“How long are you going to keep hiding in here, Yuki-san?”
Tenn stormed into Yuki’s room (or rather, Yamato and Ryuu’s spare bedroom). Iori was following behind.
“....get out” Yuki said with a straight face. He was sitting on a bed in the dark room with messy hair, thin stature and pale skin. His eyes were lifeless.
“Do you think Ogami-san wants you to end up like this?” Tenn did not spare his thoughts.
“Ban is gone. Nothing matters anymore. It’s the end of Re:vale. The end of me.” Yuki answered, not really looking at the two boys. Iori had a sad expression on his face as he was reminded of when he lost his parents. He cried so much back then. The only person who could ease his pain was Mitsuki.
And Mitsuki was now ‘gone’ too. Tenn became his next saviour. Were these kinds of attachments unhealthy? Iori did not want to think of that right now.
He did not ever want to have to think about it.
“Listen, Yuki-san” Tenn crossed his arms on his chest. “If you are saying you don’t care anymore, how about doing a favour for me?”
Yuki looked up to indicate he was partly listening.
Tenn explained. “I need a manager and I want you to fill that role.”
Iori’s eyes widened. He felt a stab in his heart. Why had Tenn never asked him even though he had been putting a schedule for Tenn’s practice all this time before he auditioned. Tenn seemed to have come prepared however. “I would have asked Izumi if he hadn’t got school and his part time job.”
Yuki stayed silent.
Tenn said with a neutral expression. He looked pretty intimidating this way. “You don’t have to be alive to do this job. Just tell me my schedule. Watch me practice. The rest I can handle.” The magic user took a few step backwards and touched Iori’s shoulder. “And I’m sure Izumi can also help, but the main job is yours”
Iori smiled a little.
“What a pain...” Yuki muttered, but he never objected. Tenn signalled for Iori to leave while they could before Yuki changed his mind.
Because all the buildings were restored back to their original state, most elite scientists kept their focus on researching the cause of the earthquake. Yamato felt there were enough people working on it, so he went to the building of official personnel to meet with the Regulator Nagi.
As soon as he entered the modern-looking building, an AI came to greet him and led him to Nagi’s office. Nagi sat in the middle of the room behind his large grey desk. The room had several projected screens, showing stats of operations running in Silica. The blond told his AI to turn all of them off once Yamato stood in front of the desk. The whole room would give off a dark, official vibe if it was not for a large limited edition MagiKona plush sitting on the table, facing Nagi.
Both Nagi and Yamato were wearing suits with ties. Nagi was supposed to wear that on his job. In Yamato’s case, he wore it because he had to meet Nagi. Otherwise he would be in his usual white lab coat.
“Hello Yamato” Nagi gave a little smile. “What brings you here today?”
“Hey Nagi” Despite wearing those formal attire, they spoke rather casually. “Actually I have a request”
“Oh? What is it, my dear friend?” Nagi leaned forward and blinked.
“I think there are enough scientists working on the earthquake thing already. I would like to get back to my original research...” Yamato trailed off at the end knowing it sounded like a selfish request.
“Oh Yamato, you know other scientists feel the same way you do...” Nagi looked sympathetic, but he wasn’t about to grant his permission that easily.
“Please, Nagi. It’s..um..urgent.” Yamato tried to not spill information which made the request even harder to answer to.
“Or...Is there a problem?” Nagi’s face turned serious as he looked straight into Yamato’s eyes. Even that, his charm did not decrease at all.
“uhh...” Yamato hesitated. Finally, he sighed and began to explain how Mitsuki had gone missing and how Tenn had ended up here from another world. He said he wanted to locate Mitsu as soon as possible especially now that weird phenomenons were happening.
“OH MY GODDDDD!!!” Nagi screamed loudly, got up and ran to shake Yamato’s body. “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME MITSOOKI WENT MISSING?!?!?”
“Whoa Nagi” Seriously this guy...he’s shocked by the wrong part. The truth was Yamato, Nagi and Mitsuki were close high school friends. They just went separate ways afterwards. Plus, Yamato knew back then Nagi had special feelings towards Mitsuki, so he didn’t want to worry his otaku friend much more than necessary.
“Oh Yamato next time please tell me right away” Nagi sounded a little hurt. “You may resume your research”
With that, Yamato was ready to take his leave. He turned his back to Nagi when...“wait”
“Take all the earthquake footage with you.” Nagi spoke while typing on his computer to share the files.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Yamato asked.
“Yes. All of these events were too strange to be unrelated.” Nagi hit send.
Yamato nodded. “I’ll keep you in the loop” Then he waved. “Thanks” and left.
Riku flopped onto his bed, panting heavily when he arrived at the inn and placed the unconscious Gaku on another bed. It was a tiring day for the young lord.
Mitsuki’s head felt much clearer by the time they got back. He went to get Riku some water and drinking medicine. “Hey, are you alright?” The doctor sat down beside the lord.
Riku slowly got up and took the medicine bottle from Mitsuki’s hand. He sipped it little by little because he was quite tired. “Thanks, Mitsuki”
“He’s out like a light” Mitsuki looked at Gaku who slept peacefully on his bed.
“Gaku needs this more than anyone else” Riku set the empty medicine bottle down on the bedside table before walking to sit on the edge of Gaku’s bed. The lord reached his hand to gently fix the silver hair strands that were out of place. “He’s done so much for me. This is the least I could do for him to make him feel less restricted.” Riku touched Gaku’s warm cheek with care. His eyes were full of sorrow. “He is stuck with me.”
Mitsuki felt a pang in his chest watching the scene in front of him.
“Riku, I asked before but this time, answer me truthfully” The orange haired boy looked down on his loosely clenched fists. Riku directed his attention to Mitsuki. “How come you’ve never asked me to be your butler?”
“Like” Mitsuki took a deep breath. “When Momo-san came, you let him learn his art while serving you in return. So how come you didn’t ask anything of me?”
“Why am I always referred to as a ‘guest’?”
Riku was a sensitive soul. He could catch the bitterness and hurt in Mitsuki’s voice. He was clearly bothered by it.
Mitsuki didn’t want to go as far as to devote his life for Nanase-sama, but he wanted to feel like he was a part of this life in another world.
He wanted to feel like he belonged in this foreign place.
“I wanted to protect you from this terrible system of our world...” Riku started to answer. “A commoner. A noble. A lord. They’re all just titles, yet they have created so many problems, so many differences in levels within the society.”
“I apologise that my selfishness and my little ideal has kept you from fitting in. It must have been...confusing.” Riku looked as if he was about to cry. “I just don’t want you to change, Mitsuki”
“Hey, Riku, it’s all good.” Mitsuki went to touch Riku’s shoulder. “I’m happy that you’re trying to protect me. I know you’re kind and you care.” His eyebrows dropped and he smiled. “But I’m strong!” He flexed his non-existent biceps before bending down on one knee.
“So let me serve you, Riku. I will adapt, but my friendliness won’t change. I’ll still call you Riku, touch your shoulders, or argue with you....when appropriate”
Riku froze for a bit. Then he chuckled. “Pfftt that’s not how you talk to a lord, Mitsuki!”
“My deepest apologies, Nanase-sama.” Mitsuki imitated Gaku’s expression, voice and speech. The lord and the doctor ending up laughing together loudly.
Riku tried to regain his composure to make things formal. “Very well, Mitsuki. Make sure to let Gaku know of this news once he wakes up.”
Mitsuki suddenly held his breath. Oh shoot...I forgot about Yaotome!
The sun was starting to rise. Riku and Mitsuki were already up as they were used to getting up around this time. Mitsuki got ready and left to find a place to practice his art for a few hours while Gaku was still sound asleep.
“Ngghh” Gaku started tossing and turning in his bed. He seemed to be having a nightmare as he was gritting his teeth, groaning and sweating. "Owww my..limbs...tearing...zZzZ"
Riku frowned. Those words his butler were mumbling were disturbing. He wondered why Gaku was having such a seemingly scary dream.
"Gakuuuu" Riku went and tried to shake the guy awake. Gaku did not wake up. "Hmmm..." He did not want to cast magic on Gaku. Not knowing what to do, Riku pulled the blanket and sat on the bed beside Gaku.
"Protect...zzz...my lord..." Gaku shifted his position. His head ended up on Riku's lap. His face became magically peaceful all of a sudden. Riku took this opportunity to adore his butler's sleepy face and played with his soft, silky hair.
"nnnghh...hm?" After around 20 minutes, Gaku's consciousness finally came back to him. His vision was still pretty blurry. What was he sleeping on? What a weird shaped pillow. Curious, he reached one of his arms to grab Riku's slender thigh.
"Wah!?!" Riku was taken by surprise. The boy was reading some magazines provided in the inn. "Ah, Gaku you're awake"
Gaku was stunned for seconds after his eyes adjusted to the light. He looked up to find his young lord smiling at him. It was then he realised that his head was on Riku's lap. "MY LORD!" Gaku's eyes widened, his cheek went red. He sprang himself up so fast, he fell off the other edge of the bed and landed on his bum. There, Gaku kneeled and bowed with his forehead on the ground. "My lord, I apologise for my rudest behaviour!"
Riku only laughed. "Gaku, raise your head. It's fine, really. Seeing you drunk is rather enjoyable."
"But Nanase-sama!" Gaku immediately objected. "It was incredibly dangerous. What if someone targeted you on the way back?!"
Riku sighed. "Well then, stop being so strict and call me by my first name already. Otherwise, I'm going to have to force you to drink every time I want to see the real Yaotome Gaku"
Gaku gulped. He himself cared much about his lord physically, but he often neglected his lord's feelings without meaning to. A part of him also felt grateful his lord wanted to get closer to him. "I under-, no, alright, Riku" Gaku nodded and smiled. In return, Riku gave his, which was 10 times brighter.
Gaku was surprisingly accepting when Mitsuki told him he wanted to serve Riku. The personal butler's smirk indicated he would probably enjoy seeing Mitsuki suffer during harsh training. Plus, Gaku was happy his lord managed to make someone like him enough to serve him.
The three had breakfast at one of the local cafe before having a wander around town. Riku loved any shops with cute crafts and he managed to charm the owners with his smiles, kind words, and innocent curiosity. Gaku always spent the longest in weapon and spellbook shops. Magic users did not need those spellbooks to cast magic but it may help to learn some advance techniques. Mitsuki stopped by at odd shops with rare food ingredients so he could use them in cooking food for attracting and controlling animals.
By the afternoon, they got to the quieter, more isolated part of the town with more large houses and mansions. They followed a certain neat, narrow nature path because Riku was curious where it led.
"Unbeleivable!" Mitsuki stared in awe once they got to the end of the path. There was a large, beautiful waterfall and lake. Bushes of colourful wild flowers grew around them.
"I was not expecting this" Gaku was also taken by the pretty scenery. "Perfect spot for a rest"
The three sat down on a clear grassy area near the waterfall which had a cave underneath. Riku wanted to explore the cave but Gaku said he needed rest more than any of them, so Riku pouted and sat. Mitsuki brought out the snacks he bought from several candy shops. While he let Gaku and Riku enjoy snacking on sweet milky toffees, he sang. Soon, birds and harmless friendly animals surrounded them. Riku was over the moon seeing some spotted deer wandering around them. Mitsuki kept humming tunes and feeding the animals. A short moment later, he sang a calming song so the animals would not fear Gaku and Riku. It worked like a charm on Gaku. Woodpigeons and robins landed on Gaku's head and shoulders. "Fwah?! Wah! Oi! What the-" Mitsuki and Riku laughed seeing the butler so flustered. The doctor wished he had a camera or a phone to capture these memorable moments in Majabah.
What interrupted them was an echoing cry coming from a cave. It did not sound like any typical animal cries. Mitsuki had learned the cries of common animals found throughout Majabah. This one was new. "Hey, did you all hear that?" Mitsuki paused and asked. Gaku and Riku both nodded. "Do you know what that is?"
"I have never heard something like this before." Riku shook his head.
"It must be loud if we could hear it all the way over here from that cave" Gaku went into thinking pose.
"Well then, what are we idling around for? Let us see what is inside!" Riku sprang up on his feet in excitement. Gaku knew there was no stopping his lord now.
"Alright, Riku. Izumi, watch Riku's back. I will lead." Gaku checked his body to make sure he had all shurikens ready in his mysterious hiding places.
The travellers entered the cave and it was not as large as they thought for it to be. Riku lit up the cave using his light magic. The path was long without forks but not narrow so there was wind blowing through. Gaku and Mitsuki were relieved since they were worried Riku might have trouble breathing deep inside the cave.
Before long, they got to the end of the tunnel. Three pairs of eyes glittered as they saw glowing crystals and gemstones embedded in the walls around them. "Whoa...these are so pretty..." Riku stared in awe.
"What the hell is that?!" Gaku instinctively stepped backwards when he saw something in the middle of the area. It was small, white, round...
and it certainly was alive.
"Be on your guard everyone!" Gaku shouted as he took out his shuriken.
"Wait!" Mitsuki shouted as soon as he got a good look at the mysterious creature. "It's badly injured"
"You're right" Riku's eyes widened. Right away, he stepped forward to get close to it. Gaku panicked. "My lord, careful!"
"No way...!" Riku was shocked once he got very close to the creature and identified its species.
"Riku, are you okay?!?" Mitsuki and Gaku now also surrounded the creature. Gaku's face went pale. "Holy- my lord, is this-?"
Riku looked at Gaku with a serious expression. Mitsuki did not quite understand why until the next sentence left the lord's mouth.
"It most certainly is a baby dragon"