Chapter 153 – Marcos’s Predicament (Part 1)
Leo frowned but wasn’t in the mood “No one sent me. Now, I’m here looking for a friend, do you know Marcos?”
The student’s eyes flickered for a second as he put his hand to his chin as if thinking about Leo’s words. “No… I don’t so? Maybe? Lots of people, not too strange if their happens to be quite a few guys named Marcos.”
Leo’s impatience was about to get the best of him but Daichi put his hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently.
Leo only grit his teeth and calmed down before squeezing out a short description.
Damien could understand how Leo was feeling though. Everyone was looking at them with such reservation and fear. The entire setting felt utterly unsettling, even more so because it left him feeling annoyed at all of them.
‘So weak. These are the crème of the crop?’
Plenty of people could hear the conversation, and it was obvious to them that they were refusing to answer their questions, they just couldn’t understand why.
The student stayed his ground. Although he himself didn’t look particularly strong, of average height and average looks with his non descript black hair and dark eyes and tanned skin, he was the only one willing to speak and the only one making eye contact with them.
“Hmmmm…. I don’t think so… I know one guy named Marcos but he’d really really short.” He gestured to around half his size. “The guy’s a midget. He’s one of the butlers around here ya know. Sigh so sad. He used to be one of the super promising up and coming students here at Lumea. Then one year he went on a hunting assignment for the academy and BAM! Hit with some weird magic, and all of a sudden he loses all of his mana! Everyone has to pull out and return to the academy, lots of casualties. Then weeks after he gets back, he realizes his pants don’t fit him quite right, they’re seemingly getting longer and longer everyday! It took him days to realize he was getting shorter and not his pants getting longer! I mean, he wasn’t the brightest tool in the box to begin with, but with him getting turned into a midget, you’d think people would’ve taken some pity on the guy. Instead everyone turns on him! Left with no options he ends up agreeing to be one of the butlers at the academy, he just couldn’t bare the shame of returnin-“
“ENOUGH!” Leo cut him off as he rubs his temples.
‘Doesn’t this guy have an off switch?’
“That’s not who I’m looking for. Anyone else?” Leo asks.
Surprisingly, the guy in front of him doesn’t look bothered at all by being cut off, instead his eyes light up as if remembering something all of a sudden. Smacking his hands together he enthusiastically begins “Oh! There’s this other guy named Marcos! Except, it’d be weird if he were the one your looking for. He’s one of the teachers and he looks like he’s 70. I mean he might actually be 70, but if you think about it. There’s magic in this crazy world that can make a guy lose all of his mana and turn into a midget. So hey, it’s not impossible that your friend was aged through magic or something, or maybe he entered some wormhole portal? Ya know? I heard one of the professors once found this gate in the middle of the forest that was totally weird. It was just out there in the middle of nowhere but it was filled with jewels and embossed with gold trimmings and decorated like something you’d fi-“ Leo had already put his hands over the guys mouth.
“No. More.” Leo gritted his teeth as he spat the words out one by one.
He didn’t even bother turning to look back “Let’s get out of here. We’ll go to the nurse’s station.”
At this point he didn’t know whether the guy in front of him was an idiot or just lying through his teeth, but he was certain he didn’t want to listen to him speak for even one more second.
Just as he was turning to look at Damien and Daichi a student came running through a door from a door appearing in the courtyard’s wall “QUICK! TROUBLE! They’re after Marcos again! We need back up now!”
Leo’s ears perked up immediately as his head whipped around to look at a student running right past him to stand next to him looking at the loud mouth student from before, “Quick! Thomas we have to go! Marcos needs your help NOW!”
The new comer was completely disregarding Leo as his tone of urgency matched with his worried expression.
The loud mouth student could only look at Leo at with a weak chagrin filled expression only slightly hesitant as he spoke “Ah! Marcos! Right! Hey I know who you’re talking about. Sorry my mind gets confused sometimes. So you said you two were friends? Close friends? Best friends?”
Leo and Damien were at their wits end as Daichi could only snicker from behind. He found the loud mouthed guy amusing.
“Lead the way.” Leo spoke gruffly.
The new comer looked at Leo weirdly before looking back at the loud mouth guy who only nodded.
Immediately after they began jogging towards the courtyard a portal appearing almost as quickly as they all went through it.
Thomas himself acknowledged his bad habit of rambling about unimportant things and only he himself understood that it wasn’t due to some perverse pleasure he took in annoying those around him. It was due to his inherent ability he had been born with. An ability that allowed him to feel someone’s emotions and to some extent understand a person’s possible future through their potential.
His family knew about the first part, but he’d never told anyone about the second part of his ability. He had wanted too on numerous occasions but every time he would try, he would be stuck, frozen even. Unable to find the right words to voice his thoughts and coherently explain the *feeling* he got and how he even understood exactly what that feeling meant. It was something that became harder to explain or tell anyone as the years went by, to the point where it became something he could no longer tell them. The time and opportunities had passed him by and now he could no longer face them and tell them.
After meeting Marcos, he had instinctively gotten an impression from him that he had never felt before. He could tell Marcos had a unique ability of his own. Something that at first he didn’t quite put his finger on, but came to understand after several interactions with him. He came to realize that Marcos was unaware of his unique ability to rally people behind him. It was a leadership type charisma, that was beyond the normal. He wasn’t a leader because his actions made him a leader, he was a leader because his charisma would put him in the position where he had no choice but to be a leader.
Upon realizing this, he felt a camaraderie with Marcos he had never felt before, and had almost shared his ability with him. Almost, then he began questioning whether that sense of camaraderie was real or whether it was instigated by Marcos’s ability.
It was an infuriating feeling to Thomas to be unable to tell whether what he was feeling was real or not, and putting that question aside. Even if it were real, whether it was instigated by Marcos’s ability and inflated making him act and feel as he would otherwise not.
The only thing that kept him sane was the knowledge that Marcos himself was unaware of his ability, and the first hand knowledge that merely having an ability by no means meant understanding that ability in any way. Once he came to this conclusion he dropped all of his defenses and chose to truly befriend Marcos. He had never had a true friend growing up and regardless of whether it was Marco’s natural charisma that was making him want to befriend him, it made no difference if Marcos himself was worth befriending. The only restriction he placed on himself was that he would not share with him his ability. This would be how he would measure whether he was being influenced or not!
Therefore; whenever he rambled, it wasn’t because he had lost his marbles or didn’t know when to stop, it was because he was letting his ability take charge and giving it time for him to glean some instinctive queue from it.
Leading the way Thomas didn’t even glance behind to see if they were following. He could hear their footsteps and while he was still on guard he was smirking on the inside at the fortuitous event. Less than a few minutes ago he had left Marcos’s side when they were ambushed by some of the counsel’s lackeys. Marcos had told him to leave to go find help and given no other choice he had been ready to go back to the student’s quarters and pull out his amulet from his hiding spot.
It was a special one-time use item that would be able to help Marcos out of their current predicament but he was reluctant to do it. Not unwilling but merely reluctant. It was an item his family had given him in case he was ever in a life-and-death type situation and needed to hold out just a bit longer. The idea of using it now was making his heart bleed but as he knew the teachers wouldn’t intervene so long as Marcos wasn’t killed or crippled, he had no choice but to use it!
Much to his surprise, instead of running into the group of people he considered as useless idiots but had been shouldered with the responsibility of protecting… He was met with three strangers.
Instinctively he felt weary of them. Their presence and their attitude gave enough away for him to know that either they had powerful connections within the academy or enough strength to remain unbothered in front of the hundred plus students who outside the academy would have been considered promising characters in their own right.