Advent of the Three Calamities

Chapter 159 Tree of Ebonthorn [2]
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Chapter 159 Tree of Ebonthorn [2]

For the next hour or so, the delegate guided us around the Guild station. The insides of the building were rather impressive.

With well-polished floors and neatly arranged furniture, it looked somewhat modern.

Somewhat.

It was mainly due to the minimalistic design that dominated the surroundings.

Stopping inside a large white room, filled with countless wardrobes that were filled with the same-looking suits, the delegate turned to face us while pointing at them.

"The suits right here are what you will be using for when you go out of the supply station. The radiation..."

He went on to explain about them.

From their usage, and the necessary steps that needed to be taken to wear them.

Unfortunately, I was not able to focus on anything that he was saying, nor my surroundings.

'Tree of Ebonthorn.'

Three words continuously rang in my mind.

Over and over again.

For some strange reason, I couldn't stop thinking about them.

"I believe I've said everything. If there are any questions that you have, you can ask me now."

".....I have a question."

To the point where I found myself raising my hand at the end of the tour.

"Oh? You've been rather quiet since the start. If you have anything to ask me, please feel free to do so."

I swallowed before nodding.

"...Is there a library by any chance?"

"A library?"

The delegate looked at me confused.

I went on to explain,

"I would like to do some research about the surrounding monsters, and my surroundings. It's so that I can be more prepared for the rescue mission."

"Ah."

Realization finally dawned on the delegate who nodded his head.

"Yes, there's a library."

Just as I was about to get my hopes up, he poured cold water over me.

".....But it's only accessible to Guild Members. While you are technically with us, you're not considered a Guild Member. There's a lot of sensitive information that we can't share or have leaked."

Though subtle about it, the meaning behind his words was clear.

'We don't want to leak some of the information to the other Guilds.'

"I see."

It wasn't as though I was disappointed.

I somewhat expected it. Especially from the little things that I had managed to catch a glimpse of regarding the Guild.

They were extremely uptight.

"There's no need to worry, though. All the information that you are seeking will be taught to you in the coming days. From monsters to the surrounding areas. We will teach you everything."

The man looked at me.

"But if you're looking for independent search, then there's a library not far from here. You won't find the most optimal information, but it's still a very big library with a lot of information."

"I understand. Thank you."

I could only thank him and leave things there.

Since there was no way for me to enter the library of the Guild, I could only opt to go to the public library.

"Well, then..."

Clapping, the man smiled.

"It was a very nice tour. I hope that you all have learned a lot."

It appeared as though it was time for the orientation to end.

Good, it served well for me.

"The raid trip is scheduled to be in a few days so in the meantime we will train you to be prepared for what is to come. The schedule will be handed to you later, and oh, right."

Rummaging through his pocket, he took out several keys.

"These are your residence keys. The rooms are already equipped with the necessary tools for an enjoyable stay."

He smiled.

"Enjoy your time off. T-T-his will be the last day of freedom before tra-ining b-egins."

For some reason, his speech slurred by the end, but considering the environment we were in, I attributed it to it.

There were a couple of times when I found it hard to focus in the past hour.

It was as if my mind blanked all of a sudden. It was only for quick and short bursts, but it was there.

'This damn environment...' f𝐫e𝚎we𝚋n𝐨𝘃el.𝗰𝗼𝐦

"Alright, have fun. I'll be seeing you tomorrow morning. Make sure to be there on time. W-we highly value discipline in our Guild."

With those words, he left.

Standing in the suitroom, the cadets all exchanged looks. I too looked around, meeting eyes with Evelyn who opened her mouth but closed it shortly after.

From her mannerisms, it looked like she wanted to strike up a conversation with me.

She really did seem to be trying.

However,

"See you."

That was all she could muster up before leaving.

Staring at her departing back, or more precisely, her waving purple hair, I didn't know how to feel.

I had been given a brief rundown of the situation from Leon.

It wasn't much, but it was enough.

And in the end, I knew that she had lingering feelings about the previous Julien. She seemed pained every time she looked at me.

Her gaze.

It was somewhat burdensome.

"Haa."

Sighing slightly, I walked up to Luxon who appeared to be waiting for me at the entrance of the room.

He greeted me with a nod before speaking,

"Our orientation took quite a while. The others should already be at the reception."

"Yeah."

We had made an appointment beforehand.

From what we had been told by the Professors, we needed to navigate in groups of four around the supply station.

As expected, coming down to the reception room, they were all seated on the waiting room sofas.

Of the three people who sat on the sofa, Kiera naturally stood out.

With her long flowing silver hair and red eyes, it was hard to miss her. Sat with her arms crossed, she finally took note of our appearance and clicked her tongue.

"Took you guys long enough."

".....Sorry, we've been held up by our delegate. He was very thorough with his explanations."

So Luxon said.

Unfortunately, I hadn't paid much attention to know.

"Well, fine."

Kiera and the others stood up from their seats.

"Let's go. We don't have much time."

Stretching her body, she looked back at me and Luxon before leaving for the entrance.

"Hey, wait up! You're going too fast."

Josephine followed her from behind, and so did Anders. Luxon followed shortly after, leaving me standing in the reception for a little while.

My mind felt blank.

"What was it again...?"

I blinked before shaking my head.

"Ah, right."

I looked up towards the entrance. The others were there. Massaging my forehead, I picked up my pace and strode out of the building.

While the supply station wasn't big, it didn't necessarily feel small. Walking around the cobblestone streets, people stepped out of our way.

There was a jovial mood surrounding the city streets. It burst with life as music played in the background, only disrupted by the loud laughter of drunken old men who shared a few drinks in the open bars.

Looking around, everything looked good.

.....And yet, every time my gaze would cross over the surroundings, my stomach would churn.

I'd be constantly reminded of the vision.

It felt vivid in my mind.

So vivid.

Squench, squench—

To the point where I could hear the familiar sound.

It tickled my ears, sending shivers down my spine.

"Julien."

Every hair on my body stood on end.

It felt as if something was crawling over my face, and I suddenly struggled to breathe.

"Julien!"

I only snapped out of it when I heard Kiera's voice.

"....."

Looking up, I saw that her face was merely a few inches away from mine.

Before I could do anything, she pressed her hand against my head.

"Wh—"

"It's burning."

Burning?

Taking her hand away, she took a small handkerchief to wipe her hand.

Looking around to meet the other's gazes, she was about to say something when I stopped her.

"I'm fine."

"What?"

"Haa.. Haa.."

Pinching my forehead, I tried to calm my uneven breath.

The sensations started to disappear from my mind and clarity returned to my mind.

"I'm fine."

I repeated again, wiping away at my forehead which had grown sweaty for some reason.

"You don't look fine."

".....I didn't sleep much. I trained until morning."

That excuse seemed to work.

The moment I looked up, the expressions of everyone present changed.

The way they looked at me...

It was one of disgust.

Josephine was the first one to speak.

"You know, I'd normally not believe someone if they said that, but coming from you, I can see it."

The others nodded alongside her.

"Goosebumps."

Holding onto her arms, she rubbed them up and down.

"I still feel goosebumps thinking about the time before the mid-terms."

I frowned.

"....It wasn't that bad."

"Oh, yeah. This explains it."

As if my words seemed to have convinced her, Josephine continued to nod.

"Yup, yup. He's definitely just overworked."

"....?"

"No sane person would think what he made us go through as 'not bad'.."

She glared at me.

"No one!"

"I..."

I didn't know how to answer that.

Looking around, my gaze eventually fell on Kiera who appeared abnormally quiet. Staring into her crimson-red eyes, my face twitched again.

A red leaf floated in my vision.

It blanketed the land beneath.

....I lost my breath for a moment.

This time, however, I was quick to regain it.

"Huu."

"You should rest."

Kiera said after a while.

Looking back, she ruffled her hair and yawned.

"I guess I'm also tired. We might as well cancel the trip."

"Uh? Wha—"

Kiera covered Josephine's mouth just as she was about to speak.

"Shut up."

"Nmmm!"

"Quiet."

"Nmmm...! Nm!"

".....Fuck! Are you licking me?"

"Huea! Huk! So salty."

"Shit! I'll kill you."

"Akh!"

In the end, the situation ended like it usually did with the two of them.

The plans were canceled, and we all decided to take a rest.

....Or at least, that was how it was supposed to be, but even as the others left, I could only recall and think of the vision.

For some strange reason, it continued to haunt me.

Taking a look around me and seeing the jovial mood in the air, I felt a strange sense of despair crawling from the deepest parts of the station.

It was there, but I couldn't see it.

?| Lvl 2. [Fear] EXP + 0.07%

But why...?

"I have to go."

While the rules explicitly said that cadets had to travel in groups of four, it didn't mean that going alone was impossible.

It wasn't allowed, but not impossible.

Looking around, I decided to walk into the crowd, carefully blending in with them. Squinting my eyes, I navigated the cobblestone streets.

I walked for about five minutes before coming to a stop in front of a tall building. The windows allowed one to see the numerous books displayed within, and that was when I knew I had reached my destination.

"....."

Taking a deep breath, I reached out for the door when another hand reached out for it.

I stopped and so did the hand.

Turning around, two gray eyes stared back at me.

"...."

"...."

The two of us stood staring at each other for a few seconds before Leon finally spoke, his voice unusually high.

"By any chance..."

He clung to the necklace on his neck.

".....Did you use your spell on me again?"

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