The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 165

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

The Melancholy of the Wolf (1)

“Spirits often find it difficult to connect with humans. To spirits, humans always seem to be in a hurry because they are allowed such a brief time.”

“You speak as if you’re not human yourself. To my eyes, you’re no different.”

This tale predates the academy’s establishment on the vast expanse of Acken Island.

North of the towering Mount Orten lay a wide forest, a vast plain to the southeast, coastal areas to the west, and grasslands to the direct south. Wandering through the deciduous forests at the northernmost cliffs, climbing the mid-slopes of Mount Orten, or strolling along the forest’s riverbanks often revealed various ethereal spirits.

For Merilda, who had just become a high spirit, this serene landscape was deeply impressive. As a result, she found herself staying on Acken Island for extended periods, eventually becoming so attached to the island that she never left.

Acken Island, tucked away in the southwestern corner of the continent, was not devoid of natives. Settlers seeking a new life away from Jazhul’s territory or adventurers drawn by natural resources like the magic stones in the island’s coastal caves frequently visited.

Some settlers with their own stories formed small villages of about seven or eight households, living there as well.

Humans were unpredictable beings, sometimes harmonizing with nature but threatening it when necessary. Merilda, who had grown to love the northern forest, found these people difficult to deal with.

Though it’s complex to explain, there were numerous conflicts and periods of harmony. There were times when they united against disasters striking the island and times of anger towards humans who excessively hunted and logged.

“We’re going to build a school.”

Among these humans, the most remarkable was a girl. With her shiny silver hair tied back, wearing a leather tunic favored by mages, and a golden semi-robe, she always radiated vitality. Her simple rings of various colors, a necklace shaped like a dragon’s tooth, and jewel-encrusted clothing were all brimming with magical energy.

Rumored to be a genius who was expelled for dabbling in forbidden magic using the royal research facilities, her achievements were so significant that she wasn’t prosecuted.

Exiled to this barren island, for Sylvania Robespierre—a renowned magic researcher—the deprivation only fueled her passion.

Upon arriving, she clashed with Merilda by cutting down northern forest trees for magic wands and experimenting with material transmutation magic. Their interactions were mostly combative.

Sylvania’s unpredictable endeavors, like creating riverbanks to convert water’s falling energy into magical power or attempting to inscribe ‘Transmutation Magic,’ one of the forbidden magics, on a giant monolith, troubled Merilda. Yet, Sylvania continued her diverse magical research with a constant smile.

Without even a basic research cylinder, Sylvania managed to write numerous historic research papers on the island.

Merilda’s disapproval did little to dampen her scholarly enthusiasm. Always engaging in unpredictable actions, Sylvania’s announcement of founding a school was unexpected.

“Well, it’s more of an academy than a school, given its size.”

“What kind of sudden nonsense is this now?”

Sylvania’s propensity for stirring up trouble meant there was never a dull day on Acken Island after her arrival. For Merilda, who enjoyed the leisurely winds on the mid-slopes of Mount Orten or by the northern forest lake, it was a challenging time.

“I plan to set up a small wooden building on the eastern plains to teach magic and basic combat skills. Alchemy, too, if possible.”

“You must have a lot of time on your hands.”

“Not really. I’ve always said that unlike spirits, humans don’t have the luxury of time and must always live busily.”

Sylvania, arms akimbo and smiling slyly, seemed already to be causing unease.

“If some children are cast out from the royal family or the lawless areas and come to Acken Island. They’re all remarkable, probably sent here because the royal family wanted them out of trouble and under someone’s care. They all seem to have their own stories.”

“Well, you’ve been causing trouble since you were banished here. The royal family must be giving you something to keep you busy.”

“Well, I was a bit upset thinking they wanted me to just look after these kids… But surprisingly, they’re all good and diligent. And their backgrounds are so impressive, I realized there must be a reason they were entrusted to a great sage like me~.”

Sylvania then listed the incoming children: Teslyn McLore, a descendant of the legendary swordsman Luden; Gluckt Eldain, a young mage blessed by the stars; and Philona Bloomriver, a witch alchemist who concocted the ‘Elixir of Effort’ before her coming of age.

These three, excelling in combat, magic, and alchemy, would one day dominate the continent under the tutelage of the great sage Sylvania, but that was still a future yet to unfold.

“Anyway, I came to tell you about setting up something like an academy on the eastern plains. I won’t touch the northern forest and will ensure it remains natural, so I hope you’ll smoothly overlook this.”

The landscape of Acken Island, still closer to a land of nature than a land of study.

Regardless of human affairs, sitting quietly at the top of Mount Orten, watching the trees sway in the wind. In front of her, the great sage always hummed a happy tune. Initially, this annoyed Merilda, but lately, she has grown accustomed to it and doesn’t mind.

Adaptation is indeed frightening. Like water droplets eventually piercing through a rock, the girl had seamlessly integrated into her life, becoming an undeniable presence.

Merilda realized, through this experience, that being close to humans might not be such a big deal after all.

“Interacting with humans isn’t as bad as I thought. It’s just more bothersome than expected.”

Leaving behind such a disheartening sentiment, the wolf gazed down at the landscape of Acken Island for a while. Spirit time flows distinctly faster than human time, diverging in its pace. As the sun rises from the eastern sea and quietly sets in the west, the island’s scenery changes significantly over time. Cherry blossoms bloom, foliage thickens, leaves fall, and eventually, snow accumulates. Each moment on Acken Island was beautiful, but always changing.

Sylvania’s academy, initially a small establishment on the island’s eastern side, gradually expanded. The number of students increased, and soon, impressive buildings and spires were erected. What started as a mere academy was now known as Sylvania Academy, commemorating her unparalleled achievements in a fittingly grand manner. Thus, the eastern academy evolved over time into the ‘Faculty District.’

As the academy grew, the small human settlements to the west began to expand. The population increased slightly, forming its own market and attracting various people seeking opportunities. Consequently, the western village became known as the ‘Living District,’ even incorporating dormitories managed by the academy.

The island’s landscape has significantly transformed over time. The once wild and uninhabited Acken Island is now a memory of the distant past. Observing the buildings that occasionally rise and the students bustling about the academy, one can truly sense the passage of time.

Weaponry has advanced, and studies in combat techniques and strategies have expanded, diversifying the combat curriculum into dozens of branches. The academy’s Combat Department now produces not only warriors but also renowned generals and strategists.

The field of magic has also evolved. Once, mastering a single intermediate spell was enough to be considered an elite mage, but now, the academy boasts mages who can handle the highest level of magic. Though these individuals are exceptionally powerful, they represent a new era of human capability.

Alchemy has developed in a completely different direction, not stopping at mere potion mixing or mineralogy but extending into demonology, herbalism, craftsmanship, and magical biology. It feels as though every area not covered by magic has been devoured by the field of alchemy.

The flow of time and the advancement of academia are both swift and vast.

“Again, the era moves on without me.”

Merilda, in human form, perched on a particularly tall tree on the slopes of Mount Orten, looked out over the vista of Sylvania Academy and muttered softly, “It’s always been like this.”

“I’m thinking of running away.”

Such unexpected statements become less shocking over time.

“What are you talking about now?”

“Lately, it seems everyone takes me for granted, so I thought about disappearing for a bit. Consider it managing my value. Haha.”

“…”

The campfire basked in the warm sunlight of the day. Despite being late summer, the weather was pleasantly cool, a tricky time when dressing too lightly could lead to a cold due to the temperature differences.

As for me, catching a cold was the least of my worries, given my current state of health.

While I sat blankly watching the flames, Belle Mayar was chopping onions at a workbench.

The peaceful sound of the knife hitting the chopping board continued for a while.

“Did you call?”

“No, it’s just Merilda… That is, the spirit I’m contracted with, saying something nonsensical.”

“I see.”

My magic was depleted, so I couldn’t even manifest Merilda in her human form. Belle, lacking the ability to sense spirits, couldn’t see Merilda.

After a brief response, Belle returned to preparing various ingredients from a basket. The holiday season seemed to bring some respite to the duties at Ophelius Hall.

Whenever there was a break, Belle would come to care for me, given my poor health, taking care of various chores for the camp. I was grateful, as it allowed me to rest fully before the end of the holidays. I planned to repay her kindness once my condition improved.

“How dare you say it’s nonsensical. I’ve been through much deliberation.”

Merilda stood up from across the fire, her white skirt fluttering as she lightly kicked off the ground. Effortlessly, she floated over to a tree stump beside me, sitting down and stretching her legs towards the fire with a mischievous smile.

“You might say, I suddenly feel the urge to take off. If I disappear suddenly, leaving no one to manage the northern forest, the ethereal and lesser spirits that settled here would be in a panic, wouldn’t they?”

“You have a bad personality.”

“It’s just periodic value management. Continuous kindness is taken for granted as a right. That’s how you get taken advantage of. I need to remind them periodically of the trouble they’d be in without me. Yes.”

Merilda laughed and adjusted her dress.

“Since we’re on break anyway, I thought I’d manifest and wander around the academy. I plan to leave the northern forest to its own devices for a few days.”

“So, you just want a break. But with Lucy at the royal court, whose magic do you plan to use for manifestation?”

Merilda usually draws magic from both Lucy and me, but currently, there’s no sufficient source of magic on Acken Island.

“If you run out of stored magic, you won’t be able to maintain your form. You’ve probably used up most of your reserves in the last Crebin battle, so you’re practically destitute now.”

“Your staff is there. Without magic, I can’t perform spirit magic, but just manifesting in human form should be possible with the staff’s inherent abilities. Since I don’t need combat abilities, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“So, you made that out-of-the-blue statement just to borrow the staff’s power.”

“I always ask for permission before running away, you know~.”

Who ever heard of asking permission to run away?

But given her unique status as a contracted spirit, she had little choice.

“I’ll just roam the academy for a while, so unless there’s something urgent, just think of it as me having a bit of wanderlust and let it be.”

“Alright. You deserve a break after all your hard work.”

I struggled to sit up, asking Belle to bring my staff.

Belle, who had been boiling water beside the campfire, nodded quietly in response before heading into the cabin.

“Yenika and Lucy said they’d be back around the end of the holidays, right? Until then, focus on recovering. You’ve been through a lot, Ed.”

“Leaving the human you’re contracted with in the camp and wandering off doesn’t seem right for a spirit.”

“Belle is always here to take care of things. She’s full of cunning plans inside, but she can’t show her true colors because I’m always hanging around, right?”

As Merilda said this with a sly grin, I just stared at her, my eyebrows furrowed.

“You never get my jokes, do you?”

“This is the only time I can rest.”

“That makes sense. You’ll probably hear from your family’s remaining forces before the term starts, and once the semester begins, you’ll be busy with the curriculum. Yeah, you must be really busy and tired.”

Merilda playfully kicked a few stones nearby with her bare feet, sending them rolling through the grass before settling near the campfire.

As I zoned out, Belle emerged from my cabin with my staff.

“Here you are. Are you planning to use magic? It’s best not to overexert yourself.”

“No, I don’t even have the magic to use. I’m just relying on the staff’s power.”

Focusing for a moment with the staff in hand, its power began to manifest. Though incapable of any combat abilities, Merilda successfully materialized in her human form. It was nothing more than a manifestation, without any magic sensation—just a pretty girl with white hair.

Belle, finding the sight of the manifested girl on the tree stump fascinating, looked on in wonder. Merilda, familiar with Belle, gracefully smiled and jumped down from the stump.

“Ah, I love the feeling of stepping on grass when I’m manifested.”

Her delicate feet seemed as though they could easily be injured, but Merilda didn’t care, lightly lifting her skirt and playfully moving her legs as if dancing.

“Then, rest up until you hear from your family. I’ll be out and about for a bit.”

With that, Merilda waved and briskly walked away. I wondered if it hurt to walk barefoot like that but decided she was fine and let it be.

Poking the campfire a few times with a poker, I sighed deeply and relaxed my body.

I couldn’t taste anything. All food felt like chewing sand. One ear was barely hearing, and my left leg was weak. I alternated between mild and high fever, occasionally feeling nauseous or chilly.

I was completely out of magic. I hadn’t fully summoned a high-ranking spirit, just manifested a head and used a single spell. Even that short manifestation had left my body in shambles. Considering Yenika had summoned a high-ranking water spirit for an extended period, I wondered about her impressive empathic abilities.

Despite Yenika also having to be cared for a long while after summoning Friede, her level of empathic power was extraordinary.

Thinking of Yenika brought back memories of her worried expression when boarding the train to Phulanshan. Lortelle and Clarice felt the same.

However, it wouldn’t be right to ask them to postpone their precious homecoming or business/government duties just to care for me, who needed just to rest. The best way to repay them was to show significant improvement by the end of the holidays.

My biggest concern was Tanya.

After pushing me to return to Acken Island, Tanya wore a cloak bearing the eagle emblem of our house. Closing my eyes, I could picture her, her hair tied up, looking back at the ruined Rothtaylor mansion.

Though worried, my foggy mind and battered body made it hard to do anything useful. I would likely be more of a burden than help.

For now, recovery was the priority, knowing this, I forced myself to eat the tasteless food.

*By the time Legion Commander Magnus Callamore arrived at the Rothtaylor mansion, everything had already concluded. He had planned to visit towards the end of the social season, but a sudden military meeting delayed his arrival.

Seeing the completely ruined mansion and the tents erected in front, he was astounded.

“Legion Commander Magnus, I’m sorry we can’t offer proper hospitality under these circumstances.”

At the central table of the largest tent, a girl sat, managing the current situation.

Tanya Rothtaylor, the Student Council President of Sylvania Academy and the current head of the Rothtaylor family, addressed Magnus Callamore, the legion commander. Despite her youthful appearance, marked by a hint of fatigue, Tanya conversed adeptly with Magnus, who was many times her senior.

“As you can see, the current state of the Rothtaylor mansion is like this…”

“What happened here?”

Magnus, brushing back his unkempt hair, asked politely, immediately recognizing the elevation in her status.

Tanya gave a wry laugh, glancing down in response to the irony of the situation. Around her were a few nobles still discussing the state of the mansion. While most had returned to their domains, a few key nobles remained to help manage the crisis, including Sinir Bloomriver, the head of the Bloomriver family.

Sinir, an elder woman with a few wrinkles, acknowledged Magnus with a nod. Magnus reciprocated the gesture and then took a seat in front of Tanya.

Both Sinir and Magnus had children attending Sylvania, with Magnus’s son, wade Callamore, being the top student of the first year, and Sinir’s daughter, Trissiana Bloomriver, leading the fourth-year magic department.

Knowing well the Student Council President of Sylvania Academy, Tanya Rothtaylor, and her dual burden of leading both the academy’s student body and her beleaguered family, they couldn’t help but look at her diminutive frame with concern.

Nonetheless, Tanya began without hesitation, “I’ll get straight to the point. I’m in a tight spot and don’t have time to beat around the bush.”

Magnus, unaware of the specific events that had transpired, could only find her upfront manner somewhat abrupt. Yet, Tanya spoke candidly.

“I’m going to bring down Princess Sella.”

In the midst of a three-way struggle for imperial power involving Sella, Persica, and Phoenia, Tanya had to decide which path would ensure her survival.

“Would you be willing to cooperate?”

Magnus, a grand general commanding the vast northern grasslands, and Sinir, the matriarch known for her magical prowess, were crucial allies Tanya sought. However, allying with a family on the brink of extinction was a gamble few would take.

Despite this, Tanya confidently appealed for their support as if it were the only logical choice, showing no hesitation.

“Good morning, Ed.”

“Good morning, Belle. Sorry to disturb your rest, but a letter has arrived for you.”

“A letter?”

It was the next morning. As I was recuperating by the campfire, Belle’s early visit was unexpected.

“For me?”

“Yes. It was addressed to you at Ophelius Hall, so I collected and brought it here.”

“When was I last at Ophelius Hall that letters would still be sent there?”

“I’m puzzled as well…”

Upon receiving the letter from Belle, I quickly opened it. Despite the worn envelope, the ink was fresh.

The message wasn’t lengthy, so I scanned it rapidly.

“To the worst kidnapper and captor, Ed Rothtaylor.”

Belle and I exchanged confused glances as we read on.

“Your heinous act against a vulnerable girl, who couldn’t resist or even speak, will not be forgiven. I would report all your misdeeds to the academy council, but out of respect for the victim’s last wish for mercy, I will postpone your punishment if you come forward and apologize immediately. Appear at Glast Hall at once.

Sent by Patricia Bloomriver of the Magic Department.”

“…?”

“??”

Belle and I looked at each other, bewildered, before exchanging uncertain glances once more.

“Have you recently kidnapped or imprisoned a young girl?”

“…”

“…My apologies.”

Indeed, even in misunderstanding, Belle’s professionalism as a top-tier maid was evident.

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