The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 164

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Ed Rothtaylor’s Struggle for Supremacy (4)

After all this is over, let’s return home.

It’s a phrase often uttered by commanders wandering the battlefield.

Triggering the trigger on the front line for their own reasons, everyone has fleeting thoughts of their hometown.

Having a place to return to sometimes provides the strength to endure the harsh reality, whether it’s one’s hometown or the embrace of a family. The notion of ending this hellish life and returning to the foundation of one’s own life may not be so strange after all.

As I float through the hazy world of unconsciousness, memories of such tough times have seeped in.

Unfortunately, in this world, there is no place that I can call home.

*

“Senior Ed has been severely injured, Princess Sella.”

The atmosphere froze with Sella’s appearance and showed no signs of thawing.

A peculiar chill circulated among the figures gathered around Ed Rothtaylor and Sella. Even the multitude of nobles who followed her held their breath, sensing that the mood was far from normal.

“Of course, I too was caught in the massacre by the Rothtaylor family and suffered significant injuries. The Holy Capital will not take this matter lightly.”

Saintess Clarice mobilized all the justification she could muster to secure Ed’s custody against Sella.

“Although Senior Ed is a believer who received baptism from the Telos Order, there are allegations that he contributed to harming me, a saintess. He is a lamb that must be taken to the Holy Capital for a Trial by Holy Law.”

“…”

“The Order’s sacred laws are to be respected, but the royal laws of our empire are likewise not something that can be easily disregarded.”

Sella spoke quietly, looking down.

The sacred laws of the Order and the royal laws of the empire. The supremacy between the two has varied with the ages.

For centuries, the ecclesiastical and imperial powers had fiercely opposed each other. Sometimes the sacred law took precedence, other times the royal law.

Recently, with the rise of Emperor Clorel’s dominion, the royal law began to carry more weight. If a clash were to ensue, it seemed the priests of the Holy Capital would inevitably be at a disadvantage.

“Our empire has lost more than a dozen high nobles, and many have been seriously injured. How could our Clorel royal family sit still with this?”

Princess Sella originally did not wish to oppose the Holy Capital.

However, the situation itself is entirely irregular.

Ed Rothtaylor is akin to a key in the upcoming power struggle within the imperial hegemony.

Even if not for Sella, those who wish to exert influence would all aim to secure Ed and Tanya’s custody.

Sella, however, was the first to reach the pair due to being on site.

But those blocking Ed’s side were all influential figures.

“…”

Facing them head-on, Sella suddenly felt the need to swallow her dry saliva.

These were not merely friends she used to mingle with at the Sylvania Academy but a desperate guard determined to protect Ed.

Yenika and Lucy, famous for their actions during the Crebin subjugation, also cast cold glances at Sella.

The reason they stood against the tragedy at the Rothtaylor estate was more for the unwavering intent to protect Ed Rothtaylor than for a hero’s desire to reduce casualties.

Looking up at Lucy Mayrill standing absentmindedly in front of the oak tree, her white hair fluttering, Sella at last realized – she was closer to a rampant disaster than a hero.

She doesn’t act based on political logic or calculations of interests. Money, power, honor – she holds no concern for the values that ordinary people hold high.

Behaving as she deems right, paying no mind to everything else… She is an existence beyond this mundane world.

Could it be she’d turn even the royal family into an enemy if she so wished? Sella intuited such foreboding.

Interfering carelessly with that man could spell disaster.

But to leave things be might invite even greater trouble later.

Ed seems to have nothing right now, yet such influential figures follow him already.

If he were to gain even the slightest power or start forming a force, it would surely threaten the imperial authority.

Sella realized why Princess Phoenia Elias Clorel was so conscious of that man.

The power that man holds to gather giants into one place, it’s not clear where it comes from, but there’s something.

The sprout that would become a major problem must be crushed while it’s still weak. However, Sella does not yet have an immediate solution.

Saintess Clarice seems prepared to mobilize political influence, and without deploying the core forces of the imperial army, they can’t even attempt a challenge using absolute force.

If they cannot secure Ed Rothtaylor here, who knows when they might find a pretext to subdue him again.

Sella’s intuition screams. This is the last chance.

If force can’t press him down, then trick or negotiate – somehow, he must be brought to the royal capital.

Next time they encounter Ed Rothtaylor, who knows what position he might be in.

“Ed Rothtaylor’s hard work deserves commendation.”

Sella lowered her gaze and then spoke.

“We will take him to the royal capital for his treatment, and then I will report his hardships to my father, ensuring he receives an appropriate reward.”

Upon Sella’s words, the mood between the parties reversed.

Sella had capitulated, an unbelievable turn to the nobles, who exchanged disturbed murmurs.

None dared openly express discontent toward Sella, but the unexpected response left them exchanging confused glances.

“Of course, the same goes for Tanya Rothtaylor. My insistence on securing both is because I understand their positions best and can most effectively represent them within the palace.”

Seeing Sella’s response, Lortelle smiled discreetly beneath his robe.

Sella was proposing to hand over Ed Rothtaylor’s custody not to the royal side, but to the Elte Mercantile Alliance.

Even if the negotiation succeeds, Ed Rothtaylor would come under Lortelle’s management. He could then recover with support from the Elte Mercantile Alliance and devise a new plan of action after regaining consciousness.

A dead end.

Having come this far, Sella finds herself drawn into a situation that ultimately favors Ed Rothtaylor, regardless of which option she chooses.

Either way leads to a cliff with no return.

It’s the reason the merchants of Oldec never make an enemy of Lortelle.

Naturally, everyone cast doubtful eyes at Sella.

For Sella, known for her adherence to status and authority, to adopt such a cooperative stance was suspicious.

Yet Sella’s grand promises were like a devil’s temptation.

If Sella truly sides with Ed, they can gain an advantageous position in the royal inquiry to follow.

With Princess Phoenia’s support for Ed… the outcome may not be a punishment, but a vindication.

“…”

It goes without saying, once Ed’s well-being is surrendered to the royal palace, there’s no turning back.

Once Ed’s life is taken as hostage, all companions can no longer rashly act. That makes it difficult to simply transfer Ed’s custody to Sella.

But they cannot continue to be driven by the royal palace either. Ed Rothtaylor urgently needs to rest.

“The investigation and hearing need not be conducted solely within the palace, right?”

At that moment, dust-covered Tanya rose and spoke.

“I will stay on this estate.”

At her words, not only Sella but all eyes turned to Tanya.

“There may still be surviving servants, and we must begin restorations to the estate grounds. We cannot leave it neglected. And my father’s body must be reclaimed. All family members within the royal palace must return too.”

“Then…”

“I will take responsibility for the remaining family forces.”

Youth still glimmers in young Tanya’s eyes.

Despite having nothing left in her hands, there is no sense of despair or emptiness. Instead, a resolute will remains.

“Whether imprisoned or rewarded, I want to finish what I must do.”

Tanya pulled a tattered cloth from within her garments, the ripped cape once worn by Arwen.

With dust caked on and fraying everywhere, the cape has seen better days, but the bold eagle emblem of the Rothtaylor house was still prominent.

Tanya wrapped the cape around herself, tied her hair flying with the wind behind her, and declared.

“Like it or not, I have been the rightful heir to the Rothtaylor name all along. So… I am now the head of the Rothtaylor house.”

In front of the ravaged, burned Rothtaylor estate, Tanya spoke as if to say, “What of it?”

“The decisions regarding the house matters are mine to make. And I will decide on my brother’s whereabouts. I am the head, after all.”

At her words, everyone was frozen as if turned to ice, with only Lucy looking on sleepily.

Claiming the role of head for a nearly ruined family was tantamount to declaring one’s own doom.

The Rothtaylor house had been accused of conspiring against the royal family, massacring high nobles, and even plotting to summon an evil deity.

However, since the precise investigation is yet to be concluded… until proven guilty, family law allows her the right to make decisions.

“Whether Brother Ed heads to Phulanshan, Oldec, the Holy Capital… or even to the royal palace… that is for him to decide.”

“But Senior Ed is unconscious now.”

“No. He just woke up. That’s why I woke up too.”

Lucy countered Clarice’s claim, and an uncanny sound followed.

– Thwack.

The sound of a dagger sticking into the oak tree.

Struggling to stand in the throes of fever and chills, Ed leaned on the dagger and slowly rose. Ed’s companions, who were confronting Sella, all turned in shock in his direction.

“Ed!”

Quickly, Yenika rushed to support Ed’s body. The heat from merely touching his shoulder made Yenika swallow dryly. Ed’s condition was much worse than anticipated.

“Ed, we need to get you treatment somewhere fast…”

“Cough, cough…!”

Through his disheveled bangs, Ed’s eyes slowly emerged. The faces of all his companions entered his gaze.

“Ugh, huh, cough, cough….”

“Brother Ed. Right now…”

“I faintly… heard what was being discussed…”

Clutching his wavering consciousness, Ed steadied his body’s center of gravity.

Though his mind wasn’t functioning well, Ed clenched his teeth and spoke.

“I am… huuk… huh…”

Tension weaved through the group.

There was still plenty of vacation left at the Sylvania Academy.

Yenika Faelover must return to Phulanshan as planned, and Lortelle Keheln has business to wrap up in Oldec.

Clarice also has the status to return to the Holy Capital, while Lucy seemed indifferent.

Princess Sella wants to conclude the matter by taking Ed to the royal capital.

Choosing whom to follow is not difficult. Already, Lortelle has laid all the groundwork, so whichever path Ed chooses, it should ultimately benefit him.

That’s why there’s effectively no correct answer. Ed Rothtaylor simply speaks as the thought comes to him.

“Huuk, huuk, huu….”

So, in the end, who shall be followed? At the site of the burning mansion, Ed Rothtaylor had somewhat concluded his long and tiresome fate tied to the Rothtaylor family. Yet, there were still many unresolved matters. The journey of “Sylvania’s Failed Swordsaint” was far from over. Despite this, Ed Rothtaylor… just wanted to take a break for now.

*The Imperial Central Army burst onto the mansion site. The well-trained soldiers quickly took control of the scene and skillfully divided their manpower to begin investigating the incident. Princess Sella brushed her face, thinking back on the nearly dead man looking down at everyone with a moribund expression.

“Ed Rothtaylor.”

In front of an imposing imperial carriage, attended by Dest, Princess Sella looked up at the destroyed Rothtaylor mansion.

“What kind of value could he possibly have…?”

Princess Sella couldn’t see in him the qualities that would matter. Yet, each of the talents gathered around Ed Rothtaylor was unreachable.

The intuition she had now was that his presence would play a greater role than expected in the future competition for imperial authority.

“Then again, I don’t see Phoenia.”

Phoenia, having left the tent with cold eyes, did not show up in the end.

“The Imperial Army reported that she immediately rode a horse towards the imperial palace after the incident.”

“What? She returned to the palace?”

“It seems she has… made some decisions and is moving quickly to reach the palace before Princess Sella.”

Sella frowned and clenched her mouth. Even Phoenia, who was previously powerless, seemed to have found some willpower. It won’t be difficult to find out what she’s planning, but it would certainly require legwork. If Phoenia also starts eyeing the imperial power, things will get more complicated, considering Persica alone is enough to worry about.

Anyways, Ed Rothtaylor is a minefield in many ways. Handling or attempting to dismantle him carelessly could lead to huge repercussions.

Sella swallowed dryly.

Still, she couldn’t just leave things be. It seemed necessary to keep him in mind. Sitting by the carriage, she saw many nobles concluding their investigation and returning to their territories. A procession of lavish carriages kicked dust up as they headed to their domains, including the carriages of Yenika Faelover and Lortelle, as well as the one from the Shenghuang City.

From the imperial perspective, they needed a primary witness to the mansion incident. While Ed Rothtaylor was the most suitable, Sella could not secure him due to strong opposition.

Instead, she had to compromise by having another individual related to the case to testify on their behalf towards the palace.

However, this substitute was someone neither who could be taken as a hostage nor moved by Sella’s intentions. It was the most uncontrollable person from Ed’s party.

Led by Dest into the carriage, Sella saw across her a girl sprawled lazily, swinging her legs with utter disregard for decorum. Her tangled platinum hair and witch’s hat she was trying to pack were quite remarkable.

The girl, seemingly asking the princess what she wanted by lying sprawled in the carriage, released a sigh.

Lucy Mayrill.

The witch who agreed to attend the palace’s current situation investigation on behalf of Ed Rothtaylor was a ticking time bomb beyond Sella’s control.

It also seemed unlikely she would be cooperative, which meant Sella’s only option would be to return her once the investigation was over.

It was a completely failed compromise.

*Although Lortelle’s newly completed villa wasn’t as big as expected, Belle Mayar cocked her head, considering his wealth. After seeing the full view of Ed’s camp, she understood. A dwelling too large for Lortelle would create a sense of discord, since he desired to live closely with Ed – not to overshadow him with his extravagant wealth.

Thus, the modest size of the villa was understandable.

“Once the vacation ends, you’d be able to reside here immediately,” she noted, standing amidst the faintly shining crescent moon in the northern forest.

After a day’s work, checking the camp, Belle Mayar felt a sense of emptiness anew. Her greatest satisfaction as head maid of Ophelius was helping students struggling to adapt to unfamiliar environments, sustaining their lives.

That’s why she felt empty during this vacation period when the students left Acken Island. Despite getting somewhat used to it, roaming around the empty Ophelius and academy campus often invoked a peculiar feeling.

While the semester brought busyness, there was never a middle ground. Workaholic as she was, this wasn’t a terrible environment for her.

After securing Lortelle’s modest villa, Belle Mayar stretched to relax her weary body.

Her mechanical stretching seemed a bit unnatural in the absence of witnesses, perhaps because she was letting down her guard for a moment.

Surely, she too was influenced by the liberating atmosphere of the late summer vacation.

Shadows of insects brushed against the crescent moon, and whispers of rustling leaves in the night’s breeze startled the camp buildings into a faraway composition.

It felt so peaceful it could be another world.

With these thoughts, as she turned to return to Ophelius, a boy appeared from the bushes.

“…!”

Even usually stoic Belle Mayar was startled.

Ed Rothtaylor, known to have returned home, swayed as he walked into the camp.

Clearly, his reddened face and dragging feet were not normal.

Taking advantage of Belle Mayar’s surprise, the young man slumped against a tree stump near the campfire site, spilling a leather pouch he carried.

“Master Ed? Wasn’t it that you were due to return at the end of the vacation? The others… How…?”

Caught off guard, Belle Mayar asked, to which Ed Rothtaylor, mustering some lucid thought, brushed his face.

“You were in the camp, Belle.”

“… Yes? Ah, yes…”

“Please, light a fire. I’m having some difficulty with magic right now.”

With his dying voice, Belle raised a small flame with light magic.

Welcoming its long-absent owner, thus camp’s fire softly illuminated its vicinity.

Sitting in front of it, Ed wiped his face, leaning his forearms on his knees, his head bowed.

The gentle heat caressed his face.

Familiar night sounds of insects and the scent of grasses tickled his nose, relieving the tension in his shoulders and easing his muscles.

Belle watched, wordless for a moment behind him.

Newly shifted camp shadows danced around the camp, and warmth from the flames seemed to knead the body.

“… Was your journey difficult?”

Belle, who had diligently waited, finally asked gently.

Ed pondered the question.

The wanderers of the battlefield, in the end, seek their place. Wasn’t he much the same?

Thrown into this world, he struggled, tumbled, and bit down hard in his efforts – all traces were left here in this camp.

The first shelter, the first fishing rod, the first campfire, cabins, spears, hunting tools, clasps, wild animal skins, books on magic training, a carpentry workbench, hammers, fishing nets…

After all the twists and turns, could it be that this camp was the right place to come back to?

More attached to this camp than expected, he dragged his shattered body back, wanting to return.

Ed steadfastly declined his companions’ invitations to return together, and found his way back to the camp alone.

Ignoring Yenika’s attempts to cast aside return plans, Lortelle’s willingness to endure business losses to follow, Clarice’s attempts to rearrange the entire Shenghuang schedule, even Tanya encouraged him to recuperate while she would finish affairs at the mansion.

Glancing at the crescent moon… Ed chewed over Belle’s question.

Was the journey during this vacation difficult?

It certainly was.

He fought for his life returning to the Rothtaylor mansion, ended the feud with the Rothtaylor family, turning battle-worn. Though brief, the journey was arduously tough, enough to make even Ed, who never complains of hardships, wince.

And there remained much to deal with.

Finishing the business with the Rothtaylor clan, he seemed to have unwittingly influenced the imperial power structure and was left pondering the remnants of the Rothtaylor powers. Still without a clear plan to tackle Sacred Dragon Bellbrock and piled with forthcoming academic semester tasks.

Of course, looking back, there was no easy path. Living in the forest, he survived day to day filled with effort.

So the place he wished to return and finish everything… was here, before this campfire.

“Of course it was tough. I nearly died several times.”

Finally, Ed replied.

“That’s why… I wanted to come back here quickly.”

“…”

Belle surveyed Ed’s back discreetly, noting he looked in need of care, but wishing to be alone at the moment.

Yet she couldn’t leave him like this with worries, contemplating what to do when she suddenly felt a sense of dissonance.

“By the way… You’ve finally treated me informally.”

“Yeah, you won.”

“I appreciate your understanding. However, did something change your mind..”

“Hey, Belle.”

Ed quietly called her name, still head bowed.

Through the journey over the break, he felt as if he lived a lifetime of experiences.

“Sylvania’s Failed Swordsaint” Act 1 Scene 1. The life of a third-rate villain, exiting first.

He recalled the senior maid who had stopped him from ending his life and preventing it at that initial moment…

“You, you’re even better than I thought.”

“…”

“You’ve made me very grateful.”

Caught off guard by his words, Belle hesitated, then bowed her head slightly.

“That’s an overstatement.”

Saying so, she left him by the fire and quietly exited the camp.

Looking back, the dim silhouette of her employer rested by the soft glow of the campfire.

She would surely check his condition tomorrow, but for now, it seemed right to let him soak in the camp atmosphere alone for the night.

The head maid of Ophelius was always skilled at her work, even knowing when to leave her employer be, reading his wishes without a word.

So, Ed Rothtaylor sat by the campfire for a while.

With much to resolve, but for now, he needed a break to forget it all.

The quiet summer night deepened, the pale light of the crescent moon seeping through the woods.

The lengthy summer vacation was drawing to a close.

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2 responses to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 164”

  1. belle is very reliable and while ed appreciates waifu’s and his sisters attempts he knows it’s safer to be in spot that both out of the way and feels like home for some personal time given what he went through

  2. Let the man rest his body and mind first. He’s been through a lot and narrowly escaped death.

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