Hello! I decided to at least write a chap once a month or every 2 weeks while I’m working on the finalized version of Volume 1. Thus, we’re starting back up.
Also, some of you may have noticed the cover is blank.
What could that mean~?
Maybe we’ll see soon~
Chapter 40: Prologue – Rendezvous Under the Stars – Day !&$@
“…How eventful.” The girl tilted her head in interest and leaned back in her chair. “And now we’re sitting here, having a chat.”
“Well, yes, that’s the gist of it.”
Her cup tipped backwards, its round, porcelain mouth giving her own pearly lips a gentle kiss. The verdant liquid held within the small vessel flowed through them, giving off wisps of steam which climbed into the cool, night air before fading from view seconds later.
The boy brought the tip of his finger to his mouth, sliding it along his smooth, bottom lip. On multiple occasions, people commented that his lips belonged on the face of a beautiful girl, but that description which he had always laughed off now birthed pangs of annoyance. His lips were ugly compared to those two, delicate gems in front of him, and would only dull the beauty of the other sculpted features that surrounded those masterpieces.
As his finger slid off the track it had journeyed across and fell from the side of his face, he let out a deep sigh. The difference in beauty was as clear as the contrast between his short, flaming hair and her long, glacial strands, but what of the texture? Just what kind of unearthly smoothness did those curved, manifestations of beauty possess? How much did they outshine his own lips, which were like two fine strips of silk?
The teacup parted from the girl’s lips as she sat back up, strands of her damp, aqua hair slipping off of her shoulders and dancing in the mild breeze. The swinging motions of the glistening strands of ice stole the boy’s gaze, which was glued to the scene as if a hidden, natural wonder had revealed itself.
“It’s rude to stare for so long, you know?”
The boy blinked, and his gaze shifted back to the girl’s sculpted features to find that those lips that had been the sole subject of his admiration not even a minute ago were curved into a small, teasing smile.
“Ah…” He muttered as he averted his gaze. “Sorry.”
“I don’t mind it.” She dismissively waved one hand while using the other to pour herself another cup of tea. “I’m used to attracting gazes. It’s always the same no matter where I go, after all. Rather than that, you’ve had a rather tough life, haven’t you?”
“Well, yes, I guess you could say that.” He replied, a reminiscent smile forming on his lips. “However, as I’m here before you right now, it’s obvious that my constant struggling wasn’t in vain.”
Hearing that statement, the girl gave the boy an exasperated look.
“You, your words can be misinterpreted easily you know?”
“Ha, well, I guess so, sorry.”
Was there anything to misinterpret, though?
Of course, the boy didn’t dare say those words aloud. Tranquility descended upon the two as they enjoyed the chill of the night air on their skin, which contrasted with the warmth they felt from slowly sipping their tea. As he looked around the area, the boy could not help but admire the taste of the SMC’s head, who had apparently been responsible for single-handedly designing the several components of the outdoor lounge he was sitting in.
It had a zen garden, tastefully created in order to create a soothing atmosphere without standing out glaringly. Next to it was a bamboo fountain which made a firm, yet pleasing sound at regular intervals. The lounge chairs which were handcrafted to fit the theme of the garden, without sacrificing comfortability. There was even a teapot which powered itself by drawing mana from the atmosphere, and was accompanied by a tea plant where one could harvest fresh leaves.
Finally, the wonderful view of the night sky due to the slightly elevated location of the lounge which was accentuated by the soothing atmosphere created from the mixture of aromas and appearances of a wide variety of plants. It was truly one of the only peaceful areas within the tournament grounds.
“Looking at this area, I’m rather glad that the staff recommended such a place to me.” He broke the silence with a tone full of satisfaction. “It really is the best place to go after having a bath.”
“Yes. Having a bath and then tea after a day of fighting is truly the best way to relieve your excess stress.” She agreed to him in an amiable tone. “Not to mention, the view is beautiful.”
Glancing over towards his companion, he thought to himself that there was another thing, or rather person, whose beauty was quite admirable. Flowing, silken strands of azure blue hair that ended in an even line at her lower back. A small nose and lips, as well as thin eyebrows. A well-proportioned body with pale, smooth skin that gave her the aura of a masterpiece made by an artisan.
However, the most intoxicating part of her was her eyes. Two bright gemstones colored a piercing, ice blue. In their depths, a mixture of many things could be seen. Mischievousness, wisdom, maturity, and several other things.
What stood out the most out of any of these was the sheer coldness you could feel lurking in their depths. They were comparable to a stormy sea in the arctic. Many wonders could be seen on the surface level, but an icy death awaited those who dared explore it. Together with the yukata she wore, she could truly be described as…
“A Yuki-onna, huh.” He spoke softly, but the girl overheard anyways and showed a slightly displeased look.
(Yuki-Onna: A type of female ice demon)
“Yes, that’s what people call me.” She sighed. “To be honest, I rather hate it.”
“Is that so?” The boy felt his chest grow heavy. “Sorry.”
“You apologize too much!” Seeing the boy’s gloomy face made her feel amused, and she giggled. After a slight pause, her expression became earnest.
“Well then, since you’ve told me about yourself, I guess I should tell you about my past as well.”
“That would be nice.” Intrigued, he perked up slightly. The girl noted the quickness of his emotional changes, and a smirk formed on her face
“Are you that interested in me, Nishiyama-kun?” Leaning her head against her chair, she teased him in a coy manner.
“You’re in a similar situation to mine, after all, Ishihara-san.” Akira replied to her with a polite smile. “I think it’s natural to be interested.”
Perhaps it was his imagination, Akira felt that she had momentarily seemed disappointed in his answer. With only the soft sounds of the gentle breeze keeping them company, they chatted into the night.
Arc 2: Raison D’être