Episode 65 – A Heart Condition
Deora looked around and noticed a horde of people running out of the building. “What’s happening? Why are people leaving in such a hurry? Is there a fire somewhere?” His frown deepened. “But I didn’t start a fire this time.”
After a few seconds, an additional head full of dark purple hair poked out into the hallway. After noticing that the hallways was completely devoid of all examinees, Zerel smiled happily. “Good news little Dei! It seems that our work is done for today.”
Both Elaru and Deora stared at Zerel speechlessly.
After a few seconds of staring they snapped their head towards the railing in front of the classroom, where a brown-haired guy was clumsily climbing up. After his feet touched the ground, he let out a breath of relief and scratched his head in confusion. “The heck? What’s with the panic? Some bastard even pushed me off the railing! Good thing I can Accelerate, or I’d be a pancake right now!”
Zerel’s face fell, and he sighed dejectedly. “Ah, it seems I spoke too soon. I guess we aren’t done for today after all.”
Arion looked at Elaru and then blinked a few times in confusion. “Elaru? What happened to you? You look like you’ve just walked out of a butchery.”
Elaru opened her mouth to respond but no words came out. Luckily, Deora interrupted her and waved Arion over. “Come on! Are you here to take the exam or to pick up girls?”
That put an awkward end to the conversation and the two professors let the disheveled Arion enter the room.
As soon as Arion walked in, Deora glared daggers at Elaru threateningly behind his back. I’ll remember this! Will never trust you again! He then “humph”-ed one final time before slamming the door shut.
As the door slammed shut, a sudden series of crashes was heard.
The three inside the room looked towards the shelf that was previously filled with glass jars. Apparently, each time the renegade cube created a crater it had jolted the jars closer to the edge of the shelf. But it wasn’t until Deora slammed the door that they finally toppled over to the floor.
Deora stared at the broken glass with bloodshot eyes. The strange eyeballs that were previously inside the jars seemed to stare right back at him.
When Elaru heard a miserable scream erupt from inside the room, she didn’t dare dally any longer and quickly made her escape by jumping off the railing, exactly where Arion had fallen off previously.
While Elaru was gracefully falling off the railing, she saw Kiel sitting at a table, peacefully reading a book, completely undisturbed by the commotion around him.
When the people around the hall saw her approach them, for some reason they turned pale and ran away. It made Elaru finally realize why people were running away. That they probably mistook her potion stains for blood.
She rolled her eyes. What a bunch of cowards.
Fortunately, Kiel didn’t show any sign of doing the same.
In fact, he only turned to look at her when he heard his name called in that soft and comfortable voice he was familiar with.
Kiel looked up, his icy blue orbs meeting Elaru’s teal ones. His eyes proceeded to drop down to Elaru’s shirt.
When he noticed the red stain, his eyebrows furrowed. “What the…? Is that…?”
Elaru’s eyes widened, and she hurried to explain. “No! It’s not…”
But before she could finish, Kiel’s next words silenced her: “…a healing potion?”
Elaru stared at Kiel dumbfoundedly before involuntarily nodding her head. “Yeah. It is.”
Kiel searched her face suspiciously. “Why is your shirt drenched with a healing potion?”
Elaru smiled brightly. “I am fine. Thanks for asking.”
Kiel’s eyebrow twitched. He barely suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. “Of course you are fine. I am worried about the other guy.”
Elaru scratched her head and grinned sheepishly. “The other guy has a giant hole in the middle.”
She only realized how wrong that sounded after she said it, but before she could elaborate Kiel raised his eyebrow. “You ruptured a healing potion tank?”
Elaru gaped at him, before exclaiming bewilderedly: “How did you know?”
Kiel snapped his book shut. “Why else would you be covered in a healing potion? It is drunk, not applied externally. The only way you could have it all over you is if someone spilled a bottle on you. And judging by how large the stain is, it had to be a very large bottle. Considering how it has ‘a giant hole in the middle’ and healing potions are common goods usually kept in tanks, it was obviously a ruptured tank.”
Elaru nodded, her eyes glittering with appreciation. “They could have been blood stains, though. Everyone else seems to think so.” She motioned her hands towards the escaping crowd.
Kiel’s eyes didn’t miss the approval glittering in her eyes. He didn’t know why, but it made him feel strangely satisfied. His mouth involuntarily twitched into a small smirk.
“Not everyone is gifted with common sense. You don’t reek of blood. You reek of medicine.” Kiel got up from his seat. “And also, if it was an ordinary liquid or blood, you could have Cleansed it.”
Elaru sniffed her shirt and frowned. “It doesn’t reek, it smells sweet. Like a perfume.”
Kiel’s eyebrows rose, and his smirk widened. “What perfumes have you been using?”
Elaru stared at him speechlessly. Her lack of response only made Kiel’s smirk grow wider and wider. He finally managed to make her speechless. It was such a glorious moment. The self-satisfaction he felt right now couldn’t be put into words. He didn’t know why, but suddenly he felt that today was a very nice day. It was almost… as if… he was actually… happy?
Finally, Elaru managed to respond with: “I see your point.”
“How did you end up rupturing a tank anyway?” Kiel raised one eyebrow inquisitively.
“As expected of a guy worthy to be my soulmate. Your deduction ability is marvelous.” Elaru responded with her trademark beautiful wide smile, that could make anyone forget what they were talking about. Anyone but Kiel. “Don’t change the subject.”
Elaru ignored his protest and gazed at him with a strangely affectionate gaze. It was as if she was looking at someone dear to her. It made Kiel feel strangely uncomfortable.
She spread her arms and exclaimed. “Come here, you.”
Kiel froze and stared at her dumbfounded.
She didn’t let him stare for long. When she realized he had no intention of coming to her, she moved towards him in an attempt to give him a hug.
Kiel’s heart skipped a beat, and he dodged her like a startled lunar, his eyebrow twitching. “Don’t you dare get that red stain on me too!”
Her honest smile suddenly turned into a cunning smirk. “Oh, so you’d let me hug you if there was no stain?”
“Of course not!” Kiel refuted right away, his eyebrow violently twitching. Elaru’s keen eyes didn’t miss the soft tinge of pink spreading over his cheeks.
Her grin only grew wider as she lunged towards him like a lupax attacking its prey.
Kiel reacted quickly, raising his hand towards her head. She slammed face first into his palm, and he grabbed her head with the soles of his fingers as if she was an airbalt ball. His slim fingers kept her at an arms distance, unable to come closer.
Since his arms were longer than hers, all she could do was flail about futilely.
Through the cracks between his fingers, he could see her giving him a somewhat disappointed and wronged look. A muffled pout reached his ears. “You’re so mean!”
Seeing such a strange look on her usually smiling face made the sides of Kiel’s mouth twitch into a smirk.
For a moment, he got an urge to pet her head like she was a child or a baby animal. She was a strange creature, but he had to admit, she was sometimes quite cute.
But then she would ruin it by doing something insufferable. Like licking his hand in revenge.
Luckily there were not many people left in the White Quarters. So, no one witnessed the disgraceful exchange between the two. Kiel couldn’t calm the shivers going down his spine for a while. Imagine! This incident could have caused all his hard work in maintaining his image go up in smoke!
Elaru was dangerous. Very, very dangerous. He was slowly getting used to being himself around her. And that was too dangerous. A slip up in public was just a matter of time.
Kiel repeatedly clenched and unclenched his fists the entire way towards the building where he was supposed to be taking the written exam.
He needed to distance himself from her. Pretend not to know her. He couldn’t let this continue.
This painful, suffocating feeling in his chest had to disappear.
He resolutely decided that as soon as they entered Muni, he would break his ties with her. He would pretend not to know her. They would only communicate in secret, mostly telepathically. From a safe distance.
Now that he had made the decision, there was nothing more that he needed to worry about. It was the best decision he could make. Everything would be alright.
So why is it that the painful feeling didn’t dissipate at all. Not only didn’t it disappear, it seemed to be growing more painful by the minute.
Kiel’s pupils shrunk and a chill went down his spine. It can’t be! Can it?! Could it be that I…?!?
That I developed a heart condition??
Is it because Aetherneal bond put a strain on our bodies?! The negative aftereffects could include damage to internal organs!
He knew something so powerful had to have bad side-effects!
Kiel swore and cursed for some time inside his head. His resolve to find out more about Aetherneal bond grew by the minute. After all, now it had become a matter of life and death.
For all he knew, one day, his heart might fail in his sleep and he wouldn’t even know how and why he died.
Just as he was collecting his thoughts and noting down the changes so he could discuss it later with Elaru, he suddenly stopped in his tracks.
These changes almost exclusively happened when he was thinking about how to deal with the troublesome redhead!
He resisted the urge to face-palm himself and chuckled wryly.
Why did his mind travel down to the worst-case scenario when there was a simpler solution? What heart condition?
For a smart guy, sometimes he was just too dense.
He shook his head. So, that’s how it is. It’s not a heart condition.
It’s just stress.
He should just take some time to meditate and drink some tea with relaxing effects.
Kiel nodded in satisfaction. Problem solved.
The last exam of the day was the written exam testing their knowledge and understanding of magic. The exam was filled with multiple-choice questions they had to answer so to prevent the leakage of exam questions, all examinees would take the exam at the same time. Which meant that all 5642 examinees had to be fitted into classrooms and supervised.
Luckily, Muni provided all examinees with a contract they needed to sign, that specified they would not be allowed to cheat in any way. Therefore, since they couldn’t cheat, supervising the exam became much easier.
Providing that many arcane contracts was, naturally, very expensive. Muni wouldn’t have opted to do it if they had any other choice. How could they ensure fairness and lack of cheating in a room full of argel whose eyes can see the hairs on a caterpillar 20 m away?
After realizing how many different things they would need to enchant and provide, that wouldn’t even solve the issue of cheat sheets, they figured that those arcane contracts were much cheaper than the alternative.