The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 18

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Golden Daughter (1)

“Hello, hello!”

I barely managed to suppress the corners of my mouth from drooping with a superhuman effort of self-control. A camp-crashing guest had taken a seat, which was why I was trying hard not to frown. The camp was where I returned after collecting edible herbs and medicinal plants.

The uninvited guest, who cheerfully greeted me, was none other than Yenika—the sophomore top-ranking student known as a genius elementalist. Although we occasionally exchanged greetings due to overlapping classes and the chance encounter near the Guardian Tree of Merilda, I never truly reciprocated.

Partly because I tend to avoid Yenika, but also because her close friends or other acquaintances would promptly sweep her away like ghosts materializing out of thin air. It was a relief for me who wished to minimize contact with Yenika, but it seemed quite bothersome for her, who had a keen interest in making numerous friends.

Yenika’s friends probably warned her that nothing good could come of being friendly with the infamous Ed Rothtaylor. Unfortunately, similar to some sort of self-absorbed mentality, Yenika would push through with her own convictions in matters she believed were right, despite her cheerful façade, often mistaken for mindless optimism.

Her presence alone was evidence enough of this fact, proven by the current situation.

“Wow, amazing! This place is like a total secret base!”

Gazing around with wide-eyed admiration and bouncing with excitement, she resembled a child witnessing the first snowfall—utterly innocent.

“Can I come here more often?”

It seemed too harsh to outright tell her, “No,” given she might be hurt by such a blunt refusal. Nonetheless, the sprightly girl had a knack for triggering a protective instinct, explaining why her classmates doted on her so much.

“Why come here? What’s good about this place?”

“It feels like an adventure, it gives me the thrill. Don’t you feel the same, Ed?”

Every day indeed has its share of thrills. Just the other day, a mishap with the campfire led to a near ambush by a wild boar at dawn…

But thrills come in different forms…

“I also want to talk more with you… There’s something I want to ask, and, well… I also need some advice.”

With so many people around, why single me out? It would certainly seem too callous to say such a thing to her face.

Even though keeping her at a distance is necessary, it would be outright ruthless to do so in an inhumanly brusque manner.

Yet, reciprocating warmth in my conduct brings no benefits either—a fact just as true.

“How did you find this place?”

This camp was far removed from the dormitories occupied by the students, nested in the far corner of the sprawling northern forest. Only a few knew of my setup here.

“Did that wolf tell you by any chance?”

Likeliest among the suspects was Merilda, a high-ranking wind spirit akin to family to Yenika. As a sovereign entity of the forest, it wouldn’t be surprising if Merilda had exposed my pitiful attempts at survival.

“No, Merilda talks about you all the time… But she never revealed your camp’s location or any personal secrets. That’s your own private matter.”

Interesting. The suspected chatterbox was quite respectful of privacy, after all. I had presumed everything about me would have been disclosed to Yenika by now.

Then who could have spilled the beans about my camp’s whereabouts to Yenika?

“The answer is~ drum roll, please~.”

As she playfully twisted her head with a smug look on her face, my mind had already narrowed down the possibilities through the process of elimination.

“It’s Belle, obviously… Ugh.”

“What! You’re quick on the uptake!”

Belle Mayar. Although somewhat unfamiliar to me, this name referred to the senior maid of Ophelius Hall—one of the three most luxurious dormitories of the Sylvania Academy. She had been around for the past week.

* [ Name: Ed Rothtaylor ]

Gender: Male Age: 17 Grade: 2 Race: Human Achievements: None Strength 6 Intelligence 5 Agility 9 Wisdom 8 Luck 6 Detailed combat ability >> Detailed magic ability >> Detailed life skills >> Detailed alchemy ability >> The weekend was perfect for catching up on overdue tasks.

I had spent the entire morning hunting and came back with clothes utterly soaked in sweat, which I then washed and hung out to dry by the stream.

It felt like I had aged a decade after barely surviving the grueling joint combat practice that had happened almost two weeks ago. Worried about disrupting the main storyline, walking on a tightrope, and still having to lead an ordinary life doubled the exhaustion.

But having little to do with the main characters since the combat training had allowed for some peace of mind.

As a result of focusing solely on my studies and survival, my previously sluggish stamina stat had finally increased by one. The already high agility stat started to show less variation. It wouldn’t be easy to raise each level from 10 onwards.

With a stamina stat of 6, I was now relatively competent. In comparison to the fighters in the battle school, it might be insignificant, yet it was reasonable for a commoner.

Ultimately, the benchmark for high-performance stats is 10. Whether skill proficiency levels or these basic stats, once you hit 10, the variability greatly diminishes, and each step requires monumental effort.

Considering that endgame specs are formed around the 20s, there’s still a long way to go.

However, that standard applies to extraordinary, playable characters. At this stage, my attributes were sufficient for their worth.

Thanks to efforts, my body had developed a decent amount of muscle. Standing by the stream without my shirt, I inspected my physique.

“Stamina stats matter significantly after all.”

Due to the punishing regime of the past two months, my body had evolved by adapting. I wasn’t aiming for bulging muscularity, but some muscle had begun to take shape around my midriff and upper arms—a significant improvement from my original pencil-thin frame.

This was considerable progress, given my inherent lack of physical talent.

Still, my proficiency with the bow was laughably low, and I hadn’t mastered the dagger, despite its recognition as the most useful secondary weapon.

The journey thus far had been long, yet I had further to trek.

“Better to train now, to be at ease later… Let’s not succumb to laziness.”

Despite the significant progress, I should not be contented with only this level of achievement. I stretched my arms out, twisting my waist to loosen the muscles, ready to tackle the backlog of work for the week.

I had run out of firewood, so the logs had to be chopped again and later in the afternoon, I planned to knit the net.

Using all the remaining silk thread, a complex net would be crafted by cross-layering them diagonally and twisting them at each intersecting point.

Why make a net? It served the purpose of fishing but more critically for preserving fish.

Though meat was stored in an excavated preservation cellar, it spoiled relatively swiftly. Solely salting it with rock salt was not an option since the supply was limited.

Thus, I discovered the smoking process—lightly cooking the surface with woodsmoke, which successfully extended the meat’s shelf life by several days, sparing hunting time for academic or other survival endeavors.

However, for fish, even after smoking, the preservation was less effective and the flavor significantly altered, making it difficult to properly prepare a catch.

Therefore, the intention behind crafting the net was to install a self-sustaining fish farm by intertwining it amidst the branches in the stream. If successful, freshly caught fish could be maintained alive. This would ensure both freshness and flavor were retained.

It was a worthy experiment. With weekdays consumed by classes, leaving little energy for immediate resource gathering, weekends were the most opportune time for such undertaking.

Hastily completing the firewood chopping and ensuring the recently laundered uniform was dry, I’d begin weaving the net.

“Zzz… Zzz….”

I was stretching and loosening my muscles, preparing to chop wood for the fire, when I naturally picked up the slumbering Lucy Mayrill, effortlessly hoisting her onto my shoulder like a sack, and just as naturally tossed her into the timber shelter’s interior.

“Oof, ack!”

Lucy, who landed among furs, squirmed for a moment but soon settled back into the comfort of the makeshift bed lined with soft mink and squirrel hides, her snores resuming rapidly.

Given the time, it must have been her nap time. She’d occasionally turn up at my camp and use it as her personal bed—now, the encounter barely elicited a sigh from me.

“Just need to split fifty logs and check on the uniform. I should finish in an hour.”

I spat into my hands, gripped the axe tightly, and struck down on the first piece of wood.

-Thump!

“Argh…”

Turning towards the noise, I saw that Lucy had rubbed her forehead, suggesting she had bumped her head against a protruding wooden support after spontaneously leaping up.

For Lucy, who typically wouldn’t stir from sleep unless pinched on the cheeks, it was quite odd for her to suddenly awake and act alarmed.

“What’s up?”

“It smells…!”

After spouting such cryptic words, she grabbed her witch’s hat and darted out of the camp like the wind itself. Her whirlwind departure, swift as lightning, impressed me, leaving only the after-effects of her wind magic to dry off my sweat.

“What now?”

It didn’t take long to understand the reason for her abrupt departure.

“Who’s out there?”

Emerging from the bushes, the figure approached—it was none other than Ophelius Hall’s senior maid, Belle Mayar.

*

I knew the hall’s maids well—their prestige and pride matched that of those serving the royal household, each a specialist in their own right after receiving specialized training from a young age. Nonetheless, in terms of their influence within the failings of Sylvania’s Blade Saint storyline, nothing particularly noteworthy comes to mind…

Regardless, Ophelius Hall’s peculiarities were undeniably emphasized.

As a device, it was described merely as such, not a character who had a significant impact on the main scenario.

In other words, meeting Belle Mayar right now also did not elicit more than a faint realization: “Ah, there indeed was such a character…” He was a side character of little significance, similar to a one-time villain like Ed Rothtaylor if scenario weight was considered.

“I thought I’d venture deep into the forest, but I never expected to meet you here, Lord Ed.”

“Ah, yes… It’s been a while.”

“There’s no need for honorifics, really.”

While Belle Mayar might not have a major impact on the scenario, he is a character who, when almost forgotten, would occasionally make a meaningful appearance and give out some significant dialogue, similar to a spice in a medicine shop.

For instance, after confronting a trial, he might say to the protagonist or heroine, “Nevertheless, there is still determination in your eyes. You will surely overcome this,” or to her, “She can undoubtedly succeed…”

He might not practically assist in solving problems, but he does instill a sort of assurance that they will be resolved, making him a subtly redundant yet seemingly necessary character in the scenario. And that is about all… except for being the only person whom the solitary mage Lucy Mayrill is truly afraid of.

No matter how much significance we ascribe to him, the essence remains unchanged.

He’s a member of the ‘side character club,’ just like Ed Rothtaylor.

“I’ll keep using honorifics.”

“Using honorifics makes me uncomfortable.”

“Well, I’m not a noble anymore, so it doesn’t matter.”

“You still hold the status of a student at Sylvania, don’t you?”

Her neatly cut ebony hair and modest demeanor explain why she could qualify as a ‘senior’ maid even among the real professionals at Ophelius Hall.

Even though she cannot wield basic magic, her maid’s dress is impeccably neat without a wrinkle, despite her journey deep into the forest.

“To be quite honest, I was shocked.”

Despite not showing it on her face, saying such a thing with her lips doesn’t make it any more convincing.

“Your manner of speaking has changed quite a lot, and you’ve become well-built.”

It was only then that I realized I was shirtless. I don’t embarrass easily… but then again, their unwavering expression makes it surprisingly unsettling.

“I’m glad to see such positive changes in you.”

“Ah, yes…”

“There’s no need to be formal.”

“I’d rather be.”

Despite her impassive face, it seems I’ve somehow touched upon her strange sense of pride.

“You may be informal with me.”

“I’d rather not.”

“You were informal at Ophelius Hall, weren’t you?”

“Well, that was when I lived at Ophelius Hall…”

Anyway, the maids of Ophelius Hall all share some perplexing stubbornness.

I noticed Belle carrying a large basket in one hand. Sneaking a peek, I saw it was filled with a variety of mushrooms, herbs, and fruits.

Though Ophelius Hall chiefly uses top-notch ingredients supplied by various merchants, there are times when fresh ingredients must be gathered from the local surroundings.

Watching her take on such tasks, I can understand why the internet meme joked about Ophelius Hall maids being ‘human livestock producers.’

They can do anything, so for those who direct them, it’s simply a matter of sitting back and waiting to be served.

“I knew you were still at school. I often help Lady Yenika get ready in the morning, and she talks about you frequently, Lord Ed.”

“Is that so?”

“I never expected you to be living this kind of life after leaving Ophelius Hall… When you left, you looked as if you’d lost everything. I thought you had dropped out of school.”

That’s when I realized it was Belle, the short-haired maid who handed me the wooden suitcase on the day I was expelled from Ophelius Hall.

In the chaos of just arriving in this world, with my mind not fully present and the maids of Ophelius Hall all blending into one in my thoughts, I hadn’t noticed.

“Anyway, it’s good to see you’re doing well.”

“Ah, yes… Thank you for the encouragement.”

“Will you ever stop using formal language with me?”

“I don’t plan to.”

These peculiar beings seem to have an inherent dislike for formalities. What kind of upbringing can produce such a mindset?

In my view, the most notable thing at the moment is the basket Senior Maid Belle is holding.

It’s teeming with mushrooms, edible herbs, and fruits.

Now, with my knowledge of edible plants limited to what I’ve self-taught from books from the student library, this basket’s contents are a promising expansion of the variety of plants I can gather.

Especially with mushrooms and berries, which have many poisonous varieties I’ve been unable to touch, the prospect of distinguishing edible ones is tantalizing.

Belle Mayar, although seemingly aloof, has a good nature, so she’ll likely agree if I ask for help.

After all, as mentioned, the maids of Ophelius Hall are mere side characters, too insignificant to matter much in the overarching scenario.

Getting close might yield more benefits than losses. If we become friendly, I might even receive leftover ingredients, cloths, or various tools from Ophelius Hall.

At this point, pushing her away would be foolish.

The maids of Ophelius Hall scarcely feature in the scenario. Indeed, becoming acquaintances won’t make much of a difference!

Having decided, I cleared my voice and with an amiable smile, I approached Belle Mayar again.

“You really go to great lengths, coming all this way to the forest for ingredients. But about that basket…”

Yes, becoming friends should be fine!

And I would come to regret this choice until the very end of the scenario.

*

“Yes, yes, I’ve talked a lot about you to Belle. He often chimes in during our conversations, and just now he mentioned meeting you here.”

A human, no, a mere wind spirit talking so freely about someone else’s private life?

The Belle Mayar I know is reticent and not one to gossip about others. A mastered ability to hold one’s tongue is fundamental for an experienced maid, and the Belle Mayar I know would undoubtedly have this basic quality down pat.

“You should come meet me this weekend, she said. Today she even tied my hair beautifully, you see? Look, this side braid is pretty, isn’t it?”

Just look at this guy??

“Yeah, I guess…”

“So, about the problem I mentioned…”

Yenika finally began to broach the actual topic, drawing her knees up and sitting down. Looking at the crackling campfire, Yenika hesitantly started to speak.

At first, I wonder why she would come to me, of all people, for advice about her problems.

“Ed did not see this since he left early, but last month during the joint combat exercise, I ended up hurting someone.”

Summoning the high-ranking fire spirit Tarkan and engulfing Nail Hall in flames would be one of the school term’s biggest events.

It’s obvious who she hurt. Considering that she broke the rules and used intermediate magic first, it’s self-inflicted, but that’s irrelevant to the well-intentioned Yenika.

Why me, of all people?

Simply because all the students are on Yenika’s side.

The lovable, vivacious Yenika is like a treasured jewel to the second-year students. Therefore, if she feels any guilt or self-reproach, everyone would step in to encourage and support her.

However, Yenika knows that their judgments are biased.

Their affection for Yenika means they won’t offer fair and objective opinions. It’s wonderful that they’re on her side no matter what, but that doesn’t erase the wrongdoing that occurred.

So she came to me. Compared to others, I’m less inclined to take Yenika’s side uncritically.

She’s undoubtedly a kind-hearted and upright girl, but such a nature doesn’t mesh well with Lortelle.

“Keep thinking, was I too harsh… Does inflicting such an injury count as overreacting?”

“Understandable…”

“Should I apologize?”

“Maybe you should.”

“But if I do, my friends insist they were in the wrong and adamantly tell me not to.”

“Then follow your heart. If you think you’re right, do it.”

“Hmm~.”

I left Yenika to herself as she rested her chin on her knees.

I decided not to impose my judgment rashly. It’s unclear how my opinions might influence her. Yenika Faelover’s character is just too significant to rashly decide her right and wrong.

The decision felt somewhat harsh, but it was unavoidable.

“Typical Ed.”

But the response was more unexpected than anticipated.

“Ed… you don’t blindly take my side.”

“If you’re upset, there’s nothing I can do.”

“Eh? No, no. It’s a misunderstanding.”

Cuddled by the warmth of the campfire, she smiled faintly, though with somewhat subdued energy.

“I’m not upset at all. Not in the slightest. Rather, it’s reassuring.”

Her statement was laden with significance.

“I wish everyone in the world were like Ed.”

I didn’t have the leisure to ponder the meaning of her words, burdened with an abundance of tasks for the day.

*

“I’d like to purchase two hours of your time, Senior Ed.”

It was after the elemental studies class the next day, as I was heading out for lunch.

She appeared polite and composed, but her radiant turquoise eyes brimmed with greed for wealth.

Her clean red-brown hair, tidily tied at the shoulder, cascaded down beautifully.

Possibly from injuries sustained during the joint combat practice, I could see small bandages peeking from her neck and arms. Given how long she’s been carrying these minor wounds after the event, the severity of the initial injuries could be easily imagined. That kind Yenika would indeed be greatly troubled.

There she was, waiting for me as if she knew I would come out of the faculty building, sitting demurely on the bench.

I recognized her as one of the four infamous heroines of Sylvania, destined to clash with Princess Phoenia and become her sworn enemy.

The sole heir of the continent’s greatest merchant, Elte Keheln, and a girl who climbed to the top of the Tower of Gold driven solely by her desire for wealth.

In days to come, people would look back in awe and fondly refer to her as… ‘Golden Daughter.’

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One response to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 18”

  1. He is too much worry about storyline. His exisistance in thr academy is a major plot line deviation. Why worry?

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