Hunter Academy: Revenge of the Weakest

Chapter 354 82.3 - What the heart sees
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Chapter 354 Chapter 82.3 - What the heart sees

"Why are you hiding your strength?"

Faced with the things that are out of the norm, what is the basic response humans tend to give?

It is to try to understand it.

After all, only by understanding it can we categorize, and categorizing is one of our most basic desires since it creates a sense of belonging.

That is why I was expecting such a question from Seraphina.

"Why do you think?"

I asked against her. If you are in a conversation in which you don't want to reveal much information, the best way to deal with it is to answer the questions with another question. By doing that, you can lead the conversation in the way you want while also learning about the thoughts of the person before you.

"I don't know."

Yet, for people like Seraphina, these types of situations must be pretty common. She instantly said she didn't have any thoughts on this matter to hide her cards.

"You don't know? I thought you would already form an opinion. After all, aren't you the mighty Seraphina Frostborne?"

To deal with such responses, one can attempt to provoke another person. If the person can be swayed by their momentary impulses, they can get the answer they want.

"I know it must be disappointing, but sadly, I don't really have any idea."

However, for that to even work, you need to know the weakness of the other party, and right now was not the time for me to reveal it.

"So, please kindly answer my question. Why are you hiding your abilities?"

As Seraphina once again asked that question, she very well thought that I couldn't use the sophisticated methods to slip away from it.

"Is it important?"

"It is."

"Why?"

"Because it will help me formulate my future actions. Only by understanding your reasons that I can judge if you are a person suited for me or not."

"Suited for you? Is this supposed to be a test?"

"Life itself is a test."

"It is a sophisticated view."

"That is coming from you….But, seemingly enough, you have no intention of revealing your reasons it seems."

Dealing with smart people is efficient because of this. They can understand and read between the lines, which makes communication easier.

Of course, some may think that this is an act of immaturity, and directly saying what you want to say is better than beating around the bush, but where is the fun with that?

If everything in this world was as efficient as it needed to be, then we wouldn't have the things called art in the first place.

"It is good that you understand." I nodded at her response.

"But, do you think you should show some leverage to me? After all, I now hold your secret in my hands."

"Somehow, I feel like I keep repeating these words, but I have no control over your actions. From how you speak, you certainly have the necessary means to talk with the headmaster and make him believe in you, even without any proof. Therefore, regardless of whether I comply with your requests or not, you can always talk with the headmaster and inform him. And that makes you the one in control and not me. No matter what I do, the result can only be determined by you."

"Interesting. You really have the ability to do sophistry. Maybe you can work with politicians."

"I have no interest in such matters.

'I only have one goal. To get my revenge, that's it.'

I thought inwardly. Somehow, having such a conversation with Seraphina made me reminisce about the past, albeit it was a little.

I would talk with her a lot like this as well.

Seraphina's gaze lingered on me for a moment, her expression unreadable. "Your words make sense if the mana contracts didn't exist."

Her statement caught me off guard, and I raised an eyebrow in surprise. "Are you suggesting...?"

"That I'm willing to make a contract over such a small matter?" she finished my sentence, her lips quirking into a wry smile. "Perhaps."

I leaned back in my seat, considering her words carefully. Mana contracts were powerful agreements that bound individuals to certain terms and conditions, often exchanging favors or services in return for mutual benefits.

They were not to be taken lightly, as breaking a contract could have dire consequences.

"Are you proposing a contract between us?" I asked, intrigued by the possibility.

Seraphina nodded, her eyes gleaming with a newfound intensity. "Indeed. If you're unwilling to share your reasons willingly, perhaps a contract will ensure your compliance."

"For you to bring out the topic of mana contracts, you must want to gain my trust."

"I do."

"But why? What do you need from me? Even if you are certain that I am hiding my strength, I don't see any other reason for you to approach me."

This was the thing that was bugging me. Seraphina might be certain that I was hiding my strength, but there shouldn't be any clear reason for her to approach me.

After all, there were plenty of powerhouses in the academy, and there was even a monster like Ethan who was improving at a rate that would shake the mountains.

I didn't see any value for her unless she thought that I was on par with her in terms of strength.

At my words, a certain smile bloomed on her face. A certain smile that somehow sent a slight shiver down my spine.

Somehow, my intuition was warning me that this talk's result wouldn't be anything good.

However, at that moment, even if I wanted to just leave this table, if I did, I would antagonize this future Archmage a lot more severely than just acting edgy.

"Let's say I want to steal my rivals' assets."

Her words contained a certain meaning, and her eyes were looking at someplace behind.

'Hmm?'

I also sensed something, but before I could put a finger on it, I felt my senses being veiled by something else.

It was Seraphina's mana that had covered my body, isolating me from the space.

'This….She had already achieved such control over her mana?' This woman somehow managed to manipulate her raw mana to disrupt my senses as if to show off to me. It gave the message that, even if I wanted to leave, I wouldn't do it unscathed.

"Well, in any case, let me ask you another question," Seraphina mumbled, looking at me with a clear interest. "What do you think about Irina?"

"Irina?"

Hearing her asking about Irina, I understood what she was trying to understand.

'So, this was what it was about.' Thinking about it from Seraphina's perspective, Irina and I certainly had a weird relationship. Even in the game, Seraphina constantly monitored people that she deemed important so she would know about my past interactions with Irina. From there, she may have certainly formed some conclusions in her head.

Considering that she now thought that I was hiding my strength and that I was close to Irina, in her mind, I could become an obstacle to her in the future since Irina was eventually her rival.

"Yes." Seraphina nodded, confirming her question.

"Asking such a question out of the blue," I mumbled to give the impression that I was bothered.

"Irina is... complicated," I began, choosing my words carefully. "She's certainly talented, there's no denying that. But her attitude leaves much to be desired."

Seraphina's gaze remained fixed on me, her expression unreadable. "Go on."

"She's reckless, impulsive, and often acts without considering the consequences," I continued, my tone tinged with frustration. "Her arrogance knows no bounds, and she's quick to dismiss others' opinions if they don't align with her own."

'Though this part has changed a lot, it is not like you need to hear it from me, Seraphina Frostborne.'

There was no need to reveal everything, nor a need for me to speak the truth with my every word.

A flicker of recognition flashed in Seraphina's eyes, but she remained silent, urging me to continue.

"She's driven by her own ambition, and she'll stop at nothing to achieve her goals," I added, my voice growing colder. "But her lack of restraint and disregard for those around her make her a liability sometimes."

'This part also changed a lot.' Seraphina nodded slowly, absorbing my words. "And yet, you maintain a close relationship with her?"

I paused, weighing my response. "Irina and I have a history, but that doesn't mean I condone her actions. Sometimes, it's easier to keep someone close to keep an eye on them rather than risk them causing trouble elsewhere."

A hint of satisfaction flickered in Seraphina's eyes as if my answer had confirmed her suspicions. "I see."

"Why the sudden interest in my relationship with Irina?" I asked, shifting the focus back to her. "Is she causing trouble again?"

Seraphina's smile was cryptic. "Perhaps. But let's just say that I'm curious about the dynamics between you two."

I narrowed my eyes, sensing that there was more to her inquiry than she was letting on. "And what do you hope to gain from understanding our dynamics?"

"Knowledge is power," Seraphina replied simply. "And understanding the relationships between key players can be advantageous."

With that, she waved her hand. The temperature was lowered for a split second, and the table froze. I could feel my senses warning me since it was getting into a relatively dangerous border.

CREAK!

On the table, two small figures were constructed from the ice. One was a queen on the chessboard, and the other was the king.

'And here it comes.'

"It is hard to clearly understand what makes you work with her." She mumbled, turning her eyes to me. "But, whatever it is, I am confident that I can give you better in every aspect."

Seraphina's words made me nod inwardly. She was offering me an alternative to working with Irina, one that seemed to come with promises of greater rewards and benefits.

I remained silent for a moment, carefully considering my response. Seraphina's offer was tempting; there was no denying that. She was a formidable ally, and aligning myself with her could undoubtedly bring advantages.

But at the same time, I couldn't ignore the warning signs that her proposition carried. These types of actions were what made her different from Lilia after all.

"And what exactly do you expect in return for your... assistance?" I asked cautiously, my voice 'betraying' none of the uncertainty swirling within me.

Seraphina's smile widened, revealing a glint of satisfaction in her eyes. "Simply your loyalty and allegiance. With your skills and abilities, you could be a valuable asset to me, Mister Astron. After all, I am way better than Irina, aren't I? Smarter, easier to talk to, better personality, more beautiful, and most importantly, stronger."

Hearing her words, I nodded my head. There was no need to deny her words. "You certainly are smarter, and you seem to have a better personality," I replied while observing her smile widening.

Somehow, I sensed the mana around me change, as if the curtain completely overlapping me.

'This….'

"But I have no intention of working under someone, regardless of who it is."

Seraphina didn't even falter for a brief moment as if she was already expecting such an answer. "I understand. But remember, Astron, alliances can shift, and loyalties can change. Think carefully about where your allegiances lie."

With that, she waved her hand, dispelling the ice figures on the table, and the temperature returned to normal. I couldn't help but feel a sense of relief as the tension in the air dissipated, but I knew that my encounter with Seraphina was far from over.

As I rose from my seat, she turned to me once more, her gaze piercing and intense. "But, you should still consider my offer, Astron Natusalune. I have a feeling that our paths will cross again soon."

Somehow, she looked like she got what she wanted, which increased the unease in my heart.

"I will."

With those words, I turned to leave, but at that moment, I noticed a familiar mana coming from one of the tables.

There, the table was burning with flames, and it seemed like someone had smashed it.

'Sigh…..'

Apparently, there was someone else here.

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