The campus now transforming into what seemed like a military compound as groups of students were doing laps around open fields, garbed in long trousers and loose shirts with their heads tied with headbands.
At this time, within room 401, Evan had only moments ago taken off his headgear. He glanced around the room and noticed that Fatty Joe was missing, as a series of vomiting noises sounded from the shower, while Rick, who had unknowingly returned to the room, was seated in a meditative state.
"So, in the end, I couldn't find neither Fatty or Emilia, it seems that the Training Zone has a time limit as well. Despite its time difference, it ended precisely at dawn in the real world." Evan thought as he recalled spending the entire night with Layla combing the forest for the others.
As he thought back to Layla, Evan couldn't but smile slightly. After a short while, however, that smile changed into a frown as he muttered, "I need to pay close attention to her family, and I need to find a way to have her adapt. So long as it is something that's not too mentally destructive, then it will be perfect. Otherwise, she'll only begin to grow reliant on others."
While Evan was in his thoughts, Rick seemed to have sensed his movements. He opened his cyan eyes and glanced at Evan as he spoke, "So you're up? Where were you in that realm? I couldn't find a trace of your whereabouts?"
Evan looked at Rick and replied, "Somewhere deep within the forests, ha, I had managed to run from a group of predators before I stumbled upon an acquaintance of mine. We then continued to explore the forest for the rest of the night in search of anyone else."
Rick's eyes flashed as he spoke with an ambiguous smile, "An acquaintance? Hmm, so you were out touring with a woman in such dangerous wilds. How brave and lucky..."
Evan, hearing this smiled as he looked at Rick and teased, "So, what? I bet you were doing the same thing. Let me guess... you managed to meet Emilia, right?"
Rick, hearing Emilia's name was a bit startled, his face turned red from his usual demeanor as he spoke, "You... t-that's none of your business..."
"Haha! I see, whatever you say, pal," Evan replied with a knowing look.
Not long after, the door to the shower room open as the somewhat pale-faced fatty cursed, "Che! That was some hell of a hurdle that I had to deal with last night! Hmm, were you guys just talking about my Emmy?"
He looked at Evan cautiously, before glancing at Rick with a curious look, Rick promptly reacted by speaking in a somewhat wavering tone, "Your sister E-Emilia, I... I had found her in a dangerous predicament and had managed to save her. She should be fine right now, but maybe we should pay her a visit just to be sure..."
Fatty Joe hearing this was happy, he ran over and slapped Rick's shoulder as he spoke, "Haha! Rick, I didn't think you were such a good fellow, thanks for taking care of my little Emmy. Your suggestion is good; I think we should go to meet her and take this chance to get something to eat as well."
As fatty said this, his belly made a few rumbling noises; it seemed that this was the core reason for him wanting to leave the room.
Evan nodded as he spoke, "Fine, I was a bit hungry myself."
Rick also spoke in reply, "Count me i..." He was about to confirm his attendance, but it was at this moment his phone had rung.
Rick glanced at the phone before picking up and answering it. However, as he did this, a cold voice sounded, "Ivan Erickson... what were you thinking by traveling off without my permission? Immediately pack your things and return to the palace; there are things that you..."
The voice was about to say something, but Rick soon hung up the phone as a dark look came over his face. His arm that held the phone trembled as he gripped his fists tightly while in thought, "He calls me now of all times, does he believe that I don't know what he's thinking?"
Evan, who seemed to have heard the call, was surprised; he glanced at Rick as he thought, "Ivan Erickson? Isn't that the name of the 2nd Prince? To think that this guy was royalty..."
Evan thought while in shock, his eyes soon became bright as they glowed with understanding as he pondered, "But then, it makes sense. If I were to recall correctly, I had first seen him with Alan, the person who should by all right be the Prince's Aid."
Rick seemed to have sensed something; he glanced towards Fatty Joe, noticing that he didn't hear anything, but as he saw Evan, he couldn't help but look on silently.
Evan smiled at rick before turning his head and getting up as he arranged himself, Rick seeing this knew Evan's decision, he showed a grateful look as he sent a message to Evan's phone, "Thanks."
Fatty Joe was clueless about what happened. After that scuffle against the bear and other wild animals, he only wanted to get some fresh air and fill his empty stomach. After quickly dressing, he ran to the door and yelled, "Well, what are you guys doing? Those survival classes start at ten, so we have to be quick, let's get moving!"
Evan and Rick shook their heads at this; they quickly cleaned themselves up a bit before they followed the fatty. Soon, they had arrived at the lower floor and were now making their way towards the entrance. However, it was at this time, a commotion could be heard from the outside.
"Eh? Are you kidding me? The number 1 beauty came to the male's hostel?" One voice said in surprise.
"That's right, but get this, it's not only her, but two other beauties also are out there, and they seem to be waiting on someone." Another person said.
"Huh? Two others, are they freshmen?" One man asked.
"Mm. Their looks are only slightly inferior to number 1's, heck! I feel that they might be able to compare with her in the future. After all, they're still a bit young..." One person said with beaming eyes.
"Oh... I've got to see them myself." The other voice said.
Evan, Rick, and Fatty Joe were a bit curious about the commotion, they promptly left the building and headed towards the outside.
Yet, as they left the building, the scene before them left them in surprise. Three different women stood silently nearby the hostel, each with their unique flair, having purple, golden, and black hair, respectively.
The eyes of the purple-haired beauty flashed when she saw Evan, she promptly began walking over, causing the commotion to increase, as the onlookers showed looks of envy. The two other women who saw Fatty Joe and Rick, also headed over as they prepared to greet them.
Evan seeing the purple-haired girl sighed as he thought to himself, "It seems that I was right about her... though, it's now primarily my fault… this won't do in the long run..."
While Evan was having such thoughts, both Rick and Fatty Joe were surprised. Their faces turned a bit red as they didn't think such a thing would occur, yet, they knew this wasn't the time to act awkward.
"Evan, you're rather slow in getting up. I've been here for a while now, and I'm famished. Do you want to get something to eat?" Layla asked with a smile.
At this moment, she seemed like a radiant rose as she didn't seem to recall any dangers from the previous night. Yet, if one looked closer, they would see that her palm was trembling slightly.
Evan naturally didn't miss this detail, he walked over and leaned his head closer before he spoke, "Since the missus has invited me, then it will be very unmanly of myself to reject"
Layla was a bit red-faced when she smiled and replied, "W-Who's your missus? Now come, let's get going..."
As she said this, she grabbed Evan's sleeves and tugged it like a little child. It seemed that she'd grown rather comfortable around him, after the night in the Training Zone.
At this time, Fatty Joe lowered his head and looked at the short Breya. He was shocked that Evan could have such a beauty say such words to him, but when he saw Breya similarly stood near him, his mind thought, "What's this? Did the beauty remember my heroic act in the wilds? Haha! It seems that I'm lucky too..."
While thinking to here, Fatty Joe straightened his back, or rather fat, and adopted the stance of a confident man. Breya, who had arrived before him, knitted her brows as she spoke, "Sir Joe, what's wrong? You didn't think I came here to invite you, did you? Oh no, I only bumped into your sister, and as I am her good friend, I am naturally here to accompany her..."
Breya said with a teasing look on her face, Emilia that stood nearby her snickered, causing Fatty Joe's face to sink.
Fatty Joe was enraged, he spoke, "You... humph! As if I'd want your invitation, come on brothers, food is more important than women!"
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Fatty Joe said as he stepped ahead of the group towards the path leading to the campus cafeteria, as everyone saw this, they laughed before they followed behind.
Breya, who walked by Emilia, gave Fatty Joe a slightly softer look as she saw his back before she glanced towards Rick nearby. As she did this, her eyes narrowed as she thought to herself, "Sister was right, this fellow is way too careless... he's even being monitored in the open..."
Upon thinking this, Breya's eyes shifted across a few random areas noting a wandering student that was quite a distance from them, headed towards their same direction at a casual pace.
Nevertheless, although Breya noted this, it didn't mean that Rick and Evan didn't. They merely chose to ignore the individual as they calmly went along their route. While walking, Emilia gave Rick a sideways glance before turning around and looking forward, her face slightly red.
Rick having good senses, rubbed his nose at this sight, but most unusual was fatty. He seemed to have noticed Emilia's look just now; he glanced at Rick through the corner of his eyes, noticing Rick's expression.
As Fatty Joe saw this, his face sunk, as he thought, "What the hell? I thought Evan was bad, but this guy's worse!"
After walking for a while, Evan and the others had arrived at the school's cafeteria. Though they called it the cafeteria, it was an ample space far larger than a regular one, with private sections available.
A few students were already eating; as if one looked even more carefully, they would notice that among these students were two familiar faces. One was that of the refined Michael who ate in the company of his sister Nelia and his lackey, while the other was of Susie who ate around a few women with a lost look on her face.
Though they tried to eat peacefully, if one looked at their faces, they would see that they each carried a hint of paleness as if they had not fully gotten over last night.
Fatty Joe glared at Michael before he shifted his sights and searched for a table, Evan, who followed nearby didn't pay Michael's group any attention, as did everyone else in their company.
Not long after, they had already gathered a few plates full of food from the self-serving counters and arranged themselves around a large table.
Michael seemed to have noticed Evan at this time; his eyes didn't even glance at the others as he looked at Evan in coldness.
Nelia seeing her brother's look was a bit frightened, she poked his shoulder and looked at him with a deep look. As Michael saw his sister's face, he wavered slightly before he no longer looked at Evan.
Evan calmly sipped his tea while looking at Michael with an indifferent expression. He then refocused on his meal while in thought, "Rick seems to have been found out by their group, but based on this, it doesn't seem that they're willing to take direct action, even if they do it would prove futile. Maybe they're hoping to gain some information about Alan..."
At this time, Emilia and Breya had an in-depth conversation about last night's training.
"Breya, do you think we'll have to face even more dangerous creatures in the future? I really can't fathom fighting and killing..." Emilia said with a somewhat distressed look.
Breya shook her head and spoke, "Emmy, this is something we're all going to have to learn to face. We can't keep hesitating for if we do, not only ourselves; we'll be jeopardizing the lives of all whom we hold dear..."
"....." Emilia remained silent for a moment as her arms trembled before she replied, "I suppose you're right..."
Fatty Joe, who sat on the boy's side of the table, looked at Emilia with brotherly concern, he wanted to say something, but he didn't. He knew full well that this was a battle his sister would have to fight and overcome on her own.
Evan nodded at Breya's words as he thought, "Breya... her mental fortitude is good, but it's to be expected, she and her sister is from that MSS after all. Emilia, she too needs a method to quicken her pace of development... much like Layla..."
Speaking of the latter, Layla looked at Breya and Emilia with a concerned look on her face as she spoke, "I... I too don't like this whole idea of fighting, I would rather the world stay like this, so we could all live out a peaceful life."
As everyone heard this, they sighed as they knew full well after what they saw in the video feed, the chances of such a world being preserved was highly unlikely.
Rick, who was previously gazing at the distant corner of the room, turned his sights to everyone as he spoke, "In life, things won't always go the way you wish. Be it your choices or circumstances that are forced upon you. The only thing that you can ultimately do is strive to adapt and move forward regardless of what you face..."
Layla's eyes flashed as she thought for a bit, but soon her eyes turned into one of sadness as she said nothing more. Soon, her face turned pale as if she recalled some terrible memories.
Evan, who saw Layla's condition frowned as he spoke, "Layla, is something wrong?"
Layla shook her head as she replied, "No... it's nothing,"
Evan knew she was still hiding something, he glanced at her deeply and asked, "Hmm, Layla, somethings are better to handle when you get it off your mind. Why not share it with us?"
Breya and Emilia also showed concerned looks as they spoke.
"Layla, say what's bothering you, I promise you that you'll feel better," Breya said with a smile
"We're here to listen..." Emilia said.
Fatty Joe and Rick also looked over with deep looks on their faces, Layla hearing their words, shook her head as she shifted her sights towards the distance. She hesitated for a while before she looked at Evan and replied, "You see... for the past few weeks, I've... I've been having these strange dreams..."
Everyone who heard this was a bit surprised, but Emilia, who listened to this turn deadly pale. Evan tilted his head in surprise, but it was at this moment his eyes widened as he recalled something from the past. He remembered Layla had mentioned something, as her face carried a pale and frightened expression.