…Just Kidding. Do enjoy~!
Chapter 3: The Field Study Trip, Sets Off.
“What is the meaning of this…-! How is that any different from rejecting my membership…-!”
That day. The chief of the Imperial Platinum Magic research institute, Bacchus Braumon angrily struck his desk.
“Do you have any idea how many sacrifices I’ve made for the organization, woman!? Do you not know how much tribute I’ve given and continued to give!?”
Bacchus was around forty to fifty years old. Befitting of his age, his skin was wrinkled, his head was bald, and the remaining hairs on the corner of his lips and beard wee a shade pale white. However, his eyes alone gleamed like a carnivore finding prey in the darkness.
“Even then, do you not accept my membership!? Do you not desire the power of my magicks!? Do you mean that my abilities and sacrifices are not enough to enter the Adeptus Order, or even the Portals Order!? Am I forever to remain a probationer and nothing more!? Answer me, Elenora-dono!?” Bacchus wildly howled across the desk.
<TL Note: Read as ‘Adeptus’ and ‘Portals’, written as ‘Second Company <Earth’s Seat>’ and ‘First Company <Door>’>
“Please be calm, Bacchus-sama.”
However, his anger was brushed aside. Elenora, dressed in servant’s clothes with a headdress and apron, eluded the question with a cheerful smile.
Elenora, the heretical magician from the Wisdom of the Heaven’s Research Society, was dressed in the same clothes as she had used during her time undercover in the imperial government. Since it continued to be her primary choice of clothing, it seemed that she favored the clothes quite a bit.
“You believe that our great sage and the Heavens Order do not accept your induction… however, it is actually quite the opposite. With your abilities, surely you will jump beyond Portals Order and be assigned into the Adeptus Order— Furthermore, you will be assigned a high ranking within that order. It’s just that… we are unable to confirm whether your loyalty to the order is true, so our great sage has offered you a test.”
Elenora maintained her prim smile and continued.
“Yes… [Project: Revive Life]… When you complete this magic project once again, you will officially become a member of the Wisdom of the Heavens Research Society, one of us.”
“Like I said before, how is that any different from rejecting my membership-!”
It was evident that Bacchus was starting to burn with anger at Elenora’s attitude as he continued to shout.
“I, Bacchus Braumon, am the highest authority in platinum technique in the entirety of the magic empire Alzano! Do you think I do not know what [Project: Revive Life] is!?”
“No no, not at all.”
“That ritual magic is the ultimate forbidden art that was only able to succeed due to the extraordinarily talented alchemist Shion!”
“Oh? So I take it that you are implying that your abilities are worse than Shion’s?”
“Impossible! I am undoubtedly a genius! One that is surely beyond the likes of Shion! However… [Project: Revive Life] is a different story…”
Bacchus glared at Elenora whilst gritting his teeth.
“Like I previously said, [Project: Revive Life] was only able to succeed due to the alchemist Shion… Essentially, that forbidden art is something nearing the realm of original magic. No, it would be better to say that it is Shion’s original magic! So it would be impossible for anyone other than Shion to succeed in performing it! It is because you people did not realize that fact that you all neglected her! Even though the project was so close to succeeding, you all allowed it fall apart! So what do you mean that I must clean up after someone else’s mess!?”
Having said all this in one go, Bacchus took deep burning breaths. His eyes were bloodshot and his rage showed no signs of receding.
“Your affirmation pains me, but that is certainly true. It would be correct to say that [Project: Revive Life] is akin to Shion’s original magic given its level of sophistication as a ritual magic. Given that Shion has now passed away, it was impossible to complete the art… until now, that is.”
“…What do you mean by that?”
Bacchus gazed at Elenora with doubt after hearing her cryptic words.
“A new prospect has risen. A prospect that would allow the project to complete.”
“Hmpf, leave your dreams for when you sleep. What is it? Do you mean to bring back Shion using [Project: Revive Life]? Fuhaha-! Is that not putting the cart before the horse!?”
Elenora ignored Bacchus provocations and continued.
“Soon, a group of students will be coming to this magic research institute on their ‘Field Study’, am I correct?”
“Yes, that pointless activity. What of it?”
“Amongst those students is an ‘Emotion Amplifier’. If you use that student’s power…”
As she was saying this, Bacchus spit in contempt.
“This exactly is why I hate brainless amateurs! Do you think I haven’t already tried that idea ages ago!? Listen! Emotion amplification is a supernatural ability that solely strengthens the magical techniques and magic power! It does not make magic that does not work in theory succeed! I bought an ‘Emotion Amplifier’ from the black market and done everything from hook them up to cut them up! This was my conclusion! It’s impossible!”
“Oh my, Bacchus-sama… you seem like such a serious and sincere person, who would have fought that you would dirty your hands with such inhumane and illegal prospects…? Fufu, how scary.”
“Hmpf! I don’t want to hear that from you, heretic. It fairly humane compared to what the likes of you do.”
Bacchus looked at Elenora with disdain as she chuckled to herself.
Normal people would be unable to understand their mad behavior, but they were fairly sane.
“However, that will not be a problem. The ‘Emotion Amplifier’ this time is rather ‘special’… Do take a look at this.”
“You will understand once you take a look.”
Bacchus reluctantly opened the seal and spread open the document.
After scanning through the document his eyes open wide in astonishment.
“I-, Impossible—! T-, This is… H-, How could this be…-!?”
“Fufu, how is it?”
“Mmpf… H-, However, is this true…!?”
Bacchus complexion turned pale in shock. His rage moments ago was the last of his worries.
“Do take a look at the emblem stamped at the bottom of the document.”
“The seal of the thaum… Could it be that this is personally penned by the great sage…!? If so, then what’s written here is…!?”
“True, no doubt.”
<TL note: Read as ‘thaum’, written as ‘twins’.>
Click. With a snap of Elenora’s fingers, the document in Bacchus hands was spontaneously set aflame, turning to ash in mere moments.
Bacchus did not appear particularly surprised. Rather, he appeared to be lost in thought.
“Our organization has taken a positive outlook regarding the matters concerning [Project: Revive Life], and I would like to also inform you that the Heavens Order has great expectations of you.”
“Do not worry. If you are concerned about the matter of capturing this ‘Emotion Amplifier’ I have already made some ‘arrangements’ in advance. Although there are there are some rats from the Imperial Court Magicians circling around this ‘Emotion Amplifier’, they will not be a problem. Although me to introduce your best collaborator to you.”
Click. Elenora snapped her fingers.
The windows of the room opened, and in came a young man.
The man wore a white robe and had blue hair that was rarely seen in the Alzano Empire.
“Glad to meet your acquaintance, Bacchus-san.”
The young man gave an elegant bow.
“Who are you?”
“Oh? Do you not remember who I am? I believe that if you know well of the matters regarding the extraordinary alchemist shion, then surely you would know of me… Well, I suppose there are times where it can’t be helped. My name is—”
“No, do wait… You seem familiar…”
Bacchus gazed at the young man as if he were looking at a ghost.
“I’ve looked at the documents that the organization circulated regarding Shion’s [Project: Revive Life]. There were pictures in the documents detailing the magicians associated with it… Yes, if I remember correctly… No way, you are…-!? Uhm, you were the one who was working as Shion’s partner…-! You’re still alive…-!?”
The blue-haired man lips curved into a cheery smile.
“I am but a second seat of the Adeptus Order, so I will of course do anything it takes to assist you, Bacchus-sama.”
Bacchus fell silent.
He could admit it. The special ‘Emotion Amplifier’, Shion’s partner, and the full assistance of the Wisdom of the Heaven’s Research Society… The conditions that could not be achieved before were now all met. [Project: Revive Life] didn’t seem quite as impossible.
“So what will you do? Will you accept? You desire to gain a seat within our organization… Yes? A new world governed and ruled by the chosen magicians… And the knowledge of the great skies – the Akashic Record”
“Please come to a decision. All the glory and knowledge is before your eyes, Bacchus-sama, and you have the qualifications and right to grasp it.”
In front of Bacchus, who remained silent—
Elenora, with a great smile on her face, gave a courteous bow.
…In a different place.
Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, classroom for year two, class two.
“Well, that’s how it is…”
Homeroom time after class.
Glen stood at the instructor’s podium with an annoyed expression.
“So we’re going to have a guidance session for the field study you guys will be attending soon… But what is this ‘Field Study’ anyway? No matter how I think about it, this is an ‘Outing Vacation’ where you go out and play with the class and stuff…”
“Could you please take this a little more seriously, sensei!?”
Sistina jumped out of her seat immediately in response to Glen’s unmotivated attitude.
“The ‘Field Study’ is neither playtime nor vacation! It is a mandatory seminar where we students visit magic research institutes operated by the Empire to learn about the operation, latest advancements in research, and—”
“Yeah yeah, so that’s how it is. Thank you very much for the explanation.”
Sistina immediately entered lecture mode to which Glen hanged and scratched his head, feeling as if the whole occasion was too tedious.
The goals of the Field Study were as Sistina said. Glen’s class were second years, where it was a mandatory credit required to advance to the next grade. However, as Glen had attempted to point out, there was a lot of free time between lectures and tours of the facility, so it was hard to deny that there was a hidden element of leisure within this seminar. That being said, there was also the intent of forcing the students who generally holed up in the academy and Fejiti to widen their view of the world.
By the way, the ‘Field Study’ seminar was generally held in different times and places for each class. The lecture progress of the each class, the affairs and research of the magic research institutes, as well as the number of people at the institutes available to receive guests would all be taken into consideration. After all, they could not have all year two students intrude on the same facility at the same time.
“I’m sure the place we’re headed to is busy, but they still put aside time to receive us. You’re the leader of our class for this trip, so would you mind having a bit more self-awareness of your position—”
“Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. I got it, I got it already…! Give me a break…!”
While Glen was busy being scolded by Sistina, the remaining students began to lively chat about their upcoming Field Study.
“Cecil, where are we going for our ‘Field Study’ again? Err, was it the Gold magic…”
“Hahaha, nope. We’re going to the Platinum magic research institute.”
“Oh right, that’s it. Man, I’d rather go to the Military Magic research institute in Cantahre than there—”
“Well, it’s not our choice Cashew. If I could choose myself, I would go to the Magic Engineering research institute in Itelia.”
Although the academy had a census of the broad number of locations that the students of each class wanted to go, they couldn’t fulfill everyone’s desire. Whether or not they would go to the research institute they desired for the ‘Field Study’… was mostly left to luck.
Regardless, it was unavoidable that there would be members of the class that would say ‘I’d rather go here’ or ‘This is better’… When the class became engrossed in such discussions, it was then—
“Hmpf… Boys over there, you’re too naïve if you’re thinking like that.” Glen called out after hearing the complaints and voices of dissatisfaction in parts of the class.
“You’re thinking that ‘My luck is bad’… ‘I want to go somewhere else’… but let me tell you guys this – you guys are really lucky. I would even go as far as to say that you guys have undoubtedly been given the blessing of the goddess of luck herself…-!”
“Think through this calmly. Where is the Platinum magic research institute located…?”
As the name suggested, the Platinum magic research institute was a facility that researched platinum magic.
Platinum magic was a compound technique that utilized white magic and alchemy that, in this case, was used to research the mysteries of life. In order to conduct this research, a large quantity of clean water was necessary.
<TL Note: Platinum magic (白金術) is combination of the kanji from white magic (白魔術) and alchemy (錬金術). Incidentally, Cashew’s mistake earlier is 黄金 (gold).>
Thus, the Platinum magic research institute was established in a place where it would be easy to retrieve large quantities of clean water, Saineria Island…
“…Hah-! Isn’t Saineria Island famous for their beach resorts…-!?”
“C-, Could it be…!?”
Cecil showed a wry smile, while Cashew and many other males’ eyes shined with excitement.
“Fu… So you guys have finally noticed. During the Field Study we’ll have quite a lot of free time. While we’re still a bit away from prime season, thanks to the ley lines around the Island its warm all year round, so playing in the water is very feasible… On top of that, our class is filled with high-level beautiful ladies… Now, are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Say no more, just follow my lead.”
At this moment, a mysterious bond of empathy and friendship was forged between Glen and (a small portion of) the (male) students.
“Ugh, is our class filled with nothing but idiots…”
Sistina unamusedly sighed, while Lumia showed a wry smile.
Riel, who sat behind the two of them, tilted her head in puzzlement.
After a short interim, the day of class two’s ‘Field Study’ finally arrived.
At a time where the sun had yet to fully rise, the morning fog afloat in the air, and the skies dimly lit, the class’ students, wearing their uniforms and carrying their luggage, gathered at the courtyard of the academy.
“Fu, it’s finally here… I can’t help but get excited!”
“Hmpf, you never change do you, Cashew? We’re not going there to play, understood?”
“Geez, and you’re a mood-killer as always, Gibel…”
“What kind of place is the Platinum magic research institute…?”
“I know they do magic research related to life systems… but can’t really say anything else until we get there.”
“Hey… I think I’m going to confess to the esteemed Wendy-sama during this trip…”
“Don’t do it, Alf. I’d says that she’s out of your league… Remember, the higher you climb, the harder you fall.”
Although it was still the wee hours of the morning, the students were full of passion and energy.
Unlike his students, Glen seemed to be in a daze. He did roll call in a rather impersonal manner.
“Everyone here? Everyone’s here right? Okay then let’s go.”
Under Glen’s lead, the students boarded their assigned carriages— several large stagecoaches used for travelling between cities – and set off from Fejiti.
The carriages exited from the west gate and proceeded down the highway leading southwest.
The carriages rumbled as they tread on the pavement. The students were soon greeted with a vast meadow with filled with gentle undulations. A carpet of yellowish fresh grass thickly covered the meadow all the way to the series of small hills, overgrowth, and lush woodland that created a horizon of its own.
The white balls of cotton that appeared on various points of the meadow were sheep whose wool coats had yet to be sheared. The round fluff balls gathered in groups and raggedly munched on the fresh grass. When a sheep strayed too far from the herd, the shepherd’s dog would bark it back onto its path.
The early morning was still rather chilly, but it was accompanied by serene, fresh air and clear weather. The cotton-candy like clouds slowly drifted through the air. It gave one the feeling that the time too, was moving slowly.
The idyllic and peaceful scenery seemed to go on forever.
“Sometimes it’s nice to take it easy…”
Resting her body on the windowsill, Sistina looked out and took in the view.
Sistina rarely ever left Fejiti, so her chances to see such scenery were few and far between.
“Mhm… At the academy we’re always busy doing one thing after another, so this is a nice change of pace.”
Lumia sat with her hands clasped together on her lap, which gave an impression of refinement. She gaze at the scenery beyond the window with a gentle demeanor.
“Is it? I don’t really get it.”
Riel, who sat beside Lumia, drowsily murmured.
“Do you leave town often, Riel?”
“…Mm, all the time.”
Hearing an unexpected answer, Sistina reflexively continued.
“Oh? Why do you leave down? Could it be for trips?”
“No, to fight.”
Sistina immediately cursed herself for her thoughtlessness. Despite her age, Riel was a Court Magician. It was easy to predict Riel’s answer with just a little bit of thought.
“When I leave town… it is when I receive a mission or an order.”
Riel maintained her usual expression, so it was hard to read what she was feeling at the moment. Did she think that her days as a soldier were bitter? What did she really think about that…? It was impossible to tell.
So Sistina didn’t really know how to follow up on Riel’s reply. She could only remain silent to avoid making the situation any worse…
“Ah! So is this your first time leaving town for something other than missions and orders?”
Lumia clapped her hands energetically.
“Then you should look forward to it Riel. I’m sure this time will be fun!”
Lumia’s carefree smile and words seemed to evoke some response from Riel, whose eyes seemed to blink slightly faster…
“…Mm, okay.” Riel curtly replied.
…As expected, I’m still lacking compared to Lumia.
Sistina gazed at the two with a strained smile.
Some students enjoyed the scenery. Others lively conversed with other students. There were also those who engrossed themselves in card games, and those who dozed off. The carriages steadily proceeded down the path. Stations were placed at set intervals across the road, where the carriages would come to a halt for a short break. Horses would be replaced and all those involved would take a brief rest, before continuing on their journey.
Eventually, the sun set and the night arrived. The carriages would continue to sway and shake as those inside entered a deep sleep—
Although the students slept, the carriages continued down their path—
Then in the afternoon of the next day, the carriages arrived at the port town of Seahawk, southwest of Fejiti.
The scent of the ocean drifted about the port town. The town served as a front entrance to the Yorkshire region of the Alzano Empire, and would often be teeming with ships coming in and out from various coastal cities and the surrounding islands. Furthermore, many of the ships from other coastal areas of the empire and foreign shipments would also enter the town. A vast majority of the goods and products to be distributed across the Southern Yorkshire would gather in this town, which led to it becoming an important economic hub for the empire.
After arriving at Seahawk, the students of class two temporarily split up at the carriage station. The students were free to form their groups and do their own activities for around one hour. At the end of this free period, they would gather at the harbor where they would board a scheduled ship heading towards Seineria.
Before Sistina’s eyes was the vast, boundless sea and a large sailboat anchored to the harbor.
Sistina glanced with irritation at her mechanical pocket watch.
“Isn’t it already past the time we decided on! Where the heck did he go!?”
“Well, Sisti, it might be past the time, but it’s only five minutes… Not to mention, it’ll still be a while before the ship is scheduled to depart…”
“That’s not the problem! The problem is that he’s not showing up at the time we all agreed on!”
Lumia tried to calm Sistina down, but she wasn’t hearing any of it.
Taking a look around, it appeared that all the students had already arrived.
They had even performed roll-call autonomously; only Glen had yet to appear.
Once it was evident that he was nowhere near, Riel seemed to get restless.
“…I’ll go look for him.” Riel muttered.
As she prepared to walk away, Lumia caught her hand.
“Wait, Riel. The town isn’t exactly large, but you can’t go looking for him on your own. It’ll be more problematic if you happen to miss him when he comes back, so why don’t you just wait here with us?”
A tinge of dissatisfaction appeared on her drowsy expression for a fleeting moment.
Since she arrived at the magic academy, the frequency at which she carried out a plan of action without thinking it through had decreased. However, if this continued on, it seemed as though she would run to go look for Glen nonetheless. If Riel was truly intent on it, there was probably nothing that Lumia and Sistina could do to stop her.
“Ah come on already! To start with, isn’t it common sense for any self respecting member of society to arrive ten minutes beforehand!? Do I really have to beat this into him…!?”
Feeling Riel’s growing impatience, Sistina couldn’t help but cry out…
“He~y ladies~? Do you have a moment~?” a frivolous called out from behind Sistina’s group.
The three turned around to look, and saw a young man putting up a snobbish pose.
The man’s long blueish-black hair was tied in a ponytail and extended behind his back. The man wore a pair of tinted glasses and a top hat, and was dressed in a somewhat stylish frock coat. He also carried a cane in his hand that complemented his dandy ensemble. The man had the airs of wealthy nobleman who didn’t know the definition of hard work. The insincere smile could be likened to that of a pick-up artist.
“Hey hey hey~ Did you hear me?”
As the man placed his hand on the perplexed Lumia’s shoulder with overfamiliarity—
“…What do you want?”
Sistina quickly knocked aside the man’s hand and but herself between the man and the other two, gazing at the man with displeasure.
“Oh my~ aren’t you ladies cute~? Ah! Those uniforms are from Fejiti’s magic academy right? Hey hey? So what are you ladies doing here~?”
Although the man’s attitude with discomforting, Sistina followed the proper etiquette and replied.
“We’re here our Field Study. We’re waiting to board the scheduled ship for Seineria island.”
“Oh~? Is that right~? So you ladies are waiting for the boat? Hmmm~? What a coincidence~, I was just about to go to the island for business you see~? Ahaha, does this not feel like destiny~? What do you think?”
“…Not at all.”
Despite her blunt reply, the man continued to push onward.
“My, isn’t our meeting something like fate!? Don’t you still have a while till you go? Why don’t you have a chat with me? I can even treat you to something if you’d like?”
“Ahaha, hey~ don’t be so cold~. It’ll just be a little moment of your time~”
Just quit it already. There’s a limit to my patience. To start with, Sistina disliked people who treated girls in such a fashion. A part of her mentally prepared herself to blow away the man with magic while she prepared to shout at the man—
“Okay~, stop right there.”
Glen suddenly appeared and pulled the man by the collar of his coat.
“Geh!? W-, What’s your problem!? D-, Don’t get in my way! This is a private moment between me and the ladies…”
Ignoring the man’s protest, Glen exchanged a glance with Lumia and Sistina.
“Ah, sorry I’m late White Cat. You can lecture me when I get back or something.”
“I just need to have a little ‘talk’ with this guy here. I’ll be back before the ship departs, so look after the class for me for a bit okay?”
After saying that, Glen began to slowly drag the man away by the collar.
“Gyaa—!?” H-, Hey don’t be violent! Ladies, save meeeee—!” The man pathetically scream as he and Glen disappeared into an alleyway.
“Hah… Just what’s wrong with him? I guess there are weird people no matter where you go…”
Unsure whether to be astounded by the man’s behavior or pathetic exit, Sistina released a long sigh.
However, noticing Lumia’s blank expression, Sistina called out to her.
“…What’s wrong, Lumia?”
“Mm, how should I say it…? I feel like I’ve seen him before…?”
At a dim, somewhat humid deserted alleyway.
“W-, What are you planning on doing to me!? P-, Please stop! It’s not good to resort to violence! H-, hieeee-!? Please don’t hit me! Not even my father has hit me before!”
Glen sighed to himself and said to the man, who keeled over and trembled in fright.
“You don’t need to do that anymore okay? …So, what brings you here, Albert?”
With that, the man’s attitude fearful shivering and pathetic appearance disappeared without a trace. The man stretched out his back as if it were natural, cast away his top hat and glasses, and released his tied hair from its binds.
In doing so, the entire atmosphere of the alley seemed to change. Although the temperature hadn’t dropped, it felt as though it were several degrees lower.
The removal of the superficial tinted-glasses revealed a pair of hawk-like eyes with sharpness that seemed to gaze into the depths of the human heart. Those eyes new stared at Glen with a piercing gaze.
The man’s appearance was now unmistakably that of Glen’s former comrade in the Imperial Court Magicians, Special Operations Executor #17, ‘The Star’, Albert.
“…It’s been a while, Glen. The last time we met was when the royal guard was running amok during the Magic Games Festival, correct?”
Albert’s manner-of-speech was the same as ever, that of intense rejection of others – enough to feel a penetrating chill in his voice. Those who were not used to his voice would probably feel unnerved.
“…What is it?”
“Hm… you know…”
Glen placed a hand against his head and leaned against the wall of the alleyway.
“I know that if it was for the mission, you could act as anything from a well-mannered gentleman to a shallow playboy, or even a notorious delinquent if necessary… but after such a long time, seeing the gap between your act and your nature makes me feel a little dizzy…”
“Hmpf, you’re just weak. You need more mental training.” Albert coldly declared.
Heck, why are you a battlemage anyway? Why not just go an act for a living…
Glen resisted the urge to say this and changed the topic.
“Ah, now I get it. Now that I know you’re here, I get why Riel of all people was chosen to be Lumia’s bodyguard… She’s just a decoy isn’t she?”
“Correct. By placing someone who is full of openings as a bodyguard, we hope that any possible assailants will become careless. The Princess’ true bodyguard is me. For your knowledge, this is a top-secret mission that only few know about in the military. I guard the distance from a fairly long distance and notice the enemy ahead of time. Then, I silently eliminate them. Furthermore, the operation carries the hope that the enemy will reveal further whereabouts. That said, I don’t think that the organization we are dealing with will fall for the ploy this easily.”
“If it’s any consolation, it’d probably be better if they didn’t do anything at all… On the other hand though, that means that there isn’t anything else that you guys can do for now…”
Even so, in terms of the distribution military strength, there were two ace-level battlemages from the special operations sect (albeit one incredibly unsuited to the task) on this mission. Were it for an average town-resident, one could easily say that this was incredibly overkill, after all, neither side had an infinite amount of assets.
“But knowing this is really comforting. It really really is. For a moment, I thought that the special operations sect was actually crazy and desperate enough to send Riel alone…”
Since that’s the case, I can understand why they sent Riel here to be the bodyguard… But was there really no better way? Glen tiredly sighed, complaining internally.
“…So? Let’s get to the real question. Why did you show yourself in front of me?”
“From what you said, the core of your mission is ‘to have no one notice your presence’. Put it another way, you have to fool both your allies and your enemies completely. So why did you put that aside and approach me?”
When Glen asked, Albert briefly fell into a heavy silence…
“…Be careful of Riel.” He finally said.
“…What? Riel?” Glen responded with an amused expression.
“Oi oi, I’ve already taken that to heart you know? How much effort do you think I’ve put into keep her under control…”
“That’s not what I mean. Riel… That girl is dangerous.”
Glen raised an eyebrow at Albert’s lack of hesitation.
“…That’s not funny man. Isn’t Riel one of us?”
“Mhm, that’s right. However, you and I alone should know the danger that Riel poses.”
Glen fell silent as Albert sharply pointed the issue out.
“…That’s already in the past isn’t it? Riel’s… just Riel now. The ace of the special operations sect that’s cut down a countless number of heretical magicians. She’s no one other than that.”
“Is that not just what you want to believe? Let me tell you this — Even now, I believe that Riel needs to be dealt with. She should be sealed off.”
“Oi… Stop right there. Even if it’s you, I won’t hold back if it comes down to it, okay?”
The air seemed to grow colder by the second after Glen’s threat.
Without out yield a single step, Glen and Albert stared intently into each other’s eyes.
“…Hmpf, as naïve as ever, Glen.”
After what seemed like an eternity, the first to fold was Albert. Of course, it was not because of Glen’s pressure, but rather, he judged that it would be unwise to waste any more time.
“I’ll leave this matter aside for now, but don’t forget my warning, Glen. I hope that you will not hesitate when the time finally comes.” Albert coldly said.
After saying his parting words, he gathered his glasses, top-hat, and frock coat off the floor, and put them on once again.
Looking at Glen, Albert quickly tied his hair back.
“Well then scary brother~! See ya!”
“…Mm, a sight for sore eyes as always. I have to say, I respect you for that more than I’m amazed.”
With a broad smile and flippant speech, Albert left the scene.
Seeing that, Glen was overcome with dizziness again.
Class two boarded a liner headed southwest. The seven large sails tied to the wooden masts were fully opened.
The scent of the ocean filled the ship that sailed under the clear blue skies.
The faraway marine horizon shined brilliantly, outlining the seemingly endless expanse of the ocean.
The warm and comforting winds blew gently against the hair and skin—
Sistina, who had few experiences on ships, seemed to be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the ocean. She leaned with her body on the railing of the bow of the ship, holding her windswept hair down with her hands, and gazed at the grand view.
The ship cut through the raging waves and proceeded ever onward. Looking out towards the sea like this gave an odd sense of piety— however.
“…And it’s gone.”
Seeing the beautiful ocean scenery filled with white-crested waves be corrupted by puke, Sistina curled her hands into fists; her temples tremored.
“Hey, sensei! Stop ruining this moment! “
A short distance away from the bow, Glen lifelessly leaned his body across the railing like a garment on a washing line. He raised his voice to rebut the accusation.
“Shut up! It’s not like I can help it! Uuupuhh…”
The pale-faced Glen wore a hateful expression as he protested. However, he was soon forced to hold his mouth and lean out towards the ocean.
“W-, Will you be okay, Sensei?”
Lumia, who huddled next to Glen, worriedly rubbed his back.
“…To be honest, I don’t think so… I wanna cry… Ugh, damn this stupid ship… this is why I hate them… Which idiot thought it was a good idea to make this anyway…..”
After empty his stomach, Glen seemed to feel a little better. He limply reclined his back against the railing.
“Take this sensei. The crew gave it to me just now.”
“Yep, they said it would help with seasickness? Why don’t you have a bit?”
“…Honestly, I don’t the appetite right now…”
Lumia tried her best to support Glen, who became a bit croaky.
Sistina sighed as she observed the two from a distance.
“That’s an unexpected weakness… It doesn’t really suit him… especially with that shameless personality of his.”
Having been called out to, Sistina turned to see Riel.
Riel appeared to be a bit irritated. She still didn’t have any expression, but recently, Sistina found herself able to understand what Riel was feeling a bit better.
“…What’s wrong with Glen? Does he… have a fever?”
“It’s a bit different from that. What, are you worried about him?”
Riel nodded ever so slightly. Sistina was only able to see it because she was watching closely.
Seeing Riel like this, Sistina smiled to herself and said to comfort Riel.
“It’s okay, Riel. He’s just seasick.”
“… I see. I don’t really get it… but it’s the ship’s fault?”
“Yep, well, I guess you can say that.”
“Okay… I got it.”
Having fully grasped the problem, Riel quickly turned around.
“I will sink this ship.”
Without stopping, Riel proceeded down a set of stairs headed towards the bilge of the ship…
“Wait— S-, Stop right there Riel!? Hey, someone go and stop her—!”
A large commotion erupted onboard the ship.
A few hours after departing from Seahawk, the ship finally arrived to Saineria Island.
“…So this is Saineria Island…”
Together with the students of the class, Sistina descended the ramp from the ship onto the pavement of the harbor which was made of tightly packed hewn stones. She looked mesmerizingly at her surroundings.
Strong coastal winds blew through the harbor. Sistina pressed one hand down on her windswept hair and another on her fluttering clothes as she looked up towards the skies. She listened to the gallant roars of the seas and the wails of the seagull above. The time was already dusk, and the sun that rested on the horizon dyed the earth in golden light.
Sistina turned her gaze towards the heart of the island.
The mountainous curvature of the island’s central area formed many complex ravines, all which were teeming with greenery.
The majority of the flora of the Empire’s mainland were coniferous, but the island’s vegetation was uniquely composed of broad-leaved vegetation instead. This small detail greatly amplified SIstina’s impression that she had come to a faraway land that was far-detached from home, which flooded her heart with emotion.
She traced her vision to her sides. Starting at her feet, she gazed upon the seemingly endless white beach line that was filled with mellow twists and turns. Peering as far down the beach line as she could, Sistina spotted a small town that appeared to be littered with all sorts of somewhat stylish buildings that were most likely established for tourists.
It was then that—
“Take your time, sensei…”
Lumia and Riel supported Glen as he staggered down the ramp from the ship. The dissonance brought forth by his exceptionally groggy appearance once again crushed down on Sistina’s rekindled sensations and emotions.
“Gosh… I can’t you take joy in breaking the mood, or if you’re just lacking in delicacy…”
“S-, Shut it… White Cat… You don’t understand my suffering… euugh…”
Glen was looked rather pathetic, so the other students could only look on with forced smiles.
“To start with, we humans are creatures live as one with the land from our moment of birth! Human are children of the land! Without the almighty land, there is no human life! We are fated to dig our roots into the earth, live together as one, and eventually, return to the earth…! Is this not simply divine providence!? Is this not the cycle of life itself!? Yet why do we board these thin pile wooden sheets that we called ‘ships’ and drift away from land!? To depart for sea as a human, as a living being, is a mistake—!”
“…That’s awfully grandiose for something as simple as seasickness.”
To spout such sophism from nearly nothing was an impressive feat in itself.
“Sensei… If you’re this bad with ships, you should have just chosen a different location for our Field Study… For example, if you choose the Military Magic Research Institute in Itelia instead, then we would have rode a carriage for the entire trip.” Lumia said with a somewhat forced smile.
A month prior, they had conducted a survey in class to form a list of destinations for the Field Study seminar. After that, they conducted a final vote on the remaining candidates, where the class’ votes was found to be evenly divided between the Military Magic Research Institute and the Platinum Magic Research Institute. The deciding vote was thus left to Glen.
Glen replied to Lumia, who tilted her head in curiosity, with an unprecedentedly serious expression.
“Seeing beautiful girls in swimsuits takes priority over everything. Is that not a given?”
“Ooh…” the surrounding male students cried out with admiration.
Ignoring Lumia, whose smile seemed to strain, Sistina, who looked on amusedly, and Riel, who remained sleepy-eyed, Glen swept the robe that rested on his shoulders so that it floating behind his back and distantly gazed towards the setting sun on the burning horizon. His gaze seemed to harbor great affliction.
“Even if this were to be the frontline of a conflict between three nations… this would be the place I choose.”
Facing the horizon with a coat floating in the sea breeze, Glen looked pointlessly cool.
…It was, without a doubt, pointless.
“S-, sensei… you are a real man…”
“I will follow you to the ends of earth, Sensei…-!”
Glen’s appearance seemed to strike at the tear glands of a small portion of the (mostly male) students.
It was as if Glen had become a martyr for the creed in which he believed in. A portion of the students seemed to be overcome with emotion as passionate tears flowed down their cheeks.
“Ugh! Is this group is filled with nothing but idiots!? Also, haven’t the guys in our class become a bit weird since Sensei came!?”
Sistina could help but feel a smidgen of unease about the current state of her classmates.
“Come on Sensei! If you have the energy to spout such ridiculous things, let’s hurry up and head to our lodgings already!”
Sistina led the other classmates away at a brisk pace.
Their lodgings was a straight path along the shore, so there was no need to worry about getting lost.
“Oi oi, you’re going too fast. I practically have one foot in the grave right now, so would it hurt to cut me some slack…?”
With a sigh, Glen sluggishly followed…
Lumia approached Glen’s side and whispered to him.
“You chose this place because you didn’t want us to get involved in the Military’s magic right? …Thank you for your consideration, Sensei.”
“………Whatcha talkin’ about. I just wanted to see you guys in swimsuits, that’s all.”
After a moment’s silence, Glen turned his head away as if in abrupt peevishness.
“Well, that’s not really possible of me, but let’s say that this was the one in million chance that that was the case. Isn’t it egoistic of me to be pushing my ideas onto all of you? It’s honestly nothing worth writing home about either way.”
“Even so, it doesn’t change the fact that you were thinking of us.”
“…Like I said, that’s not it.”
Lumia gleefully chuckled.
“Alright, then I’ll take you on your word.”
Glen snorted, his expression sullen and discontent. Lumia looked at him as if he were an evasive younger brother.
For the Field Study, the students were scheduled to stay at an inn located at a corner of the island’s wharf.
The inn had been built using ‘Waltoria Style’ architecture, which had once been popular in the Empire’s lengthy history. The inn was split into a main building and a single annex – neither of which failed to incorporate the pomp and splendor of the many country houses owned by local nobles of the island. At the same time, the olden architectural style brought upon a sense of nostalgia.
Unlike the new ‘Sassan Style’ that predominated Fejiti, characterized by its pointed rooftops, the ‘Waltoria Style’ was characterized through the use of constructs like arches, spires, and pillars. The magic academy was built using ‘Waltoria Style’ architecture.
Luxurious chandeliers hung from the ceiling of the inn’s entrance hall. The railing of the oaken spiral staircase were exquisitely sculpted with flowers and fruits. The paintings that lined the hallways, the gold-wrought candle stands, the carpets beneath their feet…
Cashew restlessly walked to his assigned room, excited by the glamorous interior design that was a breath of fresh air compared to the Magic Academy’s buildings. The moment he stepped into his room, he vigorously threw himself onto the bed.
“Yahoo! Woah!? This bed is amazing! What the heck, how could it be this soft!? This is heaven compared to my bed in the place I rented on the student street back home!”
“Geez… quiet down would you? There’s no need to get so excited.”
“Ahaha, people will get angry if you’re too loud, Cashew.”
Gibel showed an astonished expression, whilst Cecil showed a forced smile.
The two were Cashew’s roommates for their stay at this inn. The academy’s students had been split into groups of three or four for rooming.
“Hey Gibel, what’s on the schedule for today?” Cashew asked as he rolled on the bed.
“…Why don’t you look it up yourself on the itinerary?”
Gibel replied with annoyance as he adjusted his glasses.
“Ah, I left it at home…”
“People like you…”
Gibel released a resigned sigh.
“There aren’t any more plans. We’ll eat at the reception hall, take a bath, and be done for the day.”
“There actually aren’t any real plans for tomorrow either. Including the day of arrival, for the first three days, the scheduling is a lot looser to account for climate and other differences. Although the itinerary says that we’ll be looking at the ecosystems and ley lines of the island, it might as well be free time.”
“In truth, the Field Study only really begins on the fourth day. The main feature of our trip here – visiting the research facility – is on that day. On the fifth day we’ll be having lecture and talks and on the sixth we have free time again. If you want to stroll around town or visit tourist sites, you can do it on the sixth day. After that, on the seventh, we’ll be going back the way we came from.”
That was the essentials of Field Study seminar for Glen’s class. Ten days give or take was rather short for a ‘Field Study’, as, depending on the distance from the facility, with travel time included, some Field Study seminars could take up to half a month.
“I see I see… I got it now.”
Saying that, Cashew showed an intrepid smile.
I heard that getting to the facility and back is a real pain in the neck, so we’ll need to go to sleep early to get enough rest… The same can be said for the lectures on the fifth day… But waiting to till the sixth day is a bit late… Essentially, we only have today to make our move…”
“‘Make our move’? What are you thinking, Cashew?”
The small-stature lady faced boy, Cecil, raised his head in puzzlement.
“Isn’t it obvious? We’re gonna sneak into the girl’s rooms at night and play around! It’s a tradition of every Magic Academy’s Field Study, is it not!?”
Cashew pumped his fists, whilst Gibel and Cecil tilted their heads in puzzlement.
“W-, Was there such a tradition…?”
“…Hmpf, up to your meaningless antics again I see.”
“’Meaningless’? What about this is ‘meaningless’? Is this not a man’s romance!? Do you know how many costs I cut to prepare the card games and board games for this very day!?”
“But what are you going to do if you get caught? I’m sure sensei isn’t that strict of a person, but you’d still be in trouble.”
“Fu… You worry too much, Cecil. Why does it matter if I get caught…? If so, then I would have already done what I wanted. I’d rather regret doing it, then regret having never done…”
Cashew seemed prepared to die for his ambitions.
“So, you guys with me?”
“Hmpf, you jest. I’d rather not be dragged down with your foolishness.”
“I-, I’ll pass as well… I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Tch, fine fine. It’s not like you guys were interested in this sort of thing anyway. Well, I’ll guess I’ll go see if Road or Kai are interested in coming along then…”
So, after the students gathered in the living hall for dinner, taken turns in the bath, and clock struck bedtime—
“Let’s begin the operation.”
Cashew announced in the thicket between the main building and the next.
“There exists a connecting corridor between the annex where we, men, live and the main building where the women are… However, we cannot tread this path. The risk of being sighted is far too high.
The seven male students behind Cashew, including Road and Kai, and nodded their heads in agreement.
“Thus, we are left with no other choice. We must circle around the back through the forestry and use the surrounding trees to infiltrate through the windows. Rest assured however, as I’ve already surveyed the routes to get into each room beforehand.”
“W-, When did you…”
“A-, Amazing, Cashew… This plan is flawless.”
The others could not help but voice their respect and admiration for Cashew’s handiwork.
“B-, But what about the possibly that Glen-sensei is patrolling the area…?”
“There no need to worry about either. One of the girls assisting me has probed out his movements. The chances of sensei patrolling this area in the next thirty minutes are practically zero.”
“That’s crazy… Y-, Your plans are too refined…”
“W-, We’ll be in your care, boss.”
“Hmpf, don’t thank me yet. It’s still too early…”
Cashew showed a wide smile.
“Thank me after we make it in and have the night of our dreams, alright?”
“T-, That’s right… I’m… actually going to be up all night playing board games with Riel…”
“Hey what!? That’s unfair Kai, let me join in!”
“Caesar, I’m gonna play cards with Lumia!”
“That’s right Bicks. I’m gonna talk all night with Rin-chan about all sorts of things!”
“I want Wendy-sama to berate me saying ‘You insolent fool!’… I want to become the slave in the king’s game and do all sorts of things…”
“As for Sistina… Well actually nevermind. She’ll probably just spend the whole night lecturing us or something.”
“Now, let’s get a move on! Have you all steeled your hearts!? Eden is before us!”
With Cashew at the helm, the boys advanced with enthusiasm.
…The plan was truly splendid.
Cashew had gone as far as to sacrifice his meal to survey a route. From the results, none of his sacrifices had been for naught.
To infiltrate through the rear through the forestry beyond what one would expect from mere students. The planning and pathing might make one think that he was a part of the Imperial Army’s covert operations group instead.
It was all for the sake of a single night. A night where they would chitter, chatter, and play games with cute girls. A night where their persistence would finally be rewarded with the full release of their youthful desires.
En route to their destination, at a small circular open area in the midst of the forest—
“W-, Why are you here of all places, Glen-sensei!?
As if to express that he had been waiting all along, Glen stood upright with his arms crossed in the middle of the area.
<TL Note: For the following line, note that the word for ‘Naïve’, 甘い, is the same word for ‘sweet’.>
“Naïve… Too naïve. You guys are as naïve as chocolate dipped in fresh cream and honey with a finish of powdered sugar… I’d already seen through your shallow plans since the very beginning… After all—”
Glen showed a bold smile, lording over the students with an air of superiority.
“If I were you, I would have chosen this route, with this timing, to go meet the girls!”
“Why of course.”
After Glen’s declaration, Cashew released a sigh.
“Well, now that it’s game over for you guys, scurry back to your rooms would you? These are the rules after all.”
“W-, What’s with the look? Don’t worry I wouldn’t report this to the academy for something so minor. I’ll pretend I never saw anything. So—”
Glen turned his back towards the boys and waved a hand dismissively in the air.
“We can’t do that, sensei…”
The burning determination felt behind Cashews words gathered the gazes of those around him.
“There are times where men can’t back off no matter what… To us, this is ‘now’…”
Glen’s expression turned serious.
“I see… So you guys have ‘prepared’ yourselves, huh?”
Tension filled the air.
“It’s a shame, but as your instructor, you leave me no choice but to resort to force.”
Cashew cried out desperately towards Glen, who had curled his fists into a fighting stance.
“At heart, aren’t you one of us!? Of all the adults at school, you’re the one that understands us the most! You should know the reason why we strive to reach ‘Eden’! So why!? Why do you stop us!? Why must we fight each other—!?”
Cashew cries out from the depths of his soul, struck Glen’s heart.
“You idiots! Of course I understand… of course I understand how you all feel! To be completely honest, I want to be the one at the helm of the journey to the forbidden land! But you know—!”
Glen struck the tree beside him with his fists as passionate tears trickled down his face.
“It’s already too late for me… I can’t return to your side… I am but an instructor, a slave of the institution… If the academy were to know that I allowed you to arrive at ‘Eden’… My already cut pay will reach the negatives and I’ll end up having to pay them instead…”
After scrubbing his tears, Glen released a soul wrenching cry.
“We humans do not devote our lives solely to bread! But! Without bread, there is no life!”
Glen’s angst echoed through the forest.
This time, it was the student’s hearts that were struck.
“You all understand don’t you? That the world is the lord’s garden… The garden called ‘Gehenna’…”
“It is because we tread on ‘Gehenna’… that we humans must strive towards ‘Eden’… You are saddened by this sensei… but even so, you will not allow us to pass…?”
Hot tears of passions trailed down the faces of all those present.
As if a prelude to a deathmatch, the nighttime forest fell silent.
“I’ve understood this since the beginning, sensei… That you are a wall that we have no choice but to overcome…”
“If our positions were different… If we had been born in a different area… Perhaps I would instead be standing on your side, with ‘Eden’ in my sights… Though, none of that matters now.”
Tension continued to gather in the air…
“Let’s go, everyone! Follow after me! Together we can beat Glen-sensei!”
“Hmpf… Come at me, you shits! I’ll beat the fact that chanting speed isn’t absolute in a magic battle into you all!”
The boys spread out with Cashew at the center, whilst Glen began chanting a three-verse spell.
…Looking on from a distance.
“…Boys will be boys huh?”
A girl rested her cheek on the palm of her hand, which was propped up against the railing of the terrace of the roof of the main building,
It was Sistina. Having just exited the bath, hot air exuded from her skin under the negligee. She had originally come to cool off after her bath… but had sighted the ongoing charade upon looking out from the terrace.
“Did something happen, Sisti?”
“An idiot and a group of idiots are fighting over some pointless matter is all.”
Lumia, who had just come to the terrace, looked down towards the forest below and saw beams from [Shock·Bolt] flying about, accompanied by a variety of shouts and cries.
“W-, Why can’t we hit him!?”
“Damnit! Stop moving around…!”
“Fuhahaha! It doesn’t matter how fast you chant if you can’t hit me!”
Cashew and his group fired a relentless assault of one-verse spells.
However, as one might expected from a veteran battlemage, Glen weaved his way through the forest jumping, rolling, and immediately jumping again with the momentum – relying only on his physical abilities to dodge the spells with the smallest margins before firing back with his own.
Having been struck by the counterattack, one of the students cried out in agony before falling to the floor.
“A-, Alf—!? Hey, hang in there, Alfffffffff—!”
“C… Cashew… I-, I’m already done for…”
“You idiot! Your injuries are light aren’t they!? Aren’t we both aiming for ‘Eden’ together!? How could you allow yourself to fall in this place!? Get up!”
“P-, Please… Cashew… for ‘Eden’… for the ‘Eden’ that resides in all our hearts…! Step over my corpse… And see… my share of Eden… in my stead…”
“Alfffffffff-! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh—! Just what—! Just what have I been fighting for all this timeeeeeeeeeeee—!?”
Cashew cried out as he held Alf’s powerless body in his arms…
“It’s not like he’ll die from [Shock·Bolt] or anything. He’ll probably come to in ten minutes at worst.”
Despite the passionate scene unfolding before her eyes, Sistina apathetically looked on.
“That aside… He’s really putting on a pointlessly good performance isn’t he? A magic battle is strongly skewed by a numbers advantage but he’s not having any trouble at all… Geez, why is he only serious at times like these…”
“Ahaha… It’s just like him to do that…”
Lumia forced a smile.
At the same time, Sistina noticed Riel stretching her body out on the terrace on her tiptoes, staring at the ongoing scuffle.
“Ah hey Riel? Uhm… Don’t jump in alright? Cashew and the boys are just er… How should I say this… They’re not really sensei’s enemies… they’re just sort of playing I guess…?”
Recalling the event where Riel nearly cut Harry in two, Sistina couldn’t help but feel nervous.
“…Mm, it’s fine. I won’t do anything.” Riel replied.
“I don’t feel anything bad from Cashew’s group.”
At the very least, it didn’t seem like anyone opposed to Glen would be cut down regardless of who they were. It seems that she was just particular sensitive to ill intent, hostility, and the like.
Sistina reflexively release her tense nerves with a long breath, and looked down towards the forest once again.
“Hahaha! What’s wrong!? Is that all you guys g— Hey wait! Wait a second, isn’t it against the rules to charge me head on like— YEEOOOWWW—!? Ow that hurts! Ow!”
Geez, what are they doing.
As Sistina sighed—
“It’s the first time… I’ve seen Glen that happy.” Riel murmured.
“Huh? But isn’t he always like that at the academy?”
“He was a bit… darker back then.”
“That’s why I wanted to stay beside him and protect him… That’s what I had thought… but…”
Although Riel’s expressions were as absent as ever, Sistina felt that there were some feelings behind what Riel said, but she couldn’t quite decipher it.
Lumia, who was more sensitive to such minute changes in emotion, appeared to have no heard what Riel had said, and merely continued to watch over Glen and the group with a bright smile.
Although she couldn’t quite find the words, Sistina still wanted to say something to Riel, but it was then that—
“My my, you were here? I’ve been looking for the three of you for quite some time.”
The door to the terrace swung open and Wendy appeared.
“Ah, what’s the matter Wendy?”
Lumia peeled her eyes away from the charade and looked back towards Wendy.
“Mm, the girls were about to gather in my room and play some card games. I was wondering if you would like to join us.”
Then, Wendy turned to face Riel with a smile.”
“Uhm… Riel, what about you? Would you like to also come play with us?”
The awkward tension when the two conversed was no longer present.
“Cards? Play? …Me?”
Riel’s drowsy eyes seem to glow with curiosity.
“Yes, of course.”
“…Mm, okay. I don’t really get it… but I’ll play.””
“Fufu, well then, would you like to come with me?”
Wendy gracefully turned around with Riel following suit.
“Isn’t this great…? Riel’s already become a full part of the class hasn’t she?”
“Eh?? Ah… Mm… So it seems…”
Sistina vaguely replied.
“Let’s get going to, Sisti.”
Hmm… Just my imagination…? I must be thinking too much… It’s because she seems a bit too obedient… or something like that.
Sistina felt a little uneasy about Riel for a while now.
She couldn’t identify why she felt that way… but Sistina could only remind herself to not think too much about it.
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