Chapter 5:

Seclusion

Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man! Book 2


Akio led Hugo outside the class. He had a serious expression on his face.

“Anything wrong?” he asked.

Hugo was confused.

‘Why is he asking this?’

“What do you mean, master?”

“Exactly what I asked.” Akio replied, “Are you not feeling well?”

Hugo sighed in relief.

He smiled wearily, “Yeah, I’m feeling a little… tired and under the weather is all.”

Akio had a questioning gaze.

“If you say so,” he responded, “Go to the infirmary then.”

‘He bought it!’

“I’m fine enough to attend class, I assure you.”

Akio sighed, “As long as you are fine, I’m glad. If you are not feeling well because of something… or someone, feel free to come to me alright? I’m your teacher after all.”

Akio had a warm smile which reminded Hugo of Nobaru in a way. Almost made him want to spit it out.

‘Like master, like student.’ he thought.

Hugo laughed out loud to which Akio also burst out laughing.

Moments followed and then there was silence. The two smiled at each other.

“Are you feeling better now?” Akio asked.

“Somewhat yes,” Hugo replied.

“Great! Let’s get back to class then. And if you have anything to talk about, you know who to come to.”

“Yeah..!” Hugo responded.

“Great.”

‘It’s a hunch but…’ he thought.

Akio walked back to class with Hugo in tow. Hugo felt grateful as he walked behind the childlike figure. But…

‘I’m grateful, Master Akio.’ he thought, ‘But I won’t involve you in my problems. Not now, not ever. It’s not just you. I won’t involve them either.’

---

Hugo went back to class and looked at everyone with a weary smile.

Just imagine they don’t exist.” Sullivan told him.

“So Hugo,” said Akio, “Explain to the class how you managed to do it.”

“Alright then.” he responded, “Turning back time is just imagining the spell before it took shape. So..”

Hugo formed a water ball on his palm and then concentrated, ending up with drops of water moments later. The class was filled with gasps of awe. Nico and Luna didn’t bother to even look at the demonstration.

“So what would the Discharged form of the other elements be?” Nobaru asked.

Akio clapped his hands, “Let me take it from here.”

The two exchanged smiles and Hugo returned to his seat.

“Now to answer Nobaru’s question… As you know, there are seven usable elements in this land. But not all of them have a discharge. I will perform the Discharge for each element as I explain.”

“First comes Fire… Many sparks come together to form a single flame.”

He formed a fireball and it slowly changed into sparks in a smooth transition.

“Then comes Earth... Sand converges to form hard and sturdy rock.”

A rock disintegrated into thin sand in his hands.

“Then Lightning… A huge bolt is formed by many little sparks of shocking lightning.”

An orb of lightning dissipated into a thousand sparks which made everyone feel “electrified”.

“Gusts, swooshes, faint breezes. Alone they are insignificant. But together they are stronger than anything.”

A strong cold wind blew around the classroom and faded momentarily, into nothingness…

“And they, my students, are the Discharges. Light and Dark Magic are the exceptions. They don't have any.”

Gasps of amazement and hums of interest filled the classroom. The class proceeded with Akio going back and forth and teaching the students the ropes.

---

‘That hour went without a hitch.’ Eri thought, ‘I’m impressed at how Master Akio could keep those two in line. That whole class was basically Nico and Luna trying to pull tricks on Hugo just to make him feel bad.’

Eri walked towards the nearest water fountain. It was towards the right end of the corridor.

“It’s good that there are breaks in between classes now.” commented a voice.

Eri paused and saw Shizuko behind him.

“Hello, Miss Shizuko!”

Shizuko was startled, “No need to be so formal. We’ve known each other for a year now… It’s embarrassing.”

“But, aren’t you older? I mean, I don’t prefer addressing older people casually that much..”

“We are i-in the same class… Treat me like how you treat the others. It makes me feel... At home.”

The faraway look on her face, as if she was reminiscing… The passing moments of silence made Eri think if those words meant something else entirely…

“Okay then, Shizuko...” she said.

“Thank you very much, Eri..”

Eri responded with a weary smile. She was worried about Hugo’s situation. She tried to ignore it. She knew he didn’t want others in his personal issues. But, she still couldn’t let go of the feeling that what was happening was just the start of a shitshow.

Moments later, she sighed and splashed more water on his face.

“Anything wrong?” Shizuko asked.

“Oh, it’s… nothing.”

Eri turned off the tap and prepared to walk back. Shizuko followed behind her and the two began to walk to class, facing forward.

“I’m worried about Hugo a little.” she began, “I tried not to care at first. I was… and still am angry. But it still bothers me...”

Shizuko had a warm smile on her face as she urged Eri to continue.

“But, I just don’t know… Hugo doesn’t want me... or anyone for that matter, to be involved in this. I can see from his expressions and movements that he’s trying to ignore what’s happening to him. But, ignoring it won’t solve the issue. He needs to fight back. I know he’s strong enough. But, neither is he facing his fear head-on nor is he asking the people around him for help.”

They were nearing the classroom when Shizuko stopped and turned towards Eri.

“Listen, I know you want to help him. Even I do. But from the looks of things, Hugo had gone through a lot because of those two. But if he doesn't want us to come in between, then we have to listen to him. We have to respect his wishes. Something like this is for the victim to handle. He must face what comes with carrying this burden, the fear. So don’t worry. Have faith, he will be alright.”

Eri thought about it and then smiled moments later, slapping herself to her senses.

“Ouch!” she said under her breath.

“Eri, are you okay?!”

Eri smiled, “Yeah, I am. Thanks.”

Bubbles
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