The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 110

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Excuse me, Yenika(2)

Belle Mayar sighed, leaning on the terrace of the Ophelius Hall staff room, taking a moment to catch her breath in the evening breeze. For maids like her who had to juggle incessant tasks throughout their shifts, grabbing whatever moments of rest they could was vital.

Having finished overseeing the evening meal at Ophelius Hall and delegating the remaining cleanup, bell found a moment’s peace before the night’s schedule crowded in again. Beds had to be checked for new linens before students went to sleep, and she needed to inspect the final state of cleanliness herself.

There were preparations for tomorrow’s academic inspection to consider too. While she could rely on the usual meticulous maintenance to keep things running smoothly, the fact that Vice-Headmaster Rachel would personally conduct the inspection meant a reminder to the student representatives about proper conduct was necessary.

“It’s my night for dorm duty,” she mused. Despite being in charge of Ophelius Hall, bell never skipped her turn for the overnight shift, taking it in stride without any apparent difficulty. In fact, her participation meant the regular maids could enjoy longer breaks, boosting overall work efficiency.

“First, though… I need to bring Miss Lucy back,” she pondered. Ever since her confinement ended, Lucy had been gallivanting about. With a crucial inspection scheduled for the following morning, it was imperative to get Lucy, the senior class representative, back to Ophelius Hall and properly dressed for the occasion.

The task of retrieving her from Ed’s camp in the northern forest wasn’t daunting—once found, Lucy was a cooperative girl. However, bell was already swamped with evening duties and considered sending one of her maids instead. Ultimately, she decided to make the time for a personal visit.

Belle had been shocked to hear about Ed’s supposed demise but was relieved to learn of his survival soon after. The details of his return remained unknown to her, as managing the aftermath of Lucy’s shenanigans left no time for inquiries.

Having restored order to her duties, bell figured it was a good opportunity to check on Ed’s well-being while retrieving Lucy.

“Hmm…”

When Ed Rothtaylor was mentioned, what immediately sprang to mind was his entangled human relationships. Belle questioned whether these had been untangled somewhat, though Ed’s recent movements didn’t inspire optimism.

Stepping away from the railing, bell looked up at the starry night sky, the late spring breeze cool against her skin. The thought crossed her mind that there was no better time of year for outdoor living.

What sort of person was Ed Rothtaylor? Always in a tight spot, focused solely on surviving, without the luxury of attending to other relationships. Yet as she felt the fresh night air, a new thought dawned on her.

Viewing Ed’s camp recently prompted the feeling that things had become significantly more complicated. In place of the man who once gritted his teeth in a barebones shelter, struggling against the wilds, was now a decent cabin and makeshift wooden storage. The bonfire area had expanded, and various tools along with a myriad of materials had accumulated. Along the riverbank, fishing gear and nets indicated a developed fish farm, and systematic traps dotted the forest.

Compared to before, the variety of foodstuffs suggested Ed was now able to cook more substantially, and his clothing seemed better maintained with help from Ophelius Hall. In essence, after a year of fierce striving, Ed Rothtaylor had settled into a ‘somewhat livable’ existence. Though his circumstances remained harsh, he was no longer forced to live with gnashing teeth—his efforts had brought about a palpable improvement.

A comfortable body and free time often lead to an eased mind, allowing even Ed room for thoughts beyond mere survival.

“Who knows…”

Yet Belle still questioned whether Ed, a man so fiercely guarded, might ever open up to someone else. If anyone could worm their way into his heart, it had to be through an unconventional tactical angle—a novel approach to forming a relationship.

Not just anyone could accomplish this feat. If someone managed to, it might not be by intention but more like stumbling backwards into success—a fluke. Such an outcome seemed improbable.

“What a shame,” Belle murmured, readying herself to leave. If there were any inklings of Ed lowering his guard, the time to act was now. The faint hope lingered that someone could bring things to a head; the mere observation had become draining.

“Joint combat drill soon, huh? I do hope there’ll be no injuries this year…”

Hoping for some resolution in Ed’s interpersonal circles, bell began her preparations to fetch Lucy.

* * *

“The manifestation of vengeance is not only about sensitivity but is significantly influenced by the ‘understanding of spirits.’ The more you handle them and manifest them, the more energy-efficient your power becomes,” Yenika briefly explained.

As the day stretched longer and summer drew nearer, they had entered the evening hours. Even after dinner and cleaning up the bonfire, there was a lingering duskiness in the sky. Though the sun had set in the west and no sign of the moon’s jurisdiction was yet visible, the temperature was rising, and the sound of insects in the forest grew more pronounced. It wasn’t too warm, though; the cool forest wind carrying the scent of grass was rather pleasant.

“It’s late spring, the perfect time for camping outdoors,” Yenika commented.

“If you have a low understanding of spirits, the overall effectiveness of manifesting them diminishes, making it harder to control multiple entities.”

“Is it the same for you, Yenika?”

“Well…” Yenika paused, fiddling with the hem of her blouse, then admitted, “To be honest, I naturally excel at manifesting multiple spirits with full efficiency.”

“That’s impressive,” Ed acknowledged.

Yenika went on to explain that there were two types of spirit mages when it came to combat: those who entirely rely on spirits for fighting and those who use a mix of spirits’ unique features and partial manifestations to supplement their battle tactics.

Ed seemed to fit more into the latter category—using spirits to enhance his pre-existing combat skills. Yenika suggested he should focus on both sensitivity and an in-depth understanding of spirits to effectively employ magical spells and unique abilities.

As Yenika’s lesson continued, the stats linked to her spirit skills demonstrated her proficiency. She articulated how a close relationship with spirits, regularly involving them in combat, or simply spending time with them could lead to greater understanding.

Ed considered how long he had spent with his lower fire spirit, Muk, which explained the high level of understanding he had with it. Yenika, on the other hand, held many contracts with various spirits close to maximum impact, able to manifest them without restriction.

Discussing the advancement of spirits’ phases, the conversation touched on Muk’s potential to evolve from a lower to a middle spirit. It was unclear if this was possible, given that few contracted spirits had achieved such growth during their tenure with Yenika.

As the night wore on, and Ed absorbed the information, Yenika’s teachings illuminated much about spirit understanding and its direct impact on combat efficiency. It was an enlightening session for both, revealing the layers of connections between a spirit mage and their elements.

Even Yenika had to concentrate quite a bit to invoke the presence of such a highly esteemed being.

“From the start, the fact that Ed has raised his resonance to this level in just one year is unbelievable… Usually, it takes 3 to 5 years for a new spirit user to handle an intermediate spirit.”

Of course, thanks to my countless playthroughs of [Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman], I was accustomed to drawing efficient growth curves and distributing stats for training purposes.

Moreover, I was in a somewhat advantageous position due to the assistance of various magic engineering tools.

“That’s why it’s good to raise your sensitivity and understanding of high spirits as much as possible. Ordinary people can’t even form a contract, let alone approach them. It’s your edge, Ed.”

“Yeah… just gotta use it a lot and get the hang of it, right…? But Merilda always disappears to who knows where every chance she gets.”

“Ahaha… Merilda does wander around quite a bit….”

Even now, the camp was filled with various spirits thanks to Yenika, but Merilda was nowhere to be seen. I knew her hobby involved roaming around, but she always appears promptly when it’s important at least…

“Anyway, if you can steadily increase your understanding of Merilda, she’ll be a massive force in the future. You know the power of a high spirit, Ed.”

I definitely felt the power firsthand.

* * *

―Tadak, tadak.

After finishing basic spirit technique training, it was nearing midnight. It was almost curfew time at the dormitory where Yenika was staying.

I chopped up various ingredients into a metal pot, cooked up some meat soup, and now we were sitting side-by-side, distributing it into bowls to satisfy our late-night hunger.

“Greetings.”

Belle Mayar always appeared without warning.

The quiet and demure temperament of the maids. So silent that if you encountered one in the forest, you couldn’t help but be surprised. Back when she was a senior maid, she used to come here to gather various herbs and plants, but ever since she became the head maid, she rarely had reason to visit the northern forest.

She still personally tended to Lucy, even after becoming head maid… Sometimes she’d come to the northern forest to fetch Lucy.

Her sudden appearance at camp was more of the same.

“… Did you come to look for Lucy?”

“… Yes. There’s a facility inspection at Ophelius Hall planned by the academy tomorrow. Deputy Headmistress Rachel will be attending in person, so Lucy, the top student in her year, must be present.”

While she spoke, already Lucy had been dragged out of her hammock and was caught in Belle’s arms.

… With an enigmatic expression that showed no intent of resistance. What in the world did the maid at Ophelius Hall represent to Lucy…?

With a demure posture, holding Lucy tightly, Belle let down her graceful hair at the nape of her neck and addressed us.

“I was quite shocked when I heard the death news, but seeing you healthy and well now is relieving. It finally feels like I can put my mind at ease.”

“I’m sorry to have worried you, Miss Belle. There were some circumstances on my end.”

“There’s no need for apologies to me. But did you know? Another circular came out from the academy; it seems the lower-ranked maids have been slacking in discipline. It’s a shame, really, as it’s a virtue for maids to always maintain a lower stance.”

“I see… I won’t be informal with them, though….”

“… Anyhow, with the academy sensitive about this issue, we might take this opportunity to reestablish the hierarchical employment relationship between maids and students and thoroughly review the job responsibilities. The issue of respectful language is particularly important.”

“I see…. Well, I’ll keep being respectful….”

Silence followed.

Belle, who always kept her eyes down or maintained a demure expression, gave a fresh impression when she looked sharply at someone like this.

Who knows how long this pointless standoff would last. It seems to have turned into a prideful battle of wills between us.

For whose sake is this fight…? It’s a mystery, yet strangely, I don’t want to lose either.

“It’s good to see you’ve been well since moving to Dex Hall, Miss Yenika.”

“Yeah…! Although it’s more inconvenient than being at Ophelius Hall, hanging out with friends is not too bad either…!”

Yenika smiled brightly at Belle, showing signs of vitality.

When Yenika was at Ophelius Hall, she was particularly close to Belle, who was then a senior maid, not a head maid. Even after a while, they seemed happy to see each other.

“I have to prepare for the inspection now and get Lucy ready, so I’ll take my leave. I hope both of you stay healthy and encounter no major issues with your academic life.”

With that, Belle said her goodbyes once more with Lucy in her arms, pushed through the brush, and left the camp.

Being the head maid, she would be swamped with paperwork and protocol duties, but she still took care of Lucy and even personally handled bottom-tier tasks like laundry or cleaning… Such a golden resource is indeed rare at the academy.

I wondered what she would choose to do after retiring from the position of head maid; she was surely someone to be curious about.

Suddenly, as if remembering something, Yenika slapped her palm and began to twist her body.

“Ed.”

Then, she turned to me.

Sitting side-by-side on a large tree stump, I tilted my head, looking at Yenika; now we were left alone in the camp.

“That… Can I ask you a strange favor?”

“A strange favor…?”

“Well… How should I put it… It’s just for fun… Like play… That kind of thing… Why… Anyway, it is a bit… odd to ask….”

Yenika twirled her braided hair as she spoke, put down her stew bowl at the fire, and explained:

“Uh, how about we try speaking formally…?”

“Formally…? Why bother? And why?”

“Well, it’s just to try it out. Reasserting our relationship… That sounds too grand, so… I just want to expand and contract a sense of distance… Like it’s trendy… Role-playing…!”

“…Role-playing is getting trendy, huh. And why? We’re already close, what’s the point….”

Yenika grabbed my forearm, tugging at my attention, and shook her head eagerly, begging me to give it a try.

In my case, because I owe a lot to Yenika, it feels a bit rude to refuse after all her insistence. Yenika is not one to insist without reason.

“Well, it’s not a big deal…”

“Right? It’s just something to try out…! No need to take it too seriously…!”

It might seem meaningless, but seeing Yenika so eager to try, it’s hard to keep complaining.

Agreeing with a nod, Yenika then twisted her body again, awkwardly sitting seiza-style on the ground.

“Anyway… just using formal language isn’t all… Hmm… it’s like we’ve just met… More than the feeling of classmates, it’s like… Just… not awkward but still respecting each other and maintaining manners…?”

“…If you feel I haven’t been respecting you or if I’ve been rude, I apologize… I thought we were close friends, but if you think I’ve been oblivious….”

“No no no, it’s not like that…! You know I’m not one to beat around the bush! Don’t misunderstand, it’s really not that…!”

Alarmed, Yenika reacted hastily.

“Just, I wanted to try this once.”

“…….”

Having received my nod, Yenika buried her face.

Whether from shyness or something else, she remained bowed, cloaked in silence for quite some time.

Cooling off with a small matter, I thought, ‘Just exchange a few words, make a polite exit, and that’s it.’ It was about time for Dex Hall’s curfew.

Now taking several deep breaths as if to gain courage, Yenika suddenly gathered her arms over her knees and cleared her throat, assuming a modest posture.

Despite the proposal, the embarrassment was palpable. When she finally spoke, her voice was as faint as an ant’s crawl, a stark contrast to her usual vivacity.

Unaware, I underestimated the potency of her following words.

“Hello… Mr. Ed.”

Head still bowed, her voice barely concealing her embarrassment, she glanced around as if trying to shrug it off.

Emotions are contagious, after all. Even if it seems trivial, when someone shows such discomfort, it’s hard not to be affected.

“Ah, yes…”

Again, silence.

Why are we so embarrassed, when asking anyone in the world about this situation would elicit a bewildered shrug? The cause of our speechlessness isn’t easily named.

Also, simply changing our speech has created a noticeable gap, unintentionally bringing objectivity to our relationship.

Even though we are close and share a profound connection, unknowingly, we were unaware – but now, stepping back to look at our relationship, we see that we are entirely different individuals.

Yenika, always vivacious and friendly, objectively seems unapproachable despite her beauty – which needs no explanation.

It’s her talent that stands out; effortlessly handling high spirits, recognized among the academy’s top capabilities, certain to accomplish something substantial post-graduation. Such talent.

This realization struck me because our relationship had grown comfortably familial. Once you remove the lenses of familiarity, the strangeness and tension renew your awareness of the current situation.

After exchanging a single line of conversation, we maintained silence for nearly three minutes.

“Um… That…”

Feeling obligated to speak, having been so cooperative, Yenika tried to raise her voice…but then surrendered.

“No, never mind…”

With restless fingers and a lowered gaze, her return to muteness prompted an additional wave of tension.

I held my breath, inexplicably, as if engaged in a breath-holding competition – who could last the longest?

Would it only be fair for her to burst into laughter, suggest this was enough, and then after a quick clean-up, talk casually about tomorrow’s plans as we head to the dormitories? But the overwhelming tension endured.

Realizing the emotional current had crossed a line, Yenika’s flushed face and clenched knees were clear.

She had not anticipated such a burn within, overwhelmed by the unforeseen depth of emotional gulf once the act began – like a novice driver unable to locate the brakes.

I decided it was up to me to take the lead in breaking this standstill when, suddenly…

“Ack, look at the time! The dorm curfew is nearly here…!”

Yenika leapt up, hastily wrapped herself in her cosmos-embroidered shawl, and grabbed her oak staff.

“Uh… um… that…”

Choosing the worst option, escape – or ‘maintaining the situation’ – she fled.

“O-oh, thank you for today. I’ll, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Clutching her staff with both hands, she bowed deeply and hastened through the brush.

Just like that, Yenika vanished from sight.

“…….”

Only the whispers of insects resonated through the camp.

Sitting alone in front of the dying fire for a while, I finally rubbed my face.

“Are we… really going to keep doing this…??”

A cold sweat streamed down my back.

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2 responses to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 110”

  1. SwagMeister69 Avatar
    SwagMeister69

    I think Team Yenika is leading.

  2. Why did Belle Maya let her hair down to confront Ed, tho?

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