~~Magic University Central School Building, Fourth Day of the Fourth Month~~
“Ill have you know that Ive seen your contract sheet.”
Summoned to Irenes personal staff room, Irene showed me the contract that I had signed before putting it down on the table.
“So youve already gone through them Thats… surprisingly fast.”
“You and your shenanigans… Well, all I care about is you joining the White Faction, but do you realize how much of a problem this will be if the higher-ups saw through it”
“Aha, so you wont personally take issue with this Im indebted to you, maam~~”
“…Seriously, its about time I got used to you.
And yes, you do owe me one now, understood”
Irene pointed at me to emphasize her point.
“Did you think I didnt mean what I said”
“Bah… I knew youd say that…”
Irene dropped her shoulders and heaved a sigh.
Now, this is getting hard to look at.
Maybe I should play along with her for once.
“How about this, then — Ill answer a single question.
It can be about anything.”
She sprang up, eyes sparkling.
I was greatly surprised to see that she ended up appearing shorter than when she was sitting down.
“The size of your chair isnt quite right, dont you think”
“Shut up, you!”
Irene lashed back, her face reddened.
That seemed to have hit a s.e.n.s.i.t.i.v.e spot, so Ill need to watch out from now on.
“So, do you want to ask that question now”
Irene pondered it over, her arms crossed and one hand holding her chin.
“…Ill think of something for another time.”
Excuse me, then.”
“Y-yes, Ill see you later.”
She sounded a bit awkward saying that.
Most likely, she meant shell be expecting me at the Guild tonight.
Which reminds me, have I been seeing her almost every day as of late, or was that just my imagination
Either way, it was true that she had been tagging along on my hunts to study my magic.
Which was why I had only been using the most common spells.
Its a bit of a hassle, but it does double as a training routine of sorts, so I suppose theres no issue with doing that.
I headed back to the classroom for the afternoon lectures.
In the classroom, Lina was talking… well, chatting away with some of the classmates.
Looks like shes not having any difficulty making friends.
Me, on the other hand…
“What is it, Pochi”
“Theres an ignition-type Spell Circle on your seat.”
Well, I did make quite the strong first impression.
I suppose I shouldve expected things to turn out like this.
Goes to show that Im still childish at heart.
Whoops, thats not a good line of thought.
That made me come off as inhuman, in a sense.
“Still… this Circle is way sloppier than the usual.
Its got the invisibility effect applied, so how is it so easy to detect”
“What will you do this time, sir”
Pochi asked with mischievous anticipation.
This being my first case of there being bullies out for my peace and calm, she seemed to be enjoying the ride.
“Its a pain to erase this thing for the umpteenth time, so lets see if we can rat out the offender.
Rise, A-rise, Magic Stalker.”
Red beams of light shot off from the Circle of the Fire Trap spell on my seat.
They converged toward the one who had originally drawn the Ignition Spell Circle, wrapping around him like a web.
And he was none other than… the tanned brute with close-cropped hair, Midors.
“Th-the hells this light… I cant get it off!”
Midors tried, again and again, to shake off the light with his hands, but they would not go until either the tracked Spell Circle was erased or the time limit wore off.
“You! What the hell are you getting at!”
“Its called Magic Stalker, a spell for tracking a Spell Circles producer.
Now, Midors, would you mind exchanging your chair with mine Im afraid that I dont quite have the guts to sit on a chair with your Spell Circle on it.”
I suppose being rendered speechless was a fitting description for him now.
Magic Stalker was a spell that required a decent mastery of magic to employ.
Midors, seeming to have at least known its name, instantly tensed up upon hearing my explanation.
Head down and fists tightly clenched, Midors bolted out of the classroom.
I could only wish that this would deter him from any further shenanigans… but that was probably asking for too much.
With my situation being like this, I had been avoiding direct interactions with Lina, opting to talk with her telepathically.
Lina seemed quite apologetic, but she was by no means the one at fault.
Rather, I was glad, since this was another sign of her characters development.
The priority was to maximize the payoff of Linas studies.
For that, all the things coming my way now were frankly, insignificant.
“What a mess that was, sir~~”
“What a mess, indeed~~”
“Many better ways you couldve gone about dealing with that, sir~~”
After school, Pochi and I sat on a bench in the Central School Buildings courtyard and reviewed our day.
But of course, the “mess” didnt refer to what had happened earlier today, but the opening day.
I had made a reckless declaration to bail Lina out of a predicament, which, thinking about it now, was by no means admirable.
“Humans tend to let their guard down in critical moments, for they are shallow in immediate assessments… There.”
“Writing that book again, sir Principles of a Philosopher, was it”
Its more of an observation record on the human psychique, though.”
“……No wonder your Fool title doesnt go anywhere.”
As Pochi was spouting some nonsense, a little dragon, half of Pochis size, flew towards us.
“Master Azhley, lett ter fromm Master Lina!”
“Oh, thanks, Baladd.”
And so Baladd left the way she came, most likely back to Linas room.
“Wait, is it all right for Baladd to be out and about, sir”
What Pochi implied was concern over letting an A-ranked monster fly freely within the Magic Universitys vicinity.
Familiar theft, which we had discussed sometime before, was another worthy point of concern.
On the topic of Familiar theft… Even imprinted, newborn monsters were quite easily attached to humans.
In turn, it was still not worry-free even if they were made into Familiars at that stage.
If they were separated from their Master, the contracts effect would weaken, making it vulnerable to be broken by various methods.
If that were to happen, a new contract could easily be forged without the monster itself noticing.
In short, the steps were to steal the Familiar, break the weakened contract, then establish a new one.
It may not be the most admirable course of action, but because of such things, the activities of such Familiar monsters needed to be regulated carefully.
“Shes in limited invisibility mode.”
“Wait, werent you having some big issues with the transparency property back at the dungeon, sir”
“Remember when we snuck into Linas room the other night I drew a persistent-effect Spell Circle for her.
The spell itself isnt quite fully developed yet, but it can make those who stand over the Circle invisible for three minutes.
And by limited, it means you, myself and Lina can still see her.”
“Aha… so you managed to get some use out of it in this state, I see…”
In a rare occurrence, Pochi showed some admiration for my work.
That usually was reserved to when I fully completed my research or achieved some big breakthroughs.
Another reason for that to be so rare was because she would not do so if the topic of research did not capture her interest.
“By the way, what was in Linas letter, sir”
“Oh yeah, lets see… well, this is more of a report than a letter, Id say.”
“A report, sir She couldve done that through Telepathic Call, so perhaps she wanted this particular piece of information to be preserved”
“She said shed made friends with Claris and Anri, and that those two dont see me in a negative light.”
“Ooh, thats a step forward in a good direction, sir!”
~~The Next Day, Magic University Maginasium~~
“Be prepared for practical training, students.
Miss Irene here has kindly agreed to supervise your training for the day.”
Trace started by introducing Irene to the students.
All my classmates were visibly excited.
Regardless of her Faction, she was one of the Six Archmages, after all.
As usual, Irene kept her rigid stance with her arms folded.
No one had expected to be trained under Irenes supervision.
That is indeed worthy of excitement, but I couldnt help but feel a tad bit bothered.
“Trace, I can take it from here.”
“Ill leave them in your care, then.”
Trace lightly bowed her head and excused herself from the Maginasium.
“Once again, I am Irene, in charge of your practical training for the day.
Ive already met you all during the entrance examination, but almost none of you particularly stuck in my memory.
The least you can do is make me remember all of your names by this academic years end.”
Everyone present straightened their stances and shouted in unison, their voices echoing through the Maginasium, just like the military.
“Heres your first assignment… Fire & Remote Control!”
Hol up a minute, isnt this…
“Make this Fire spell disappear from the Maginasium.
You are prohibited from destroying or leaving the facility.
Ill let you leave early if you are successful — Now, lets see those hands.”
Two voices echoed through the Maginasium.
One a girl, one a boy… The girl was none other than my pupil and the boy was the freshman representative.
With Irenes template inquiry, Hornels face was painted with a scowl.
Being the freshman representative wasnt enough to earn him a spot in Irenes memory, it seemed… Or perhaps she was doing that on purpose.
“I am Lina!”
“I am Hornel!”
“Well then, since she responded first, well start with Lina.”
This is going to be a challenge, Lina.
There was probably just one common spell that a freshman could use to clear the Fire outright.
Not that there was no other way, but… it was unlikely that anyone would think to try them.
Now, Lina… whats your move
“You, where do you think youre going”
“I need to do this to put out the Fire.”
“……If you say so.”
Lina stood close to the door out of the Maginasium.
“Rise, A-rise, A-rise! Earth Control!”
Lina traced a Spell Circle in the air, unleashing a spell out of the Maginasium.
“Transporting dirt from outside to pile on the Fire, I see.
Thats an idea that wouldnt have worked in the classroom.”
That couldve worked for me in that examination classroom though — It was only a matter of arcane energy stock to expend on sending a Spell Circle far enough.
In Linas case, her distance must be quite limited.
Still, it was great of her to think of doing this.
Lina created an encas.e.m.e.nt out of the dirt she had brought in, extinguishing the fire with a magnificent touch.
At the same time, sounds of cheer could be heard from Pochi, Claris and Anri.
Claris was the tonsured girl in a white priest vestment and veil.
Anri was the girl with quite the glamorous figure, who, according to Pochis investigations, had already gotten herself a fanclub.
Lina returned to their sides and they congratulated her with high-fives.
I think she might have shot a wink at me too… she sure is maturing day by day.
Hornel stepped forward and traced his Spell Circle.
Lets see your moves, representative boy.
“…Hah, Minimum Acceleration!”
So he already got it figured out.
Hornel attached a magnitude-reducing spell onto the Fire.
The Fire spell gradually shrunk down to the size of Little Fire.
With this done, the rest was simple.
Hornel swung his staff, snuffing out the remaining fire with a light shockwave.
“Anyone wants to go next”
With Hornels display breaking the ice for them, one student after another raised their hands.
Irene had said that those who were done could leave, but as one would expect, no one did so.
Being in front of one of the Six Archmages, they were probably too nervous to make a move.
“Youre the last one, Asley — Step forward!”
For a second there, the Hornel boy had his face painted with yet another scowl.