The Principle of a Philosopher by Eternal Fool “Asley”

The Principle of a Philosopher by Eternal Fool “Asley” – Chapter 16, The Classmates and the Black and White Faction

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Translator: Barnnn

Proofreader: p4553r

 

~~Magic University Central School Building, Nine O’clock in the Morning, First Day of the Fourth Month~~

 

Pochi, Lina, and Myself have come to gather at the Maginasium, the facility for training and assembly located within the Central School Building’s courtyard.

There were approximately fifty other freshmen, and some hundred upperclassmen and mages in faculty.

 

Before the ceremony began, while I was waiting in my freshman seat, Dragan and Irene came to spark a conversation with me. Nothing more than them congratulating me as an acquaintance, but they garnered others’ attention on me all the same.

It was mentioned then that Dragan was here as a guest speaker.

 

The parents’ seats have been mostly filled too and one conspicuous figure among them was Pochi, in all her furry glory. She also attracted quite a lot of attention.

Familiars were permitted to accompany personnel into the premises, but not sit on the freshmen’s seats, so she had been sent to the parents’ seats instead. And the surrounding ladies seem to be whispering among themselves… will she be all right?

 

A good part of the freshmen were around fifteen years of age, and the boys and girls were seated separately. There used to be no separation back in the day, but I do recall it making some people uncomfortable.

 

And so commenced the ceremony.

First, the school anthem.

 

[=====]

Lost our arms may be, we shall march on,

Lost our limbs may be, we shall march on,

For wills of our ancestors, the passionate souls,

For hearts of might and magic, the lights of hope,

To the ends of the Black and White Faction,

Beilanea, Beilanea,

Ahh, our alma mater, of might and magic, of might and magic.

[=====]

 

I was decent at singing, if I say so myself.

Next up was the ceremonial address by the Magic University Headmaster, Tangalán the Meteor Battlemage.

Both warrior and mage, he had mastered the composite invocation of fire, earth and wind elemental magic spells. In-person, he came off as an impeccable gentleman, without much sense of strictness.

His long beard and thinning hair were of a clean white color, and his wrinkles were moderately conspicuous. I couldn’t get a good read on where his eyes were focused on, but he certainly possessed the qualities befitting of a University’s Headmaster.

Following him was Dragan with his guest congratulatory speech, then Trace with her faculty introductions and then a welcome speech from the upperclassmen.

It was delivered by Student Council President Warren; Tangalán and Dragan’s entrances had been met with sounds of admiration, but it was even more so for Warren’s.

Perhaps he has been making a stronger impression to the in-the-now general public, from his exploits during Friendly Matches and such. He was nicknamed the Black Emperor by some and rumors have it that he may become one among the Six Archmages’ new generation.

Belonging to the Black Faction, sporting black vestment, a black mantle, rocking long black hair, but hopefully not a black heart and soul.

He did not look much appearance-wise, but he was well-groomed and had quite the sharp glint in his eyes.

And it seemed like he looked at me for a bit or was it just in my head? Yeah, probably just in my head.

 

After that was done, it was the freshman representative’s turn to deliver the greetings.

It was not me, though, nor was Lina delivering it. We both had declined the privilege to do so.

I was technically the top candidate, but on paper, three candidates had achieved a perfect score on the standardized examination template. Pochi had been quick to see through my intentions — I had requested for either Lina or that third candidate to take care of the job.

However, Lina took the same decision as I had. She was a confident girl and although she could read and write, she had received relatively low education.

That was pretty much expected, considering she had been in Faltown since birth. When things over there had calmed down, Ryan, Reyna, and I had managed to teach her a good deal of things, but that was not quite enough to catch up with the fellow freshmen here.

But of course, since she had put her utmost effort into the art of magic, she must be stronger than most others. And with formal training here, she will most likely grow even stronger. That’s what I wish the most for her.

 

The freshman representative was our classmate Hornel, the bespectacled boy with hair and eyes of the same color, blue.

His speech was clear and concise, and his expressions suggested a heart full of passion and confidence.

 

After the ceremony, us students were led by Trace to our classroom.

Since Pochi was permitted to accompany me into the premises, I would assume there to be no issues in her accompanying me for most of my student activities.

In front of each seat was a wood-carved nameplate for each of the attendees and built onto the desks were plates with a slide-in slot.

 

“Now then, confirm your designated seat, insert your nameplate into the slot and be seated.”

“Look, Master, there’s a nameplate for me too!”

“Just settle down already.”

 

Being the only one around with a Familiar, it was only natural that there would be attention on me no matter what I did. Some stole a few glances out of curiosity, while others chuckled at Pochi’s energy. It went without saying that Lina was included among those chuckling.

The classroom itself was quite a large one, with the seats laid in an auditorium style able to fit more than a hundred lecture attendees. Considering our numbers now, there was plenty of space to spare for Pochi.

Pochi and I were seated around the middle row and Lina was seated at the end of the very first row, right next to a corridor.

It was quite rare for a master to be receiving lessons along with his pupil like this, so perhaps I ought to have fun while it lasted.

 

Trace delivered another greeting speech and proceeded to explain the flow of school activities from tomorrow onwards. Then she passed out two rolls of parchment to each of the students.

This is… that contract she mentioned, isn’t it?

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Black and White Faction Affiliation Contract

 

The following is a binding contract between

_____ (First Party)

and

The Black and White Faction(Second Party)

 

ONE: The First Party shall endeavor to train their mind and body and to bear an attitude appropriate of a warrior and/or mage.

TWO: The First Party, on the occasion of the Devil King’s invasion, shall agree to participate in the battles to defeat the Devil King and provide complete support to the Holy Warriors.

THREE: The First Party shall be exclusively affiliated with either the Black or White Faction, and adhere to the activities and ideologies of the Second Party.

 

In signing this document, the First and Second Parties agree to operate according to the above terms.

The First and Second Parties will each hold a copy of this document in their custody.

 

First Day of the Fourth Month, Ninety-First Year of the War Demon Calendar

 

First Party: _____

Second Party: The Black and White Faction

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

With or without context, the terms are utterly ridiculous.

The first and second terms are fine and all, but what’s up with the legal encompassment of the third? I’ve never even heard about the activities and ideologies of the Black and White Faction, so I’m practically asked to sign a contract on vague terms. In a sense, I would be legally compelled to kill myself if they were to tell me to.

 

“This doesn’t sound very nice…”

 

Pochi kept her voice down while whispering to me.

And Lina was now glancing a little at me. Of course she would find this troubling as well.

I was also surprised, but for a different reason… the other students. Everyone was signing their names without taking any issue with the terms. Those who were done signing their names, lined up in front of the classroom to drop their signed contracts into one of the black and white boxes on the podium.

Those two boxes… I’d need to drop my contract into the white one to sign up for the White Faction, I see. That makes things difficult for me.

I had to do something about this, but not too much that I get myself caught, so…

 

“Rise, A-rise, Letter Edit… And then… Ground Spell Delivery.”

 

Invoking magic and magecraft simultaneously with Circles on the floor, I used the Ground Spell Delivery craft to send the magic Spell Circle to Lina’s seat.

Lina scrambled to bend her head down on the table, hiding her contract sheets just in time.

 

“Gotta do mine, too… There, Letter Edit.”

 

To elaborate on the effectiveness of my Letter Edit… First, one must keep in mind that the effectiveness of magical tools, which included these contracts, were proportional to their creator’s arcane energy. The larger their arcane energy pools were, the more difficult it was for the contract to be broken. This customized Letter Edit was a spell for rewriting such magical contracts.

I had designed the formulas back when Pochi was not yet a Familiar. She had sloppily handled some important documents and ended up making part of the text illegible. I used the spell to rewrite the illegible part.

With an arcane energy pool exceeding that of the author’s when the contract had been written, I could overwrite it. And it may be safe to assume that not many possessed an energy pool larger than mine. It went without saying that the spell was now working without issue.

 

A few letters scrambled about, reassembling the new contract.

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The Black and White Faction Affiliation Contract

 

The following is a binding contract between

_____ (First Party)

and

The Black and White Faction (Second Party)

 

ONE: The Second Party shall endeavor to train their mind and body, and to bear an attitude befitting of a warrior and/or mage.

TWO: The Second Party, on the occasion of the Devil King’s invasion, shall agree to participate in the battles to defeat the Devil King and provide complete support to the Holy Warriors.

THREE: The Second Party shall be exclusively affiliated with either the Black or White Faction, and adhere to the activities and ideologies of the Second Party.

 

In signing this document, the First and Second Parties agree to operate according to the above terms.

The First and Second Parties will each hold a copy of this document in their custody.

 

First Day of the Fourth Month, Ninety-First Year of the War Demon Calendar

 

First Party: _____

Second Party: The Black and White Faction

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The ‘First Party’ preceding terms one, two and three had all been changed to ‘The Second Party’. If I were to sign this now, it would have no binding effect on me.

Even with weaker arcane energy than mine, a small amount of legal force would still give me trouble if activated correctly.

It was most likely that the other students, who had signed the contracts in their original form, would be compelled to act according to the Black and White Faction.

But putting my situation aside, would this tampering put Lina into trouble as well…? It’s a lot of work, but I should employ a few more tricks just in case.

 

And now, the next issue is those boxes… which one do I choose?

Well, seeing that Irene has been pestering me about it so often, I suppose my decision is already set. I thought of using an Intangibility spell to make the parchment fall through the box and under the podium when I dropped it in, then retrieving it for safekeeping later, but it would be difficult to do that for Lina’s as well, so I decided against it.

And so I signed my name on the sheets and dropped one off in the white box.

As for Lina…

 

“Oh, you’re choosing Black, Lina? It’s a shame that you’re not with us.”

 

Even Pochi was agape with shock.

 

“……”

“At the Friendly Match… I want to fight my Teacher, so…”

 

…So that’s where she’s coming from.

Still, that short comment of hers was enough to instantly attract the attention of most of the students in class.

 

“I’m afraid I cannot let that statement slide!”

 

One voice resounded through the room. 

It came from none other than Hornel, seated in the very center of the first row.

 

“That’s right! You better not take the Friendly Match lightly!”

 

That was followed by a brutish voice from the upper right. The stern young man’s nameplate read “Midors”.

His tanned skin stood out among the rest of the class, and so was his relatively large build for a mage.

 

“Everyone strives to represent the class for the match, I’ll have you know! There’s no way I’d lose to some little girl like you!”

 

Yet another voice came from further upper right, this time from a red-haired young woman. Certainly beautiful but with a strong impression in her expressions, her nameplate read “Idéa”.

Following her, those who had signed up for the Black Faction expressed the same reactions to Lina’s statement.

I see, so when she said representing the class, she meant the Black Faction’s freshman representative. The number of fighters to appear in the Friendly Match was fixed. It certainly was a tight competition, especially for freshmen.

 

–One participant per class year per Faction.

 

The number of candidates is increased to three for the second year onward, but still, only one among them would fight in the Friendly Match due to the event’s time constraints. Furthermore, that one representative would also be marked as a likely choice for the following school years.

 

Lina’s disturbance showed strongly on her face. She was doing all she could to hold it in. Well, there’s no way around it… I’ll handle this–

 

I knocked my staff on the floor. A single strike, loud and clear.

I successfully gathered their attention onto me.

 

“Blah, blah, blah, scared of some real competition already, you little shits!? If you’re gonna talk big, try beating the top candidate first! And that’s me!”

“Wha-what are you talking about!? The top candidate was–“

“I passed that representative speech because it’s a pain in the ass! Just ask Miss Trace, she’ll say the same thing!”

“Exactly! My Master is the strongest, for he employs me, a level-100 Familiar! You losers can bark all you want, it won’t win you anything!”

 

I think she might have gotten some idioms mixed up.

Still, thanks to Pochi’s follow-up, the commotion now spread like wildfire. A level-100 Familiar or a level-100 anything for that matter, was certainly a strong declaration.

 

Well, all that mattered was that their attention shifted from Lina to me.

 

“Silence!”

 

Trace commanded the students to settle down with a clap of her hands. And the uproar just up and stopped, too quickly than anyone would reasonably expect. The contracts have already shown their effects, so it seemed.

Trace then accompanied Lina to her seat, then accosted me once she was back to the podium.

 

“Back to your seat, Mister Asley.”

“Yes, ma’am. Excuse me.”

 

My apologetic tone was for multiple reasons.

And Trace herself seemed to have realized at least a few of them.

 

Now back in my seat, I passed the day amid a myriad of pointed glares.

Lina’s apologetic look was what stabbed me the hardest, so much that I couldn’t bring myself to look straight at her.

 


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