Chapter 9:

A Maiden's Grief

The Writer of Magic

3 weeks have passed when we first set off for the Sandata Ruins, and our Platoon was showered with praise, well mostly the captain who was forced to go to 10 drinking sessions every night. We were given at least a week of vacation leave. I was slowly getting the hang of being in the Platoon, maybe except the Drinking Sessions. Hanabi was the reining champion with 5 bottles in and she wasn't even drunk. And when we returned to active duty in the Inner Academy, Claire, Leo, Toby and I were granted clearance for weapon updates.

"Wait... we can have our own weapons now?!" Toby asked, as if he was ready to ditch his Academy Steel. But I knew he wants to hide the fact that he already has Oathsworn, but the captain insisted that he should choose another and practice dual wielding.

"Yep, just got an order from the top brass. Oh and uh... Yman, the headmaster would like a word with you after you claim that new weapon of yours. Kay?" Captain Ventus said and he and the others head out, But Hanabi remained and she actually drags me away for a while. I got a glance of everyone from the platoon and... why are they smirking like that?

"Hanabi? Look about what happened in the Sandata Ruins, I didn't mean to upset you or anything, it's just... I don't know my own strength and, I might accidentally hurt you." I said, but she shakes her head.

"I'm sorry too... I should not have snapped at you before. It's just... you reminded me a lot of Reiko and... I couldn't stop myself." She said, her eyes welling up and she cried. Everyone around us were talking and were glaring at me.

"H-Hanabi... look... I promise I'll try harder to trust everyone... it's just. I can't control my magic from time to time." I said.

"Then promise me that you'll all be careful in using your magic. I won't take no for an answer Caliesto!" Hanabi said and stormed off before I could say anything.

I scratched my head and ignored the swirling gossips that say that I got dumped or something.

When I got back to the Hall of Arms, Toby was whistling innocently while Claire and Leo found a new interest in the curtains and ceilings.

'They're bad at acting.' I sighed and went inside first.

The Inner Academy's Hall of Arms was fancier and the selections were already named. Unlike the outer Academy's weapons, here, we have the power to choose our weapons.

"You guys coming in or what?" I asked my friends and they pretend to take interest in the weapons. But I know they're distracted because Claire was looking at the shields, Leo at the daggers, and Toby with what I assume is whip.

'These damn kids...' I sighed.

"So... Did you and Hanabi have a little, argument?" Toby began and I shot him a look that can wither a meadow.

"Are you interested in becoming a Dancer now Toby?" I shot back and he looked at the selection and laughed nervously. "And what Hanabi and I talked about isn't as... steaming that you should gather like fishwives."

"S-sorry... it's just, Hanabi may be our senior, but she is also our age too. So we thought, she finally said it." Claire puts in.

"Said what?" I asked, my curiosity was getting the better of me.

The three of them glanced at each other and sighed.

"Oh brother..." Leo said and walks over at the gun selection.

"You're a smart cookie Yman, figure it out by yourself." Claire said and rushes toward the javelin sections.

"H-hey... Listen, I like to stay and chat but... These weapons won't be picking themselves... hehe..." Toby said nervously but I grabbed his shoulder.

"That's bullshit and you know it... Now talk King." I whispered.

"I uh... don't know what you mean... Listen Yman, I need to pick a good weapon." Toby was now sweating bullets.

"You already have Oathsworn, that lie won't work on me." I said.

It took me 30 minutes to make Toby spill the beans.

"What do you mean? Hanabi is just concerned about my well being is all." I dismissed the rumor that Hanabi Asano and I made our feelings known in the Sandata Ruins. Plus, we've only met just a few weeks ago.

"Aiya... you're a tough nut that's for sure." Toby said and heads for the sword section.

I didn't think much of it anymore and just head over the Catalyst section. The selection was... Bare.

As in there was only a handful of useful grimoires for me to use, but their bonuses are... less desired.


'Items have been appraised'

Name: Records of Ervasti

Type: Grimoire

Proficiency: A

Bonus: Light Magic can now bypass Stat limitation to C rank.

Name: Melody of Tides

Type: Grimoire

Proficiency: A

Bonus: Water Magic can now bypass Stat limitation to C Rank.

Name: Hymn of the Four

Type: Grimoire

Proficiency: A

Bonus: Wind Magic can now bypass Stat limitation to C Rank.

These tomes were great... But with Spell Charge, I don't need these kinds of bonuses anymore. I sighed and resigned to the fact that the academy has a shortage of weapons for Spellcasters like me.

But I could still help my friends choosing their weapons. For Leo, I told him to pick the "Altair" rifle, since it will lessen his need to reload. For Claire, I told her to pick out the 'Wyvern's Talon' since it provides the 'Second Wind' passive. And finally, Toby's second sword, the four of us were torn, because the swords were all good for Toby's martial prowess.

"Toby you should use the Titan Breaker." Leo said as his eyes were brimming with excitement. I mean, sure, the Titan Breaker sword has the element of Lightning, and the blade was indeed captivating, at least an arm's length, with a sharp tip and intricate guard.

"That's true, but the Wild Horn is also a great contender." Claire argues as she points the Nature Elemental sword Wild Horn. I checked the passive and dang it also has the Regeneration effect, plus it absorbs Water and Earth Elemental Damage.

"Hm... What about you Yman? What sword do you think?" Toby asked for my opinion and the other two were staring daggers at me, as if telling me to agree with their suggested blades. But what caught my eye was a non-elemental blade, it was plain looking one but the passive alone was worth looking into:


Name: Brightsteel

Type: Sword

Proficiency: E

Bonus: Grants the wielder to utilize elemental blades.

I pointed to Toby and they all looked at Brightsteel.

The sword was as long as his Academy Steel, but the pommel and the guard were intricate like gryphon wings, the blade was giving off a dazzling onyx hue.

"Brightsteel? Hey, what do you guys think?" Toby asked and the other two seems to have also heard of the Brightsteel blade.

"Get it." They said and Toby took the sword.

"Hey, Yman... You didn't find a book?" Toby asked and I nod.

"None of the catalysts here suit me. Plus... I can't switch to other forms. So I'll guess I'll petition to the Captain or something." I said and they understand. That means I'm still stuck with my trusty Academy Grimoire.

"Hey, the headmaster wanted to see you right? I wonder why?" Toby wondered.

"If you're curious, why not come along with me?" I asked them but they all paled.

"Y-yeah... no thanks." Leo stuttered.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"N-nothing... Good luck Yman." The three of them bolts out, leaving me confused.

When I got to the 5th Floor, I could hear people talking inside. The voices belong to Captain Ventus, Headmaster Valkyris, and... another man's voice.

"... And I am telling you, there is no way I will let my daughter remain in your Platoon, Ventus. Especially now, of all places, you'll send her there!" The man's voice glowered.

"That's for her to decide Mr. Asano. Hanabi chose this path and became a member of the Academy's Trainees. Plus, if you keep shielding her, she won't let go of her past and move on." Captain Ventus drawled, I stopped myself from snickering. The captain really knows how to touch other people's nerves.

"Headmaster Valkyris! This Captain of yours is showing the utmost disrespect!" The man, Mr. Asano, screamed at the top of his lungs.

"That's enough. Captain Ashari, please be a bit... courteous with our guest." The headmaster droned as well, as if he and the captain were in the same wavelength.

"Roger that sir." The captain said and the doors flew open, the man heading out had ebony hair and the same blue eyes as Hanabi. When he saw me, he huffed and brushed me aside.

"Ah, Cadet Caliesto. We've been waiting for you." Headmaster Valkyris said and I salute:

"Cadet of Ventus Platoon, 8th Member, Yman Caliesto, reporting." I said and they smiled and beckoned me to come inside.

Captain Ventus was the first to notice the grimoire at my side and frowned. "Didn't find a good book I take it?"

I nod and sighed. Spellcasters are rare after all, and most mages use Staves and rods as conduits for their magic.

"I've read something from Private Asano's in-field reports during the Sandata Ruins expedition. She said that you use External Mana instead of Internal Mana, is that correct Cadet?" The headmaster inquires.

"That's right. I mostly rely on the abundant energy around me and use that as to conduit of my magic. My grimoires also acts as a storage catalyst so I can save up magic for later use." I explained how my magic works and they both nod.

"Efficient, though you said that you need to speak to the energy, yes?" The headmaster pressed the question.

"Yes sir. Which is why everyone keeps looking at me strangely whenever I cast a spell or two." I laughed lightly.

"Hey, I don't judge Yman." Captain Ventus joined in. "In fact, it's refreshing to know if we need to step back or scatter since, you need time to finish the spell."

"Agreed, most mages use Magic instantly, resulting in friendly fire, however, whenever they hear you speak an incantation, it's a good signal for them to back off." The headmaster agreed, and I can't argue with that assessment.

"But you didn't call me here just to ascertain about my magic, correct?" I inquired, talking about me is a bit... off putting to say the least.

"That's right. And fortunately, you haven't picked up a new weapon from the Hall of Arms." The captain gave me a huge grin and places a really old spellbook, but judging by the cover alone, I figured it wasn't old, but the actual design.

It has a verdant green skin, with a ruby gem encrusted at the center. The flowers that decorated the spine offer great balance and the gilded lettering was polished as if brand new. I couldn't wait anymore and activated:


Name: Tome of the Emerald Dream

Type: Grimoire

Proficiency: A

Bonus: Grants a permanent Blessing to the Skill: 'Inspection', transforming it into 'Scry' and gives the Invocation: 'Script of Nature'.

Transforming my sight skill? That's a huge bonus. I looked at the captain and the headmaster, it seems even I couldn't hide my excitement.

"Judging from your expression, it seems the book is to your liking?" Captain Ventus asked. "Well, it better. You have no idea how long it took for me to haggle it from the other Platoons."

"Wait... you did what now?" I asked and the captain feigned ignorance. I feel a sudden increase of respect to Captain Ventus, even though I never fully trusted them during our time in the Sandata Ruins... He was looking out for me.

"T-thank you." I said, my voice cracked by being touched by his kindness.

"You'll thank me by making it up to Hanabi. The girl is still upset by your actions Yman." He said and I nod. And on that note, was the return of the system:

-Destiny Re-Writing Quest received!: Tears of the Lost Souls -

Info: Investigate the Incident of the Kusanagi Forest and Subjugate the Destiny of a Misguided Soul.

Clear Conditions: Successfully Re-write the destinies of Hanabi Asano and Reiko Kusanagi

Rewards: Asano and Kusanagi Reputation +100, Invocation: 'Script of Earth', Talent: 'Chainspell'.

Failure: Reiko Kusanagi will be your Mortal Enemy.

I almost choked on the quest. So... I'll be up against the Incorrupti again. I should've known... Now I remember who Reiko was. He was the Main Villain of the Third Arc, or the Rainforest arc. It was where Toby and Lucy were separated from their platoons and worked together in restoring the Rainforest's ecological stability, but it was also where they defeated the main boss of that arc, the Kusanagi Ranger. Reiko's corrupted form.

I looked at my clenched fist. The Kusanagi Ranger... I wrote him as a sharpshooter, whose arrows of deepwood can cause insanity and grief. And when Toby plunges his sword through his stomach, his last word were: 'Forgive me... my flower, I never wanted to leave you all alone.'

So Hanabi Asano... She is also a victim here. Reiko's Flower. The memento the ranger drops for Toby.

"I feel a mission coming." I said. And the Captain nods.

"Kusanagi Rainforest. A joint mission with Jove Platoon. But the platoons will split four each, in your case, It will be you, Leo, Angela, and Hanabi. While you'll be meeting the other platoon at point B. I'll brief the others there." Captain Ventus stops abruptly.

"Is this because of your conversation with Mr. Asano?" I asked and he sighed.

"Yeah... Hanabi's past is still weighing her down, and the only way for her to move on. Is confront it. Plus... Hanabi was the one who suggested the Subjugation on the Forest. So, I guess that's one step. but Yman... As your captain, make sure to keep close to Hanabi. I know you're more empathic than you think, but... Please. Look out for her for me." The Captain told me. "I feel like she's pushing herself."

Aside from my quest to change the destiny of Reiko... I also have to take in consider Hanabi's feelings as well. This is her fate as well. But I know what I have to do. As someone who lives in this novel... I have to set things right.

I have to set this right. For Reiko, for Hanabi, and for myself.