Chapter 22:

Chapter 22 - Paroxys Checkpoint Exam (Part 4)

Vehemence 激烈

We were exhausted. All we wanted to do was to rest a little. Maybe eat some food. But what we got was the opposite. After we successfully had passed our exam, one of the Outliners who was helping out with the exam brought us to an old inn. He told us that we could freshen up ourselves, eat and sleep if needed. We had to stay until the exam was officially over. There were still nineteen hours left. According to him, we made it out quite quickly. Only a couple of others had passed the exam so far. We were all relieved that it was over but the moment the door to the inn was opened, there was utter chaos.

“Hibiki, you can’t just ditch the exam. What kind of examiner does that? Why the hell did you even volunteer to get involved?”

It was Yu who was shouting at him. Hibiki was wearing a dark blue kimono and casually drinking sake while lying on the tatami floor.

“Come on. Don’t be a party pooper. Join me.”

You could see a vein pop out of Yu’s forehead.

“Why the hell would I want to do that?”

“Aren’t you being a bit too mean to me? First you refuse to go on a date with me and now this.”

“Do you have a death wish?”

Yu pulled up his sleeves and his angry face told us that he wasn’t joking around.

“Oh, look Yu. Your girlfriend made it. She passed the exam.”

“Who the hell are you calling my girlfriend?”

He turned around and I quickly put my hands up in defeat. I didn’t want him to get angrier. But his facial expression changed after seeing me.


“Yo, Yu.”

“You passed?”


“How about giving her a kiss as a reward?”

Hibiki interrupted us. Surprisingly, Yu ignored him. Or that’s what we thought at least. We could hear thunder and lightning in the distance. Ohta was desperately holding him back.

“We should go and freshen up.”

Sayuri suggested and we walked away quietly. Ohta told us that he would handle Yu. It was nice to soak in the hot spring water. My scratches and wounds had already been healed by Sayuri. It was time for dinner, and we got our own rooms. We changed into our kimonos that the inn provided for us and went to grab some food. It seemed like Yu had calmed down a little and was sitting at the furthest table away from Hibiki who was still enjoying his sake.

“So, what did you do with your marbles?”

The interrogation continued by Yu.

“Oh, they’re right here.”

Hibiki put his hand into his kimono and pulled out the string of marbles. Yu punched the table.

“Why the hell do you still have them? You should’ve given it to one of the other examiners.”

“There was no need for it. I just beat the crap out of forty students and made them fail the exam. So, my marbles aren’t needed anymore.”

“That’s not how it works!”

Yu stood up. Ohta wasn’t around. He probably went to take a bath as well. I went over to Yu and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“Ignore him. That’s what you told me to do if I cross paths with him. Remember?”

Yu let out a sigh and sat down again.

“Congrats on passing the exam.”

He still sounded irritated.

“Thanks. But what are you doing here?”

“Had a mission nearby and thought I’ll stop by and see how the exam is going.”

“Yu, don’t be shy. Tell your girlfriend that you came to see her.”

I let out a nervous laughter.

“She ain’t my girlfriend. More like my student.”

For some reason it ticked me off how he said that, but I guess it was the truth.

“Oh, does that mean I can have her?”

Hibiki vanished and reappeared next to me. He put his arm around my shoulder and brought his face really close to mine. His dark red hair was droopy and not styled anymore. His mask was still in place and his voice was still creepy. I could see his face tattoo clearly. It looked like a word but in a different language.

“Interested in my tattoo? Want to know what it says?”

Yu tried to push his arm off, but Hibiki took me with him and returned to his previous spot.

“It’s Greek and means Echo, a name of an oread. It’s a tragic but beautiful story about a nymph who lived in the mountains. It’s from a Greek mythology. I can tell you all about it if you come with me to my room.”

I was too tired to even get angry. He was a pervert, and I already knew that. I did want to push him away from me, but I was hesitant of touching his body. For some reason, I had a feeling that I shouldn’t do that.

“No, thank you. I’m not interested in you or your Greek mythology.”

“Then let me tell you about something else.”

He got closer to my ear.

“The world was designed to be unfair.”

His words echoed in my head.

“I’m taking advantage of that. That’s why I always win. I couldn’t care less of saving these insects that crawl around me.”

All I could hear was his voice and nothing else.

“If you, Moriuchi Ayumi don’t take advantage of the world, then it will eat you up. It will chew and chew on you and in the end spit you out. Forget about saving others. Will you be able to save yourself?”

My heart was beating fast.

“One day you’ll have to choose between life and death. In that very moment, carefully remember my words. Don’t hesitate. A win is a win. It doesn’t matter what you lose in the process. The end result is what matters the most.”

I was taken out of his spell that was his voice by Yu who pulled me in his arms.

“Don’t ever come near her. I promise I won’t go easy on you the next time.”

Hibiki started laughing and walked away. It took me a minute to shake his words off. We ate after Ohta returned from his bath. Sayuri and Nina wanted to sleep in the same room as me and the guys were sleeping in the room next to ours. Yu had joined them. He had asked me about what Hibiki had said to me, but I told him that it was nothing, just nonsense. Nina was the first one to fall asleep.

“Ayumi, do you think I was helpful today?”

“Sayuri, what kind of question is that? Of course, you were. Without you, we wouldn’t have passed the exam.”

She smiled at me. The wind was blowing outside.

“I find this old inn a bit creepy.”

“Maybe it’s haunted?”

It was meant as a joke, but Sayuri didn’t find it very funny. To make matters worse, we heard several, sluggish footsteps in front of our room seconds later. Someone was humming a children’s song. Sayuri immediately rolled under my blanket and held on to me tightly. Nina was still fully asleep.

“Ayumi, someone’s at the door.”

Her shaky voice was a whisper.

“It’s probably someone playing a prank on us.”

I got out of my bed and at the same time, the door slowly slid open. A shadow with long hair walked into our room while grumbling something underneath its breath. I didn’t believe in ghosts, but it was giving me goosebumps. Sayuri screamed and passed out on my bed. The guys from next door woke up and ran to our aid. Nina had woken up too, or so I thought. She was sleepwalking and swiftly grabbed the ghost and threw it over her shoulder. It made a loud thump. Ohta turned on the lights and the identity of the ghost was revealed. We all simultaneously let out a sigh. It was a drunk Toshiko.

“What the hell is she doing here?”

Yu shook his head and examined her. She was passed out cold. Nina went back to bed. I gently slapped Sayuri’s cheeks to wake her up. The second she opened her eyes again, she pointed behind Ohta and passed out again. We followed her finger and saw another suspicious figure standing in the hallway. This time it was Shiraishi who made an entrance and gave us a scare. I didn’t know that he was here as well. Yu told us that they both went to the same mission.

“Has everyone come out or is anyone missing?”

Yu asked out loud annoyed. Shiraishi bowed slightly and walked away. Ohta helped me carry Toshiko back to her room. I told her to leave the rest to me and that I would stay by her side throughout the night, so she wouldn’t cause another scene. He said that he’ll check on Sayuri before he returns to his own room. I tucked Toshiko into her bed and placed another futon next to hers. To no surprise, she crawled underneath my blanket the moment I laid down. She went with her hand through my hair and whispered something into my ear.

“Congrats on passing the exam.”


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