Sword Art Online, Vol. 01: Aincrad | Chapter 18 of 39 - Part: 1 of 4

Author: Reki Kawahara | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 7729 Views | Add a Review

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He knocked on the eastern door of the third floor, and after a few moments, Humbert’s voice asked who was there.

“It’s Disciple Eugeo and Disciple Kirito. We’d like to speak with Disciple Zizek,” he replied, trying not to sound too aggressive. The sound of rough footsteps came from beyond the door, then it hurtled open. Humbert glared at them and shouted loud enough for anyone down on the ground level to hear:

“It is rude of you to call without a prior arrangement! Your first course of action should obviously have been to put your request for a meeting into writing!”

Before Eugeo could answer, Raios Antinous’s soothing voice came from farther in the room. “There, there. They are our fellow pupils and residents. Let them through, Humbert—though I’m afraid we cannot arrange for tea on such short notice.”

“…You’d better be grateful for Raios’s generous nature,” Humbert snarled under his breath, then turned back from the doorway. Eugeo gave them a proper salute and walked inside, wondering what that little bit of theater was all about.

“What in the—?” Kirito started to say as he followed Eugeo in, so the other boy had to loudly clear his throat to drown him out.

They proceeded to the couch in the middle of the room. The room was the same size as theirs, of course, but the internal decorations, from the rugs on the floor to the delicate window drapes rustling in the breeze, were of the highest quality.

Humbert sank into the right end of the couch, which was about three mels long, silk-bound, and stuffed with soft cotton. On the left end, Raios had parked his rear on the edge of the cushion, his head back against the headrest and his feet up on the table, such that he was very nearly lying down.

The noble heirs weren’t wearing their school uniforms but lounging around in thin robes. Raios’s was red, and Humbert’s was yellow, both woven from lustrous southern silk and vivid to look upon. The scent of the tea from the cups sitting on the table suggested green tea from the east. Raios picked his up, gave a leisurely sip, then looked at Eugeo at last.

“Now…what brings our friend Disciple Eugeo here to our chamber on this free evening?”

There was another couch on the other side of the table, but neither of them made any motion to invite the two guests to sit. Eugeo considered that to be in his favor and glared down at them from his standing position with as stern an expression as he could muster.

“We’ve heard some rather unsavory rumors about your behavior, Disciple Zizek. I’ve come to deliver an anticipatory warning, before you deal a grave blow to our school’s reputation.”

Humbert’s face immediately screwed up to deliver a raging rebuke, but Raios reached out to still him. Raios grinned up at them, his lips surprisingly red. “Is that so…?”

Through the rising steam of the cup in his hand, he continued, “This is both a surprise and a welcome development. It makes me proud to see you concerned with our academy’s reputation. However, I cannot for the life of me imagine what these rumors are. I’m ashamed to have to ask for an explanation.”

“I’ve heard that Zizek has been inflicting vulgar instructions upon his own trainee page. Perhaps that sounds familiar to you?”

“How dare you!” shrieked Humbert, rising from the couch. “You—a miserable frontiersman without a name—dare to accuse me, a fourth-rank noble heir, of being vulgar?!”

“That will be enough, Humbert,” Raios said, waving his hand again to silence his henchman. “We might be from different backgrounds, but we are all students under the same roof now. Here at this school, no statement can be taken as an insult and breach of decorum…but that will be a different story if the tale is found to be without merit or evidence. Where did you hear this bizarre rumor, Eugeo?”

“Let’s not waste any of our valuable time, Antinous. You know full well that it is true. We heard the story straight from primary trainees who share a dorm room with Zizek’s page.”

“Oh? So I take it that Humbert’s page has officially enlisted you to argue on her behalf, through an intermediary dormmate?”

“…Well…not exactly…” Eugeo muttered, promptly at a loss. They hadn’t heard the story directly from Frenica’s lips, so it would be difficult to dig their heels in if faced with charges of false accusation.

But he couldn’t turn back now, not with Raios mocking them from his lazy position and Humbert seething with barely contained rage. “So…you deny these charges? You deny that Humbert has been performing untoward acts upon his page, Frenica?”

“Untoward? That’s a rather strange term to use, Eugeo. Why not be clearer and state that they are against the school rules?”

“……”

He paused again. The school rules applied only on campus grounds, but to the students, they were just as important as the Taboo Index and Basic Imperial Law—no one would dare break them.

Eugeo knew full well that Humbert hadn’t broken the rules, and that was what made this so despicable. He was doing whatever he knew he could get away with. Eugeo took a deep breath to settle his nerves and said, “But…but even if it’s not against the school rules, there are actions that are clearly inappropriate for an upperclassman—especially an elite disciple charged with guiding and tutoring a primary trainee!”

“I see. And what is it that you are accusing Humbert of doing to Frenica, Eugeo?”

“…W-well…”

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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