Chapter 10:

In the Forest of Magic and Madness

The Writer of Magic

Kusanagi Rainforest.

A rainforest situated at the eastern part of the Academy's location, namely within the border of the Senzakura Region, normally, we would've used a teleportation pad but our method of transportation was by boat due to the land being... too traditional. The trip was spent in silence, knowing the destination was an even treacherous locale was keeping us in our toes. Even if I did get a new grimoire, the nervousness was settling in my mind rent free.

Kusanagi Rainforest, a name that strikes fear even in the most veteran of soldiers. Aside from the dense canopy and vicious flora, the fauna is mostly a mutated populace of avians, serpents, and aquatic life.

The heavy rain was not a good sign either. Aside from the unexplored terrain, some areas of the forests will be unpassable due to the flooded pathways. But for me... It's a little too personal.

"So... any ideas on what we'll face?" Toby spoke up amidst the driving rain and the crackling of lightning.

"Well, for one. This rain, two, the plant life, and three. Hypothermia." I said but the sarcasm flew over Toby's head.

"Great, thanks for the info Yman." Toby smiled and I sighed.

I was getting irate. Not only is the weather at the most ideal condition, but also the fact that the story has progressed to a more chaotic route. Toby, Leo, Claire are still cadets. Meaning, this may either make them into soldiers, or break them as soldiers.

Let's not also change the fact that the serpent's venom was still inside me. I tried to find apothecaries, or anyone with the alchemist class. Sadly, those who are adept in the field of inoculation and mechanics are sent to the branch Academy in Calces in the far west. The Medical Team in the Main Branch are all Saints and Magic users, so it wasn't as effective.

Every night was torture. Serpent Chimera venom was potent in giving night terrors. Driving their prey insane until they fall off to their own demise. In my case, irritability and a bad case of sass.

It was hard trying to keep calm, even with Hanabi's recovery magic, I was still a bit... cranky with everyone who tries to talk to me. But I was getting the hang on being subtle.

"Alright guys, the docks are just up ahead. Again, this will be a joint mission between two Platoons." The Captain said.

"Remind us again who our partners will be?" Toby raised his hand.

"All right, The Jove Platoon is the 18th Ranking Platoon in Calastro. Led by Captain Jove Iverson. They're... Pretty hard to miss." Captain Ventus remarks and Soraya couldn't stop laughing.

"Their team comprises of two rangers, one dedicated healer, a magic user, one spearman and one dedicated tank. In all honesty, his team is lacking an all rounder." Angela reads the file of the Jove Platoon from the Database.

I looked it up as well, but it wasn't as accurate as the 'Scry' skill. I was looking over at the names, until I see a name that sent shivers down my spine. Charles' second-in-command in the original and the one who kidnaps Leo in the arc I was suppose to write.

'Jeremiah Shickshal, Private Second Class'

Jeremiah was a Reaver class, proficient in slash type polearms, he was second to none in the ways of subterfuge and subjugation. He even defeated Claire in single combat when I wrote his introduction in the cliffhanger arc.

Now I'll be teaming up with one of the group's future enemies. But... Why did I made him into a villain again? Jeremiah was a highborn. He had everything. So why?

I shake off my thoughts because the venom was acting up again, and this time, Hanabi saw me wincing.

'Oh crap.' Was my initial thoughts, but Hanabi looks away. Is she still mad at me?

I was about to tell everyone about my condition when a notification sounds all of a sudden, and the screen reveals an elder man, way older than the Headmaster.

"General Kamui. This is a surprise." Captain Ventus salutes and we followed.

The General and overseer of the Senzakura Region, Nagatsugikiri Kamui. He was on his deathbed when Toby and his Platoon were in the region who came to investigate the perpetual rainstorm and the rising activity of chimeras in the Kusanagi Forest.

But looking at him now, he is missing an injury. Namely the gash on his chest that saps away his vitality. A gash that I wrote when I purposefully made Senzakura, a land of tranquility and elegance, be the first to be laid under siege by Charles and his posse. And sends the whole region in turmoil.

"Greetings Captain of the 177th Platoon, Ventus Ashari. I trust you are upon the shorelines of the Yoshie Port?" The general inquires.

"Yes sir, we'll be disembarking within the next minute." Captain Ventus confirms, the General then stroke his white mustache, and I swear I can hear Toby struggling not to laugh.

"Then we have time. Now, I'm sure you are aware of the situation of the Kusanagi Rainforest? The sheer amount of rainfall has drastically upset the balance of the ecosystem. If this situation is left to fester even more, I believe Senzakura will be besieged by floods within the next few years." The General briefs.

'Make that months...' I wanted to say but I held my tongue. The rainstorm will only intensify because the Kusanagi Ranger's presence alone aggravates the Rainstem. The source of the Abundant water energy in the rainforest.

"Thus, I have issued a state of emergency here in Senzakura. And I want you and the Jove Platoon to heed my decree: You are to split up in groups of two per Platoon to maximize efficiency." The general said and we were all shocked by the order.

"But sir-!" The captain began but he was cut off.

"They are not students anymore, I know you have four cadets and one private under your wing Captain Ashari. But know that it is under your hands whether they should stay as cadets, or rise to the occasion. The Jove Platoon have sent their confirmation already. What say you, Captain?" The General's tone was cold as permafrost, the Captain looked at us apologetically and he rescinds to the order.

"Excellent. Now then, best of luck to all of you. And I expect results." The general cuts the feed off, and that was when Soraya and Toby burst out their frustrations. Angela was in shock, Claire was baffled, Leo was tensed, and Hanabi was looking pale.

I for one, am scared. This has turned from a subjugation into a suicide mission. No way are we surviving this ordeal unscathed.

"Captain this is absurd, is he telling us to die?" Leo was trying hard to keep calm, but his fists was white.

"We are in Senzakura territory now. Their laws far differ to ours back at the Academy. So while we are here as reinforcements, they have jurisdiction on how we will operate here." The captain told us, and we didn't say anything.

We've arrived without saying another word to each other and we've met the Jove Platoon. And sure enough, I finally got what the captain meant about Captain Jove being hard to miss.

He... She... I don't know how to make of them. But they have a lean frame and short black bob hair, with sky blue highlights. Their eyes were like a pair of gleaming amethysts, and on their side, was a quiver full of bolts. Curiosity took over and I used;


Name: Jove Iverson

Level: 17

Class: Ranger

Title: Purveyor of Equity

Skills: Quickdraw Barrage, Vampiric Slayer, Shadowbinder

Talents: Precision, Silverbolts

So they are one of the Archers in their platoon.

"Ah, Venti!!! So nice of you to finally come!" Captain Jove said, their voice drowning out the deluge.

"Hi Jove... you're in good spirits." Captain Ventus said and Jove flashed all of us a wide grin.

"Hello Venti Platoon! I'm the ever famous captain of the 18th Platoon, Jove Iverson. Pleasure to meet you all." They said and we all greeted them with a lukewarm response.

"Wow, tough crowd. And you have a very balanced team Venti!! You have two skirmishers, another ranger, a dancer, a healer and a mage. Oh my, your healer and mage! Aren't they just adorable!" Captain Jove exclaims loudly.

I never realized what it was until they pointed it out. Hanabi and I were wearing nearly identical coats, but the colors were different, I had the lighter tone while Hanabi's was darker. Both of us looked away, and I could feel my face getting hot.

"That's enough Jove. What's the situation?" The captain suppressed a smile as he gives Captain Jove a meaningful 'get to the point' stare.

"Spoilsport... But anyways, I'll stop now. Venti, you and I will take the western forest, and bring another one with you, preferably the cute lady." They wink at Soraya, who shivered.

"My platoon is already ready, two of them will be by the entrance of each glade. Oh, and just a heads up Venti... Have the Mage and Healer pair up in the East route."

A silent conversation happened between the two captains, until Captain Ventus sighs.

"Yman, Hanabi. Head to the east now. You have... different orders." Captain Ventus said, his expression was that of mortification and anger.

Hanabi and I head to the eastern glade in silence, the rain was getting louder the more we head towards the east. And the more I think about it, the more the venom inside me was making me restless.

"The serpent's venom is still inside you... isn't it?" Hanabi broke the tension and silence.

"It is... Like I said, magic isn't effective against it." I admitted.

"Why didn't you tell the captain?" She asked quietly.

"Even if I did, our Platoon isn't a standardized one. Calces will only accept platoons that have no more cadets in their ranks." I reminded her and she sighed.

"If you feel any pain, tell me. Don't be a hero." She said and walks ahead of me.

"Hanabi wait." I chase after her but we were greeted by the two members of the Jove Platoon, the Spearman and the other Ranger.

"Finally, what took you two do long?" The boy with gray hair and yellow eyes said, he hefted the halberd on his shoulder as he glares at us. Judging from the rich kid like demeanor, and that snobby way of looking at us. I'd say I found the potential scum bag.

"Sorry for being late... Sir Shickshal." I said, feigning humility wasn't hard thanks to the Serpent's Venom.

"Whatever. Hey healer! You better keep those heals coming, otherwise, I'd report to your captain about how poor you are at doing your job. Got it?" Jeremiah gloats and heads in first to the Eastern Glade.

"Dumb fuckwit..." I muttered under my breath but Hanabi heard me and tries to suppress a smile.

"Sorry about Jeremiah... he's a bit... shirty with newcomers. I'm Trent by the way... Trent Rasca." The ranger introduces and offers his hand, which Hanabi and I shake on in turns, but once I grabbed his hands, my Scry ability activates on its own:

Name: Trent Rasca

Level: 10

Class: Entrant (Possible Route Ranger)

Skills: Clustershot, Grand Barrage

Talent: Elemental Infusion

I was surprised by how much talent Trent has. Is he... an extra in the novel as well? Like Arthur and Hanabi?

"You okay Yman? You're staring quite a lot at the distance." Hanabi asks, her tone was softer now.

"Yeah... thanks. Anyways Trent, I'm Yman Caliesto, and this is Asano Hanabi."

"Asano? You mean... You're Chairman Asano's Daughter?!" Trent hyperventilated and Hanabi just shushes him all of a sudden.

"S-sorry... I forgot about that." Trent said and I was beyond confused. What's gotten into Hanabi all of a sudden?

We head over to the Eastern glade and a wall of rain splashes down on my face. Trent and Hanabi were safe but I was the unlucky one who got splashed. Jeremiah's trail was apparent, since he was hacking away at the overgrown flora.

"So how did you get paired up with Mr. Shickshal?" Hanabi inquires.

"Captain Jove wanted someone to rein him in, but to be honest. Not all of us can stop Jeremiah." Trent admits.

'Of course no one can rein him in, his destiny is to be a member of the Final Boss.' I thought.

We were catching up with Jeremiah when I stopped on my tracks. There was something, or someone keeping an eye on us. That feeling of being watched from the distance was making me shiver.

"Yman? What's wrong?" Trent asked. Before I say anything, I sensed a loosed arrow and was aimed at Hanabi.

"Torrents bring refuge; Rain Screen!"

By utilizing the waters around us, a wall of water cushions the arrows. Making them float around harmlessly.

Then I hear a sound coming from the left, and arrows began flying towards us.

"Trent, Hanabi, Run!" I barked and we booked it towards the forest.

This is not our day. We only got inside for like a few minutes and the Kusanagi Ranger was already behind us.

Then something else just weighed in on my mind... I couldn't see nor hear Hanabi and Trent. The jungle was dense and the rain makes it hard to hear if anyone was calling for me.

Just then an arrow whizzes from my back and makes a cut on my cheek. The stinging sensation was was like pressing a hot knife on my flesh was so surreal it made me look behind me. And there he was... draped in leaves and eyes glowing bright gold.


Name: Reiko Kusanagi

Level: 20

Class: Ranger

Title: Lord of Kusanagi Rainforest

Skill: Grand Barrage, Forest Hymn

Talent: Guardian of the Woods

'Shit...' I cursed, this guy... He's been grinding in the forest ever since. And now... He's come to use me as fodder for his power.

"Primordial... one." He said and I froze. What did he say? "Aberrant. An enemy to the ecosystem."

It nocked a ruby-tipped arrow and it flew at blinding speed, hitting me square in the chest. But instead of piercing me, it exploded in a cloud of red dust.

I coughed and gagged. Something about this arrow was... preventing me from speaking. Hushpollen?! I looked up and Reiko was gone, but something landed behind me, and when I turned around, a blow on my stomach knocked the wind and blood out of me.

As my consciousness begins to fade, the Ranger whistled, and vines began to tangle and drag me away. I was following Reiko somewhere, but I didn't know where as I blacked out. And all I heard was a single phrase:

"You... don't belong in this world."