“I was wondering where you’d run off too; so you went off to get food!” said Ezart as he roughly gifted Daren with a punch to the head. The latter was found gorging on a pile of food, large enough that he seemed buried in it.
“Ahm ooo unhgre......” Daren tried to talk while chewing.
“Didn’t you just have a meal?” Ezart grumbled as he unceremoniously ripped open a packet of chips, stuffing handfuls into his mouth as he sat down. He then offhandedly asked, “Hey, where did you run off to just now? I didn’t see you at all. Don’t tell me you’ve been eating here all this time.”
“Noo wey, ah deed goh in!” Daren protested through a mouthful of food.
Ezart eyed Daren. He suspected that Daren was Dark Sun. It seemed too much of a coincidence that the day Daren transferred to the school just happens to be the day Dark Sun appeared. But looking at him now, with his hair parted and combed down the sides, his nerdy pair of glasses, neatly pressed school uniform and an endless vibe of nerdiness, he seemed nerdy no matter which way one looked at him.
Ezart smacked his head, It was impossible. Daren couldn’t be Dark Sun - they were just too different. Their auras were like night and day. Dark Sun had a chilly, menacing aura, which totally contrasted Daren’s nerdiness.
Ezart sighed and laid down with his arms behind his head, “Who’s this Dark Sun guy? If he isn’t someone from the Academy, then there’s no way to know if he’ll continue to participate in the mock battles. What if he doesn’t participate anymore?”
Daren blinked and said, “So what if he doesn’t participate, does it matter?”
Ezart bolted upright, exclaiming, “Of course it matters! If he doesn’t participate then I can’t fight him. To think that I actually put so much effort into tailing him just to let that Shain Baylian reap the rewards!”
Daren lowered his head and continued stuffing his face. Because of his unique body composition, he had no choice but to replenish significant amounts of energy used up after every battle for him to continue functioning. He pondered as he ate. Originally, he had no intention to continue fighting, since he had already seen Ezart and Shain battle. However, if he did not fight it out with Ezart, it looked as if he would be greatly disappointed.
“Then again, he could be from the Elite Combat Section. Maybe in a moment of blood-rush he decided to enter the battle simulator for fun.” Ezart considered, now believing it to be more and more likely.
“Elite Combat Section?” Daren immediately raised his head to ask.
“Oh yeah, you’re new here, so you still don’t know.” Ezart laid down again, and lazily began to explain, “Since YeLan Academy is a combat school, classes are allocated A to D, based on fighting prowess. Baylain, from before, is from Class A, we’re in class D, also known as “Let the cows graze”1 class. We’re just borderline passers. Shouldn’t you already know this?”
He had no idea. He absentmindedly stuffed another bun into his mouth, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. Surely his gege would not place him in Class D just to keep him from attracting attention... right?
Ezart’s gaze suddenly darkened. “Elite Combat Section, shortened to ECS; it is said that there are no more than twenty people in that class and every single one of them is a monster.”
“Monster?” Daren spun his head towards Ezart in shock, “Monsters can attend human schools too? “
Ezart slowly turned to look at Daren as if he were an idiot. But this kid, with a foolish and shocked expression that made people want to hit him, seemed hopelessly unaware of his own mistakes.
Ezart exasperatedly explained, “Monster is a metaphor... meaning, the people in that class are so strong that they no longer seem human.”
“Oh,” Daren nodded, showing that he understood. Strong fighters … Dark Sun’s personality awoke, his dull eyes sharpened. He asked, “Where are the members of ECS?”
“Who knows? It is said that they’re so strong that they don’t even need to attend classes... usually they help the principal with high level missions... but that’s just a rumour! No one knows the truth of the matter; the other students are still speculating whether the ECS actually exists or not.
“Even you and Baylian can’t join the Elite Combat Section?”
Ezart stared at Daren. This kid really doesn’t care about other people’s self esteem...
“I don’t know about Baylian, but the headmaster asked me before; I refused though.”
Daren looked curiously at Ezart, he had assessed Ezart to be someone who just wanted to fight strong people no matter what. Why would he refuse?
“It’s not like there aren’t benefits to joining that class, but…“ Ezart grimaced, “before graduation, you‘d have to complete twenty of the headmaster’s assignments. That didn’t sit well with me, so I didn’t bother.”
“Oh.” Upon hearing this, Daren also dismissed the idea of entering the Elite Combat Section. He only needed to listen to gege instructions; no one else’s mattered.
“Alright kiddo, I’ve got something to do, so I gotta go. I’ll walk you to the school gate, or else someone as daft as you will get pummeled by the seasoned dudes as a warning.” Ezart himself had no idea how it happened. He was the type to always get into fights at school, so this was actually the first time he had thought of protecting someone else.
“I’m not Kiddo, my name is Daren Avery.” Daren protested with wide eyes.
“Daren Avery … that’s so hard to pronounce.”
“Then just call me Dar, that’s what my gege calls me.”
“Okay, Dar, let’s go. If you don’t hurry up, I won’t care anymore and just let you take a beating. Maybe then you’ll wisen up.” Ezart raised an eyebrow, thinking it a good idea.
“D-don’t be like that!”
Daren stood up hurriedly; if someone wanted to shake him up, he wouldn’t know how to stick to his brother’s instructions. To protect himself, but not reveal his strength - he felt as if he stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Daren hurriedly cleared up his leftovers, while stealing glances at Ezart, as if afraid that he would be left behind. Watching this scene, Ezart could not help thinking how hopeless Daren was. He had no idea why he was going this far to protect this guy. Worse still, he had actually thought this kid was Dark Sun. He must be going crazy!
“Are you done?”
Ezart impatiently urged, to which Daren hurriedly responded, “Okay, okay, let’s go.”
Ezart place his hands in his pockets and went ahead on his own, leaving Daren to catch up.
“Ezart, where are you off to in such a hurry? Dinner?”
Daren pestered Ezart with questions as he walked, the latter raised his eyebrows in response, not bothering to open his mouth to explain. Daren asked some more questions, and as long as they were not about Ezart, they were all answered. When it came to questions about Ezart himself, they were completely ignored.
“Don’t ask about me anymore,” Ezart eventually said.
“Oh, okay,” Daren obediently replied.
The two of them walked in silence until they were at the school gate. Ezart believed that if Daren was seen walking with him, other students would not dare to bother Daren due to Ezart’s notoriety. However, as Ezart turned to bid goodbye to him...
He found Daren foolishly staring ahead. Despite being prodded by Ezart a few times, Daren did not respond and instead blankly raised his finger to point in the direction he was facing...
Ezart gazed in the direction of Daren’s finger. In the shade of a tree next to the school gate, Shain Baylian lazed on a chair. Next to him was the ice queen carrying drinks, the man wielding dual hand guns, and the dwarfish man from before.
“Ezart.” Shain leisurely watched Ezart, as he sat there sipping his drink.
“Shain Baylian.” Ezart raised an eyebrow, a look of disdain on his face.
Shain Baylian’s attire was even more exaggerated than in the simulation. He was still wearing Chinese-styled clothes, but the difference was that this had a pair of dragons intricately embroidered in gold thread, and decorated with gemstones. He was rotating a black diamond ring on his right thumb out of habit, when he nonchalantly asked, “I heard your class had a new transfer student today.”
“So what?” Ezart was evidently repulsed by Shain. He let it go in the battle simulator because Shain’s fighting ability satisfied his lust for battle. But when it came to reality, Shain was just a slovenly rich kid, the type Ezart utterly detested.
“A transfer student arrives on the same day that Dark Sun appears; what say you?” Shain had a brief glimpse of Daren from the corner of his eyes and was a little surprised to find Ezart walking with someone who looked like he was up for a beating.
When Ezart heard this, he began to laugh, and kept laughing for a long time... Shain Baylian narrowed his eyes dangerously.
“Here he is! The new transfer student is this guy beside me,” Ezart blurted, unable to contain it any longer. He wanted to see the expression on Shain Baylian’s face after he realised how far fetched his deductions were.
Shain was indeed dumbfounded, he had originally believed that Dark Sun would definitely be the new transfer student who had been mysteriously banished to class D. That was not much of an issue, since Ezart had also been banished to that class. However, this fellow......
Shain pursed his lips. He did not like being wrong, but not to the extent that he would insist that Dark Sun was this nerdy fellow. This was somewhat of insult, an insult to a pro.
“Seems like it’s a mistake. This kind of person... could never become Dark Sun, even if allowed to be reincarnated.” Shain stood up, a haughty expression on his face, as if Daren was a lowly organism that would emerge from the kitchen or the sewers.
But he was Dark Sun. Daren remained silent even though he felt like laughing inside.
Ezart sneered, “What did you say? Watch yourself, he’s also from an influential family, don’t go pissing off people you shouldn’t mess with.”
Shain Baylian paused in his steps. Instead of being angered by the stinging comments, he held a strange smile, “People I shouldn’t mess with? Ha, I’ll tell you this, there will be no one that I can’t mess with after today!”
“What a joke! The Solaris Emperor is someone you can never afford to mess with.”
Ezart might not be an expert on the trading conglomerates, but even someone with no knowledge about such matters, could glean from newspapers, magazines, and roadside conversations, that the most powerful man, otherwise known as the uncrowned king, was the Solaris Emperor of the Solaris Federation.
“Solaris Emperor? I’m not sure if such a person will exist after today.” Shain remarked, revealing a mirthless, arrogant smile.
“What do you mean by that?” Daren shouted all of a sudden.
Shain was slightly infuriated, to think that an insignificant transfer student would dare to raise his voice at him. If it wasn’t for Ezart’s abnormal strength, he would not have allowed him to speak like that.
Shain harrumphed snidely, his expression cold. Noticing his displeasure, the three people beside him became hostile; they unsheathed their weapons and advanced menacingly towards Daren...
Ezart’s raised his muscular arm before Daren and glared maliciously at the encroaching trio, his frown making his tattooed face appear even more sinister.
“Forget it, today is an important day. I don’t have the time to play with peasants such as these,” Shain spoke, abruptly becoming unconcerned.
The trio immediately stopped in their tracks and obediently returned to Shain’s side. Shain Baylian gave a haughty laugh and left with a flick of his long garb.
“Who is he?” Daren... no, Dark Sun asked, his gaze exceptionally chilly behind the thick frames. He was rapidly analysing Shain’s words to determine whether they were based purely on ego or on actual fact.
“Shain Baylian, Yue Baylian’s son. I hear his father’s economic power is second only to the Solaris Emperor’s Solaris Federation,” Ezart replied matter-of-factly.
In reality, he only knew the gist of it and wasn’t too familiar with the truth of the matter. In any case, Baylian was very rich and powerful; even YeLan Academy, which requires equality among students, had to allow the admittance of Shain’s three attendants.
Yue Baylian? Dark Sun instantly retrieved this person’s information. He was the leader of the Lunaris Alliance. The might of the Lunaris Alliance was not to be underestimated; It was ranked second among the other organisations. Yue Baylian’s character evaluation showed him to be an unpredictable, malevolent snake. Once his wrath was incurred, there was no telling when the fatal fangs would be at one’s throat.
Upon learning this, Dark Sun’s face became sullen, “Ezart...”
“What do you want?” Ezart looked at the kid beside him strangely. Is he shocked by Shain Baylians’ family influence? Why is he acting so strange?
“I’m leaving, there’s something I have to do, so I’m leaving.” Dark Sun dashed out of the school gates, departing like a gust of wind.
“Woah, this kid runs pretty fast! Is it because he’s been chased by bullies often?” Ezart narrowed his eyes at Daren’s departing silhouette.
Daren whipped out his mobile phone as he ran, dialing Devon Solaris’ number. The phone rang again and again, yet no one answered. No, it was impossible. Daren knew gege’s personality well. Even if he was in a conference with the leaders of the world, he would still answer his didi’s call.
Daren dialled another number, and once it was connected, he asked, “Dr. Avery, where is my brother?”
There was a pause on the other end of the line, “Isn’t he at the office... Wait! Dark Sun, the news is receiving a live feed...”
“My god! Dark Sun, your brother’s company building has been seized by terrorists - they’ve installed enough explosives to wipe out the entire building. They’re holding everyone hostage and demanding that your brother come out from his specialised office or they’ll send everyone in the building to their graves!”
“Dark Sun, what are you up to?” Theodore Avery was unsettled, knowing it was impossible for Daren to stay uninvolved.
“Of course I’m going to save gege!” Daren yelled.
“Your identity will be revealed. Why don’t we wait for a moment longer? Your brother is the Solaris Emperor, not a mild-mannered monk forbidden to harm others, perhaps he will find a way out of this situation...”
“No! We can’t risk it!” Daren rejected outright.
“Dar, if your brother knew that you would expose your identity because of him and therefore become unable to live a normal life... he would be guilt ridden and upset,” Theodore Avery earnestly advised. He fully understood how Devon Solaris wished for his brother to live the life of an ordinary teenager.
Daren was silent for a moment. He too knew of gege’s well-meaning intentions, but he felt that gege’s safety was a hundred times more important. If there was a way to save gege without revealing his identity... keeping his identity a secret? Wasn’t he able to do that in the battle simulator?
Daren hastily said to Theodore, “Visor, clothes...”
“I see, that’s a good idea. I will prepare them for you immediately, come back right away!”
“Yes!” Daren hung up, revving up his speed.
Gege! No matter if I’m Dark Sun or Daren Solaris, I won’t let anyone harm you!
******************** Chapter 5 END ********************Notes:
Let the cows graze: meaning slacker. So Ezart and Daren are in the "slacker class"