Chapter 31 – To find nothing is to find something
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20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402

00:00, Elizabeth Magic Academy

 

 

The sky had gone dark and the activities in the school faded. No one was walking around in the school building anymore. Except for the three kids that were currently sitting inside one of the classrooms, class 2-B.

One of them was a girl with golden hair. Her beautiful blue eyes were looking at the white object in her hand. She shouted out some random words like "First!" or "Yay!" from time to time. If other people were passing by, they would surely question this girl's sanity right now. She was Alice Claude, the leader of SSS and the one in charge of the investigation tonight.

The other one of them was a boy with light tan skin. His body looked buffed despite being only 10 years old boy. He, Wilson Myles, sat cross leg with a spear in his hand, his eyes closed. He was the calmest person in the room right now, as he was the only one in the mood of meditating.

The last one was a girl. She was Mary Rose. She was currently hugging her knee in one corner of the room. The girl seemed to whisper, "No, Mary. Why are you here? Go back now. It's ain't too late." to herself.

As someone weak to pressure, of course, she couldn't resist Alice and got dragged along in the end.

The time in the classroom passed quickly with each of them engrossed in their own little world

When the time approached a new day, the only boy in the room opened his eyes.

"It's time."

"Um."

Alice nodded. She put the tablet black in her bag. Her eyes no longer lacked focus. Unlike previous somewhat questionable behavior, she now looked determined and proper.

There was only one person who wasn't positive about the upcoming event at all.

"Oh, no…"

"Come on, Mary. It is already too late to back away now." Alice said and walked toward her friend. She put her hand in front of Mary to pull her up.

"I... Okay." Mary relented in the end, albeit reluctantly. She took Alice's hand and stood up. She then looked at Wilson, who was walking toward them.

"Let's go." he said.

The trio walked along the corridor in the night for about 5 minutes. The visibility was poor as most of the lights were off. Only the lights in the key area were on.

But while light could illuminate the corridor, it also amplified the darkness.

The dark area looked darker, creating a web of the unknown outside of their vision.

Time like this was the only time where one could understand how insignificant a human was in the world. In the night, their lights were only but a small candle compared to the entire world.

Mary shivered slightly, but not because of the cold. She looked around nervously at the hallway. She didn't linger much on the dark part, though. The girl just skipped through them, for fear that something might catch her attention there.

Was this really the same place they came in the evening?

It was only a few hours since, but this place changed entirely. It felt like they were in an entirely different world.

Even Alice and Wilson, who were laid back before, seemed tense. They looked carefully at both sides before taking each step.

The group of three walked in a single file with Wilson in front, Alice, and then Mary. This was the most effective for their party, as they were a knight, mage, and cleric respectively.

"Nee... Isn't this place look different?" Mary asked. She finally couldn't bear the silence any longer and attempted to start a conversation in the group.

"Oh? How was it different than when you two came?" Wilson didn't reply but asked back. As he was the only one who didn't come with the two, he didn't have much impression of this place.

"The obvious one would be there is no one here, but that is not what I want to say." Mary said. She shook her head then continued. "There is something strange here. I just couldn't quite put a word to it."

"..." Wilson went silent for some time before he said. "What about you, Alice? Are you feeling something too?"

"Um." Alice nodded. "I feel like we are no longer in our world. Not only that, this place operates on a different rule than our world. Look. This place feels really cold, right?" she said, pointing at her white breath.

"Yes, it is freezing." Mary said while hugging Alice’s arm tight, shivering slightly.

"Yeah. But aren't we in the fall right now? Fall could be cold sometimes, right?" Wilson questioned. It was actually a valid question to ask. After all, Elizabeth Academy was in the northern part of the continent. While not that cold compared to his own land, this place was definitely the colder part of the kingdom.

"No. That isn't what I want to say." Alice shook her head. "What I want to say is... even I feel cold here."

"..." Wilson was speechless. "And?"

"My physique... the water-ice twin head dragon physique. It allows me to negate the cold temperatures somewhat." Alice said, explaining to others. "But I still feel cold here."

"What do you want to say?" Wilson asked.

But the one who answered wasn't Alice. It was Mary who had an unbelievable expression on her face. "She means that the temperature here didn't follow the rule of our world. It was not the cold that makes us feel cold here."

"What...!" Wilson gasped. Then he looked at Alice for confirmation.

The girl was silent, but she didn't deny it. Wilson felt as if there was a block of ice on his back. He shivered and then looked at the corridor in front of him.

The corridor looked the same, yet he couldn't help but felt as if there was something hidden in the darkness beyond his eyes.

“Let’s continue... for now.” Alice said solemnly. Her eyes focused on the hallway and the room to the right.

The trio then continued along the dark, endless, and unknown corridor.

 

 


20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402

06:00, Elizabeth Magic Academy

 

But in the end, they found nothing.

There was nothing out of the ordinary there. The group went to the library, checked the previous incident scenes, and even investigated the empty classrooms one by one. But there was nothing other than the somewhat colder temperature compared to normal.

And before they knew, morning had come.

The building and the academy were still quiet. The sun still hadn’t gone up yet, but the time had changed to 6AM. If they didn’t get back to their room to get ready now, they would be late for class.

Thus, the group decided they would end it here for today and started walking back.

“In the end, there is really nothing, huh?” Mary said. Even she who was the most scared in the group relaxed considerably. She no longer stuck close to Alice but skipped around by herself near the window. She even was the one in front of the group in the last hour. The girl felt anti-climaxed that the night had no incidence at all, but at the same time, she was also relieved.

“I guess we couldn’t believe the words from others blindly, right?” Mary said and turned around to face her friends. While she was tired from the sleepless night, the feeling of liberation was far stronger. “There is nothing here at all. It is just a scary tale that they make up.”

But Alice didn’t answer. She closed her eyes and was deep in thought.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “That still doesn’t make sense. The victims are all from different classes. One of them is even the librarian. There is nothing in common between them at all. Why would this group try to trick us? What benefit would they get?”

“Hmm…”

“That is true… But, don’t we find nothing?”

“…” Alice said nothing for some time before continued. “No, the fact that we found nothing is the fact that we actually find something.”

“You are making no sense, you know?”

“She probably watched too much stream recently. Just ignored her.” Wilson said with his eyes blank. He shook his head slightly.

“…” Alice’s face darken. But she decided to let it slide, for now at least. They had a bigger problem to face, after all.

“What time is it now?” she suddenly asked a question that was entirely out of context.

“Eh?“ The question puzzled Mary. She didn’t have a watch with her, but a quick glance inside one of the classrooms was all she needed. “It is around 6, why?”

Alice nodded at Mary’s answer. But when Mary thought she was going to ask the next question, Alice suddenly switched to Wilson.

“Wilson. What time do you get up every day?”

“Me? I wake up around 4-5, I think?” Wilson replied even though he didn’t know where this chain of questions would go.

“What do you want to say, Alice?”

But Alice still didn’t answer. She asked more questions instead. “How many people do you see when you go out to practice each morning?”

“Around dozens… But there would be more when I finish each day... Wait!” Wilson thought back, and then his face suddenly changed. He looked significantly paler than before.

“W… What!?” Mary who still couldn't follow ask. She looked back and forth between Alice and Wilson, who was lost in their thought.

“Just look outside.” Wilson said.

“Outside?” Mary was confused but complied silently. She was slightly scared that she would find something there, but there was nothing.

The outside was quiet. There was not a single activity outside. It was all silence and emptiness.

“There is nothing… oh... no!”

It was then a thought flashed in her mind. Why is the outside still quiet?

As a mage herself, Mary also practiced a lot in the morning. Around 6AM was when a lot of people started their morning routine, some—like Wilson—even finished it.

But there was nothing outside at all.

Not to mention other students, there was no bird sound at all.

“What to do— HEK!”

Mary's words ended abruptly as she turned back and face her friends. Because when she turned around from the window, she saw something.

It was a door.

A simple door to classroom 2-B.

A place where they started.

They had found the never-ending corridor.

No.

 

They were in it the entire time.

 

How…?”

Mary’s legs went weak, and she stumbled on the ground. She looked at the door in horror. She didn’t know that a simple door could cause her so much fear before.

“…!”

Wilson and Alice also became tense. They followed Mary’s gaze and their face hardened. After all, they had already decided to go back. So why would they come here again?

Something made them came here.

There was something other than them here.

Something beyond their understanding.

 

Ding!

And then there was a sudden sound. A single sound that broke the silence of the entire corridor.

“EeK!”

“Kuh!”

All children almost jumped at the sound, all except one, of course. Alice was calm. She just reached out to her bag and pull out an object that made the previous sound.

[(Q&A Session) You are invited to my wisdom chamber! Sage Khun will answer all your questions!]

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“…”

“...”

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