The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 25

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“Glascan Subjugation (5)

Tarkan’s roar cut across the Nail Hall corridor, making everyone involuntarily swallow their dry spit with its sharpness that felt like it could carve out eardrums. The forefront of the battle lineup was the gloomy Clevius.

“Damn it! I suppose this is as far as my life goes!”

Clevius, a first-year combat division student at the top of his class, who is always gloomy. Though he is a despondent person, frequently complaining and looking rather bleak, he is fundamentally strong in the face of crisis. Despite being a natural coward and lacking confidence in his own abilities, even with his position as the combat division’s head, perhaps due to his unfortunate family background, that is not what matters in the end. The key point here is that he has a level of durability that makes even other combat division members gasp.

“Arghhhh!”

His left arm, broken and splinted, would be agony with every jolt of his sprinting, but Clevius raced down the Nail Hall corridor as if he felt no pain at all.

Nail Hall is located at the center of the three student council buildings, used for various assemblies and combat practice, neatly maintained due to constant use throughout the year. As proof, the long-stretching corridor’s marble floor lacked even a speck of dust.

At the corridor’s end, approximately fifty meters away, was a giant door leading to the combat practice arena—the same place where the first and second years had their joint combat exercises. Usually inviting to anyone who is a student in Sylvania, it was currently blocked by a massive, burning lizard. Merely locking eyes with it brought back the terror from a recent subjugation.

Tarkan slowly stood up and unleashed another roar that sounded like a shredding scream. Upon seeing this, Clevius’s legs shuddered uncontrollably, and fear took hold of his body.

“Arghhhh! Arghhhhh!”

Biting his teeth together, Clevius struggled to keep his trembling body under control. His senses screamed at him to run away, but he knew that doing so would lead to an even worse fate.

Fortunately, he was not alone. There was no need to face this immense terror by himself. There were the unflappable Ed Rothtaylor and Lorotel Keheln, who could coldly analyze any crisis situation. They were different from Clevius, who would panic at even the smallest threats.

Without any real hope of inflicting meaningful damage on Tarkan, Clevius knew at least he wouldn’t be entering this hellish path alone. That was, in this desperate instance, the small comfort he had.

“Here it comes! The battle’s beginning! What do I do now…”

He saw Tarkan charging at him as if to devour him whole, and Clevius turned to seek guidance from his companions.

But, regrettably, no one was there. Sadly, Clevius hadn’t looked back even once as he charged in. Consumed by panic and a full sprint, he had no time to be mindful of anything else.

Only the corridor of Nail Hall stretched behind him, his comrades having completely disappeared.

Cold sweat began to pour down Clevius’s back.

“They tricked me! They’ve deceived me!”

With a face on the verge of tears, Clevius let out a wail.

“Hey, you crazy bastards! Hey! Where are you! What am I supposed to do with that! Why do I have to be the scapegoat! If you’re going to do it this way, then you should’ve sent Taely who offered himself as the sacrificial pawn! Why me! Arghhhhh!”

With probably the most pitiful scream ever to be heard, Clevius ran like mad, leaving the oncoming Tarkan behind.

If this was to be the case, he shouldn’t have trusted that damned Ed Rothtaylor. He should’ve persuaded Princess Phoenia, even if it meant throwing tantrums and banging the ground like a child.

He resented his past self for falling so blindly for Princess Phoenia’s steadfast appearance and following her plans.

“Why is this happening to me! Arghhhhh! I hate it! I hate the whole world! Save me! I’m sorry! Please! Arghhhhh!”

Tears in his eyes, he ran away in a pitiable state.

With every member bearing both minor and major wounds, Captain Claire’s condition was particularly severe, having suffered burns across an entire leg, rendering him effectively out of combat. Clevius, too, was incapacitated with a splint on his arm, likely indicating a fracture, significantly diminishing his combat capabilities.

However, Taely, the most critical member, appeared to be in acceptable condition. Recognizing this, I shifted my thoughts towards evaluating the progress of our scenario.

At that moment, Claire, barely maintaining his stance, suggested, “If you plan to re-enter, perhaps gathering volunteers from the general student body would be wise. Once the pain in my leg subsides, I’ll quickly…”

“You should rest, Claire,” I interrupted. Despite his protest, “If you truly care for me, Princess Phoenia, please rescind your order,” it was clear his injuries were too severe for him to continue.

“You can hardly walk, Claire. I, too, have feelings,” I reasoned. It was apparent that Claire had sustained his injuries while protecting Princess Phoenia. His lips pressed firmly together, he spoke with determination, but it was evident that Phoenia’s heart was already heavy with guilt.

Yet, true to her nature, Phoenia didn’t show weakness. But strong resolve alone couldn’t solve the crisis at hand; what was needed was practical ability.

Looking around, I took in the scene of the central student plaza, surrounded by Neris Hall, Obel Hall, and the student council building. Among these, Gluckt Hall was nearly demolished, a clear sign of the battle’s intensity up to phase 2. The entrance to Neill Hall was unblocked, suggesting the elemental guardian Altar had been defeated, confirming progress had been made, though the team had been repelled by Tarkan in phase 3.

Despite a successful retreat, the precious time lost and the incapacitation of key figures like Captain Claire and Clevius, the freshman combat division’s top student, was a significant blow. With time running short and our forces dwindled, reliance on external aid seemed futile with the summoning circle nearing completion. Action was necessary, yet re-entry without assurance of victory was daunting.

Princess Phoenia clenched her teeth in frustration, bearing the weight of command. A strategy had to be devised urgently.

“Let’s split the subjugation team,” I proposed, quickly assessing the situation.

My sudden involvement dimmed the already gloomy morale of the base, further strained by the return of the battered first-year ace members.

“The state of the summoning circle indicates it will be completed very soon. We don’t have the luxury of time to defeat Tarkan,” I stated.

“What’s this, Ed Rothtaylor?” came the sullen reply from Clevius, his pain evident even as he continued to speak.

“Hold on, let’s hear what he has to say, Clevius,” I was quickly supported by Zix, the Spear of Foliage.

The atmosphere shifted with Zix’s endorsement. Until recently, he had been openly critical of me, but something had changed during our time in the student library.

“Tarkan relies more on hearing and touch than sight to perceive his surroundings. A noisy diversion could effectively lure him away, allowing another team to enter the combat training ground,” I explained.

“That’s something you could only suggest without having faced Tarkan yourself,” retorted Lortelle, having directly engaged Tarkan during combined combat training.

“I’m aware. Velosfer must have cast a berserk spell on him. But our focus isn’t on directly confronting Tarkan; it’s on bypassing him to stop Velosfer and save Yenika,” I clarified.

“The concept of drawing attention and buying time won’t work with him. We’re lucky to have escaped with our lives,” Lortelle countered with a sobering reality check.

“Did he escape because a pillar trapped him?” I inquired, revealing my knowledge of a critical detail that caught everyone off guard.

Without time for lengthy explanations or to dwell on peripheral issues, our situation demanded direct intervention, a deviation from the original course I would normally avoid to maintain my informational advantage.

The strategy hinged on leveraging the “Elemental Slash” skill, not widely known due to its specific conditions for effectiveness. A well-timed maneuver could exploit Tarkan’s reliance on other senses, creating an opening for escape or attack.

“Let’s not delve into specifics. Your plan, Ed, while bold, seems unrealistic. Facing an opponent where a frontal assault by the entire team was futile, now suggesting a split approach,” Lortelle criticized, highlighting the impracticality and immense risk involved.

Despite acknowledging the high stakes, I countered, “Assessing the risk is only viable when alternatives exist, Lortelle.”

Silence followed, with the unspoken agreement on the gravity of our primary mission: to thwart Velosfer and rescue Yenika, even if it meant bypassing Tarkan entirely. With the elite members at our disposal, focusing on Velosfer became our unanimous course of action, marking a pivotal moment of unity and determination amidst adversity.

Gathering all the mana she could muster, Lortelle began to chant her strongest ice magic. The man’s efficient instructions, without a single word wasted, stirred a strong curiosity in her. Though the possibility was slim, she wondered if she might have found a ‘kinsman’. Such an event would be truly exhilarating, yet she was not naive enough to get carried away by slim odds.

As the Yenika Suppression Squad entered the combat training ground, Lortelle quietly started her incantation. Compared to the clumsy command of the young princess, swayed here and there, this was leagues better. An unwarranted confidence bubbled up within her. Misplaced optimism could turn into folly if misguided, but, for the moment, such a feeling was absent.

“Kaaaahhh! Lortelle! Ed! You really think you’ll survive this? I won’t let you off!”

Clevius, nearly caught and devoured by Tarkan, burst out of Nail Hall screaming.

“No, I’m going to die now! It’s dangerous! Save me! Sorry! Sorry I said I’d kill you! I forgive everything! Just save me this once!”

Watching him shriek so pathetically, Lortelle gathered every bit of mana in her body.

* * *

The student square centered to the southwest of Obel Hall—a building that had become significantly busier since Princess Phoenia became the student council president, storing the council’s property and housing meeting facilities. Now, however, it lay outside the purview of our tale.

As Clevius fled in terror, Lortelle secured an entrance route. The sight of the Yenika Suppression Squad rushing into Nail Hall came into view. Confirming that things were going as planned, she continued her pace.

The final act of the first phase was now entering its fourth stage. The Glascan Summoning Ritual was nearing completion, and the pre-dawn light began to climb the eastern sky. This might be the last chance. If Yenika cannot be subdued now, all that follows is truly uncharted territory.

Facing the madness of tackling both Tarkan and Velosfer simultaneously, to confront Tarkan with magic without the ‘Elemental Slash’ is sheer arrogance. It’s akin to trying to burn someone wrapped in several layers of fireproof clothing to death.

A minor burn or fainting might be achievable, but to truly incinerate one would require either an unrealistic torrent of overwhelming firepower, or perhaps the pouring of magma. No one in the current expedition has that ability.

* * *

I kicked open the rooftop door of Obel Hall and dashed out. Welcomed by the open view of the rooftop… and there, a familiar witch’s hat caught my eye.

Had there been time, I would have visited Obel Hall first, but with the summoning ritual about to complete, it was critical to send in the suppression squad immediately. Anyway, having made it to the rooftop in time, everything seemed okay now.

To discuss how to breach Tarkan’s shell, I had to backtrack through the grueling plot of Act 1’s final chapter, all the way back to Phase 1’s strategy.

‘Page 1. Expedition Assembly.

Achievement: Assemble ‘Princess of Benevolence Phoenia’, ‘Zix the Spear of Foliage’, ‘Golden Daughter Lortelle’, ‘Companion Aila’, ‘Meddlesome Elvira’, ‘Gloomy Clevius’ in the student square!’

(Additional Achievements) Assemble ‘Romantic Adelle’.

(Additional Achievements) Assemble ‘Slothful Lucy’.

(Additional Achievements) Assemble ‘Senior Maid Belle’.

※ Additional achievements yield slight faction favor, but nothing significant. These characters won’t participate in the expedition.

For a 100% clear, Adelle can be found playing the ukulele behind the western archery range, [Lucy is sleeping on the Obel Hall rooftop], and Belle can be met by the statue in Olin Plaza.

The final chapter is already short on time, and someone trying to clear all of Phase 1’s additional conditions is rare. Discovering them doesn’t mean they’ll join the expedition, and the rewards aren’t particularly worthwhile—mostly geared towards veterans seeking achievement completion.

Still, having cleared this merciless final chapter countless times, I know exactly where each additional element hides, including a weapon that could completely flip the narrative.

In my sight, the ‘grenade’ that’ll puncture Tarkan’s shell in a single blow.

The girl balancing dangerously on the railing, puffing out breaths, is a javelin that could penetrate the thickest shield.

To oppose the irrational, we must adopt irrationality; against cheating, retaliate with our own foul play.

Unrefined as Lucy’s power may still be, none can suppress Tarkan without using the ‘information advantage’ forged through arduous play experience.

So bear no grudge. We’re both desperate here.

* * *

I vaulted over the railing, picking up Lucy in a fluid motion. She was so light, the logs I moved daily felt heavier.

“Huh? Wha… Ack?”

Feeling good about napping while chaos ensues, the girl’s easygoing nature seemed boundless.

“What, what? Oh—shaky… Wha?”

Night, not day, made “nap” hardly the right term anymore. I wanted to chide her for sleeping so much, but the reason was too obvious to question.

For slothful Lucy, sleep itself was a method to restore mana. Given the utter lack of urgency she exhibited, it wasn’t a stretch to say she’d depleted her mana reserves last night while evading Senior Maid Belle by casting a berserk level of mana.

To cover the distance from Ophelius Hall to the northern forest, she employed high-level spatial magic without chants and at high speed. Such a lunatic feat drained her mana, necessitating rest to replenish the colossal reserve.

The fact that her choice of recovery was snoozing on the Obel roof, was quite Lucy-esque, but sadly not viable at present.

Counting the jerkies she’s munched on to the point of breaking my drying rack, she owes a day’s work. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Yet I’m not entirely heartless. Pulling out my leather pouch from the reading room, I revealed the stash of dried tendrils I had prepared.

“Mmm… jerky..? I smell jerky..”

Barely awake, but her sense for jerky was sharp as ever.

* * *

With a hefty grab, I stuffed a handful of jerky into Lucy’s petite mouth.

“Urk-! Ack!”

“Eat up!”

Announcing this, I clutched her still, making for the railing.

“Eat Mayar! Too much!”

Too much! It hurts! Seemed to be her complaint.

Over the railing, I saw high-ranking fire spirit Tarkan. Clevius, distress written all over his face, was coming my way, while Lortelle, amidst casting an enormous ice spear, appeared diminutive in the distance.

Lucy’s mana was unlikely wholly restored, only a mere fraction of her oceanic reserve.

But that fraction suffices. As irrational as Tarkan’s existence is, so too is Lucy’s.

“Well fed? Now… time to handle its shell!”

“M-Mu?”

Inarticulated noises bubbled from Lucy’s bulging cheeks.

Despite the darkness, the incandescent lizard remained distinct.

Range concerns were needless; I had practice in the army.

Target sighted – safety off – pin pulled, toss!

“Everybody down!”

With a bellow that would resonate across the guildhall, I hurled Lucy towards where Tarkan was spotted.

“Mummamah-!”

Lucy cried out, but then with a shocked expression finally awakened, shouted:

“Too much!”

Her complaint seemed clear.

Regrettable as it was, this was my only option.

Echoing over the student square, her protests grew distant, “Too much! Too much!” And then, for a moment, silence.

* * *

A high-voltage spell, ‘Divine Retribution’, erupted around Lucy, cloaking the area with its force. The subsequent blast generated winds so vicious, I had to clutch the railing to stand.

“Cough!”

After the initial blast peeled away the ‘shell’, taking on Tarkan became feasible with just our crew.

Regaining composure, I mounted the railing again.

It was time to finish this.

Until now, there was an unsettling fear things wouldn’t go as planned, but at this point, there was only one thing of utmost importance. It may seem materialistic even in such a moment, but it was a matter of great significance.

Tarkan, as a high-ranking fire spirit, grants a huge amount of elemental skill proficiency upon defeat… and that cannot be wasted. Perhaps the most critical moment is upon us. Now that we’ve reached this stage, there’s one thing that cannot be conceded.

“The last hit…!”

The last hit!

It had to be mine!

I leapt swiftly towards where Lortelle and Clevius awaited on the student square outskirts.

* * *

“You make us proud, our dear daughter Yenika.”

“I’m so proud to be your friend, Yenika.”

“You’re the hope of the second year. You’ve shown your true skill in the joint combat training.”

“If it’s Yenika, I can trust her.”

“Were it not for you, this year’s second-years would’ve been dreadful. Fortunate that you were there, Yenika.”

Memories seeping through wounded her heart.

Across the crumbling Obel Hall, dawn began to glow.

In her eyes, the sparkling stars faded as if melting snow. Romantic sentiments, even now, prompted self-mockery from the girl.

The inrush of the punitive squad wasn’t as overwhelming as expected.

The girl, having sat dutifully in the center of the training ground, slowly rose.

Her trusty oak staff darkened.

The menacing eyes of her guardian spirits made the onlookers shudder.

Amongst the assembly of watery specters and lesser spirits, the girl, who had quietly recited the incantations… now turned slowly. Enthralled, she sought a certain boy’s face among the punitive force, but he was not there. Naturally.

The punitive members facing the girl had hardened expressions.

The curse patterns of Velosfer, adorning her body, looked like chains binding her to them. She sighed with a hint of sadness and softly spoke.

“Welcome.”

The final battle of Act 1, the Yenika Faelover punitive match.

Regrettably, there wasn’t enough time for exchanging sentiments.

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