~~Fifth Day of the Fifth Month, Noon~~
In the Adventurer’s Guild in the northern district of Beilanea. Blazer, Bruce and Betty were checking out the notice that Duncan had recently posted.
It was regarding the recruitment of members for a subjugation party, the mission which Irene and her colleagues had planned just the night before.
Recruiting — Ogre Subjugation Party, Under the Six Archmages’ Command
Objectives: Ogre, Ogre Fighter, Imperial Ogre, Ogre Queen, Ogre King
Field Medic Mage: Billy
Qualifications: Adventurer Rank C and above or Junior/Senior year student at the Warrior or Magic Universities.
Application: Beilanea Magic University, Central School Building — Process form at the reception. (Deadline: Ninth Day of the Fifth Month)
Departure: Tenth Day of the Fifth Month, Ten O’clock in the morning.
Reward: 3,000 Gold — Courtesy of the Duodecad Conference.
All three pairs of eyes came to a stop at the same line.
It was not at the names of the distant entities such as the Six Archmages or the Nation’s authority on recovery magic, but the name of a friend who had been on the same job as them just days ago.
Duncan stood behind them, double-checking the recruitment notice.
“…This Asley is the same guy we met during our Labyrinth mission, right?”
“Yup, that’s definitely my boy. He’s the only ‘Asley’ registered in this Guild, after all.”
Duncan wasted no time to dispel their doubts.
Betty showed an expression of bewilderment as she scratched her head, and so did the other two.
“I’m more surprised by Asley’s name being right next to three super famous people than the fact that the Ogres are forming factions, really…”
“I’ve always known that my boy is on good terms with li’l Irene, but it’s still a surprise, eh~~?”
“So, what do you think, Blazer?”
“3,000 Gold from the Duodecad Conference, huh… It seems too little for potentially having to face big targets, but we have a good chance of getting to know some of the Six Archmages, with Gaston being the commander and all. If we do well, we may have some references for when we go to the Royal Capital. The force size should be pretty big. We may not have much merit over here, but…. this ‘tactician’ is sure to notice us.”
“Yeah, I think so too,” said Bruce, and Betty nodded in agreement. The three then grinned at each other and finalized their decision to sign up.
Bruce proposed that they order some ale and Duncan went to get it right away.
When the three were served at their table, they toasted in congratulations to Asley’s step forward. Their celebration resounded throughout the Guildhall.
Meanwhile, the freshmen’s classroom of the Beilanea Magic University was in an uproar.
A crowd formed around Asley as if to blow off the remaining harassment from the usual people on him. In front of him were Hornel, Midors and Idéa, and approaching from his sides were Lina’s friends, Claris and Anri. The other classmates crowded around them. Lina was at the very back, standing on her toes and occasionally jumping to get a look at Asley’s seat.
“Ouch–! Who would dare to step on my tail, sir!?”
“Ah — So sorry, Pochi.”
“Oh, Claris? Well, I actually don’t mind much, but please, do be careful, alright?”
Pochi held her tail and blew on where she had been stepped on.
“Dammit, Asley! You better explain what’s going on here!”
Midors buffeted Asley with angry shouts.
“I can understand Miss Irene or Sir Billy, but how did you already get to work with Sir Gaston!?”
Hornel banged on the table as if carrying out an interrogation.
“Stop evading the question! Come on, explain yourself!”
Idéa assaulted Asley’s eardrums with her shrill voice.
However, Asley was unfazed. He stayed silent with his eyes closed. It was as though he was meditating…
As a man who has lived for thousands of years, this degree of annoyance could no longer agitate him.
[“Damn it, those damned geezers… I said I’d go along, but they didn’t have to put my name that high up! I’llgetbackaty’alloneofthesedays..I’llgetbackaty’alloneofthesedays..I’llgetbackaty’alloneofthesedays… anyway, what should I do about this crowd? The lunch break just started… It’ll be hard to hold the crowd until the next class.”]
And as if Asley’s thoughts had been read, Irene appeared in due time at the teacher’s podium.
“Miss Irene!” Lina shouted. She was the first to notice the former’s arrival. And immediately, the eyes that had been focused on Asley all shifted to Lina, where the shout came from, and then beyond her.
The whole class proceeded to shout just as Lina had, then bowed to greet Irene.
With just that one sentence, everyone present scrambled back to their seats. Then they sat down, just as Irene had instructed them to. Not a single person leaned their backs against their seat… except for Asley, who heaved a sigh of relief.
The classroom fell into a deadly silence. Only Irene’s footsteps and Pochi’s yawning could be heard.
Moving up to the podium, Irene took a look at Asley, the root cause of the uproar, then cast her eyes over the whole class.
“You lot are still so immature, raising such a commotion just because of one name on a sheet of paper.”
Said Irene. Then turned to where Hornel was seated.
“You there. You said to Asley something about not ‘understanding’ why his name was on that piece of paper, right?”
As if to repeat some of the lessons she gave him previously, Irene did not call Hornel by name.
Hornel scowled for just a second, then tensed up upon realizing the pattern and what might come next. It was as if his heart was pierced.
“So answer me. What is the name of the commander that was written on that paper?”
“S-Sir Gaston, ma’am!”
“Exactly — For a subjugation party it may be, but a commander is a commander… He has the right to decide what goes on, and that goes for the appointment of officers as well. He was the one who decided to make Asley the tactician — Do you understand now? You should act carefully when raising an objection to your commander’s decision. Each and every one of your remarks may influence your endeavors in the future.”
Although she sounded like she was talking to one person, her words applied to everyone in the class.
Being employed by the Magic University, for the most part, also meant being employed by the Nation. Objecting the decisions of the higher-ups would only be a painful experience for the objector.
“Once again, how immature of you all to read this recruitment notice only on the surface. As you know, this University takes into consideration one’s abilities above all else. Just consider that you will naturally be noticed if your abilities are sufficient. And recognize the fact that you are now on a different playing field than Asley here.”
A myriad of reactions resounded throughout the classroom.
Irene, who may very well be considered a demon instructor by most, called Asley to her office and left.
It was as if the lunch break was hit by a storm.
[“That’s quite a harsh way to talk to a class of mostly teenagers. But as I’d expect from a professor, she’s a natural at preaching.”]
Asley admired the delivery of the demon instructor’s speech for a while, then dragged his still-yawning Familiar to go see her.
“Hey, why didn’t you say anything!?”
[“Uh — Was I supposed to!?”]
“You were supposed to explain things yourself to clear everything up!”
A sudden change from her demon instructor image, Irene now acted suitably for her body’s age as she approached Asley with a shrill voice.
“Well — I was thinking of a way to get myself out of there.”
“Think about it before, not during the commotion!”
“Wha — I’ve never heard about my name being there!”
“And my name isn’t even there, sir!”
“See, even Pochi is glad for her Master’s name being put there!”
“Are you sure your ears are working properly!?”
“My ears are beautiful and working perfectly, thank you very much!”
“I wasn’t asking you, Pochi!”
“It’s only expected for you to bring your Familiars to battle!”
Irene’s composure was waning, perhaps since she was outnumbered. And so, she readied herself, then proceeded to draw a Spell Circle with her fingers.
[“Huh, this Spell Circle?… I’ve never seen it before. It is similar to my Storeroom though…”]
With Irene’s chant, a streak of light lashed from the Spell Circle the size of her palm, and a small silhouette appeared from within.
It moved quickly, stopping just above Irene. It was quite small, even when compared to Irene’s head.
“That’s… a sparrow?”
“Hey, watch your mouth, you! There’s nothing wrong with a sparrow being a Familiar!”
It was a gray sparrow, and the first thing it did was assert its authority over Asley with its throaty voice.
“Be quiet, Hawk.”
“Aye-aye, big sis!”
Irene’s Familiar, referred to as Hawk, bowed down as it hovered overhead, without taking its eyes off Asley.
While it was being respectful, the bird glared at Asley with a sharp glint in its eyes, as if to threaten him.
“Big sis, since you’re at a disadvantage, I’ll help you out!”
“Hmph, how’s this? Now we’re even, right?”
“Heh, I never knew you could call a Familiar from a Spell Circle…”
[“That spell might have parts resembling magecraft formulas. Oh, I see… so that’s why some other mages I know aren’t seen together with their Familiars. Which reminds me, Miss Trace might have told me something about this before.”]
“What is it?”
“Let’s have a BBQ bird for dinner!”
As Pochi expressed her almost instinct-like desire, Hawk appeared as if it busted a vein between its eyes.
Pochi stared blankly and Hawk’s eyes were still kept sharp. Asley looked on with concern over the fact that Irene had called out her Familiar just to show off.
Such was another peaceful day at the Magic University.