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The Finite: Kubera side novel translations - Naver Challenge version (new)

finite taksaka ian kasak

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#1
Mizura

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Overview:
  • In early 2012, Currygom took a break of several months, during which she made weekly posts of The Finite, a side novel to Kubera, on her blog. This story describes the life of Kasak's parents: Taksaka and Ian Rajof, but other characters also appear: Visnu, Kalavinka, Ran's grandparents, a bunch of Nastika, a bunch of Gods.

  • With online translators (Google Translate and such), I had managed to make rough summaries here: Original version of The Finite

  • In 2013, The Finite was accepted into the Challenge section of Naver's novel section. Although many of the early chapters are mostly the same, later parts either have differences or are completely new.

  • So now I'm starting this from scratch, and this time, instead of making summaries, I will attempt to figure out as much as I can. This means that there will be a Lot more mistakes than before, so if you're a native Korean speaker, please do point out all the mistakes I've made. Corrections always very, very, Very welcome! (non-Korean speakers, please don't read too much into each sentence, it'd be a miracle if I got both the content and the tone right D: )

 

For the sake of keeping the thread clean, please use the thread of the original summaries for discussions and corrections, at least until the novel is over. No commenting here please. Enjoy! 

 
(notes: Kareia had translated the prologue but removed it after Currygom didn't grant permission for translation. I still remember some parts of it, so partial credits for translating the prologue goes to her)
 
────────────────────────────────────────
Prologue
────────────────────────────────────────
 
The woods across the river were silent. Occasionally, wind blew through the leaves, and birds and insects were heard, but no sound came from the man and boy standing near the riverbank. 
 
The boy looked like an ordinary human, but the man did not. He had 4 visible horns between his wavy gray-brown hair, and both his arms resembled weapons, making him seem dangerous to approach. He was holding a small box in his arm, which contained something like white powder, but soon it was swept away by the wind. The young man absently looked at the box, then laid it on the ground and turned his gaze to the boy standing on his left.
 
He had black hair, which upon a closer look was actually dark brown, and his slightly droopy eyes stared straight ahead. He appeared quite similar to the young man, but was shorter than him by a head. At first glance, they appeared to be siblings, a young man with his younger brother.
 
"Where will you go now?"
 
The young man spoke first. He used honorifics even though the boy looked much younger. 
 
"I will return. To where I came from."
 
Kneeling down, the boy stretched his hand towards the river. Because of the sunlight, the water was not very cold as it wrapped around the boy's hands. With vacant eyes, he smiled lightly, then brought the water to his mouth. For a few moments, the boy's expression hardened. Then he drank the water without hesitation before wiping his mouth roughly with his sleeve. 
 
"That's enough."
 
The young man tried to say something, but the boy turned his back to him, stretching his arms, and started talking about the scenery being nice, the sky clear, the water good, and other things that were not important.
 
Staring into the boy's back, the young man put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. Hesitating, he passed it over the boy's shoulder, silencing his gibberish.
 
"Since you're going back, think of this as the last time."
 
The boy bit his lip and bent. Seeing that he had no interest in the handkerchief, the young man took a few more steps towards him. Close up, the boy was shaking slightly. Although his head was facing down, hiding his expression, the young man knew he barely contained his tears. If it was so difficult, then it would be better to remove the earrings. While the young man reached to the boy's ears, the boy suddenly hit his hand, making the young man take a step back.
 
"Ah, I'm sorry, I just..."
 
The boy noticed the young man tearing up, and saw the fear on his face. 
 
"I still scare you so much. I guess I was too harsh."
 
The boy bowed his head, tears falling from his eyes.
 
"But I won't apologize. I still blame you. If it weren't for you, she would have lived much longer."
 
"..."
 
Moments passed. After saying those words, he realized that his words could hurt and observed the young man's face closely. However, the young man looked the same as before. Although he was now rigid with fear, he didn't appear particularly hurt by what the boy had said. Being insensitive sure was convenient. The boy smiled and turned his head towards the river. 
 
"Yes. I knew you did that for me. Without these earrings, I would suffer less. But..."
 
The boy stopped for a moment. A loud gust of wind scattered leaves between them.
 
"I was only able to feel these emotions thanks to these earrings. Without them they'll remain as nothing more than memories."
 
The young man couldn't deny that, so he just remained silent and gazed down. The boy slowly turned to look at him.
 
"Kasak. Even though it hurts, just for a while longer... I want to feel your mother in my heart."
 
Although the boy's voice was trembling, he was smiling. At least, he seemed to.
 
To be continued.
 
(this is SO much harder than doing summaries, you wouldn't believe it >_> )
 
Again, for the sake of keeping the thread clean, please use the thread of the original summaries for discussions and corrections, at least until the novel is over. No commenting here please.
 
Edit: Now proofread by fiveseconds.

Edited by Mizura, 15 June 2013 - 05:33 AM.

3492bk6.jpg


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#2
Mizura

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On a hill full of blooming wildflowers, two boys seemingly fifteen years old stood facing each other. They were about the same height, but one appeared thin and fragile with pale skin while the other had a solid physique and dark red skin. At first glance, one could see four horns sticking out of his brown hair, and it was obvious from his dark red skin that he wasn’t human.
 
"Visnu. Are you messing with me?"
 
The boy with horns spoke first. Third parties who knew nothing about them would have noticed his "I'm not in the mood" tone from his callous voice. Despite this, the boy called "Visnu" only smiled. A young girl hugged him, on the verge of tears because of the bloody atmosphere. 
 
"I came all the way from the Sura realm for this? A kid?"
 
At every word the boy spoke, the wildflowers trembled. Some of them blew away in the wind. But the boy just growled and revealed a set of sharp teeth.
 
"Please speak to me more softly, Tak. Kalavinka's scared."
 
The boy named 'Tak' wanted to say more, but as his face contorted, the girl 'Kalavinka' burst into tears, causing him to relax. Although he was still far from gentle, Tak lowered his tone when he continued.
 
"It is natural for her to be scared of me."
 
"True. Though it would be good if the two of you get along while you stay here together. It would be better if you felt nothing at all, but your problem is that you feel nothing but anger. Do you have to complain to me here? There is something you must do."
 
"Tell me what it is."
 
"Calm down, Tak. Because I made something."
 
While turning, Visnu pulled out something from his belt. On his right hand lay a pair of round, red earrings. They didn't appear to be anything special. They looked like cheap accessories.
 
"It's earrings this time? Did you make them to give to someone?"
 
"You."
 
Tak stopped talking and stared at Visnu. Visnu just smiled as Tak lightly squeezed the earrings in his hand. Tak didn't seem to particularly like his gift from Visnu, and while stroking the earrings, said:
 
"You could have done more with them? They don't have much cosmetic value?"
 
"It's not for embellishing, Tak. When you wear them, you can completely hide your nature and disguise yourself as a human."
 
"Yeah? Then, can I get into the city of humans?"
 
"No. The city barriers were created by Brahma so you can't enter them with just these."
 
"Then they're trash."
 
Despite labelling them as trash, Tak didn't return the earrings to Visnu, instead stuffing them into his pocket. He turned as though he were leaving.
 
"Where are you going?"
 
"Anywhere's better than here. At least I won't be leaving the planet, so call me if you need me."
 
"Oh yes... Tak! That includes includes the unfeeling nature of the Dragon clan too!"
 
"You mean the earrings also change your personality?"
 
"Our Tak is smart!"
 
At the end of the exchange Tak moved towards Visnu, but Visnu suddenly relocated to the top of a distant hill. 
 
"I warned you many times not to use time manipulation! You're going to exert yourself for nothing!"
 
"This much is okay! If you want to see what it's like to experience rich emotions, put on the earrings!"
 
After waving his hand and calling to Tak, Visnu disappeared over the hill. When he was completely out of sight, Tak re-examined the earrings, then put them away again and turned back.
 
"Feelings are cumbersome. There's no way I'll be using these."
 
────────────────────────────────────────
The finite - Chapter 1: Failure
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Year 873, 6th Month
 
In the water city of Mistyshore, during the start of the rainy season, the rain was so relentless that the Sun could hardly ever be seen. Despite this, the deadly heat did not go away, and the combination of heat and humidity made the weather akin to a sauna. Those who tried to avoid this unpleasant situation even a little count themselves stuck inside the buildings. A few people running errands wearing raincoats hastened their pace, but most streets were empty.
 
In the middle of a road, a girl was walking. Although she wore an orange raincoat, the cap was off and her hair was wet. Her clothes underneath were already drenched, which made one wonder what the raincoat was for in the first place. Rain streaked down from her tangled hair down to her shoulders. Her pink hair was so pale that it could be mistaken for white.
 
"Haa. Failed again."
 
Sighing, the girl looked skyward. Her child-like face seemed about 14 or 15 years-old, but in this world one should not jump to conclusions regarding age based on appearance alone. Raindrops fell towards her lemon-coloured eyes, and scattered against her eyelids as she shut them. She held in her right hand a crumpled piece of paper with the words "Notice of Admission Test Results" visible on the part sticking out.
 
"This isn't fair. Why was I born with these Birthday Attributes? I want to become a magician."
 
As the girl continued her lament, she walked down the road towards a garbage pile. Holding the paper up and staring at the water that slid down its surface, she frowned and started ripping it to pieces.
 
"Ugh. Should I give up? This isn't the only school here..."
 
She cut off her monologue. One drenched piece of paper stuck to her hand, clearly displaying the Birthday Attributes, Wind-Nil-Nil.
 
"..."
 
The girl remained completely still for a while, head down, then tore the piece of paper off her palm with her other hand. She discarded it in the pile of garbage, murmuring to herself in a slightly trembling voice.
 
"But I just have to become a magician. Only then..."
 
She closed her mouth and gulped once. It was difficult to believe that the resolution in her cold eyes were from someone of her age.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"Student Ian Rajof. You have very high divine affinity, but you have two Nil attributes for both the month and the day. Didn't you know that people with Nil attributes have very high magic failure rates? Since you have such attributes, why didn't you consider alternatives to magic schools?"
 
During the entrance exam to the magic school, the examiner asked this question to the girl sitting across him -Ian. Ian then responded without hesitation.
 
"I want to become a magician to be stronger, strong enough to punish the evil dragon!"
 
The 'dragon' at the end rattled the exam room. Did she mean Dragon Half? They hadn't heard of a particularly evil Dragon Half. With people mumbling all around the room, the interviewer continued with a little sarcasm.
 
"Those are big dreams. But even if there are ways to capture a Dragon Half, with student Ian Rajof's attributes, there isn't much chance of..."
 
"I am not talking about a Dragon Half."
 
After Ian interrupted the interviewer, everyone went quiet.
 
"Not a Dragon Half? Surely you don't mean a Nastika?"
 
The interviewer asked this as he slouched towards Ian with a "What is it with her?" expression. Nastika. Existing since the beginning of the Universe, with eternal lives like the Gods. Their powers were much stronger than that of Gods, and they were monsters huge almost beyond human imagination. Even for famous magicians, daring to take on a Nastika was unthinkable, never mind a rookie at the magic school entrance exam.
 
Even though Ian realized she wouldn't pass the entrance exam, she still wanted to proclaim her long cherished ambitions.
 
"Nastika is correct. In particular, my goal is to take down the Destruction Dragon Taksaka."
 
There was a moment of silence, but then the room erupted into laughter. You heard that? It's Taksaka. -Is she crazy? -Kids lack the concept. Hahahah. Amid the mockery and laughter, Ian, sitting quietly in her chair, didn't feel so well. The interviewer, laughing with them, finally told the serious Ian:
 
"Student Ian Rajof, I will tell you this: Taksaka is known as a top-level Nastika whose Breath alone can destroy a Star. Humans wouldn't even dare to approach those of his category. Even with good Attributes, you could never take on Taksaka. These aren't big dreams. This is just insane."
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"..."
 
As Ian was recalling the words of the interviewer, she left the pile of garbage and ventured near the sea. With the rain beating stronger, Ian's expression darkened even more.
 
"If he's such a powerful guy, why did he have to kill and eat people?"
 
Rainwater dripped down her forehead.
 
"Then, if he did it just for fun, then he's truly a bastard!"
 
On a clear day, this place would have been crowded with people, but Ian was completely alone now under the pouring rain. No matter what she said, nobody would listen. Even if she screamed her lungs out, the windows on the nearby buildings remained firmly closed, and would not open.
 
"What you took away for fun, it was everything to me!"
 
It was no longer possible to distinguish her tears from the rain. Ian started taking more steps along the street. Bastard. Bastard. Bastard. She repeated the word several times. The idea of revenge somehow kept her living all this time. If she had to give up then she could no longer live. But she couldn't even pass the entrance exam of a magic school because of her attributes, nevermind getting revenge. Ian turned to the sea. The faces of the people overlapped with the rain, and her thoughts wavered. Should she just dive in and die?
 
It was then. As Ian stared blankly at the distant sea, she saw something strange.
 
"What...?"
 
In the distant sea, at what appeared to be the edge of the barrier protecting the city, there was a figure that looked like a person. She couldn't see clearly because of the heavy rain, but he looked like he was drowning. Nobody would be swimming in this weather, so surely he was drowning? As the notion caught hold, Ian plunged into the sea without a further thought.
 
Splash!
 
The raincoat got in her way, so she tore it off. There was no time to think rationally and it slipped her mind whether she could save a person that far away.
 
To be continued.
 
(Ian Rajof. Died from drowning while trying to save a drowning man. >_>)
(Small difference compared to the original: Visnu doesn't introduce Kalavinka as the daughter of Garuda, though it may just be because novel-only readers may not know who Garuda is. I didn't check if anything else changed)
 
Edit: Now proofread by fiveseconds.

Edited by Mizura, 13 June 2013 - 05:32 AM.

3492bk6.jpg


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#3
Mizura

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The four Primeval Gods, including Visnu, existed since before the beginning of the Universe. The other Gods and the Nastika were born as the Universe came into existence. The Gods were weaker than the Nastika, but could resurrect themselves an infinite number of times. The Nastika were stronger than the Gods, but once they died it was the end. And existing between these two powerful forces, there were the humans who, depending on their properties or descent, could borrow the power of Gods through Divine Magic, or Nastika through Fiendish Magic.

 

However, the era when humans could borrow power from both was long past. The Sura formed by the Nastika and their descendants frequently showed unexpected destructive behavior, and frequently did not obey their rulers. Unlike the Gods, who never caused direct harm to the humans, they caught and ate humans, and some developed a taste for harassing them. There were also cases where wrongly cast Fiendish magic would cause the magician's self-destruction, while killing both allies and opponents.

 

Because of that, humans abandoned Fiendish Magic and swore their allegiance to the Gods alone, however they feared retaliation from the Sura. Although planets inhabited by humans were protected by the power of the Primeval God Visnu, the Sura could still eat humans and had plenty of other ways to annihilate them. For this reason, the Primeval God Visnu sought out the Primeval God Brahma and asked her to create an enchantment for human cities. However, Brahma was reluctant to create an enchantment for only humans, so the enchantment she created was somewhat defective. These defective barriers could be powered by one person only, and were weak enough that a few Superior Sura would not have much trouble breaking them.

 

However, from then until D873, the barriers worked better than expected, fully protecting the humans. This was because the ones who took charge of the barriers were not humans but Gods. Back then, many Gods came down to the human realm, and many cities on the planets held two or more Gods. They were willing to power the barriers created for humans, and with the Gods' powers amplifying Brahma's barrier, even Nastika-level Sura would have trouble invading.

 

Conversely, since many Gods came to the human realm, many Superior Sura came as well. This made it very dangerous to live outside the cities. Apart from some heretics who still served Sura, almost all humans gathered within cities.

 

"Hua!"

 

As Ian swam closer to the barrier's edge under the rain, she realized that she could more and more clearly see the buoys marking the barrier's limits. Ah, what was this? If she went into the sea beyond, she risked being attacked by Sura. Maybe she shouldn't risk dying. Wouldn't it be better to just give up and go back? For a while, Ian pondered on this thought, then became embarrassed and made up her mind. Without any hesitation, she continued swimming towards the target.

 

────────────────────────────────────────

The finite - Chapter 2: Encounter

────────────────────────────────────────

 

Swimming vigorously, Ian soon approached the target. However, she didn't stretch her hand to the drowning man just yet. Getting there was tough, but now she'd have to drag back a person clinging onto her. Ian swam behind him so that she could grab onto him.

 

However, something was strange. As Ian approached, there was no movement from the man at all. The body of dark red tones lay half-submerged in the water, facing skywards, with waves splashing against him. Did he already lose consciousness? Then she must hurry! Ian stretched out her hand but was stopped by a mumble.

 

"Kids are annoying."

 

Talking? The person was still floating on the water, unmoving, but judging from his tone of voice alone, he did not seem to be in danger. What a relief. It wasn't someone drowning. She thought nobody would be out swimming in the rain. As the relief subsided, Ian started to feel embarrassed about her mistake, and slowly looked at him again.

 

He seemed to be a boy about 15 years-old. He was taller than Ian, about 170 cm, but he was only wearing black shorts and his upper body was exposed. He seemed neither fat nor skinny, with a very toned reddish body. He must exercise a lot. Was this boy aiming to become a fighter? As Ian continued to speculate, her gaze suddenly stopped at the boy's hair. Between his dark brown hair that formed ripples in the water, there were four red horns.

 

"..."

 

Ian's expression quickly stiffened. If parts of the body weren't human, there were only two explanations: either he was a Half, a mix of Sura and human, or he was the human form of a Superior Sura. Either way, it'd be normal for him to be outside of the barrier. Rather, Ian herself was possibly in danger. As the thought caught hold, Ian turned and started swimming frantically back towards the city.

 

Puk!

 

"Ack..!"

 

Her arm bumped into something painfully enough to bring tears to her eyes. But it was not the time for her to be crying from pain so she hastily grabbed her arm and looked around.

 

~swish~

 

Apart from that, there were no other obstacles. All that could be seen apart from the distant outline of Mistyshore was the rain still falling over the ocean. Ian took a moment to gather her thoughts in order to assess her situation. A person could freely leave the barrier, but to get back in, one had to use the checkpoints. Otherwise, one would simply hit the invisible wall of the barrier.

 

"Ha..."

 

Ian turned and looked to the end of the East coast. She'd have to go all that way to reach the nearest checkpoint. And while swimming that long distance, Ian would still be outside the barrier. It was only a matter of time before the smell of prey would cause Sura to gather. What's more, because she swam here at full speed, she wasn't certain she had the strength left to swim such a long distance.

 

But, there was no other way. Clenching her hands once, Ian stretched her arm again to prepare for the swim. She glanced back anxiously at the resting boy from earlier.

 

"...?"

 

The boy from earlier was gone. In his place, only shallow waves lashed by rain remained. Ian blinked a few times to make sure she wasn't mistaken. She paled in fear. The boy must have woken up from her scream earlier. So where was he now? Ian's eyes instinctively turned towards the water.

 

It was difficult to see into the dark, blue sea. The thought of someone possibly being beneath her sent a chill went down her spine. She didn't have time to be doing this! Without thinking, Ian swung her arms. Her chances of escaping unharmed were low, but!

 

"There are still things I want to do!"

 

What in the world possessed her to jump into the sea? She knew it was outside the barrier, so why did she try to save a drowning man before thinking of her own life first? Once outside, it would have taken her a while to get back to a checkpoint. Why didn't she think of that? She pushed wave after wave, but it was too late for regret. Half-crying, Ian struggled with her arm. Her body was going numb from the forced strokes.

 

It was then.

 

"What is it you want to do?"

 

Ian's eyes widened at the voice that came from right next to her. She turned her face slowly, and met the face of the boy from earlier floating above the water. His red eyes gave off a menacing aura, as though he was going to attack Ian any minute now.

 

"Ah... that, I meant, I..."

 

What would she have to do to survive? In this situation, depending on her response, her own head could roll. But she was too nervous and had no idea what to say.

 

While Ian's heart almost exploded from the tension, the boy remained impassive and in the blink of an eye approached Ian's face.

 

"Eek!"

 

Ian and the boy were so close now that their nose almost touched. Ian panicked and quickly pulled her head back.

 

"..."

 

The boy continued staring at Ian with an expressionless face.

 

With her eyes tightly shut and her lips clenched, the little female was trembling. She seemed much younger than when he saw her from a distance. Through her pale, pink hair, her white, thin neck and collarbone were clearly visible. She was very skinny. He had no idea why she decided to go for a long swim in the ocean; it was clear that this female wasn't that strong.

 

"Hey, female."

 

The boy reached out to tap Ian.

 

"Answer the question. What's this job you have to do?"

 

At the boy's insistence, Ian opened her eyes.

 

"Ah, to take down the dragon..."

 

"..."

 

The boy went silent. From his droopy eyes, he appeared to be in thought.

 

"Which dragon do you want to take down?"

 

At the question, Ian examined the boy more closely. Perhaps he was interested in Ian's ambitions. He might even let her go unharmed. A little more hopeful, Ian confidently replied.

 

"I'm going to take down the Destruction Dragon Taksaka."

 

"..."

 

The boy's face went completely stiff. It was still expressionless like earlier, but this time it was obviously different. In a way, he even seemed a bit angry as he replied.

 

"Why Taksaka? What did Taksaka do?"

 

His tone of voice changed. Somehow, the boy must have become very irritated when she told him she'd take down Taksaka. Ian was a little scared, but now that she'd already told him the story, she couldn't just take it back.

 

"Taksaka took away all the people important to me."

 

"What?"

 

The boy's eyebrows frowned.

 

"The people. The red and black dragon swept through the town and ate everyone except me."

 

"Hey, wait a second... red and black dragon is correct but... who told you it was Taksaka?"

 

"He said he was Taksaka himself."

 

"..."

 

"I heard that in the world of Sura, nobody would try to impersonate the name of a Nastika. So, it has to be Taksaka himself."

 

For a while, the boy said nothing and seemed to have forgotten about her. Ian just watched him. After a while, the boy seemed to come to a decision, and silently reached out a hand. Ian was startled because she thought he was about to attack, but he reached into the water and held Ian by the waist.

 

"...?"

 

He seemed to treat her carefully so he didn't seem intent to attack. As the puzzled Ian looked at the boy, he quietly led her to the coastline, and muttered.

 

"I do not eat humans."

 

To be continued.

 

(new in this version: more detailed explanation of the relationship between humans and Sura at the beginning of the chapter)

 

Edit: Now proofread by fiveseconds.


Edited by Mizura, 13 June 2013 - 04:46 AM.

3492bk6.jpg


Kubera stuff: Character charts , Races and Cities , The finite (official side novel) ,
Official English Webtoons: https://www.webtoons.com


#4
Mizura

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There was a clamor outside the house. In the midst of the commotion, one man threatened another to call his daughter out, or he'd beat him. Young Ian stared out the window, but suddenly the curtain was drawn, making her look up. Ian's mother had a sad expression, and remained silent for a while. Then she seemed to make up her mind and led Ian to the basement.
 
"Mother?"
 
As Ian was being led to the basement, she turned around and held onto her mother's skirt. Ian's mother then took her hand and gently smiled at her.
 
"Ian. Please stay here."
 
"Um... until when?"
 
"Until mommy tells you to come up."
 
Ian gave a silent nod and called towards her mother as the door was closed halfway. Her mother's smile faltered slightly.
 
"What is it, Ian?"
 
"The villagers are telling me to get out of town. I have to..."
 
"Listen to your mom."
 
"..."
 
She rarely saw her mother's angry face. Ian didn't say anything else as her mother shut the basement door from the outside. A small sob could be heard from beyond the basement door, but it soon returned to quiet as the footsteps moved away.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 3: Name
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
~swoosh~
 
Suddenly, the rain stopped, but the sound of waves on the shores remained. The boy in shorts was sprawled out on the shore. He seemed to be just lying down, asleep, but Ian, who was sitting next to him, didn't even dare to run away.
 
After arriving on the shore, the boy simply told her "you sit there." It's been quite a while since. Several people have since passed, on the road to the hilltop, but although Ian wanted to yell for help, each time she thought of how unclear it was whether the boy was a Half or a Superior Sura, so she didn't dare to get others involved.
 
More time passed by. By the time the boy woke up, the Sun was already setting over the sea. However she seemed to be having a troublesome dream, so he just lay back down and turned to the side. The sand from the beach was stuck to her now dried skirt. The boy's eyes moved a little further up, to Ian who was dozing off while kneeling.
 
Each time her head nodded, her full lips would be hidden by her long pink hair. Although the boy could not emotionally perceive her as "beautiful", he knew from her face that she would theoretically be classified as a "beauty."
 
"Mom..."
 
Ian quietly muttered. Until then, the boy stared at Ian without reaction, but he got up when Ian started whimpering and crying.
 
"Bad dream?"
 
Hearing the voice of the boy close by, Ian's eyes shot open and she quickly looked up. As the boy's face appeared in front of her, she let out a yell because of the cramp in her leg. After a while the boy held out a hand to help her up.
 
"Ack!"
 
Ian thanked him and said she was unhurt, but then fell and found her face in the sand, causing sand to enter her mouth and making her cough.
 
"Why did you stay in that position?"
 
"You said, *cough* to just sit there *cough cough*"
 
"The female lacks flexibility in sentence comprehension."
 
"..."
 
Ian wanted to talk back, but simply kept it in and proceeded to brush off the sand on her face and hair. The boy didn't say anything as she shook off the sand.
 
-puk-
 
Hearing something falling, Ian stopped wiping her clothes. Before her, the boy had fallen asleep again.
 
"Ha?"
 
She got a cramp in her leg from sitting on her knees all this time, and now she had to wait for him to wake up again. Ian sighed and sat down once more. Since he mentioned flexibility, it should be okay as long as she wasn't standing, so she sat in a more comfortable position. Ian took a look at the boy, then straightened her legs.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
As the Sun set, it became completely dark. The beach was hot even in the middle of the night, with humid wind blowing, but Ian, still sitting next to the boy, was too preoccupied to think of how uncomfortable the heat was.
 
"Sleeping again?"
 
While Ian was looking to the sea, the boy's voice quickly made her turn her head. His presence made her hesitate to shake off the sand.
 
"This nest is not right, so it's no good for sleep."
 
The boy still looked sleepy as he yawned, and Ian was a little fearful as she asked.
 
"Um, which species of Half are you?"
 
"Half? Do I look like a Half?"
 
"You can't be a Superior Sura."
 
"What makes you think that?"
 
"Sura don't have to sleep. Although they can if they want to, they won't feel the need to, that's what I've read."
 
"Such knowledge is not meaningful if the observations were few."
 
"What?"
 
"So the sample size must have been very small..."
 
The boy tried to say more, but then he recalled Ian's fearful expression earlier in the sea.
 
"Just settle for a Half."
 
"... ?"
 
Half this Half not, now settle for just Half? It seemed that the boy wasn't about to tell her his species. Although Ian found his answer rather vague, she still stayed still.
 
"Anyway, female. Why did you jump into the sea? You must have been aware that you went out of the barrier."
 
"... I thought you were drowning."
 
"You went left the barrier to save a drowning man...? So you wanted to save someone from drowning, yet you didn't even have the strength to come to shore by yourself?"
 
"..."
 
Ian answered frankly.
 
"The judgment of humans fail in the event of emergencies. But I think that their judgment fails so they won't prioritize their own well-being, because for the most part they are quite selfish. It is not so easy to find the opposite situation."
 
The boy, who was staring at the sea, paused for a moment before looking at Ian.
 
"In that sense, you are pretty interesting. That includes your absurd ambitions to beat Taksaka."
 
Although he said it was interesting, the boy's face remained expressionless. At most, it seemed like the face of a student listening to a very boring class.
 
"Are you being sarcastic? This is really important to me."
 
"..."
 
"I know. It's a foolish goal. I'm tired of hearing that from everybody. But for the past 8 years, it's been the only goal that kept me going. I can't count on anything else to live with myself..."
 
As Ian spoke without hesitation, she suddenly realized how similar it was to the talk a while back and went silent. She peeked at the boy's expression to see if he was angry. Fortunately, the boy just looked at the distant sea, but Ian could not help but feel nervous at this continued state of silence. What should she do? Since he's a Half, not a Superior Sura, should she try escaping?
 
"Did you say 8 years ago?"
 
"What? Oh, yes!"
 
The hesitant Ian was sweating, and she quickly looked up as the boy replied.
 
"If it's 8 years ago, there are a few guesses. There are several who are black and red, but there's only one guy who'd cause trouble while impersonating Taksaka."
 
"Are you... joking?"
 
"Ah."
 
Hearing the tremble in Ian's voice, the boy stopped talking for a moment. His choice of words was inappropriate.
 
"Apart from me, there's this guy. The race itself is only a handful, and everyone has issues. To avoid conflicts as much as possible, there's an implicit rule to pretend not to know..."
 
In the middle of his long talk, the boy suddenly stopped. Why would he need to make excuses? It must be the earrings in his pocket. Surely this was just a side effect? Checking the earrings in his pocket again, the boy turned back and looked at Ian. Somehow in the moonlight, her face looked even more beautiful than earlier. 
 
'It must be the earrings. They're clouding my vision.'
 
As the boy drew that conclusion, he put them back into his pocket. If emotions were involved, it should be fine to play for a bit.
 
"Female. What's your name?"
 
"I'm Ian Rajof."
 
"Yeah? Ian, Ian Rajof."
 
"What's your name? Oh, I don't mind if you don't want to tell me."
 
"My name? Ah, my name is..."
 
The boy seemed to hesitate for a short while, but as he made eye contact with Ian, he inadvertently blurted out:
 
"Tak."
 
"Tak, is it?"
 
"..."
 
In his long existence, only three people were allowed to use that name. The moment he told her that name he thought he should just kill the female. However, the thought disappeared as soon as he looked into her lemon-colored eyes.
 
"Yeah, just call me Tak."
 
To be continued.
 
Edit: Now proofread by fiveseconds.

Edited by Mizura, 13 June 2013 - 06:17 AM.

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#5
Mizura

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~shwaaa~
 
It had started raining again a while ago, so Ian hurried her footsteps. A while ago, he answered her "Can I go?" question with a nod, so Ian decided to get back into the city as soon as possible before the boy changed his mind.
 
Footsteps.
 
She could hear the sound of treading in soaked grass. If Ian walked faster, the footsteps also became faster, and if she slowed down, they slowed down as well. Ian knew whose footsteps they obviously were. When you consider when the footsteps started, it was obvious who was following her.
 
"Do you live in Mistyshore?"
 
"Ah."
 
Not surprisingly, when Ian turned around, Tak stood about 10 steps away from her. His droopy eyes were still expressionless, and from his lack of answer, it did not seem that he was living in Mistyshore.
 
"Even if you live in Mistyshore, once a Half has left the city, he cannot come back in without a sponsor. Tell me who your sponsor is, and I'll call him when I get into the city."
 
"..."
 
"Do you not have a sponsor?"
 
"..."
 
A sponsor. On this planet, the one who could sponsor him would probably be Visnu? But it would be hard to convince the kid that his sponsor was 'the' Visnu. While Tak was trying to think of a reply though, Ian only saw his usual indifferent expression, and thought he was just ignoring her question.
 
"Then, I can't help you anymore. Because I'm not a magician citizen of Mistyshore, I can't sponsor anyone else. I'm sorry, but you'll need to find a magician to sponsor you."
 
With a quick bow towards Tak, Ian quickly disappeared towards the checkpoint.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 4: Day's conclusion
────────────────────────────────────────
 
In the pouring rain, Tak watched the back of Ian for some time. It was only after she disappeared past the checkpoint that he reached into his pockets and pulled out the earrings that Visnu gave him.
 
"Even if you wear these, you can't get past the city checkpoints."
 
As Tak was holding the earrings and muttering that they're trash, he turned around. And found Visnu standing right in front of him, causing him to stumble back in surprise.
 
"If only I had something to take a photo of your look right now! Pity."
 
Visnu said that with a bright smile on his face, but Tak had a slightly wrinkled expression as he grabbed Visnu and glared at him.
 
"I didn't see you coming, this means you used Time Manipulation again."
 
"Bingo!"
 
"If you keep it up it will be a real problem. Didn't you lose your body in the previous Universe because you used Time Manipulation too much? Once you lose your body, you can't get back until the destruction of the Universe, right?"
 
"That's right."
 
"Well, think a little!"
 
"..."
 
Unlike Tak, who looked seriously angry, Visnu was simply smiling at him.
 
"Why are you worried? Ah, it seems our Tak knows something else besides anger. He is also a sweet and kind guy who was so worried about that cute girl that he followed behind her."
 
"Who's following cute girls?"
 
As Tak was glaring right at him, Visnu then stopped talking and started smiling. Tak didn't seem to appreciate the joke and muttered, turning his eyes towards the sea.
 
"Let me ask you something."
 
"What's that?"
 
Although Visnu was smiling as he asked the question, Tak was hesitant to continue.
 
"What do I have to do to get into the city?"
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"Ian Rajof-ssi, confirmed, you can go now."
 
"Sorry to trouble you so late!"
 
Ian greeted the checkpoint personnel, then went through the passage into the city. One of the two checkpoint staff, after making sure that Ian was gone, tsk-ed and turned his head back to the monitor.
 
"What's wrong?"
 
"Oh, you haven't been here long. Take a look at this."
 
The staff member pointed towards the monitor, where Ian's profile was displayed. Ian Rajof, Quarter, born in D845. It was just the profile of an ordinary citizen. She wasn't even a magician, and her attributes weren't anything special, either. She was a Quarter, so she had double the lifespan of a pureblood, but besides that, there wasn't anything special. Aside from that, there was just an additional section, merely noting 'Urban residence permit in year D865.'
 
"What's weird about that? It's kind of strange for her to be living outside the city, where it's dangerous, until D865 but..."
 
"Tsk. No wonder you graduated from college later than the others."
 
"What's with you? Get out of the way."
 
The staff looked strained, then closed the profile on the monitor. The other person just said something about being pathetic, then went to the washroom.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"Into the city? Wahahah!"
 
Tak said that in a serious tone, but as soon as Visnu heard him he started laughing.
 
"Oh dear, you're trying to enter the city. Just half a day ago, you were still the boy who'd even address the beautiful Shuri as just "female", without any interest. How marvelous you are!"
 
While Visnu was laughing, Tak was looking increasingly upset. He somehow managed to suppress his anger by biting his lips and closing his eyes.
 
"Stop messing with me. It's all because of the earrings you gave me."
 
"Oh? No it's not, Tak. Those earrings just give you a human appearance. So they just hide your horns and hide your insensitive nature. But they aren't anything like messengers of love. Aren't the emotions you are feeling those of a crush?"
 
"..."
 
"What's more, the effects would only be effective if you had been wearing them..."
 
"Nonsense."
 
That child obviously meant something different to him. Tak wanted to retort something meaningful, but that wouldn't have been very meaningful against Visnu, whose insight could perceive into the other's mind.
 
"Don't read my mind."
 
"Oh. I'm sorry, I already did."
 
"..."
 
"If you doubt me, you can give the earrings back to me, then meet with the child again..."
 
"Oh no you don't."
 
Before Visnu could finish talking, Tak had already put the earrings firmly back into his pocket.
 
"Whether these are because of the earrings, or are my real feelings, it's just fooling around and passing time. Since the beginning, Halfs have been born between Dragon clan Nastika and humans, so in retrospect it isn't really surprising. There's no reason for me to be an exception."
 
"Oh? So Tak is thinking about Dragon Halfs now..."
 
"What are you implying?"
 
Tak roared as he analyzed Visnu's words, and at the same time the sea behind Visnu split into two. The momentary shock was large enough to reveal the bottom of the sea. However Visnu was unhurt, and suddenly showed up behind Tak's back.
 
"Your Breath is as great as ever, but won't you pity the sea?"
 
"Another Time Manipulation. I'm tired of warning you."
 
The roar that split the sea mixed with the sounds of thunder, so there were no reactions from the checkpoints. Tak waited for Visnu to react, but there was no movement from him. The two were very similar in height, but in terms of physique Visnu was much less built than Tak. Even so, he did not seem nervous as Tak leaned in.
 
"Tell me the truth. You saw something from me?"
 
Visnu just smiled at his question.
 
"What do you mean?"
 
He knew what he wanted to ask. He knew everything he was thinking about, so why did he have to force the questions out of others? Tak eyed him with his droopy eyes and mumbled.
 
"Ian Rajof."
 
"..."
 
"You clearly saw that kid in my future. Right?"
 
Visnu was silent.
 
Only the sound of falling rain could be heard, and it was Tak who broke the silence first.
 
"I bet you did. Yeah. It was weird that you bothered calling me here and giving me these earrings in the first place. Is it fun to mess with others?"
 
"..."
 
"Fortunately, at least the ending won't be so bad. Since you can see the future, there's no way you'd drag a friend into a bad ending."
 
Then, Visnu leaned against Tak's back and smiled in the pouring rain. Even though he wasn't laughing out loud, it was apparent that he was smiling under his long bangs.
 
"Why don't you answer?"
 
The rain grew stronger and would have buried an ordinary voice, but Tak's question to Visnu resonated loudly. However, the little God leaning against his back didn't answer. He just stayed there... seriously?
 
Realizing something, Tak looked back, and there was no longer anybody there.
 
"That guy... in the end he didn't give me any answers."
 
Tak was left alone in the rain, with the lightning flashing in the sky behind him, followed by the roar of thunder. Frowning, Tak turned towards Mistyshore. That was where the child was. But how would he get in?
 
-I'm sorry, but you'll need to find a magician to sponsor you.-
 
He was left with the words of Ian. Tak soon shook his head. It it were easy for a Nastika to get a sponsor by pretending to be a Half, the city would have been destroyed long ago. In particular, there were several tests at the checkpoints to distinguish between a Superior Sura and a Half, one of them being the infamous vegetables eating test. With no other ways, Tak turned his back to Mistyshore.
 
To be continued.

Edited by Mizura, 24 June 2013 - 03:03 AM.

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#6
Mizura

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Drrriiiiing!
 
Noise flooded the small room. In a dark corner of the room, Ian, still covered by a sheet, woke up and fumbled around. She then turned off the alarm clock by pressing it roughly, then her hand curled back under the covers. At first, no complaints could be heard.
 
"Ugh..."
 
Ian didn't just want to sleep in late. As she tried to wake up, she let out a painful groan. She did all that swimming in the rain yesterday, then had to sit kneeling for hours because of that Half, so now her body was aching all over. As a Quarter, her physical abilities were slightly better than a normal human's, but such strenuous activities still drained her stamina. At best, she was slightly below the average level of Quarters. She would have been embarrassing as a fighter.
 
"Part-time job... must not skip..."
 
Ian muttered that in a hoarse voice, her eyelids heavy.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 5: Ian Rajof
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
"..."
 
Ian sat kneeling on the floor, grabbing the alarm clock in both hands, an expression of disbelief on her face.
 
"How could I sleep all day! I even took several days off because of the magic exam!"
 
Even if she hurried to the store, there would be less than 3 hours of work left by the time she got there. But somehow, thinking about work, Ian quickly got up. Even though her whole body was aching, she didn't want to slack off at her part-time job.
 
"Today is the day of the Sky... were these the clothes that I wore last week, on the day of the Sky?"
 
Ian put the clothes back on the back of the chair, and stumbled through several other clothes in the hanger. Some customers often came on the same day of every week, so even though Ian wore other clothes too, from the point of view of the customers, she was always wearing the same outfit. Some faulted her, though others did not. The manager had already warned her because of this problem. Though she only had a few clothes, she tried to make it appear to the customers that she had a variety of them.
 
However, it was too late to worry about this now. Ian pulled out a black T-shirt and brown pants, then checked herself in the mirror while tying up her hair, before hurrying through the front door. Apart from the small room, she just had a kitchen and a bathroom, though there was a large garden outside. In the garden, large trees covered the sky, and sunlight filtered through the branches wet from rainwater. People who took the time to look would find it beautiful, but Ian couldn't afford to right now.
 
"I don't see rain."
 
Ian looked for a raincoat at the entrance -quite a bit were piled up-, so she snatched one with pockets, then avoided the puddles of water as she passed through the garden. Around the garden, the buildings had doors similar to Ian's, and branches knocked on one. The door opened, and an elderly woman walked out, asking 'what's going on' as she saw Ian's retreating figure, then mumbling as she went back inside.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Mistyshore Magical Shopping District. All kinds of magic supplies were lined up, as well as a non-magic shop selling takeaway drinks. This was just a side business to the large magic shop run by the manager, but thanks to the girl at the counter, the store ran pretty well. The pretty girl had a friendly personality and a heartwarming smile. Sometimes, some of the customers would hit on the girl, only to go back disappointed when they realized that she was a quarter whose real age was closer to thirty. Even so, they would still come back to the shop to see the girl's smile.
 
Despite her popularity, however, there were those who hated her. Even though it wasn't her fault, many viewed her as a sinner.
 
"Did you know, until 8 years ago she was living outside the city."
 
"What in the world?"
 
"I couldn't tell until you told me."
 
As some customers came to sit at the tables, the girl at the counter could hear their loud gossip. But even to them, she would only respond with a smile.
 
"Ian. Ian... Ian!!!"
 
Hearing the call right next to her ear, the hand that held Ian's jaw up gave way, leaving her to stumble over the counter.
 
"Ah, yes, how are you doing, Manager-nim?"
 
Per reflex, Ian greeted the manager with a smile, but from his face, she could tell that he was not in a good mood. He wasn't just angry, she could see the contempt in his eyes. However, Ian was familiar with being seen in such a way, so she knew the best possible response.
 
"I'm sorry."
 
She had already heard the admonition from the manager shortly after arriving, and had already apologized more than ten times, but Ian apologized again to the manager. As the manager prepared to start his long rant, he grunted, cleared his throat and turned.
 
"I overlooked the fact that you were late because there weren't many customers because of the rainy season. However on top of being late, I find you sleeping at the counter."
 
"I'm sorry. I will never doze off again."
 
Other employees would make excuses if they were too tired or hurting too much, but Ian made no such excuses to the manager. The manager then returned to the magic shop with an apparently satisfied smile.
 
To avoid falling asleep, Ian left the counter and went to the window. A drizzle was falling in the streets, and the rain made people look pretty grumpy. During the rainy season of Mistyshore, there were both sunny days and stormy days, but to Ian, this amount of rain was just right.
 
"It's romantic."
 
While Ian was smiling as she admired the scenery outside, she suddenly recalled the Half from the day before. He had droopy red eyes. The rain was dripping down his dark, brown, curly hair, and he had four red horns.
 
"Since he had horns, he probably belonged to the Kinnara clan, or the Asura clan, or..."
 
She thought for a moment then shook her head.
 
"He shouldn't be from the Dragon clan."
 
Because there were only a handful of Dragon Halfs, unlike Halfs from other races, their names and appearances were documented. And while Ian was searching for books on the Dragon Clan, it wasn't difficult for her to stumble upon information about Dragon Halfs.
 
"Currently, the least old Dragon Half, from planet Taitalika, is 150 years-old. The Half from yesterday appeared to be around my age, so his actual age should be around 60 years-old. So, he is likely not a Dragon Half."
 
However, if he was from another species, then it wouldn't explain his response when she said she'd take down Taksaka. Why would he be angry if it were about the Dragon clan? Was this an undisclosed Dragon Half?
 
"Well, whatever. I probably won't ever meet that Half again."
 
As Ian turned towards the counter, -jingle-, the sound made her bow towards the entrance by reflex.
 
"Welcome!"
 
The customer replied to Ian's greeting with a light nod. She wore a pure white dress, and had olive-green, waist-length hair. Although her hair bangs hid her eyes, she was obviously a considerable beauty. Being both tall and beautiful, she exuded a unique atmosphere that would be difficult to forget, yet Ian didn't recall ever seeing someone like her. 
 
"Are you a magician from another city?"
 
"A magician, well, something like that."
 
The lady smiled and slightly bent her waist until she was at the same eye level as Ian. As her long bangs swayed, her eyes shined for a fleeting moment, then were hidden again. Gold? Silver? Red, no, blue? It was for a brief moment, but Ian definitely saw it, yet she couldn't even recognize the colors of her eyes.
 
This sent a chill down Ian's spine, however the lady's laughter made her regain her senses and made her quickly go behind the counter.
 
"I'm sorry. I'm not in my right mind today. What would you like to order?"
 
The lady slowly walked towards the counter menu, then ordered some warm milk. Somehow, this was a different choice from what Ian would expect. Ian inadvertently thought 'this lady is quite cute' while preparing the milk. While Ian was doing so, the lady was observing her with an arm holding her chin up on the counter.
 
"Ian, is it?"
 
"Yes?"
 
Since some customers came especially to see Ian, it wasn't surprising for a customer she saw for the first time to call her by name.
 
"Are you married?"
 
"Err..."
 
That question was unexpected. Ian's hand shook, causing the milk to spill. The lady picked up a towel for Ian, leading Ian to smile and thank her before proceeding to wipe off the milk.
 
"I'm still young. Although I'm almost thirty, since I'm a Quarter, my body is still that of a teenager. Although many Quarters already get married at my age, I still don't have plans to."
 
"Well, are you dating?"
 
"No."
 
"Would you hang out with big men?"
 
"It depends on the person."
 
"Really? Even a 2-meters giant?"
 
"It doesn't matter, but..."
 
If it were a male customer, she could just turn him down, but it felt like this lady was trying to introduce someone to her. However, Ian was busy studying and working part time, so she had no time to waste on romance. She would have to turn her down.
 
"One warm milk."
 
"Ah!"
 
The lady quickly took the warm cup of milk from Ian.
 
"Here you go. That will be 60 rarvs please."
 
The lady looked apologetic as she handed Ian a gold coin.
 
"I don't have change, is this alright?"
 
"Of course!"
 
Ian didn't seem offended at all and smiled brightly as she accepted the gold coin, before holding out a large amount of change. The severe gap between the rich and the poor in the city didn't start just yesterday. While the rarv was the basic unit for commoners, a silver was the smallest unit for magicians, and the very rich didn't even handle silver, dealing only in gold coins. As a result, there were many other people besides this lady who would buy a drink with a gold coin.
 
"Here you go, that would be 9 silver and 40 rarvs... huh?"
 
While Ian was counting the change, she looked up, only to find the lady gone, leaving Ian alone in the shop.
 
"..."
 
This wasn't the first time a customer left without the change. Although Ian couldn't tell why, she had a vague feeling of discomfort as she held the change idly in one hand. It was only afterwards, as other customers came in, and the jingling of the bell accompanied the opening of the door, that Ian realized the cause of her discomfort and felt a chill run down her spine.
 
To be continued.

Edited by Mizura, 24 June 2013 - 03:04 AM.

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#7
Mizura

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As the drizzle of rain turned to silence, the dazzling Sun shone through the clouds. However, one could not guess when a lightning storm would rain down showers again. During the rainy season of Mistyshore, the weather was so capricious that it was hard to predict for even a few minutes.
 
"Hey Tak!"
 
Tak was asleep while half soaked in sea water, and leaning against a rock near the shore. He woke up to the familiar voice. The boy with the olive-green hair held something in one hand as he beckoned him. Tak pretended not to see him and closed his eyes again.
 
"Hey! Tak!"
 
This time the voice was quite close, but Tak still did not open his eyes.
 
"Hey, Tak-who-trails-behind-pretty-girls."
 
"Shut up."
 
The boy's words finally woke up the scary Tak. Despite the really upset atmosphere, the boy just smiled as he half-submerged himself into the water like Tak. There were probably very few who could pull such a joke on Tak.
 
"You just disappeared on your own last time, now what? Visnu."
 
"Oh, I'm sorry about yesterday! As an apology, I brought you something to drink!"
 
"..."
 
Without a word, Tak took the cup from Visnu. There was apparently something warm in the cup, and the fragrant smell of milk drifted out.
 
"Did you go into the city on purpose for this?"
 
"Yup. I picked the only thing you could drink from the menu."
 
"..."
 
Tak looked silently into the cup for a moment. Since it was just warm milk, he thought there was no reason to waste it.
 
"What's wrong? I knew you don't eat much. Is it a bother? Then maybe I should hand it to Shuri inst...."
 
Without answering Visnu, Tak drank the milk in the cup in one gulp. Visnu went ooh! then clapped his hands, looking curious as he asked.
 
"How was it?"
 
"..."
 
Tak wiped the milk on his lower lip with his thumb, then licked it again with the tip of his tongue.
 
"Not bad."
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 6: Milk
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
Tak was still devoid of expression, his eyes droopy, so Visnu complained.
 
"Can't you be more honest? Is it so difficult to say the word 'delicious'?"
 
"Um..."
 
Though the 4 Primeval Gods, who existed since before the beginning of the Universe, were nominally of the same status, most Nastika seemed to treat Visnu as lower than the other Primeval Gods. Some of them, in particular Tak right now, would even put him down a little, speaking to him on familiar terms. This was because Visnu was a fairly easy-going -nice and friendly- God.
 
"Hey. You seem to be quite free. Did you dump the kid you were taking care of?"
 
"Oh, Kalavinka won't be in danger if I leave her alone for a while. Though there are a few requirements."
 
"Those requirements don't include me."
 
"You're sharp. Hahah."
 
Although Visnu was laughing at the joke, Tak didn't seem to intent on laughing as he watched Visnu.
 
"Do you always act after seeing the future?"
 
"..."
 
The laughing stopped. Still, a tinge of a smile remained. Visnu looked at Tak.
 
"Not always, but maybe for big events. Why?"
 
Tak seemed to hesitate for a moment, but it would be meaningless to not answer this God, so he continued.
 
"Then, when you foresaw the destruction of a previous Universe, you either didn't have the will to change its future, or didn't have the power to do so."
 
"..."
 
A moment of silence ensued. Tak was waiting for a response from Visnu, but Visnu didn't answer. He just became unusually stiff, as though he could not longer easily smile when it came to this topic. After a considerable moment of awkward silence, Tak finally spoke first.
 
"I'll take your silence to be a positive answer?"
 
"Yes, Tak, which is kind of like you?"
 
"It's the latter of course."
 
Though it was a short answer, it was enough. Visnu's expression brightened again as he looked at Tak.
 
"Do you want another cup of milk?"
 
Tak's droopy eyes alternated between the cup of milk and Visnu.
 
"Did you want to tell me something anyw..."
 
"That Ian did the warming?"
 
"..."
 
For a while, Tak couldn't continue, then mumbled again.
 
"So what does it matter?"
 
"Ah... well, alright. I'll take care of it."
 
Visnu smiled again at Tak's cold reaction, and returned to the shore. Tak sleepily looked at Visnu's back, as Visnu was almost out of sight until he came out of the water.
 
"Stupid."
 
Tak mumbled while lying back down on the rock, falling back asleep within seconds.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
As the Sun set and twilight spread, Ian had to clean up shop. The store manager and the other customers had left. Thanks to the gold left behind by the customer earlier, the manager was quite pleased, and gave Ian permission to go home. Of course, the manager was also thankful that Ian wasn't the type to pocket the money herself when the customers paid more.
 
"How did that person leave?"
 
Ian thought about the customer who vanished without taking her change, but, she had absolutely no idea. She had considered the possibility of at least one type of magic, but, there was no reason for a person to use magic in a store, and the fact that she didn't hear the spell was even stranger. As she pondered the problem, Ian took off her apron. She finished cleaning up, so it was time for her to go home and prepare for the next magic school exam.
 
~Jingle~
 
Ian had just put down her folded apron, but quickly turned back to the doorway to welcome the customer. It was already past opening hours, and the 'closed' sign was already hanging at the front of the shop, but Ian would not turn down a customer for this reason.
 
"Can you deliver?"
 
The one who opened the door and peeped inside was a boy of about 7 to 8 years old. His hair color and atmosphere were somehow similar to the lady who left without her change earlier, but from his ragged appearance, the two did not appear to be from the same family.
 
"I'm sorry customer, we don't deliver right now?"
 
The manager would have just kicked him out, but Ian replied while kneeling to match the boy's eye level. The boy seemed to sulk as she answered this. The way his long bangs covered his eyes also reminded Ian of the customer earlier. Were they really not related?
 
"So nuna doesn't deliver? Here's the money." 
(*note: in Korea, younger boys address older girls as Nuna = big sister)
 
While the boy was sulking, he rummaged through his pockets and took out 10 Rarv, then held out 6 coins. Normally, even the cheapest items from the menu cost at least 60 Rarv. This wouldn't even cover the delivery fee. At this point, any other employee would have just ignored him, but Ian accepted the boy's money and headed towards the counter. It seemed like he went through a lot of trouble to collect that money, and she didn't want to turn him down. Anyway, if she delivers, she could think of it as some exercise on the way home. Thinking positively, Ian put on her apron again.
 
"Ah. Where do I have to deliver this?"
 
As Ian put on the apron, she saw the boy come running to the counter with a bright smile. Ian decided her decision to deliver was correct, and nodded.
 
"Please deliver warm milk to this place."
 
The boy slipped a piece of paper folded several times onto the counter. When he said warm milk, Ian thought of the previous customer again. It may have just been a coincidence, and she silently wondered whether they were related as she warmed up the cup of milk.
 
"Please deliver it there!"
 
~Jingle~
 
She heard the boy leaving. Ian quickly turned around, but the boy had already left the shop.
 
"What if I don't do the delivery..."
 
While saying so, Ian unfolded the note that the boy left behind.
 
- Guy sleeping on a rock near the shore near the East checkpoint -
 
It was vague. It was certainly risky to go outside the city, but the location itself was too vague. Ian hurriedly opened the door and looked around, but there were no longer any traces of the boy. What should she do? She'll have to deliver it. While Ian was at a loss, the sound of boiling milk made her hurry back into the store.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"Ian-ssi, please be very careful. It's much more dangerous at night, so please watch yourself and hurry back."
 
"Yes, I'll only go briefly near the checkpoints, so don't worry."
 
After Ian persuaded the checkpoint staff, she sighed deeply, and looked at the color of the thermal cup in her hand. Yellow. Although she had already covered some distance, the drink was still fairly warm.
 
"I'm going to deliver after all. I'm really tired."
 
While holding the cup, Ian looked down the cliff towards the shore. The shore was quiet save for the occasional sound of waves. The rain had completely ceased and the clouds had cleared, revealing the glittering stars in the clear sky.
 
"At least I'm lucky to deliver while the weather is nice."
 
Ian glanced slowly from one edge of the shore to the next, until her gaze stopped at a specific location. Someone seemed to be lying asleep on a flat rock beneath the coastal cliff.
 
"I came here for delivery, but this guy is outright sleeping outside the city."
 
Maybe it was even the boy from earlier, he may have ordered a delivery from the city. While Ian was pondering the possibilities, she carefully went down the cliff. Although the rain had stopped, the rocks were still quite slippery. She could be badly hurt if she took a wrong step and slipped.
 
Step.
 
Ian stepped off the dangerous slope and onto the sand, then ran straight towards the rock from earlier. As she neared the rocks, his looks became more apparent, and sure enough, as she reached the rock, she saw the Half from yesterday, 'Tak', sleeping there.
 
"..."
 
As Ian contemplated what to do, she hesitated. Should she just leave the milk and head back? But by the time he woke up, the milk would become cold. He didn't seem like a particularly bad person yesterday... Ian just thought of leaving the milk next to him. It should be somewhere he could see once he woke up, so she decided to put the milk next to Tak's head.
 
"What are you doing?"
 
At the sound, Ian's hand froze. She didn't know when he woke up, but Tak's droopy eyes were staring up at her.
 
To be continued.

Edited by Mizura, 14 June 2013 - 08:29 AM.

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#8
Mizura

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"Uh, um, that is..."
 
Ian was so surprised that she froze in her position, then hastily straightened up, only to lose her footing and fall into the water.
 
Splash!
 
The water wasn't very deep, but Ian fell in so abruptly that it took her a while to recover from the seawater.
 
*cough cough*
 
Ian pushed her face out of the water while barely holding onto the rocks, then while spitting out water, she looked back up at Tak on the rocks. Tak was looking down at Ian with an  outstretched arm. What was that? Was it to help her back up? He could have simply caught her before she fell into the water. For a Half he could have had better reflexes! Ian shot back a look at Tak. Tak's eyes seemed to waver for a moment, then returned to their usual droopy look.
 
"Don't worry, I can climb up alone. I'm a Quarter after all."
 
Ian sounded a bit edgy as she said that, then with the help of both hands pushed herself back onto the rock. Even though the blood was diluted, as a Quarter she still had 25% Sura blood. She had much more strength and stamina than normal human girls who looked around her age. Though, of course, she couldn't even compare to a real Sura. Tak just watched and waited as Ian squeezed the water out of her clothes.
 
"Don't get me wrong. I tried to grab you before you fell."
 
But then I thought I'd hug you... Tak swallowed that sentence back in.
 
"What were you saying? Anyway, now that I've delivered the milk, I'd better go."
 
"Don't go."
 
"What?"
 
At the sudden words, Ian looked at Tak with surprise and fear in her eyes. Tak couldn't understand why he carelessly said that either, and didn't say more as Ian watched him. And as the silence dragged on, Ian's apprehension only grew.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 7: Boundaries
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
"...why?"
 
She noticeably flinched, and her voice was trembling slightly.
 
Tak realized that the girl was very wary of him. He didn't want to pass off for a Half, only to have her be so afraid of him, however. Tak looked around for a good excuse, and his eyes settled on the thermal cup.
 
"How do you open this?"
 
"..."
 
Since he was living in the wild, he really didn't know how to use thermal cups. Ian took the cup and silently unlocked the insulation. After she fell into the water, her ponytail should have been a mess, but he thought it looked more natural now. As Tak stared at the wet pink hair that clung to her pale neck, he hesitantly spoke up.
 
"Your hair... is tied up."
 
"Manager-nim prefers ponytails."
 
"Manager? So you're saying you just follow the preferences of your manager?"
 
"Well of course, when I'm working I listen to the master of the store..."
 
"Master, huh?"
 
This Half, he seemed to focus on words out of context. When it came to her hair, what was the difference between manager and master? Ian sighed as she held out the thermal cup.
 
"The lid is open, is this alright?
 
"..."
 
"Aren't you going to take it?
 
"Oh."
 
Tak took the cup of milk from Ian and slowly took a sip. He looked so clumsy doing so that Ian giggled, only to stumble as she met his gaze over the cup of milk. Tak took no further action as he held the cup to his mouth, but he was staring at Ian without blinking. His eyes were dark red. Blood. Dark red blood. Killing. Sacrifice. Disaster.
 
- Ian Rajof. All the heretics besides you have died. Your future shall greatly depend on your answer. -
 
Her ears filled with the sound of heart pounding, and cold sweat started to trickle down. It was starting again. Ian hastily got to her feet to leave.
 
"That is, I have to..."
 
Just as Ian tried to leave, Tak tried to grab hold of her. Unfortunately Tak was much faster.
 
"Wait."
 
"AH!"
 
As he heard her scream, Tak wanted to quickly loosen his hold. But by then it was too late.
 
"Ugh..."
 
Tak's eyes weren't expressionless anymore. Although his expression was mostly the same, his eyes were slightly shaking in panic and revealed his discomposure. Since he didn't want Ian to be scared and to run away, he wanted to explain how this happened. As a Nastika, it had been long since he had to adjust the power in his grip. He could barely remember the last time he needed to capture a weak creature rather than destroy it. He had been careful since he met Ian for the first time, but it had been in vain when he impatiently grabbed her.
 
"..."
 
The trembling Ian was too afraid to look at Tak. What should he do? While Tak was agonizing over what to say, he barely managed to speak up.
 
"You should reg..."
 
Quarters didn't have the ability to regenerate. As Tak realized his mistake, he frowned instead. He never needed the ability to restore someone else. Where was Visnu when you needed him. As Tak turned his head to the distant sea, Ian became even more scared because he didn't even explain it as an accident. While trembling, she looked up at Tak, who stared back at her.
 
"Um, I think you're misunderstanding..."
 
Frowning, Tak took another step towards Ian, but Ian only saw him threatening her.
 
"Ah, mom..."
 
Ian hastily held her left arm with her hand and ran without looking back. She stumbled several times and barely managed to right herself, but she could only think of running like crazy towards the checkpoint. Tak wanted to catch her the moment she faltered, but slowly put down his outstretched hand, as Ian further distanced herself from him. 
 
"..."
 
He could see that she was running hard, but also staggering clumsily. She seemed in danger of falling over the ragged rocks of the shore any moment now.
 
He wanted to hug her.
 
"...?"
 
While Tak rubbed his head wondering idly what to do next, Ian already ran some distance and hid herself behind a rock.
 
Ian was starting to feel desperate as she knew she couldn't possibly outrun Tak. She had loudly proclaimed that she would take down the top-level Nastika Taksaka, yet she couldn't even run away when her opponent was a Half. No wonder she was the laughing stock of everyone at the Magic School. Ian felt so stupid that she burst into tears. The pain in her arm was so unbearable that she couldn't even stand.
 
"..."
 
Watching the rock that Ian hid behind, Tak heard her bursting into tears. She seemed really hurt. What now? She was crying because of him. It felt like being stabbed in the heart. Damnit. What in the world did Visnu do to this child. It was all because of those crappy earrings. Tak wanted to throw Visnu's earrings into the sea, but stopped as the sounds ceased.
 
"Haa, haa..."
 
She was breathing heavily because of her broken arm. If those earrings were really the cause of his feelings wavering, what would happen to the child once he threw them away? As Tak contemplated, he was about to discard the earrings again. He never felt any guilt from killing Gods or Sura before. And although he didn't eat humans, that didn't mean he didn't kill them. And he would kill them for even minor reasons -usually for being noisy when he was sleeping- so the crying girl probably won't be safe if he approached now.
 
"..."
 
Whether the earrings were the cause of the feelings or not, it no longer seemed to matter. As long as he could reach out to the child. He wanted to see that beautiful white face smiling at him. As he thought that, Tak closed his eyes and shook his head. He wasn't like that. It wasn't like him to get sentimental. He was a Dragon Clan Nastika. He shouldn't be getting distraught over one human girl. It's just that he wanted to.
 
After a moment of silence, Tak looked at the earrings in his hand, and just as Ian revealed herself from behind the rocks, he put on the earrings.
 
To be continued.

Edited by Mizura, 14 June 2013 - 08:30 AM.

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#9
Mizura

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Shwaah -

Dark blue waves scattered into white droplets as they smashed against the coastal rocks. During the rainy season of Mistyshore, the starry night and the breathtaking coastal view combined into a beautiful and moving spectacle. As Ian ran along the shore, however, she could not afford to admire the view.

"Haa."

As she turned at a large rock to catch her breath, Ian roughly wiped her tears with her right arm before lifting her head, only to gasp and step back in shock as Tak stood right in front of her.
 
"...?!"

Why didn't she see him overtaking her? How could she escape? But at such speeds, she'd be caught again in no time... Should she try talking instead? Despite the pain in her shattered arm, Ian was somehow trying to think rationally.

However, there were no movements from Tak, who was standing in front of her. He had both hands held up to his ears.

────────────────────────────────────────
The finite - Chapter 8: Passion
────────────────────────────────────────

"..."

What was he thinking? If he meant to harm her, why did he let her go the day before? Ian had no idea what Tak was thinking, but she was afraid of offending him through words. Thus humbled in his presence, she didn't dare to speak first.

Her legs felt like putty.

Though she wasn't proud of her stamina, she was still a quarter, yet he bridged the distance so easily. (Or so it seemed) As she trembled in fear of the Half, her eyes brimmed with tears. She cried because she couldn't find a way out of this situation. One drop, two drops, and,

"Does it hurt a lot?"

As the boy spoke in a whisper, Ian's eyes went wide. This was certainly the slightly rough voice of the Half who crushed her arm - obviously Tak's, yet she could hardly believe the tone he was whispering in. Rather, how could he ask that after breaking her arm? Feeling somewhat angry, arm hurting, Ian barely spoke up.

"Of course it hurts. Even if you're a Half you could have figured that much by n..."

Ian didn't look up as she said this, staring instead at her feet, until Tak's hand touched her cheek.

"Yes. I've never felt so much pain in my life..."

As a tear flowed down her cheek, Tak wiped it with his thumb. Ian suddenly noticed that his attitude was different and that his hand wasn't as rough. His head was downcast until then.

"Was it so painful it made you cry? Yeah, it was."

Surprisingly, the air around him was different from the Half who broke her arm a few minutes ago, and he was crying as though he broke his own arm. Tears flowed under his thin, trembling eyelashes. He certainly looked the same as before, but the atmosphere around him was completely different: he no longer felt as dangerous or frightening. While his appearance earlier could be compared to a wild beast, right now he was just like a downcast puppy.

"I was in a hurry to grab you, I didn't mean to hurt you. What should I do? How much does it hurt? What, what should I..."

He couldn't continue anymore as his voice caught in his throat, and his whimpering appearance caught Ian by surprise. Gods. What was going on? Where was the dry tone and the drowsy expression of the Half from earlier?

"I can get treatment in the city. I know you didn't do it on purpose, so don't cry."

Ian held Tak's hand and smiled at him. Tak immediately stopped crying and grabbed Ian's right hand -without breaking it-.

"Yeah, that's right. There are magicians in the city. So it won't hurt anymore once you get into the city?"

"Yes, I'll be fine once I get into the city."

After getting treatment for her left arm, though, her savings for the magic school admission would plummet further... His right hand was shaking slightly. As he let go of her hand, Tak suddenly picked her up.

"?!"

Before Ian could even respond to the situation, Tak had traveled the distance to the checkpoint and set her down in front of it.

"I'd like to take you directly to the magician, but I can't pass through here. I'm sorry."

"..."

Seeing how depressed he looked as he bowed his head in apology, Ian just replied 'I, I'll be fine' in a daze. He was stuttering and whimpering. Was this really the same Half? How could his attitude change so much? Did he have mental problems? Even though the questions lined up, she had to seek treatment first, so Ian entered the checkpoint without asking anything. Come to think of it, she couldn't see the horns anymore... She pondered that for a while, but the horns were rather small, so they could have been hidden by the hair.

"Ugh."

Tak stood there idly until Ian completely disappeared from view. Then, as with a sudden release of tension, he sat down in place. The moment he put on the earrings, his mind became extremely confused. He had no idea why he acted like that in front of Ian. After he put on the earrings, memories came rushing back, and he grabbed his hair and frowned as something crucial seemed to emerge.

"Damn it, I cried."

However, they weren't just from putting on Visnu's earrings. The dull feelings he had at the beginning of the Universe never felt this vivid. Was this a side effect of his feelings being suppressed for too long? Or did the earrings amplify those feelings, rather than just bring them back? Breathing heavily, his face red till the ears, Tak looked up at the checkpoints.

- I know you didn't do it on purpose, so don't cry. -

His mind was filled with the image of Ian's smile. As he shook his head to clear his thoughts, the earrings fell off. Immediately his face went cold and stiff, and within seconds his rough breathing calmed.

"They were trash after all."

Tak took the earrings in his hands and tossed them into the sea without hesitation. Then, as he watched the waves lap twice, he changed his mind and hurriedly jumped into the sea.

────────────────────────────────────────

"Wait a moment!"

At first, because of Ian's casual expression, the checkpoint staff let her through without a thought, but were greatly shocked when they saw her rushing towards the city.

"Gods! What happened to your arm!"

"Oh, I just fell down."

Ian pretended to smile, but even from a glance, one could tell it was serious. Her bones were completely broken, and the fragments of bone piercing the flesh hurt terribly whenever she moved.

"You fell? Is that true?"

"..."

The bruise contrasted sharply with her pale skin. If Tak had clutched her any harder, he could have broken off her entire arm.

"You met a Half hostile to humans, didn't you."

"..."

"Go to the infirmary to get treatment. We'll report to our superiors. We must prevent the Half from doing further damage as soon as possible."

"That, it wasn't..."

The employees went to the second floor without listening to Ian. Ian wanted to explain, but her arm hurt too much, so she headed towards the infirmary first.

────────────────────────────────────────

"Huh..."

Tak came out of the waters dripping wet. He checked the earrings and breathed a sigh of relief. Wondering why he would feel relieved, his expression then turned into a frown. It was because he'd try to return them to Visnu later, no other reason. None. As Tak tried to convince himself while walking along the coast, he found and unconsciously picked up the cup of milk that Ian delivered.

As he looked around, the storm of emotions from when he wore the earrings was still vivid in his mind. Even though he could only remember, not relate to them now, it was clear that he had never in his long life felt as swayed by such emotions. The surroundings faded from his mind, leaving nothing but the lovely girl in front of him. If her injured arm didn't enter his sight, he would have embraced her without hesitation. Ian would have probably told him to let go, but he would have no reason to. Why should a Nastika listen to a human? He just wanted to...

"Damn it."

Tak tightly clutched the earrings in his fists. He was definitely not normal. The earrings' influence on his emotions were clearly a problem, when he saw Visnu he'd have to... Wandering aimlessly, Tak turned around, staring blankly at the waves lapping the shore.

"..."

What should he do when he saw Visnu? Normally, Tak would have fallen asleep by now, but he wasn't even sleepy. Then he thought of that child... so she got involved with that guy 8 years ago? Back then, when he heard about it, it didn't seem like a big deal, so he didn't pay much attention, but perhaps he should have... While thinking that, he held up the cup of milk and brought it to his mouth, but soon heard a clamor from the direction of the checkpoint.

"Is that him? The one with the horns?"

"...?"

As he glanced in the direction of the noise, he saw a crowd of about a dozen people gathered. Half were holding weapons, while the remaining donned the gorgeous attires of magicians.

"Are you the one who broke the arm of the girl who delivered milk?"

"..."

Tak didn't answer. Even though he didn't break her arm on purpose, as a Nastika, he simply didn't feel it was necessary for him to answer a human.

"Look at this guy. He doesn't even bother answering."

"What if he can't talk? If he's the human form of a Superior Sura, and not a half..."

"Nonsense. Do you think the girl would have gotten away with just an injured arm if it were a Superior Sura?"

"True."

As the humans whispered among themselves, Tak's sharp ears could hear every word. They were annoying. But he wondered if Ian passed the checkpoint without saying anything. It didn't seem like she was about to report a Half outburst.

"No idea."

He thought it would be better to just deny it then, but someone shouted from behind.

"He's lying! Look at his hand!"

"..."

Tak didn't realize that he was still holding the cup of half-finished milk.

To be continued.

(Me: *tired of juggling sentence structures*
Me: *tempted to just write "milk girl arm break are you?"* >_>;; )


Edited by Mizura, 16 June 2013 - 01:43 AM.

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#10
Mizura

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As the seated Ian was being treated, the sound of many people rushing through caught her attention. It seemed to be a troop of fighters and magicians out to hunt Sura. However, they usually avoided hunting Sura at night, when it was more dangerous, so they were likely out to hunt the Half who hurt her -Tak.
 
But Tak didn't do it on purpose. He even brought her to the checkpoint while crying, so she had to stop them.
 
"Excuse me, please wait a minute..."
 
"I still need to stabilize you."
 
As Ian tried to rush out, the magician treating her caught her and forced her to sit back down. After a considerable amount of time spent persuading him, she finally came back out.
 
The still hot and humid ocean night pressed strangely heavily on her shoulders. As soon as she left the checkpoint, it made her unwittingly want to return, yet she was unable to determine the source of the pressure. She couldn't see through the darkness, but something dangerous and ominous seemed to be lurking beyond, making her footsteps tremble.
 
But if she didn't leave now, Tak might be killed by the magicians. He was a Half without a sponsor. Even though he was shaped as a human, half of him was Sura. Humans had enough justifications to kill him just for being a Half living outside the city without a sponsor. Many magicians were generous towards Halfs, but this wasn't the case of the ones sent out to hunt him.
 
Gulp.
 
After being lost in thought for a while, Ian took a breath to resolve herself. Despite the crushing pressure, she ran straight towards the beach to where Tak was.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 9: Power
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
On a rock wet from sweeping waves, Tak sat while holding a cup of milk with both hands. When he dove into the sea in search of the earrings, seaweed had stuck to his horns. Removing it was too troublesome, so he just stared at the remaining milk.
 
Tchink.
 
The sound of metal hitting rock resonated. It was a weapon dropped by a fighter. After drinking the now-cold milk, Tak stood up. Though he looked to be a 15-year-old boy sitting on the rocks, the moonlight made his reclusive figure appear enormous.
 
"If you're confident enough to attack me, come closer."
 
The fighters from earlier stood a dozen steps away, barely holding their weapons with trembling hands. The magicians stayed even further away. They were neither injured nor tied down, yet none of them could move from the spot, and could barely look straight at Tak as they bit their lips.
 
"Just where are you looking when I'm right over here?"
 
Tak came down from the rock and very slowly approached the fighters. However, none of them dared to move away from him.
 
"You're so scared after meeting my eyes once?"
 
"..."
 
Tak's voice sounded pretty close now, even the head of the fighters at the front just dropped his gaze to his feet as he trembled. As Tak approached, the fighter was too afraid to even breath.
 
"Please wait!"
 
It was Ian's voice. Tak stopped approaching the fighter and turned his head towards the voice.
 
"Th-that Half isn't a bad Half! Don't, don't attack him, he didn't..."
 
Her light-pink hair fluttered to the night breeze. Exhausted from running there from the checkpoint as fast as she could, the girl rested to catch her breath. After checking her face, Tak immediately shifted his gaze to her arm. Her arm seemed much better after receiving treatment.
 
Tak's previously hardened expression immediately seemed to soften. At the same time, the pressure crushing the humans seemed to disappear like a lie. The fighter who dropped his weapon in front of the Half boy felt ashamed, and quickly picked it up again.
 
"This guy...!"
 
Then without waiting the fighters charged against Tak. However they were met with empty air, as their weapons clanked loudly against the rocks. When the panicked fighters turned around, Tak was already in front of Ian.
 
"Oh, s-sorry. I hurried but..."
 
Ian lost her footing as she hurried down to the beach, only to be barely caught by Tak.
 
"Please listen to me. This Half didn't mean to hurt my arm on purp... Eek!"
 
As she righted herself and tried to approach the fighters and magician, Ian saw Tak's face and exclaimed as she took a step back. All the fighters grabbed their weapons, poised to attack again.
 
"He's holding the girl hostage!"
 
"N-no! That's not..."
 
Ian's involuntary shriek made the others misunderstand. She didn't have time to explain Tak's innocence as the fighters readied their weapons and the magicians started casting spells. What should she do? What could she do to make them understand that Tak was not a bad Half?
 
At a loss, Ian's gaze fell upon the cup of milk in Tak's hands. He wasn't holding the cup when they went to the checkpoint earlier, so it was clear that he went back and picked it back up to drink the remaining milk. A Half who liked milk. A Half who cried because he accidentally broke the bones of a human. With these snippets, her mind quickly formed an image of Tak. She would normally need a longer time to think it through, but the situation was urgent, she had to decide on the spot.
 
How much should she risk for this Half?
 
The answer didn't take long to form. While a magician started issuing orders, Ian jumped right into Tak's arms.
 
"...?"
 
The magician's orders were put on hold. The other fighters and magicians looked at Tak and Ian with puzzled expressions.
 
"..."
 
Tak stayed still as Ian buried her face into his chest. When no sounds came, she slowly turned her head to look at the fighters. Seeing Ian's behavior, they lowered their weapons and no longer seemed poised to attack.
 
Now that they seemed more ready to listen, Ian explained that it was an accident, and that the Half didn't hurt her arm on purpose. She added that even though the Half didn't have a sponsor, he wasn't bad, and she would have sponsored him if she were a magician. She said she was trying to obtain a magic certificate, so she would be able to vouch for him.
 
Fortunately, one of the magicians was one of Ian's regular customers, and believed her without a doubt, so they were readily convinced. The fighters and magicians held a discussion among themselves then, fully convinced, gave them a nod and disappeared in the direction of the checkpoint. Some of the fighters eyed Tak with suspicion as they passed, but overall the crisis was over.
 
"Whew. That's finally over. What a relief."
 
"..."
 
Tak was staring at her since earlier without a word. After her sigh of relief, Ian realized that she was still hugging him and quickly backed off.
 
"Ah... s-sorry to offend you, I was just trying to convince those people..."
 
"..."
 
"If I didn't do that, you could have been heavily injured or even killed! A Half in the middle of the night wouldn't stand a chance against all those fighters and magicians. You're still a young Half after all, right?"
 
"..."
 
"In the future, please escape if you see a crowd of people far away. Although there are good people, there are also many who hate Halfs..."
 
"Is your arm better?"
 
"What? Oh... yes."
 
"..."
 
As Tak's droopy eyes blinked, he suddenly caught Ian's left arm. He examined the area he fractured earlier. Ian felt her heart stop for a moment, then relaxed. Unlike earlier, Tak's hands were more gentle as he observed.
 
"It's better."
 
"..."
 
Tak left Ian and turned around, then sat down again on the rock from earlier. Since he already finished most of the milk, only a few drops came out as he shook the cup.
 
"Tch."
 
As he looked at the cup, disappointed, Ian thought that he really looked like a boy of his age. His curly hair made limp by sea water made him seem calmer than usual, and the not-so-happy expression on his face no longer seemed scary. As he scrutinized the cup with a serious expression, he even seemed kind of cute. What's more, the single strand of seaweed hanging from his horns made him seem less murderous.
 
While Tak searched for remaining milk buried in the corners of the cup, he felt Ian staring at him and turned to look at her.
 
"Ah..."
 
As she made eye contact with Tak, Ian didn't know how to respond, so she hurriedly said goodbye and rushed towards the checkpoint. She slipped as she stepped onto wet rocks, only to be caught by Tak from the back. It already happened several times today. Ian felt too embarrassed to face Tak as he set her down.
 
Though she watched many men come to the store, she never felt such an emotion as love. Yet, Tak made her heart tremble, even though they hadn't known each other for long. Thinking about it calmly, Tak did hurt her, but it was an accident, and she since discovered another side to him.
 
But her positive thoughts towards Tak didn't last long.
 
"Didn't you want to bring down Taksaka?"
 
The sudden words caused her to stiffen. No emotions could be read on his face.
 
"You can't use magic... and what are you going to do with your physical abilities? How do you plan to bring down Taksaka?"
 
"..."
 
"It's fine if you can't beat him right now. But if you don't even have a plan, then you're just bluffing. He's still the No. 2 of the Dragon clan. You don't think he's that easy to beat, do you?"
 
"..."
 
Tak's words overlapped with those of the interviewer from the magic school.
 
- Even with good Attributes, you could never take on Taksaka. These aren't big dreams. This is just insane. -
 
The sound of mocking laughter from the people of the magic school mixed in. Ian suddenly stood up. However, she couldn't refute what Tak said, so she just stood there trembling, with her lips clenched. Until then, Tak was staring at Ian with a nonchalant look, but soon realized that something was wrong as tears fell from Ian's eyes. However, without the earrings, he couldn't empathize with her feelings, so even though he could see that something was wrong, he didn't know how to cope. While he hesitated, Ian headed back to the checkpoint without looking back.
 
To be continued.
 
 
Ian saves a Half from being killed by fighters and magicians Ian saves a bunch of fighters and magicians from being killed by Tak. Because obviously, a Half who likes milk can't be a bad Half right? You go girl!

Edited by Mizura, 16 June 2013 - 01:45 AM.

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#11
Mizura

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After Ian left, Tak still couldn't understand her feelings, so he paced back and forth for a while. He just stated the obvious, what was the problem? Her dreams of bringing down Taksaka were certainly interesting, but meant nothing with neither plans nor effort. She didn't say that without thinking, did she?
 
No matter how he thought of it, it didn't seem like his fault. Even so, seeing her cry again, he wondered what the female was thinking. With that, he closed his eyes and put on the earrings.
 
As soon as he put on the earrings, he recalled the story he heard when he first met Ian on the beach. The one who impersonated 'Taksaka' took away all those who were precious to her, and although others mocked her for it, bringing down Taksaka became her sole reason for living. As a mere human, she knew that it was impossible for her to win against Taksaka, even with more power or with magic. Even so, 'in order to survive', she clung onto this impossible goal... What Tak said hurt her enough to bring tears to her eyes. Even though it was obvious, he shouldn't have said it, unless he wanted to crush her.
 
Within a few seconds of putting on the earrings, Tak quickly became depressed.
 
"I wouldn't even have thought about this without the earrings..."
 
As he muttered to himself, he tinkered with his ears, feeling the earrings without removing them. Until a while ago, he thought the earrings were just trash that caused him to embarrass himself, but not anymore. At the very least, after his mistake, he'd need the earrings to meet Ian again. But, what to do? If Visnu didn't show up again, he may not be able to meet Ian again like he did today. If only he had a way to pass through the checkpoints... 
 
Tak became glum as he looked towards the checkpoints. It shouldn't be so hard to find a sponsor if he pretended to be a Half, but he wanted to avoid eating vegetables as much as he could. It was tough to eat those, but did he really need to? Did that child mean that much to him? Tak stood there for a while, then shook his head and turned around. He still hadn't removed the earrings, nor the strand of seaweed stuck to his head, as he quietly disappeared to the other side of the beach.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
The finite - Chapter 10: Dragon's Sponsor (1/3)
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Mistyshore Residential District. It seemed dangerous for a girl to be walking down the dark alleys alone at night, but it was already late by the time Ian arrived home.
 
"Why so late today? Did the store manager make you work overtime?"
 
The landlord lady opened the window and peeked out. Ian greeted her with a smile and a nod before heading to her room without further answer.
 
10 gold coins.
 
The bill she received at the checkpoint could never feel so heavy. Placing the bill on her desk and sitting down, Ian stretched and bent her left arm, clenched her fist, then sighed.
 
"Magic sure is great. If I could cast magic, I wouldn't need to spend so much on the magic treatment."
 
As she turned around, her gaze fell upon a fairly new book on her shelf entitled "time logic." However, when she saw the complicated formulas inscribed on the unfolded pages, she put it back onto her bookshelf with no hesitation.
 
Difficult. Not only was it difficult for her to understand, her high magic failure rate remained an obstacle... With a contemptuous smile, her gaze turned to the Martial Arts School Admission guide. What if she applied to the Martial Arts school rather than the magic school? Then, she would be able to pass safely... While pondering this, she remembered the strength of the Half named Tak, and shook her head. He broke her arm by accident without even intending to hurt her, he ran past her without her noticing and leaped from the bottom of the hill to the checkpoint... No matter how much she trained in martial arts, she could never overcome such a big difference. That left magic. What alternatives did she have?
 
"If I studied really hard, I may be able to win against a Half like Tak..."
 
But her target wasn't a Half, or even just any Sura. It was a Nastika, the Destruction Dragon Taksaka, classified by the magic school as top-level among Nastika. No matter how many magicians gathered, it was impossible for them to win. This wasn't even a guess, this was completely obvious. His breath was so powerful that it could destroy a star. Ian couldn't even fathom how strong he was. Not just the planets orbiting the stars, but the stars themselves, was such a level of destruction even possible? What could possibly block such an attack?
 
Of course, this wasn't the first time she thought of this. She had often pondered it before, but always overcame it with unfounded confidence such as 'Just do it! The possibilities of humans are endless! Nothing is impossible!'. But today was different. She couldn't even run away from a Half who broke her arm. That made her realize how painfully weak she was. More importantly, the Half's final words stabbed her like a dagger. Normally, she'd have avidly started studying by now, but today she really didn't feel like it. Though she tried to, she could barely make out the words written within. Eventually she gave up and went into her covers.
 
"I know it's an unrealistic goal, but mother, if I give up, what should I live for..."
 
From beyond the walls, she could hear the sound of door opening and closing from those next door. To prevent them from hearing her crying, Ian raised her blanket over her head to muffle the noise. Although no more sounds came from her then, she was trembling lightly underneath the covers.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Whoosh -
 
Wind blew across a seemingly endless desert. All that could be seen besides the sand and the stars was the dark night sky.
 
Suddenly, a bright light poured down from the distant sky. The rays of light gathered into the shape of a huge beast, which shrank rapidly until it formed the shape of a person. She appeared to be a fairly tall woman, holding the hand of an apparently 15 year-old boy.
 
"We're here. On Planet Willarv."
 
"Wow, already?"
 
The boy, who was wearing round sunglasses, stumbled around in surprise. As he wore sunglasses, he shouldn't be able to see anything in this dark night. Even so, the boy appeared to be listening to the sound of the wind while breathing the smell of the night air.
 
"I landed in the desert to avoid being noticed by humans. Mistyshore is still a little further away."
 
"That's right. So are we going to meet this 'Tak' that Visnu-nim spoke of?"
 
"Rather than Tak, you'll have to call him Taksaka. If you call him Tak in front of him, you'll disappear without a trace."
 
"What about in a place like this, where there are just the two of us?"
 
"You can never be too careful."
 
"So even you have to be careful about this... is Taksaka that strong?"
 
"Yes."
 
"How strong? To the extent that you have to be careful? Is the gap between Nastika so large?"
 
"Even if I explained, you wouldn't understand."
 
As she spoke, the boy seemed a little offended. His black hair was tied roughly to the back, and he was wearing a grayish-brown cape while holding a cane. From his plain clothes, you couldn't tell that he was an aspiring magician.
 
"Tired?"
 
"Nope."
 
The boy turned away from the woman as he curtly replied. The woman stared at him, then laughed. As she did so, her long, multiple braids swayed lightly. She had blue-gray skin and golden eyes. Though they didn't seem to match, her face held a feral charm. Although she could be considered beautiful, she could better be classified as cool or handsome.
 
"You still see me as a kid."
 
"Yup."
 
"I may not seem that old because I'm a quarter, but on this planet I'm already considered an adult."
 
"Sure, sure."
 
"..."
 
No matter what the boy said, the woman just smiled and nodded. Once the boy ran out of things to say, the woman paused for a while and replied.
 
"Gods are not immortal. They die and die, yet endlessly resurrect."
 
"Yes."
 
"But Taksaka has the ability to destroy the Gods."
 
"What?"
 
"To be precise, he is just capable of destroying the current time."
 
"What do you mean?"
 
"Shouldn't we go to the nearest town first?"
 
"You still haven't answered."
 
"I told you that you wouldn't understand."
 
"..."
 
Holding the boy by the arm, the woman began to walk while humming. Knowing that she would no longer answer, the boy adjusted his sunglasses.
 
"Bring me to the nearest town. I'll walk the rest of the way by myself."
 
"Okay."
 
After the short answer, the woman began walking at a faster pace, and soon disappeared into the desert.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
The beach of Mistyshore was bathed in morning light.
 
Tak was standing on the beach near the checkpoints, with a light expression of determination. Compared to the night before, when he was dressed in just shorts, he was properly clothed today from head to toe. Of course, he could neither buy nor steal human clothes.
 
"It should be fine if I just mix them up a bit, so they won't look like someone else's clothes."
 
Looking satisfied with his clothes, Tak swept his hand through his hair. He picked off then threw away the seaweed stuck to his horn, then made sure the earrings were on again.
 
His clothes and accessories were based on the attires of the fighters and magicians who attacked him yesterday. Even though he just remembered roughly, so they weren't completely similar, they should at least not seem strange to humans. The ability of Nastika to freely conjure up clothes had always seemed like a fairly trivial and useless ability, but today it felt rather useful.
 
"The earrings are on, the clothes are okay, now I just have to find a magician to sponsor me so I can get into the city."
 
Compared to when he left the beach yesterday, his mindset had completely changed.
 
"I'm just bored. Until Visnu shows up, I'm just killing time."
 
Although nobody was listening, Tak convinced himself by mumbling a few times, then walked towards the road made by humans. With the earrings on, he smiled whenever he recalled Ian's face.
 
What should he do once he met her? First, he'll have to apologize for what he said yesterday, then perhaps they could start a slow conversation? A meal would be nice, even a stroll would be nice, no, it would be fine even if he just saw her face.
 
Even though he didn't even have a sponsor to pass the checkpoint yet, his mind was already filled with scenarios of meeting Ian. At no point did he consider the possibility that he would not be able to meet her at all.
 
To be continued.

Edited by Mizura, 16 June 2013 - 01:50 AM.

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#12
Mizura

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"Enough sleep, wake up now."
 
Mistyshore wasn't far from the village. The white-haired woman visiting the inn pulled off the boy's blanket as soon as she came in. Despite this, however, the boy just cringed up further, as though he was dreaming. The woman then grabbed the boy and shouted while lifting him.
 
"Get up! Nard!"
 
"Oh... my eardrums are about to burst..."
 
"Have you forgotten what Visnu said? You have to go meet Taksaka. I don't know what will happen if you're late."
 
"..."
 
The boy called 'Nard' rubbed his eyes and nodded. Holding him by one hand, the woman then quickly gathered the luggage in the other hand and left the inn.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 11: Dragon's Sponsor (2/3)
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
"I'll go by myself from here."
 
"Will you be okay?"
 
"Sure. I have a map here, too, and the roads aren't that hard to walk." 
 
Nard seemed fully awake after last night's sleep, and pointed to the map in his hand. The woman, though, just stared at his black sunglasses skeptically, then snorted.
 
"What good is that map for you?"
 
"Uh... of course I can't see the map on my own, but I already heard all the directions. And if I'm confused I can always cast a spell."
 
"..."
 
"If you go, Taksaka might get suspicious. When I become Taksaka's sponsor, it'll be better if you don't approach Mistyshore."
 
"..."
 
What Nard said wasn't wrong. Still, the anxious woman rolled her eyes, and spoke as a group of magicians came into view.
 
"Join up with them. They're heading towards Mistyshore."
 
"Um... okay. I'll go with them. So take it easy and don't worry about me."
 
Nard hugged the much larger woman, then headed in the direction of the sounds of the magicians. After confirming that he had joined up with them, the woman let out a smile of relief.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"Find someone else."
 
The young magician shook off Tak's hand, joined his female companion and hastily left. Looking at the man's back, Tak briefly frowned then immediately relaxed. Tak suspected that the number 1 problem was the incident on the beach the day before. Ian even had to risk getting hurt to defend him.
 
"These earrings are useless. I'm so mad I can barely stand it."
 
Several passing magicians had already turned him down, but Tak kept looking for others without giving up. Though the view was obscured by trees, the salty winds indicated the presence of the nearby ocean.
 
"Sponsor?"
 
The 40-year-old man stopped reading his book and put it down. Around him, there were about 10 magicians in elegant mage suits. The only exception was a black-haired boy in the corner wearing a modest gray-brown cloak. The boy adjusted his sunglasses slightly, then kneeled down and started rummaging through his backpack.
 
"Could you?"
 
With the earrings on, Tak put on a desperate expression on his face as he pleaded to the magician. He didn't seem to receive much sympathy earlier when he wore gorgeous clothes, so he changed his outfit to look more suitably pitiful. It frankly hurt his ego, but the thought of meeting Ian made him endure it.
 
"Unfortunately, it isn't so easy to decide."
 
"There are many constraints to sponsoring."
 
"There's the risk that he may turn out to be a Nastika instead of a Half..."
 
"What are you saying? A Nastika wouldn't be looking for a sponsor."
 
"Right? Isn't that so?"
 
Even though there were several magicians, none of them seemed eager to sponsor Tak. The leader of the group, the 40-year-old man, turned around and waved to him to indicate that nobody was interested.
 
"Your polite attitude is a plus to finding a sponsor, but objectively there isn't anything to prove that you're trustworthy. The sponsor must agree to take responsibility and compensate no matter what the Half does. That is a difficult condition."
 
"..."
 
As Tak watched the magicians' stiff expressions, all he could do was smile helplessly.
 
"So you can't do it. I'll have to find some other magicians to..."
 
"I'll sponsor you."
 
"...?"
 
Both Tak and the magicians around him turned to the direction of the voice. It was the boy who was rummaging through his backpack earlier, and he was now holding a big cucumber that he just took out.
 
"Let's do it this way. We'll rule out the possibility that he's a Nastika."
 
Tak started convulsing as soon as his eyes fell upon the cucumber. However, all the other magicians were focused on the boy and his unexpected behavior when he took out the cucumber.
 
"Hold on, kid... 'Nard' was it? You already have a magic certificate, so you should know that..."
 
"I know. There are no benefits in becoming a sponsor, only risks, so many people are reluctant to become one."
 
"If you know, then why?"
 
"He seemed really desperate. I really felt this."
 
"..."
 
After he said that, the magicians stared at him with expressions of disbelief, then looked at one another and shook their heads. No matter how desperate Tak looked, Nard couldn't have seen it, because he was blind.
 
Tok. Tok.
 
Nard approached Tak, cane in hand, then lifted the cucumber over Tak's head. He seemed to have guessed his height wrong.
 
"... here?"
 
There was a moment of hesitation as Nard stirred the air, before lowering the cucumber towards Tak's head with a 'Oh, he's shorter than I thought. Does he look about the same age as me?' and pushing the cucumber in the direction of Tak's mouth.
 
"..."
 
Tak really wanted to beat him up. He was prepared to take the vegetables test at the checkpoint, but he felt like blowing everything up to shut up the one holding this disgusting thing in front of him.
 
- I know you didn't do it on purpose, so don't cry. -
 
As Tak recalled Ian's smile, his explosive anger soon softened.
 
True. If he could see her smile again, he could stand this much.
 
"It's delicious, please eat all of it."
 
While Nard held an innocent smile, Tak heard a death sentence. It was bad enough that he had to swallow it, but to pretend it was delicious...
 
"..."
 
Cold sweat trickled down. But he couldn't turn back after coming this far. If he gave up on finding a sponsor, he'd have to rely on Visnu, and he'd need to call Ian out of the city again. However, calling her back out after the incident last time... No, before that, there was no guarantee that Visnu would help again. It was better for him to go into the city.
 
Tak just shut his eyes and took a bite. While outwardly, he pretended to smile and claimed that the cucumber was delicious, inside he felt the exact opposite. He finished the cucumber in an instant.
 
"Wow... from your chewing sounds it sounded really tasty. You must really like cucumbers."
 
Nard laughed. As Tak forced a smile while trying to suppress his seizures, he thought that he really wanted to beat up Visnu.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
For a while the morning was clear, but by the afternoon the sky was clouded again. The occasional sound of thunder announced the approaching rain.
 
"I didn't bring my raincoat today..."
 
As Ian looked out the window, lost in thought, she grabbed a mop leaning against a wall and began cleaning the store. She could buy a raincoat in the nearby store, but it would be a waste as she had a pile of them at home.
 
She had neither friends nor family as part of her daily routine. And as for those who wanted to walk her home...
 
"Ian-ssi. Since it's going to rain later, would you join me for dinner?"
 
The man sitting next to the window smiled as he said this. He had a sharp face and appeared to be in his mid-20s. Though he looked decent, his face wasn't her type. She would have preferred drooping eyelids and a darker complexion. Also, his thick eyelashes left a light impression on her. As she kept pondering, Tak's face somehow began to emerge in her mind.
 
"During this weather, warm seafood soup is the best, made with freshly-caught seafood from the sea in front of Mistyshore..."
 
"What to do? I don't really like seafood..."
 
"Well, we can have something else."
 
Despite being turned down by Ian, the man refused to take her refusal into account as he went on.
 
"Doesn't Ian-ssi live far away in the residential area? After dinner, I'll walk you home."
 
"..."
 
This man, who was offering to take her to dinner and walk her home, already seemed to know where she lived. As she put away a cup of coffee, Ian wondered when this guy followed her.
 
"I don't remember seeing you before. Do you come here often?"
 
"No. I came for the first time today."
 
"But... you seem to know me?"
 
"Sure. I know everything about Ian-ssi. Since you came 8 years ago."
 
"..."
 
Ian held the mop tightly in her hand. The clock on the wall indicated that work time ended 5 minutes ago. Normally, the store manager was nice enough to let her leave on time, but today he had entrusted her with cleaning up the shop. Since it was time to close the shop, there was little possibility of other guests showing up.
 
"Will you join me for dinner?"
 
The man stood up and smiled.
 
To be continued.
 
*insert Tak attempting to look like a well-dressed human*
*insert Tak then attempting to look poor and miserable*
*while chewing on a cucumber*
*lol*
 
Eww, Ian has a creepy stalker. You want to take down a dragon but can't handle a stalker? Eh.

Edited by Mizura, 29 June 2013 - 08:16 AM.

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#13
Mizura

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Clouds fully covered the sky since their arrival in Mistyshore through the checkpoint. Though there weren't any raindrops yet, the distant roar of thunder announced the imminent downpour.

 

"You must have heard at the checkpoint, but my name is Nard Lehn."

 

Nard was heading down the street from the Mistyshore Square to the Magical Shopping District, walking slowly as he pointed his cane in front of him. Behind him, Tak still looked sick as he recalled the smell of the vegetables he had to swallow earlier at the checkpoint.

 

"Yeah. Nard Lehn. And as I said earlier, my name is..."

 

"I know. Your name is Shess, right?"

 

Shess was the name of the son of Nastika from another clan that Tak was acquainted with. He recalled this name while trying to avoid the name of a God or another Nastika, and it was the only name that came to mind. Also, Shess would understand if he found him using his name - though he didn't understand why he should be concerned about that? As he had a bad feeling about the earrings' effects, Tak suddenly realized that he had gone far ahead of Nard, and stopped to wait for him.

 

"Ugh."

 

That does it. He still couldn't believe the damn detail that Visnu omitted in the humanization process. Tak could still feel his heart beating against his stuffy chest. Why the hell were there so many vegetables at the test... He was thankful though that he didn't throw up as a reaction to all the vegetables, and apart from that, he passed the other tests without a problem thanks to the earrings. Nastika were normally too proud to touch vegetables, so it was clear that he wouldn't have eaten them without the earrings. What's more, the checkpoints made by the Primeval God Brahma had the power to eject one out of the planet, so without the earrings he'd probably be in outer space by now, covered in bruises. As Tak felt relief for successfully entering the city, he even felt a little proud. Ever since the cities came under the protection of barriers, very few Nastika managed to enter them. In fact, he was probably the first from the Dragon Clan to...

 

"... ss-ssi! Shess-ssi!"

 

As he heard the call right next to him, Tak turned and looked at Nard. Nard couldn't tell that Tak had stopped moving ahead, but stopped as Tak grabbed him by the shoulder.

 

"Don't get too far ahead. I can't see anything without using 'Hoti Surya.'"

 

Nard lowered his sunglasses slightly and smiled. Although his eyes were open, they held no focus. That Visnu guy should take a look at him when he's not roaming around. As he stopped looking at Nard with pity, Tak realized that the area around him was packed with magic shops.

 

"Nard, there are a lot of magic shops here?"

 

"Really? At the checkpoint, they said that Ian-ssi worked at one of the few cafes at the magical shopping district, so you should be able to find her soon."

 

"...!"

 

He could find her soon! Tak couldn't conceal his joy as Nard said that, and looked around. Although Nard couldn't see him, he could guess the state he was in from the trembling palpitation spreading from Tak's hand to his shoulder. In addition, for once he was subservient enough to not complain to the magician...

 

"Do you like Ian-ssi a lot?"

 

"?!"

 

At this sudden question, Tak stared at Nard.

 

"Even if I can't see, I think anyone could tell."

 

"..."

 

"So I'm right. Hahah."

 

Even though Tak didn't answer, Nard started laughing.

 

"You. Stop messing with me."

 

Tak held a light frown as he started pressing down on Nard's shoulder - though not strong enough to break it. Since he didn't refute him though, Nard knew his guess was on target. Though screams of 'ah, wait, it hurts ow!' mixed in with his laughter, others just found it to be a 'nice' moment between friends, and left them alone.

 

────────────────────────────────────────

The finite - Chapter 12: Dragon's Sponsor (3/3)

────────────────────────────────────────

 

It wasn't hard to find the store that Ian was working at. They just asked anyone on their way, and soon the two were standing in front of Ian's shop.

 

"I didn't know because I'm an outsider, but in Mistyshore, Ian seems to be pretty famous. Is she a magician?"

 

"No, she's not a magician but..."

 

"Is she very pretty?"

 

"..."

 

'Very' didn't cut it. Tak just smiled and nodded, but then it occurred to him that the other guy was asking if Ian was famous because of her looks.

 

"If she's famous for her pretty looks, I'd like to see her once. It's too bad that I've used up all my 'Hoti Surya' spells for today."

 

Nard may have been half-joking, but it put Tak in a very bad mood. Despite not getting any response from Tak, Nard knew this, when Tak put his hand on his shoulder. He then fumbled around with his stick until he found a table outside, and sat down.

 

"Go on. I'll stay here."

 

Normally, Tak should have thanked Nard once, but he couldn't afford to right now. He didn't have any time to spare, his emotions wouldn't let him. Ian was inside, and delusions of other guys touching her filled his mind. The inside of the shop was completely visible through the window, but he didn't even think of checking the window.

 

"What, why won't this open?"

 

Though he tried to push the door gently, it didn't open. Nard stood up as he said that.

 

"Oh, Shess-ssi. That means the opening hours are ov..."

 

Bang!

 

"..."

 

Nard could barely finish when he heard the door being broken. Passerbys swarmed around, and Nard held a frustrated expression as he walked towards the shop door.

 

"Hey, Shess-ssi..."

 

"Ian's not here."

 

"Yeah, we came too late. We'll first have to meet with the shop's owner to talk about the broken door. You can see Ian-ssi tomorrow."

 

"..."

 

Tak looked very disappointed, and apologized to Nard for breaking the door with a 'sorry'.

 

"That's okay. I was willing to accept such things when I first became your sponsor. I'm not very good at Recovery magic, but I should be able to cover the costs of fixing the door. The problem is finding the shop owner."

 

Nard asked the gathered people, and found out the location of the magic shop that the manager operated separately. Since the shop was open though, and the seats were empty, they needed to ask someone to watch over the shop.

 

Shwaah -

 

The cloudy weather had seemed ominous since the checkpoint, and sure enough it soon began to rain. As the gathered people soon scattered in the rain, Nard asked Tak to look at the stores around.

 

"Shess-ssi, do you see any shops selling raincoats?"

 

"Raincoats?"

 

"Thin clothes to wear when it's raining. They'll probably be packed in very bright colors..."

 

"There's a bunch piled up at the entrance of the shop across."

 

"Alright, I'll have to ask you to look around the shop to buy raincoats."

 

────────────────────────────────────────

 

"Shopping? Sure, take a look."

 

As he picked a non-specific raincoat, the grocery store owner started chatting.

 

"This happens right after Ian finished working and went on a date. He was a nice young man too."

 

"...?!"

 

As soon as Tak heard that, he started running out the door. Nard barely managed to catch him.

 

"Where are you going? It could just be an acquaintance."

 

Though Tak felt there was some truth to that, the countenance of the store owner stiffened at the end.

 

"Acquaintance? Surely not. Ian had no idea. He'd often come to our shop to stare at her from across the street."

 

"..."

 

"He's a student at the Mistyshore University, and he's also from a very rich family. He's liked Ian ever since he first saw her. He finally gathered the courage to tell her today."

 

"..."

 

Though Tak remained silent, one could tell that he was bothered. Nard wanted to prevent the store owner from continuing at first, then let her in case she could offer more clues.

 

"Could you tell us more about this?"

 

"Yes, well... I guess I have no reason to hide all this. 'Huen Sairofe' is a young man from the famous Sairofe family. He's twenty-one years old, so he's younger than Ian, but Ian looks younger than him. Well, Ian is a Quarter so she doesn't age as fast... The difference will get worse with time, so he's going to have problems with appearances later on."

 

"What made him suddenly decide today?"

 

"Oh, Ian got hurt yesterday while delivering milk. The magicians talked about it. It's surprising that Ian wasn't too tired to come to work today."

 

The words that Tak wanted to say were stuck in his throat.

 

"I mean... is this Huen person a pretty nice young man?"

 

"Yes. There aren't many like him around. He's the No. 1 bachelor."

 

"Do you have any idea where the two went?"

 

"I'm not sure, but I think they went down the road to the beach."

 

Nard gave a nod, and asked the grocery store owner to pass a note to the store manager concerning the door repairs. While standing under the eaves, he then tore open the packages and handed Tak a raincoat.

 

"Please wear this."

 

"..."

 

Tak just stood idly while holding the raincoat that Nard passed to him. Unlike the threatening atmosphere during the first encounter, he felt very downcast when they talked about Ian getting hurt while delivering milk.

 

"Now what? I think the odds against Shess-ssi aren't very good. The opponent's conditions are quite good."

 

"..."

 

"We can't interfere with the date, so how about giving up today and trying again tomorrow?"

 

At Nard's question, Tak started fidgeting with the raincoat in his hands before asking.

 

"What do you usually do on dates?"

 

"Well, first you'd usually go for dinner..."

 

"Then what?"

 

"...it depends on the situation."

 

Nard hesitated to answer. And Tak didn't miss that hesitation.

 

"I can't do nothing."

 

"?"

 

Suddenly, Nard heard Tak drop the raincoat. Then he could hear the sound of footsteps treading in puddles moving away.

 

"W-wait, Shess-ssi!"

 

But he called out too late, and Tak didn't answer. All he could hear was the sound of thunder and pouring rain.

 

To be continued.

 

(Me: Hmm... 'Hwen' (<- how it's read in Korean) Sairofe. How is that supposed to be spelled?

Me: *tempted to write it as Wen Sairofe.* *Or Hen Sairofe.*

Coming up next: Hen vs Destruction Dragon. Sounds about right.

 

Come to think of it, I think he was mentioned quite briefly in the original version, but Google translated it as "Fan" so I was confused about what was going on)


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#14
Mizura

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Beyond the window covered in raindrops, one could see the turbulent waves off the coast of Mistyshore. Ian turned her head from the window to the inside of the restaurant. No other guests were sitting at the tables. From the several waiters standing, it was clear that there should be a lot more customers at the restaurant at this hour.

 

"Did you book the whole restaurant?"

 

At her question, the man stopped rolling his pasta with his fork and shook his head.

 

"What? No. Not at all. Since the weather is bad, I suppose everyone stayed home. I didn't book the whole restaurant, and I'm not the type to just use money like that. Besides, Ian-ssi, you hate that sort of thing, don't you?"

 

"..."

 

Even though his words made sense, Ian still felt that something was off, as she put her drink back onto the table.

 

This man, who introduced himself as 'Huen Sairofe', seemed to know everything about her. He had only made one mistake so far -the evening menu was supposed to be seafood soup, and this was in fact the correct choice. Ian only told him that she didn't like seafood earlier to reject him, but in fact seafood was her favorite. Because of her rejection, dinner was replaced with a different, non-seafood menu, but...

 

Half the food still remained on her plate. She no longer felt like eating.

 

"Huen-ssi."

 

"Yes, go ahead."

 

"Thank you for the meal, but I..."

 

"Please wait."

 

As Huen waved his hands, Ian stopped and looked at him.

 

"Please don't decide so hastily, Ian-ssi. I've liked you since 8 years ago, and I've only gathered my courage to tell you today. I may have made a mistake by waiting so long, but I was afraid of being a bother to you. I've been troubled by this for a long time, however, so I hope you will be understanding and not reject me just yet. This is all I ask. Please give me a chance."

 

"..."

 

Huen bowed while sniffling a little, a behavior that didn't seem to suit his sharp looks. Ian couldn't bear to continue what she was saying, but she also couldn't give him a positive answer. Since he understood her tastes so well, this behavior may have been calculated. Even so, it was obvious that he put in a substantial amount of effort to win her heart. To respect his time and effort, she didn't want to hurt him. However, if she put it off, the damage may end up greater. She wasn't interested in love right now. She'd have to turn him down.

 

"Huen-ssi, I appear much younger than you, and I still have many studies to..."

 

As soon as she started speaking, Huen prevented her from continuing again.

 

"I don't care about your younger appearance. Quarters have double the lifespan. Ian-ssi is actually 8 years older than me. Many other Quarters besides Ian-ssi marry at a young age. I also won't be a hindrance to your studies. No, in fact, you'll be better off when you don't have to work alone to raise living expenses and tuition fees. You won't have to work at a dangerous and difficult part-time job. I heard you were hurt yesterday?"

 

"That's another matter."

 

"Yesterday, a magician I know told me. That's why I wanted to talk to you as soon as possible. I couldn't let Ian-ssi continue such a dangerous job."

 

"That's usually not the case. Yesterday was just a small accident... from now on, I'll avoid leaving the city as much as possible, so you won't have to worry. And Huen-ssi, I still..."

 

"Are you telling me to wait? How much longer?"

 

"..."

 

"Ian-ssi, I'm not a Quarter. Although I'm younger than Ian-ssi, in appearance I already look older. I can't wait forever without guarantee. How much longer should I wait? 10 years?"

 

"..."

 

Ian was fidgeting. Huen's disadvantages weren't fatal, but she simply wasn't attracted to him. She nearly chocked when he brought up the strange '10 years' condition.

 

"Huen-ssi, I..."

 

While Ian was knocking on her chest to loosen her throat, she saw a shadow over her table and turned towards the window. Tak was standing on the window sill, in the rain, looking down at the seated Ian.

 

"Eek!"

 

It was so sudden that she didn't immediately realize it was him. As several more seconds elapsed, the realization that it was Tak put a look of incredulity on her face.

 

────────────────────────────────────────

The finite - Chapter 13: Why the heart is moved (1/2)

────────────────────────────────────────

 

"W-what the?"

 

Huen was at a total loss. He called over the waiters, pointed at the window, asked what that person was doing up there, what the store management was doing, then added that he was angry because his girlfriend got startled. Ian, who was watching him, felt rather uneasy when he said 'girlfriend' on his own, but Huen didn't seem to notice.

 

"We are terribly sorry. The window shutters are broken, so they can't be opened or closed easily. Please move to another seat while we head out to resolve the issue."

 

The waiters bowed at the angry Huen then rushed out the restaurant.

 

"Phew. That's that. Ian-ssi, the waiters went outside and they'll take care of the problem soon. In the meantime, why don't we sit at another table, without windows?"

 

Huen smiled as he extended his hand, however Ian's gaze lingered on the spot where Tak was standing a few moments ago, and did not take his hand.

 

"What are you doing? Let's move to another place."

 

"N-no, wait..."

 

Before she realized, Huen had grabbed her by the wrists. And almost at the same time, the loud crack of a window breaking resounded.

 

Tak had moved to another location and broken the window over another table. Thick shards of glass rained down the table and floor. If he had broken the window near Ian, both Ian and Huen would have been heavily injured.

 

"Let go of her hand."

 

Tak stepped onto the table and glared at Huen as he said this. The previous day, that glare made a group of fighters and magicians freeze in their spot. A mere student would never be able to stand up to it. However...

 

"Who is this person with such a rude attitude?"

 

"...?!"

 

Huen didn't seem intimidated at all. Rather, he grabbed Ian more forcefully and pulled her to him to shield her. Tak was momentarily at a loss, then lowered his tone and glared with more intensity.

 

"I said, hands off."

 

However, far from letting go, Huen smirked as he replied.

 

"You sound jealous, but it's useless. You won't impress Ian-ssi by looking like that, she hates violent behavior."

 

"..."

 

For a while, Tak couldn't understand Huen's attitude, then realized the reason. Visnu's earrings. With the earrings on, his majesty as a Nastika had just about died off. That terrifying majesty froze fighters and magicians alike, but now the only thing left were the jealous eyes of a teenage boy.

 

"Seeing how easily you broke the window, you must be a Half. I don't know who you are, but I feel sorry for your sponsor."

 

"..."

 

Tak flinched as he thought of Nard and looked around. The window next to the table was completely demolished, and rain was pouring into the shop. The crack was spreading to the side of the window. The repair costs would be considerable.

 

"Ian-ssi, do you know this guy?"

 

"..."

 

At Huen's question, Ian looked at Tak. Until yesterday, Tak didn't have a sponsor. So at best, if he had a sponsor, he would have met him for the first time today. Would the sponsor hesitate to pay for the window repairs? If he pretended not to know him, would the whole thing fall onto her? As Ian gauged the situation, her lips parted. She wouldn't need to worry if she had large amounts of money... while pondering all this, her gaze left Tak.

 

"Look here. Ian-ssi doesn't know anyone like you."

 

At Ian's response, Huen laughed and spoke confidently to Tak.

 

"Ian..."

 

While Huen said that, Tak looked like an abandoned puppy as he called her name once. When she heard him, she realized she had made a terrible mistake and, feeling terrible, finally looked up.

 

He was drenched from head to toe from apparently running long under the heavy rain. Did he want to apologize for what he said yesterday? It was already hard for her to understand why he came all this way, but what she understood even less was the pain in her heart as she watched Tak. Why would she feel so worried about a Half she'd just met a few times outside the city?

 

"Come down from the table right now!"

 

The employees had already noticed that Tak had broken in through the window and had gathered back inside.

 

"..."

 

Tak just watched them idly until they came to his table, but had suddenly moved to Ian's side the moment they tried to grab him.

 

"...!"

 

It happened in an instant.

 

Before the employees could identify Tak's movements, and before Huen could even respond, Tak had in a short amount of time brushed Ian's hair then disappeared from the restaurant without a trace.

 

"W-what the? Where did he go?"

 

The stunned waiters just looked around, then ran out of the restaurant after Tak, as they remembered that they had to charge him for the window's repair costs.

 

"Ian-ssi, are you okay? Did that guy do anything to you?"

 

Huen grabbed Ian to ask her after Tak came right next to her. Ian seemed in a daze, then shook her head as she noticed Huen.

 

"I'm okay, Huen-ssi. Nothing happened to me, so don't worry."

 

"Phew... thank goodness."

 

Huen breathed a sigh of relief, then looked at Ian with a more serious expression.

 

"Ian-ssi. You need to think about this more carefully. That guy is very dangerous. Do you know what his actions right now meant? He meant to show that he could threaten you at any time. Ian-ssi is in danger now. Ah... this is no good. I'll immediately hire magicians to guard you."

 

"..."

 

It meant he could threaten her at any time...

 

That wasn't it.

 

When he talked about Tak's behavior near Ian, Ian closed her eyes and shook her head.

 

"No. There's no need. He isn't a dangerous person."

 

"What?"

 

Huen had expected a completely different answer from Ian. She could still feel the spot where Tak swept her hair back with his hand wet with rain, and hear the lingering words he whispered into her ears.

 

"Don't be sorry, Ian."

 

For the short time he was besides her, his words were nothing like a threat. Ian bit her lip and held a look of determination.

 

"Huen-ssi, I'm sorry, but I'm leaving first."

 

"What? But it's raining outside... Wait, Ian-ssi!"

 

By the time Huen called out to Ian, she had already run out of the store without listening to him. He hurried after her, but couldn't see a trace of her in the streets pummeled by heavy rains. The only ones who were visible were the waiters returning to the restaurant after giving up on chasing Tak.

 

"Damnit... if only I was born a Quarter..."

 

Unable to keep up with Ian, Huen could only clench his teeth in frustration.

 

To be continued.

 

 

You know, it occurred to me that it would be really funny to see the reaction of Tak's friends to Ian's impressions of Tak.

Ian: He isn't a dangerous person!

Vasuki: You heard that? She says you're not a dangerous person.

Various Nastika: lolololol

Ian: ... well, I know he isn't a bad guy!

Vasuki: You heard that? She says you aren't a bad guy!

Various Nastika: LOLOLOL

Tak: Grr, wait till I [censored] *beep* [censored]

Vasuki: Case in point. xD

Ian: D:


Edited by Mizura, 18 June 2013 - 03:26 PM.

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#15
Mizura

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She didn't know where Tak had gone. Even so, Ian ran without hesitation until she finally arrived at the beach from which she first saw Tak. 
 
The rain was pouring even stronger than that day, and heavy waves rose and fell. None of the windows on the nearby houses were open, and there were no passerbys on the beach. The occasional flash of lightning illuminated the dark sky, and the crack of thunder rumbled. Ian stood there crying while looking at the sea. But there were no traces of Tak.
 
"Ha... why did I look here. In this weather, there is no reason for him to be out at sea."
 
But it was her only contact with Tak within Mistyshore. Apart from this place, she had no idea where to go.
 
"I really don't know anything about Tak."
 
As Ian turned around with a dejected smile, her eyes widened as she saw the boy standing right behind her.
 
"...Tak?"
 
At Ian's appearance, he blinked a couple of times, hair wet with rain between his red eyes.
 
"Ah, about earlier..."
 
Ian opened her mouth to apologize for hurting him by ignoring him earlier. However, before she could utter a word, the boy's hand lightly blocked her mouth. He brushed her cheek with his hand for a while, parted her wet hair, and pulled her into his arms.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 14: Why the heart is moved (2/2)
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
"T-Tak...?"
 
Ian was so surprised by Tak's sudden actions that she didn't think of pushing him away when he hugged her. Tak held Ian's head with one hand, and hugged her waist in silence with the other. When Ian tried to move away, he loosened his hold and took a step back.
 
He muttered while hiding his expression with his head bowed.
 
"... about earlier? What about it?"
 
"Ah, I'm sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have pretended not to know y..."
 
"I told you not to be sorry. Didn't you hear what I said?"
 
"..."
 
The nervous Ian went silent for a while. 
 
At her lack of answer, Tak lifted his head a bit to look at her. Ian just stood there in silence. Her lower lip seemed to be quivering.
 
"... I-I did hear. I heard... b-but, I'm sorry..."
 
She was unable to look straight at Tak. Tak looked at her sadly for a while, then scratched his head and sighed.
 
"Ah, really... it's because of the earrings that I'm like this."
 
"...?"
 
Earrings? Ian looked at Tak with a strange expression. Round, red earrings were currently stuck to his ears. Now that she thought about it, she would have seen them right after he broke her arm. So he wasn't wearing them back then...
 
"This wasn't the original plan. I had a better speech in mind."
 
"...plan... you say?"
 
"Yeah. Plan. For winning your heart."
 
"..."
 
His answer seemed to hit her in the guts. Ian's eyes widened, and she spoke.
 
"So, all this was planned as well. You were just acting to win my heart."
 
She had avoided looking at him until then, but now turned to face him directly as she spoke. 
 
Acting to win her heart? What?
 
Tak didn't notice as Ian's face grew paler, so he took a step towards her. However, she suddenly screamed and hastily ran towards the front of a building a block away.
 
"..."
 
Tak gaped at her, hands outreached towards her retreating figure. A crowd started coming out of the building to see what was going on. Ian glanced back, made eye contact with Tak, then bolted.
 
"..."
 
Once Ian was completely gone from view, Tak put down his outstretched hand, depressed.
 
"... did she think I was going to break her arm again? Of course not. I'm wearing the earrings now, so I won't make that mistake."
 
After a moment of head-scratching, he slowly began walking in the direction Ian left.
 
"How do I explain? That I'm not dangerous, how..."
 
As he worried, he thought of Ian as he held her earlier.
 
He could still feel her soft pink hair wrapped around his fingers, and hear the sound of heartbeats. As he contemplated, the image in his head began to blur. He had long forgotten that he came to apologize for his words at the beach.
 
"Forget it. What am I thinking, so what if I'm dangerous or not?"
 
He gave it no further thought. Following the faint scent left in the rain by Ian's body, he then vanished in the distance.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Ian stopped a while at the cafe where she worked to recover her breath. However, the cafe was nothing like it was when she locked up and left earlier. Tak had broken down the door there before heading to the restaurant. Fortunately, there were no signs of him now.
 
Across the street, the shopkeeper, who was cleaning the shelves, peered out her window and said.
 
"Oh, Ian, you're back. Strange though. Why are you alone? Didn't you go with Huen..."
 
Nard, who was sitting inside her store, quickly got up. He couldn't chase after Tak without meeting the store manager first, so he had been waiting there for the door repairs to be settled.
 
"Where is she? Where did she go? No, please call her. Before she leaves..."
 
"She's already gone."
 
"..."
 
"She didn't even get a raincoat from my store, why did she rush away like that? Was she being chased?"
 
Nard hurriedly put on a raincoat.
 
"I need to meet Ian-ssi. Could you guide me in the direction she left?"
 
"What? But she's already pretty far away... Ah, I know where she's going. But my store is normally open till late night. I can't just give up that amount of sales. Plus, you're blind, so I'd have to take you all the way there."
 
The shopkeeper didn't seem willing to help Nard. Nard took out ten gold coins from his pocket and handed them to her. 
 
"That's more like it."
 
Smiling, the shopkeeper took the gold coins and took Nard out of the shop.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
Shwaah -
 
The pouring rain drowned out most of the night sounds. It wasn't late yet, but almost all the house lights were turned off in the dark alleys on the outskirts of Mistyshore.
 
"Phew..."
 
Ian breathed a sigh of relief as she neared her home. No matter how many times she checked around her, Tak didn't seem to have followed.
 
"I don't get it. Is he a good person or a bad person..."
 
One moment he seemed as threatening as a little puppy, the next he'd be like a predatory bird. She had no idea which species of Half he belonged to. From what he said, it was obvious he had a crush on her. He said 'in order to win your heart.' But since he was a Half living alone outside the city, he seemed clumsy in how he dealt with people.
 
Was it too reckless of her to just run away? Did she get hurt? But something could have happened to her. As she justified her own actions, she stood in front of the gate and pulled out the key. However, before her hands could reach the gate, they were stopped by someone else's.
 
"..."
 
It was obvious whom the dark red hand holding her pale wrist belonged to.  
 
"Uh... Ah."
 
His other hand blocked her screams. Yet even if she could go on, nobody would help her in these dark alleys.
 
"Is this your home?"
 
It was the boy's voice. Ian stood there terrified as she watched him.
 
"That's right. You live in a house like this. I like it. It has two floors, and there's a large garden outside?"
 
Tak was smiling like a child. It was as if he didn't even realize that this situation wasn't normal. In fact, in front of Ian's home, he just seemed happy. Ian tried to pry away his hand, but lacked the power to even come close to winning. Tak grabbed her hand, then spoke to her as she trembled.
 
"No, I don't want to do this, but then you'd call other people and run away. I don't like that."
 
Ian felt desperate. She had no way of handling Tak. It was foolish of her to wonder whether he was good or bad. He was a bad person. A bad Half. No, just a beast.
 
Her pink eyelashes quivered. Her cheeks quickly became wet as tears dripped down, then began streaming like rain.
 
"...?!"
 
Tak took on an expression of bewilderment as he looked around, not knowing what to do. Fortunately, no other people were nearby.
 
"W-what is it? Why are you crying? Am I holding you too strong?"
 
Tak didn't remove the hand blocking her mouth just yet, and peeked at the hand he was holding. He freed her hand, but she didn't even try to fight him off as she kept crying. Her cries were muffled by his hand again, while large tears mixed with raindrops.
 
Tak was conflicted. If he released her, she might burst into tears or start screaming again. If other people came, he'd have to let her escape. No, he could also ignore her intentions and just kidnap her out of the city. But then she'd become even more scared of him than she was now, and that wasn't what he wanted.
 
"..."
 
Eventually, he took his hand off her mouth. He looked for any signs of screaming, but fortunately, she didn't start yelling. Instead she just clenched her teeth and cried a little less.
 
"S-sorry. I'm sorry. Don't cry. I was wrong."
 
He took two steps down the stairs in front of the gate, then looked up at Ian from a lower position and said.
 
"Okay, I'm leaving now. So it's okay? Huh?"
 
"..."
 
Ian looked at Tak meekly, but didn't reply. As Tak went all the way down the stairs, he ended up stepping into a puddle of rainwater with a splash. He looked back up at her with a questioning gaze.
 
"..."
 
Staring at him blankly, Ian unwittingly let out a laugh. The tears no longer came.
 
"Ah, you laughed! You laughed, right? Are you okay?"
 
Looking joyful, Tak wanted to come back up the stairs. He then noticed that he had stepped into a puddle and turned with his arms up at his sides. Seeing his appearance, Ian started laughing out loud. Any thoughts of him being a beast faded from her mind as her heart softened.
 
She didn't know why she was so attracted to him. He seemed to be a mere Half boy with neither house nor money, and there were no apparent benefits to her whatsoever. His face wasn't that handsome, and he wasn't that tall since he was still just a boy. But although he seemed far from intelligent or cultured, he somehow always managed to subtly show that he cared about her.
 
Still, somehow, he seemed really clumsy.
 
As she shrugged off her tears mixed with rain, she muttered in a small voice.
 
"Cute."
 
Tak, still standing in the puddle, couldn't believe his ears, and his red eyes blinked a few times. As Ian laughed, he started laughing along with her.
 
To be continued.
 
So... Ian thinks Tak is some Half living in the wild on his own? Like some jungle boy or something? O_o;;
*insert Tak swinging from tree to tree*
*and Ian screaming her lungs out as she's being carried off*
Kinda fits...

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#16
Mizura

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"It's already dark, you should go back to your sponsor for today..."

 

"..."

 

When she said to leave, Tak, still standing in the puddle, put on a gloomy expression.

 

"Let's meet again tomorrow."

 

"...!"

 

The gloomy expression vanished. A smile immediately appeared on his face as he nodded towards Ian. As Ian headed back inside, he kept waving at her back. Whether Ian could see him or not didn't seem to matter.

 

After the door closed, Tak still stood there staring at the door, but he turned around when he heard someone calling. It was Nard, holding onto the arm of the store owner. Tak's perplexed expression gradually turned into panic.

 

"Uh... I meant to head back right now."

 

"Please tell me how much you broke after chasing after Ian-ssi."

 

"That is..."

 

"Come on. The more you drag on the harder it'll be for me."

 

"..."

 

Finally, Tak confessed to breaking the window earlier at the restaurant. Nard took a deep breath, bid goodbye to the store owner that guided him there, then caught Tak by the arm.

 

"Guide me to the restaurant right now."

 

"..."

 

"Come on!"

 

"...are you ordering me around?"

 

"Yes."

 

"..."

 

A number of emotions flitted across Tak's face, but Nard had no way of seeing them. For a while, Tak watched the fearless blind boy in silence, then yielded and led him towards the restaurant.

 

"You'll be the first human to do this to me and survive, Nard."

 

"Is that so? Then it might be a good idea to go ahead and kill me. Once you're a criminal on the run, you'll never be able to meet Ian-ssi."

 

"..."

 

That day, a blind showed a Half what he was capable of. Tak's droopy eyes narrowed as the prey laughed.

 

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The finite - Chapter 15: Encounter

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After pouring all night long, the rain finally abated at dawn. As Nard woke up, several thoughts ran through his mind as he stared blankly at the ceiling. No, although his eyes were wide open, they couldn't see. His cloudy eyes seemed lost, not even noticing the sunlight seeping in through the curtains.

 

Even though they had just been together for half a day, the No. 2 of the Dragon Clan had already made him spend a considerable amount of money. This made him very tired, and made his heart feel weak. 'You shouldn't be afraid', Visnu-nim had told him. So, he tried acting like normal, but it was easier said than done.

 

It would have been hard on even a brave and skilled fighter, or on a high-ranking magician, but he was just a 30-year-old Quarter who looked like a young 15-year-old boy. He knew how dangerous it was to act so fearlessly in front of the Destruction Dragon. Nevertheless, he needed to keep up the act. He was glad at least that he couldn't see Tak's face and panic. Nard rolled around in his bed a while longer, trying to fall asleep again, then sat up in his bed, thinking.

 

"...Shess-ssi. What time is it?"

 

"..."

 

But there was no answer from Tak, who was supposed to be lying in bed.

 

"Shess-ssi?"

 

"..."

 

"Sh-Shess-ssi!"

 

Thinking something was wrong, Nard hastily put on his pajamas and ran out of the room. In his haste he forget his cane and nearly tripped over the doorstep.

 

Tok.

 

"Ah..."

 

Before Nard hit ground, Tak caught hold of him. Nard turned his head towards him asking 'Shess-ssi?' Without his sunglasses, his eyes wandered without focus.

 

"What are you doing? You, don't run around just because I can't see."

 

While Nard was talking, Tak just held him up with one hand like a piece of luggage, while gulping from a cup of milk with the other hand. The previous night, Nard had asked him 'Would you like to order something to drink?' to which Tak replied 'Warm milk, lots of it!', but because of a delivery mistake, the carton of milk that arrived was cold.

 

"Even if you don't stay in bed, don't leave on your own without telling me."

 

"I couldn't sleep so I went to drink milk. I didn't go outside."

 

In fact, he thought of secretly sneaking out to find Ian, but decided against it to avoid causing more problems. That reminded him. Since he put on the earrings, they seemed to be preventing him from sleeping. 'Sleeping a lot' was one of the traits of the Dragon Clan, so it was understandable for him to sleep less while humanized because of the earrings. However, even with reduced sleep, he should have been able to sleep at least as long as a normal human, so something felt off when he stayed up all night.

 

"Was I unable to sleep because it was some other guy's bed?"

 

"I'm a little upset, Shess-ssi. I covered the repair costs for last night and..."

 

"Oh, sorry. I'll pay you back."

 

"Pay back? How? You don't even have a penny."

 

"Money's not a problem. I'll work if I have to."

 

"What if you break even more stuff while working?"

 

"..."

 

Although Tak couldn't deny that, he rolled his eyes as he sipped milk.

 

"I could just capture a Superior Sura or something? I heard they traded for a high price among humans."

 

"A Half is going to capture a Superior Sura?"

 

"Ah."

 

Not that. Tak shut his mouth and mentally berated himself. He made a mistake by saying that instead of Inferior Sura. It wasn't common for a young Half to catch Inferior Sura, but it wasn't impossible either.

 

"Anyway, we'll settle this later. I'm going to see Ian today. We promised to meet again."

 

"Wait a minute. Don't rush out without a plan and end up causing mistakes again, you know..."

 

"Don't lecture me. I've been taking it easy for long enough."

 

There was no way he was going to be okay while pretending to be a Half in a city with a God. As Tak's frustration grew, Nard didn't realize at first how annoyed he was, but realized soon enough when Tak crushed the cup of milk in his hand. Nard went stiff at the sound of the cup breaking, and picked his next words carefully.

 

"... I guess I slept too long. Is it already daytime?"

 

At Nard's question, Tak headed to the window, still holding Nard, glanced out and reported.

 

"Not yet. The shops are just starting to open."

 

"Then, it's time to head out. It's holiday today, so if you're going to meet Ian-ssi, it'll be a special appointment."

 

As he said that, Tak let out a huge smile as he shouted at Nard while waving him around.

 

"Hey. That's the best thing I've heard from you so far!"

 

Nard was almost strangled as Tak pulled on the hem of his clothes again before letting go. A close-up encounter with a Nastika was certainly not part of a human's ordinary routine.

 

────────────────────────────────────────

 

After an entire night of non-stop rain, large puddles had formed in the garden. As Tak tried to avoid them, he lingered between tall trees for a while, watching the droplets occasionally fall from the leaves. He should try knocking on the door. Since he didn't want Nard to stick nearby, Nard tried to stay away, but now that he was alone, Tak felt even more nervous about knocking on the door to visit Ian. As he recalled Ian's scared and crying face from the day before, he thought that maybe he was too hasty in telling Nard to stay away.

 

On this weekend morning, Ian opened the door while holding a cup of just-boiled tea, but tried to get back inside as soon as she saw Tak standing in the garden.

 

Of course, it was a failed attempt.

 

"Wait, I..."

 

"Kya!"

 

When Tak caught her wrist, she reflexively withdrew and screamed. Catching the cup dropped by Ian, Tak gathered the droplets of tea scattered in the air at lightning speed before handing the cup and platter intact back to Ian. The puzzled Ian accepted the cup, while Tak let go of her wrist and stopped approaching.

 

"Uh, no matter how much you wanted to meet me, coming to my home in the morning is..."

 

"Why? Is there something wrong with meeting in the morning?"

 

"No, I uh... I mean..."

 

With him so close in front of her, she turned sideways so she wouldn't face Tak from the front, and stammered as she failed to finish the sentence.

 

"...? Why are you so nervous?"

 

"Eek!"

 

As Tak took a step forward, seemingly puzzled, the startled Ian bolted into the building and slammed the door shut with a loud bang.

 

"..."

 

It happened very quickly, but Tak could clearly see Ian's appearance as she went inside. He may not have been aware from a distance, but he was quite sure close up. She was dressed in an almost translucent pajama gown. It was certainly not something she'd wear in front of a man outside her home.

 

"Oh... I didn't notice."

 

Tak shrugged and scratched the back of his head. Nard was sitting on the second floor balcony across the street. He was chatting with the landlord of Ian's home, an elderly woman. While Tak waited for Ian to come out, several other people, also women, came out from other doors. All of them seemed much older than Ian. Either way, if only women lived in this building, it was normal for Ian to come out to greet them while dressed like that and holding tea.

 

Click.

 

Tak turned around at the sound of the door opening. In a short time, Ian had changed into something more suited for outdoors and tied her hair up. She still looked dazzling, though he thought she looked better with her hair down.

 

"Why did you tie your hair up? Is it also because of the manager?"

 

"No, I don't have to work at my part-time job today, so it didn't really matter. My hair was pretty tangled, so it would have taken some time to untangle it."

 

"..."

 

Although Tak didn't complain, he put on a dour expression.

 

"If you want me to untie it, could you wait a little longer please?"

 

"Ah, n-no! The ponytail's fine. Very good."

 

"Really? Then I can leave it tied up?"

 

"N-no wait, it's actually not a... good thing..."

 

He hated the ponytail, but he hated waiting even more. Ian laughed at his plain answers. There was no question that he liked her.

 

"Then, how about this?"

 

Ian gently loosened her hair then flipped and tied it over to her right side, before sweeping the remaining strands behind her ears. Tak just stared, mouth wide open, then nodded eagerly when Ian called him.

 

"Is he your sponsor?"

 

Ian pointed towards the balcony on the second floor. Before answering, Tak took a look at Nard, then nodded. Even though Nard was talking to the landlord, he appeared to be listening.

 

"Yeah. 'Nard Lehn', a Quarter magician. He seems to be about your age."

 

"..."

 

A Quarter magician of similar age. To sponsor a Half, he must be at least B-rank or higher. It wasn't easy to receive such a rank by that age, so Nard was clearly better than average, but Ian still felt ashamed that she couldn't even get admitted into a magic school at that age.

 

"What's wrong? Are you still uncomfortable around me even if I have a sponsor?"

 

"Ah, no."

 

For a while, Ian bowed her head in shame, then let out a wide smile.

 

"What are your plans for now?"

 

"Huh? Uh...? Well I was thinking that even if I spent the whole day here just watching you..."

 

As Tak muttered, he made eye contact with Ian and hurriedly waved his arms while saying.

 

"N-not at all. I put a lot of thought into this. So that is..."

 

Tak had just envisioned them walking and having conversations, but then he recalled certain facts.

 

She had captured the heart of a Superior Sura. He could take her wherever she wished, from the peaks of the mountains to the depths of the oceans, while flying through clouds of storm, or even watching the stars forming the night skies from up close. Above all, the thing he wanted to try the most was to take her to meet other Sura and proudly tell the other Nastika, 'This is my woman.'

 

"..."

 

But as these thoughts trailed off, his expression became somber. Unfortunately, he couldn't carry out these plans right now. They were delusions he could only have in his sleep.

 

"You don't have anything in mind?"

 

"..."

 

At Ian's question, Tak couldn't think of a reply and just scratched his head. Ian smiled as she watched him, then reached out and she put a hand around his arm.

 

"...?!"

 

Seeing Tak's surprised expression, Ian let out a big smile, and continued while looking up at the taller boy.

 

"Let's just walk. I'll choose the destination, alright?"

 

"O... okay!"

 

Tak rapidly nodded while blushing from ear to ear. Nard, who was listening from the second floor, finished talking with the landlord, and came back down to the garden with his cane. Although he didn't want to disturb an encounter between a young man and woman, he couldn't help it because he didn't know what Tak could do.

 

To be continued.

 

 

Shess-ssi! Shess-ssi! Jessy!


Edited by Mizura, 24 June 2013 - 08:40 AM.

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#17
Mizura

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It had been a long time since the last weekend without rain.
 
The weather during the rainy season was unpredictable, but the residents here were quick to set up grand plans for outtings. In just moments, people showed up at the city square or waterfront, and parks were crowded with couples and families.
 
In the corner of the park, Ian stood in front of a kiosk, looking at a menu board before calling Tak.
 
"Tak. Would you like something to drink?"
 
"Uh, huh? Oh, that is..."
 
Tak, surprised at his name suddenly being called, glanced over the menu and pointed at milk.
 
"I knew it."
 
Ian smiled at Tak's cute choice, then, seeing no reaction from Tak, asked.
 
"Tak, aren't you thirsty? You don't need to force yourself..."
 
"No, I'm thirsty. I want to drink milk."
 
"Are you uncomfortable with using my money? Don't worry about it. I'm not rich enough to pay for the window repairs, but I can still afford something to eat."
 
"..."
 
Though she was the one who brought him there, he didn't like the fact that she was paying. It couldn't be helped though, because he didn't have a single penny on him. Rather, the one Tak was concerned about right now was Nard, not far away. Tak didn't want him using the name 'Tak', so he told him that his name was 'Shess', but he wasn't sure how to react if Nard asked him why he was using a pseudonym. Worse, what if he started calling him Tak?
 
"... then I'll kill him."
 
"What?"
 
Ian flinched as she handed Tak the milk, eyes wavering as she stared at him.
 
"Ah, pretend you didn't hear that. I was distracted by something..."
 
"..."
 
Ian didn't respond, so Tak hurriedly accepted the milk and took a big gulp, then started laughing. Ian, though, just stayed stiff and silent, as Tak tried to diffuse the situation.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 16: Boy, Girl
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
It still hadn't started raining by the time the Sun had reached mid-sky. Although the sky had become cloudy, it didn't seem like it would start raining soon. 
 
Ian was sitting on a bench on a hill overlooking the sea. She held out baked fish cakes she bought to Tak. Tak accepted the fish cakes, and seemed to find them delicious as he ate them. Some vegetables were mixed into the fish paste, but not enough to prevent him from eating them.
 
"Well, that is... did you come to apologize for what you said to me on the beach?"
 
"Yeah. I've thought about it. I shouldn't have said that. I'm sorry."
 
Tak looked very guilty as he bowed his head humbly, then took a peek at her expression. She had some fish cake stuck to the corner of her mouth, and was staring off into the sea.
 
"It'd have been fine even if you didn't come all this way to apologize. Anyway, I said too much... I often lose it and start crying, but I'd be fine soon after that. It didn't bother me."
 
"..."
 
Instead of listening properly, Tak was gaping at the bit of fishcake stuck to the corner of her mouth. 
 
"Ah... right. I went back into the city without telling you first, that's why you took it so seriously. About that. Rather, I'm sorry."
 
"Huh? No, no way. What are you apologizing for?"
 
As Tak looked at Ian, she got up, looked at him, and smiled.
 
"Now that you've apologized, I guess you're done here."
 
"Huh? No... no yet."
 
"Not yet?"
 
"Uh... I told you yesterday, about how I could win your heart..."
 
"..."
 
"Well, I... I uh..."
 
"Yes, I know, Tak."
 
"I like you. I really like you, Ian."
 
"..."
 
Before she could stop him, Tak had spoken first. The sounds of rushing waves passed several times, while the wind swept past their hair, but no words were exchanged between them. After saying what was on his mind, Tak waited for Ian's answer, both eyes closed. When no response came, he opened his eyes and looked at her.
 
"..."
 
Ian was still smiling, but her lips remained sealed, unable to respond. Feeling that she was about to turn him down, Tak looked embarrassed and started stammering.
 
"Well... uh, sorry, I know I'm not in a position to say this. I hurt your arm by accident, and yesterday, without thinking..."
 
"..."
 
"I, I really like you though. Ever since the first time I saw you. I'm a bit weird so I didn't know how to express that properly. I never meant to harm you. I really didn't."
 
"..."
 
Ian remained silent, so Tak started becoming grouchy. Finally, looking as though he was about to break, he bit his lips tightly, trying to control his thoughts as tears welled up in his eyes.
 
"You... hate me?"
 
"No."
 
"Then what?
 
"Well..."
 
Ian still held a smile as she turned her gaze towards the sea.
 
"Tak, I'm still young."
 
"I know."
 
"You're too young."
 
"No, I'm..."
 
"But Tak, we are seemingly just a 15 year-old boy and girl. And I have a lot of work to do. Apart from my part-time job, I have to study for the entrance exam of the magic school. I'll rarely have as much free time as I do today."
 
"What if you don't do it?"
 
"What?
 
"I can get you whatever you want. I'll let you eat as much as you want to eat, and sleep as much as you want to sleep. So, it wouldn't matter if you didn't study. Right?"
 
"..."
 
The smile on Ian's face disappeared. The words he spoke overlapped with Huen's words at the restaurant yesterday, and she was starting to think that he was no different from Huen. No, in some ways, he was worse. Huen, at least, said she could still study, even though she should stop her part-time job. But, Tak didn't even want her to study. So, was the apology earlier just lip-service? She thought that by apologizing, he showed that he understood that she lived just for revenge, yet he was telling her not to study? So maybe he thought she could just abandon her revenge.
 
"I-Ian, what's wrong?"
 
"..."
 
Feeling that the atmosphere was off, Tak stretched a hand towards Ian. However, Ian ignored his hand and stood up, and started walking towards a street filled with people.
 
"Ian... Ian!"
 
The bewildered Tak quickly got up and ran in front of her.
 
"What is it? Why? Did I say something wrong? Although I'm not sure what, I'm sorry. It was all my fault. Don't be mad."
 
"..."
 
Ian confronted him eye-to-eye without a smile. Unable to bear her cold gaze, Tak looked down.
 
"T-tell me what I did wrong. Tell me what to fix and I'll fix it. Anything to change your mind. So... so please don't look at me like that. It's suffocating. I feel like dying..."
 
"..."
 
Tak's shoulders were trembling. Ian's cold expression was replaced by a sad look, but she still couldn't give him a positive answer.
 
"Let's go to the amusement park across the street."
 
"Ian..."
 
She was just changing the topic. That was tantamount to a rejection. However, unable to give up without doing anything, Tak followed her there.
 
────────────────────────────────────────
 
"That certainly turned out to be a mess. Is it a bad timing for relationships? When will he be able to win Ian's heart..."
 
Nard, who was leaning against a tree, wiped his brow that was sweaty from the hot weather.
 
"By the way, there are many people in the way now."
 
He couldn't see in front of him, so he had to walk while focusing on the sound of the two talking. It was becoming harder to chase them as they headed to a noisier place. Even though he was the sponsor, he wasn't eager to stick too close, as he didn't really want to face the wrath of the Dragon.
 
"I see that you are blind. Can I help you?"
 
A young man with a soft-toned voice spoke.
 
"N-no, it's okay. It's fine. But thank you!"
 
Even if he knew where to go, it wouldn't be helpful to tell him that he was stalking someone. Nard nodded and bid goodbye to the friendly young man, not knowing who he is, then quickly chased after Tak's voice.
 
"..."
 
While his mind was distracted, his cane slipped, causing him to lose his balance and almost fall over, but he was grabbed by the young man next to him.
 
"Maybe I should help you."
 
"No, thank you."
 
"Are you chasing after Ian?"
 
"...?! How did you..."
 
"You've been trailing her since the park entrance. Why are you doing this?"
 
The young man's voice was still soft, but Nard could feel the doubts underneath. Since Nard was blind and had to rely on hearing, he could pick up the subtle differences in sound very quickly.
 
"Oh, I'm not a stranger. I'm the sponsor of the Half next to Ian-ssi."
 
"Ah. Yes. The Half..."
 
For a while, the young man didn't say anything, then he took Nard's hand.
 
"Anyway, I have nothing to do. I'll show you the way."
 
"..."
 
Although the voice of the young man showed good faith, his intentions still seemed dubious. However, Nard could no longer hear the voices of Tak and Ian, and he wasn't sure he could chase the two even by using magic.
 
"Then, I'm sorry, I'm in your care. My name is Nard Lehn."
 
As Nard bowed slightly while introducing himself, the other person replied with a smile as well.
 
"My name is Huen Sairofe."
 
To be continued.
 
 
Google translation - Nard: "I is not a stranger."
Bing translation - Nard: "I am not a crackpot."
Me: *snort* <- no pun intended

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#18
Mizura

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"Let's take a ride here?"
 
"Ian..."
 
She was unnerved by his longing eyes. Since earlier, she hadn't properly looked at him.
 
"Hm... let's not. We'd be sitting too close to each other on that ride. It would be a problem since we aren't a couple or family, right? We're just friends."
 
"..."
 
It was the third time. Since his confession earlier on the bench, she had already emphasized three times that they were 'friends.' Even people who didn't know would have guessed that she was rejecting him. Despite this, however, Tak tried to deny the reality and, ignoring her words, still tried to go after her.
 
"Still nothing?"
 
"Yes. I couldn't find which way they went. I'm going to start looking again."
 
Huen looked at the amusement park filled with visitors, then turned back to Nard and asked.
 
"About that Half, what's his name?"
 
"What? Ah... his name is Shess."
 
He shouldn't tell his name to someone who was just passing by, but anyway, it wasn't even his real name. Nard thought about it for a while, then told him Tak's pseudonym without hesitation. Huen nodded and smiled.
 
"I see. Hey, Shess-ssi! Your sponsor is looking for you!"
 
"...!!"
 
What? But earlier, he said that he hadn't found them yet...  Nard was baffled, and in his confusion found himself at a loss for words. This was bad. He just hoped that Ian didn't hear the name, or she was bound to...
 
"... Shess?"
 
Unfortunately, Ian was close enough to hear. Upon hearing Huen's voice, she turned to Huen and Nard with a bewildered expression.
 
──────────────────────────────────────── 
The finite - Chapter 17: Lies
──────────────────────────────────────── 
 
"Your name... is Shess?"
 
"Yes, this is Shess-ssi's sponsor, he lost track of him."
 
Huen smiled as he pushed Nard towards Tak. To Nard, it felt like being sent to his death sentence, and he could barely stand. He wished he could turn back the clock one minute and ignore Huen's question back then.
 
"Tak. Is Shess your real name?"
 
Ian looked back at Tak as she asked this. Tak took on a perplexed expression, then shook his head as he mumbled.
 
"N... no. Shess is..."
 
"Then your real name is Tak?"
 
"..."
 
Tak glanced at Nard then looked back at Ian before shaking his head again.
 
"... Tak's not your real name either?"
 
Ian was at a loss for words, and when Tak didn't even give her a well-deserved explanation, she let out an outraged laugh.
 
"Tak. I have no idea who you are. Where you live, your work, your family, even the Half race you belong to... Even so, I thought we could be friends. But you didn't even give me your real name... what are you thinking?"
 
"Ian..."
 
"Don't come near me. Don't come near until you give me an explanation."
 
As she said that, Tak stopped approaching her.
 
Huen, who was watching the scene, didn't seem to grasp the situation at first, but as Ian spoke on, he gradually began to understand and subtly began to smile. That Half gave Ian a fake name and had just been exposed. Was this an opportunity to capture her heart? He decided to wait a bit more until the situation became even worse.
 
While smiling at the conversation, he secretly sent hand signals to those he prepared in advance. Since he didn't know what to expect from the Half, he came prepared.
 
"..."
 
At his signal, his colleagues, who were disguised as ordinary visitors among the amusement park's guests, nodded in response, glanced at each other then quickly moved into position. If Tak were in his normal state, he'd have identified the behavior, but right now he was entirely preoccupied by Ian and didn't pay attention to what was happening elsewhere.
 
"Do you not like me? How are we supposed to see each other? Would you even be unable to reveal your name to your lover? How should I believe you? Of what you've shown me, what is the truth?"
 
"..."
 
Tak wanted to say something, but nothing would come out, so he just bowed his head. Ian caught his sleeve, took a step closer to him, and said face to face.
 
"Hey, Tak. After everything I've said so far, won't you even try to explain?"
 
"..."
 
"Please. I really don't want to fight over such absurd reasons. Please explain."
 
"..."
 
Even though Ian's behavior changed as she begged him, all he could do was avoid her gaze and turn his head.
 
"...that's your answer."
 
Ian's expression became one of disappointment as she let go of his sleeve.
 
"I thought we could still be friends, but I was wrong. If one side is just lies from the beginning to the end, how can we be friends?"
 
"N-no!"
 
"...?!"
 
Tak, who had remained silent until then, hurriedly caught Ian by the arm as she started to turn around. This startled Ian and caused her to wince.
 
"I, I'm sorry... b... but I'm serious about liking you."
 
"..."
 
"I didn't reveal who I was because of restrictions, but I never meant to lie to you. I'm sorry I never told you properly about myself. I'm really sorry, but... please don't wrongly believe that my heart is a lie."
 
"In this situation, what can I believe? Look Tak... no Shess, no I don't even know your name, Half-ssi. You're the one who arranged this elaborate situation. Do I look like a fool?"
 
"..."
 
Tak could offer no excuse for this situation while Ian coldly waited for an answer. At that moment, Nard, who was listening in, stepped forward with his cane.
 
"That is, Ian-ssi, you seem to be misunderstanding something..."
 
"Don't get ahead of yourself."
 
Huen grabbed Nard by the shoulder.
 
"Don't jump into a fight between a man and a woman. Rather than solve the apparent misunderstanding, you may just make the situation worse."
 
"..."
 
Nard pondered for a while, then nodded and stepped down. There was little that he could explain. If even Tak didn't reveal it on his own, then if Nard were to say it, he would only worsen the situation instead of defending Tak, just like Huen said.
 
Ian turned to Nard when it looked like he was about to say something, but then looked at Tak again when Nard backed away.
 
"It seems your sponsor won't say anything either. What is it that even he is afraid to reveal?"
 
"..."
 
"Did you think you could easily get away with it, if your sponsor doesn't tell me anything? Of course, you must assume that a girl who'd jump into the sea on a rainy day, just to save a drowning man, would not refuse even if she didn't know anything about you. I must seem easy, right?"
 
"That's not true."
 
"Really? You hide everything so thoroughly, how were you planning to win my heart? If you didn't see me as easy, why did you approach me?"
 
"..."
 
Tak received Ian's barrage of words without saying anything back. Though it was easy to tell her she was wrong, in fact what she said wasn't completely untrue. He really did think that she would accept him after he revealed himself because she really did seem kind, and maybe he wouldn't have come if he didn't have any hopes of being accepted. 'Because she seems easy' was not a completely wrong statement. Idly, he thought that he could get closer to her if he revealed his identity.
 
Seeing no answer from Tak, Ian sighed and seemed to give up.
 
"At this point, if you still don't have an excuse, then it is getting ridiculous and we should just stop. I don't even want to meet you as a friend, so don't come to find me."
 
"...what if I do tell you who I am?"
 
"What?"
 
After turning around and taking a few steps, Ian looked back at him. Tak was staring at her with a very different atmosphere now.
 
"Would you accept me? If I reveal who I am, will you come with me?"
 
"No, that's not..."
 
Just before Ian could finish, Tak approached until he was right in front of her. She was reminded of the distant feeling of fear from the first day, and unconsciously tensed her shoulders. Tak looked at her with a sad expression, grabbed her hand and gently said.
 
"I won't meet you unless you reveal who you are -if you say that, then yes. I can reveal who I am. Anyway, it is much better than being completely rejected. But Ian. If I tell you who I am... I can't stay here anymore."
 
"... what do you mean?"
 
"I... am a being that shouldn't exist within this city."
 
"..."
 
Shouldn't exist within this city. At that moment, the other possibility that she thought of on the day she met Tak came back to mind.
 
Superior Sura.
 
However, most Superior Sura couldn't speak human language. Among the Sura, only the highest-ranking -the Nastika, could speak human language. However, weren't they presences equal, no even superior to Gods?
 
Ian pondered for a while, then shook her head. Would a Nastika be capable of such clumsy behavior and such a silly smile while tagging along with a human? What was the alternative?
 
"When you're not in the city, I could still come outside."
 
In the end, this was her cold answer. Tak showed a pained expression, and his heart seemed to ache at every cold word she uttered, but if he didn't speak now, he risked losing her forever, so he had to respond even if it pained him.
 
"Yes. You could come outside the city. But it would still be difficult if you stay in the city. We won't be able to meet."
 
"..."
 
"The moment I tell you who I am, we won't be able to meet anymore, so if I were to tell you who I am, you'd have to leave the city. Do you understand what I would need to do in this situation? Ian."
 
"Even if you ask me..."
 
"There is just one answer. The moment I tell you who I am, I'll have to take you out of the city."
 
"...?!"
 
At this unexpected answer, Ian was baffled, but the situation changed in an instant as a dozen blades suddenly pointed towards Tak.
 
"Please stay away from her."
 
At the young man's voice, Tak slowly looked back while still holding Ian's hand. Ten heavily-armed fighters were standing in front of him, weapons drawn. They were so close that they could pierce Tak's heart the moment they received the orders to. Some of the faces seemed familiar, perhaps belonging to the fighters that Tak had faced on the beach.
 
There were even more fighters and magicians further off, and beyond them, a young man was holding Nard by the shoulder. He had brown hair so light that it could be mistaken for blond hair, and dark brown eyes. Although he seemed to be smiling, his face felt cold.
 
"You..."
 
"It's you, isn't it? You're the one who interfered with my dinner with Ian."
 
Huen was the first to speak. Although the atmosphere wasn't pleasant at all, he was smiling and relaxing as though he had already won.
 
"Let me tell you something you didn't seem to know. Even if a sponsor is with the Half, in the case of human assault, then regardless of the sponsor's decisions, punishment by third party intervention is possible."
 
"You say in the case of human assault...?"
 
"Yes. You already broke Ian-ssi's arm at the beach. Back then, Ian-ssi defended you, but today is different. No matter how I see it, Ian-ssi has rejected you."
 
"No."
 
"Say that once you've put up your hands."
 
"..."
 
Tak turned around and looked at Ian. His eyes were pleading for her to say that he did everything he could for her, that it wasn't like that. But Ian's expression had completely hardened, and she no longer defended him at all.
 
To be continued.
 
 
Bam! Friendzone!
Bam! Creepzone!
Bam! Uh... Literal ones ahead!
 
Tell her the truth Tak!
Tak: The truth is... it's all Visnu's fault.
Ian: ... what?
Yeah, uh, maybe not. o,o

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#19
Mizura

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"Ian..."
 
"..."
 
"Do you hate me?"
 
"..."
 
Earlier on the bench, she had replied 'no' to the same question, but as Tak held her hand, no answer came from her.
 
"... you do hate me now."
 
"..."
 
For a while, Tak sadly shook his head, then smiled and continued.
 
"Even so, I like you."
 
"...?"
 
Though Tak was smiling as he said this, something felt off. This wasn't the pure smile he showed back under the rain. Ian didn't know why she felt uneasy and tried to pull her hand away, but even so, he wouldn't budge.
 
───────────────────────────────────
The finite - Chapter 18: The unsaid
───────────────────────────────────
 
"I don't want you to be scared of me or to hate me but... I would hate to break up with you even more."
 
"W... wait, Tak. Let's talk about this once this is all over."
 
"Wouldn't you escape once I let go?"
 
"No, Tak. It's not..."
 
"So, do you want to come with me?"
 
"Go with you... where?"
 
"Anywhere outside the city. Any place you want to go."
 
"..."
 
Ian was at a loss for words. How could he be so stubborn, when they hadn't even met for long. His reckless attitude was rather cute, and when she thought about it, there was never any real damage to her in the story, but taking her outside the city was a problem of a whole other dimension.
 
While Ian was trying to free her hand, Tak used his other hand to remove an earring. Within seconds, four red horns grew between his hair, and several of the magicians started whispering among themselves.
 
"That's right. It was rather strange that the horns we saw at the beach were missing until now."
 
"Are the earrings items to conceal the horns? I've never seen anything like that."
 
"Rather, the Half has a sponsor now anyway, why would he need to hide them in the first place..."
 
"This isn't the time to chat."
 
Huen interrupted the gossiping magicians.
 
"Whatever the earrings are, the fact that he deliberately exposed his horns now means that he isn't about to give up quietly. He'll likely hurt Ian. We must take action right away."
 
"Hey, wait a minute, what do the horns look like?"
 
Nard hurriedly asked while looking ahead without seeing, but Huen didn't think of it as a big deal and just patted him on the shoulder.
 
"Because of some unknown Half, the sponsor is the one to suffer. Next time you sponsor a Half, please figure out who it is you're sponsoring properly. Let me handle this before there's even more damage."
 
"W-wait a minute. You can't. If you lay a hand on him right now..."
 
All the people here are going to die - Nard caught the end of his sentence and swallowed it back down. He couldn't reveal that he was aware of Tak's identity. If Tak were to learn of this, he would no doubt be very angry at the fact that he was approached deliberately. He could be glad about it once everything was over, but Nard also couldn't make Ian suspect that he knew anything.
 
"When are you attacking?"
 
"Oh... that is..."
 
Nard, agonizing over his inability to decide, just tapped his foot in frustration. The only person who could improve and end this situation was Ian. If she rejected Tak like that, then nothing could be resolved. What's more, if Tak removed the earrings...
 
"..."
 
With one earring removed, Tak felt calm. Until now, all he did was hold Ian's hand, but now it wasn't enough. The moment he removed the other earring, he would take Ian and leave the city. Anyway, if Ian hated him even with the earrings on, then he wouldn't need to bother with these earrings that trampled on his pride just to suit her better. If she'd hate him either way, it was better to keep his authority.
 
As he prepared to remove the remaining earring, he flinched as a thought suddenly crossed his mind.
 
But what if Ian continued to reject him?
 
By removing just one earring, his passion for her had already dulled, so could he really tolerate the situation after removing both earrings? If she defied him, would he get into a bad mood and kill her?
 
"Tak... it hurts. It hurts. Please, let go..."
 
"...!"
 
While Tak was in a pensive state, he heard Ian's cries and quickly let go. With just one earring less, he had almost reflexively caused her pain like when he broke her arm.
 
"Ugh..."
 
As soon as Tak released her, Ian grabbed her sore hand. Although he hadn't broken her bones like before, she could feel a sharp pain where the fingermarks remained.
 
"Ah... that's because... I can't control my strength well..."
 
Tak stuttered as he examined Ian's hand. With only one earring on, he wasn't in a state where 'I'm sorry' came easily.
 
"That guy attacked a human!"
 
"...?"
 
No. I didn't attack. Before Tak could say anything in his own defense, the fighters rushed at him with weapons drawn.
 
Even though for those around them, it all seemed to have happened in a very short amount of time, to Tak everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. As the fighters rushed through, one fighter drew Ian towards him. Perhaps they were all waiting for him to release her hand.
 
Those cheeky bastards, how dare they.
 
Tak immediately thought of eliminating the surrounding fighters and get back Ian, but stopped short the moment he saw Ian's expression. Seeing that would end it for the human female. It wouldn't end at her just being scared of him or hating him. He had to avoid becoming an offender. 
 
Slit.
 
As Tak paused between the two, a fighter's weapon cut his arm.
 
However, Tak didn't resist. He could flip away all their weapons, and eliminate all of them with his arms, but he didn't do it. He could barely believe the amount of patience he had with just one earring on, it was truly a wonderful item. As he admired the performance of the earrings, he started laughing.
 
"Laughing...?!"
 
Far from hurting from the cut on his arm, he was even laughing. The fighter who cut Tak with his sword had a weird expression on his face then glared at him. He wasn't among those who saw Tak at the beach, so all he saw was a 15-year-old Half boy spiteful after being cut by his weapon.
 
"Only a Half..."
 
In this era, Halfs, who were half-Sura mixed-bloods, lived among ordinary humans within the cities, and weren't particularly hated unless they did something bad. But of those who became fighters, many were superior to human fighters and had higher credentials. In addition, they had 4 times the lifespan, so they looked younger from the point of view of human fighters. As a result, it was quite humiliating to these fighters to see a child fight back with greater power.
 
"Hoti Kubera!"
 
Magic to strengthen the body. This was a way for human fighters to bridge the gap against Halfs. But this wasn't a one vs one situation, it was a 1 vs many situation. Surely he didn't need to resort to magic? The other fighters and magicians looked at him, puzzled.
 
"Hey, what's wrong? Do you want to kill the Half? Take it easy. If you injure the girl..."
 
"Yeah. Recovery magic can't reverse a kill. Don't overdo it."
 
"The sponsor is also here. If he dies while resisting arrest then you'll have to stand trial for shirking your responsibilities."
 
Despite his colleagues' warnings, he refused to back down.
 
"Shirking my responsibilities? I'll be the one responsible, so you guys don't need to care!"
 
Hearing that, Ian, who had been brought next to Huen, turned to them, eyes wide with shock.
 
"Wait... are you trying to kill him? I'm not hurt. Look."
 
As Ian tried to run out, Huen tried to grab her, but she wasn't so weak that Huen could catch her. As Ian rushed out while calling, Nard was pretending to be calm.
 
"This cheeky Half, die!"
 
"Tak!!"
 
The moment the fighter's sword flew towards him, Tak heard Ian's voice close to him. Tak could have immediately regenerated the cut on his arm, but he was avoiding anything that'd expose him as something other than a Half. Because he hadn't reached a clear decision to take Ian out of the city, he couldn't randomly reveal his identity.
 
"Ian...?"
 
But there was no time to consider the situation. In order to stop the fighter, Ian had placed herself dangerously between the two of them. If he didn't do something now, the situation would become irreversible.
 
He had to protect Ian.
 
In an instant, before anyone else could figure out what was going on, Tak had wrapped his two arms around Ian. Tak turned his back to the fighter and received his attack. If he were to defend himself properly, the fighter might have died, because even though Tak was hiding his power, he would still cause a huge wound to a human.
 
Tck.
 
Within Tak's arms, Ian's eyes reflected the drops of blood scattered over his shoulder. He couldn't possibly survive such a large amount of blood loss. As the blood brushed the top of her head, she remembered the look Tak had once given her.
 
[I like you. I really like you, Ian.]
 
He liked her, there was never any need to doubt his feelings, didn't she already think this to herself many times now? But she doubted his feelings just because she didn't know his name or his species...
 
"I'm sorry... I'm sorry."
 
It occurred to her that this could be the last time. Before checking Tak's status, she wanted to speak her feelings first.
 
What he wanted to hear.
 
Before it was too late to convey them.
 
Ian's face wasn't visible to others, as she came into Tak's arms and told him in a whisper mixed with cries.
 
"I love you."
 
"..."
 
No one else could hear such a small sound, but Tak's ears heard it clearly. For a moment he doubted his own ears, but when he saw Ian hugging him, face red from crying, all doubts vanished from his mind.
 
"What you said... you can't take it back."
 
As Tak mumbled that in a slightly trembling voice, he held Ian closely with one hand while removing the remaining earring with the other.
 
To be continued.
 
Don't worry Ian. Tak is completely fine. o,o
Those earrings work too well. What a scary difference in personality. D:

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#20
Mizura

Mizura

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*The following chapter may contain scenes of violence. (<- I didn't add this, this was in the novel)
 
"What are you guys doing? Get the Half!"
 
"But..."
 
Despite Huen's urging, the fighters and magicians weren't rushing in. No matter how superior the regenerative abilities of Halfs were compared to humans, none of them had heard of one restoring his arm in the blink of an eye. What's more, he had lost a lot of blood from being hit by the fighter's sword, so how was he still able to stand without collapsing?
 
"That's not... a Superior Sura, is it? If a Superior Sura went through the checkpoint while pretending to be a Half..."
 
"But Sura can't speak."
 
"Some are able to... if they are... Nastika..."
 
"..."
 
As the magician said that, the other magicians looked at each other's faces in silence.
 
"Oh shit...!"
 
The oldest-looking magician among them quickly turned his back to them and started running away with the rest of the amusement park visitors. To avoid the turmoil, the visitors had started fleeing when the fighters drew their weapons. Realizing that the situation was bad, the other magicians who were arguing earlier started running away as well, leaving the fighters in the front line glancing uneasily behind them. However, their pride as fighters prevented them from running off, or at least from being the first one among them to do so.
 
"..."
 
The one who, at this moment, was more bewildered than anyone else, was the fighter who tried to kill Tak. Suddenly, a woman had jumped in and unintentionally found herself in the way of his attack, and he was sure that the attack had unfortunately hit.
 
"You... what..."
 
The other side wasn't hurt however, and more accurately, the Half no longer even had any signs of injuries. The blood that had poured from his wounds earlier scattered like grey smoke in the air, and even his torn clothes were restored to how they were before.
 
"Now... who are you calling 'you'?"
 
As he received that short answer from Tak, the fighter unwittingly dropped the sword he was holding. He couldn't even recognize him as his voice went dry. As Ian raised her head to meet Tak's gaze while still holding onto him, she recognized the crushing atmosphere at the shore from back then.
 
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The finite - Chapter 19: Overpowered
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"U... uh..."
 
Unable to run away, another fighter had also dropped his weapon. Even Huen who was watching the scene from far away could not prevent his legs from shaking.
 
"What... you... what the hell did you sponsor...?"
 
Huen's hand gripped Nard tightly by the shoulder.
 
"Ah... I don't know, because... as you can see, I'm blind..."
 
Even though Nard couldn't see in front of him, he could feel the heavy and intimidating atmosphere just like the others. He knew that the original personality would emerge without the earrings, but he wasn't expecting this. Biting down on his trembling lip, he pulled Huen by the hem of his clothes.
 
"Let's go, Huen-ssi. We must avoid this place..."
 
"No. I can't escape without Ian."
 
"..."
 
"I don't know what he is but... he captured Ian, what can I do?"
 
"..."
 
His trembling voice was close to crying. Huen was neither a fighter nor a magician, just a somewhat rich college student. The other magicians had run away, even the fighters were frozen there, yet he was still able to endure.
 
"You really like Ian-ssi."
 
"..."
 
Nard couldn't see Huen's face, but he knew that he was crying now. The hand that was holding his shoulder was trembling. Without knowing why, he bowed his head in guilt. If he hadn't sponsored Tak... would Ian and this young man have become a couple?
 
"..."
 
However, they had to escape. Ian could try to prevent trouble but, there was no guarantee at this point that Ian could still control Tak to any extent. If they didn't escape while he was taking care of the other fighters, then this person could get forcefully involved and end up being killed by Tak.
 
"Huen-ssi, I'm sorry."
 
"...?!"
 
"Hoti Surya Hoti Vayu!"
 
This was a fusion spell combining Hoti Surya, which allowed the user to see without blindspots within a certain area, and Hoti Vayu, which allowed one to teleport to a specific location within view. As Nard was blind, the vision spell was almost essential, and it was one of the spells at which he had first-rate skills. Huen, who was holding onto his shoulder, disappeared with him, leaving only the wind blowing in the spot they had just left.
 
Whoosh -
 
By now, nearly all the visitors had fled the amusement park, leaving only Tak, Ian, and about a dozen fighters left. The fighters were still frozen in place, while Tak, still holding the trembling Ian, was thinking of how to deal with those cheeky bastards. His thoughts until now included Huen, but he lost interest when Nard took him away. It was obvious where they had teleported to, but he didn't feel like bothering to catch him and kill him. This was neither mercy nor sympathy, he just found it too troublesome.
 
Now that he had taken off the earrings, his usual sleepy state suddenly returned, and it was a bother to even keep his eyes open or remain standing. There was one more annoying thing to do before that though. Killing them would have been very easy, but it would have been too light a punishment for what they had done.
 
"Tak."
 
"..."
 
"Tak..."
 
"What."
 
After Ian called twice, he replied with a curt answer. Ian seemed to be suffocating from the intimidating atmosphere, but she still had the courage to speak to him. Standing in front of her was the Half who had terribly injured her arm back then. No, she was starting to think now that he wasn't a Half. In this situation, where even the magicians had run away and the fighters had dropped their weapons, it seemed there was only one way to save the remaining fighters.
 
The decision would be irreversible. But she didn't have any other choice. Ian managed to supress her desire to cry, and grabbed onto Tak's arm.
 
"Let's go out... of the city."
 
"..."
 
"I will... go..."
 
"..."
 
Until then, Tak hadn't looked at Ian, but turned his head back to her when she said 'go.' Although he was now paying attention to her, the moment she met his gaze, Ian was overcome with a far greater fear and unwittingly yelled 'Eek!' before shutting her eyes.
 
"Ah..."
 
Seeing Ian shut her eyes tight, Tak softened the air of intimidation around him. The dozen fighters immediately started running away without picking up their weapons. At the sound of the fighters running away, Tak turned his attention from Ian to the fighters again.
 
"How dare they..."
 
Since he couldn't just let them escape unharmed, despite how troublesome it felt, Tak aimed at their legs.
 
"Aagh!"
 
The fighters could barely run more than a few steps before seething pain brought them writhing to the ground. As they tried to get back up, they reeled in shock as they realized that their ankles had been torn away in a bloody mess.
 
"Aaaaah!"
 
Soon, a massive amount of blood soaked the amusement park's sidewalk in red, and Tak narrowed his eyes in satisfaction. There were no other changes to his face save for his eyes narrowing, but without the earrings, this look was his limit.
 
"Hoti... Ack!"
 
A fighter tried to cast a recovery spell, but instead vomited blood from his open mouth. The other fighters, unable to budge, looked away as blood seeped from his mouth where his tongue had been disjointed.
 
"..."
 
Tak left the other fighters and headed towards the one who had placed the wound on his back. Even with both ankles torn off, the fighter was somehow trying to escape.
 
If I'm caught, I'll die. If I'm caught, I'll die!
 
But soon, Tak's foot stepped upon the remains of the sidewalk, then weighed down on him.
 
"Agh!"
 
"You tried to kill me."
 
"...ugh..."
 
"And what's more, you called me 'you'."
 
"...was wrong. I was wrong. Please... forgive..."
 
"Forgive? You know who I am, and you're asking for forgiveness?"
 
Tak seemed to find his plea absurd, and stepped on the fighter again, only to connect with the sidewalk instead. The fighter had barely managed to avoid getting his vitals crushed, but seemed almost out of breath from moving as he reeled.
 
"Ah... because it has been far too long, humans made such a mistake."
 
Though his face still didn't display any different emotions, he lifted his foot again. He seemed to have already forgotten Ian, who was still clinging to him.
 
"T... Tak..."
 
As he heard the voice, Tak paused his foot.
 
"Let's leave... please..."
 
Still holding onto Tak's clothes, unable to look at the fighter, Ian spoke to him while shivering and sobbing.
 
"..."
 
Tak closed his droopy eyes once then opened them again. He removed his foot from the fighter's direction and turned away from him. Then, without a word, he walked a few steps, and vanished from the fighters' eyes.
 
Another fighter, who was searching for an opportunity, ran to cast recovery magic on the fatally injured fighter as soon as Tak disappeared. This fighter was almost out of breath but survived thanks to the recovery magic. As soon as he recovered his breath, he said while looking in the direction in which Tak disappeared.
 
"We must go to the Temple. We have to report this."
 
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The blowing wind disheveled Ian's hair. Feeling that the air had changed, Ian stopped burying her face into Tak's clothes and looked around. The amusement park was already a blur in the distance. They were suddenly on the wall surrounding the outskirts of Mistyshore.
 
She lived within the city walls. And outside...
 
"You said it clearly. You said that you liked me, and that you'd go."
 
"..."
 
The hands that held onto him were trembling. She didn't know who this person was. But somehow, even though it was just a close guess, she was almost certain that he was a Nastika. She had believed that he got injured while trying to rescue her, and had told him that she loved him, thinking it was the last time she could tell him. If he were ready to throw away his own life for her, she believed that his feelings were sincere.
 
But if he were a Nastika, it was another story. He had just saved her life, not thrown away his own. The fighter's sword was never a threat to him.
 
"You won't answer?"
 
"..."
 
So the innocent smile was just an act. The air around him returned to the crushing pressure from when she first met him, and now she couldn't even properly face him without shivering in fear. She witnessed the brutality he displayed against the fighters, and her fear had become far greater than when they first met.
 
"T... that's right. I... I, with you..."
 
Maybe she was being deceived. These could be her dying words, and thinking that, her words wouldn't form properly. Whether she was killed or had to leave the city, she would never be able to come back. But...
 
Of course, even if she didn't leave now, she wouldn't be safe within the city. Tak was still in the city, and once a Nastika was within the city, there was no way to stop him. Even the Gods would not be able to fend off a Nastika. They had to get out of the city. There was no other way to look at it.
 
"I... I really like you, Tak..."
 
Ian bowed her head, and tears fell out of her eyes. She was like a prey with no other options, caught by a wild beast, and she cried because of her own helplessness.
 
"..."
 
She looked up again after saying that, but there wasn't a single tinge of joy in Tak's eyes, as he just stared at her blankly.
 
"Are you crying? Are you just forcing yourself to say that because you're afraid?"
 
"...!"
 
With a sinking heart, Ian stopped crying. Back under the rain, when he saw her crying, his voice was that of alarm and panic, but his voice now just sounded annoyed. As she realized the difference, she bit her lip, and forced down the new tears that were about to burst, then hastily wiped her eyes.
 
"I... I'm not crying. Let's go. Anywhere."
 
"..."
 
Ian's eyes were swollen red from crying several times. It was because of him that she cried, and Tak noticed that she was very afraid of him, but when she tried to deny it, her answer annoyed him even more.
 
He had to do something. Should he put the earrings back on? No, he might let her leave when his heart was soft. He'd do it once they were out. Once they had gone far enough to prevent her from running away... he'd think about it then.
 
The decision made, Tak took Ian and leaped out of the city.
 
To be continued.
 
 
Tak's ability to paralyze enemies with fear sure is handy. He could use it to get free garden gnomes.

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Kubera stuff: Character charts , Races and Cities , The finite (official side novel) ,
Official English Webtoons: https://www.webtoons.com