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CHAPTER 4 Act 1

"What are you doing here?" she asked, without looking at me.

"I just want to talk to you."

"Why? Why do you care so much about me? It's as if you're pitying me for no reason."

"No... That's not it... Why don't you...? I mean, could you please listen to me for a secon—"

"Thank you, but I'm sick of it all."

After that, she pulls her school bag, and something inside that surprises me.

"Don't do it; I want you to listen to me—"

"It's too late, Ms. Auguron."

Then I witnessed the tragedy in which she committed suicide directly in front of me. Her knife, which was stuck in her neck and deeply slit her own throat. Covered in her own blood, I stared at her with a blank expression. That was very unsightly to see. I'm speechless and, on the inside, despondent.

"..."

"..."

However, I must restore my calm, and move on.

"We need to hurry, Ms. Auguron."

"Go on ahead of me, Mr. Arson, this will take a while," I replied.

As we walk through the gate of the school, Mr. Arson makes a remark regarding our meeting of representatives. It is so often that we have a meeting or two in a week, but this sudden meeting was about a certain student.

"I see. Make sure you attend this meeting since it involves Gale Family."

"I know. Well then, I'll need to take care of things."

We split ways after that.

Mr. Arson and I usually go to school separately, but we often go together. And our relationship is not what others think of when they hear the term "close friend."

We have been chosen to be the school's representative in order to gather individuals, particularly those who we believe have something exceptional about them. We should be role models in the Gale Family, and the responsibility is on our shoulders. Therefore, I regard him as a partner on an equal footing.

However, in order to be a representative, you must be acknowledged by the organization itself and, more importantly, by the people around you. Furthermore, you must have done something to improve your organization's reputation.

"Good morning, Ms. Auguron!" a group of students greets me as soon as they see me.

"Likewise," I say, as I walk away.

These people are from my organization, and my status here, like that of the Student Council members, is highly regarded.

All representatives are seen to be at the top and capable of creating their own name and fame.

I was born as a wealthy young child from the Auguron Family. Though, there was no preferential treatment.

The beginning point for becoming a representative is that you are at the bottom of the well, and you must rise to the top.

It is difficult to reach your specified goal unless you strive.

The Auguron Family is the head of the ISA (Primary) faction inside the Gale Family, which has led the Gale Family to where it is currently. Therefore, as a daughter of that well-known family, I must stand up and do what has been told to me, even if it means losing my freedom.

Not long ago, I was elevated to this position, and as a result, the Auguron Family's prestige has grown.

"What are you doing here?" a woman immediately asked me.

"Is that obvious? I'm here to learn something."

"Hm? What is it?"

I was now leaning against the library's front desk, pretending to be here to observe. I'm trying to keep my presence hidden here since I had to confront this particular person.

"Ms. Zei Wyte," I quip, "We've known each other for a long time."

"What's the deal with that statement?"

"Nothing, but I know what you're up to behind the scenes."

Zei Wyte. She had been hidden in the school for a long time.

I've been acquainted with her before, considering we were childhood friends. However, following that incident, I had no idea where she had gone. Until now.

"You're extremely serious in your claim; didn't you mistake me for someone you knew?"

"No, I'm convinced about you," I say, looking into her eyes.

Currently, she is wearing glasses that conceal her identity. But she had those lusty eyes and an imposing presence, and even her short silvery hair told my senses that she was Zei, nonetheless.

We'd both grown up, yet she was still as lovely as ever after all these years.

Finally, the mystery of the child lurking in this school was solved. It was none other than her, and on top of that, she was a long-time childhood friend of mine.

"Then, if it were me, what would you do about it? Are you going to tell other Families?"

"Of course not; besides, they'll eventually find out after today's meeting."

"I'm interested, Esper. How would you know about me?"

"So you're not denying it after all? But can you guess?"

Zei looks at me for a few seconds, which is rare, but she says nothing. She again shifted her gaze back to the book she was reading earlier.

"I see you're speculating, but I'll tell you part of it," I continue, "The Student Council."

"..."

"By which, can you guess what happened then?" I smirked at her.

"Don't get too excited," she said.

This info was revealed to me yesterday, before the Gale Family's trial. It was worthwhile to trade with the Student Council.

The President makes a wager on whether or not Mr. Seid will try to confront the Gale family, despite the fact that he lacks the support of any group. If Mr. Seid tries to confess everything, then the Student Council will pay me for a certain piece of information.

Mr. Arson agreed with me, so it's okay to get rid of worthless people.

At first, I don't feel it's worth the deal, but after hearing the details, I'm glad since I met Zei more than anything else.

"So that's how it is, huh?" she mumbles as she mulls over.

I didn't say anything because Zei could probably guess this right away.

"Anyway, Zei, as far as I can see, what happened to your hair?"

"...I need to cut it."

"I thought you didn't like short hair? It's still gorgeous, though. Well anyway, this will be our reunion."

"I guess... But, as you mentioned, don't you have a meeting this morning?"

"I'll be there after this, but am I the only one who missed this conversation, Zei?"

"Not at all; in fact, I was trying to get close to you today and I'm going to show myself to the school itself."

"So you'll finally show up, huh?"

"That's right, but it appears that Student Council was ahead of me."

"Oh, is that so?"

"By the way, has the President mentioned anything else to you?"

"Else? What do you mean?"

"Never mind, why are you here in the first place? It's not like you want to confirm something, no?"

"Since I confirmed it's you, Zei, this is a good time to tell you, that Student Council was aware that you were gathering information within the school."

"I suppose this is quite troublesome," she mutters, "then?"

"If you have any insights, I know you're familiar with Mr. Seid?"

"..."

"If so, did you hear about his belongings going missing out of nowhere?" I continue.

She paused for a moment, "How come?" and continued to flip the pages of the book.

Apparently, she had a rapid reaction to what I said, making her sound as if she knew something about it.

"I don't know, and I have no clue who's behind this," I stated, "However, all representatives agreed that no one would harm Mr. Seid in a week or such."

"Why is there such an agreement? Do you think every other organization will follow that? What a dumb nonsense."

"I know that papers are meant only to be read, but this was just to make sure."

"Certainly, but I'm not sure what all of you representatives are thinking about this."

"But, Zei, if you're gathering information, do you know who's behind it?"

We were carefully exchanging words in this vast room, making sure no one could hear us.

"Hmm..." she muffles a sound, "Can you bring me to the meeting of the representatives?"

"Nn, do you want to expose yourself right now?"

"Esper, like you said, they'll eventually find out about me, so what's the reason not to show up there?"

"Haha, Looks like this is going to be fascinating."

"As I said, don't get too worked up, Esper."

With that, we made our way through the Student Council Room. And, as I had predicted, many students' gazes were drawn to us, particularly Zei, who was strolling calmly alongside me.

"What's the matter, Esper?"

Again, her eyes are fixated on straight ahead, and she doesn't even glance back at me. All of the time, Zei doesn't look directly at the person. And sometimes because of this, I feel distant towards her.

"Nothing, I was just surprised that you're literally ready to show yourself. For sure, students are wondering who was with me today."

"Is that a compliment or are you making fun of me?"

"Of course you know it's a compliment; no one here understands you better than me, and the same goes for you."

"I'm relieved to see you're still Esper."

"Hm? Don't you think I've changed a lot even though I'm the representative now? The Gale and Light aren't the same, but our Family were close, you know?"

"It is, but I suppose we can get together after this?"
"Sure, that'll be great!"

After a little walk, we're now at the front door of the Student Council room.

Zei appears to be blissfully serene, as if she had a plan from the start.

She is often unpredictable in her actions. And even after we've been apart for years, she hasn't forgotten me. However, for those years, I can see that our difference was still huge. I can't get close to her even once.

Her expression also changed dramatically, and her appeal was a lot more refined. I could say her change was the result of 'that' experience. But still, she was Zei from back then.

"I'll open the door then," I said.

"Go ahead, I'll follow you."

And with that, we entered the room. And, as expected, all of their eyes were straight on us.

"Who's that woman, Ms. Auguron?" A girl who was also also a representative suddenly asked me.

It looks like they didn't recognize her.

"It's my long-time friend, Zei Wyte," and then I looked at Steve Wyte.

He seemed surprised a bit, but some did not notice it at first glance.

Every organization has two representatives, but if I take a look, it seems not everyone was present.

"If that's the case, Esper, why is she here?" they wondered.

"I simply want to say 'hi' to the President," Zei says, doing a curtsy bow.

"You two know each other?" I asked.

"Not at all," she answered.

"Well, you're finally here," the President remarked, "and it looks like this meeting is going to be exciting."

"You think so, but I'm not here for the Light Family, though," Zei replied.

"I'm aware of that, Ms. Zei; may I address you as such because Mr. Steve Wyte is also present?" Mr. President says.

"That's not an issue; in any case, you've been aware of me since yesterday, huh?"

"Seems like Esper said so."

He suddenly looked at me.

But I responded to him, "I don't think I said anything, Mr. President."

For the most part, that was true. I told Zei that Student Council was involved, not a specific person.

"I know we have an agreement, Esper, but don't overcomplicate things."

He said as he peered at me. On top of that, I can sense his annoyance.

"Hoh," I answered with a broad smile, "If that's the case, I'll think about it."

I agree with their conditions, but it is not my problem if something goes wrong. Furthermore, if I did not violate their terms, everything would be okay.

"First and above all else, why did you come here, Ms. Zei? I'm sure you have something to tell me; nevertheless, I'll invite you to join us at our meeting, so I'll presume we have to start immediately."

"That's fine with me," Zei says.

I don't know Zei about what she's up to, but I can see she's incredibly calm being here. Regardless, all of the organizations didn't say anything about Zei joining the discussion.

In a minute or so, I walked to my seat next to Mr. Arson, and Zei was sitting somewhere near the entrance.

In any case, the discussion was held at this massive rectangular table, and the President, of course, was at the head of the table. Every single organization represented at this meeting had at least one representative. In addition, Student Council members and Zei were present.

This is a gathering of fifteen Big Families.

Seats are arranged as follows, from the left side of the table to the right.

{Absent}

-Student Council-
Mr. Ethan Reginald "President"

-Time Family-
Mr. Past, {*unknown*}

-Evanesce Family-
*unknown*, Ms. Leap

-Clone Family-
Mr. Ilne, *unknown*

-Dark Family-
Mr. Grim, Ms. Buwan

-Scorch Family-
*unknown*, {*unknown*}

-Flame Family-
*unknown*, *unknown*

-Aqua Family-
*unknown*, {Ms. Lisa Hollows}

-Terra Family-
*unknown*, *unknown*

-Gale Family-
Mr. Arson, Ms. Esper Auguron

-Frost Family-
*unknown*, Ms. Shear

-Light Family-
Mr. Steve Wyte, Ms. Shine

-Alter Family-
*unknown*, *unknown*

-Life Family-
*unknown*, *unknown*

-Demise Family-
{*unknown*}, Ms. Crimson

-Cosmos Family-
{*unknown*}, *unknown*

All of the representatives are not average, or should I say, they have sharp eyes and unique personalities. We compare each other as equals, whether they are upperclassmen or underclassmen.

"I see, so not everyone was here."

The President observed.

"Why do we need to keep showing up like this?" Ms. Shear of the Frost Family said.

Mr. Grim commented, "You don't have to show up if you don't want to."

Their gazes met, but no one said anything.

If I think about it, this meeting is a lot more troublesome and wastes our time.

"Well, calm down, Ms. Shear," the President interposed, "First of all, can you report to the school those students in your group who should be expelled?"

As the meeting began, we should report one by one on the students who should be expelled from school owing to their inappropriate behavior. Indeed, even if a person is innocent, representatives have the authority to expel them. Of course, no one will say "yes" to this question...as of now, because everyone in the organization requires influence. But sometimes, other Families need to expel students for their own personal reasons.

"Alright, so none of you are going to kick someone out today?" Secretary Lou adds, "If anything, the Student Council will handle it."

"So, let us get to the point," the President continued, "as you can see, there was a dead body yesterday," he stated nonchalantly as if nothing had happened.

The hush engulfed them when they received the news. This information is not new to us, but we were astonished to see that some students are unable to handle their own difficulties.

As a representative, I attempt to keep our activities' casualties to a minimum, but this isn't always possible. Even though we warned the students to use caution, some are going too far. Yes, we get a lot of complaints, but it's a rule in every organization that if we see someone, we immediately get rid of them and toss them out. If not, then we will remain silent and prudent.

"Who is currently involved?"

Secretary Lou responds, "Gale Family."

And all of their attention is initially drawn to us.

"Don't stare at us like that, it's unpleasant," I stated, "Besides, everyone here has been in the same boat in the last couple of days, hasn't it?"

"Don't worry everyone; those involved have been expelled from the school and from the Gale family," Mr. Arson said.

"If that's the case, there's no need to address this issue, right?"

"Not exactly. If you consider the name of the person who died, it's Ms. Hunt," the President fills in.

"Oh? The Gale Family has its own troubles again, huh?" Ms. Crimson from the Demise Family wondered aloud.

I firmly stared at her, "That problem was handled a year ago, and it has nothing to do with it."

Incidentally, Ms. Hunt and I were acquaintances back then. At the time, Ms. Hunt was the representative of the Gale family.

"I know—we know Ms. Auguron," Ms. Crimson mockingly replied, "but don't you feel anything about this incident? I'm sure you do."

This woman was grating on my nerves, but I needed to keep my cool.

"No one cares about the past, and I don't believe we need your viewpoint, Ms. Crimson?" I replied.

"All right then, Ms. Auguron. One thing I just want to say, be sure to clean up your own mess."

"My hands are both clean, Ms. Crimson. Regardless, the same goes for you; always clean your own cup since you don't know if someone will put poison in it."

"Hm? I'll heed your advice," she said, as she smiles.

"Calm down, you two," the President says.

And once more, the silence returns to this room.

"Mr. President, if I may make a suggestion, might we not discuss Ms. Hunt in this meeting and get right to the point regarding the topic? After all, there's one more issue you want to address, right?" As Mr. Grim suggested.

"That's right. As you can tell, the rumors concerning a mystery person have now been revealed: it's Ms. Zei Wyte, Principal Eve's daughter."

"Daughter?"

Zei was closing her eyes while almost everyone seemed shocked about this news.

Even though I am aware of this, I can't believe Zei has been present at this school the entire time. Now I'm wondering about what she was doing here and how she got here.

"Indeed," the President continues, "but she has no organization at the moment."

"--What?" I instinctively stood up and shouted.

This... I still can't believe Zei did that.

"Why did you leave Zei?" I asked her immediately, "Zei, I'm not exactly sure why you quit, but are you certain about this?"

"There's no need to be concerned about her, Ms. Auguron," Mr. Steve Wyte stated, "her commitment is strong, and I'm not sure how she can handle it; regardless, don't involve yourself to her. You understand that, right?"

I'm speechless after hearing what he just stated. I'm sure he was concerned about her as well, since...

"You heard it clearly, didn't you?" the President asks, "therefore you're free to welcome Ms. Zei in yours—"

"There's no need, Mr. President," Zei responded, "but why does it appear that Student Council wants to sell me?"

"Is that your interpretation, Ms. Zei?"

"Like I said, you don't have to; I'm in the process of forming my own organization."

"..."

Now everybody is looking straight at Zei.

"What are you doing?" Mr. President said calmly. "Are you acting like a grown-up? Do you believe you'll be able to manage it?"

"I'm not sure what to say in response, but I'm convinced you regard me as a threat now?"

"Was that your intention from the start, Zei?" Mr. Steve asked her, but Zei ignored him.

Zei was certainly unpredictable and that's what I looked up about her. I can sense her determination, but that was a major risk.

"Regardless, Mr. President, may I speak with you privately about that matter?"

"That was rather abrupt, but I guess we can talk right after this."

"Thank you very much," she responds.

I kept my eyes downcast while I processed the situation. It's difficult to think Zei was that daring.

"Anyway, representatives, we received a report that perhaps one of us was involved in that incident..." The President diverts the topic.

"..."

"..."

He adds, "...from Mr. Hans Seid."

"Oh that guy," Mr. Ilne from Clone Family said.

"What then?" Ms. Shear asked.

"Recently, his stuff, including his bag, disappeared."

"...Disappeared?"

"That was weird. Didn't we just agree on something?" Ms. Crimson said.

"Yeah, we came to an agreement on something."

"May I say something about that?" Finally, Mr. Past of the Time Family spoke up.

"What is it?" Mr. Grim questioned.

"Don't you think this is ridiculous?" He said.

"How come?"

Ms. Crimson said, "Hmm, sort of."

"If we distrust the other representative in making a move, we end up disputing, right? What if we all make a move now? There's no harm in it."

"If I think about it," Mr. Arson said, "we can agree on that."

"Then this isn't our concern; if Mr. Seid rejects us and quits school, it's not the end of the world; why do we fight over a certain guy?"

And with that, we stared at each other.

"Haha," Mr. President suddenly laughs, "that's not what I'm expecting from all of you."

Definitely, this is just a silly play.

"Why are you laughing, Mr. President?" Mr. Ilne sarcastically asked.

"No, I just realize how foolish this thing was."

So we've been played by him, huh?

The reason we agreed to the Student Council is that we wanted to take advantage of the consequence. If the other Family is responsible for all of Mr. Seid's attacks, we will simply put them down. Of course, we desire a peaceful fight between Families, and Mr. Seid was a remarkable student as well. But as long as we can take our enemies down, we will.

"Then, this meeting is probably over now." Mr. Crimson asks.

"Yeah, since that's all of it," says the president, "Ms. Lou..." signaling the end of the discussion.

"That was today's meeting," Secretary Lou said.

The meeting concluded, but instead of leaving, I remained in the Student Council room with Zei.

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A note from Ihip-Ihip

Special Note: Every Organization (Big Family) is organized into separate hierarchies, mainly five divisions. ISA is for Primary or the First Group; DUHA stands for Secondary; while ATLU, UPPAT, and LIMA stand for the third, fourth, and fifth groups, respectively. 

 

The second part will be uploaded next week. Thanks again for reading.


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Ihip-Ihip

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