Yeah, sure, go ahead and faint without even doing anything… this kid is quite the model freshman representative…
“And why do I have to carry him!?”
“Master, right foot forward! And now the left!”
“I’ve already mastered the art of walking, thank you very much, Pochi! Just gimme some help here, dammit!”
“I could’ve gigantified in the Maginasium, sure, but this hallway is too narrow, sir~~”
Damn you little…
After my battle, which frankly hadn’t been much of a battle, I carried Hornel on my back, bringing him to the Nurse’s Office in the East Building. Accompanying me was Pochi, and…
“Come on, it’s about time you told me how you made that Fire spell!”
“It’s got special properties. Figure the rest out yourself!”
“Damned cheapskate! And that Giving Magic had great restoration rate, too! At least tell me that formula!”
“Couldn’t you have memorized it by sight?”
“Like I can read anything when it just lasts a few seconds!”
…Miss Irene, the persistent pilgrim.
And boy, what a noisy lass she was. I’d planned to spend my life here without being the center of attention, but… I suppose that was already impossible.
So let’s see if I can be a man of mysteries instead. Ah, yes, this persona might just be what I needed to achieve my Philosopher goal.
“He’s thinking about some weird stuff again, isn’t he?”
“Right, I’ve seen that face of his sometimes — Always when he’s pondering over frivolous matters.”
“Oh, you all are just struggling to comprehend my superior mind… Oh, are we here already?”
“Hmph, you have eyes. Look at the nameplate and tell me.”
Sure enough, the plate on top of the sliding door read “Nurse’s Office”.
Irene slid the door open, revealing an elderly man in a white robe, sitting on a chair and drinking tea.
“Excuse us, Billy.”
The man referred to as Billy turned around in response to Irene’s call.
He sported small round glasses, prominent wrinkles on his face, and had naturally whitened hair reaching down to the nape of his neck.
“Oh, it’s just Irene. Did you end up killing some students during practical training now?”
“Hmph, keep that up and I’ll kill you first. So, Asley, this is Billy, the University’s… well, the Nation’s authority on recovery magic.”
“I am the one called Asley, sir. Hornel here has fainted in class… well, in a duel, I suppose.”
“A duel? It is not the time for that yet, isn’t? …What’s the meaning of this, Irene?”
Billy lowered his voice and directed a piercing glare at Irene.
To that, Irene folded her arms and sneakily turned away.
“It was a… personal bout, apparently. Miss Irene only granted her permission for him and the others to carry it out.”
“…Hmm, well, as long as no one’s dead. Lay the patient on that bed there.”
“Hmm… and the dog… or not — wolf? Is she your Familiar?”
“She’s called Pochi, sir. For safety’s sake, I’ve told her not to enter the Nurse’s Office for now.”
While I lay Hornel down on the bed, Billy saw Pochi outside of the still-open sliding door and he readjusted his glasses and proceeded to stare at her.
Pochi, seemingly uncomfortable for being stared at by a stranger, covered her eyes with her front paws.
“…Um, is something the matter, sir?”
Pochi asked, peeking between her toes.
“Hmm… She’s adorable.”
She technically is a girl, after all.
“Billy here has quite the soft spot for animals, you see.”
“Now now, come on in.”
“Uh, yes, sir…”
“Oh-ho… You, boy… Asley, was it?”
“I can tell that you’re a good Familiar Master. Even among the Canine archetype, it’s rare to see a Familiar this well-disciplined.”
Which reminds me, have I actually even trained Pochi before?
“Of course, sir, I have disciplined my Master well!”
“At times like this, you’re supposed to just accept the compliment, you know.”
“Yes, sir. I’ve been trained well, sir!”
“Too late for that!”
“Fwahahahaha! More of a close friendship, I see. That’s understandable… Now, Pochi, feel free to drop by when you have time to spare. I’ll prepare some snacks.”
Billy said after stooping down to Pochi’s eye level.
From the looks of it, he certainly is one who is fond of animals.
“Mmhm, very good.”
“What is it, boy?”
He’s the authority on recovery magic… It’s worth a shot to ask.
“I’m quite poor with recovery magic, if I say so myself. Could I take some extra lessons from you from time to time, sir?”
“You’ll all have lectures with me in due time, but… Hmm, I see no problems with giving you some extra lessons, either.”
“Hold up, Billy, aren’t you in the Black Faction? I can teach him recovery magic just fine!”
Irene promptly stepped in.
“I see, so you’re with the White Faction, boy?”
“I’ll refrain from further requests if that will present difficulties, but is there any room for compromise, at least?”
“On the contrary, there’s no issue at all. You’re the first freshman to approach me for guidance. You’ve brought me quite the interesting young man, haven’t you, Irene?”
“…I’m not giving him to you!”
And since when did you own me, ma’am?
Stepping out of the Nurse’s Office and sliding the door shut, I was ready to return to my room. But I was promptly stopped by Irene, who was pulling my mantle.
“…What is it this time?”
“You’re the only student who’d dare take that tone with me, you know that? You don’t have any other plans for the day other than visiting the Guild, right? I need to borrow you for a while. Now, come on.”
Irene proceeded to pull me along without even waiting for my reply.
And Pochi bailed. Looks like she’s tired of dealing with Irene as well.
“I have some free time now, sir! I’d like to sample some of those snacks!”
Hey, you haven’t been out for even a minute yet, you know that!?
Pochi headed back into the Nurse’s Office, then stuck out one of her front paws out of the door to wave me goodbye… Damn you, traitor.
I was dragged up to the East Building’s second floor, the Nurse’s Office was on the first.
“Here is… the Student Council office?”
“Right. And I’m its adviser.”
Don’t all these energetic boastings not tire her out at all?
Perhaps having particularly quirky personalities was a common quality of the Six Archmages.
“Of the council or the office?”
“Bah, you cheeky little… Just get in there!”
Irene slid the door open and pushed me into the room, as if shoving me into a prison cell.
And as expected, the boy in black was sitting at the main desk in the room. Student Council President Warren. Leaning on a fancy office chair with a semi-hostile gleam on his glasses, his figure seemed charismatic despite his young age.
“Oh, if it isn’t Miss Irene… and that’s… Asley, was it?”
“Hello. I don’t believe we’ve spoken before?”
“You’ve saved Egd, Sir Dragan’s pupil, from a life-threatening predicament and were the top candidate of your academic year. Additionally, you’ve defeated a Ballad Dragon… Did you expect me to not hear any news?”
“Wait — I’ve heard the story from Dragan, but I’ve never heard about the Ballad Dragon before! Is that true!?”
Irene shook me as if handling some malfunctioning device.
“I did set out to hunt it, but it was already dead when I got there. I only looted it and came back.”
“Oh, so that’s the full story. I only happened to be nearby when you were selling the materials off, so I didn’t know that… But the fact that you did set out to hunt it, still speaks for your capabilities, don’t you think?”
Quite the one to talk back, this guy. He’s different compared to Irene, but still like those I’m not good at dealing with.
I could go for some snacks right about now…
“Is it fine to take your silence as… non-denial?”
“…Color me surprised. I knew you were strong, but not A-ranked monster strong… Although with a level-100 Familiar, you might stand a chance…?”
“Even the lower-end of the Canine archetype possesses a fair deal of strength. With it, the odds are definitely high.”
Oh boy, I don’t like how he talks at all.
Familiars are Familiars, sure, but I do take offense at my friend being called an “it”. Still, he’s technically a child, so I have to be an adult and approach him calmly.
“…So, why do you need me here, Miss Irene?”
“Well, about that… Asley, won’t you join the Student Council?”
“No, I’d rather not. Now if you’ll excuse me.”
I waved my hand, bluntly stating my declination. At the same time, Warren clapped his hands to silence the room.
“At least listen to what we have to say first, Asley. No need to be hasty.”
“Nothing you say will change my choice, thank you very much.”
“I’m sure this will bring you to a more… informed decision.”
Having said that, Warren took one of the scrolls on his table, unrolled it and presented it to me.
“Yes, your contract may be in Miss Irene’s custody, but this one… belonging to ‘Lina’ is with me. If this were to be made public, Lina would have to be expelled… now, do you understand?”
Warren came out with a bold grin.
It was true that I had tampered with that contract.
I absolutely didn’t want Lina to be caught, so I had taken further measures after the initial Letter Edit… so how?
“You may be wondering how I knew… Well, first off, your contract had the “First Party” in each of the clauses altered to the “Second Party”. All it took to notice that was manual inspection. Perhaps you’d planned to make yourself the bait in doing so. However, Lina’s contract did not have any sign of being tampered with.”
He was on the right track — After the initial tampering, I had used other spells to erase that edit and write the original text on top of it.
Edits made after a contract was signed would not produce any effect, but in this case, merely changing what it looked like was the important part.
“And I found that most suspicious, you see, so I conducted a thorough inspection of the contract sheet. And, surprise — all traces of arcane energy had been erased, a feat which would prove difficult even for first-class mages… It was too perfect, so to speak. Still, that was awesome, Asley. I never thought I would need two whole days to notice just what was up… That was a genuine compliment, mind you.”
As I had feared, he was all dark on the inside as well.
“…Miss Irene, why would you even want me in the Student Council?”
“To put my research subject as close to me as possible.”
“And Warren, considering that you’re in the Black Faction, why would you want me?”
“The Student Council represents the entirety of the student body, so there must be a fair distribution of representatives as well. Last semester’s graduation has made us a few members short on one side.”
“So you need some more White Faction representatives? That’s why you called me… is that it?”
Warren pushed his glasses up and shot another grin.
“Exactly. You are quite… famous for a freshman, Asley. And at the same time, you’re officially documented as the top candidate of your academic year. You certainly have the capabilities and your fame would… serve our reputation well, too. And above all else, we need some White Faction slots filled. I can’t possibly let this good of a candidate go.”
“…If I join, will you agree to ignore that… no, will you hand over that contract to me?”
“If that’s what you want, I certainly can… utilize my authority as Council President to handle a contract or two.”
Warren chuckled as he rolled up the contract parchment and presented it to me.
I accepted the scroll and checked its contents once more, confirming that it was indeed the one that I had tampered with.
“Hu hu hu, looks like everything’s all set.”
“We welcome you and your talents to our ranks, Asley.”
In that one day, my entry to to the Student Council was all set.
Then, with shoulders dropped, I went to the Nurse’s Office to get Pochi, and saw her lying face up in the corridor with an overstuffed belly and expression of pure bliss.
For a while, I sat there poking her inflated belly, and all the while she let out anguished cries.