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18 Mirror Dimension [3]

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Foresight.

The gift of glimpsing into the future—a power I held. It was the third time now, and even now, I didn't fully understand it.

What triggered it...?

Was it just random, or did it follow a set pattern?

Questions flooded my mind.

But I didn't have long to ponder over them.

Splat—!

Grabbing my attention, a black substance splattered on the ground, presumingly from the monster that had just been killed.

I didn't care to look, though. The vision grabbed my thoughts as it replayed in my mind.

Every detail, from the minutiae to the grand, was etched vividly in my memory.

With a thought, I could recall everything that had happened. From the pain to the very last moments when something dashed at the team leader.

The memories were vivid in my mind, and as my gaze settled on a specific tree, my hand instinctively reached out, extending a finger to point at it.

"That one."

I was sure.

The memories told me so.

".....Get rid of that one too."

Another one was hiding in that tree.

***

'How did he know...?'

Aoife looked at his back, her eyes falling on the creature on the ground.

'Rabbleflit'

An 'infant' ranked beast. Though the lowest of all classes, it was a beast that specialized in stealth and ambushes.

They were both deaf and blind. They attacked based on nearby vibrations, limiting their range to a small area.

Even so...

To compensate for this evident flaw, their mastery over stealth was unparalleled.

Unless one possessed proficiency in search magic or had extremely keen mana senses, detecting them was nearly impossible.

Was Julien proficient in search magic...?

She didn't think so.

So how?

Mana sensitivity...?

"It's hiding on that tree over there."

Aoife followed his finger. Again, she could see nothing.

".....Team Leader."

Aoife looked back at him, immediately noticing his annoyed expression.

"Yes?"

lightsnοvεl

"As far as I'm concerned, there's another creature hiding over there. I'm not proficient in long-range magic. If you wouldn't mind."

"Right..."

Aoife eyed the tree in the distance and flicked her finger. The tree shriveled up, compressing like a scrunched-up paper.

It all happened so fast that the creature was unable to react.

"Hieek...!"

After a deafening screech, what followed was the creature's shriveled-up body.

"...."

Aoife took a look at the creature before turning her head away.

'How ugly...'

Just like Julien, she was talented in two fields.

[Mind] and [Body].

Unlike Julien, who was proficient in the Emotive field under the Mind classification, she was more proficient in Telekinesis.

With a single thought, she could manipulate an inanimate object.

"Yuck, it looks nasty."

A different figure drew near, leaning forward as her golden locks cascaded over her face while she grimaced.

"They really do look different than the textbooks, don't they? Team Leader."

It was...

What was her name again?

Aoife struggled to recall. Nonetheless, she nodded her head.

".....Yeah."

That was when two other figures approached her. With bright smiles, they started to praise her.

"You were amazing."

"That was great. I can't believe you're so strong."

It was a situation she had grown used to. Typically, she didn't mind such flattery.

But strangely, they felt rather annoying at the moment.

'...I didn't do anything.'

She found it odd.

Since when did she mind such things?

"..."

At heart, she already knew the answer.

Swallowing her pride, much to the surprise of the others, she moved toward a certain figure. He stood alone, his gaze lingering over the nearby trees.

"..."

She stopped when she was a few meters away from him.

Taking note of her appearance, he glanced at her.

"What?"

His tone was as flat and rude as ever. However, she didn't mind it.

She knew he could take advantage of her cracks if she showed them.

"....Thank you. The situation would've been difficult had you not warned us."

"Ah."

He extended his hand to brush his shoulders.

"You're right."

"...?"

Aoife found the entire situation somewhat funny. She somewhat expected such an answer from him.

It seemed fitting.

Could she be starting to get an idea of his character?

"Can you continue doing it?"

Aoife believed that moving forward, if they wanted no accidents to occur, they needed his assistance.

He had proven his abilities worked.

Even as the other members showed clear signs of refusal, she ignored them. For this journey to go smoothly, she needed him.

Pride was meaningless under such circumstances.

She expected him to feel the same too, but as their gazes met, he shook his head.

"No."

Casually taking out a jerky, he bit into it and turned away.lightsnovel

"...Even if I want to, I can't."

Staring at his back, Aoife's expression didn't change.

Such response... It was fitting of him.

But as expected.

'I really can't stand him.'

***

The Mirror Dimension was an expansive space devoid of any life.

The amount of manpower used by the kingdom to keep the space from expanding was enormous.

Thankfully, just as threatening as the Mirror Dimension was, it was also a land filled with opportunities.

Black Region Supply-Station.

In front of a levitating panel adorned with a myriad of shifting images stood a gracefully poised woman with flowing black hair.

Delilah's gaze seemed fixed on a certain panel.

".....Could it be that he's very perceptive to mana?"

[Get rid of that one too.]

The way he was able to detect Rabbleflit so effortlessly despite not specializing in such magic. The way he was able to avoid its ambush...

It aroused curiosity.

When one thought about it, what he did wasn't all that impressive. Recognizing the mana flow of a creature was something that most mages were capable of doing after reaching a certain point.

The key point, however, was 'certain point'.

Tier 3 and above was the requirement.

In other words, he was able to achieve something like that before even reaching Tier 3.

"Fascinating."

Truly.

But that was all.

It was just fascinating.

Her lingering interest in him waned when she brought her attention to a specific paper.

"...."

It was a document detailing Julien's background.

The contents weren't very thick. However, a certain page caught her attention. It was a close-up image of him.

Her eyes slowly traced down toward his forearm, where a small black tattoo appeared.

It was an unremarkable tattoo. One that any other person could have.

But...

She was confident.

After doing an intensive background check, she was sure of it.

"....So you've finally shown yourselves."

Delilah gently closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The paper in her hand wrinkled under her grasp.

"To think you'd even try to target this place..."

Finally, cracks appeared on her usually composed expression as her lips twisted up. A sneer marred her features.

"How bold."

She spat out, trying her best to suppress the raging storm that was boiling in her chest.

Staring at the tattoo in the picture, her expression turned frosty.

"How very bold..."

***

"Looks like all the teams have gathered."

There were no other hiccups on our journey to the designated spot. That was good because I still struggled to clear my mind of the vision.

I still felt the lingering after-effects of my death. Thankfully, it happened fast... but the very last moments were still deeply rooted in my mind.

"What you guys currently experienced was merely a taste of the dimension. The deeper you venture, the harder things will become. Thankfully, our empire set up several safe stations located throughout. This one being one of them."

Amir Wallow gave a long-winded statement. He gave us a short overview of our current location.

Looking around, I had to hold myself from expressing my surprise.

High walls constructed from sturdy rock enclosed the area, while tents were scattered throughout. In the distance, a fissured space marked the entrance and exit points where people came and went.

It was a strange sight. One that I didn't think I would get used to easily.

"This is a rather small safe-station. There's plenty deeper within the dimension, but you won't get to experience those just yet. For now, enjoy yourselves here. We will return to the institute in an hour."

The cadets all separated.

Perhaps because everything seemed so new, everyone looked strangely excited as they scattered to check out the safe zone.

I thought about checking the place, too, but...

"I'm tired."

I felt strangely tired.

My eyelids were growing heavier, and each step felt heavier than the last. It was to the point where I had no choice but to find a place to sit.

"Haa..."

Taking a deep breath, I covered my face.

What sort of situation was this?

It wasn't as though I did much coming here. My group members did most of the killings while I watched from behind.

The only time I acted was when...

"Could it be that?"

Was this the consequence of the 'insight' ability?

If that was the case, I was more than happy with it. Compared to the backlash from 'immersion,' this felt like nothing.

"Haha.... shit, have I become too used to this?"

Physical pain, tiredness, mental trauma... It felt like I had experienced a lot of things over the past week.

"This is crazy. This i—Ukh!"

Pain seized my body all of a sudden.

It was so intense that I couldn't even shout. Spit flew from my mouth as I lost control of my body.

My vision blurred, and the world tilted.

"...Ukh."

'Wh-what's going on...?!'

Clutching the side of the bench I occupied with all my strength, my legs quivered.

It was hard to describe the pain I was in.

It seemed as if it aimed to consume my mind, stimulating every corner of my consciousness before honing in on a particular point.

A familiar spot.

"...Ah."

And as my gaze fell on the spot, I finally found my breath again.

I didn't know how to feel.

Lowering my head, I stared at my forearm, where a small tattoo appeared.

It was unlike how it was before.

Something changed.

"T-his...haa... of all things..."

The second leaf of the tattoo.

It had lit up.