༺ Making Lots Of Friends When School Starts! (2) ༻
I was sitting alone in Brigitte’s lab.
Brigitte, a professor at the academy, had gone to work.
Enkidus was off somewhere looking for the Mara-something.
Cariote never stayed in the same place for long, so seeing her was nearly impossible.
Naru had also gone to school.
Wasn’t this the first time Naru was away from me?
Well, aside from that time when she was kidnapped, of course.
We’ve only been together for about 2 weeks.
But before I knew it, I had become used to Naru’s constant chattering by my side, saying things like “Oh…..! Naru likes this……!”
“Honestly, she came out of nowhere too.”
If I said she wasn’t a little hassle, I would be lying.
I mean, imagine being a 25-year-old man who’s never even held the hand of a woman, and then suddenly a kid pops out of nowhere claiming to be your daughter.
Wouldn’t you freak out too?
But, somehow I had become attached to a life with Naru.
“Well, I’m a pretty adaptable guy after all.”
Had I not been adaptable, I would have probably become Dino food by now in this strange continent of Pangaea.
While thinking about this, I walked around the lab.
“It’s 10 o’clock. Naru should still be in her first class by now?”
Soon, my eyes fell on a strange lock.
It was the lock that Brigitte had on her closet.
“Did she always have one of these here?”
Who on earth puts a lock on their underwear drawer?
Isn’t it a pain to open and close it every time?
It seems like she’s afraid someone will steal her underwear.
Is there some sort of an underwear thief here in Freesia?
He must be a really perverted fellow huh? A pure soul like me can’t even imagine someone like this.
It’s because guys like them, that an honest thief like me has such a poor reputation.
“Speaking about locks, why don’t I pick it for a change?”
If there’s a lock, it’s a thief’s instinct to try to pick it up.
Honestly, if there was no lock, I wouldn’t have been interested, but since it’s locked, I want to open it.
I rummaged through my pockets.
I was looking for a thin, pointed piece of metal.
It’s best described as a ‘Lock Pick’.
Just like a concealed dagger, a lock pick was an indispensable tool for a thief.
But I didn’t find any lock picks in my pockets.
I must have used them all.
“Guess I forgot to replenish my tools since the last time I had used them. Speaking of it, when was the last time again? Hmm, must have been before meeting Naru. Yeah, the time I was looking through the drawer of Ordor’s Princess……”
I couldn’t remember the last time I had run out.
Well, It’s been a while since I had to lock-pick something.
“I feel bored, should I go get some lockpicks or something?”
I had a general idea of where I would find more.
With that in mind, I slipped out of Brigitte’s lab and went to the sewers.
The underbelly where the notorious Alubaba thieves used to roam.
Of course, it’s a bit different from the underground hideout they had been using.
“Mom, that man opened the sewer’s lid.”
“Shhh, don’t look at him, honey.”
I quickly slipped into the sewers.
The smell of mold and waste enveloped my body.
“That’s nostalgic. Every underground must be like this.”
And in any city, there will be ‘Shadows’ lurking beneath the ground.
Even in Freesia, no matter how bright the city might appear.
I knocked on the walls of the sewer canal with my hand.
Then, I found a place where the sound was a little bit different.
I tapped that place with a regular rhythm.
Step.Step.Step. Step. Step-Step. Step-Step-Step-.
It was kind of like Morse code.
Well, more like a splash signal for beggars to hear.
Then, along with the noise of bricks being moved, I felt someone’s presence beyond the wall.
—-What’s darker than the night?
A subtle question echoed, just like I had expected.
This kind of thing is the same in every city.
It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ve been called the King of Thieves.
And naturally, I knew the answer to the question.
Something darker than the night.
There is only one thing.
“My bank account.”
—-Wrong. You’re not getting in.
Nothing I can do about that.
In the first place, the reason for doing this was to know if there was something behind this wall.
I slightly moved.
This skill allowed me to phase through walls about 20 cm thick, like a ghost.
The principle was simple.
I just had to think that my body was a gas-like entity and seep through the gaps of the wall.
Easy and simple, right?
That’s the C-Rank skill ‘Wall Slither.’
After crossing so many walls, I gained this skill like one would in a video game.
“Eek! Something just phased through the wall……! A scary-looking ghost!?”
As I phased through the wall, I saw the face of a man holding a torch.
He was looking at me in shock.
His beard was bushy and rugged.
“Bro, there’s no ghost. Look I have flesh and bones, ghosts don’t have that, do they? If you doubt me, just see for yourself.”
I reached out my hand to him.
And the dude cautiously touched my hand with his index finger, as he spoke in marvel.
“Not a ghost, but you still phased through the wall like that. Only the Gold rank or higher have a skill like that, and only one of them has dark hair. Are you—”
“Shh. Let’s not make too much noise okay? Your name is Jack Sif?”
I looked at the man’s identification tag in my hand and read his name.
Then, the man named Jack fumbled his pockets and gasped.
“Did you pick-pocket me as well…..? Was that when you showed me your hand…! No way…! This skill…It can only be the 「Draw Gaze」….! By the Gods……! I’m honored to meet you, sir!”
“Any criminal dreams of meeting someone like you at least once! Did you come to meet the guild masters? Is it because of the Alubaba Thieves?”
“No, I just came here to buy some lockpicks. Do you know where I can find any?”
“Lockpicks! Just regular lockpicks? No, that can’t be! Ah, I get it, it’s like a password only known by the Master Class or higher? Incredible!”
No, I really just came here to buy a normal lockpick.
But this Jack dude said something interesting.
Apparently, there is a Thieves’ Guild here in Freesia, and the “guild masters” who are in charge are underground.
Judging by the fact that the Alubaba Thieves were running the show in the sewers, It doesn’t seem like they are in the best shape.
“Jack, my man, while we’re at it, why don’t you show me the guild hmm?”
* * *
Tap— Tap— Tap—
“When the world was a chaotic place due to the various Demiurges, their followers formed factions, and wars were waged among those who worshiped the same masters. That is when ‘guilds’ were born.”
The chalkboard was covered with words written on it.
The beautiful teacher’s voice caressed the students’ ears.
“For your information, the Demiurges are the transcendental beings of this world, commonly worshiped as gods. You should memorize the abilities of each Demiurge, as they might come up in the exam.”
At first glance, it seemed like an ordinary class.
But if you looked closer, one could see that this was a tragedy for one student.
Naru rubbed her sleepy eyes and thought.
‘Didn’t Brigitte say that Naru was going to skip classes since it was her first day?’
The first class of her first day of school.
But the atmosphere was so serious that it made Naru feel a bit restless.
“All right, here’s a question. Can anyone tell me what types of guilds exist in the world?”
Ms. Salome asked.
As the kids looked at each other, someone raised their hand.
The student called Tywin stood up from her seat.
She was like a fairy-tale princess.
She spoke calmly.
“First, there’s the Magic Tower, which serves the Queen of Dawn, Ephar. Then, there’s also the Church that serves Yahvah, the Father of the Day, which is also a guild of mages with a long history.”
Her vocabulary was unusually sophisticated for a six-year-old.
The other kids murmured at the sight of her.
“It’s really her, I heard that Tywin got the first place too?”
“Ugh, she’s insufferable.”
“Don’t be jealous of Tywin, Elizabeth. The second place is good too. Your father being the vice-principal is impressive as well.”
“What did you say? Just wait. I’ll show her who is the better one soon.”
“Silence. Cease this chatter.”
As the kid’s murmurings grew louder, Ms. Salome silenced them by tapping on her desk with her hand. In the moment of silence that followed it, she looked around the classroom with a kind smile and spoke.
“Miss Tywin, you answered correctly. In a broader sense, both the Tower and the Church can be considered guilds. There is also the Merchant’s guild that serves Azketh the Salt, and the Brotherhood, who serves Bahlog the Destroyer.”
Tywin preened with the praise.
Soon the ‘oohhhs’ and ‘ahhs’ of the children also filled the room.
As if unable to bear this, someone also raised their hand.
“What’s the matter, Student Number 2, Elizabeth?”
The teacher’s call was directed at a girl with fiery red hair pulled into a bun.
‘She looks just like a princess’ — Was what everyone thought of when looking at her.
“The Demon King and Pandemonium are also guilds in a broader sense, aren’t they? They worked to make the Demon King Sabernak, Nocturne’s greatest warrior, into a transcendent being.”
“Ah. Ms. Elizabeth, you’re quite clever, aren’t you? You know a lot.”
Elizabeth smirked as she looked at Tywin.
Of course, the genius child with ashen hair didn’t even react to this provocation.
Ms. Salome’s blue eyes now turned to the girl sitting in the middle of the classroom.
Naru’s eyes widened.
As she turned towards Naru, the teacher asked.
“Ms. Naru, can you tell me about any guild you know of? I’m sure there must be some guilds you know of. There are as many guilds in the world as there are Demiurges. So try to name one.”
Naru tilted her head at that unfamiliar word.
‘What’s a guild? What’s a Demiurge?’
They were difficult words.
So she scratched her head in though.
The teacher, who still had a kind smile, opened her lips.
“You’re called the Back Alley Princess and you still don’t know what a guild is? Are you really Judas’ daughter? Are you his real daughter or just some kid he stole from somewhere?”
“Nngg……Naru doesn’t know about guilds…Naru’s sorry……”
“That’s okay, it’s your first day after all. So let me tell you about the Thieves Council, an alliance of thieves. The Thieves’ Guild was created when the followers of the Lord of the Night, Snix, joined forces with the Black Brotherhood, who serve the Dark Father, Nocturne—.”
Snix. Nocturne. Thieves’ Council. Guilds.
Naru was overwhelmed by those unfamiliar words.
‘Studying, is so hard……!’
Naru wondered if the other kids felt the same way as she glanced around.
However, most kids were diligently taking notes with their pens and notebooks.
‘School is hard too……!’
Ding— Dong— Ding— Dong—
Before she knew it, the class was over and it was lunchtime.
Naru sighed as she slumped into her desk.
“Tywin, Let’s go eat!”
“Tywin, you’re coming with me, right? Hehe-. You said you’re not getting any allowance since you got scolded by your mom, right? Do you want me to buy you an ice cream?”
“Humpf, I can eat with anyone, and I don’t need ice cream.”
“Elizabeth, aren’t you going to eat?”
“You guys do ahead. I’ll stay here and review a little……”
“Wow, reviewing on the first day? That’s amazing.”
All the other kids gathered and went to eat together.
They all seemed to have friends already.
Naru wanted to play with them, but for some reason, they looked at her with caution.
“My mom told me that this Naru kid fought with bandits in the sewers.”
“She looks just like us, can a six-year-old do that?”
“My cousin was saved that time, and he said he was saved because of her. She doesn’t seem like a bad kid……”
Their continuous chatter reached Naru’s sensitive ears.
Naru had developed her ‘ears’ so she could be an excellent thief, so she could hear very well.
Just then, someone reached out to Naru.
It was Cecily.
“Naru, don’t mind those kids, let’s go eat!”
Naru and Cecily went to the cafeteria.
Today’s lunch was pork cutlets.
It was Naru’s favorite food.
“Wow! Naru loves school lunch! But why doesn’t Cecily eat her beans?”
“I don’t like beans. I don’t like broccoli too. Apparently, noble children like me are supposed to be picky eaters. Daddy was a picky eater when he was young too.”
Cecily quickly picked out the vegetables on her plate.
They looked very lonely gathered on the corner of her plate.
“Then Naru will eat them! Gimme the beans and broccoli!”
“Really? Okay, here!”
Naru took the beans, broccoli, and mushrooms that Cecily didn’t want and put them on her plate. The other kids laughed when they saw that.
“……Hey, she’s stealing her friends’ food.”
“What if she steals my pork cutlet too?”
Misunderstandings began to pile up.
Soon, lunchtime was over and it was already 1 P.M.
The classroom, which had emptied during lunch, was not filled with children.
“Ahhh, my wallet is gone.”
“Waaa, my wallet too…..! The money my mom gave me to buy supplies……!”
The children in the classroom started panicking and making distressed noises.
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