Tsuki ga Michibiku Isekai Douchuu
Chapter 140: Amelia
Chapter 140: Amelia
“Amelia, I will be going up there to provide medical treatment to the injured knights. There’s no need to push yourself too much. When I return, I will do something about him. Mio-dono, I leave them in your care for a while” (Shiki)
“Okay. Waka-sama is calling, so hurry up. No need to worry here-desu wa” (Mio)
Shiki-san, who is at the rear, talks to me.
I can tell that he is being considerate towards us because we are having difficulties against the existence that was once Ilumgand.
But at the same time, my stomach pains at the fact that I can’t meet his expectations.
… My connection with Ilumgand right now holds no importance.
Even if that’s connected with my bad movements a bit.
The movements of everyone else are not good either after all.
If we did something like this in the usual classes, it would be to the level where the fight would be suspended and we would be lectured.
Because the current opponent we are facing is not a simple mamono but a student that attends the same school and has transformed, no matter how much I try, it is hard to deal with.
I hesitate in killing him, and even when we try to call him out to return him to his senses, we are not receiving a single decent response.
Aiming at a place where his life wouldn’t be in danger, we managed to drop those arms of his.
But it looks like that pain didn’t have any effect on him.
It probably made a scream filled with anger, but it soon regenerated his whole arms and the fight resumed.
If Misura didn’t step forward at that time, we would have been swallowed by agitation and probably torn apart like the Purple Coats.
I have no words for my gratitude towards him.
What’s ‘mortifying’ is that the current Ilumgand is quite stronger than us.
This is not an evaluation of him as a hyuman, but as the thing Shiki-san called variant though.
Leaving aside if he will be able to return or not, he became stronger than us again.
I can feel a certain emotion welling up inside me.
There’s a part of me that wants to let my emotions take control and go punch him. But that’s something I can’t do at all cost.
It would turn into the impetus for the destruction of our party after all.
In the first place, I wouldn’t be able to show such a pathetic self to that person, no, I don’t want to show it to everyone.
That’s why in this situation, the best choice would be to wait for Shiki-san to return.
The one who is staying here, Mio-san, doesn’t show any signs of lending us any help, and it feels as if she is telling us to deal with it somehow with the directions she has given until now.
she is a really different type from Shiki-san.
The nature of Ilumgand’s attacks, his immunity to all but one element, and his vital spot; she has already told us several important things to fight Ilumgand.
When we enquired things, she would answer; when we were wrong, she would give us hints.
The Academy’s prided magic warrior corps (the ones who came here were the magician corps though) the Purple Coats.
That’s right. Even if it was their first time fighting it, the strongest fighting power in this town was easily defeated.
The reason why we are able to somehow fight against an enemy like that is mostly because we had Shiki-san’s healing, Mio’s advice, Sensei’s equipment, and the blessing of the Goddess. No, it is practically the whole reason why we are able to stand against him at all.
In other words, we have been boosted in all standards and are now in this position.
If we fought carrying this hesitation without the healing, advice, and outstanding equipment; we would have fallen long ago.
We have been trained every day to defeat this amount of difference in strength with our teamwork, and yet, how pathetic we are.
“Damn it!! Just fall already”
Jin is kind.
He is still avoiding the vital and aiming to incapacitate Ilumgand.
He still thinks of him as our senpai.
The style he is using right now to push through is dual wielding.
Defeat before being defeated.
That’s the fighting style Jin aims for.
And yet, there’s vigor missing in the unrelenting sword style of him that swallows even the attacks of his opponents.
Against an opponent that has strong regeneration ability, a dulled sword style will only create the worst cycle.
The thing that was once Ilumgand is definitely coming at us with the intent to kill, so it makes it even worse.
“I am not good with fire element you know!”
Saying so, Izumo looks as if he is pained while shooting magic.
Using the wind element, he obstructs the opponent’s movements and robs them of their vision, and while maintaining his high speed mobility enhancement, he throws a barrage of spells.
The fighting tactic he uses normally is nowhere to be found.
The wind spells that get close to that thing are all dispersed.
Instead of calling it resistance, it was more like nullification.
Even when shooting them up-close, his fire element spell’s attack power is not enough and it doesn’t show much effect.
That’s why he stepped back to the rear and staying his feet, and to compensate for it, he is concentrating only on attacks to increase the attack power even if only a bit.
Moreover, since he is shooting a rapid succession of spells that are not his original forte element, his magic power is decreasing at a fast rate.
Izumo doesn’t have an amount of magic power fit for long period fights after all, so it can’t be helped.
“Not yet! I can still stop it!!”
Only Misura, who is standing at the frontlines and stopping the attacks, has enough willpower.
If contrary to his willpower, his healing magic were to run short, the danger he faces will increase in an instant.
To just stop the attacks and be relieved by it is dangerous.
He has to protect the line between us or everyone will crumble.
“There’s no end to this guy!”
“He prioritizes the attacks that are aimed to finish him! How tiresome!!”
Daena and Yuno use speed and feints to attack.
But their stamina already reached their limits a long time ago. Moreover, transforming into a monster turned him less intelligent, but in exchange, his instincts got better. He doesn’t let us get in any important hits.
The instantaneous power fighting style that prioritizes speed is, obviously, not fit for long term battles at all.
It might be better for Yuno to stand back and attack with her bow.
If those two get hit in the moment they run out of energy, it would be fatal.
“Sefuto aruosute eda kurai”
Sif is chanting a fire spell with high firepower.
The one who is able to throw the most effective attacks against Ilumgand is her.
She is also one of our spiritual supports along with Misura.
In other words, if we don’t properly utilize her magic power, we won’t have a chance of winning.
If we want to win this fight with our own power without any more assistance… “Incapacitating him” is already impossible.
We have no other choice but to shoot an attack onto his weak point with the intent to kill.
Normally, Jin would be the one who would make a plan and organize us, but it is hard to expect that from him in his current state.
Even when he badmouthed senpai that much, there’s no doubt that he is trying to save senpai.
That’s Jin’s greatest strong point and at the same time his weakness.
Maybe he will change in the remaining time he is at the academy. No, he probably won’t change.
A bitter smile came out unconsciously.
In my head there’s already a plan.
I thought about it multiple times and I arrived to the same conclusion.
If we go at it for the kill, we can still do it.
We should be able to.
… There’s no need to hesitate. It is better than worrying about it and ending up too late to be able to do anything.
‘They can heal us, so it is fine to lose’ I don’t want something like that.
Also, to lose against this maddened Ilumgand, I definitely don’t want to.
I didn’t want to be involved with him, and yet, he continued messing with me and everyone else.
And then he turns into this…
A high-pitched sound reverberated.
It is the sound of Jin’s sword clashing with the great sword that has been absorbed by the right arm of Ilumgand.
In a fight of strength, Jin would be pushed back.
Jin most likely knows the result, so before that happened, he rode in the shock of the attack and jumped back. To decrease the damage even if a bit.
Ilumgand didn’t chase after Jin.
In place of that, he opened his mouth wide and was doing a strange magic power gathering method.
This is the first time I see him doing that.
In an instant, an unpleasant sensation assaulted my mind.
Could it be!
“Everyone, barriers! A howling roar is coming!!” (Amelia)
I instantly shout and create a barrier to cover for the rear guard.
My range is not enough to reach the frontline!
I suddenly recall the memories of being cornered by that lesser dragon, so I was able to reflexively use the barrier method I thought when against a howl.
Because that was the worst trauma for me.
Even if I knew it would reduce my options, I still made sure I was able to create a barrier at any time, and it was unexpectedly useful at this moment.
And as I thought, a roar that had some sort of endowed effect reverberated through the very core of my body and assaulted us.
It seems like it has the same effect as the dragon, overpowering. As if paralyzed, the movements of Jin, Daena, and Yuno stopped.
The moment I saw that scene, the little hesitation that was left in me… disappeared.
Maybe it was a technique that left him stiff, Ilumgand was still not moving.
I am different from Jin.
Instead of losing my comrades, I would prefer to kill him.
“… Sif, can you endow that spell into my arrow? I am sorry for asking you to do endowment which you are not that good at” (Amelia)
“Eh? That’s impossible. It’s not only because I am not good at it, the spell is already completed you know? Could it be, you are talking about the technique Shiki-san showed us once? If I do such a reckless endowment, even if it succeeds, it would not last 10 seconds before exploding. That was only possible because it was Shiki-san” (Sif)
“10 seconds huh? No problem. Izumo! You can move right?!” (Amelia)
“Tsuuu, somehow. Thanks for the barrier. Is that what you call a trump card? It reminded me of grandma’s pocket” (Izumo)
“Stop with the pointless talk. Use a speed increase on me. Can you do it?” (Amelia)
“Eh, yeah, I can. But right now we have to cover for everyone else” (Izumo)
I shake my head.
“You already understand that there’s no leeway to do that right? I will finish that guy” (Amelia)
“See, it is beginning to move!! If they get hit in that defenseless state, even Misura will die instantly!” (Amelia)
From what I see, Izumo is probably in the side that wants to save Ilumgand.
“… ‘I will carry the burden’, is that what you intent to do? Then I will make sure it is a direct hit this time, so please create an opening” (Sif)
Sif is in the side that doesn’t care if he dies.
That’s why she is worried that I will be carrying the burden, so she is trying to dirty her own hands.
But that’s just not going to work.
“Impossible. His current magic defense is way too high. In terms of physical and magical damage, it has to possess quite the power or it won’t break through. Can you do even more than the last attack, in a situation where it might drag your comrades in it?” (Amelia)
We were able to secure enough space, that’s why she was able to shoot the previous attack that dropped the arms of Ilumgand.
I don’t think Sif would be able to control that much firepower into a hit to his vital spot.
The accuracy of her attacks are not that high. That’s one of the weaknesses she has.
Well, she has way too many plus points, so it doesn’t matter that much, but right now that’s not the case.
“That’s why I will do it. To smash him with both physical and magic attack, it is best to use my arrow and the forced endowment after all. It is okay, the chance of success is decent. Please let me show my cool side in front of Shiki-san” (Amelia)
With a slightly playful tone, but serious eyes, I look at Sif and ask for her cooperation.
Suddenly, my body felt lighter.
“Aah!! It is already a despairing situation! I will restrain Ilumgand with all the magic power I have, so Amelia, I leave the rest to you! Not caring about what happens just because Shiki-san is here, that’s just too uncool!!” (Izumo)
With a teary expression, the despairing Izumo began shooting attack magic towards Ilumgand.
“… Understood. In the times when Jin is unable to move, you are the leader. That’s what we decided right?” (Sif)
“Thanks Sif” (Amelia)
The powerful fire element spell that Sif completed was condensing in the tip of the arrow at my right hand.
What was that about ‘if it succeeds?’?
I knew that she would surely be able to do it.
I am aiming for the same path as her, so I know how many steps ahead of me she is.
It will definitely last for 10 seconds.
I dashed instantly.
I run beside the barrage cover that Izumo wringed out with his last amount of magic power, and, after accelerating in one breath, I kick the ground.
Reaching a height higher than average with my jump, I activate a floating spell.
Feeling a gentle sensation of my whole body being lifted up, I was brought up to the max height my jump reached again.
Below me, Ilumgand is looking at me.
Just as planned.
He thinks it is natural to receive the attacks.
That’s how much confidence he has in his defensive power.
But right now you don’t have a single obstacle around you that might serve as defense.
There’s nothing obstructing the space between you and me.
Shooting from midair.
I was doing it just like normal, but for some reason, Raidou-sensei was surprised.
His face was saying ‘how dexterous’.
If someone like him, who has a 100% hit rate in his shots, tells me that, I could only take it as him making fun of me though.
Depending on the situation, jumping and firing is a valid option.
It’s easier to secure a shooting space.
If I don’t look at the state of the battle, I also face the risk of exposing myself to the opponent’s attack, so it isn’t only plusses.
Thanks to the previous attack of Sif, I was able to tell the degree of that prided defensive power of his.
Even if he blocks with both of his arms, my arrow that has a ferocious endowment will still be able to at least get his neck.
That’s why– ?!!
“!! Don’t tell me, that thing in his arm?! This is bad!!”
Imprisoned in my stance, I see something unbelievable.
With his left hand he grabs the arm that was dropped previously, and throws it towards me.
You are kidding right? Using his own arm… I wasn’t expecting…
“Nameless children of earth! Provide support!”
I honestly wasn’t expecting anymore backup from the girl that gave me her completed spell.
But she still had the spirit magic.
It doesn’t have much effect on Ilumgand, but it seems she still has more up her sleeves.
Several stone arms stretch out from below Sif and went to grab at Ilumgand’s legs.
The truly troublesome thing about him is that aside from fire element and non-elemental spells, the other elements can’t even enter his surroundings.
Destroying his footing, using wind to blind him and obstruct his movements; the things we want to do, he didn’t let us do it.
Especially the water element resistance. It even looked like he was being powered-up by it.
It’s the worst.
And so, the one Sif used just now was activating the spell in an area close to her and stretching it towards the target.
The bind type spells normally activate around the target’s area, so this one is quite irregular.
… I see, I think I somewhat understand the origin of her idea.
Did she use the spell that Eris-san used that time in summer as reference?
It entered enough to touch him, but as expected, the spell scattered in an instant.
But the trajectory of the arm that’s flying at me has been slightly deviated.
That’s enough. Thanks.
I feel a dull impact in my side, but compared to receiving a direct hit, this pain is nothing and I just fix my arrow to the bow.
I’m glad I used pain mitigation just in case something happened at the fall.
That impact felt like bad news.
I feel like I might cry if I look at it, so I don’t.
While looking at the tip of the arrow that’s about to rampage, I fix my aim to the head of the ‘variant’.
There’s no time.
If the spell explodes before impact, it is over.
This is not magic power endowment but magic spell endowment.
This can’t even be called endowment magic. An irregular of irregulars.
There are too many demerits.
But Shiki-san did it like it was nothing.
And right now the merit is what makes it worth.
I want to defeat that thing.
I want to surpass it.
I don’t hesitate over anything and head onto ‘the next step’.
I have to hit no matter what.
That’s why… I pray.
The face of Shiki-san, and another person, appeared in my mind.
… Even if I pray to you, I will definitely not be able to obtain that power of yours with my current self though.
It appears in my mind.
The two people that my current self considers the most reliable of all.
“— Hit in the middle!!”
Isn’t that right, Raidou-sensei?
The red arrow I shot flew splendidly to the aimed place as if blessed. It pierces onto the ‘variant’s’ crossed arms.
For a moment the momentum decreased, but it easily pierced through.
Moreover, from the head that was hidden by both hands, I could tell that the arrow sunk deep into the vital point and a part of the neck I was aiming for, at the inner spine.
… It’s over.
I was sure.
I look at the man that has shouted several times watching our fight from the spectator seats.
That person is most likely the Head of the Hopelace household in Limia Kingdom.
That person is my…
Even though I wanted to avoid problematic things, so I came here from a remote region of the empire to this academy…
Why did it end up like this?
But well, it’s fine already.
Because with this, it’s all…
My thoughts… I can’t put them up properly.
For some reason, a feeling of hollow sadness spread through my chest.
And then, in the moment that I witnessed the outcome and my tension disappeared…
I wanted to scream from the pain that I felt in my side for a moment, but even with that, I was somehow able to grit my teeth.
In my silent state, I entrust my body to the falling sensation and the exhaustion, and relinquish my consciousness.
The explosion that occurred a second later and the thunderous sound that came after.
That resonated in my ears, along with the distant unsightly screams of the ‘man’ that I was never able to feel the real emotions of.
“Hello there, Tomoe”
“Root huh. Is it okay for the Adventurer Guild to be in this kind of place?” (Tomoe)
“Luckily the headquarters seem to be empty. Also, it’s not Root, its Falz. In this place that is” (Root)
“Hmph, well, this will be my thanks for your cooperation-ja. I will follow you on that” (Tomoe)
Excluding the Limia Kingdom’s group; Tomoe evacuated the guests to one of the shelters the Academy Principal knows of.
After that, she stood at the shelter’s entrance with the front that it is to protect them.
In truth, there’s the simple reason that it was more convenient to give instructions to the company members with thought transmission if she is there.
Also, because she hasn’t consulted with Makoto about how to move the guests of the several countries, she is trying to reduce the contact she has with them.
“And the situation is? I don’t mind if you just tell me what you can say” (Root)
“Most of it is going favorably. It will probably settle down in about one or two days” (Tomoe)
“Hm? No no, I wasn’t referring to that. About Mako-, Waka-sama. I was wondering if you were able to ask what you wanted to” (Root)
Tomoe was telling him the current state of the turmoil, but in contrast to that, Root denied it and states that he wants to know about herself.
Hearing those words, Tomoe was slightly flustered and responds with a facial reaction.
“That’s cute. I don’t know what you wanted to ask that you even went so far as to rely on the power of alcohol, but, how did it go? Did he tell you anything in your drunken state?” (Root)
“You’re so annoying. In the end, even without relying on such a nostrum, I more or less understand what’s inside Waka’s heart. Right now… I am fine with that” (Tomoe)
“What, so there was no point in getting drunk huh. What a waste. That thing, your body develops resistance to it, so after one month you won’t be able to use it again. Since you have the chance, how about drinking it again while it is still effective?” (Root)
“I can still enjoy alcohol even without getting that drunk. I do think that it was a hard to get experience though. Seriously. I was wondering what you were going to say and here you go with such a stupid thing” (Tomoe)
“That’s because I am interested you know. In the path that he intends to take” (Root)
“… I have no intentions of getting friendly with you. But, it is true that you have looked after us in these few days. I will tell you a bit. With this, Waka will probably notice the large amount of paths he can choose” (Tomoe)
“Hmph~. I see. It seems you guys have quite a lot of secrets, but can I take it as you guys beginning a change to this world?” (Root)
Roots narrows his eyes and asks Tomoe the true meaning.
That question felt as if he was happy and at the same time filled with curiosity.
And, it also felt as if he was cautious.
“Who knows” (Tomoe)
“Geez, isn’t it fine to just tell me a bit more? Like, joining the Limia hero and becoming the hope of hyumans, accelerating the madness in Gritonia, receiving the protection of Lorel’s wise man creed and live in peace, or you know, separating Aion from Tsige and making it independent” (Root)
“… I’m surprised you could think of so many-ja na” (Tomoe)
Tomoe mutters amazed at the possibilities Root pointed out.
“Then… go to the church and become a believer of the Goddess? If he wants to blend into this world, that’s also an option. He did look like he wanted to fit with the hyumans after all” (Root)
“Nothing to say-ja” (Tomoe)
“… There’s also the choice of assisting the demon lord in destroying the hyuman society that he considers warped, right?” (Root)
“Scary~, so he is choosing a future path without being self-aware that he will be in a position to control the scale of the war. Ah~, in my opinion, I feel like he is slightly underestimating the power he possesses. If he felt constrained, it wouldn’t be strange to have moved a long time ago” (Root)
“… Waka also has the experience and values he has lived up with until now. That person has a stubborn side as well after all. We also have a lot going on our side-ja yo” (Tomoe)
“Values? His? I want to know” (Root)
“Staying silent huh. That’s troublesome. Then, can you please tell me only one thing? It doesn’t have to be everything either. In exchange, I will also give you information that will prove useful. Like this, I feel like you are just leaving me in a cliffhanger” (Root)
“Hmph. Depends on the content” (Tomoe)
“Do I see interest? I’m happy. What I am the most interested in right now is the talk we had before, the talk about him changing. How is it?” (Root)
Root’s words referred to the conversation they had before in a summer night.
The eyebrows of Tomoe twitched and she hangs her head down as if thinking of something.
“That huh. Well, it should be fine to tell you a bit” (Tomoe)
Tomoe raises her head a bit and accepts.
“Really?! I know that he has changed a bit since that time, but I wanted the opinion of someone that is close to him, like you Tomoe” (Root)
Root was delighted made an innocent smile.
“A dramatic change like the one you are assuming has still not happened yet. Waka still hasn’t decided on what he wants to do after all. But, in terms of power, he has totally blossomed. If for example, you and Waka end up fighting, we would be able to watch without worries. That’s how much he has grown” (Tomoe)
“?! Heh~. But I think that he would have been able to put up a fight against me even before he met me though. It doesn’t sound like he has grown that much” (Root)
“I said ‘watch without worries’, didn’t I? If you were to fight him upfront, well, you are in outline the summit of superior dragons, so you might be able to leave some scratches on him” (Tomoe)
Root looks at Tomoe as if in total loss of words.
The word speechless fit him well at this moment.
“Right now I still don’t know from how high of a place my master is overlooking this society in or what he is thinking of-ja. However, regarding Waka, I recommend you to not lay a hand on him-ja na. If my master enters the ‘changing’ step you talk about, no matter if it’s a superior dragon, it would be no different from a lizard” (Tomoe)
Unable to continue his words, Tomoe talks to Root as if giving the finishing blow.
“And then, what was that useful information you were talking about-ja?” (Tomoe)
“… The trump card of the hyumans is beginning to move. Well, if he has become that strong, there might be no need to worry” (Root)
“Trump card. The dragon slayer? If I remember correctly, she is the strongest hyuman-ja na” (Tomoe)
“Dragon Slayer, are you talking about Sofia? By no means. She is just a girl with the highest level in the people that are registered at the Guild and the one who defeated Lancer, that’s all. If you say strongest, that’s not the case” (Root)
“Then who are you talking about-ja?” (Tomoe)
“The one that is the most loved by the Goddess after the heroes. It seems to be a well-made Imadai” (Root)
“Imadai… is that an ascended being?” (Tomoe)
“I see, you probably didn’t know. It refers to a special linage of hyumans that can use an element that even the Goddess can’t use. For now, just think of it as the Goddess beginning to put serious effort even when busy. Her being busy is her just deserts though” (Root)
“Fumu. Well, I will gratefully receive your information. If you have finished your business, return. If you are with me all the time and they suspect some sort of relationship, it would be troublesome. Also, I feel like I paid too much. I will have you properly calm down the matter of the teleportation, okay?” (Tomoe)
With her left hand she goes ‘Shoo shoo’, showing a gesture of driving away Root.
“Understood. I finally get the chance to have Makoto-kun feel indebted to me, so I will properly do my part. I am more used to interacting with hyumans than you guys after all. I will go give a report later about how it went. To Waka-sama that is” (Root)
“Hmph, just telling you, I won’t be giving you the katana. And of course, accompanying me in my teleportation is out of question-ja” (Tomoe)
“Of course. Leave it to me. Well then, give my regards to him. Also… it seems like none of the countries have noticed, but keep the thought transmission interception to a moderate level, okay? Seriously, even the thought transmission of you guys is terrifying. Don’t worry, I won’t talk with Makoto-kun. Thought transmission and teleportation; if the countries learned only these two, the war against the demon race would prolong for many years” (Root)
As if amazed, Root shrugs his shoulders and leaves the place where Tomoe is.
The place he is heading to is the area where the guests are in.
Just like how he told Tomoe, it seems he is obediently behaving as the Guild Master Falz.
Tomoe, who is standing at a faraway place with the pretext of being a guard, sees off that back.
“Prolong… That Root, so he is also informed in the internal conditions of the demon race. I don’t really have any interest in the war between the hyumans and the demon race, but if he is involved with both parties, I pity them a bit. Well then, I wonder when we should counterattack. In the meantime, I will leave them helping out with the evacuation. I feel like we can use that babysitting as a pretext a few days later-ja” (Tomoe)
After being left alone again, Tomoe resumes her instructions to the company.
She arranges the reports she received by thought transmission in the time she was talking with Root.
Reports of her subordinates, intercepting the communication of the countries; in the time Tomoe herself is concentrating, a massive amount of information flows in.
On top of that, Tomoe is calculating the timing to move.
She is disposing of the store that already has no inventory in it and has now become just a mere building.
Because it is fine to just rebuild it if they want to.
There’s no need to be concerned about safety, is what she is thinking.
The company employees that are receiving instructions from Tomoe are right now dispersed around various areas of the town. Already having a list up of the areas where the variants are not rampaging and the places that can be used as refuge, they guide the town residents that are panicked.
Currently she has gotten the okay from the slum where the demi-humans are living in, and has added it in the list of safe places.
The chaos is still spreading, but the Kuzunoha Company and Tomoe as well, continued their moves without showing any sort of confusion.
“I see. Makoto-kun has already become that strong huh”
Root was shocked by the words of Tomoe, however, his feelings of joy were bigger.
‘He is certainly able to defeat you’ even when told that, he didn’t show signs of pessimism.
“Maybe, you will really become an existence that can shoot down the Goddess. You say that you are misfortunate, but why? Thinking about the current state of the Goddess where she can’t move, Makoto-kun might actually be an incredibly lucky one. I am having a lot of fun. As I thought, you really are the best. I don’t care in what you change. I am looking forward to the day I can see your power. If possible, I want to someday be able to walk alongside you and watch the same scenery as you. Fufu” (Root)
Muttering in a low tone, his expression looked pleased. A hard to approach atmosphere surrounding him.