Advent of the Three Calamities

Chapter 78 For Growth [1]

Chapter 78 For Growth [1]

Tak. Tak. Tak—!

'...Is this enough? Or should I add more?'

It was a situation that left me stumped as I added more and more chocolate bars to the counter. It was slowly starting to pile up into a small mountain.


My actions seemed to have startled the cashier who looked at me with a flustered look.

I ignored it and placed another chocolate bar on the counter.


This was an investment.

An investment for the future. Putting another chocolate bar on the counter, I met Kiera's gaze. Judging from her widened eyes, she too appeared to be at a loss for what I was doing.

I didn't feel like explaining everything, so I just said a few words.

"Bribe. I'm getting bribes."

It wasn't exactly a lie.

These were indeed bribes. Or perhaps a means to build up favor?

'Well, whatever... It's not like they're expensive anyways.'

It was about 0.5 Rend per bar. Doable.

"....Tsk. Whatever, I'm leaving."


I turned around to see Kiera turn around and leave. Wasn't she going to buy something...?

'Is it because she doesn't want to wait for me to buy everything?'

That did make sense, but...



Not my problem.

I placed another chocolate bar on the counter. The pile became bigger. But is it enough...? It was an interesting question. I closely examined the pile before me and shook my head.

'Not enough.'

I was just about to place another one when the cashier stopped me.

"Cadet, that's enough."

He appeared quite flustered. Even more so than before.

I stopped then and looked up.

"Is there a problem?"

"Ah, yes..."

The cashier went on to explain.

"....If you end up purchasing so much, we won't have enough for the other cadets."


How was that my problem?

"It's Academy policy. Like the cadet from before, if you buy too much, we might have to ban you from purchasing goods. Our store was established for the well-being of cadets, not profit."

"Hm? Ban?"

I thought back to the time when I had just arrived at the store. Kiera had indeed been arguing with the cashier over something.

I didn't expect it to be because of this.

"Yes, you will be banned. She's currently banned from buying any more cigarettes."

He tried to explain as politely as possible, but his voice came out rather strent. As if he was warning me.

I didn't put particular thought into his words.

My eyes wandered to the back where the cigarettes were.

'So she's banned from buying them...'

It would indeed do good for her to smoke less. Regardless of the world, it was bad for the body.

There would definitely be benefits to her restriction...

"If you're willing to stop here, it will be 102 Rend."

The cashier's voice snapped me out of my thoughts and I looked up to him. From his expression, it was clear that I couldn't buy any more bars.

I looked at the pile in front of me and decided that it was enough.

'Worst case, I'll buy more when the time comes.'

I rummaged through my pocket and took out my wallet. There, I took out a bill and a coin. Just as I was about to hand it over to the cashier, my hand stopped.


I pursed my lips and looked up slightly.

Thinking about it for a good while, I clenched my teeth slightly and sighed.

".....There's something else that I want to buy."

Only this time.



Sitting outside the store, Kiera groaned.

It was a shitty day.

Fiddling with her pockets, she touched the empty cigarette box.

"...I hate this fucking addiction."

Rather than smoking out of pleasure, she smoked out of necessity. For that reason, the thought of not being able to smoke was already starting to trigger her symptoms, and she had smoked just an hour ago.

"Damn, bullshit... It's not that big of a deal. What's wrong with me buying everything? Aren't I giving you business? Plus, what about the cigarette butts? Don't I pay the Academy enough to clean up after me?"

Kiera's rumblings went on for several minutes.

It was good that no other cadets were around to see her. In her current mood, she was certain she'd beat any of those who would try to hit on her.

It was a daily occurrence.

"Also, if we're talking about someone buying too much of the same thing, that fucker got over a hundred chocolate bars..."

Amid her grumbling, Kiera thought back to Julien.

He came into the store with his usually stoic expression and ended up with all the available chocolate bars.

In fact, he was still adding more.

It was a sight that left Kiera at a loss.

"....Does he have some sort of chocolate addiction?"

Or was it sugar?

"Whatever, I don't care."

Ruffling her hair, Kiera looked up towards the sky and grimaced.

There were bigger problems she had to deal with. Glancing at her hand, she could already see that it was starting to shake.

"Can I last a week...?"

She already knew the answer at heart. The thought made her sigh, and her body limped back.


The chime of the door rang and a figure walked out. Kiera briefly glanced at him before shifting her attention back towards the sky.

There was nothing that she needed to say to him.

Or so she thought.



Kiera raised her hand and caught something. When she looked down, her eyes widened at the sight that greeted her.

"What the..."

"I'm not getting you anymore. Make do with what you have."

He left after parting those words.

Kiera stared dumbly at his back. Her mouth opened and closed repeatedly. There were many things that she wanted to say, but couldn't find the words.

'Weren't you the same guy who looked at me in disgust the last time I was smoking? Weren't you the same guy who told me to stop?'

Fiddling with the pack in her hand, Kiera gently nestled a cigarette in her mouth. She didn't light it up and just savored the taste.

Staring into the distance, her expression changed a little.

The more she thought she knew about him, the more layers she started to unravel. It was strange. He was strange.

Nibbling on the cigarette, she mumbled,

"Why are you...?"


'Did I make the right decision...?'

I was a little conflicted about my actions. On one hand, I thought it was rather hypocritical of me given how I had acted before, but on the other, knowing the struggles that came with the addiction, I caved in and decided to help her out.

Smoking was sort of like a therapy for most people.

Some smoked for pleasure, while others smoked to forget or numb a certain pain.

....I didn't know her circumstances, but for her to be smoking so much, rather than addiction, I felt that she was trying to ease something.

In a way, I saw my past self in her.

"It'll be the only time I'll do it."

Think of it as a form of apology for how I had acted during the first time.


I took a deep breath and stared at the sky.

With no clouds in the sky, it was a clear day. A sight I was starting to grow accustomed to.

Holding onto the bag that was filled with bars, I put them in my blazer and headed towards a certain destination.


Indeed, I hadn't gone to buy all these bars for nothing.

I had a goal in mind today.

Though I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to succeed, I thought that it'd be worth a try.

"The worst that can happen is her rejection."

I could handle being rejected.

At the very least, it meant that I tried.

Making sure that the bars were safely secured with me, I took another breath and headed towards my destination.

"For growth."

I mumbled quietly to myself.

"....This is all for growth."


Deliah quietly sat on her seat. Ignoring the mess that had accumulated around her, her focus was on the paper in front of her.

It was an invitation.

[We would like to extend our invitation to you....]

The invitation was for the Arcanum Gala. An annual festival that involved all top figures in the Empire. It was a big event that was set to take place in three months time.

There was just one problem with the invitation.

".....I don't want to go."

Thinking about all the gazes she'd receive, and all the people that she'd have to entertain, Delilah's mood plummeted.

She'd much rather stay here and tend to the cadets.

Even that was less of a hassle than the Arcanum Gala.

To Tok—

All of a sudden, someone knocked on the door and Delilah tore her gaze away from the letter. She didn't need to see to tell who it was as her lips gently parted open to say,

"Come in."

"Excuse me."

A figure walked in.

Standing tall, and with impeccable features, it was none other than her little assistant.

Julien Dacre Evenus.

"....What's with the sudden occasion? I don't remember calling you here."

"No, it's not that."

Shaking his head, his steps stopped by the end of the desk. As his gaze bore down, Delilah met his gaze and frowned.

There was something odd about him today.

He reached into his pocket and slowly took something out.

Delilha's eyes widened slightly.


"A chocolate bar...?"

Her eyes fluttered slightly. Then, recalling the conversation she had not too long ago, she understood and reached for it.

"You didn't have to."


He stopped her before her hand could reach the bar.


"....This isn't for you."

Julien's cool voice made Delilah frown.

"Not for me? Then..."

"Not yet."



He placed another bar on the table and Delilah licked her lips. She looked up to him. Just before she could say something, he cut her off.

"I need help with something."


It was then that she understood.

Her nose wrinkled.

"....Are you trying to bribe me?"

His eyes shifted away slightly.

This guy...

"I'm not someone that can be br—"


Delilah swallowed.

"It's not going to wo—"


Just how many...





Delilah swallowed.

There were a total of five bars before her. Five bars...

"Do you think I can't buy them for my-"


Her lips pursed.

This guy...

Delilah shifted her gaze away from the bars and back to him. Her face remained plain, with little to no changes.

"What do you want?"

However, her voice betrayed her upheaval of emotions.

".....I'll listen first."

Only then did he smile. Delilah stared at his smile for a moment, her mind unable to process it. He looked... off? The smile. It didn't look very natural.



He flatly said.

".....I want a faster way to get stronger."

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