Hour Empty Child
Here we are, the next installment of the series, Vol. 5, has finally come out! It’s a little earlier than usual, since I promised it would be done on August, but since I finished it early, I don’t see why I can’t push it earlier.
Please give a Like if you like it, and voice out your opinions on the Comments! It’ll help with your badge as well, so it’s a win-win for both of us!
The deafening roar of the engines was clouded by the sound-blocking walls of the Avian.
Looking out at the window, she saw the blue skies, clear of clouds except for the rare few that passed by in an instant.
Receiving a fresh look for her eyes, she turned back to the paper she held within her hands. It was a report that has been gathered to her by her top members who worked constantly, without breaks, to receive this information for her.
She was resting on one of the sofas in the elegant room of the Avian suited for the highest nobility. Along with a drink, a large mug that held her favorite brand of high-quality alcohol, she took a sip of it as she read with great detail over the report in her other hand.
“Master Hikari, we’ll be arriving sooner than we expected.”
A woman wearing the black and white uniform walked in from the other room through the door using the auto-pilot feature of the Avian to fly on its own. Her short purple hair that reached to her neck with a bang covering one eye, the other amber eye having a short bang above it, had a headdress on top of it. The bases were black and white, but the corners were red and blue on top and bottom, marking it as a special headdress only for the top-tier maid.
She walked gracefully towards Hikari who remained looking at the report while holding her hands below her waist, as it should be for a high-end maid.
Hikari, the master of the maid, responded curtly while her eyes were still transfixed on the information in her hands.
The maid, Shokan, took a gander at the report she held, telling about the suspicious movements somewhere in Peranim, specifically in Vipory. But what caught her attention was the solemn tone in her voice.
“Master, are you alright?”
Noticing her cold tone, Shokan expressed a look of concern for her. The master, however, didn’t face her as she answered:
“I have looked everywhere in the world, but I have never considered looking in Peranim.”
Hikari gazed at the report, her stare was enough to bore a hole through it from her sharp eyes.
“Peranim is known to be slow on the uptake of modern times. In other words, this place is old-fashioned, and follows an outdated mindset.”
Hikari referred to the people living in Peranim. She could only imagine what life must be like for the fools who were forced to rely on barbaric methods to gain a few simple luxuries. The very thought of living in such a place never occurred in her mind.
“But…” Shokan intercepted. “Perhaps he might be there.”
Shokan’s hands gripped each other tightly as she said that. Speaking about ‘him’ is considered a taboo amongst her workers. It wasn’t because they would be punished if they did so. But it was only because speaking about ‘him’ in front of Hikari will cause her to feel… complicated.
But she wanted to give at least some bright news for her. However, Hikari’s expression never changed.
“…Thinking like that will only hamper us.”
Hikari closed her eyes as she absorbed the information into her mind, but then opened them up to disregard it.
“The chance of him surviving Peranim’s cruel and noncurrent lifestyle is very slim. Much less becoming a decent person out of it.”
Living in such conditions in the backwoods country, one would become unacceptable to live in modern times. It was also possible that the people of Peranim would head out of the country as criminals looking to advance their greed onto the world. It was quite a prejudice mindset to make, but the facts are clear to the eyes of a logical person.
“Though, there were some exceptions…,” Hikari flashed a small smile. “Kasara and Kagero have proven time and time again how reliable they are.”
The reason as to why her prejudice towards this country was at its minimum was the solid fact that her comrades came from the same country, and each of them were exemplary characters with profound personalities and, of course, imaginative thinkers. To say the least, they were perfect for the master’s small team.
“Yes,” Shokan nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly with a pleasant smile. “If I remember correctly, doesn’t her little sister still live in Peranim?”
“Ah… that’s right,” Hikari’s eyes blinked as she recalled. “From the photo taken from her memory, I was able to see what she looked like. She was so adorable, I’m sure she has grown up into a fine young lady.”
“Hehe, Master, didn’t you say just now that only incompetent people come from Peranim?”
Shokan held her mouth with her petite hand as she tried to stifle her giggle, but it was to no avail as it was let off without a hitch. Hikari chuckled as a chain reaction to her own giggling.
“Haha, you got me there. Though, I did say that there are exceptions…”
Hikari cleverly defended herself as she gazed back at the report again with a smile.
Seeing such a kind smile on her face again, Shokan pursed her lips to speak of this matter personally.
“Master, you should be more optimistic when it comes to your son. I’m sure that… that he can be found.”
Hikari’s sudden laughter caused Shokan to look at her in surprise, a widened look on her face as Hikari’s chuckle wasn’t that of joyfulness, but instead it was melancholic.
“Every time I think like that, it only serves to hurt in the end. I still wish from the bottom of my heart to find him, but right now, I need to set my priorities. I need to take care of the bastard who wrought destruction in this poor city called ‘Vipory’.”
Hikari commented which made Shokan’s chest sting from such a cynical response. Even Hikari herself noticed just how gloomy it was and tried to get back into studying her report, but she has already learned everything she needed. Seeing that her job of memorizing the details was done, she set the report aside to her armrest and took a swig of her drink in one big gulp.
“I’m sure that, as long as Master Hikari is there, nothing bad will happen.”
Despite of all that, Shokan flashed a small smile which cut through Hikari’s need for drinking. For a moment, she put the mug down from her soft, alcohol-drenched lips.
“However, it’ll be best if Master’s heart has lightened a little before coming back to Roprase. Lately, you had such an awful look to your otherwise beautiful complexion.”
Shokan joked, but at the same time, expressed concern for her master as a maid who worked under her. Receiving such careful advice, Hikari glanced at the window above.
Lately, Hikari hasn’t shown the best of faces to her workers. It was wearing down on her mind, like an annoying chore that needed to be done, and now her top maid noticed it.
It was obvious since Shokan is the most vigilant of the maids. She is the Head Maid, after all.
Seeing the gentle smile that showed not only care, but also concern and consideration, Hikari made a half-smile, and chuckled.
“Then, I’ll bring back 20 barrels of the finest alcohol to celebrate. I think it’s about time for everyone to relax a little.”
Hikari commented, bringing out her usual bright grins on her face. Shokan knew that inside, she is doing this to alleviate her worries, but she was glad nonetheless that she tries.
“Then,” Shokan returned to her normal posture. “I’ll leave you to your work, Master.”
“Understood,” Hikari nods as she dismissed her, getting Shokan to bow to her before going back to the other room.
Now that she was by herself, she looked back at the drink in her hand. The bubbly, fizzing drink that resembled liquid gold reflected her visage, getting her to notice her expression.
Her brows wrinkled, her jade eyes taking a distant look.
Did she look like this the whole time she was on this ride?
(…Maybe I’ve been hoping for it this entire time.)
Hikari stood there, seeing the drink in her hand as the bubbles popped one by one, the roars of the engine slowly lowering its volume as she felt the rumble of the Avian and the slow descent.
“If I’m able to find him, it would be considered a miracle upon miracles.”
She may be considered as the most god-like adventurer, but even she knows the limits of her powers.