45 – Masters of Chir
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July walked to Zay and then looked at Gin, who wore a sad smile on his face. "I am sorry for deceiving you, but whether I will remain capable of being your teacher is currently written in the stars. I have been the Boss of the Chir dungeon for a long time. Even if it is a peaceful takeover, it is uncertain if I will survive it."

"Why haven't you said anything?" she asked him. July didn't understand. There certainly would have been a way to prevent this situation for him and Zay.

"Because I did not want to tell you or Zay," He told her. "Normally, any Boss losing their position also loses their Life, but my Family, the House of Abbasi, has a little history of surviving the impossible. We will know tomorrow. If I wake up, I will live; if I don't, I am dead."

"How delightful," Berry noted dryly and pointed at Zay. "Hug your sister." Gin glared at the man who mustered him with a cold gaze. "She needs it. You don't get a decent sibling any day." 

"Right, go hug her, or we will do it. Well, I will do it. Berry and July are not so much the hugging type." Panny said and leaned against the Dragon's corpse. "Your house needs more huggers, like big huggers. See, she is standing there and crying, your little..." Gin visibly gave in to Panny's annoying chatter and hugged Zay, still crying. Zay sniffed in his arms. "You..." She said, glaring at him. "...should have told me."

"Did you see my die?" He asked her.

"I see you die every goddamn day. Every time you went to the Arena, the time when you went to fight that Dragon." She told him. "Why didn't you tell me you could die." She punched his chest. Her feeble hands got hurt while hitting the jagged edges of what remained of his armor. Gin caught her hands. "Because you getting healthy was far more important to me. See you can walk around, you can move." Zay panted, exhausted from punching him and from being sad. "It was worth it." Gin empathized again.

"Hug her tighter," Panny said loudly, getting a glare from Gin as his brother hit the back of his head. "Hey." Panny objected. "One person here needs to be positive. We just took down a Dragon. If we take down a dragon, we can survive an ominous possible death threat."

"Master," Araya said and then pointed to the outside. Her eyes filled with tears. "Outside."

Gin turned to the outside. Sautering through the door, wondering, the others followed him. July gasped at the sight. Outside, the people had gathered. They were standing there silently and holding lamps in their hands. A sea of lights stretched out, and slowly, more and more lights joined in. People stood in the sand; the city was full of lights, and each of the people holding one of the lamps bowed their heads and held up. "July, could you walk next to me? You are my student, after all," He said, and she stepped beside him. "Head up. Look ahead. You are a member of Abbasi." He said.

July held her head up. Stepping outside, as soon as Gins and Zay's feet touched the sand, a melody rose from the city. Sand dancing with the lights that rose towards the sky.
Chir suddenly thrummed not only with life but also with song. People parted for them as Gin, one arm short, walked among them. Their eyes filled with respect as behind them, they vanished back into the shadows. July observed it while they walked home, and she observed Gin. He held his head high, pride swelling his chest as he marched among his people, his appearance in tatters, his arm still missing. 

"How can I have never known this existed?" Penny muttered behind them. He was right behind Zay. Frail, small Zay held her head up, her golden patterned chocolate skin illuminated beneath the flickering lights and the moon. Her eyes were dragon eyes, big golden orbs. If Gin resembled a King right now, then Zay was the Queen. 

The doors to their home were opened, and their small group entered; the gates behind them closed. Once they shut, utter silence reigned. 

"Gin," Zay said, trembling. "Ginni." 

"No worries. I will wake up tomorrow. They are lighting up the Lamps too soon." Gin grinned and turned to Araya. "Get the three some clothes. July, I think, will be bringing the brothers Home once they are no longer in rags." 

"That...." Pannu asked as July pieced the information together. 

"Mahhh, don't ask." Gin interrupted and lifted his sister. "Araya!" 

Araya came running in her arms three sets of clothing. "Gentleman. Missus." She said and handed them the clothes. "Please tell me if these are convenient for you. I am unsure about the appropriate clothing that belongs in your culture." She bowed to them. Panty and Berry took a look at the white robes. "That's fine," Pannu announced. Araya loosened a bit and smiled. "Wonderful. If you would be so kind to come with me." Araya led them ahead. "The bathroom is over there." 

July stilled for a second. "Araya, we have separated baths. Is there another place I can go...?" She hadn't minded too much, but it was not like she was keen on it either. Araya's eyes widened. "Oh. Sorry. I appear too much set into our ways. Of course, Missus. MIYU!" From thin air, Miyu appeared, and July went along with her. Behind her, she was leaving the siblings alone in their privacy.

Washed up and dressed in a black robe, she walked towards the gardens. This time, she didn't bother with a Mask. The other two were already there and turned towards her. They had almost identical faces, but their expressions were different. One was covered in scars yet smiling, while the other was spotlessly white and expressionless.

"This place is....amazing, July." Panny then said, looking around. "It is like being in the legends of Aladin. I feel so small, never having realized until recently that within dungeons could be more than Monsters and evil things."

"It makes me wonder if any of our people know," Berry said, gripping his staff. "There have been rumors, though I have never expected them to be true. I have never liked the Association, but they should know about it. This should not be unknown; someone should have spoken about it. I will write a lengthy report. Don't worry. I will keep Chir and you out of it in July, but this...many things should change."

"Are you sure?" Panny asked him. "They won't take it well." 

"I am sure. As an S-Rank Hunter, they cannot exactly hide or ignore me," Berry stated, and his hand pulled his long dark hair back. For a moment, he appeared older and more mature than his beauty usually suggested. July looked at him. "They will hunt your family," she told him. "Like mine. I have said nothing, but they came just because I am still alive."

"I know." He looked at her, "That's why I plan on going as public as possible." 

"They will call you a fool," Panny muttered. "As they have done with so many others who said that dungeons are more than monster dens." 

"I am not afraid." Berry's voice was cold. "I have never been." 

"They will be with you. Like always, let me speak. They think I am a madman already, but as your brother, they cannot ignore my words. Not many can tell the difference between us, not when wearing a mask. Isn't that why you wear it? So they cannot tell the difference, so they always have to treat me respectfully, and not like the madman they assume me to be because they cannot judge whenever it is me or you they speak with."

July knew she probably should not be here, not listening to this conversation.

"No, I don't want them to drag you more into the mud." 

"There is only one of us." Panny suddenly growled. "They made it that way; they want me to be illegal; according to the association, there is only one high-ranking Ice Mage in the world. Only one that awakened back then in Korea." 

"I don't...."

"We pull this through together; that's how we have survived until now. We get Mom to a safe place and do what we must after that. Angel Dust will support us; the boss hates the Association from the very depth of his heart...but really, we shouldn't continue this conversation here. July, can you bring us to the dungeon where we started?"

July nodded and snapped her fingers. "Stay safe." She told them as the brothers left through the gate, staring after them. "Wait." 

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