Chapter 11 – Dusty, Disappearance, the Weeping Nagisa
“Master… welcome back.” Just like how she had always done so in the past, when she greeted me, Silent Water took my book bag and the grocery bags that I was carrying.
Ah~~~ Silent Water was already my familiar; this was totally like a dream. Seeing Silent Water standing right there before me, I could feel a bit of happiness inside.
“Master, please… please don’t look at Silent Water like that. Silent Water would… feel embarrassed.”
What’s going on? What’s going on? I kind of got the feeling that Silent Water just got cuter? The old her wouldn’t have said such a thing. Could it really be because that after forming a contract with me, she felt comfortable saying what was on her mind?
“Hah~~ Sorry, sorry. Where’s Dusty?” Normally, when I got back home, it would be waiting for me by the door. But today, surprisingly, it wasn’t there.
“Dusty is inside. It might be feeling a bit down today.” Silent Water seemed to have read my mind.
“Oh? Why? Have you not given it any food today?”
“I have given it food, but….” Silent Water glanced at me and suddenly stopped talking. I guess she wasn’t so comfortable with me that she would say everything that came to her mind.
“I’ll go check on it.” Why would Dusty be feeling down? Wasn’t she usually very lively and playful?
—————— Living Room
“Dusty~~ Dusty~~ Dusty?” It wasn’t in the living room.
“Dusty~~ Dusty?” Not in the bathroom either?
—————— My Room
“Dusty?” Not a peep in my room? It wouldn’t be hiding underneath the bed, would it? Was it trying to play hide and seek with me?
“Dusty… are you in here?” I kneeled down on the floor, lifted the bedding and looked underneath the bed, and discovered… nothing?
Staring at the vacant room, I couldn’t help but get a bit anxious: What is going on? Where could it have gone to?
I hurried downstairs and asked Silent Water, who was in the middle of washing some vegetables, “Little Silent, have you seen Dusty?”
“Dusty? Yeah, hasn’t it been sitting on the sofa this whole time since you’ve been back? What’s the matter?”
“Little Silent, Dusty has gone missing…”
“Gone missing? It can’t be, right? Unless it is because…” It seemed like Silent Water had thought of something.
“Because of what?”
“Can’t say for sure… It was in low spirits today… it could have gone out for a walk.” Silent Water hemmed and hawed.
If what Silent Water said was true, then Dusty could have just gone out for a walk. Hahaha, really, I was making a mountain out of a molehill.
‘No, if my guess is right, then the lowest-class spirit has indeed run away from home.’
‘Why do you say that?’ Freed’s words frightened me. To me, Freed was a powerful dragon. He was almost like an omniscient presence in my mind.
‘I have decided not to tell you the reason, because if I were to tell you, you and your spirit partner will not be able to form a deep enough bond with each other.’
‘Why not? Hurry up and tell me the reason. As far as I am concerned, whatever your bullshit about spirit partners is not nearly as important as a single strand of hair on Dusty.’
Right at this moment, the images of Dusty and I playing together flashed across my mind: the time we bathed together, the time we slept together, the time I told it stories about the human world…. Dusty had joined the family after Silent Water, so it had been with the family for only a short while. But in this short time, it had brought me great joy. When I was in a bad mood, to be able to hug it, pat it, play hide-and-seek with it, and on Sundays, go outside and have a run with it…. All these had already become an essential part of my routine; without Dusty, it would feel like there was a hole in my life.
I was obviously happy with Silent Water being around, since I had a companion in my day-to-day life. However, I could not be without Dusty – Dusty is part of my family.
‘Kid, even though… ack… you are rather loving; if you have time to spare reminiscing your bullshit happy days, why not spend that time to search for it outside?‘
‘Sorry, Freed! Thanks for reminding me. Looks like, I am really no good without you.’
‘Don’t… don’t all of a sudden say such disgusting things….’
‘What about me? What about me? Brat, what about me?’ Yalide spoke.
‘You, I can do without.’
‘I’ll give you another chance to answer my question; but before you give me your answer, let me give you a hint: I was the great Demon World Administrator.’
Shit! Even though I didn’t normally talk much with this black dragon, I will have to rely on him in about two days’ time….
‘I can’t do without you too.’
‘Then, since I am one of your important companions, you should go and get a book for me. You wouldn’t have forgotten the name of the book, would you? It’s called “My Master and…”.’
‘Don’t you have any sense of urgency? Just who was it that just a moment ago wanted to go outside and look for the lowest-class spirit?’ Freed interrupted Yalide’s sentence.
‘Right, really, I almost forgot about it! Why is it that I am always like this?’ I was clearly very anxious, but if I was interrupted, somehow I would be able to switch gears and calmly tackle another problem?
‘Based on my preliminary assessment… it’s because there were two sets of memories…. Anyway, for now, let’s just hurry up and look for the lowest-class spirit.’
“Dusty?” I went to the place where I usually took Dusty – it was a meadow near where my house was. Every Sunday, I would bring it here to play. But for now, there was only the lingering lights from the setting sun, dyeing the grass in the field a hue of red….
————————— On Main Street
Damn it, damn it, where could it be? It’s been two hours. I’ve been looking for Dusty for two hours, but why?
Why is it that I couldn’t find Dusty anywhere? Is it really impossible to look for an ordinary earth spirit in a big city?
As I walked along, I inadvertently arrived at the place where I first met Dusty….
‘Hey, Freed, could you tell me what I did wrong?’
‘Human beings have intellectual capacity, spirits have that too. Because the way of thinking differs from one person to another, there would always be differences in opinions between one individual and another. In a similar fashion, it works the same way between humans and spirits. Kid, you haven’t done anything wrong. Let’s go on home now. I believe that it is already waiting for you at home, and it will absolutely never leave you again. You heard me there? Absolutely! So, you need to be sure to treat it kindly.’
‘Is Dusty really back at home? It’s not true, is it? Freed, how do you know this?’
‘Like I said before, I have decided not to tell you anything more about this matter, you can think on it yourself. Meh… with your personality, never mind, let’s just head on back.’
Since Freed said so, Dusty must have already gone back home then.
“Dusty?” When I got home, it was really just like Freed had said – I saw Dusty standing by the door. The moment it saw me, Dusty wagged its tail a couple times, then it slowly drooped, till its tail was hanging between its legs.
“Really, what were you doing? Next time you plan to go somewhere far away, leave me a note, dummy….” I scolded Dusty as it had its head hung low. I gave it a big hug, and patted it on its head.
“Ar… rooff…” Dusty whimpered, looking like it was reflecting on its action.
“Come, let’s go inside. As your punishment, you have to eat up all of your dinner that I am going to make you tonight.”
——————————— At School
“Hey, stupid Xiang, those dark circles under your eyes look really bad. Were you up to something last night again?”
“No, I was just up too late playing games.”
For some unknown reason, Dusty ran away from home yesterday, and because of that, it made me realize how important Dusty was as part of my family. Dusty had been depressed since it got back home, so to cheer it up, I had been playing with it all last night and ended up staying up late, resulting in these deep, dark eye circles.
“Humph… playing games? Never mind. Xiang, let me ask you one thing, but don’t get too upset or sad about it.”
“After forming contracts with our spirits, isn’t there a competition coming up soon, to help improve the coordination between the summoners and the familiars? What do you plan to do then?” Satsuki asked gingerly; it looked to me like she was worrying about me. She was afraid that I would get depressed because I didn’t have a spirit.
“If I don’t have a spirit, then I don’t have a spirit. Besides, that is not going to happen for a while, so why worry about it now? Right?”
Speaking of, I believe that there really is such a thing as that competition. What should I do? Not participate?
Right when Satsuki and I were chatting, a shocking incident happened. That was….
“Lin Xiang, Lin Xiang~~ Help me, help me.” All of a sudden, Nagisa, distraught and crying, flew into my arms.
“What… what is… what the heck is going on?” Furiously, Satsuki pointed at Nagisa, who was sobbing in my arms, and interrogated me.
“No, I am not too sure about it either. Nagisa, could you explain a bit?”
“My father… that doctor… Uuu~~”
Damn it, what was Nagisa crying about? Her crying was really tearing me apart.
To figure out what had happened, under the astonished look of everyone in class, I led Nagisa upstairs to the rooftop.
“Nagisa, please don’t cry. Let’s talk about it, okay?” On one hand, I was consoling Nagisa. On the other, I was cursing: dead meat, I am gonna be dead meat for sure.
When we were on our way to the rooftop, there were quite a few people who saw us: saw Nagisa crying, and saw me being all anxious. My guess was that it wouldn’t take long before the rumor of me making Nagisa cry spread throughout the whole school.
“That doctor… he can’t even call himself a human being…. Right after I took the money to him, he had the gall to tell me that he would need another item, the Éguilles Grass that grows in the Demon World, before he could fix my father up.
“Isn’t Éguilles Grass just grass? What’s so special about it? Isn’t his asking price a bit too high?”
“No, no…. ‘Éguilles Grass’ is in fact quite expensive, but the hospital fee of three million was supposed to cover it. But now, he is saying that it is my fault that I waited too long before paying the fees, and the grass was all used up and is now out of stock. So… if only… he said… if only I would, with him… with him…” Nagisa’s was now bawling her eyes out.
“With him?” Wait a minute, Nagisa is a beautiful girl with a fantastic body. Could it be that the doctor….
“He asked me to accompany him later at night, then, he would think of a way to help me solve the problem with the supply of the Éguilles Grass….” Weeping, Nagisa threw herself into my arms.
Shit! How could this be happening?! That doctor… he’s despicable! Bastard! Should I just go and thrash him?
‘Hold your horses, kid, don’t be rash, relax, slow down. If you do that, you won’t be solving any problems. Before you can even get near that doctor, you would have been arrested already.’
‘Then, what do you suggest that I do?!’
‘Listen up now! Éguilles Grass grows in the Demon World, and aren’t we going to the Demon World the day after tomorrow? So, we just need to pick some up while we are there and ask that old human named Ijima Michita to personally give the grass to that human doctor. That way, that human doctor would have no excuse to refuse it.’
After hearing Freed’s suggestion, I calmed down a bit. What he said was right, being impulsive wouldn’t solve anything. The only solution was to head over to the Demon World and find some Nora Grass and some Éguilles Grass, then all these problems would be solved.
Phew… I gave out a sigh of relief, ‘I am lucky to have you here, Freed.’
‘If I am not here, then it won’t matter what you two have planned, it will be of no use.’
‘Mn, I’m also thankful that you are here too, Yalide.’
“Nagisa, you mustn’t agree to whatever that doctor demanded. Do you understand?”
“I understand. I remember what you had said before, but he was really putting pressure on me, so I had to… I had to come and look for your help.”
“Mn, that’s right, what you are doing is correct. I will find a way to get you the Éguilles Grass.”
“Really?” When Nagisa heard what I said, she finally regained her composure.
“Really. You have to believe me, I will find it, just give me some time. I will get it to you by Sunday night. Um… no, regardless, before Sunday night, that doctor will give your dad his treatment.”
“Thank you so… so much, Lin Xiang! If this is really the case, I will do anything you ask of me.”
“There is no need for that. Just promise me to take good care of your father.”