Chapter 21: By the Campfire

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Log #339: Academies

Slayers, Guardians, and ESF squads all have incredible power bestowed upon them, therefore it is vital that they use it wisely and maintain a controlled demeanour. With such power in the hands of young adults, it is a very real concern that eventually, someone will grow too strong and hunger for more power, and possibly independence. Situations like those are what inspired mental and psychological tests to be conducted alongside the physical exams required to enter into an academy such as Arcos. Applicants who pass all three exams are entered into the academy with little more than a quick interview, but those who struggle with the mental or psychological tests have a slightly more difficult time being accepted, although it is in no way impossible.

-General Elvira Ramos

400 BPE


He's going to die. That boy is going to die. Kazuki Yuki is going to die.

My thoughts raced beyond the throbbing of my heart, as that conclusion became more and more evident. The world slowed down, and I could see everything play out in slow motion just beyond my grasp.

This boy, who has done so much for me. This man, who opened my eyes and heart to the world I had left behind.

Even when I had nobody, and feared everybody, he never hesitated to help me, even when his involvement was met with resistance. When I walked away, he followed me. When I ran away, he pursued me. When I turned around, he smiled at me. Never once did he let go of me.

Kazuki has done so much, and now he's about to die. He's about to die! Kazu's about to die!

One wish was all I pleaded; one wish was all that I could make. I cried out, my voice hoarse, the name of the one I couldn't let die. The one to whom I had never said "Thank you" or "I'm sorry" for all that he's done for me. The one to whom I will never be able to say "Goodbye."

The world relished in this moment of terror, in his ignorance and my inefficacy. The entire universe had narrowed down to two insignificant beings, stranded in the inescapable snare of fate and the irrefutable force of physics. I had no idea how long my insignificant scream echoed in my heart, or how long it raced through the people around me. It was, after all, an insignificant cry borne from an insignificant wish made by an insignificant human.

And in that insignificant moment, as the cry, wish, and human dreamed an outcome other than the boy's demise, the world resumed its natural pace. And it was in that moment that a deafening crack shot out from beside me, and the tail that had promised certain death to the human altered its course, instead tearing at the edge of the boy's torso. The next moment, two flaming blades of metal cleaved their target apart, and the battle was over. I dared to turn my gaze away from the moment, and focus instead on the noise that had saved Kazuki's life. Standing high with quivering knees and sharp gasping, Miranda lowered her sniper, the barrel shaking with her trembling elbows. She took a deep breath, and glanced over at me, smiling nervously.

Kazu was standing on top of the corpse of the Night Stalker, covered in blood of two origins. He didn't even seem to notice the gash in his side, instead marvelling at his work. The blood staining his face matched perfectly with the deranged grin that laughed horrendously into the night. His head tilted to the sky arms shot out in ecstasy and he laughed. He laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Like a villain.

"Alright, that's enough."

That is, until Matthew put him to sleep with the blunt end of his halberd.

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