Mightiest Melee Magician Chapter 75

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Mightiest Melee Magician

Chapter 075: Vacation Pledge

This is a sort of oath.

“Firstly, before we are magicians, we are students. We shall not use magic except in promised situations.”

“In situations other than those promised, magic shall not be used.”

When the student representative leads, the rest of the 800-odd students follow in a chorus.

These are the promises that magicians about to enjoy their vacation must uphold.

Most of the content of this pledge deals with evident matters, but the most critical point here admonishes against the misuse of magic.

If there’s an ‘agreed-upon’ situation where magic can be used such as:

A threatening scenario to one’s person.

When someone else is in danger.

Or in the very special case of a chance encounter with a monster.

Misuse.

Dignity.

Restraint.

Law.

Honor, and so on.

Standing on the stage in the main hall where the vacation ceremony was being held, I lead the seven holiday pledges and looked towards Dean Tyrion.

The Dean smiled, seeming pleased, and opened his mouth to speak.

Thus, the Dean’s admonishing words followed.

“Dear students. Half a year has already passed since you entered the new school year. It’s time to reflect on whether you are fulfilling the plans and resolutions you had when you decided to become magicians and knocked on the academy’s doors. The great archmage Proyen Ignite, the academy’s founder, said until the last ember of life extinguished, ‘There is no end.’ Despite being closer to the end of magic than anyone else, he could not feel its conclusion. Make sure not to fall into idleness during vacation and remind yourselves…

While it was undoubtedly a great story to digest, it was likely a bore for students facing vacation.

There was no mercy.

Just like Archmage Proyen Ignite said,

The Dean’s well-intentioned, yet tedious admonishments continued ‘endlessly.’

The Dean is wonderful, but…

His admonitions could use a bit of flexibility.

Finally, after nearly 10 lengthy minutes, the Dean’s sermon ended, and it was time for…

“Next, we will have the student representative speak about ‘our attitude as we welcome vacation.’”

It was my turn to conclude the ceremony.

The topic.

Our attitude as we welcome vacation.

My gaze moved downward.

My well-prepared speech was written meticulously on the parchment on the podium.

But I impulsively flipped over the page.

Then I stepped forward and looked at the sleepy-eyed students as I said.

“I wish you all a vacation with no regrets. That’s all.”

* * *

From early morning, an immense crowd had gathered at the academy entrance.

“Over here! Young master!”

The throngs were due to the servants and carriages from various dominions, here to transport the vacationing students.

However, it wasn’t too chaotic, despite the large crowd.

Students eager to leave the academy as fast as possible hurriedly boarded their carriages and left without delay.

Jason was no different.

Sitting in a stylish silver carriage adorned with the ‘Oak Barrel’ insignia of the Daimon family, Jason flicked his finger at me and spoke.

“Really, Ruin… I knew I could trust you, right?”

“What?”

“In the six years I’ve attended the academy, I’ve heard many vacation ceremony addresses, but yours was the first to be so brief yet so impactful. A vacation without regrets. It really resonated with me.”

“The vacation is long. The ceremony should be short.”

“Exactly!”

I smiled playfully in response, and Jason waved back at me as he left the academy.

“See you in two months!”

Ruin, see you in two months.

It was a phrase I heard endlessly every vacation, but today it sounded particularly fresh because:

I wouldn’t be staying at the academy in pitiful solitude.

‘I can go home too…

Today, I depart for my hometown.’

But unlike the other students, the ‘retinue’ of the Ardel family wouldn’t come for me.

The reason was simple.

I hadn’t sent word home that I would be coming this vacation.

The Ardel territory, a rural region at the kingdom’s southernmost tip, without a single magician, could only be reached by letter.

It took nearly a month for a letter to arrive there and for the retinue to travel from Ardel territory to the academy.

On the other hand, traveling alone was quicker.

‘Well then, let’s be off.’

With my chest swelling with excitement, I headed towards the academy’s stables in the back yard.

The horses here were academy property, generally off-limits unless special permission was obtained—which I had done in advance.

“Are you leaving now?”

“…Professor?”

I was met by Professor Heidel.

He waited for me, personally leading a horse by its bridle.

His expression was unusually complex.

“It must be joyful to visit your hometown.”

“Yes.”

The professor also hailed from Ardel territory, like me, and was a longtime friend of my father.

A commoner by origin.

“And you, Professor… aren’t you going down to the territory?”

For a different set of reasons, he hadn’t visited his hometown in a very long time.

Why, I wondered?

Why hadn’t he visited his hometown for so many years?

While I couldn’t know the precise reason,

I could somewhat sense the emotions he exuded.

“Next time.”

Guilt, it seemed.

“When I’m not ashamed of myself. Maybe then I can also visit the hometown like you.”

Or something akin to remorse.

Professor Heidel had once experienced the collapse of his dreams due to his status as a ‘commoner.’

By ‘not ashamed,’ perhaps he meant wiping the stain from his past—a desire to erase the ‘commoner’ tag.

I wanted to comfort him, tell him not to blame himself for that stain,

But instead, I closed my mouth and opted to offer a slight smile.

“I’ll say hello to father for you.”

After all, everything needs its time and moment—

Just as with me.

“…All right.”

The professor gave a bitter smile and handed over the horse’s reins to me.

“Travel safely.”

* * *

For ten whole days, I rode without stopping.

Since climbing this path at the age of ten to enter the academy,

I had never once made the descent.

The road wasn’t familiar to me anymore, and thus the novelty was lost.

Thanks to this, I managed to shorten what would’ve been a fortnight-long carriage journey into just ten days.

I passed through Oblang, the Radiant Kingdom’s southernmost trade city, and entered a quiet forest path.

Only then could I freely smile.

‘…I’ve arrived.’

From here begins the Ardel lordship, a place even locals scarcely knew.

With its proximity to the sea and an economy primarily rooted in agriculture, this small rural lordship boasted the same landscape it had six years ago.

Greenery-filled forest trails.

Small beaches peeking out between the trees.

Farmland waiting for harvest stretches beyond the beach.

Tiny log houses gather around the well, the center of activity.

A place fragrant with the smells of cooking and people.

Ardel.

Clip-clop, clip-clop…

I slowed down, taking in the surroundings as I entered the village at a leisurely pace.

“Eh?”

“Someone’s come?”

Given the rarity of strangers or travelers here, my arrival stirred the village.

“Who could it be?”

Draped in a worn cloak used as a bedroll, and my face hidden under a wide-brimmed traveler’s hat,

They could hardly recognize me.

“Who are you?”

A sturdy man blocked my path.

Dismounting from my horse, I removed my hat and said,

“Uncle Paizon, right? You’re as robust as ever.”

“…What? What?”

“It’s been a long time. Have you been well?”

“L-Lord?!”

Uncle Paizon.

When I left the lordship at ten, he had just welcomed his first child.

Would the child be six by now?

Sure enough, a girl about that age stood next to Uncle Paizon, looking curiously at me.

I bent down with a smile for her.

“Hello?”

The little girl hid behind Uncle Paizon’s legs, eyeing me warily,

But her timidity was undeniably endearing.

When I left for the academy,

My little sister, Luina, was about that age…

Had she grown a lot since then?

Straightening up, and turning to the villagers,

Uncle Paizon, once he had reassessed my face, announced loudly enough to startle the entire village.

“The Young Master has truly returned!”

“Who’s come back?”

“Who else? The Young Master has come back! Ruin has returned!”

“…Eeehh? Ruin has come?”

Despite the clear difference of ‘noble and commoner’ between us,

The ‘Ardels’ were uncharacteristically unlike other nobles, and thus we had a close bond.

I knew the faces and names of nearly every villager just as they knew me.

“I’m sorry for not coming back sooner.”

“Oh my! My Young Master!”

They remembered me as I remembered them.

The village women who had jovially taken on the role of my mother after she passed.

The grandfathers sitting together, sharing interesting old stories from time to time.

And the children who freely played in the streets, regardless of status.

All were as familiar as family.

“Master, we were worried sick with no word from you!”

“That’s right! How curious we were. Are you in good health?”

“How is the magic academy? Is it true, as the rumors say, that many great magicians are there?”

“Pfft! Great, my foot. Our Young Master is the greatest. At the mere age of ten, his magical talent was so renowned it spread to the capital. Right?”

“Exactly! Right. Now that the Young Master is back, shouldn’t we throw a feast?”

“Of course. Yes! Let’s do that. But first, we must go to the lord. Right, Master?”

“Haha, yes.”

Nothing had changed.

The butchery in front of us.

The wheat field by Uncle Paizon’s house on the hill.

The alchemist’s workshop nearby.

The dock and the boats of the old fisherman.

With every step through this familiar Ardel territory, something I could navigate even with eyes shut, villagers followed behind me.

Soon in front of my ‘home.’

“Lord Ardel! Please come out! Come and see who has arrived!”

As all the inhabitants of the region gathered, Delrin Ardel,

The lord of Ardel, and my father, made his appearance.

“Ruin…”

My father’s eyes widened in palpable surprise.

And behind him,

“Brother?”

My sister, Luina Ardel, joyfully jumped into my arms.

Wow, the little one has grown so much already.

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