Director Goodsky didn’t really tell us happened yet. How did you get hurt so badly on the first day of school!” I could tell she wanted to hug me but she held herself back after realizing I probably wasn’t in the best state for that.
My sister rushes to the other side of the bed and leans forward. “Brother!! Are you okay now? Does it hurt?” My eyes widen in horror as I see that she was about to place her hand on my body to probe me but before she’s able to, Mother stops her.
“You’re already getting into fights, son?” My father smirks.
“You should see how the other guy looks like.” I grin back making him laugh.
My mother just gasps at this and starts actually imagining what the other person must look like.
“He’s only joking Mrs. Leywin.” Coming in through the door was Director Goodsky with the whole Eralith family, including Tessia, who was looking a lot better.
“T-this…” My father takes a step back in surprise as my mother gasps with her mouth covered.
“Pleased to finally make your acquaintance Mr. and Mrs. Leywin.” Alduin Eralith, Tessia’s father and the former King of Elenoir grabbed my stunned father’s hand and shook it.
“We have always wanted to meet the parents of Arthur. It is such a pleasure to finally get to meet you in person.” The former Queen of Elenoir and Tessia’s mother, Merial Eralith hugs my mother, who still had her hands over her mouth in disbelief.
Merial, then, goes to Ellie and pats her head gently. “You must be Arthur’s little sister. You’re so adorable!”
“I-I saw you guys at the announcement a couple of months back…” My father’s speaking skills seems to drastically decline in front of them, which I find surprising since they didn’t react this much even towards the King and Queen of Sapin.
“Greetings. I go by Virion Eralith and I am your son’s former teacher.” He shoots me a cheeky grin as he grasps my father’s hand.
Without the energy to even retort, I just smile helplessly back as my father and mother’s gaze switches back and forth between the Eralith family and me.
“H-h-h-hello! My name is Tessia Eralith. It’s a pleasure to m-meet you! Please take care of me! I’m Arthur’s childhood f-f-friend and I’m not sure if he talked about me with you but I really am!” Tessia bows so her body is at a full ninety-degree angle as her voice is a mixture of respect and panic. She quickly gets back up with her hair draping over most of her face and as she tries to fix her hair, I can see her face becoming more and more red.
At this, my parents become a bit more surprised, but my mother looks at me with a coy smile that says she’s onto something and kneels in front of Tessia.
“I see. Well aren’t you the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. Please take good care of my son. As you may know, he’s the type to get into trouble a lot, so it’ll really help me if I know he has someone like you next to him, now and in the future.” My mother shoots her a wink as she strokes Tessia’s hair.
I’m not really sure how what Tess really heard but she was definitely overthinking everything. Eyes widening as her face that was already red turned a shade brighter, she responds in a voice that was an octave higher than usual. “Y-YESS!!!” She beamed while nodding vigorously.
My father was still clueless as to what was going on but I could only internally groan. Leave it to my mother to instill misleading thoughts like this to a 13-year-old girl.
After getting back up, both my mother and Tessia’s mother broke out into a fit of giggles while my sister began pouting because our mother said Tessia was the prettiest girl she’s seen.
“How are you feeling, brat?” Virion takes a seat on the edge of the bed I was laying as he gave a pat to Sylvie who went back to sleep. Tessia, regaining her senses, walks up to me too with a worried expression.
“Heh…I can beat you in a fight right now, Gramps.” I try to hold in the coughs that were about to come out but I couldn’t.
“I’m so sorry, Art. If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have been…” I stop her mid sentence and poke her gently between her eyebrows with my finger.
“Don’t furrow your brows, Tess. Your face will turn ugly.” As the strength in my arm gives out, I slump back down and take a deep breath.
“Gramps, did you take a look at Tess’ mana core? How’s everything looking?” I couldn’t help but be worried since I knew exactly what she was going through.
He gives me a soft smile. “Luckily, her body seems to be a lot more compatible with the beast core than your body was when you first integrated. By the way… How the hell did you manage to pick up an Elderwood Guardian’s beast core?” He leaned in forward and spoke in a hushed voice. Gramps knew there some things that I didn’t want my family to know about so he made it so that only we could hear, just in case.
“By killing one, of course.” I give him weak smirk.
“You’re joking…no…you’re joking, right? You’re telling me that you killed an S class mana beast?” Grampa’s usually stern face was round in astonishment as he gets even closer, our face almost touching.
“You’re too close gramps. I can smell what you had for you last meal…wait. How long have I been out for?” I couldn’t get a grasp on how much time has passed.
“From what Cynthia told me, it’s been a bit more than a day since you passed out. You missed your second day of class.” He lets out a sigh.
“Oh no… I guess I can forget about shooting for perfect attendance…” I give him a weak elbow to his arm, making him chuckle.
“Hehe” Tessia giggles as well as she takes a seat on the bed too.
“I’m telling you! I’m Arthur Leywin’s best friend! We’re like brothers! If I can’t visit him, then who could? I’m telling you it’s true!!” I hear a familiar voice echo in the distance and I couldn’t help but chortle at my friend.
Director Goodsky, hearing this as well, signals to the security to let him through.
“ARTHUR! You okay man?” He rushes towards me totally oblivious to the other people in the room.
“You’re late. And you didn’t even bring any food with you?” Letting out an exaggerated sigh, I just slightly shake my head.
“Haaa… I guess you’re fine if you can talk like that.” Elijah lets out a sigh as relief washes over his face.
I start smiling as his head comes back up and recognizes whom the other people in the room were. My friends face contorted from relief to terror as he realizes that, besides my family, the Director of the Academy and the whole Royal Family of the Kingdom of Elenoir were also in the room.
“Uhh…oh my…” His slack jaw fails to form words.
“Pfft, Hahaha…oww…haha” My stomach felt like it was being wrangled as I couldn’t stop laughing.
“Gramps, Mr. and Mrs. Eralith, I’d like you to meet my closest friend, Elijah.”
“P-pleased to meet you! Sorry for being so rude just now!” Elijah immediately bows, almost dropping his glasses.
After everyone got acquainted with each other, my parents continued to get acquainted with Tessia’s parents in the other side of the room. Gramps finally left me alone and started catching up with Director Goodsky after wringing me of all the details and telling me to make time for him once I’m better to further discuss everything else.
“Brother. Who’s prettier, me or her?” Ellie points at Tess and gives me a serious look.
“You guys are both pretty ugly to me.” I just shrug helplessly but I regretted it as soon as the words left my mouth.
“OWW! That seriously hurts right now!” I groan as the both of them pinch and twist the skin on my arm.
“Tess, like I said, Elijah is a close friend of mine. You guys should get along.” I say through gritted teeth, my arm still throbbing, more so from the state of my body than the power of my sister and Tess’ pinches.
“Sorry I never formally introduced myself to you, I’m Tessia Eralith, Arthur’s CLOSEST friend.” She sticks out her hand and as Elijah accepts her handshake, he responds, “I’m Elijah, Arthur’s BEST friend. Nice to meet you.” Sparks flew between them as they glared at each other in competition.
I just rolled my eyes as my sister giggled. I was getting tired from being awake for even this long, my eyelids beginning to weigh down heavily.
Director Goodsky, noticing this, announces to everyone. “Now! I think we should give Arthur some more time to rest. His life isn’t in danger but he should be very tired right now.”
“Son, come visit home after you’re all healed up, okay?” My father grasps my hand and gives it a gentle squeeze before herding my family out.
“Get plenty of rest. Okay, dear?” My mother says as she’s heading out. Tessia’s parents say their brief goodbyes while patting me softly on my arm before following out after my parents.
“We’ll catch up soon brat.” Virion ruffles my hair, making me wince and tows Tessia and Elijah out with him.
“Haa…” I look at Sylvie who’s still fast asleep.
As I was about to close my eye, the door squeaks opens once more.
“Did you leave something, Tess?” Spotting from the corner of my eyes, I don’t bother turning my head.
“Hey Arthur…” She arrives next to me glances back at the door.
“You said you couldn’t really move your body, right?” I can see with my peripheral view that she’s fidgeting a little.
“I can probably only turn my head and lift my arm for a little bit, why?” As I turn my head towards her, my eyes widen in surprise as I realize that Tess’ face was just centimeters away from mine. Her eyes gaze at me with an expression I’ve never seen in her ever and before long, I feel her lips as her eyes close.
The soft, warm sensation of her lips on top of mine catches me by surprise but my body doesn’t let me react. Instead, I spot a small mole in the outer corner of her left eye that I’ve never noticed before.
A small, glistening strand of saliva connects my lips to hers as she pulls away, her eyes never avoiding mine. She quickly turns her head and runs out of the room leaving me more dazed than when I first woke up.