Chapter 8:

Resolution

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


Eri woke up with her head covered with sweat. One moment she was gagged and beaten up. The next moment, she was bandaged up and lying on a bed.

“W-where am I?”

She looked around and saw the familiar surroundings of her room. It was lit by the rising sun.

“I’m… home?”

Then she saw the figure of Hugo on the floor. He was sleeping sitting up. Her face slowly turned red.

“H-Hugo?!”

The werewolf was startled awake. He looked around and saw Eri’s startled expression. His jaw dropped and he stood up to give her a big hug.

“What…?” Eri didn’t understand what was going on. What was he doing here?

“I’m so damn glad you are alright!”

As the two stayed in the same position. Eri recalled faint scenes. Being carried by an individual with a strong, dark aura…

Now that she thought about it.

‘That was…you?’ she thought.

She was overcome with happiness. She was unable to defend herself in that position. If he wasn’t there…

No, she should’ve listened to him in the first place. She shouldn’t have caused him so much trouble.

Her eyes filled with tears and her face had a happy, thankful smile. She hugged him back.

“Thank you so, so much!” she exclaimed.

The two stayed like that until Hugo let go.

Then followed the awkward silence. Neither of them were able to strike a conversation. They just sat there, silent and red faced.

“I’m sorry…” Eri said, "I should've listened to you. Instead… I caused trouble for you."

Hugo was startled. Why was she apologising? He felt a smile cross his face.

"That's right," he agreed with a laugh, "Trouble was caused--"

Eri's face had guilt written all over it.

"I'm always an inconvenience. I always have to rely on you guys for everything. Reading, writing… Realizing how wrong and rash I am."

"The trouble happened. But it was my mistake."

Eri was surprised.

"Huh?"

"I should've asked for your help. I should've been more open... I should've stopped trying to handle everything alone."

"Hugo…"

"I'm sorry for the trouble..."

Eri sighed. She blamed herself for everything. But here she was being told not to.

"It's my tendency to hide things from you and the others that led you to get hurt like this."

"Just look at yourself." Eri retorted in a pleading voice, "You talk about me getting hurt while ignoring how hurt you are?"

She pointed to his left hand, burned and bandaged completely.

Hugo was stumped, "That… That was because of me. I had the lack of confidence that made me hesitate."

He exhaled.

"Listen, you don't have to blame yourself. This problem started because I was too stubborn not to tell you. You got angry… If I get hurt, it's not because if anyone else. I mean, if I could help someone I like even if it means getting hurt, I won't feel guilty at all. Nor would I feel anger. "

His face reddened moments later as he realized what he said.

"Uhh. B-by like… I meant… As a friend! Yes, as a friend…"

Eri's mouth hung open in surprise and her face slowly reddened. She instantly burst out in laughter.

"I get it. Its fine~"

Cue the looking away. Cue the awkward silence.

"I can heal that y'know?" she suggested, taking his hand.

Hugo shook his head with a smile.

"Thanks but no thanks." he responded, "Let it stay. It's a good reminder so I won't do this again"

"Plus, it looks cool." Eri added with a playful grin on her face.

Eri looked around her room. It was officially morning. The sun towered upon everything and spread its warmth and light.

"Question," Eri started, "How are you in my room?"

"Your mom's idea. I headed to your house after what happened and both your mom and your brother told me to stay there."

"They are very perceptive."

"True." Hugo agreed, "That is why we were able to talk it out."

The two laughed together. They were not at odds with each other anymore.

"So now what?" Eri asked.

"Now…" started Hugo, "I need to have a discussion with someone. Something tells me things are going to be okay. And I have you to thank for it. You opened my eyes. "

Eri laughed, "Is that so? Y'know for someone very secretive and awkward, you are quite the charmer."

Hugo couldn't respond to that. He just laughed nervously.

The two sat together, looking out at the sky. As the people resumed their busy course.

"Can you help me up?" Eri asked.

"Gladly."

Hugo helped her up, supporting her with his left shoulder. The two walked out of the room. Downstairs, where they smelled food. They were greeted by the smiling face of Ren.

"Good morning, both of you!"

"Good morning." the two wished in unison.

"Eri are you okay now?"

Eri nodded reassuringly.

"I'm fine, don't worry. Although I'm a bit tired."

"That's great! When your friend there showed up last night, I was super worried I almost cried. He stayed up all night too, just to look after you. I told him to rest right after I used a bit of healing magic and bandaged his arm. I was worried when I saw how severe the burns were. But he said it was fine. I trust it is. But, Eri. You have to rest. No school for you today."

"I am fine, mom." Eri said, "These guys are with me. So nothing will go wrong!"

Ren sighed after looking at Eri's reassuring face, "Fine. Just.. be careful alright?"

"Relax," said a voice. "I'm sure they are fine. I think everything is alright now?"

Nobaru walked towards them with a drowsy look, his eyebrows raised.

The two nodded with grins on their faces.

"You made up?" Ren asked, "That's beautiful. Nobaru told me all about your argument. I was worried. But it's good that everything has been resolved, no?"

"Well... I still have one more thing to do." Hugo responded.

"Is that so?" Ren asked, "But don't go without breakfast. You don't want to start your day with an empty stomach right?"

---

“So now what?” Kaeda asked. The three were heading to school.

Hugo thought for a moment.

“I guess… I’ll try talking to them?”

Nobaru was surprised, “You think those two can be reasoned with? After everything they have done?”

“I-it’s not that,” Hugo confirmed, looking at Eri. “I just want to know why they did all this. I despise them and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. But I’m not going to give up on them just because of our differences. I’m sure they must have something to say.”

The four walked silently amongst the small crowd of people. The school was getting closer and they could see students walking into the campus.

“Well spoken.” the trio responded.

“You are maturing now.” Eri commented, teasing him, “How cute is that?”

Hugo laughed nervously as the three of them entered the school.

---

HUGO FROM CLASS ADVANCED 2-B, PLEASE REPORT TO THE PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE.

The announcement put everyone on edge as the entirety of class 2-B heard it. Hugo looked around for Nico. He wasn’t there in the class yet. Eri looked at Hugo and Hugo responded with a nod.

“Hugo?” Balor asked, “What did he do?”

“Yeah!” Girad said, “If anyone did something wild, I would be the first to know about it.”

“Mostly because you are the one who causes the trouble.” Harumi added, “Remember that one time when you got too ‘into the zone’ and almost destroyed the gym?”

“Hey!” Girad protested, “T-that was an accident…”

The whole class laughed out loud.

“But jokes aside,” Rin said, “What did you do?”

Hugo sighed, “I-it’s nothing. I’ll tell you guys later. Let me deal with this last thing.”

Rin nodded, “Something regarding Nico and Luna? Does it have something to do with the bandaged hand?” she guessed to which Hugo responded with a silent nod.

“Looks like you returned from a war…”

The whole class looked at his hand as if they had just noticed. Well, with the sudden announcement, it was not surprising.

“Well… It was... something.” He agreed, “But don’t worry. Everything is going to be fine.”

Hugo hastily jogged towards the principal’s office. Many students were looking his way because of his hand. A few had uncomfortable faces.

Then finally, he stood in front of the wooden door. He felt like it was the last stretch in a long journey.

He knocked on the door.

“Come in.” he heard a voice. Mr Harada’s voice.

Hugo entered and was surprised to see Nico and Luna already there.

“Good morning, Mr Harada.” He said.

“Good morning,” Yuuji responded. He had a stern look on his face. Hugo never had seen him with such a look. Well, it was his first time seeing him since the battle with Nobaru. And this time it was up close and personal.

“Take a seat, all of you.” He urged, pointing to a sofa to his left. “Tea?”

The three of them declined the offer.

“A shame.” He said feigning disappointment, “Now… I have come to know of a particular incident that took place yesterday.” The three didn’t like how he stressed the word ‘incident’.

Moments of silence followed. Then Nico took a heavy sigh.

“Let me be honest here.” He said, “It was clearly my fault. I take the blame for it.”

Hugo’s mouth hung open. He never expected his.

Luna grabbed his shoulders with a mix of shock and confusion.

“Why did you say it like that?!” she exclaimed, “Why are you taking the blame? Even I was a part of it.”

“Well, it was my idea.” He said with a serious look, “I’m only being truthful.”

“But-”

Nico silenced her with a glare and Luna immediately looked away, falling silent.

Nico proceeded to explain what had happened allowing Luna and Hugo to add up and confirm everything. As moments passed, Yuuji’s face became grimmer.

“Things escalated this far in a matter of weeks? Nico, Luna, I’m sorry to tell you this but…”

He took a deep breath, “From this moment. For acts of physical abuse and violence inflicted upon a student, you are hereby expelled from this institution.”

Hugo sat there, trying to process everything as he saw Nico heaving a sigh and Luna covering her open mouth with shock. Here he was, seeing the two people, his worst nightmare, go away. But…

‘Why do I feel so… unfulfilled?’ He thought.

Then remembered, there was something he had to do. His thoughts were interrupted by Nico.

"Well, I expected that. I guess… I deserved that."

Hugo was even more surprised now. Things were happening that was so unexpected. Maybe Nico did have a good side to him.

"It's good that you realize it now. And I'll leave you three alone for a while. I have some things to take care of."

The trio nodded as Yuuji left the room.

Then not knowing what to say, they sat in silence.

Hugo was feeling nervous now that the time had come.

"Just say what you came here to say." he heard Sullivan say, "No need to fret."

Hugo nodded, taking a deep breath.

"I hate you."

Nico and Luna were taken aback. Luna grit her teeth but only to be calmed down by Nico's reassuring smile.

"Oh finally we agree on something," he responded nonchalantly.

"Why did you do this to me all these years? You made me run away. You hurt her!"

"The last bit was an overreaction." Nico explained, "Luna has the tendency to be a bit… aggressive sometimes. Even after my parents adopted her, she still hasn't changed..."

"Hey!"

"...But, she did get that from… you know."

"Okay… but why did you do what you did to me?"

"That's because you are a crappy guy."

Hugo was offended, "Excuse me? Look who's talking. Do I have to remind you what hell I faced because of the fact that I was a 'crappy guy'?"

"Well, that's how my father described you as."

"Your... Father?"

"He's the leader of the tribe who opposed your tribe's rule back in our great grandfather's time. Your tribe rules over all the werewolves irrespective of tribes. But there are other tribes too. Tribes which once supported or opposed your tribe."

"Wait… you are royalty?"

Nico nodded, "I am next in line to the tribe's leadership."

Hugo was bewildered. They were more or less acquainted for a long time and he didn't know about this.

'Well I did run away,' he thought.

"I didn't want to hurt you at first. It was my family who brainwashed me into it. Seeing what you did there for that girl made me realize it. My father always describes you as the lowest of the low. He told me stories of his battles with your father. But… I do not know what to do anymore."

"I've always idolized Nico here." said Luna, "So I assumed what he was doing was right. I assumed… well... It was right to hurt you. Dad always told me how bad your tribe was. I guess I believed him."

Hugo had an expression of hopelessness.

"You guys… Whatever happened was during our great grandfather's time. All of them were in the past, not the present. Let our ancestors be dictators or great kings. Nothing matters. You are the one who carves your own path. Isn’t that obvious? Think Nico, think!?”

Nico pondered over this.

‘Of course, it was so obvious.’ He thought, ‘But… I can’t possibly go against-’

“I know what you are thinking.” Luna said, “But let’s do it anyway.”

“But going against him won’t solve anything.” Nico said, “You want to get us killed?!”

‘So even Nico is scared of something…’ Hugo thought.

“Is your father that powerful?”

Nico nodded, “My father is the Berserker of the North Holt.”

Hugo was shocked, “Your father is the Berserker?”

Nico nodded. From his face, he understood that Nico wasn’t kidding. Hugo only heard stories. The warlord who could defeat an army in one fell swoop. Famous for his commanding manner and his temper. Even his own army was scared of him. On the contrary, his people loved him. He was a benevolent king apparently and the main reason for the tribe’s survival and prosperity.

“But we need to try!” Luna urged, “As much as I don’t want to agree with the wimp, things have changed. Maybe he has too? It’s worth a shot! And no matter what you do, I’ll follow.”

Nico looked at her with a smile.

“Well, now we know what we are doing next.” He blurted out with a sigh.

“You are seriously thinking of opposing him?!”

“Yeah, unlike you. I won’t hesitate to fight. Don’t warm your ass on your high horse and try to advise me just because you beat me once.”

Nico paused for a moment.

“But, I will stay vigilant.” He concluded.

“And I’ll be strong enough to beat you again.”

Nico scoffed a laugh, “Let’s just hope you don’t go soft again after yesterday’s show.”

Hugo had a confident grin on his face. “I won’t go soft. You are one of the guys I don’t want to lose to.”

“Oh?” Nico responded with an annoyed smile, “Well, let’s just see about that."

“Yeah!”

“Let’s put that episode to later, shall we?”

Yuuji appeared behind them and immediately things quietened down.

“Yes sir!” Hugo said as if he were a soldier.

“Okay, okay,” Nico mumbled.

“What was that?” Yuuji asked with a menacing look.

Nico suddenly felt his intimidating presence.

“A-alright. Sorry…”

A smile formed on Yuuji’s face.

“Alright, since everything is settled now. You all know where you should right?”

The three nodded.

“Well, have a wonderful day!”