A week had passed since the tragedy struck the village by the sea. Momose was slowly adjusting to his new life at the mansion. The noble butler uniform felt strange on him. Gaku would always scold him and tell him to walk proud.
Despite feeling overwhelmed by the presence of the Yaotome and the Nanase, Momose’s skill as a Geomancer developed greatly. With his lovely voice, he was able to make plants grow, call for a small personal rain cloud or make small heated stones. He could sense the change in humidity in the air.
“Momo-san, good morning!”
Momose turned his head to the source of the voice and smiled. “Mitsuki, Morning!” The new butler felt most comfortable with Mitsuki especially after learning the boy knew no magic. Mitsuki had to keep his Silica origin a secret for the time being.
Riku watched the two talking happily from afar. He had a sad look on his face. He wished he could have a fun conversation like that with other Majabahns. Gaku was patrolling the mansion when he saw his lord eyeing the two with such sadness and a bit of jealousy. The butler sighed before approaching his lord. “My lord”
“Fwah!” Riku jumped upon hearing his name. “You scared me Gaku!”
“M-my apologies, Nanase-sama.” Gaku bent down on one knee but kept his eye contact with the lord. “Um...would you...join me for some tea, my lord?”
Gaku may be tactless at times but he certainly was not oblivious. Well, at least not when his lord had those pair of glistening baby doll eyes on his face. He knew why his lord was making a sad face and he wanted to help.
Riku followed Gaku to the butler’s room. Riku sat down on the floor in front of the low table while Gaku was brewing jasmine green tea.
“Ah it smells so nice” Riku smiled while sipping his tea. Gaku who sat in front of his lord found that smile to be adorable. He wished the people of Majabah could see that his lord was different from several other lords before him.
“Thank you, Gaku” Riku spoke after a moment of silence. “For trying to make me feel better”
“Anything for you, my lord”
Gaku excused himself to return to his duties after 20 minutes. Riku was sitting by himself in Gaku’s room, enjoying his warm tea when Mitsuki slid the door open.
“Uwah, Riku?! What are you doing here?”
Oh crap! He’s a lord. He can go wherever he pleases. Mitsuki just realised what he had said.
“Ah Mitsuki, Gaku invited me for some tea but he had to get back to work.” Riku placed a cup on the table before turning his head to Mitsuki and smiled.
That Yaotome. “Hey, Riku. Are you free? I’ve been wanting to show you something!”
Mitsuki had been wanting to show off his achievements to Riku but Riku had been quite busy with formal meetings about restoring the village and his own trainings. Now was the perfect time.
“E-eh? Yes I have time, Mitsuki.”
Mitsuki led Riku into the forest he had been visiting for the past weeks. He took care to not walk too fast and chose easy paths without overgrown grass. The doctor used his throwing knife to cut down any smaller tree branches poking in the way.
They came to a stop when they reached a clearing in the forest. Riku sat on the big log to catch his breath. After a few minutes, Mitsuki began singing.
“Such passion behind his voice...” Riku stared in awe. It was as if Mitsuki was under a spotlight created by the sun itself.
Soon, a pink fluff ball rabbit came jumping into Mitsuki’s arms. “Hey, Kinako you’re back!” Kinako was not the only one attracted to Mitsuki’s song. Other rabbits, small robins and chinchillas started gathering around the boy.
“Uwaaaah!” Riku’s eyes were sparkling. “They are all so cute!”
Riku reached his hand to try to touch one of the animals, but they all ran behind Mitsuki and gripping the doctor’s legs with fear.
“Oh...” Riku felt sad. “They fear my magic...”
Mitsuki tried to hum a tune to calm the forest animals’ nerves and to convey the message that Riku was harmless. The animals settled down and remained a certain distance away from Riku. However, the rabbit that Mitsuki named Kinako did not seem to be frightened. So, Mitsuki sat down on a log next to Riku and let Riku pat Kinako in his arms.
“Don’t get in too close, okay? The fur might trigger an attack.” Mitsuki warned Riku. If Riku ended up with a severe attack, Yaotome would surely have his head. Plus, Mitsuki was a doctor. It would double his guilt.
“Uwaaaahhh I’ve never touched anything so soft before. It is softer than cotton.” Riku blushed from total cuteness. “Why did you name it Kinako?”
Mitsuki put his hand on the back of his head. “Hehe I’m not sure actually. Kinako is the name of an AI assistant back home so”
Riku tilted his head in confusion. “AI...assistant?” He stopped petting Kinako and went into his listening mode.
“Oh...” Mitsuki was not even sure how to begin his explanation. The two ended up talking for two whole hours. Mitsuki introduced a lot of concepts which did not exist in Majabah from simple things like skyscrapers to technology related stuffs such as internet. Riku listened intently like a child who was read a nighttime story.
The air was starting to get slightly chilly which made Riku coughed a little. After it passed, Riku turned to Mitsuki. “I haven’t had this much fun in a while, thank you Mitsuki!”
Ah.. Mitsuki felt sympathetic. Riku was younger than him, yet his life was controlled by his family name. “I thought you would love them, Riku. A shame most of them won’t come near you but maybe next-“
“Even the animals fear me...huh?”
Mitsuki froze when he heard a sentence full of bitterness. Riku kept his smile, but there was pain in his eyes. The kind of pain Mitsuki could not bear to see.
“Riku” Mitsuki made a direct eye contact with the lord. “You said people are scared of you because of your name, your status and your power.”
“I think it’s normal” Mitsuki continued. “Like you have that bow-to-me aura around you.”
Riku’s eyes went wide. “What?” His voice came out much more demanding than intended.
“See?” Mitsuki hopped off a log to stand in front of Riku. “People can’t see who you are, partly because you were groomed to be a lord, party because you’ve never let them.”
“But..” Riku looked away. He was about to cry.
Mitsuki touched Riku’s shoulder. “You need to get out there and show them, Riku. Generosity and power can coexist. You just need to prove it.”
The redhead looked up. “How?”
“...hmm maybe a little trip will do you good” Mitsuki smiled.
Gaku grabbed Mitsuki by the collar with one hand. Mitsuki was no longer fazed by Gaku doing this to him since it happened around three times a week. “Brat, stop giving Nanase-sama false hope! What the hell is with this stupid idea?!” Gaku reached for a shuriken in his other hand. He glared directly into Mitsuki’s eyes like a silver wolf ready to attack its prey.
Mitsuki argued back despite his feet floating an inch above the ground. He knew Gaku would not cut him. At least not in front of Riku who was watching the scene. “It’s not stupid! Is there a rule saying the lord can’t leave the mansion?!? Don’t you want him to be happy?!”
You see, after getting back to the mansion from a forest trip, Gaku, with his worried face, rushed to the two. “Where have you been my lord?!?” When Gaku saw Mitsuki behind him, the butler gritted his teeth in anger. Riku then picked a very wrong timing to tell Gaku he wanted to travel. Gaku did not need to ask how Riku got that idea, the butler grabbed hold of Mitsuki. There was no way Riku could travel. What about his lord duty? Well, technically Gaku, as a Yaotome, could fill in for him but he refused to leave his lord’s side. He was never letting his sheltered lord out in the wild alone. Or absolutely not with the strange orange haired ‘broken healer’. (It really touched Mitsuki’s nerves whenever Gaku called him that.)
Mitsuki’s intention was for Riku to travel and learn about the world by experience, not just by reading from books and getting reports from Sousuke and Otoharu. The doctor wanted the young lord to interact with people directly so they know they could be proud of their lord’s kindness.
True, this whole thing had nothing to do with Mitsuki as a Silican. Still, the young doctor could not stand seeing a miserable young lord whose age was as close as Iori’s. He treated people’s illness so they could be happy and Riku was his patient, but not just that. Riku was his friend. Very simple.
Mitsuki and Gaku kept arguing until Riku shouted for them to stop. “Would you two stop fighting as if I am not here!?!” They both shut themselves up, bent down and apologised to Riku as he was ready to freeze them into ice sculptures at any moment.
“I-I do want to travel, Gaku, but not alone! You are cruel to think I would abandon my faithful butler.” Riku did not care about his lord image right now. He just pouted. “Tsumugi will remain at the mansion. We shall contact her regularly. Otoharu and Sousuke will be informed of our absence.”
Gaku shook his head. It was a bad idea. “But Nanase-sama what about your health? What if you get hurt?”
“Gaku, I am aware of the state of our world. All the more reason to see it with my own eyes.” The lord bent down, his face was close to the butler’s. Riku took Gaku’s chin. “Will you not protect me?” Gaku felt totally intimidated but at the same time, he was pleased with a special treatment.
“And I can watch his health, Yaotome.” Mitsuki added. He should be happy seeing Gaku sweating but somehow he wasn’t.
Gaku was slightly taken aback. He was not fully on board with the idea. However, he knew there was no stopping his lord now. “I understand. Nothing will come to harm you, my lord.”
“Nggghhh. My head. It hurts. It hurts so much.”
“No..No....NOOOO I’m losing it again NOOOOOOO!!!!”
“Get yourself together, Sou-chan. SOU-CHAN! OWWWWWWW!!!”
“So you skipped school, and not to come to my audition but to say your lame confession to me?”
Tenn was drinking his mint chocolate milkshake while looking at Iori who was sitting on the opposite side of him, his face as red as a tomato. The two of them were at a cafe on the outside, enjoying some sunlight.
“Y-yes...” Iori could only stare at the vanilla milkshake Tenn bought for him. The whole event was so embarrassing he wished his existence was erased from this world.
“Really now, Izumi” Tenn looked away, pretending to be people-watching. “I’m glad you did...” He muttered under his breath.
“Huh?” Iori straightened up.
“N-nothing. Drink your milkshake already.” It clearly wasn’t ‘nothing’ if Tenn’s cheeks were blushed pink.
Just when Iori was about to reach his hand to grab his tall glass of milkshake, his body shook uncontrollably. However, it was not just him. Everything around him was shaking. The tables, the parked cars, the buildings!
“Earthqua-Wahh!?!” Tenn quickly pulled the surprised Iori under the table. The high school boy was shocked. Earthquake had never happened in Silica District One to Three because it was located in a place where geographically, an earthquake should not be possible.
Even worse, it was not just any earthquake. The magnitude was severely high. Tenn cast protection magic to create a barrier around himself and Iori to prevent objects from hitting their bodies. Tenn held Iori’s shaking body tightly. Both boys could hear the sound of people screaming and glasses breaking. There were people lying on the ground, bleeding around the two. Tenn prayed for it to stop before he would run out of magic power.
Some small, old buildings had started to collapse. Tenn strengthened his barrier and hugged Iori tighter. They could be buried underneath the rubble at any moment and Tenn did not want that.
Perhaps the two boys had devil’s own luck. The earthquake finally came to a stop. Tenn kept casting his barrier for a while longer in case there was an aftershock.
Both Iori and Tenn’s eyes widened in horror when they looked forward in the distance not too far from them. A tall building was falling down. Not just any tall building, Silica’s tallest building was falling like a large tree being chopped down.
A sound of a ringtone woke both Iori and Tenn up. “Ichi, are you safe?!?” Yamato spoke as soon as Iori pulled the phone to his ear.
“Yes, me and Kujou-san are fine. Yamato-san, what about you?” Iori put the phone on speaker before answering.
“I’m safe but I can’t reach my husband at all. He said something about meeting Re:vale this afternoon at the SkySilica.” Yamato explained.
Iori almost dropped his phone.
“Yamato-san...” Iori spoke in a lowered voiced. “SkySilica...collapsed.”
Tenn and Iori ran towards SkySilica, formerly the tallest building of Silica. Everything was in chaos. Ambulances and police cars ran wild in the city. The sounds of the mourning, crying and screaming were way too loud. Several buildings were now piles of rubbles. Right now, nowhere in District One was safe. Iori and Tenn arranged to meet Yamato near the collapsed building, hoping to find Ryuu, Yuki and Banri.
“Ichi! Kujou!” Yamato ran to the two. The green haired man got small cuts on several places but he was indeed okay. Tenn bit his lip when he could not use magic here in public as panicking people would start gathering around him. The barrier was a necessity plus people could not have noticed that among the chaos.
Three of them ran around together, shouting the names of the people they cared about. “RYUUUU!!” “Yuki-san!!!!!” “Ogami-san!!!!” They might not even be here, but it was the only clue Yamato had. He was too worried to just sit in the lab and waited. The lab stood tall but some of the equipment inside were damaged.
Yamato was getting more and more worried. “Oh come on Ryuu where are you?” He muttered. Tenn put a hand on Yamato’s shoulder. “Don’t lose hope. We search.” Tenn took the lead and ran. “Let’s go, Nikaidou-san” Iori touched Yamato’s arm before running after Tenn. “Right...” Yamato adjusted his glasses and took off. “Just what I need, thanks” He said to himself.
Soon, the three came to a stop when they saw a familiar figure. Yamato’s face lightened up immediately. “Ryuu!” He called out the name and dashed to his husband. “You are okay! Are you hurt anywhere?”
“Yamato...” Ryuu turned around to face the three. He had a grim look on his face. Not good. Ryuu was physically in a similar state as Yamato. “I am okay but...”
“Ban, Ban! Answer me Ban! Why aren’t you moving? Ban!”
Yuki was kneeling and touching the man in front of him, shouting his name frantically. Ogami Banri was lying there in a pool of blood, unresponsive. The ambulance was coming, but with the situation being so hectic, the delays were severe.
“Why did you shield me, Ban? Why?” Yuki screamed.
“Cover me” Tenn immediately stepped forward to crouch next to Yuki. Iori, Yamato and Ryuu used their bodies to hide Tenn’s power. The boy cast healing magic on Banri. Countless green orbs surrounded Tenn’s body. He was using all the power he had left to heal Banri.
However, the wounds did not heal.