Chapter 406: Lily VS Nell
Lily and Nell, fairy and angel, relocated to a corner of the park situated north of the academy, but still within its bounds.
It had once been a scenic garden in the era of the previous headmaster who had ordered the construction as a pet project, but at present, it is a place rarely maintained and full of lifeless trees and overgrown shrubbery. The current headmistress, Sofia Sirius Parsifal, had declared the location a “sad waste of money,”
and thus had limited its maintenance to the barest minimum, only so that it doesn’t naturally transform into a dungeon. Keeping the beauty of this vast park had previously cost the academy a fortune of klan each year, which the excuse of student life enrichment
could hardly sustain.
This practically abandoned place that is still within academy premises made for an excellent location to speak without the risk of stray ears. The two girls who had gone there now stood in front of a fountain that had been once surrounded by gorgeous beds of roses.
They sensed no other presences and the only sound they heard was the soft trickling of the fountain.
“So what did
you want to speak about, Lily-san?” After a brief period of silence, Nell decided to open the conversation. She hadn’t gotten impatient, but spoke first as a show of determination, a will to face anything that may come her way.
“First of all, let me express my gratitude: Thank you.” Said young and adorable Lily without a hint of malice in her warm smile. “It’s thanks to you that Kurono is able to use model magic now. You’ve done a great service to us, and for that, you have my utmost gratitude.”
Nell didn’t need to be told this, for she already knew. She had herself taught Kurono the Force Boost spell which had proved essential in defeating the Greed Goar. Nell had seen the epic feat performed with her own two eyes.
Granted, she hadn’t had the chance to witness them in action, she had also taught him Protect Boost and Conscience Boost, both of which she was sure he had made good use of. He had told her how both his battles with the Lich and the Lust Rose were quite difficult, so he had to have used those new spells at some point.
“I did what, I did solely for Kurono-kun.” Nell said confidently. “It isn’t anything I require thanks for.”
“Oh, and also thank you for the excellent tea and pastries you always brought along.”
“It was only polite.”
Nell returned Lily’s warm smile with one of her own, a royal smile fit for a princess. She, of course, knew that neither her’s nor the fairy’s were genuine; merely masks.
She knew better than to believe that this evil fairy would call her out here simply to relay thanks.
“Now then―― fufu
,” giggled Lily, “I suppose you won’t be coming anymore.”
And there it is, Nell thought, this is where it really starts. She noticed that Lily’s smile now held a tiny droplet of poison.
“... Pardon me?” As if she would falter so easily. She had long known that Lily would eventually make an attempt to get rid of her.
“Kurono no longer requires your tutelage.” Said her enemy. “So, please refrain from coming to our dormhouse.”
“I see. I suppose I should be asking why. Please, do tell.”
And at that point, both of their faces no longer contained smiles. Nell looked at small Lily who looked back at her with doll-like, seemingly lifeless eyes. She imagined that she too must be wearing the same sort of cold expression on her own face.
Eyes, green and blue, clashed. Around them blew winds like winter on the Asbel mountains, but between only them flew scorching sparks that gave not a damn about the season.
“I’ll have to refuse.” responded Nell. “Kurono-kun needs me, and so I shall be there for him.”
“I said, it’s problematic
“You don’t seem to be getting the message.”
Finally, Lily broke away from their staring contest. The childlike fairy let out a sigh that didn’t at all seem childlike, and turned her back to Nell. Lily’s black one-piece dress flapped in the winter wind as the rainbow wings growing on her back were exposed to Nell’s eyes, making Lily’s expression unknown.
“You, are royalty,” said Lily with her back turned, “while Kurono is an adventurer. You need to carefully consider who you associate with in deference to your status.”
“While we’re in the academy
(here), social status does not pose issue.”
After all, Kurono and Spada’s second prince, Wilhart, were well known to be good friends, and no one batted an eye to that.
Although there is a point to be made concerning the fact that prince Wilhart isn’t exactly a popular figure, but if social status really is that restrictive, then neither he nor anyone should be made an exception. Like it had been in Avalon, long ago.
“And if there are still any issues, I will personally take care of them.” Nell promised.
“Did you know that those hoodlums who call themselves your Elite Guard have unfairly challenged Kurono and tried to lynch him with numbers?”
“I will never allow them to commit any such acts again. And if Kurono-kun desires it, I’m even willing to order the execution of their ringleader.”
Nell had only strongly reprimanded Helen after she had found out about this incident from Kurono himself. The only reason that female Elite Guard captain was still alive was because Kurono had requested Nell not to do anything as severe as execution. That being said, Kurono had taken Nells words of ”apology with her head”
entirely as a crude joke from his friend.
“I highly doubt it. So make things easy for all of us, and just stay away.”
“Kurono-kun will believe in me. So, I need not stay away
for something so minor.”
“Kurono is too kind for his own good, so we both know he will. Those “Elite Guard” are also not the problem. No, the problem is your dear
big brother and the members of Wing Road. They aren’t exactly easy to deal with and you should know.”Plus, Element Masters and Wing Road are rivaling rank 5 parties, in case you’ve forgotten,
Lily added, if only to further imply that they shouldn’t have to get along.
“Whatever the case, I am still Kurono-kun’s friend. And so long as he calls me his friend, I will be with him as such. Not as a princess of Avalon, not as a member of Wing Road, but as his friend.” Nell said, more or less avoiding the argument, but what she said wasn’t untrue. She knows enough about Kurono to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would never deny being her friend.
“I see, friend.
” She heard Lily mutter in a tone of annoyance. It might’ve been the small fairy just talking to herself, but if only due to the fact that the tiny voice reached her ears, Nell could only hear it as derision.
He and Nell were just friends
, while Lily, his trusted partner.
That fundamental difference between them had once broken her out of sheer self-pity.
(For now, yes, only friends. But very soon, I will take your position and truly be Kurono-kun’s―― )
Her thoughts were similar to that of a rebel bent on usurping the throne. And in fact, it could be said that her determination was in no way weaker than the flaming ambition of an usurper.
(Kurono-kun, I’ll surely prove myself!)
Which is when Lily turned back around, leading her to once again look into those eyes, which instantly raised a chill up her back.
“I see, that really is unfortunate…” Lily spoke, her smile absolutely sinister. “If only you’d accepted my polite offer, and quietly walked away with only my thanks.”
Those emerald green irises shone with a dark, sadistic malice that could drop you into a never-ending abyss, while those lips curled up into a crescent.
Nell was no stranger to evil. As a member of royalty, and additionally as a rank 5 adventurer, Nell had seen it all, be it the shady gangs operating in slum zones, the cunning swindlers of the market, the two-faced retainers who would doublecross their master, and even crazed serial killers inflicted by curse.
Rage, hostility, deceit and scorn―― she’d seen all kinds of faces. But this, the smile of this childlike fairy, was in another magnitude entirely.
“N-no matter what you say,” Nell said in a fluster, “Kurono-kun and I will
remain as friends―― Kyaa!
” An explosion of light made her yelp. It was a Flash. Lily would always use this technique on her, every single time―― no, this clearly wasn’t such a harmless lightshow. This mana, this glaring white light, this was no Flash at all.
Had the fairy finally resorted to force?
Nell reacted quickly. She used dimension magic to open a storage from which she would bring out her Scale of White Wings, but then she noticed:Where’s the attack?
Which is when the glimmering light also ebbed away.
“...!?” Nell gasped as soon as she opened her eyes, for the one in front of her was no more the familiar small existence.
And for the first time, she laid eyes on a young woman who could only be described as a peerless beauty.
“I believe this is the first time you’ve seen my true form. Please don’t be too surprised. This is, after all, who I really am.”
Unlike the child she had been so used to seeing in the academy uniform, the one-piece dress of ancient velvet suited this girl, her
true form, and evolved her charm to an unfathomable degree. Nell had no doubt that she was looking at Lily, her sworn rival and worst enemy, but she, even she couldn’t help but be fascinated by that immeasurable beauty.
“... Is that so. And, what were you trying to achieve by showing me this?”
Nell quickly got her head into gear, putting on the mindset that she was facing a high rank monster as she faced the true Lily. Her caution could perhaps be called warranted too as, at the moment, the the presence of mana around Lily had multiplied many fold compared to when she was in her child form. Nell concluded that, if they were to duel right now, she, a Priest, had no chance.
But she still had the option to block and retreat, even against someone of Lily’s level of power. She wouldn’t be a rank 5 adventurer if she couldn’t do that, even if she were a Priest.
“You don’t have to look so alarmed.” Said the powerful fairy. “I invited you here so that we could speak, have a dialogue. I wouldn’t dare go back on my work and harm you.”
With the elegance on a first-rate dancer, Lily took a step closer to Nell.
“Still, I’m afraid I must warn you. What I’m about to say, might sting.”
“Y-you’ll never...” Nell, despite being clearly overwhelmed by Lily’s practically divine smile, glared back. But even that action made her feel as if the fairy was internally mocking her for trying to act tough even though it was futile.
“Stay away from Kurono. Don’t you dare come close to him. You’re―― ”
She wouldn’t sway no matter what. For she had nothing to feel sorry about. She would help him, and be desired by him in turn. No matter what, she would never let go of Kurono――
“―― Sickening. You’re a disgusting girl who ecstatically ran her tongue all over the spoon that Kurono used.”
And then, a crack, a fissure formed in the earth under her, and into the dark did she fall, into the abyss where all truth is laid bare―― Nell saw a vision of exactly that happening to her.
Instantly, all the blood drained from her face, her whole body perhaps. As if the red life inside her had been sucked dry. She was cold, very cold. She couldn’t feel her legs and thought they would give away, but her knees only shook violently. Her whole body trembled.
“Tell me, did Kurono’s spoon taste that
good to you?”
Those jade eyes that held utter and absolute, soul-piercing disgust, were being directed straight at her.
“Did his spoon… feel
And then Nell remembered, vividly, a certain night.
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