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28 Assistant [1]

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"What... I..."

The words were stuck in my mouth. I had a hard time understanding the situation. No, not quite.

An idea formed in my mind shortly after, and I was able to calm myself down.

"You're here regarding the incident."

This much should've been obvious.

Once my mind calmed down and I processed my situation, I got a picture of the situation.

".....Perhaps you want a report? My side of the story regarding the situation."

The words flowed out of my mouth smoothly.

I had been puking just moments prior, and my head was still throbbing, but even in such a state, I was able to think clearly.

My pain had not been for nothing.

"I can do that, but I'd like to know something in return."

"....."

Delilah didn't answer and just stared at me. With her arms crossed, she casually leaned her head back.

I felt a shiver run down my body as her gaze swept my body. It felt intense, and the hair at the back of my neck rose.

'As expected of one of the strongest people... Just standing next to her feels pressuring.'

I had already experienced this sensation before, during the examination, but compared to then, the pressure I was feeling was to a greater degree.

It felt suffocating.

And then,

"....Alright."

She blinked.

The pressure that was covering me disappeared. Almost as if it had never been there.

"Let's do that. You ask me a question; I'll ask one too."

"..."

I silently nodded my head.

Then, musing over my thoughts, I opened my mouth and carefully said,

".....You were there, weren't you? Watching everything."

Even now, the idea that the institute wasn't aware of this incident didn't make sense. Surely, their security wasn't that bad.

For an incident like that to occur to someone as important as me.

The Black Star.

It just didn't make sense.

And it was with such thoughts that I was convinced of my theory.

But that wasn't all.

"I overheard the doctor say, 'The Chancellor personally brought you back'. Since you were the one who brought me back, I have reason to believe that you were the one who was watching."

I paused and mustered the courage to look into her eyes. They were deep. So deep that I felt like they could suck me in at any second.

But swallowing my saliva, I finished,

lightsΝοvel

"...I'm right, aren't I?"

Silence plunged the room after I said my piece.

Delilah's gaze continued to linger over me as if she was trying to gauge my inner feelings.

Just when I thought she'd do something, her mouth opened.

"It is said that when an Emotive Mage reaches the last stage in their path, the fifth stage of completion and the perfect path, they become capable of seeing emotions, not within them, but within others. In such cases, it becomes almost impossible for someone to lie to them. Or hide how they feel..."

I quietly listened to her words.

While I didn't understand where she was going with this, the piece of information surprised me.

'By the fifth stage...'

Did that equate to level five?

Was this what she meant by the fifth stage?

If so...

'Does that mean that if I reach level five, I'll be able to tell whenever someone is experiencing said emotion...?'

That...

It sounded rather useful.

But still, what did that have to do with our conversation?

Could it be...

"....Are you perhaps implying that you can see my emotions?"

"No."

But she was quick to shake her head.

"With regards to Emotive Magic, I'm inferior to you."

Ah—

Was it just me, or did she look a little annoyed? Her expression hadn't changed the entire time but her tone seemed to give off that impression.

Still.

"What does that have to do with my question?"

"Nothing."

The fuck—

"..."

She looked back at me without as much of a change in her expression.

I didn't know how to feel about this. What kind of weird nonsense was this? Before I could say anything else, she spoke again.

"Yes, I was watching you."

The casualness at which she said those words left me a little stumped.

She spoke in a manner that made it seem obvious.

Well, it was...

"And...?"

"You did well."

That...

What was I even expecting? Still, it did answer one of my questions. I had never been in danger and would've probably interfered if the situation called for it.

A test maybe?

A little part of me felt annoyed by the thought, but another felt grateful.

If it weren't for the situation that placed me in a point of despair, I would've never been able to progress my magic.

'Ah, yes... My magic.'

Suddenly recalling the fact that I had managed to progress my other magic, a sense of relief and joy washed over me.

Finally...

"My turn."

"Hm?"

Ah, right.

She also had a question.

I prepared myself to hear what sort of question she had for me. I, too, was curious. Was she just going to ask me about the situation? Or...

"Your tattoo..."

Uh—

"Could you show it to me?"

"..."

I sat stupefied, unable to process the situation. Out of all the things she could've asked, she had asked about the tattoo.

Just what exactly...

"....Are you not going to show it to me?"

Her tone lowered, and my body shuddered. Looking into her eyes, I could only see an icy coldness, and I knew she was being serious.

I remained composed and showed her my arm.

While I wasn't sure about her goal, I, too, was curious about my tattoo.

Perhaps... she'd be able to help me figure something out

"Hmm."

As she lowered her head to stare at that tattoo, her hair draped to the side, allowing me to get a better look at her face.

My gaze didn't linger for long, and I kept my expression firm.

But...

'Wow.'

She was really something.

I had a hard time thinking if she could even be measured by 'earth' standards. She was simply something else.

'Get a grip.'

I was quick to shake such thoughts from my mind. It was merely a fleeting admiration on my part.

"....Inverted Sky."

All of a sudden, her crisp voice reached my ears, and our eyes met. Her hand grasped my forearm.

"Does that ring a bell?"

Her grip tightened, almost to the point where it hurt. But I remained steady.

"Inverted Sky?"

I pondered over her words and eventually shook my head.

"No."

I had no clue. Was this the name of an organization? Someone's title? Or the name of an object?

I really had no idea.

"..."

Delilah raised her head, and once again, our eyes met.lightsnovel

My body froze.

The deeper I stared into her eyes, the deeper I felt myself sink. An endless abyss seemed contained within those eyes, rendering me stuck on the spot.

Her voice layered as she spoke.

"I'll ask again. Have you heard of it before?"

"....No."

My answer remained the same.

I really hadn't heard of it before.

It was when I felt my breath leave my body that she finally released her grip on my forearm, and everything returned to normal.

Only then did I feel like I could finally breathe again.

"You don't seem to be lying."

She cocked her head lightly, pinching her chin as she leaned back on the wooden table.

"Strange, so strange…"

'What's going on with her?'

Her behavior was really strange. While she certifiably carried herself as someone of importance, she also gave off a rather odd feeling.

Like…

'Scary.'

I couldn't quite put it into words.

But she seemed to have two sides of her. A normal one, and one that felt extremely scary. Just recalling her eyes made me shudder.

'I wonder which side of her is the real one?'

"Are you thinking something weird?"

I almost flinched but barely held myself back before shaking my head.

"No."

How did she know?

"….."

Her sharp gaze fell on me, and I felt my back shudder.

Thankfully, it was only for a brief moment before she said,

"Your extra-curricular activity. The Comedy Club..."

"….Yes?"

Why was she suddenly bringing it up?

"I've put your application on hold."

Hold?

"Why?"

"…."

She didn't answer immediately and stared at me. Her gaze didn't feel as pressuring this time.

Then…

"You're weak."

She said something I was all too aware of.

"The weakest Black Star. That's what some people call you."

"…"

I pursed my lips.

"….I was the one that nominated you as the Black Star."

"…"

"And my decision was the correct one."

Surprised, I felt my eyes widen."

"Instead of joining the Comedy Club, become my assistant."

"….!"

"I won't be able to teach you much, and I won't protect you, but whenever I'm free, you can ask me for advice. You're talented in the Emotive field but untalented in the other."

For the first time, her face showed signs of cracking.

"…..That fifth state I told you about."

Her lips gently pulled up.

"I wonder if you can achieve it."

Her figure gradually blurred, disappearing from my sight like a gust of wind. But not before leaving a few words behind.

"Think about it."

Like that, she was gone.

"…"

I stood blankly on the spot for a couple of seconds before finally snapping out of it.

Did the one closest to the Zenith just ask me to become their assistant?

"This is ridiculous…"

The entire situation was.

Her motive was rather obvious. For whatever reason, she wanted to observe me. It perhaps had something to do with the tattoo on my hand, but I wasn't sure.

For now, it seemed to be the most plausible reason.

'Should I refuse the offer?'

It was certainly a good offer.

However, I also understood that it wasn't one without its motives.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how beneficial it was to me. To have someone as strong as her occasionally give me tips on an area I lacked… How many people would be jealous of that?

She also wasn't forcing me to become her assistant.

It was an offer.

Whether I took it or not was up to me.

Creeeaakk—

The door of the room opened all of a sudden, and a familiar figure entered. With a cast over his arm, he didn't look to be in the greatest of conditions.

Right, he also must've...

I was the first one to speak.

"….I take it you didn't have a great time."

"I did not."

He looked at me up and down.

"….You seemed to have had a better time."

"Ha, yes."

My entire body felt like it was breaking. Every single movement hurt, and my mind was not in the best of shape.

Leon casually looked around and tilted his head.

"Was someone here?"

I raised my brow.

How could he tell?

"The smell."

"Ah."

That made sense. I proceeded to recount my events with the Chancellor. I didn't tell him everything and left a few things out. I still couldn't trust him. But I told him about the general situation and her offer.

His response after hearing all of it was…

"You should take the offer."

"You think?"

"It's a great opportunity for you. I wouldn't reject it if I were you. It's much better than…"

He stopped his sentence there as I noticed his left brow twitch.

I cocked my head.

"Better than what?"

"….Ehm."

His eyes darted away from me, and he rigidly turned to face the door.

"I have to go."

"Why can't a nose be twelve inches long?"

He visibly flinched, and his expression changed.

At that moment, I recalled Delilah's words.

'It is said that when an Emotive Mage reaches the last stage in their path, the fifth stage of completion and the perfect path, they become capable of seeing emotions.'

Staring at Leon, I could certainly see it.

The emotion he was feeling.

Fear.

Had I already reached that stage?

Hmm.

Obviously not.

But…

"I-"

Staring at Leon, I nodded my head.

Poor soul.

"…..Because then it'd be a foot."

***

Bonus chap for hitting Power Stones goal! Save me…