The speed of the train carried Gemma and Jo away from Ayria. Ever since Jo picked up Gemma, he kept asking questions about explosions during their fight, which eventually led Gemma to tell him about the incident at King’s Door. Although Gemma resented hearing Jo’s nagging, she tried to make sense of it. Gemma would also bombard Jo with questions if the same thing happened to him.
“So, the Draconian who was crushed that time, because of the explosion from your hand?”
Since yesterday, Jo had been trying to draw conclusions from his own conjectures, but none of them sounded right.
“Are you on drugs?”
Jo asked Gemma, who had been just staring out the window. She tried to enjoy Elenio’s nature, which contained expanses of meadows, as well as forests in misty valleys. But attempts to distract herself from the bothersome thing don’t work, because Jo keeps talking about it.
Gemma tilted h
Today is the strangest and most awkward day in Gemma’s history. How could she not? She had to meet her father after three years. They had not spoken to each other. Then, Gemma is now under the same roof with two strangers. One of them was someone whose jacket she was wearing now.“Who the hell is he, Jo?”Gemma asked while occasionally biting the tip of her thumb. Her childhood habits resurfaced, maybe because now she was at home.The two of them sat on the floor in the corner of the living room where Gemma’s father lived and left the door leading to the foyer open. This was done simply so that they could stare at the stairs. Gemma and Jo were now just like little kids, full of curiosity.It had been about an hour since Nero and the woman introduced by the name Sarah had gone up to the second floor, where Uncle Jonah, Jo’s father, lived.Gemma knew Jonah was also an Archturian, who was placed in the Public Relations an
Michael grabbed the flashlight and turned it on. He pointed a flashlight at everyone there. Every single person, except Michael, had pulled out their weapons.Michael let out a surprised voice, like someone suffocating when he saw Gemma holding Einar.“Since when did you have that black knife, Gemma? Did you get it from the black market for wanting to be an Archturian?!”Gemma groaned in annoyance. How could her father discuss such things at a critical time, like now?“That’s mine,” replied Nero, his voice deep and even as usual.Michael aimed the flashlight right in Nero’s face, making his eyes narrow. Even though Gemma couldn’t see Michael’s face right now, Gemma could imagine the expression on it. His nose must have been blowing up and down from holding back the anger that was bubbling up inside him.“Nero, Sarah, check where the explosion happened.” Jonah gave orders right away.
Patrol teams and firefighters began arriving at the scene. However, their slow response caused many casualties and losses. The fire was extinguished, and firefighters and Archturians combed the area, looking for survivors and evacuating the dead. The patrol team leader came to Nero and Sarah. They saluted each other, then before the Leader could ask questions, Sarah attacked him first with a question. Sarah glanced at the name tag affixed to the soldier’s all-black uniform and saw two yellow stripes running down the sleeves of his shirt and pants. Each patrol leader was supposed to be of the rank of Sergi, who wore a black uniform with two red stripes instead of yellow. The yellow line refers to the lower rank, namely Bile. While the rank above Sergi is Girga, which is the rank of their superior, Girga Jonah. “Bile Wadner, why is your team responding so slowly?!” Bile Wadner looked at them both questioningly. “You guys are not Archturians from
“Well... She’ll definitely want to wander off for a bit.”The creature had no face, but somehow Jo knew he was smiling when he said it.“She will come back if she senses your presence, right?” Michael asked as he put the glass dome, which he had closed again, onto the dining table.Maybe it was just Jo’s imagination, but Michael looked different now. His aura no longer exuded a father who thought about his daughter to the point of exhaustion. Michael was like... a genius with a cold personality.“Of course. The princess will come looking for me.”“What creature are you?” Sarah, Jo didn’t know what was wrong with her mouth, asking questions as if it was a question-and-answer session at school.The creature turned, or so it seemed, to Sarah. Then the creature chuckled. Yes, he chuckled, and it sounded creepy.“Forgive me for not introducing myself first.”
“So... What’s your name?” Jo ventured to start the conversation. It wasn’t easy dealing with a faceless creature like Servant. Jo, Nero, Sarah, and Servant change places after Michael sends them off the table. The four of them were now sitting in the living room, and the atmosphere was strange because they were all silent. Jo and Sarah sat on the sofa. Nero stood by the window, looking out occasionally. “Servant,” replied Servant. He said it as if everything was clear. Jo parroted, “Servant?” “Yes.” “But Servant is a nickname, not a name. When you serve someone, you are called a servant. Not that your name is Servant.” Sarah moved her hands while explaining. She looked exasperated, and Jo couldn’t blame her. “Princess Lanaya always calls me Servant. It’s been like that since she was little.” “You’re her age?” “No. I’m older.” “Well, that means before becoming a servant of Princess Lanaya, you had
Gemma sat stunned on the living room sofa. Everyone surrounded her. They stared and kept their distance as if Gemma might explode at any moment.Gemma’s mind was a mess. The last time she remembered fighting the Draconians in this house, and after that, everything was dark.Gemma thought she had passed out at that moment, but she didn’t. She knew she was conscious, and she was in endless darkness.Gemma had been fixating her gaze on both of her palms. The terrible burn had completely disappeared. There’s not even a trace of it.“There’s someone else in my body?” Gemma muttered, wondering who to ask.Gemma woke up lying on the floor, her body covered in vomit. Jo helped her up, took her to the bathroom to clean herself, changed clothes, and carried her back to the living room.There, Gemma’s attention immediately focused on shards of light that resembled a fully human form. From Jo’s explanation
“Once again!!”Jonah’s scream boomed, making Gemma’s heart skip a beat. Gemma was only ten, but Jonah treated her as if she were an Archturian warrior.“If you want to become an Archturian, you must train like a true Archturian!!”Gemma tried to reach for the small knife that had been thrown a few feet from where she was standing. Her hands and feet were shaking with pain. Gemma bit her lip in an attempt to keep the tears from falling. As her hand grabbed the knife hilt, Jonah started screaming again.“Jonathan, attack her!!”“But, Dad—”Jonah glared, his face awful. “You dare to argue??”Jo didn’t want to retaliate against his father’s words, so he immediately attacked Gemma with a knife. Gemma could only dodge and dodge. Her body was too stiff and afraid to counterattack.Until finally, Jo brought down Gemma once again. Jo’s knife
The long-awaited day arrives. The day Gemma will receive the announcement that she must leave this city and live a proud life as an Archturian.Gemma did all the selection tests flawlessly. Even on her last day, she received many praises for her fluid fighting style and decisive moves.Gemma opened the mailbox, trying not to squeal with joy when she saw a white envelope with The Arc’s emblem emblazoned on it.Gemma took it, impatient enough to open it in the house. She sat on the steps in front of the door, tore the envelope hastily, and began to read its contents.Gemma skimmed through the opening sentences at the beginning and immediately looked at the score table. All of her scores were near perfect, and she became the third-ranked winner in Archturian selection history. Gemma couldn’t hide her grin as she read that. She was only one rank below Jo.Gemma continued reading, looking for the word that she was accepted, but couldn’