Epiphany of the Weak Chapter 213: Moving On Towards the Future
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A month had passed since then. Ah, the timeframe I meant was the war— the Great Transcontinental War that lasted a few months. Tik tok, tik tok, days and weeks went by without me realizing.
It worked for me, anyway. Helped my mind to become more astute than ever, focused on what I should be doing after the whole ordeal with Amathelia had ended.
Ah, that reminded me of what Azalea, one of C.U's general-in-charge said to me back then. If the war had not ended by Maltyie, intercontinental ballistic missiles would be launched onto Neo Africa.
With Amathelia's absence during that time, and the circumstances surrounding her and Leah (the flying fortress), it left room for the C.U to retreat from the war. In the end, Gheele signed a peace treaty with the C.U. This allowed Russia to be independent along with a few other countries— Ah, wait, I forgot The People's Light that demanded peace. Cutting the unnecessary details, these countries wanted out of C.U, which Maltyie relented. She threw a few conditions at them to prevent birth of terrorist organizations, such as embargoes and a selected import quota for weapons— especially Vasquez, Teria airships and the like.
Tap, tap. I adjusted my shoes and retied it a few times. "Okay! Let's get going."
Arriving at a school I would be attending after this—called Ågren Grundskola School—Aya pulled my hand as we walked. Following us with a smile on their faces were Maltyie, Derrick, and Elle. Once the school principal's office was in sight, my feet halted.
"Aya! Slow down a bit!" I said to her with my cheeks puffed. She laughed at it, and so did a few other students that passed us. "The office is not going anywhere, you know!"
"Hehe. But aren't you excited?! You are, right? We're going to start school after we registered. I can't wait!"
"Well... technically, I'm excited. Though, Aya! We won't be coming to class until next week. So—"
Aya pulled my hand again and knocked at the principal's door. We got in real quick followed by Maltyie and his husband. Oh, and their daughter Elle too, looking confuzzled, sticking close to Derrick's side.
"Ava Lindberg and Aya Andersson... Ah, right here." A woman standing next to the principal presented two documents on the principal's desk. "Cute girls. Haha. You will get used to this school in no time."
"Eh-hem!" coughed the bald principal. "I apologize for her rude comments, Your Benevolence."
"Don't mind it, don't mind it. Though, to make things fair, I'll give her a warning." Maltyie winked at the woman, and she bowed incessantly. What a sight. We registered at the school no problem, which led us to a restaurant Elle's parents took us. Ah, not really. Maltyie forced us to eat there— and it looked expensive.
"Nope, it's crazy expensive here," said Aya, drooling at the food placed on our white round table. Along with Elle, I grabbed the food in sight and gobbled it down. Maltyie didn't like that tho. She narrowed her eyes at us—and she did so because it was a restaurant, and in a restaurant, especially an opulent one like this, I should eat with mannerism.
Grace, adroitness, finesse— these aspects were necessary for a lady. Most people thought so, and I didn't think there was anything wrong with it. "I'll just use spoon and fork, ever so slowly. Is it okay, Maltiye?"
"Haha. That will do. Eat whatever you want, okay? Don't be shy." The woman emphasized her point by ordering what she thought we wanted, or the foods she desired, to be more precise. Needless to say, with her position and the fortune she owned, she could even buy the whole restaurant if she ever thought of it.
"Derrick, um, you only ordered a pudding?" said Maltyie with a worried expression. Now, you don't see that every day. Oh wait... from that day I moved to her house (a mansion, exactly), there hadn't been a day where Maltyie wouldn't worry about Derrick. She was her wife, I knew that, but the level Maltyie cared for him could be—
"You need more than that, honey! You just recovered from a fever, but that doesn't mean you can neglect a healthy diet. Don't do this to me, Derrick... What if you get sick again? Oh no..."
Derrick chuckled at his wife's demeanor. He got used to this side of Maltyie, but the guy didn't mind it one bit. In fact, he loved her more like this.
Well, the nadir I expected from our little shindig didn't happen. By shindig, I meant the banter between Aya and me over who should eat what (which almost turned into a quarrel). The restaurant's owner contemplated to throw us out, but of course, Maltyie's presence became our saving grace.
Maltyie could afford what was on the menu, but yeah, we were being noisy in there, so I could understand the owner's sentiment. Ah, enough of this triviality.
We got back to our mansion and I flitted to my own room upstairs. Lying down after work could never be more relaxing.
Ah, right... I should explain about Maltyie's house (or mansion). Due to her position as the C.U's Ruler, it was deemed inappropriate for her to stay at her old house, for some reason. Not that I would complain, because this mansion she bought was miles better. I mean, it had a large garden as its backyard (complete with a fountain), five floors, numerous rooms to stay in, and more importantly—
"Miss Lindberg, the dark chocolate you requested is here." A young, dark-haired maid placed a plate with three stacked bars of chocolate on a table. "Is there anything else you need, Miss?"
"Ah, roast almond, if you don't mind."
"Roast almond it is."
"Hehe. Thanks, Yaerin. I've been bothering you a lot these days. I'm sure you're busy with the house chores and all... so—"
Yaerin shook her head and smiled. "It's my pleasure to serve you, Miss Lindberg, and everyone else. I'm one of the maids hired by Mrs.Jones, so it would be unwise for me to not give my job everything I have."
I returned her smile and she left, closing the door gently. As she said, Maltyie hired a dozen maids to work in this mansion, and each one was hand-picked by her. True enough, their abilities and skills flummoxed me. Whether it be cleaning or cooking, they handled it astutely, every movement swift.
"Hah..." I sighed.
"Hey, Ava-chan." Aya burst into my room and I yelped. Of course, she laughed at it! "You're so not prepared for that."
"Cringe. Don't call me that!"
"What're you here for?" I got straight to the point, pouting.
"Derrick's leaving. He got work to do at the military HQ. Seems busy, don't ya' think?" Aya said to this to me as we walked down the staircase. "Compared to Maltyie, Derrick seems busier to me," I said.
"Nah. It just looks that way. Maltyie doesn't have to move anywhere to do her job, for now, since her office is still being rebuilt. Plus, she has her subordinates."
"Ah, yes, that too. Anyway, she has people to shift her work onto. Convenient, if you ask me."
We poked our head out, surreptitiously eavesdropping on the couple Maltyie and Derrick. I asked Aya as to why we were hiding, and she answered that she didn't want to ruin the mood. I got what she meant, but eh, seemed trivial to me.
"Papa, take care!" said Elle.
"I will. You got school next week, so I might take a day leave to get your stuff, along with Aya and Ava. Yeah, they need their own school stuff prepped too."
Maltyie held Derrick's hand in hers. With droopy eyes, she said: "Don't overwork yourself. You've been working 16 hours non-stop these past few days... and... I don't like that. I'll get them to lift some paperwork off your shoulder."
"It's fine! I bet you got it worse, so I'm the one who should be worrying about you." Derrick patted Maltyie on the head. "You don't look like it, but I'm sure you're more tired than me, Mrs. C.U's Ruler. I can handle what paperwork was thrown at me for a few more days. And it's not really that exhausting, anyway. Just some leftover clearance and maintenance of the war's aftermath."
"Smile, Maltyie. Like I said, a few more days and I'm free."
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Maltyie kissed her husband's hand and put up a thin smile. "If you say so. Take good care of yourself, alright? Promise me that."
"Haha. I promise." Derrick kissed her hand in return. Minutes later, he left the mansion, on his way to the HQ for work.
Maltyie tore her gaze from the front door and bit her lip. "That Azalea, working my dear like a slave. I'll make sure she shift his load somewhere else, not dumping everything on him."
"You look scary, Mama..." Elle tugged at her mother's sleeve.
They hugged each other and Maltyie giggled. Her serious expression turned gentle much to my relief. After all, if she was still mad, I couldn't approach her along with Aya. I didn't want to get glowered at, not this time. Aya and I talked a bit with Maltyie about Derrick's work (which got her mad again) and quickly shifted the topic to something else of interest.
According to Maltyie, the rebel groups were disbanding, excluding a few large ones like The People's Light in Russia and Gleipnir's Claw in America. All in all, the aftermath was starting to wrap up nicely due to Maltyie's pro-micro management.
At that night, I visited the underground laboratory of the Military HQ. It was always like this. Since the war ended, going down here was almost a priority for me, every single night.
Alicia and the other scientists who worked down here nowadays remarked how attached I was to him. Well, they were not wrong in the slightest. I knew it was merely an innocent comment, but I couldn't help but feel annoyed. Ah, gotta calm down... 'He' wouldn't like it if I got swept in these emotions again.
At one end of the massive white laboratory, a massive metal wheel-like door stood between me and 'him'. The entrance's guardian looked at me from a hefty pile of documents he held. "Oh, Ava. I already unlocked the door ahead of you. You always visit him at this time after all."
"Ah, I forgot to mention." The door opened wide when Klaus patted my shoulder. "Ernestine is here tonight. She's in there."
"Oh, she is? Okay."
The door closed, and a brightly lit room greeted me. The large white-tiled room seemed inconspicuous enough with a giant golden crystal protruding at the center. Standing in front of it was Ernestine— her mechanical half body was covered in the blue nightgown she wore.
"Mister Hope..." Ernestine's long red hair reached until her waist. She didn't wish to cut it if I remembered correctly. The girl stayed in Maltyie's mansion, worked along with the maid of her own volition, and there would be nights like this where she visited him. Compared to me though, her visits were less frequent.
"Oh, Ava. I'm merely reciting some text..." Ernestine held up a green book in my direction. "This place... It's soothing in a sense. Once I read, I wouldn't realize the time I spent down here."
"Haha. Same. It's kinda relaxing, yeah."
"Ah, I should get going," said Ernestine.
"Ehh? I just got here..."
"Ehehe... Ava. I can't get in between you and him. It's better this way."
Ernestine disappeared out of the room, leaving me alone with Hope. Due to the events happened before, Hope was consumed by his own Aegis crystals, encasing him in it. Alicia and the other scientists were trying hard to find a way to reverse Hope's Aegis, but it would take some time before then.
"...Hope. You're like this because of me, huh? Sorry..." My hand touched the golden crystals, and it glowed faintly. It happened every time I made contact with his Aegis crystals, but to get more specific, it must be a resonance effect. Simply put, his Aegis took away a large part of mine, rendering my power to shift into a 'resting state'.
Since that fateful day, I couldn't speak with my Aegis nor manifest its abilities. Aside from high-speed regeneration, right then, I was just an ordinary human being.
"...Hope. You saved me from my hatred. If I go berserk again, my Aegis won't be affected like last time, all thanks to you... I swear, sacrificing so much for my sake, with nothing in return, how selfless can one be? Haha..."
I knew his selflessness was focused on me. Always trying his best to give me what I wanted, even if it meant losing himself.
Gazing at Hope's face with his eyes closed, it kind of looked like he was asleep. I wished that was the case.
"Hope... I will wait for your return. It doesn't matter if the cure takes months or even years, I can wait. Compared to your sacrifice, having to wait is but a scant of it. So..." Tears streaked down my cheeks. "So please... come back."
The room's door opened, and I looked back at Hope one last time for the night before leaving him. Night after night, I would visit him, telling the guy what happened during the day. For most people, I looked like a weirdo talking to myself.
Still, these visits were driven by my longing for him. He accepted my feelings, yes, but it was because of the circumstances back then. I promised to make him like me... but it was all but a selfish desire. In the end, all I ever wanted was for him to come back. Only this mattered the most.
"I'll wait for you, Hope. No matter how long, I will be there by your side waiting. Till that day comes, don't forget about our promise."
"I can wait."
"So please... come back..."
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