9 -Noble-


Charlotte was the first to wake up when the sun was just about to rise.

She rubbed her eyes and yawned, "Good morning, been awake for long?"

I replied, "Not really. Only a few minutes ago."

Gary also woke up a few minutes later. We lazed around for about half an hour, and then Charlotte proposed to go hunting again while we cooked. It seemed like this would be our dynamic for the unforeseen future.

Gary proposed to cook our morning meal while I would cook dinner and I simply acquiesced. This time, Charlotte came back with the carcasses of two deers.

Our breakfast concluded with only a few small conversations here and there, and then we cleaned up our surroundings and prepared to leave.

It happened then.

I felt an aura fluctuation a few hundred metres to the south. Looking at Gary and Charlotte, it seemed they had not noticed it.

But a second later, as the fluctuation arrived closer, they whipped their heads towards the south. Unfortunately, our vision was blocked by the forest.

Whatever it was, it would only be visible when it got within fifty metres of us. Judging by how insanely fast it was, it would not take long.

We all changed our body postures, preparing ourselves for whatever was coming. When the aura got within a hundred meters, all of us froze.

From behind us, something was releasing an aura so strong it felt like the world was falling on my shoulders.

I had not even noticed it getting behind us, making me feel like I was standing in front of a massive ancient beast with its maws wide open.

'I can't even move.'

This was an absurd amount of aura I had only experienced once before, when Captain Lowell let loose during training. Although this was not comparable to him, it was not far off.

The first fluctuation we felt got nearer and nearer, finally revealing a woman. My vision was fixed in her direction, enabling me to make out her beautiful features.

She looked about the same age as me, with black hair and black pupils along with a slim figure. Her face, though still young, was the most objectively beautiful I had ever seen.

She wore black robes that showed only a bit of skin. She proceeded to look at us one by one, her eyes resting on me a few beats longer than the others.

Luckily, I had been conditioned under such an amount of aura before, enough to manipulate my mana minutely. I was confident that I could at least detonate my most potent poison and take down the woman in front of me if I was willing to put myself on the chopping block too.

But she turned away and looked beyond us, at whoever was releasing the aura that locked us all down and commanded,


Her voice was resolute yet soothing. The aura slowly retreated, finally allowing me free reign. I had not even noticed I was holding my breath the whole time.

My legs felt incredibly weak, and I heard Gary and Charlotte fall to the ground, and I also joined them. I looked over to see Gary breathing heavily, immense fear visible in his eyes as he looked at the floor.

Charlotte recovered first, looking up at the robed woman and asking in a trembling voice, "W-who are you?"

It seemed like she still had no courage to look behind, focusing only on the woman in front of her.

The woman smiled at her, "My name is Aeryn."

Aeryn walked towards Charlotte, and Charlotte flinched and tried to move away. Alas, her body was too unstable to move congruously, evidently permeated by the monstrous aura from before.

Charlotte closed her eyes as Aeryn arrived, looking like she had accepted her death.

Surprisingly, she knelt and helped Charlotte lay down, "Rest. I did not mean for this to happen, my protector went overboard, and I apologise on her behalf."

Charlotte opened her eyes, expressing confusion, "What?"

Aeryn smiled bashfully, "You see, I am from a noble household. I am heading towards Nova Academy, and I assume you guys are, too?"

Charlotte nodded uneasily as I watched from the side, my body still feeling decrepit and feeble.

I tried thinking of some plans to bring down Aeryn or take her hostage at the very least if required. I could also inhale a strong stimulant to enable my movement for a few minutes.

'Or will I have to use that?'

Aeryn laughed and explained, "So, as we were heading towards the Academy, my protector, Freya, felt your auras and went off to investigate! I sincerely apologise again for her hasty actions."

Looking at her behaviour and speech, I decided to wait.

Aeryn looked up at the trees behind us and shouted, "Freya! Come down and apologise."

I heard some shuffling behind us along with the crunching of leaves. Footsteps became audible as the woman called Freya slowly walked toward us. I could see Gary's body shaking, still looking at the ground. He looked traumatised.

I raised my head and looked back to see the figure of a woman. Her face was covered with a plain black mask while she wore tight-fitting armour. She also had black hair which was tied in a ponytail.

The high-quality materials were apparent.

I wondered which family they were from, as insignias would normally be visible. But as this was quite possibly a covert trip to the Academy, anything that could be used for identification would be hidden.

'Wait. Why does Aeryn not hide her face?'

I looked towards Aeryn and found her glancing at me for a moment.

'Do I know her? Does she know me?'

I could not recall ever seeing a face like hers as I was sure I would remember it. Although I never bothered remembering people growing up, a beautiful face such as hers was a different matter.

Alas, no matter how hard I tried, I was not able to put her face to any of the ones I had seen during the few occasions I had gone to the parties and balls hosted by the noble families.

"I apologise for overstepping my boundaries, I hope you can forgive me."

I heard Freya speaking from behind us, her apology lacking any sense of lamentation.

Charlotte hurriedly tried to get up, sputtering out,

"I-Its okay. We were wrong for staying in your path. It is we who should apologise. We're extremely sorry!"

Aeryn lightly slapped Charlotte on her shoulder, "Nonsense. Anyway, I hope you can put this under the rug!"

She stood up while brushing off her knees and looked at Gary, her face showing compassion. She reached under her robes and brought out a vial filled with blue liquid.

"This is a medicine that will help him. Please give it to him as compensation."

She said as she passed the vial to Charlotte, who nodded mutely as she received it. I recognised the vial as a medicine that helps the mind. An antidepressant of sorts.

Aeryn continued, "Well, not the best first impression I could have made. Thanks, Freya."

She said the last part with sarcasm evident in her voice. Freya remained quiet and stoic.

Aeryn clapped her hands and belatedly realised, "Ah! I forgot to ask your names. What's yours?"

Charlotte replied, "My name is Charlotte. And that's Gary." She said as she pointed at Gary, who was a mess.

She did not offer to say my name since I seemed to be relatively better and more capable.

I introduced myself, "My name is Jason. Nice to meet you, Miss Aeryn."

Aeryn smiled at me, "Likewise! Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will take my leave. Let's go, Freya."

Freya nodded and turned to leave, followed by Aeryn. When they were almost out of sight, Aeryn turned around and waved, "I hope you guys make it to the Academy! Look for me when you arrive!"

Charlotte stiffly waved back. When they were finally gone, she and I awkwardly walked towards Gary.

Charlotte shouted, "Gary! Are you okay?"

Not hearing any response from the shaking Gary, she knelt down and rubbed his back, "It's okay, they are gone now. It's okay."

I suggested, "Give him the vial you received."

Charlotte glared at me, "You trust them? You trust her?"

I replied, "No. But I know my way around medicines, and the vial she gave you is truly helpful."

Charlotte knitted her eyebrows, and I continued, "Trust me."

She looked at me for a few seconds and resolutely nodded. She brought out the blue vial and opened it.

She pulled up Gary's head and forcefully opened his mouth, "I'm going to feed you something, okay? Be sure to drink it."

She let the liquid flow into Gary's mouth, forcing him to drink it. Gary coughed and spat out a few spoonfuls of the liquid but Charlotte did not budge, making him drink it entirely.

A few seconds later, Gary's frantic body slowly settled down and he began snoring a second later. Charlotte plopped down on the ground and exhaled, "Who the fuck were they?"

I looked towards the direction they had left in, "Probably a very prominent noble family. Having a protector that strong is not something any noble family can pull off."

Charlotte agreed, "Yeah, but the main question is, why Nova Academy? It's an academy that allows rogues like us, so why not go to the best Academy where only royals and nobles are allowed? It would be easy for someone at her level."

I had thought about it too, "I have no idea."


Edited By: WorthyAdversary

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