Chapter 111 – Impress Me (Part 1)
Crimson put his hand on his sword as some tension flared up within the group at Daichi’s haphazard response…
Lydia didn’t waste any time and simply stated “There are plenty of creatures that look human but aren’t human. There are also creatures that can take the shape of a human but again, aren’t human. I am asking you, are you human?”
Faced with such a blunt woman, Daichi didn’t mind and was happy to have someone simply talk straight with him. “Yes. I’m human. Why? Would it matter?”
“Yes and no. Generally we don’t keep good relationships with those that aren’t human. There is a lot of killing on both ends, more often it’s with the beasts who are of lower intelligence or the monsters that covet humans for food or sex. Although we don’t necessarily have a problem with creatures who are strong and smart that don’t have any ill intent towards us, those are few and far in-between.” Lydia answered briskly.
“Mhmm…” Daichi nodded in response. He personally didn’t have a problem with anything or anyone. He killed when he needed to kill, and at the moment he wouldn’t mind the company of anyone regardless of whether they were human or not. Daichi considered her response and then realized that regardless of what the answer would have been, he likely wouldn’t have cared or would have had a problem with whatever she said.
Noticing Daichi’s continued calm demeanor, she got a little frustrated and answered what she assumed Daichi should have been thinking “I specifically ask, because our Lumea city has a special screen. A barrier that protects the inhabitants inside of the city. Anything non-human cannot pass. It is the last relic and assistance the gods left us. If I invite you back, and you are not human… You will not only not be able to enter, but will be viewed as an enemy by the protectors of the city.”
Lydia noticed that for the first time during their entire “conversation” Daichi had finally had some form of reaction to her words. Crimson also noticed and began to wonder if it was because he wasn’t human after all.
All the while Daichi had been stunned due to her words, his mouth got dry as he tried to process the information he’d all but just been given.
‘Lumea…? These people are really from Lumea? I can’t believe that after everything that happened, I would get out of the mist and immediately find people. Then I would so coincidentally happen to meet people from the one place I originally wanted to go too! This is it! My opportunity! My luck may have just taken a turn for the better!’ Daichi thought to himself as excitement slowly bubbled through his thoughts.
Anyone who had known Daichi from the moment he left his hometown to the moment he had this thought would have merely shaken their heads in embarrassment for him. Who else could be so lucky and then have the audacity to claim that his luck had only now begun to turn for the better?
Trying his best to hide his excitement, Daichi realized that if he seemed too eager he’d be putting himself in a disadvantageous position “I see. In which case, are you inviting me to come with you?” Daichi asked.
Lydia was getting very frustrated with the boy in front of her. It was rare for her to encounter any man that didn’t get flustered by her looks alone. Growing up she’d gotten even more exaggerated responses than she did now, but even so she was very proud and confident in her beauty. When she became a professor at Lumea, her reputation had taken yet another turn for the better. It had been years now since someone looked at her so calmly and responded in such an indifferent manner and even though it was something she had claimed she craved, finally receiving such indifferent treatment from some random boy was actually grating her nerves.
“That would depend on two things.” Lydia responded.
“Go on” Daichi nodded.
“It would depend on whether you would like to come with us back to Lumea City and how you respond to three of my questions that I am all but obligated to ask.” Lydia said calmly as a smile spread across her lips making her seem even more beautiful than before.
Unaffected by her beauty unlike the majority of the men in the area, Daichi merely commented “Wouldn’t that mean it would actually depend on four things?” he asked with a tilted eyebrow and curious expression that indicated amusement more than anything else.
Lydia’s smile didn’t waver as she continued to stare Daichi down. After a few seconds, Daichi realized she was actually waiting for his response and although she might not know how much he actually wanted to go to Lumea, he could tell she had nothing to lose but he had everything to gain from this exchange.
‘Even without her… I could probably figure out a way to get there. Especially if I just follow this group back somehow… Still, something about her gives me the feeling that she probably has some amount of influence in the city and it would certainly make things easier for me… Well I did say I wanted some friends haha’
“Yes. I am very interested in going to Lumea City. The truth is that my father once told me about Lumea City. The city itself wasn’t of particular note to him, but rather the Lumea Library. He spoke of it’s marvels and how it had stood the test of time for generations. It was his greatest wish to one day be able to enter it, much like it was his father’s wish before him. If I could achieve that goal for him… Well suffice to say that even if I didn’t want to go which I do. I certainly don’t want to be left, stuck in this damn forest alone anymore.” Daichi spoke with ease, but he seemed to voice everything he’d been holding back. After considering the possibilities before him, he decided to put everything on the table and let the cards fall how they may.
Lydia’s smile grew even wider as she heard him speak. It was the first time during their entire interaction that he had said so much. “Very well, then my three questions… I will preface them by stating that you should know better than to lie. Should you lie and I find out that you’ve lied than there will be nothing more for us to speak about. I will not attack you nor have my colleague attack, but we will leave.”
Lydia noticed Daichi’s expression didn’t change in the slightest and she took that as a form of tacit understanding and approval of her words.
“How old are you?” she asked.
Daichi’s left eye twitched, a little surprised by her question. He gave it some thought before answering and then slowly said “I have lived and breathed with this body of mine for 17 years.”
Lydia was jubilant at his response but then took a second to note his phrasing. Although she knew he hadn’t lied just then, his phrasing was a little strange to her.
“Will you swear an oath to protect Lumea City?”
Lydia asked because it was a requirement of anyone who entered Lumea Academy or became an official of the city. The positions and the knowledge as well as the resources were wonderful but they all came at a price. Anyone who wished to enjoy the massive benefits of one of the most amazing places on this world of theirs had to swear loyalty to protect that which they had gained so much from.
Daichi didn’t immediately respond again as he contemplated the question and its many implications. He had no desire to be tied to anywhere or anyone but he also didn’t want to let such an opportunity go. One of his life goals was to enter this very city in order to gain entry to it’s most famed library. Now that he had gained so much understanding into a variety of laws into nature and the universe he had a better understanding of the value of the knowledge in the library. It was even possible that in the most common areas there would be extremely insightful information that he could use to better improve his understanding of the universe that no one had understood as profound merely because they couldn’t see the obvious.
Although he didn’t want to put too much stock into that and he realized that he was perhaps being a bit prideful, Daichi couldn’t help but hope and wonder whether he was some sort of prodigy after all…
After some time Daichi finally responded “I don’t know.”
Lydia’s smile faltered and Crimson nearly lost his top at that while some of the other participants who’d been hearing the conversation intently wondered whether he was some sort of idiot. They were already confused as to why he was being given such preferential treatment. Damien in particular had thought there was something peculiar about this stranger, but the more he spoke in such a casual and offhanded manner the more he began to suspect that he was perhaps not lying and was indeed some backwoods hick who had grown up in the forest and didn’t know any better than to realize what a marvelous opportunity was being presented to him.
Daichi realized he couldn’t just leave it at that and so be followed it up “I don’t want to be tied to any power or place. I enjoy wandering, and I plan on seeing everything within this world and more. I cannot lie and say I will swear an oath to a place I would one day intend to leave. Naturally if I gain something from someone I will repay it, and while I am in the city I will protect it as one of its inhabitants though.”
Lydia considered his answer and the smile that had faltered for a moment returned. The words he’d just spoken were ridiculous. ‘Perhaps he doesn’t understand what has happened in the world? Where else is there but Lumea? It doesn’t matter though, if he becomes strong enough perhaps he can explore with the others, maybe he could even become as strong as the former queen….’
Thinking this much, Lydia decided it would be worth taking a risk depending on the final question. Lydia walked up to Daichi and then whispered in his ear “Are you a chosen one?”
Daichi had already become on guard as she’d walked up to him but this last question left him a little puzzled. It took him a few moments before his memories of the past resurfaced and he thought about the words he’d been told before he’d entered the mist. How could he forget such a meaningful event?
“How do you mean?” Daichi said trying to play it down.
“You’re in the middle of one of the deadliest forests that we of Lumea are aware of. It is overrun with beasts and monsters of all sorts. You’re seemingly fine but you’re far from being old enough for me to believe you could survive on your own. But… If you are a monster… Or chosen by the gods then that would explain everything. You have very peculiar eyes. I’ve never seen someone before with eyes like that, amethyst is not a common color you know, so don’t lie to me.”
Daichi’s eyes widened at that but his expression stayed the same. He knew exactly how much he had gained in the mist and how limited it all was in the grand scope of things. Now he was all but being told he could only be a monster or a chosen one to have survived in the woods on his own.
Daichi was faced with a crossroads. He could lie and perhaps get some benefits out of it or he could tell the truth and possibly be turned away. ‘I didn’t even realize my eyes had changed color… If I lie she might be able to tell and if I tell the truth she might not believe me. Tch…”