The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 17

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Joint Combat Training (4) (Edited)

Commander Claire rushed after Princess Phoenia, who had suddenly dashed out of the sparring ring and headed towards the exit.

The princess who had been struggling with anxiety and pain finally calmed down when she saw her commander approaching. While her anger seemed to have reached the peak, her status as royalty seemed to prevent her from displaying unseemly behavior before her commander.

“I won’t just give up like this,” she declared, her face still showing signs of her unsettled anger as she marched purposefully towards me.

“You must be hiding something. I may not understand why you’re being so obstinate and not speaking, but I can tell there’s something… While I don’t sense malice or dark intentions…”

“I believe you’re overestimating me, Your Highness…”

“Listen well. I might not have evidence now to make my case but…” Her piercing golden eyes fixed on me.

Indeed, the more I thought about it, the clearer it became that Princess Phoenia was a person of interest, every bit as notable as Lucy Mayrill. Especially challenging is her insight, which makes it difficult to behave with just the right measure of decorum.

It’s as if her sharp intuition had caught a glimpse of my desperate outburst at Taely within that brief moment, not allowing for the slightest lapse of attention. In the novel ‘Sylvania’s Swordmaster of Failure,’ Princess Phoenia’s insight was simply a skill in combat to foresee an opponent’s next move or catch a glimpse of their stats.

Anything beyond that was treated as mere backstory for the narrative. Yet, faced with that ability in reality, dealing with her insight in everyday life proved to be more troublesome and mentally exhausting than I had anticipated. It would be best to keep a distance from Princess Phoenia.

Although she is a main character in the scenario and our paths are unlikely to cross more often than necessary, I resolved to avoid becoming too friendly with her.

“If I see the slightest hint, I will certainly seek the answers.”

Though I’m not sure how easy it will be to keep that distance, it depends largely on my efforts. After saying her piece, Princess Phoenia sighed deeply, seemingly aware of the ridiculousness of the current situation.

Restoring her usual tension only after she had placed her arms on her hips and sighed, she apologized for the manner she had earlier lashed out with.

“My sincerest apologies for the spectacle I caused.”

Even though her anger had surged, her apology at the end was typical of Princess Phoenia. Ordinarily, she is not one to show irritation or anger towards others, and the reasons are deeply complex.

The chasm of status between the princess of a nation and a mere student is enormous. Even a slight annoyance from the princess could spell disaster for the other party considering their positions.

I am familiar with the stories from her childhood – too lengthy to recount in full detail here. But they suffice as reasons why she became so selflessly considerate and kind-hearted, such as the incident where a maid was whipped in the imperial gardens for leaving a stain on a teacup, highlighting the negligence in such a critical duty of ensuring the royalty’s safety against poison.

Not to mention the alterations in the guard detail whenever she took a tumble in the gardens or the ashen look on the imperial physician’s face at her slightest ailment. A broken heel at the royal banquet resulted in the royal tailor begging for forgiveness with tears.

For the naturally graceful Princess Phoenia, all these incidents were pressures and shackles. As a lofty sovereign, not the slightest misstep is permissible; any fault of her own could bring irrevocable calamity upon others.

More so, if she were to openly show anger or frustration, she could not fathom the disasters that might follow. The title ‘Compassionate Princess’ praises her benevolent nature, but I knew better. That title was a chain that bound her.

Yet, there was nothing I could do, nor did I have any reason to. If anything troubled me, it was the variable that was myself.

“You may leave. I noticed you’ve been looking towards the door; you must have pressing matters, right?”

With resigned understanding, the princess allowed me to exit, which I appreciated. Regardless, introducing stress to the princess, who is a main character, seemed wrong.

– ‘As if it’s not hard enough to keep up with the classes, that fox-like merchant is trying to prey on the school with hidden motives… Professor Glast’s malice isn’t getting any better…! And in the midst of that, the servants keep bringing up imperials laws…! As if I don’t have enough to worry about already! It’s exhausting..!’

Losing herself in a moment of intense emotion, she was clearly different from the Princess Phoenia I knew. No doubt, the myriad of incidents in the scenario had worn her down, and with me as an added factor, she must’ve felt completely overwhelmed.

While I fret that such instability may adversely affect upcoming events, what could I do about it? Nothing, really.

“What burden I might carry, Your Highness, could hardly weigh more than yours.”

I added a few more words as I reached for the door, perhaps overstepping my bounds, but I didn’t think she would fault me for this bit of audacity.

“Being conscientious about complex politics and reign must surely be necessary, but how about you take it easy on your heart? This isn’t the imperial palace where majesty constantly reins supreme… This is Sylvania Academy.”

Her pupils seemed to dilate with my words, surprising, as I’d said nothing of shock. Perhaps she’s not accustomed to having someone see through her own facade as she has to others’.

Struck by her expression as if stabbed in the heart, I quickly closed the door behind me on my way out.

Fortunately, she did not stop me—a genuine relief.

After all, Princess Phoenia is a main character. While she may be fixated on me for the moment, once she’s entangled in all sorts of events, she’ll soon forget about someone trivial like me..!

Let’s hope we never cross paths again!

Please!

*

I found Taely McLore sitting on a bench at the edge of the student union building, still clenching the wooden practice sword she had used during the duel.

While I could see Taely from afar, I had no clear plan on how to approach her.

“Hmm…”

Isn’t this situation rather ironic? Or rather, there shouldn’t have been any question about it to begin with.

Ed Rothtaylor was a third-rate villain who berated Taely McLore and tried to chase him away. Now, to offer encouragement seemed rather funny.

Sure, I had acted on impulse due to the sudden turn of events, but upon reflection, there was nothing I could do to properly encourage Taely from my position.

No matter what I said, it would lack sincerity given our history.

Sidelined by the awkward situation and pondering the next move, I somehow found myself walking towards Taely when suddenly someone blocked my path.

“Don’t come any closer.”

I was initially taken aback, but then a strange sense of joy surged forth as I recognized the face before me.

Short wavy chestnut hair and a delicate appearance contrasted with a stern expression filled with determination.

“You are…”

“Don’t come any… closer…”

She stood with arms wide, shaking, yet stubbornly faced me down.

Seeing her speak… indeed, she was the spitting image of the character from the game. Anyone who had played ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ even once could not help but feel a fond familiarity with that face.

In reality, she was the face of ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ and the childhood friend who had always supported and stood by Taely through thick and thin, Aila Triss, now seen in the flesh.

“Ed Rothtaylor… no more… Do not touch Taely anymore…!”

Her trembling seemed pathetic, almost pitiable. Yet, her face was firmly etched with contempt. This was an oddly refreshing feeling.

Indeed… Having taken Ed Rothtaylor’s place, I now see that even the gentle-hearted Aila could wear such a scornful expression.

“Even without you… Taely has… had enough hardships… It’s enough already! There’s no need to torment him anymore! You’ve seen it yourself! He’s had… more than enough troubles…!”

Her trembling voice was faint, as though it might break at any moment, but she still managed to spit out her words until the end. Above all, her desire to protect Taely was genuine. That fact was unexpectedly moving to me.

Yes, this is Aila…!

…It’s funny to feel moved, standing here before an opponent who looks ready to devour me…

-Crash!

The metal water cup Aila had been holding rolled across the stone floor. She must have been on her way to get water.

As water spilled and splashed, Taely finally reacted, and slowly got up from the wooden bench, approaching me and Aila.

There was a certain dissonance I felt here. The way Taely walked lacked his usual weak and fragile aura.

“Ed… Rothtaylor…”

Clutching his sword tightly, he positioned Aila behind him, glaring at me.

“So… you’re still attending classes…”

His low, serious voice surprised me. I remembered Taely’s face as lifeless when he lost in a duel.

But Taely now was something else.

That vibrant energy unique to Taely, the fighting spirit that didn’t waver even before powerful enemies, the determination in his eyes was palpable.

Had he been revived?

That’s how it is.

Now that I’ve come this far, I could see the whole story.

I was unable to follow Taely right away after the duel I had to oversee with the princess.

But Aila Triss, his childhood friend and biggest supporter, who had been watching him with concern from the bystander’s seat, had rushed out without a second glance.

And I could deduce what had likely happened next.

Whenever Taely faced high, insurmountable walls or frosty, cold trials, Aila would hug him, encourage him, and affirm him.

It’s okay. You’ll overcome this too. You’ve always done well. I believe in you. You can do it. Don’t be disheartened, Taely.

She would always say these heart-warming words, crying and laughing with him, for him.

With Aila by his side, Taely would rise again and again.

That fact was not unknown to me.

“What are you… doing here… Do you need something… from me…?”

As a result, Taely had stood up once again.

Fearing that Aila might come to harm, he stood his frail body before her, reigniting his resolve as he looked me straight in the eye.

The emotion welling up inside me was familiar.

Indeed, as Taely, through countless experiences, I had been able to empathize with him to the very end, all thanks to his steadfast willpower.

“You were quite good with the sword, I saw it again.”

“…. Be clear about your underlying intentions.”

“Nothing particular.”

To be suddenly spoken to like this by someone who had once shown nothing but contempt, it was unavoidable to be looked at as if I had lost my mind.

But this time, I wanted to make it clear.

Before talking about the situation or future developments, there was a certain affection from having observed ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ play out over a long time.

I had watched your strong resolve through all those trials, gaining courage from your unwavering determination despite severe hardships.

And here I had prematurely concluded that a beating from Lucy would crush your spirit. How limited my concerns were.

Even though I’d treated you like a scapegoat, ready to take on all future trials in my stead… facing you in person, those feelings somewhat melted away.

Well… It’s a fact that you’ll take on burdens in my place… but let’s set that aside for now… I don’t want to seem heartless.

“Ugh…”

I locked eyes with Aila. Despite her contemptful gaze, I nodded a few times before turning away.

The worry that Taely might crumble felt fully dispelled in an instant.

But…. even if they’re praise-worthy and proud friends, further engagement could have an adverse effect on the predetermined flow of the future.

Turning my back and disappearing with that stinging sensation of being watched was kind of painful. Even without looking, I could tell. What on earth is he doing??? They must be watching with such expressions.

…Well, it’s inevitable.

*

Shortly after, flames burst forth around the center of Nail Hall, where the joint combat training was taking place.

Students who were lingering around the student council building were shocked to see the sudden blaze. No one expected such a large fire to break out unexpectedly.

But, it wasn’t actually a fire.

The flames of Tarkan, the high-ranking fire spirit, were cursed fires that burned only the summoner’s intended target.

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