*tug tug*

Kazuya was sitting on his desk when a familiar tug made him realize that he had been distracted. He turned towards the girl who looked at him with concerned eyes. He had been quite distracted after he had gotten that call from Kurumi yesterday.

"It's nothing. Just thinking about a few things" Kazuya reassured her because this girl also turned out to be a worrywart.

He heard all about her episode when he was well enough to get visitors. This robot girl was one of the first visitors he had because she needed to see him well and awake more than anyone else. She jumped on him the moment she entered his hospital room and almost took out the stitches he kept on for appearances' sake.

Kyouko who was present at the time couldn't blame her after hearing from Jirou what happened. Kazuya's circumstances made the robot girl have an episode as she got reminded what she witnessed when she lost her parents after seeing so much blood coming from Kazuya. The girl who hardly showed any emotion cried out loudly after confirming for herself that he was alright.

*nod* she sat back down obediently.

The two of them were still in the same sports focused class even though time had passed and occupied the same seats as well. Though they were already in a year and some months away from stepping into middle school, the only thing that changed about this girl was she had started to use her voice in a few situations.

This had been incredible process because both he and his annoying friend Takaya almost gave up in trying to make her speak. Kazuya didn't really know what exactly prompted it but he knew that it may have been because of what happened to him two years ago.

"K-kouzuki-san!" a girl who looked nervous entered their classroom and tried to approach him. Her friends waited for her near the door and kept on encouraging her to do her best.

"…" Tomoyo's eyebrows twitched and stood up to and released some pressure which stopped the girl from getting any closer. This was also one of the aftereffects of the incident which made Tomoyo react like this for strangers that tried to approach him.

"What is it?" Kazuya gestured to the robot girl that it was alright. There was really no need for her to act like this but it sometimes helped when he wanted to avoid talking to a people at times.

"W-will you come to the Judo club today?" the girl even felt more nervous as she was being stared at the person who was well known to have been his faithful robot.

Another side effect to the matter that happened between him and Lee being made public was that his identity had no longer been a secret. It wasn't only that, people made him out to be some sort of heroic and filial hero who fought bravely during the championship and won while he was critically wounded.

He couldn't help but sigh at such romanization but people loved such tales. it was because of this that his popularity surged in their school and there was hardly any people who didn't know who he was. As someone who wanted to stay low key, this was a burden as he had not planned for any of this to happen.

"Hmm…" he thought about the girl's question.

With his training progressing smoothly, he expanded his thoughts after getting lessons from Jirou. He started thinking about learning more about different styles for fighting other than with a sword. He did get the basics of fighting with the usual style of Edea but like his swordsmanship, he realized that he relied on the advantage of his blessing and made himself believe that it was enough.

Kazuya started trying out different martial arts and the easiest way he could do so was by visiting the various clubs in their school and getting tips from their instructors. It may have been a little of a stretch to get something like a master of the art to teach him like Jirou but Kazuya was only hoping to learn everything that he could from them so that he can integrate it into his repertoire.

He was already a popular figure in school anyway so he just rode the flow and used it to his advantage. The instructors who heard about him were more than happy to agree to help such a brave kid and let him be a motivator to the other members. Some of them even tried to poach him away from the Kendo club.

"No Kouzuki-san should go with the Karate club today!" one boy entered through the door at the back of the room and stopped at a distance where he knew Tomoyo wouldn't mind.

The people from the Judo club complained from the background. They asked him first and the boy had went alone to try and steal away Kazuya. The boy remained unmoved despite their objections. He believed that it would be a waste of time for Kazuya to be going to the Judo club because these girls would just tray to talk to him most of the time.

"Whoa! It sure is lively here" a voice came from outside the room. The students quickly made way as soon as they saw who the person was.

The students from Kazuya's class however, was already used to this person from S class making himself comfortable in their classroom. They even left his seat empty most of the time because he would usually just go to their class whenever he had time to go to school.

"You sure are popular as usual Kouzuki" he grinned at his friend. They had gotten a lot friendlier over the past two years as he dropped all pretenses when dealing with Kazuya. The only reservation he had left was when Tomoyo was present.

"Why are you he—"

"He'll be joining the basketball club later so all of you can leave" A voice interrupted him as everyone turned to look at the tall and intimidating girl with the same pin as Takaya had. Everyone was immediately intimidated by this tall beauty who seemed to a middle school student.

"And you are?" Kazuya's brows furrowed. He knew who this girl was because Kurumi hadn't failed to mention this cousin of hers during their talks for the past two years.

He remained indifferent because from Kurumi's description and the previous people who threatened him with her identity, she was trouble. This was Stockton Maron, Kurumi's older cousin who deliberately let herself get held back in school to stay with her cousin.

"You…" Maron was a bit surprised at his lack of reaction. She might not have been present for all the times her cousin talked to him on the phone but she knew that Kurumi definitely mentioned her to him. She wanted to meet him before her cousin did so she deliberately let Kurumi oversleep so that she could get a step ahead of her.

"I apologize but I have not met you before. I have no interest in basketball so there would be no need to me to go there. I will be intruding in the Karate club today so I already have an appointment.

The girls who invited him looked disappointed but they stayed. They wanted to see who this girl was and what she was going to do after her invitation was rejected. Maron had not budged and acted as if he did not hear his invitation.

"You really don't know who I am?" Maron looked at him suspiciously but could not discover and hint of him trying to pretend he didn't know her.

"I have quite the confidence in my memory so I am sure that this is the first time we've seen each other. I believe my friend here is the same. He does not seem to recognize you even though you do possess the pin that indicates you are from his class" Kazuya turned to the person in question to let him take over.

"He's right. I've met every single one of the people in S class for both 5th and 6th grades. I have not met someone like you before" Takaya had not been intimidated since they were indeed from the same class.

Kazuya now understood why it had taken so long for these two to transfer over. The test for transferring to their school already had strict requirements but it was even stricter for those who wanted to be in S class simply because of how demanding the results they needed to keep being in the class.

The Kurumi from his previous life was a girl who remained in the regular classes so she was definitely forced to do more than she had done previously in this life. It was a sort of improvement for her but Kazuya was well aware of her reasons for doing so.

"It's because I just transferred today. The name's Maron, Stockton Maron. I have to say Ka-kun, I'm really quite offended that you don't remember me" Maron ginned as she moved in to get closer to him but was immediately stopped by a girl with a swinging ponytail who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.

Even Takaya was a bit startled after hearing her name. Who wouldn't know who the Stockton's were. There also seemed to be an amicable relationship between the Kouzukis and the Stocktons ever since the incident two years ago so they couldn't help but speculate why this girl suddenly acted all familiar with Kazuya. Only Kazuya had remained indifferent because he already knew who this girl was.

"And?" Kazuya remained unmoved. He already put this girl in the same category as Ayame. She was the same type who was selfish and did everything that she wanted so he wanted to have as little to do with her as possible.

Everyone watching really couldn't help but raise their admiration towards their hero. He was one of them and he didn't even give in to such an intimidating person. It looked like there would be another page to be added in his heroic tales as the amount of sparkles in the people's eyes made Kazuya's mouth twitch.

"What do you mean 'AND?' You should have realized who I am and how we are connected by now!" she felt annoyed after seeing his unchanging expression when she declared who she was. She would have grabbed and hit him by now but Tomoyo had been silently moving to prevent her from even being able to take a step forward.

"I advise you not to move any closer. This robot girl does not listen to what I have to say especially when she feels that I do not want some people to get close to me" Kazuya indifferently said and turned towards the boy from the Karate club to give him a nod to confirm his invitation was acknowledged.

"Why aren't you answering me? You should know who I am by now right?" Maron continued to frown. "Are you going to keep hiding behind a girl? You call yourself a man?" she tried changing her approach.

"Are you trying to be clever by taunting me?" Kazuya turned to her and warmly smiled. He found such taunts to be cute.

"I'm just speaking the truth. Why hide behind a girl?" Maron grinned back at him.

"You have an interesting perspective. Let me ask you a question then; What do you think would happen if you attack me?"

"She would defend you"

"Correct. Now what do you think would happen if she lets you attack me? This robot girl herself has never won a single bout against me you know" Kazuya's expression hadn't changed but everyone else's did.

The people present had gotten used to seeing Tomoyo preventing anyone they didn't know approach Kazuya that they let the fact about him being the champion of the individual Kendo tournament ever since he started participating slip their minds. He was right. What was this girl expecting?

"This…" What was she indeed expecting. This wasn't the Ka-kun she once knew. Her expectations were a whole lot different from what was actually happening. He may have looked the same but he was like a person she never even met.

The school bell had rung before Maron could answer. The fact that Kazuya had talked back to her and even made her speechless still hadn't sunk in. She selfishly took the seat behind him and the poor occupant was forced to relocate to another seat.

The day moved on like any other day aside from the fact that Kazuya always felt a stare from behind him. Maron observed his every move and even took interest in the different types of books he was reading.

"(Art of War? Military Tactics? Psychological Warfare?)" She became even more confused. Why was he reading such things and why were the teachers not saying anything about it?

"Is there no one who knows the answer to this question?" one of the teachers of the next class asked the students. She thought that it would be a good time to get this guy in trouble so she gestured towards the teacher to call for Kazuya.

"Kouzuki-kun? Would you mind helping your classmates out again?" the teacher didn't know why this new student was making trouble for the student most likely didn't need to attend class to pass exams so he decided to show her.

"Sure" Kazuya put the book down on his desk before walking towards the front to make quick work of the problem that stumped his classmates. This was actually a higher leveled equation that was supposed to be answered once everyone had learned how to do it in the current term.

"Splendid! Thank you as usual Kouzuki-kun. If you ever need to convince your mother to have you elevated to an advanced level, then feel free to ask" the teacher praised and felt that it was a pity that he was stuck in a grade that only served to waste his time academically.

"Thank you sensei but I understand my mother's intentions. I may have gotten better at interacting with people but I still have not gotten rid of many of my old habits" he excused himself and walked back to his seat. Before he sat down however, he looked at Maron in the eyes and muttered "Childish pranks fit for a little girl" before sitting down.

"Wha—" Maron was about to grab him but she held herself back as soon as she saw Tomoyo's gaze land on her. Had this been their old school, she would have already wreaked havoc after being insulted like that.

She had been warned beforehand that the school had very strict rules. These rules were even stricter for members of the S class because they were supposed to be elite members of the next generation. Kurumi's father had let Maron selfishly follow Kurumi to transfer but he set the condition that both of them must pass S class' requirements.

This was meant to be a way to control this troublesome girl's personality. She would have to behave so that she could stay in this school because Sacred Forest Academy would not hesitate to revoke her status as a member of S class or expel her from school if she broke the rules that they were briefed about when they got accepted.

"(Just you wait Ka-kun… I'll definitely get you back for this)" she glared at his back as her intentions were clearly felt by Kazuya who had grown a frown. He was indebted to Stockton Kurumi so he had to at least try to get along with her but this girl was another matter altogether.

"(What a troublesome girl…)"


A note from Ruruci



Support "Edea Chronicles: Hero Summoning Conspiracy"

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