With Irene letting her cannon loose, I was promptly stabbed by a myriad of glares.
Hornel’s, Midors’ and Idéa’s were particularly intense. All three were of the Black Faction, but that didn’t mean those of the White Faction weren’t in glaring at me either.
All this time, only I was called by my name by Irene. It clearly was preferential treatment since she said that she didn’t remember anyone’s name.
But why would she do that? Wouldn’t this sort of special treatment so early in the semester be detrimental to her teaching course?
She looked as if deriving enjoyment from my troubled expression… I see, so that’s her way of getting back at me. That’s adorable.
“On the day of his entrance examination, Asley here came up with a solution different from Lina and Hornel’s. Those two weren’t able to solve the problem on that day, anyway. Now, Hornel, if I told you to come up with another solution, would you be able to answer? Just an explanation of what you’d do is fine, so give it a try.”
Now that’s what I call being obnoxious just for the hell of it. She had gone and dropped the morale of the whole class way down.
But does she actually have some direction in mind? If she was doing things military-style, she would have destroyed us first, then beat us back into shape. Could this be her take on the formula?
In the end, Hornel couldn’t come up with anything. Seeing that he hadn’t been able to do so on the examination day, he must’ve thought hard for a solution once he was out of there. As expected from him being a prideful character and all that. I’m starting to feel sorry for him.
And now, Irene had her eyes on Lina.
“What about you, Lina?”
“…Um, if it’s only in theory…”
“Shoot. Only if it’s within your capabilities, of course?”
Lina nodded once before beginning her explanation.
“…Maybe I could… cast Regeneration on myself and jump into the Fire…”
As expected of my pupil. That was one of those “unlikely that anyone would think to try” ideas I had thought of earlier. Seems like her direction of ideas was similar to mine when it came to this topic.
Solutions that may be possible, but not something one would be willing to carry out… that direction of ideas.
“That’s… an interesting theory. Still, one may have to resort to such methods in the battlefield to say alive. You better remember this, people.”
I see, so that’s the message Irene wanted to get across.
“Now, Asley, I have a special challenge for you. Try fulfilling the objective without using any of the previously seen methods.”
Or not. Maybe she’s really being obnoxious just for the hell of it.
Makes me want to play some tricks on her. Something, anything… c’mon… isn’t there anything? …Aha.
“This will take quite a bit of time, though?”
“Take as much as you need.”
Irene, seeming quite triumphant, materialized a new ball of Fire.
“Over here, Pochi.”
“Yes, sir! ……Wait, you’re not planning to use the Regeneration method on me, are you!?”
“That sounds fun.”
“No way in hell!”
“Oh, you know I’m just kidding. C’mon, get over here for a bit.”
Pochi and I walked to one corner of the Maginasium.
Once there, I proceeded to draw a Spell Circle with my staff.
“What’s this Spell Circle, Master?”
“This is exactly the Circle I need, to give a headache to that annoying Archmage.”
“Hmm, I don’t think I’ve seen this one before?”
Pochi, head tilted, thought it over.
Pochi and I moved to another spot, and there, I drew another copy of that Spell Circle.
“A landmine-type Spell Circle or… since there’s two, could it be a landmine Composite Spell?”
“Asley, do you still need time?”
“Yes, a little bit longer.”
The students started talking among themselves. They were probably speculating on how I was handling the assignment.
Irene, on the other hand, with her arms folded and fingers tapping seemed visibly irritated.
Pochi and I moved to another spot where I drew yet another Circle.
The chatter transitioned to jeering and Irene’s fingers started tapping faster.
“Hmm… I can’t figure out what spell this might be. Spill the beans already, Master!”
“Don’t say it out loud, now — these Circles are just dummies.”
“Asley, enough of your nonsense!”
In my stalling ploy, I must have drawn seven or eight of that same Spell Circle… As Irene harshly called me out, I made my way back to the center of the Maginasium.
“Stop wasting our time, Asley! You’re being obnoxious!”
“Yeah! If you can’t do it, just say you can’t!”
“I don’t have all day, you know!”
Hornel, Midors, and Idéa didn’t let go of their chance to chew me out.
Perhaps because the trio had said what she had wanted to, Irene seemed to be calming down.
“Now, isn’t it about time you showed us what all those Spell Circles are for?”
“The Fire will be gone in… about 30 seconds.”
Hornel’s team was taken aback, and the other students curiously cast their eyes on my Spell Circles.
“This… what’s this formula?”
“Looks like a water property… but not really?”
“The inscriptions here… [pochiisadummy]… huh?”
As my classmates continued their analyses, the timer was down to ten seconds.
Lina’s and Hornel’s team turned to focus on the Fire and I started the countdown.
“…Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One… Zero.”
Right when I finished my count, the fire weakly flickered and vanished.
The Maginasium fell silent — with one voice gasping for breath.
And the one doing that… was none other than Irene.
“Agh… Hah… Asley… You obnoxious little…!”
None of my classmates realized how my “trick” worked.
Hornel, Midors, and Idéa had their jaws virtually dropped to the ground.
Even Pochi and Lina were agape in momentary confusion.
“Pochi, c’mon! Let’s go!”
“…Uh, yes, sir!”
Leaving Irene behind to pant away, Pochi and I walked towards the exit.
Having won the clash of obnoxious personalities, I made my way back to the classroom, leaving “early” just as Irene had permitted.
“Ahahahaha! So you had her arcane energy run out! That was great, sir!”
“Yeah, all I did was read her MP with the Appraisal Glasses and counted down. It’s simple, but no one would’ve realized it. One of the Six Archmages burning their arcane energy stock just sounds unbelievable, I’d say. But even with Fire, an additional spell to keep it floating does eat up a lot. Irene probably noticed it mid-way… or maybe just at the end. You wouldn’t notice your arcane energy running out until almost the last few seconds, after all.”
Pochi and I being the only ones in the classroom, we had been chatting away for a while now.
My classmates were likely still in the Maginasium. Suddenly, the room’s door slid open with a loud bang.
“Huff… huff… Sir… Asley…”
Out of breath with hands resting on her knees, probably from rushing all the way back here, was my excellent pupil, Lina.
“…huff huff… whew…”
Lina put her hands on her chest and got her breath in order, then reached behind her to shut the sliding door.
With everything in order, she proceeded to climb the auditorium steps up to the front of my desk.
“Th-that was arcane energy exhaustion, right?”
“Ohh, well done!”
Lina bumped her fists up in celebration. Pochi pumped her paws together, imitating a human’s clapping.
“Ahahaha, I knew you had something great to show, Sir Aley… I mean, Teacher!”
“Now, it’s not that big of a deal, right?”
Lina sure is coming at me with a great deal of enthusiasm. I could learn a thing or two from her when it came to flexibility of expression, I suppose?
“But Master, that shade you threw at me was unnecessary!”
“C’mon, it’s just the go-to line for my scribbles.”
“Aha, maybe I should write something up for you next time!”
Pochi proceeded to claw away at the table.
“Wha– No, not here!”
“Master, your comedian reaction cue was on point!”
“Pfft — Ahahahaha!!”
Lina’s burst of laughter filled the classroom, so loud that she might have shed a few tears. She may be a tad bit too prone to crying, sure, but that was what made her adorable in a way.
In an act that surprised even myself, I grinned and ended up joining in on the laughter.
As that went on, there was another loud noise in the classroom.
Hornel, Midors, and Idéa entered the room in order and stepped onto the podium. Then they looked up and called out to me.
“We challenge you to a duel, Asley!”
“We wanna know what you’re actually made of!”
“Miss Irene has already given us permission! You’ll fight us in the Maginasium!”
“Boy, oh boy, things are gettin’ spicy, sir~~”
Pochi grumbled as she scratched her forehead with her front paw.
Looks like, in the end, the one who had lost the clash of obnoxious personalities was… me.