Chapter 34 Celeste’s Return
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TF Chapter 34 Celeste's Return

Humans have something called a will. 'I have no idea what that is, but I do know that it exists. Those with powerful wills are mostly those who have gone through extraordinary things, or those having a single-minded pursuit of something. I don't mean to sound clever or anything...this is just my honest opinion.

Weeks had once again gone by, with my spirit having long recovered such that we were back to extracting metal atoms regularly. The vision still claimed me when the time came, but due to the irrational fear I had developed, I had stopped taking even a single step out of the stone room, opting to let the duration elapse.

Today was very special since a person we had taken long without seeing was about to appear, Celeste. Apparently, whatever the forgers had been recruited for had ended and now, after months of nothing, our tutors were finally going to show up.

I wonder, what had they been up to? 

That question filled my mind while I leaned against the stone walls of the our little house and basked in the orange glow. Becoming used to this had been excruciating, but I could never get the hate I had developed for this color out of my mind. 

I had been brimming with excitement during the earlier years of my life, yet just a few months of embarking on the path to my dreams...I had lost the motivation.

Why? Because of this damn city! The atmosphere had been lively at the start, yet right now, I had the feeling that I was simply living within a city filled with zombies, with I myself being one of them. Was I dying inside, turning into a perpetual motion machine? I didn't have the answer to that question yet.

I really hope Celeste changes this status quo with her arrival. I looked to the skies, the orange glow not powerful enough to cause me to avert my eyes.

"Have you ever wondered where those aliens, the ones who used to live in this city, went?" Danny asked with a look that had both curiosity and a hint of fear.

"A calamity might have befallen them. Such things can happen, like the meteorite that wiped out the dinosaurs." Bora answered logically. 

It hadn't been only me who was excited about Celeste's, here we were, leaning against the walls of our little stone house, facing the road in the direction of the city gates, awaiting the arrival of our tutor. Danny and Bora were trying very hard to mask their feelings, but I could discern that they were also getting tired of this and were excited about something different.

"They probably were annihilated by something unknown, or just migrated somewhere better..." I also aired out my thoughts on the matter.

Though, it was a truly curious thing, why this continent and city were abandoned. Shouldn't at least one of those aliens have come back to check? Or their descendants? After all, this continent had probably existed before the time man walked the earth as a homo-something-

"Heh! She has finally appeared." I followed Danny's pointed finger, barely managing to catch a glimpse of Celeste through the crowd of others.

My face would have potrayed a very different expression if I hadn't scanned the crowd of tutors after giving Celeste a glance. There was this gloomy darkness surrounding the forgers, except for a few, with Celeste included.

What was wrong with them? Did whatever they went to do fail? No, that wasn't right. I strained my eyes to observe, managing to glean something from their demeanors, concluding that what they were radiating was fear, terror and listlessness, not to mention that loser-like slouching posture.

Had they been involved in a battle? That would have explained it, but then, what kind of army had they tussled with? We hadn't heard anything about a war. I could argue that we lacked the means of gaining such information, but that would be lying to myself. There was no way the forgers who had been left stationed here would have failed to inform us of something that big.

I straightened my posture subconsciously. There was this feeling within me that I couldn't afford to show these returnees my complacency, as I could already feel many eyes looking at us and the other apprentices with death within, as if their owners had had their souls destroyed.

"Something big happened." Bora whispered, a subconscious act due to the effect of the atmosphere radiating off the forgers.

Very very few were breaking away from the crowd to convene with their students, with Celeste being one of them.

As she broke away, I decided to read her current change to try and gauge something.

She had changed, something that shocked me a little bit. Previously, there had been a spring in her step, a breezy temperament and light demeanor about her, yet now, she had changed drastically.

The way her feet were falling were those of a person filled with purpose, an important goal. Gone was the childish nature, replaced with the stoic nature of an adult. Had she finally managed to evolve? It would be better if I observed more. Mere conclusions won't lead me anywhere.

"My dear students, I have managed to crawl from the gates of hell and back to you, yet, there is no welcome party? Hmmmm!?" 

She spoke, her voice containing a hint of playfulness but still lacking the same flavor from before. She had changed, a fact that was only starting to sink in. What had she gone through for such a drastic change to occur.

"Celeste, you know how shoddy this place is! Our being here, outside is already welcome enough. What did you want us to do more? Run over and hug you? Only Bora can do that. We, the boys would simply come off as shameless...hehehehe..." Danny's eyes were glittering. It seemed that he really yearned for the opposite. Who wouldn't, after taking in that body with the curves and great proportions?

Maybe I could have tried it if it had been the Celeste of before, but now, she was different. She was someone who had finally lit a flame that would fuel her goal. There was no way she was the same frivolous self.

We walked over, each giving her a handshake.

"You may have noticed the atmosphere with those guys...we are going to have to train you up faster and stronger. Don't be surprised if the council once again makes drastic changes to the curriculum."