When I regained my composure, my surroundings had changed.
The originally destroyed abandoned house had collapsed completely now, and the ground around us looked somewhat like a crater.
“Mei!? Alea!? Claire-sama!?”
Immediately after realizing that we were attacked, I frantically searched around for the three of them.
“I’m right here.”
“Claire-sama! I’m glad you’re not hurt anywhere.”
“More importantly, where are Mei and Alea?”
Since we were hit by a surprise attack, I didn’t have any time to set up any defensive magic for them.
There was no way they were safe.
“Mei and Relaire saved us.”
A pair of energetic voices called out to us from atop of the pillar that I created with my “Uplift” spell.
When I took a closer look at them, there seemed to be a magical barrier spread above their heads, which was being supported by Mei and Relaire.
This was something that I only learned of later, but it seemed that the collar that was sealing Mei’s magic had been destroyed by a piece of debris back when I used my “Uplift” spell on them.
I could feel the relief washing over my heart.
I was so glad that they were unhurt.
“I’ll cancel the spell now.”
I shrank the pillars and brought the kids back to the ground.
The two of them came running up to us.
“Are both of you okay!? Do you have any injuries!?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. More importantly――”
“Okaa-sama, it’s coming again for us again! That black light!”
When we looked over to where Alea was pointing, we saw a dark light heading straight for us.
I hurriedly put up a barrier with my earth magic.
At that moment, I saw a shadow of somebody crawling out of the barrier.
“Lana, what are you doing!? Hurry up and get in here!”
“I can’t…… I…… betrayed you guys, after all……”
Lana, whose complexion looked pale, murmured.
“That wasn’t your fault, Lana! You were just being manipulated!”
“Even so…… I was abandoned by Papa, and my existence has no value anyway……”
I see, so that’s what it was.
This surprise attack wasn’t meant for us alone, he was willing to hurt Lana in the process.
Salas had intended to dispose of Lana along with us from the very beginning.
Lana must’ve noticed that as well.
Because she had lost the only thing that she could cling onto, she had fallen into despair.
“Just…… leave me to die.”
As I maintained the barrier with one hand, I pulled Lana back in with the other.
Her stout body felt heavy since all of her strength had escaped her.
Right as I barely managed to drag her back into the barrier, another demon-like magical spell was fired at us.
This attack is quite long――!
“Let me die…… sensei.”
“I won’t…… I absolutely won’t――!””
I desperately kept Lana from exiting the barrier.
“Why……? Why would you go so far for me……?”
“Isn’t it…… obvious…..?!”
I mean, Lana Lahna―― you are――
“You are my student, after all!”
“As long as you keep calling me your teacher, then I will never abandon you!”
I put my strength into pulling Lana closer.
Right as Lana fell over towards me, the attacks from the enemy had stopped.
“…… Rei-sensei, you idiot….. You’re seriously such an idiot…..”
“I get that a lot.”
“You should’ve just left me behind. I did such terrible things to your children too.”
“We can deal with that later.”
Lana, who was smiling as she cried, started to break down a little bit.
In that moment, two small shadows ran up to Lana.
“Lana, you did something bad, didn’t you?”
“You need to be scolded whenever you do something bad, you know?”
The twins said as they gave Lana a gentle push on her back and,
“”Now then, you have to say that you are sorry.””
They said as they lowered their heads together.
“…… Ah…… Hic…… Waaaaaah….!! I’m sorry……. I’m sorry…….!!”
Lana broke down as she apologized profusely through her tears while bowing her head repeatedly.
Mei and Alea comforted Lana as she did so.
What a strange sight.
Lana should’ve been the older one, but somehow, it felt like Mei and Alea were acting like older sisters to her.
When I thought about it, perhaps Lana really had stopped maturing, though.
I couldn’t say this for certain, but Lana was most likely also a subject of human experimentation, just like Lily-sama was.
Lana, who was toyed with by Salas, had always been under his control.
It was unreasonable to expect anybody who worked under Salas to mature normally.
Perhaps, without exaggeration, Lana was actually mentally younger than Mei and Alea.
“Lana, please don’t cry……”
“If you do, then we might also end up…….”
Mei and Alea both started sniffling.
Maybe the fear that they felt over being abducted was finally starting to surface.
“We were so scared!”
The two of them jumped straight into Claire-sama’s chest.
They clung onto Claire-sama and started crying.
The two of them looked and acted really brave, but in the end, they really were scared after all.
“It’s fine…… Everything’s fine now. I’m glad you two are safe…… I’m really glad……”
Claire-sama hugged them back with tears of her own in her eyes.
There were no words that could describe how relieved we were.
I could feel that we had truly rescued them now.
After the attacks stopped, we returned to the Imperial capital city.
And thus, the case of the abduction of the twins had come to an end.
After the incident, Lana was privately interrogated by a person from Bauer.
Although the kidnapping itself was already considered a crime, Claire-sama and I reported that we suffered no damages whatsoever to the Imperial police.
According to Lana, she and Lily-sama both underwent human experimentation by Salas.
The subjects were said to have been competing with each other, and in the middle of all of that, they were made to be dependent on Salas as well.
After Lily-sama was deemed the most successful of the bunch, Lana and the other remaining subjects were considered “discarded”, but about a year ago, somebody that worked under Salas had contacted Lana.
“I was incredibly happy. Even though I thought I had already been tossed aside, I was now being told that I was needed.”
Salas took advantage of Lana’s loneliness.
The white headband that she always wore was something that Salas had gifted her long ago, and it was the only thing she had ever received from him.
Of course, it was used as nothing more than a magic tool to control Lana, but to her, it was something irreplaceable to her and served as a representation of her faith in him.
Like Joel, both Eve and Lana were being sent back to Bauer.
They were going to be interrogated further back home and then assist in capturing Salas.
Before we had to part, we had one last conversation with Lana and the others.
“Sensei, I’m really glad that you’re you.”
“What’s with that? You’re saying something quite confusing.”
“Fufu, I guess so. Before, I kept on telling you about how much I liked you because I was ordered to by my Papa, but right now, I feel like I’ve actually fallen in love with you.”
“I can’t respond to those feelings, though.”
“Fufu, I know,” Lana said as she laughed.
“Rei-sensei, Claire-sensei, I’m really sorry. I know what I did was unforgiveable, but I’ll atone for it for rest of my life. If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know whenever.”
“The sentiment alone is enough for us.”
“That’s right. Anyway, just focus on capturing Salas for now.”
“Yeah. I need to learn how to be independent from my parents now, huh.”
Despite being washed over with guilt and remorse, Lana spoke with a refreshed look on her face.
“Come on, Eve. You should say something too.”
“……. I don’t know how I should apologize.”
Eve said awkwardly.
She was also being sent back to Bauer for now, but after that, she was being called to Sousa.
Apparently, it was something that Manaria-sama had asked for.
“You didn’t do anything wrong either, Eve. Everything is Salas’ fault.”
“But if only my will was a bit stronger――”
“That’s wrong, Eve.”
Claire-sama interrupted Eve while she was in the middle of expressing her lament.
“Magic is an incredibly powerful force. It’s not something you can fight back against with your will. It really wasn’t your fault, Eve.”
“If there’s anything you need to feel remorseful about, it should be the fact that you left onee-sama behind with a word. Once you return to Sousa, be sure to have a proper conversation with her.”
“….. I’ll think about it.”
Eve said with a bitter smile.
She seemed to have something on her mind still.
I won’t say anything, since it was something that was between Manaria-sama and Eve, but still, I wished I could do something for them.
“The carriage is about to arrive soon.”
The person in charge called out to us.
It seemed like it was almost time for them to leave.
“Well, this is goodbye, sensei. See you later.”
“…… Thank you for looking after us.”
“I wish you the best.”
All of us shook hands.
Right before she got onto the carriage, Lana looked like she had suddenly remembered something.
“Hey, sensei. Could you leave a message to Mei-chan and Alea-chan for me?”
“I…… I’m really glad I was scolded by them.”
“I’ll let them know.”
When we nodded, Lana broke into a huge grin.
Claire-sama and I watched the carriage as it gradually disappeared from our line of sight.
“What is it?”
“Salas is such a terrible person.”
“Yes, you’re right.”
“I’ve always hated him, but this incident has made it perfectly clear to me.”
Claire-sama nodded deeply.
“He did something absolutely unforgiveable. It’s safe to say that he has incurred our wrath now.”
“We’ll definitely capture him.”
“Yes, for sure.”
We quietly―― but resolutely nodded our heads.
We were never going to forgive the man that keeps on spreading malice everywhere.
“Shall we go home?”
“Yes, let’s return to our beloved children.”
In response to the incident that had just taken place, security at the Bauer dormitory had been tightened.
As usual, somebody was watching over Mei and Alea right now.
Dor-sama was the one looking after them today.
I will never let something like this ever happen again.
That was something I vowed.
This marks the end of chapter 14 (“The Students Arc“)! We took a detour to find out more about the students, but thanks to Salas’ involvement, it seems they’re all heading back to Bauer. What will happen next?
The release date for chapter 15 is slated to come out during mid-September. As always, the pre-release will come first, with the public release following it one week after… But it seems that there are plans for those that are subscribed to the 500 yen/month plan to view the entire chapter in advance once mid-September arrives, so you won’t have to wait for daily releases. Please stay tuned for more information about this, which you will be able to find on Inori-sensei’s pixivFANBOX.
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