༺ Bat Effect (3) ༻
The Tornado Bat that settled outside the city only gave a small amount of damage to the city itself. Thanks to the early resolution of the matter, only a small portion on the outskirts of the city was damaged. There were a few people who lost their houses because of the storm but… it was within a recoverable level.
“Please take your meals! Today, we have potatoes and onion soup!”
Guardians were commonly viewed as heroes who fought against evil, even more so than the army. Since each and every one of them was superhuman with an overwhelming degree of power, this sense of heroism was unavoidable.
Volunteering to give out meals to the victims of this incident was a part of an image-making strategy.
“Thank you, Sir Knight!”
The citizens who suddenly ended up becoming homeless lined up and received their giveaway meals.
“Can you please give me one more potato, Sister?”
That person must have been quite hopeful on the inside when asking that question. The clerics of the New Faith were known to be generous not only to their believers, but also to the non-believers.
Even though she was wearing chains, which seemed absurd at a glance, Hua Ran still looked like a sister.
“Be content with what you have.”
Hearing the cold voice of Hua Ran, the man dejectedly walked away. The meal quantity was set and it was indeed difficult to give out more to a specific individual, but the important thing was not what you say, but how you say it.
“Sister Hua Ran? How about you be a bit nicer?”
“I don’t care.”
“Since you are doing a volunteer job, why don’t you try to be nicer?”
“Not like I wanted to.”
Hua Ran was a guardian but at the same time, she was a probationary nun of the New Faith. Because of that identity of hers, she seemed to be the first to be chosen whenever they lacked volunteers.
“…Why do you help people?”
“What is this about all of a sudden?”
“I don’t understand why you would help people without anything in return.”
It seemed that this girl wasn’t used to the concept of volunteering in a human society. That wasn’t the best thing for a sister to say, though.
“A nice society needs to have people helping each other. Helping each other when in need is how you get the society rolling in a healthy manner.”
She had a totally clueless look on her face. Her social skills were the same as the ones she had 3 years ago, it seemed.
“You can have a glass of juice on the way back. If you go over~ there, a lady with water-colored hair will give you assistance.”
“Thank you Sir Knight.”
“And all these potatoes are supplies from that lady’s family so don’t forget to thank her!”
“Oh, thank you very much. Miss!”
“Uun? It’s nothing!”
While giving out the meals, I decided to teach Hua Ran about society.
“When do you think was the beginning of humanity’s civilization?”
“…You are talking like a professor.”
Anything is fine so please give me an answer…
Looking at her sharp and uncooperative attitude, it seemed that even though she was okay with listening, she was not going to actively participate in the conversation.
“This is something I heard from somewhere but apparently, the first discovered trace of civilization was when they discovered a broken leg bone that had signs of recovering back to one piece.”
As if she wasn’t interested in the topic, she continued placing boiled potatoes on giveaway plates but her ears were pointing in this direction.
“In a barbaric society of the survival of the fittest, a broken leg is the same as death. That means you cannot run away from danger, nor can you drink water or hunt for food.”
That was the same even for a society of animals. A wounded beast was nothing but easy prey for other predators.
“But the sign of a recovered leg bone means that someone was helping them until they healed back up. Helping people out when they’re in distress… Apparently, that was the beginning of civilization.”
“So in the end, it’s because humans are weak.”
“So you were listening from the start huh!”
Her ears were slightly flushed. When you look at her like this, you wouldn’t imagine her as anything other than a cute little girl.
“You’re not wrong but in any case, helping each other out was one of the survival tactics of humans. In a way, what we’re doing now is similar to that right?”
I think that was quite a logical explanation as to why we should help people who lost their houses from the tornado.
“That means nothing to me. No one is going to be helping me anyway.”
“I can help you,” I replied.
Hua Ran turned and looked at me with her crimson eyes for the first time in a while.
“Don’t say random things in your mind. You’re weak.”
She said with a cold gaze as if she did not need my help. However, I did not miss the faint quiver in her eyes.
Now that the food distribution was over, I gave soup to the last person standing in the line and gave one of the leftover potatoes to Hua Ran.
Her piercing gaze was very cold. You know, even though I look like this, this oppa is quite worried about you so please don’t look at me like that.
In the empty plot of land next to the food-distributing tables were kids of the families that lost their houses energetically playing around with each other.
It seemed that kids had the positive power to safely pass through this depressing turn of events.
“Guys! This sister here is saying she’ll be playing with you guys!”
“What are you…!”
“Hua Ran, go play some soccer with those kids. Make sure to hold back…!”
“Sister! Are you playing with us?”
“Wow. Look at those chains. They’re so cool!”
“Well then, see you later.”
Bidding farewell, I left behind Hua Ran who soon got surrounded by the kids. Her nun clothes were definitely effective at closing the distance with kids.
I was drinking instant coffee on a bench when Master Erin came up to me.
“Are you doing fine?” she asked.
“Yes, of course.”
Master Erin sat on the bench. I offered coffee to her, who was wearing the mask of the young man called Chairman Eriu.
“Seems that you are a very considerate young man.”
“I hear that often.”
Even though the fake body created with a rune stone did not need to eat anything, there was the necessity to disguise it as a real person.
She turned to the empty plot of land in the middle of her speech. On the field was a girl wearing nun clothes kicking a ball around with kids from families that lost their houses to the tornado.
It was evident that she was involuntarily forced into playing with the kids, but she seemed quite intrigued by the sport itself. On top of that, she was also holding herself back just fine.
“How much do you know about that child?”
“I heard she was a living Jiangshi.”
Just like Marie, Hua Ran’s exact identity had also been announced to the public even though it was actually possible to hide their traits. My master Erin was the one who disclosed their identities without hiding them.
Although it was partially because she wanted a transparent academy, it was also probably because she wanted those who were viewed with prejudice as demons to commute to the Academy with pride.
Beazeker, who received half of his genes from a giant, a demonic beast,
Vampire Marie Dunareff,
Living Jiangshi from the eastern continent, Hua Ran.
The three of them coming to the Academy without hiding their identities was because of my Master’s conviction that demi-humans should also be able to study as students.
“When I was bringing that child from the eastern continent, there were many objections. In fact, there are still a lot of people that are not happy with her.”
Even when Marie became a vampire, Master had to visit the Tower of Mages, the Old Faith and the royal court to prove that Marie was a safe existence. Considering how the Heavenly Yaksha had destroyed one of the castles of the eastern continent, it was hard to imagine all the objections she would have had to face during the admission.
“She hurt many people and made big mistakes. Both Clara and other professors called her dangerous.”
Master said while composedly gazing at me. It appeared that she was asking me for my opinion.
“Ohh~. Look, she scored a goal.”
We turned to Hua Ran who kicked the ball into the goal post. She had an annoyed look on her face, but her lips were in a faint curve.
“Is it important that they’re pure humans, halves, or demons? As long as they can help people, worry about them and laugh together…”
Looking at how she was carefully controlling her power so that the kids wouldn’t be hurt by the ball she kicked… it was safe to say that her innate personality was definitely quite good.
“Then that’s more than enough.”
That was all there was to it.
“You are quite a sentimental child for Valtazar’s disciple, aren’t you.”
I am your disciple after all.
After a long stretch to relax my muscles which became stiff from standing up the whole time, I turned my gaze to Hua Ran.
“Aren’t you tired?”
During lunch, we gave away meals and in the afternoon, we had to remove the remains of the buildings that were destroyed by the tornado. It was a purely physical job so Marie wasn’t with us and we had to do manual labor for hours on end.
“Should we go get dinner?”
We were now close enough to discuss the dinner menu together without reserve. It was quite the progress compared to the last iteration.
“Is it okay?”
“If you’re talking about Chairman and Senior Professor, it’s okay. I told them we might have dinner outside today.”
They were probably confident anyway that they could immediately locate Hua Ran as long as she stayed inside the city.
“So, let’s go get some sushi.”
Like that, we decided on the menu but Hua Ran let out a short lament.
“My wallet… I didn’t bring it.”
“Don’t worry about it buddy. I will buy it.”
We usually split our bill when I was eating with Hua Ran. It was great that she wanted to pay for herself but I got to save all my property thanks to her.
Huu… thinking about all those gold coins that I could have lost because of that Tornado Bat still gave me goosebumps.
And by the way, the half-destroyed corpse of the Tornado Bat was to be split equally to everyone that was there including Hua Ran. Professor Deina, who was short on money, was in tears after seeing the smushed corpse of the bat.
“Okay. Let’s go! I will buy you the most expensive otoro1Otoro is the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish. This cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth. out there!”
Been a while since I’ve last been to a sushi restaurant. Let’s go hear that ‘Irasshaimase’2‘Irasshaimase’ means ‘Welcome to my shop/restaurant’ and is just one of the many formal Japanese ways of politely welcoming new customers.!
『We are closed for today.』
Hua Ran and Korin returned to the special dormitory and walked into the dark building.
“No one’s here.”
Josephine was probably still working and Marie said she would be meeting her friends after the volunteer work so she would be home late.
Hua Ran was greatly disappointed by the sushi restaurant that was closed for today and felt like immediately going to sleep in her room but was stopped by the boy.
“Let me cook something for you.”
She was stopped from having otoro, so would his dishes be able to make up for that disappointment? Hua Ran wanted to turn him down but…
“I should probably make a bit more for Senior Marie and Lady Josephine while I’m at it.”
Without even waiting for her reply, Korin headed to the kitchen and it was too late for Hua Ran to say anything.
Hua Ran didn’t bother following him into the kitchen just to turn him down. In fact, it was also true that she was hungry and so it would be a fairly logical choice to wait for him to bring something that could satiate her hunger.
If he was going to cook something, then there was no reason not to wait.
She whispered to herself in an inaudible voice. Last time it was terribly disappointing when he cooked nothing but a bunch of fried oden, stir-fried anchovies, and spinach. It was because he had the habit of cooking side dishes in large bulks due to living alone for a long time but Hua Ran had no way of knowing that.
Since she couldn’t have otoro, he had to cook something that was at least about 40% as delicious as otoro otherwise…
‘Maybe 30% is okay.’
He wasn’t a professional chef, so she decided to be more lenient.
Unconsciously, Hua Ran was more magnanimous with Korin today and frankly, it was because the words of the boy had shaken her heart a little.
『I can help you.』
It sounded like a promise that he would help her whenever she needed help, but she was most likely assigning too much meaning to a random sentence he threw out.
She was a living Jiangshi – a being closer to a demonic beast that was created from a living human.
The wish of her ‘father’,
The greed of her neighbors,
And the emperor…
Would the boy be able to say the same thing even after laying his hands on the Jiangshi called Heavenly Yaksha? The monster that everyone wished to control to satisfy their greed?
Hua Ran knew – because she knew of her innate evil nature, she all the more denied the words of the boy. Oblivious to her internal turmoil, Korin continued cooking inside the kitchen.
『Hua, you are a monster.』
If he knew about her past and her true nature, would he be able to show his back like what he was doing right now?
Letting out a ruthless remark, Hua Ran stayed alone in the darkness. Her eyes were fixed on the dazzling back of the boy inside the bright kitchen.
‘Give it back! Hua…! Give me back my body!’
Her head throbbed in pain. It was here again. ‘It’ was still flailing around without giving up.
“Be quiet… This is mine. This is my body.”
She knew better than anyone else how this was not her body.
“I will not give it back to you.”
…If you knew about this, would you still help ‘me’?
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.
- 1Otoro is the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish. This cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth.
- 2‘Irasshaimase’ means ‘Welcome to my shop/restaurant’ and is just one of the many formal Japanese ways of politely welcoming new customers.