Chapter 176 :
Episode 35 : Encounter (2)
At the west side of the island, there was a trio walking among the forest while searching for anything unusual lurking around this place.
"How.. How did I even get here?"
Standing with a puzzled look, Louis scratched his head as though he was trying to jog his memories, but it was to no avail.
With no clue as to why he was there or how he got here, Louis stared aimlessly at his vicinity, recalling how he arrived here when he almost lost his temper to JoonChul's words.
‘When did I come into this forest? There's no way I would come here in the fit of rage, right?’
While he was racking his brain unaware of the two people behind him, Louis stood in his spot which led to Alaine and Raiden suddenly bumping into him.
"Ow, hey! Why did you suddenly stop, Louis?" Alaine asked as she stepped back.
"I.. Uh, don't know how I got here?"
"What? You were the one going ahead and charging first!"
"I really don't know how.."
In due course, Louis and Alaine suddenly heard Raiden's cautious voice warning them. "Quiet, you guys."
It took no more than one second for both of them to keep their mouths entirely shut, looking at Raiden with their cautious yet curious expression.
After a bit, Alaine's and Louis' curiosity were satisfied by the source of Raiden's warning.
Upon laying their gazes on their front, they had noticed a humongous animal in the middle of the river who was searching in the water for something to eat.
"Guess it was a false alarm." Raiden let out a relieved exhale before taking his steps toward the river.
Hippopotamus, that was the animal they all were looking at, by the way.
Alaine, not buying the false alarm, said in an anxious voice. "That.. Are you sure, Sensei..?"
"Why, what's wrong? It won't harm you if you don't harm them." Raiden casually said before he went up to that animal.
"Yeah.. But.. it's big and dirty!"
"It's their way of life. So of course they're dirty."
Louis then later stated. "We're dirtier than them with killing, so this animal is less dirty than us either way."
"Don't state the facts, Louis!"
"Alaine.. As much as I don't like saying that, it's true though."
"Jeez.." Alaine grunted.
In any case, Raiden was standing close to the hippopotamus that Alaine wasn't quite fond of, and he slowly placed his hand on the animal, patting its back carefully.
"Careful, it's supposed to be territorial from what I remembered." Louis informed Raiden.
"..Yeah, I called it. Sensei, run!" Alaine exclaimed when she heard the hippo's growl.
But Raiden proudly spoke. "I'll be alright, my pupil! This won't hurt me."
"Are you sure about tha—"
Her words were suddenly interrupted by the hippo's charge at Raiden when he wasn't keeping his guard up, watching the hippo knock him into the tree beside Alaine and Louis.
"..You should have listened to her." Louis said, looking at Raiden who was getting back on his feet.
Energetic while totally fine and dandy, Raiden spoke with a carefree smile. "It didn't leave a scratch on me."
Seemed like Raiden as a teacher wanted to look confident and strong in front of Alaine when in fact, Alaine had seen him countless times being much stronger than a flash of lightning.
As a result, it wasn't a surprise when Alaine found Raiden to be 100% fine without a single wound on his body after that knockout.
"Haha.. I don't know why I'm laughing. Is it the fact that Sensei is strong or naive to danger?"
Louis looked at Alaine in a weird way, saying. "Hearing that coming from you is a little.."
"Annnnywayyys, I'm curious why a hippo is here, along with those sharks and orca from earlier~!"
Cleaning off the dirt and sticks on his clothes and hair, Raiden as a good Sensei explained to Alaine in a way she would understand.
"Every animal from your planet, Earth that lives in the water or near the water or both, are all included in this ‘Atlantic’ World."
"Would a lion be included?"
"No, only those who dwell and live close to water, exist here. Like that hippopotamus."
Eventually, Louis spoke. "So you mean frogs, seal—"
In a flash, Alaine cut off Louis' sentence short with a shout. "A-Alligator!! Eekkkk!!!"
Bewildered to the core, Alaine jumped right into Louis' arms that were swift to grab a hold of her, grasping her tight while Louis was completely startled.
Not just that, Alaine might not know this since she was too scared by the alligator, but she was digging her nails into Louis' back which wasn't painful, yet it was still a pain.
"Merde!" Louis asked Alaine, trying to help her settle down. "Calm down, Alaine."
"N-Noo! Kill it now!! Eek!"
"My pupil, you shouldn't be scared over this, I'm sure you can handle it with just a slash, right?" As a teacher, Raiden eagerly stared at Alaine with high expectations.
Though, Alaine grumbled and groaned rather than getting off of Louis to stand again. It's clear that she may have a fear of alligators or something like that.
With his expectations seemingly worthless, Raiden was understanding of Alaine and worryingly asked her. "If you want, do you want me to kill that alligator for you, Alaine?"
Realizing she was revealing her weakness, Alaine replied with a lie as if she was attempting to act strong. "Ah, no. It's fine..! I was just surprised by it.."
The perk of holding Alaine was noticing that her hands were loosening up on drilling nails into Louis' skin, and were now trembling instead.
So unknowingly, Louis told Raiden. "Take that alligator down."
He said that as if he was praying for Raiden to slaughter that poor alligator in the most gruesome way possible or something along those lines.
‘Oh boy, Louis is angry.’ Raiden thought.
Looks like Louis wasn't happy about how Alaine was acting and feeling greatly afraid of alligators, in fact, it was disheartening to see her this way, so it really brought out the downcast feel into Louis' expression.
Unfortunately or fortunately, his expression was covered by a certain ominous or foreshadowing death expression, giving Raiden goosebumps a little bit.
"Alright. I'll kill that alligator in the most torturous way possible!"
Raiden wasn't going to deny Louis' anger either, since as a teacher to Alaine, he expressed his fury toward the alligator as well.
In the middle of two angered men, Alaine was kinda feeling a bit uneasy around these two. ‘..Uhm.. I'm supposed to be needing a calming section, but why are you boys getting mad?!’
Eventually, Alaine told them."I get Sensei being mad, but why are you angry too, Louis? I thought you were the calm one! Ah, scratch that, you aren't a calm one..!"
"Huh? Why am I not? What do you mean by that, Alaine??????"
"Geez Louise! Don't redirect that look at me, Louis! Aim it back at the alligator instead!!"
Considering how Alaine was talking in her usual way, Louis found there was no need to hold on to her, thus he literally dropped her to the rough ground, causing her to hit something spikey with her butt.
Clearly in pain, Alaine screamed. "OUCH! What the heck, Louis!?!"
Alaine, noticing Louis' and Raiden's expression changed the moment she landed, asked. "..Why are you two quiet now?! What is it?! Did I hit something bad?"
"Don't look down." Both Raiden and Louis said at the same time.
For a curious person like Alaine, to tell her not to do things would definitely give her a reason to do it.
And so, she looked down.
"EEEEEEKKKKK! YOU GUYS!!!!"
With a scream like that, Alaine was almost out of breath from exclaiming that much, whereas her throat was literally dying in that moment.
What caused her to scream, one may ask?
The alligator was the supposed rough ground that Alaine had landed on, then to her surprise and fear, she went wide-eyed while making sure to hop off of the alligator in an uncoordinated way.
Amidst that, Alaine got too frightened that she began to run deep into the forest without second thoughts.
"Ah?! Hold on!"
At that time, Louis and Raiden were a little alerted by her running off somewhere, so they swiftly chased her after ending the alligator's life, of course.
"Alaine, wait! Don't wander alone like that!"
In the north side of the island, there were three children being entertained by nature and small animals, enjoying their time together while chatting to their heart's content.
Noelle and Noel, the twins who were crouching down to take a closer look at the flowers that grow on this island, were sparkling with eyes of admiration toward Mya.
And Mya, who wasn't trying to show off her knowledge of flowers, was naming every flower the twins were pointing at.
"Wow! So many flowers that I don't know about!" Crystal spoke on Noelle's behalf while on her head. "Well, it makes sense since we lived in the ‘Arctic’ World for so long."
Impressed by Mya, Noel commented on her wonderful knowledge. "As expected, you're incredible! When I first saw your talent at the Garden of Eden, I thought you were cheating!"
"Eh..!? Cheating is bad!" Mya crossed her arms, feeling displeased by Noel. "And I didn't cheat!"
In the end, Noelle, finding the atmosphere to be awkward, tried to fix the situation before it could worsen their friendships.
Having thought that, Noelle gently pinched Noel's hand while her glance showed she was displeased with Noel's behavior.
"Ow, sis. Why did you do that?" Noel groaned.
As a result of Noelle being shy to speak, Crystal came forward to speak on Noelle's behalf. "Noel, you're bad for saying Mya might have cheated."
"But I didn't mean it…"
"People may misunderstand!" Crystal softly thumped Noel's head after climbing up there.
Ultimately receiving Crystal's thumping, Noel had no choice but to give Mya an apology. Even without Crystal, Noel would have apologized either way because of Noelle's pinch.
Sooner or later, Noel went up to Mya and spoke in an apologetic tone. "Hm.. Mya.. I want to apologize for what I said earlier.. Will you forgive me?"
With such a wholehearted apology, Mya grinned in content before she held Noel's hands. "S-Sure, I'll forgive you, Noel. Gaaahh—"
Alongside Noel's shout, Mya had unexpectedly walked into a wide-open hole on the ground, surprising everyone in the process.
"Hang on tight!!"
Of course, Noel was grasping tightly onto Mya's hands without showing a hint of letting go as he was helping her up by pulling her out of that hole.
Bewilderment in its highest point, Noel didn't think about using his skill to support Mya upward with his ice power, he was too focused on what was in front of him that he couldn't concentrate in a calm manner.
This was where Noelle came in to assist the situation by using her power to lift Mya up from the hole while making sure her power isn't too cold for Mya.
Noel groaned. "A little bit more! Come on!"
Slowly but surely, Mya got back on her feet after experiencing such an unpredictable situation in those few minutes.
It really shook the heart out of Mya in many ways by beating fast while skipping a beat from the suddenness.
Noel then panted before he asked Mya out of concern. "Phew.. Huff.. Huff. Are you okay, Mya?"
"I-I am fine, Noel.. I just need to catch my breath.."
In the middle of taking deep breaths, Noel's glance wandered off and noticed something after he took a glimpse at his unfamiliar surroundings.
"Guys.. Do you know how far we went?"
"Hm?" Noelle and Mya responded before looking at each other. "No..?"
"Did we get too excited while running around? Because I think we're on a hill."
Astounded, Mya gazed at her vicinity before realizing that what Noel said was true.
"Take a look at this hole too! It looks like a cave down there! Whoa, is this a hollow hill?! What is this?" Crystal's stunned voice notified Noelle, Noel and Mya.
At that moment, the hole revealed to them an emptied cave, connecting to the sea too.
It was a breathtaking view to see and reside in if everyone were to move here to sleep since the cave's only entrance is the giant opening where the beach was.
Minus the hole because it only fits small children like Mya, Noelle and Noel.
"..Ahjussi..?" Mya mumbled when she took notice of someone entering the cave through the entrance.
In an instant, Noel alerted. "Sshhh.. quiet. I don't want my father to know we're here! We might surprise him later on!"
"Would your father be fine with this..? I'm sure ahjussi might not like this."
"It's fine if he doesn't see us right? Shh, he's doing something!"
Accomplished with them being silent and spying on JoonChul, they watched with anticipation and exhilaration as they made sure to not get caught in the act.
The thrill of curiosity to discover what JoonChul was doing by himself while in an unknown cave was something that excited them.
In the meantime..
‘..Why?’ Crystal looked at the children doing their things. ‘Why are they doing this?’
‘Haha… No doubt he's going to be mad once he finds out about this, but might as well join in on the fun.’ Crystal said before thrillingly watching the show below.
During all of this, Mya, Noel, Noelle and Crystal had their eyes peeled for this moment, watching JoonChul every second to uncover what he was doing here.
Among the seconds that it took for them to spy on JoonChul, all of them obviously had questions they wanted to ask, yet couldn't.
‘..How did father find this place so fast? Did we spend too much time looking around the forest?’ Noel thought.
‘..Why is papa here alone?’ Noelle pondered.
Lastly, Mya muttered. "What will ahjussi do in this kind of place?"
All of the sudden, someone that Mya, Noel, Noelle and Crystal didn't expect to see, had uniquely appeared before JoonChul.
Not only did that person catch the attention of everyone spying on JoonChul, the children were extremely curious about this person's identity.
"Who is she..?" Mumbled, everyone.