The door slowly creaked open, and a man with an imposing aura entered the room, exuding an air of authority and wisdom. He stood tall and straight, his posture commanding respect. His strong, chiseled features were framed by a mane of silver hair, which flowed gracefully down to his shoulders. His eyes were sharp and penetrating, a deep shade of emerald green that seemed to hold a wealth of knowledge and experience.
'Headmaster Jonathan.' I immediately recognized the person before me. After all, he was a character that I knew very much inside the game.
He wore a sharp and formal business suit, emphasizing his high standing and authority. The suit was immaculately tailored, fitting him perfectly and exuding an aura of professionalism and dignity.
He donned a crisp white dress shirt neatly tucked into his dark navy-blue suit trousers. A bold, patterned tie adorned his collar, adding a touch of sophistication to his attire. A silver tie clip secured the tie in place, reflecting the light and catching the eye.
The small wrinkles on the sleeves of his suits showed it was frequently used, and the tiny drops of soil on his feet were the signs of inspection he had done before coming here. The smell of coffee that was coming from him and the little drops of white hairs showed he consulted the help of animals for investigation.
'Hounds of Association.' That was the name of those white dogs that were used for crime scene investigations in the game.
As he entered the room, his emerald green eyes swept across the surroundings, taking in every detail with a keen and discerning gaze.
"Good. It seems you have healed enough." After a moment, he entered, locked his eyes with mine, and said. "Astron Natusalune, correct?" His tone was strict, like a commander, he asked.
"Yes. You are correct, headmaster Jonathan." Bowing my head slightly, I answered. There was no reason to show any type of disrespect to that man knowing his standing.
'He must be here to question me about what happened there. There is no way for them to know about the existence of Mistwraith right now. I should not give any clue.' With that thought, I started thinking about my answers.
"I've been informed about the incident in the forest," he continued, his eyes studying me closely. "You and some of your fellow students encountered a dangerous creature; is that correct?" His eyes narrowed slightly as he slightly leaked his aura at the same time. Even though he was not trying to pressure me physically, it was enough to make me feel uncomfortable.
'Considering how Astron of the past behaved, answering like that should be a lot better.' With that, I made it look like I hesitated for a moment before answering.
"Yes, Headmaster. It was… an unknown monster. It attacked us suddenly, and I don't remember much after that."
I could see his brows getting narrower at the same time.
"Unknown monster, you say?" He asked, his green eyes looking deep into mine.
"Yes." I averted my gaze as I was acting scared. "It was a monster I had never seen before."
Headmaster Jonathan continued to scrutinize me, seemingly trying to read every nuance in my expression. "And yet, you were able to defeat this unknown monster all by yourself," he stated, his voice firm.
"No…It was not like that…" I answered as I lowered my gaze more. "I was just lucky that I made it….Thanks to the Holy Radiance Scroll I just bought yesterday." I readied the tears in my eyes beneath and then raised them. "I-If not, I would be just like the others…."
However, he was still not convinced. "Why did you buy Holy Radiance Scroll?" The pressure on me intensified as he looked into my eyes.
"B-Because I was planning to raid a dungeon I just found. Its name was 'The Crypt of Eternal Rest,' and it had undead inside. Thus, I was making my preparations." As I continued to my act with my voice getting shaky from time to time, I answered.
"I see…That matches with what student Sylvie recounted." Then, he stopped his question with his hands on his beard. "That must have been hard…" He nodded his head as he slowly walked towards the window.
But I could see his body getting ready from little mimics.
'Now, it will come.' I thought, immediately preparing myself for what was about to come.
"Do you think I will believe this?" With that question, an immense amount of pressure descended upon me, making my heart clench. "Why did you not help the other students then?"
It was such a precise pressure that Sylvie, who was just sleeping beside me comfortably, didn't feel anything at all as she continued her sleep.
"Cough…" Coughing slightly, I raised my head. This time my eyes filled with anger.
"I-It…. w-was them tormented me… Why should I?"
The room felt suffocating as the headmaster's imposing presence bore down on me. His eyes continued to study me, unyielding and unwavering. It was as if he could see through my act, penetrating my facade to the core of my being.
"Why should you?" he repeated, his voice cold and unyielding. "You are a student of this academy, Astron Natusalune. It is your duty to protect your fellow students and uphold the values and principles we stand for. Turning a blind eye to their suffering is not the behavior of a responsible and honorable student."
"Cough…Then, where were these duties when they were the ones that inflicted-"
"…cough… me such pain all this time? Where was the honor you have been talking about while everyone watched me suffering?" I asked, bearing the pressure that dawned upon me. Even though the wounds on me hurt, I put the front up. After all, I need to put up with my act.
"W-we both know it is meaningless to act like you are one of the honorable people…. This academy is not a place where honor matters… A hunter doesn't act with honor; he does whatever is necessary to hunt…" I poured the emotions in my heart into my words as I emptied my insides. "I also didn't know the scroll would work either. It was just a stroke of pure luck that I was able to finish this monster."
And as I finished my words, a soft chuckle escaped the headmaster's lips. It was a laugh filled with understanding as if he saw something in me that others might have missed.
The pressure was redirected from my body as he looked into my eyes with a smile.
"You're right, Astron," he said, his voice tinged with a hint of amusement. "This academy may not be a place where traditional notions of honor apply, but that doesn't mean honor is absent. In fact, I see a different kind of honor in your words."
lightsnοvεlHe leaned back in his chair, his eyes still fixed on me with a mix of seriousness and admiration. "You have endured pain and suffering, yet you still stand here, refusing to let it break you. That takes strength, not just in magic, but in character. You may not have chosen this path, but you have chosen to rise above the cruelty and darkness that surrounds you."
I furrowed my brows in confusion, unsure of what he meant by a different kind of honor. He spoke, his gaze looking at me with a smile.
'You are such an easy man…' I thought inside, seeing his smile. After all, he was a man who believed no person could be as white as paper and everyone had darkness inside his heart. And he liked those who revealed that darkness honestly, just like how I did by pouring the dark feeling of fake hatred into my words.
'I have never risen from the darkness. And, until I exterminate every ounce of demon, every bit of their traces from this world, nor will I.' But that didn't mean I was the person he pictured.
Headmaster Jonathan's smile remained, and I could sense that he saw through my 'act,' understanding the 'anger' and 'pain' that I carried within. He didn't judge me for it; instead, his gaze held a hint of respect.
"Your honesty is commendable, Astron," he said, his voice gentle yet firm as he stood up from where he was sitting. "We all have our demons, our darkness. It's what we choose to do with it that defines us."
I nodded. "I understand, Headmaster," I replied, my voice steady. "I will do my best to face my darkness and use it to become stronger."
With those words, the headmaster turned towards the door, his imposing aura receding. "You have the potential to become a great hunter, Astron. Don't let the darkness consume you; instead, use it to light your path forward."
'Liar….' I thought, looking at the man walking… "Saying those words to last-place student… You just want to look thoughtful outside."
I mumbled, seeing his hypocritic act. Even though he acted very rightfully and thoughtfully before the students, I knew what he said to Astron when he ranked last in the mid-terms.
'Now, with that, I can avoid the eyes that will be on me now. After all, he should be labeled me as worthless by now.' With that thought, I relaxed my body as I closed my eyes.
In the end, even though he was someone that liked others to be truthful, he also judged them by their talents….
Though before I could sleep, I heard a sound.
Sylvie was awake now…
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