The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 112

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Excuse me, Yenika(4)

No matter how unexpected the situation, never panic. Stay calm, assess the situation, and find the most appropriate response. Whether you’re living in the wild, engaging in combat, or dealing with the various events in a scenario, these were principles that must not be forgotten. After more than a year of such a lifestyle, I thought I had become adept at reacting skillfully to anything without panic… but then…

“…….”

Yenika’s blunt remark momentarily made my brain feel like it had switched off and then back on again. Firstly, I needed to find a pretext to buy some time to gather my thoughts. Fortunately, I found an easy excuse: drops of blood were falling from my thumb.

After tending to the knife, I wrapped a leftover piece of cloth around my thumb as a makeshift bandage, which gave me enough time to come up with a brief reply. While I was performing this first aid, Yenika remained motionless as if she was about to exhale smoke from her face buried in her knees. Judging by her reaction, she seemed well aware of the implications of her own words. There was no mistake or misunderstanding on my part.

The emergency treatment for my finger was complete, and it was time to face the issue again.

“Firstly… you are probably anticipating what I am about to discuss. Nonetheless, we need to go over this.”

After casually tossing the remaining cloth pieces into the campfire to burn them, I dabbed the bloodied knife with a handkerchief while speaking. Despite her deep reflections before speaking, I had to respond naturally without showing any surprise or incredulity. That was a matter of courtesy.

“… It may seem unnecessary to say this out loud, but I do like you quite a bit. Not just me, most likely others think the same; you are indeed kind, diligent, and a fine person.”

My words, though merely a prelude to the main topic, made Yenika bury her head even deeper into her knees and tremble. I inadvertently took a false breath upon seeing her heave for air.

Peeling the remaining skin off my apple, I bit into it. I had cut away the part stained with blood and didn’t feel right offering it to Yenika.

After allowing Yenika to regroup for a moment, I approached her again.

“… However, we can’t overlook the fact that I am also a man.”

Especially in situations like this, one must remain calm, realistic, and objective.

“Listen, Yenika. I’m not sure how you see yourself, but… you are exceedingly beautiful. A true beauty. Anyone ordinary would find someone like you…”

“St, stop…”

Her unexpected call to stop halted me mid-sentence.

All my efforts to maintain a neutral expression and a calm tone felt futile. Was it all meaningless?

Yenika, her head against her knees, was already blushing like a beetroot. It was as if she had been subjected to some cruel prank, her face wet with tears as she implored.

“I’m s-sorry… I can’t b-breathe…”

“…….”

“No… I just can’t breathe… May I take a moment… to breathe deeply?”

She’s still speaking formally… How stubborn can she be?

“…Yes.”

Am I really going to indulge her in this?

And so, we spent a good while longer simply listening to the sounds of the campfire. We’d make progress, take a break, then collect ourselves before attempting to speak again… it felt like we were diffusing a bomb.

I filled two wooden mugs with cold water, handed one to Yenika, and took a few sips from the other. Yenika took Muk in her tiny hands and drank the water in one go, letting out a sigh that seemed to clear the atmosphere.

Feeling more settled now, I broached the subject again.

“So, about living together…”

Just mentioning it seemed to make the tension skyrocket once more. Yenika buried her head, her face flushing anew.

It seemed she was rethinking her words. This back-and-forth was getting nowhere.

I had to plow through, bring the conversation to a conclusion quickly. Otherwise, we’d be here all night without resolving anything. Yenika had a curfew back at Dex Hall, after all.

Luckily, I managed to keep my composure despite Yenika’s bombshell. While momentarily thrown off balance, this was still something I could manage rationally – after all, I had learned to keep a cool head in any situation over the past year.

And Yenika… despite her unexpected outburst that had caused tension, was still a reasonable person. For her, I needed to respond with level-headedness.

“Living under the same roof might lead to unpredictable outcomes, and nobody can foresee the consequences. I wish to always be considerate and respect you, but, to be frank, men are all similar in some respects. I appreciate your trust, and it’s a good thing. But don’t ever forget that the only person who can truly protect you is yourself, Yenika.”

Instead of dwelling on it, I brought the discussion to a swift conclusion.

Yenika, hugging her knees, seemed to have listened to my words.

I silently applauded myself for maintaining my rational mind up to this point.

Now that it’d come this far, Yenika wouldn’t likely drop any further bombshells.

Yet, as proof of my complacency, she locked eyes with me and began to speak…

“It would be different with you, Ed.”

Her words choked off my own voice again.

“Ah.”

She, too, took a while to process her own reflexive statement, visibly shivering as the color rushed back into her previously calm cheeks.

The literal expression “lost for words” fittingly described the moment.

I hesitated, unsure what to say, and managed only a stuttered attempt.

“Ed-…is…different…”

Whether she bit her tongue trying to say “Ed is different” or something else, Yenika inhaled sharply and covered her mouth with both hands, watching my reaction. Already troubled by the escalating mood, her fumble seemed to embarrass her. As for me, I rubbed my chin to keep my composure in check.

It was a combination of unfortunate events.

I could normally handle any situation smoothly, but ironically, all sorts of circumstantial layers converged to push my rational mind to its limits.

Imagine having just gone through an exhausting student council election campaign, and upon returning to camp, feeling a sense of relief and liberation… that’s the backdrop to this situation.

The end seemed in sight after enduring extreme situations, with the sheer effort to survive day by day lessening as basic infrastructure was established, leading to a lighter load and easier times.

Then there was exchanging formalities with Yenika, making for a novelty tinged with a peculiar closeness, as if tiptoeing along a fine line between familiarity and strangeness.

The bright moonlit night, the gentle glow of the campfire, the soothing sounds of insects humming in the grass – all add to the sentimentality of the atmosphere.

And then there was the girl, blushing without restraint at her outburst, as if challenging the world to push her further into an emotional corner. I finally closed my eyes, surrendering.

It felt almost calming to have reached this point.

“Yenika.”

Just whispering her name was enough to make her quiver… It wasn’t easy for me either.

Yet, there was a critical detail we couldn’t simply gloss over.

Every man could become a fawning yes-man in such a scenario that threatened to overpower one’s rational mind, but there was one crucial aspect that must not be overlooked.

It was the circumstances that led Yenika to make such a statement.

Though I was initially flustered by the unexpected and explosive nature of her statement, I couldn’t afford to miss the essence of the matter because of being swayed by the situation.

So I asked her directly, “Are you having a tough time?”

Her face paled as if doused with cold water. I could sense her deflating in an instant.

Even if the Dex Hall was considered basic accommodation, it was hardly as harsh as living in the wild. By all accounts, it seemed quite habitable.

But her sudden wish to live in the camp made the reason painfully clear. Yenika must have found herself under considerable stress.

After nearly a year of living in close quarters with her peers, the strains of expectation, goodwill, and admiration became apparent. While these could drive some to surpass themselves, the same could act as poison for others.

“…….”

The silence returned with a subtly different texture.

Yenika hugged her knees, staring blankly at the campfire before letting out a bitter laugh.

“Ed, you seem to know everything.”

Her haha softened the mood. It was the same cheerful smile she gave when greeting friends around the academy.

Despite its genuine nature, few could grasp the subtle weight that lurked within that deep psychology.

In essence, perhaps Yenika…

“I wanted to escape. I miss the days of living alone in a private room in Ophelius Hall. Sounds foolish, doesn’t it?”

Rather than respond emphatically, I simply shook my head sideways. After all, who would dare criticize someone for feeling that way?

“To me, this camp has been… like a refuge. That’s why I wanted to flee here. Of course, it might have been an undue burden for you.”

“…….”

“For you, this camp represents a year’s worth of hard work, right…? Evidence of your fierce struggle to survive in the wild. And now, for me to impose on that… it’s absurd…”

But that was something Yenika knew well.

The suffocating heat that could bring someone to their knees, the bone-chilling cold of winter.

All the various survival challenges interwoven with the development of this camp made it incredibly special to me.

She understood better than anyone the nature of this place—a realm of loss. She considers it shameless to infringe upon such a space with her own emotional issues… Moreover, because of her steadfast character, there’s a misunderstanding regarding the issue at hand. Specifically, her perception of the act of ‘running away’ itself.

“Running away won’t solve anything. Instead of fleeing from problems, you need to face them and fight back. Right. Even I had my moments of weakness.”

Yenika spoke, nodding to herself. Still, her demeanor remained tentative.

“Even so… I wanted to ask Ed at least once. I knew it would be burdensome, but… I don’t understand why I did it.”

Having said that, she sniffled and fell silent.

For a while, we simply shared time, looking at the campfire.

With my elbows on my knees, I looked up at the starry sky.

The constellations shone brilliantly, but beneath them, darkness reigned on the ground… I couldn’t even clearly see what lay beyond the thicket. Life is often like this, and Yenika was no exception.

I tossed the remains of an apple into the campfire.

“It’s definitely burdensome,” I murmured, speaking the truth plainly. I couldn’t treat Yenika with deceit since she was so earnest.

Yenika, completely deflated by my words, propped her head on her knees and let out a wry laugh.

“Overall, you’re right Yenika,” I said.

“Even hearing someone suddenly declare they’ll live at camp leaves one dumbfounded, not knowing how to react.”

“Hehe, I guess so.”

Her voice was soaked at the end, touching my heart, so I decided not to drag the conversation any further.

I dusted off my clothes, stood up, and sat down next to Yenika. Sitting side by side, I was struck by the girl’s petite frame.

“Now you’re not using formal speech.”

“Ah!”

Surprised, Yenika hiccupped and promptly swallowed her breath. Perhaps finally breaking her obstinate resolve which I could not fathom the meaning of.

It seems now I understand. The reason she insisted on keeping her distance with formalities was due to realizing the reality of the situation.

Whether it was hope or respect, as the burden on Yenika grew… Given her sincere and solid nature, she likely felt compelled to confront issues head-on.

If that were the case, whether it was making the camp a place of refuge or my presence… You can’t help thinking it’s best to create some distance. She was enamored with the compulsion that running away isn’t the answer.

She may still be too young and inexperienced to fully understand.

Reality is strangely different from a fairy-tale world, where more often than not, running away may be the right answer when faced with trials.

I’ve seen far more people become happy by seeking different paths in life rather than insisting on facing hardships and accumulating emotional scars.

But for Yenika, who has lived a life always receiving sincere respect and goodwill, running away and turning her back on that goodwill probably wasn’t even an option. And that’s problematic.

“But here’s the thing, Yenika. Strictly speaking, isn’t my feeling of burden an entirely separate matter?”

“Huh?”

“Let’s not be so arrogant. It’s normal in life to impose burdens on others and to deal with what others impose on us. Who can live without ever relying on someone? We just live by leaning on each other.”

“…”

“And just to point out, I owe you a lot.”

Whether it was help with spirit magic lessons or maintaining a recluse’s life, I have a great debt to Yenika. That’s why I’ve set my next magical training goals on the staff – I had nothing else to offer as recompense.

It might seem normal, but for this girl, even that expected recompense is a debt on her conscience.

Being born with a kind heart and charm is a delightful thing, but sometimes, it can become a burden.

“I’m prepared to take on the burden since I owe you, even if it’s a bit heavy. Well, if it feels like the books aren’t balancing, next time I’ll just ask for something burdensome in return. We’re not going to see each other for just a day or two, are we? Like ebb and flow, we just need to give and take. We’re going to know each other for a long time.”

“Then…”

“Even so, living under one roof could be burdensome. Maybe we should build another cabin?”

Yenika’s pupils seemed to dilate slightly at that.

Using formal speech and reestablishing our relationships, reverting to an awkward relationship to objectively view one another, all had their significance.

Experiencing a fresh and awkward relationship had its merits as well.

Yenika, too, no matter how stingy the relationship, would not hesitate to lend a hand if someone needed help.

If she saw someone lying on the road in pain, whether they were a beggar or a thief, she’d help first before making distinctions. It’s difficult to ask directly, especially if it’s unfamiliar, but… she’d muster the courage to offer assistance. Excuse me. Do you need help?

However, life isn’t always fair. Not every act of kindness is rewarded.

Even if one lives a life of generosity… when you’re in pain, there’s no guarantee someone will be at your side.

How sad it must be to sit crying on the curb with no one to say a caring “Excuse me” and offer a word.

Eventually, someone who can’t resist will reach out to that shoulder. That’s the difference between someone who lives giving and someone who doesn’t.

“…”

After finishing speaking, I felt somewhat awkward and simply gazed up at the sky.

I expected Yenika’s character to be bouncing with joy… but her reaction was surprisingly calm.

With Yenika’s arms around my shoulders, she hugged me earnestly, and soon, with a half-soaked voice, she spoke.

“Thank you…”

Holding Yenika close, I stroked her hair gently with one hand… and I gazed quietly at the sky.

The night sky of Acken Island was high and bright.

* * *

[Good morning, Master Ed…! I’m not sure if this has been sudden, but I, Muk, will explain slowly…!]

The next morning, after sending Yenika back to Decks Hall and catching some sleep myself, the sight that greeted me was one of a camp full of spirits. At the center of them was the high-level fire spirit Tarkan, almost invisible to the average level of perception.

“…”

[Oh, you’re up. Ed Lost Taely.]

The mighty spirit, swaying its tail back and forth, commanding an army of spirits, was the very definition of a legion commander.

[Just in time, I needed your opinion. I have no experience in building cabins. I’d like to replicate the feel of your cabin, and while the spirits’ nifty hands can handle cutting and preparing the logs, construction itself seems to be a delicate task.]

“Could you start by slowly explaining… what’s going on here…?”

[Look around, we’re building a hut.]

Following last night, Yenika clung to me for a while with her face flushed like a tomato before returning to the dormitory.

We planned to slowly discuss details such as her transfer to the camp, handing in her notice, and cabin construction over the next few days.

[We’ll discuss the specifics later. To be honest, I’m quite tired. There’s been a party in the spirit world overnight… Well, no need to get into details. Anyway, we’re celebrating and we’ve got work to do.]

Without any clearer explanation given…

[Initial clearing of the ground has been done, but… building it directly opposite the fire feels aesthetically better, the romantic feeling of stepping out in the morning and facing each other. Yet, side by side might not be bad either… Close, but with just enough privacy to… Hmm… Or perhaps as close as possible…]

“Are you telling me this has all happened overnight…?”

[Sorry, I’m dead without initiative.]

Was Tarkan holding a grudge because I had beheaded it in act one?

The sight of Tarkan chuckling made shivers run down my spine.

[The overall plan is set for about ten days, Lord Tarkan. As a site foreman Muk, I will establish the most efficient work plan…!]

[Ten days…?]

[Yes…! Considering the spirits’ shift rotation and rest plan, that’s the timeframe. Reducing the work period will depend on the schedule’s progress.]

[Rest…? Why rest…?]

Tarkan frowned at the thought, lowering his voice as he spoke.

[I don’t understand… Why take a break…?]

[Um…?]

[Back in my day, you could carry a shaman around for three days straight, cross snow-capped mountains for almost a week, and still be fit for battle the next day. These days with more shamans and easier contracts, lower-tier spirits have lost their discipline. They’re all about eating their fill and resting, barely thinking of work. How can they hope to transform, rise to mid-tier, let alone meet a worthy higher shaman to contract with?]

Muk, evidently adept at reading the room, could not resist nodding despite the chill Tarkan’s words gave him.

[So, if I try to pull forward the schedule… could we manage in a week…?]

[What if… we proceed without shift rotations… Can we cut the schedule even further…?]

[Um?]

[Do you realize how hard Yenika is trying to hang on every day? And with the transfer decided, she must be going to bed with a racing heart full of anticipation. Can’t you imagine that feeling…?]

As Muk’s face blanched, Tarkan fluidly continued.

[Wrap it up in five days. For construction advice, this Ed Lost Taely here is enough to ask.]

[Yes…! Understood…!]

And with that, the spirit with its enormous tail waltzed off.

[This… this brutal schedule… How do we… manage this…]

Looking over the camp, various spirits were sweating profusely, moving lumber around.

[If it comes to it… I’ll just have to do it… Muk… I will… I must…!!]

After all, I was at the root of all this.

Muk, slumped in defeat on a log stump after Tarkan’s departure, elicited a silent tribute from me.

Really… sorry about this… Muk…!!!

It wasn’t intentional… Really…!!

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2 responses to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 112”

  1. Oh he did it! Good work

  2. SwagMeister69 Avatar
    SwagMeister69

    Translation and duplicate dialogues. But overall great chapter.

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