Chapter 20: Up the Mountain

I have finally started climbing the mountain on this new day, but I am not alone. Climbing right behind me is Nate, also known as Nathaniel Agni, a capture target in the Otome game. I don’t really know why, but in just a day, he is surprisingly attached to me. Not in a romantic way since he believes that I’m a boy and I want to keep it like that for now since he might force me off the mountain since he believes that girls are weak and shouldn’t be on mountains. Sounds very insulting. Actually it is insulting, but that is just the way he was raised.

I already mentioned that he is a kind character and that his look scares people, but there is more to it. I mentioned the he’s a delinquent, but it wasn’t by choice. Ever since he was young, his look struck fear into people’s hearts. Some even feinted, while others felt the need to fight him leading him to be a delinquent. Even though he was a delinquent, his family saw him as a blessing to the family, since they were fire warriors and fire warriors focused more on strength and talent, which Nate had…I wish I remembered more, but as I said, I focused more on his cute side than his serious side. I feel a little bad about that, but who can resist adorableness to the max…that might sound confusing for now, but I have a feeling that you guys will understand eventually.

I slipped on a rock, but thanks to the rope around my waist and the hooks attached, I was just fine, but I think Nate slightly panicked since he kept asking repeatedly if I was all right.

“I’m fine.”

Those words seemed to calm him down a bit, but as I glanced down at him, I could see worry written all over his face. I’m glad he’s worried, but he needs to have more faith in me.

Climbing the mountain isn’t that hard, even though wind is blowing on my form once in a while, but I secretly used my wind talent to lessen the impact of the wind, so it wouldn’t interfere with my climbing. I heard Nate give out a yelp and glanced down at him again. It looks like he slipped a bit, but he was still hanging on to the wall. Good thing I placed a rope around his waist too.

“Are you OK?”

“I’m fine.”

Looks like he is still OK, so let’s continue up the mountain. Wait a minute…I think I hear something. It sounds like a meow or maybe a purr. I climbed higher and found a small ledge. Oh my Gosh, it’s a baby Snow Leopard. The baby Snow Leopard was curled up on the ledge giving out small mews once in a while. SO CUTE! I wonder why it’s on a ledge. Could it have fallen? I wonder if it is a boy or a girl. I want to cuddle it.

The baby Snow Leopard suddenly lifted up its small head meeting with my golden eyes and gave out a small yawn with a squeak. CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

“SO CUTE!”

Wait a minute, I didn’t say that. I glanced to my side and, surprisingly, Nate was there staring at the baby Snow Leopard with sparkling eyes. Oh boy, looks like his cutesy syndrome has kicked in.

It’s a little earlier than expected, but meet Nate’s cutesy mode. When Nate sees something cute, he loses any form of seriousness and instantly wants to cuddle the thing that is cute. He went into this mode many times around the heroine in the game since the heroine reminded Nate of a cat. I still wonder why a cat since the heroine reminded me more of a puppy. All right back on track, Nate has currently captured the baby Snow Leopard in a tight hug.

The baby Snow Leopard began to struggle giving out small meows of protest, but I must admit that the little guy’s struggling form is cute. Looks like Nate might decide to keep him or her, but that might be difficult since he doesn’t have the animal talent.

Oh, looks like the baby got free. Wait a minute…the Snow Leopard has jumped onto my back and is ducking its head behind my shoulder. I admit that its cute hiding behind me like that, but Nate looks like he wants to cry.

“Um, Nate, we can bring the Snow Leopard with us for a while and maybe the Snow Leopard will warm up to you.”

I suggested it on the spot since Nate looked really upset, but he perked up at my suggestion and I could swear that I could see a dog tail wagging behind him. He really is adorable when he is in cutesy mode and it is one of the reasons why I don’t remember his serious moments in his arc…please don’t let that come back to bite me in the butt.

As a side note, I learned that the Snow Leopard is a girl, so I nicknamed her Polka. I know my naming sense sucks, but she seems to like the name. She has tears of joy.

Back on track again, we continued to climb the mountain and this time, I had Polka tied with a rope around her waist and she rode on my shoulder. This leopard really does have good balance.

We soon reached a flat surface of the mountain and decided that it was the best time to take a break for lunch. I prepared a pot and lit a fire…shoot Nate saw that.

“You have the fire talent?” asked Nate. I nodded emitting ball of fire in my right hand.

“Surprised?”

“A little, but I kind of expected it since you were on this mountain.”

“Is this mountain special?”

Nate looked at me with wide eyes. Did I say something strange?

“Don’t tell me you climbed this mountain without knowing anything?”

“…”

Nate gave out a sigh. I really don’t know what to say.

“This mountain is known to give fire users great power. I mentioned my trial before, right? Well in five months the power of the mountain will reveal itself, but only to those with a strong will.”

“A strong will?”

Nate nodded.

“That’s why I have to stay here for my trial and with you being a fire user, I thought you were here for the same reason, but I guess I was wrong.”

“I’m actually here to get stronger, but not because of a trial.”

“…I see. That’s pretty amazing Reino.”

I nodded and continued to climb the mountain, but Nate and I continued our conversation and Polka seemed interested too.

“So Nate, how much time is left in your training?”

“About three more days, but if I am able to get the power of the mountain earlier then I can return early as well.”

“Any luck finding that power?”

“…no, but I must be close.”

I noticed the determination in his voice. He must really want to get stronger, but he is pretty strong when the game starts…strong…strong? OH MY GOSH, I REMEMBER NOW! Nate did mention the trial in the game…but he failed it.

Nate fell off the mountain and he was terribly wounded to the point he almost died. He stayed in that wounded condition for the remainder of the trial and didn’t get any stronger. Apparently when he returned, he was ridiculed by his family for being weak and that made him work harder than others until he was stronger than any of them, but because of that failed trial his power had a limit and he always regretted not completing the trial. There was also an enemy in the game that mentioned the failure many times that made Nate depressed. He becomes happy in the game thanks to the heroine saying that he was strong and that’s good, but his past still kind of haunted him unless as the player you get the special end, which is hard since you have to defeat certain monsters in side quests to get it. I can’t believe I forgot it, especially since this is an important part of his route…I really did only care about the cuteness of his route. I feel pretty bad about that.

Hold on…fell from the mountain. SHOOT! I saved Nate yesterday from falling from the mountain. Could I have changed his past already? Was that really the scarring event of Nate’s past? Too late to change it now, but thinking about it, that past is too sad for Nate. I don’t want him to have a hurtful past. I’m glad I changed it. I believe he will still find happiness in the school and this time without the heavy past of failing his trial.

“Waah!”

DON’T YOU DARE FALL AFTER I DECIDED TO CHANGE YOUR PAST!

I was practically holding Nate’s life line as he dangled on the side of the mountain. I’ll still get stronger for my future, but I’ll also help Nate pass this trial with flying colors…but he needs to hold the mountain better.

“Waah!”

Change of plan, I’m teaching him how to climb a mountain better first.

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