The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 28

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Yenika Faelover (1)

A warm breeze blows through a secluded flower garden hidden in a lush forest, tickling the skin with gentle sunlight. Yenika sits demurely, weaving a flower crown with careful attention to each bloom, her school uniform left behind in favor of a comfortable beige skirt from home, humming a tune as she works.

Suddenly, a man enters the scene on a splendid white horse. The sound of hooves quiets as he dismounts with grace; it’s Ed Rothtaylor. Yenika greets him with a bright smile, and Ed, looking pleased, steps into the flower garden. Yenika places a crown of flowers she has diligently crafted onto Ed, takes his hand, and they begin to dance amidst laughter.

Flower petals flutter in the air, butterflies join in the dance, and the trees of the forest seem to step aside to bless the couple. Music from an unseen lute and harp fills the air, creating a scene straight out of a fairy tale.

The laughter continues until the chirping of sparrows through the window of Ophelius Hall awakens Yenika. Her hair is a mess from sleep, and her skin feels slightly puffy. Clutching a pillow, she buries her face in it, lamenting the absurdity of dreaming such a dream at her age, overwhelmed by embarrassment and a sense of shame.

The disaster unfolds the next afternoon. “Why is it,” Yenika muses to Claire during lunch, “that ‘liking’ someone and ‘loving’ someone feel so different in weight?” Claire and Anis, her closest friends, freeze, forks in hand, at Yenika’s sudden philosophical inquiry.

In the student cafeteria, despite having access to the luxurious meals of Ophelius Hall, Yenika chooses to dine with her friends, maintaining her usual demeanor. It’s been ten days since her disciplinary hearing, which felt like a battleground, attended by the top school officials and even the headmaster, resulting in a tumultuous session that highlighted numerous significant incidents.

Yenika’s complete acceptance of her faults and her willingness to take the punishment led to a unanimous defense from the second-year students and professors, marking the first hearing. A mass petition from the student body, resulting in a special petition box due to its volume, and Princess Phoenia’s declaration not to pursue charges for attempted regicide marked the second hearing, deeply moved by the students’ support.

Negotiations led by Lortelle, involving the Elte trading company financing the reconstruction of damaged buildings and offering scholarships, in exchange for reduced tariffs on academic supplies from Elte, were a strategic move. This granted Elte a dominant position in the academy’s supply chain, securing a creditor’s status for the company and indebting Yenika Faelover, the promising spirit mage.

The final verdict was celebrated by the second-year students as a great victory: 10 days of confinement, 20 days of suspension, loss of scholarship and housing privileges, and the return of all academic honors, but no expulsion. The outcome was seen as an overwhelmingly lenient decision, a testament to the dramatic efforts of her peers.

Despite the collective joy, Yenika stood apart, her shoulders drooped, the only one understanding the true weight of the proceedings.

Now, as Claire and Anis prepare to meet Yenika for lunch, planning to avoid any mention of the Glascan incident and focus on light-hearted topics, Yenika’s sudden deep reflections on love and like catch them off guard. They try to redirect her attention back to the meal, sharing a moment of laughter amidst the seriousness of her thoughts.

Claire smiled thinly as she took a bite of a tomato, not letting her smile falter as she glanced at Yenika. Sweat had already started to trickle down from the nape of her neck to the corner of her forehead. A glance at Anis confirmed she was in a similar state. Despite maintaining a poker face with superhuman willpower, the ordeal felt like an impending disaster.

Yenika, sounding like a philosopher from a book, began to delve into the complexities of love, pondering the differences between ‘love’ and ‘like’ with serious contemplation. Claire and Anis were deeply concerned for Yenika’s well-being, imagining her alone in her room at Ophelius Hall, staring out the window, burdened by loneliness and unnecessary guilt.

Fortunately, it seemed Yenika had managed to shake off some of that guilt over the ten days. The initial few days, or perhaps a week, might have been filled with heartache, but she appeared to have recovered somewhat, which was a relief.

However, they hadn’t anticipated Yenika’s sudden desire to explore the definition of love, a topic that could unleash unforeseeable consequences. Unconsciously slamming her fork down, Claire startled Yenika, who flinched mid-bite.

Claire glanced around the student cafeteria, relieved to find it almost empty as lunchtime neared its end. Thankfully, their conversation remained private, known only to them and Anis. Claire sat back down with a solemn determination, Anis by her side. A brief exchange of glances conveyed volumes, and Claire, bolstered by her friend’s presence, initiated the conversation with a heavy heart.

Their mission was clear: protect Yenika’s pure heart at all costs. Claire and Anis had always managed to shield Yenika from any harm or distress. They had defended her against spiteful seniors, dismissive teaching assistants, and particularly from Ed Rothtaylor, a character surrounded by dubious rumors despite recent acknowledgments of his potential.

But they couldn’t take any chances. Claire pondered the sudden turn in their conversation, ready to steer it carefully to avoid any emotional landmines. As Anis made a hasty retreat, claiming an urgent errand, Claire felt the weight of the situation. She was now alone in navigating this delicate discussion.

Yenika began to share, hinting at thoughts of someone special, causing Claire to internally panic. Anis’s sudden departure left Claire feeling abandoned, yet she couldn’t help but understand her friend’s need to escape.

Facing Yenika’s innocence and the potential for heartache, Claire struggled to maintain composure, curious yet cautious about probing too deeply. Her resolve was akin to a lone warrior braving a battlefield, determined to safeguard Yenika’s pure feelings from becoming a painful memory or, worse, regrettable history.

Yenika continued, revealing dreams about this person, plunging Claire deeper into a dilemma of how to protect her friend’s tender first love from becoming anything less than a beautiful memory.

“Really?”

“Yeah. She said she dreams about dancing together or playing in flower fields… What do you think…?”

The corners of Claire’s mouth threatened to betray her with a smile. She seriously considered jabbing her thigh with a fork to stop it.

“That’s for her… no, for that person to think about… I suppose…”

“Right, I guess so… But you know what’s strange? It seems like there’s no cause… You know, there’s usually a reason for liking or disliking someone.”

“Uh, yeah…”

Words she wanted to say climbed to the tip of her throat.

In an instant, she overlaid the feelings of parents sending off their daughter for marriage, whirling through an entire third-rate melodramatic novel in her imagination, but Claire knew all too well that it was none of her business.

Yenika was trying to keep her love story secret. If Claire prodded too prematurely, she might end up hurting her feelings.

Yenika’s best friend was at war with the girlish curiosity about her love story.

This agony was far worse than when she had to run on foot for the Discipline Committee.

But the most important thing was Yenika herself.

As has been repeatedly said, this girl’s purity must be protected at all costs. Claire took a deep breath in and out to regain her composure.

A refreshing smile.

“Yenika. Maybe there’s no need to think about it too seriously? Liking or disliking someone, that’s more mysterious than one might think.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah. Sometimes, just someone’s attitude can suddenly make you dislike them, or just being there for you in tough or happy times can make you like them. Human psychology is all over the place. No need to think so rigidly, I reckon.”

The quest to find a fundamental reason for liking or disliking someone is surely the domain of psychologists or philosophers.

“It’s okay to put the complicated stuff aside and be honest with yourself about your feelings… wouldn’t that be better for you… or for that person?”

“Mm… You might be right. You always make sense, Claire.”

Seeing her brilliant smile, it felt like a knife was thrust into Claire’s heart.

“Still, Yenika. From that friend’s perspective, they might not appreciate their delicate worries being shared among friends. It might be better to think things through on your own rather than discussing them with others.”

Claire preemptively blocked the possibility of rumors spreading. She was sharp like that.

“Do you think so? But they might be… um… not too bothered about that kind of stuff…”

“No, Yenika. Even so, carelessly spreading sensitive worries to friends… it won’t be good for your reputation.”

“Gasp! You’re right, Claire’s words always ring true! You’re not disappointed in me, are you, Claire…?”

She’s truly a lovely girl. Claire once again took a moment to regain her composure, sweeping her face with her hand.

“It’s okay… Yenika…”

“Anyway, thank you for the serious advice. I have to go back to Ophelius Hall now to report my disciplinary status.”

“Uh, okay… I’m going to sit for a while longer… I have some thinking to do…”

“Yeah! I’m glad you’re looking healthy despite not seeing you for so long! Let’s meet again after the disciplinary period is over, Claire!”

With that cheery goodbye, Yenika left the cafeteria.

A while after, Claire slumped her face onto the table.

I did it, Anis.

Her energy drained, Claire sat there for a while, recovering her strength.

* [Name: Ed Rothtaylor]

Gender: Male Age: 17 Grade: 2 Race: Human Achievements: None Stamina 7 Intelligence 7 Agility 9 Willpower 8 Luck 6 Combat Ability Detailed >> Magic Ability Detailed >> Daily Life Ability Detailed >> Alchemy Ability Detailed >>

I was on my way to the northern forest, loaded with shiny, well-oiled saws, hammers, and nails. I had bought these cabin-building tools with the gold coin I had managed to obtain. Now that the groundwork and preparations were complete, it was time to get moving.

On the day of the Glascan subjugation, my Intelligence stat had miraculously increased by two levels overnight. After months of fruitless study in magic, it was a monumental breakthrough that brought tears of joy. Not only did I achieve a striking success, jumping 10 levels in Spirit Understanding and Spirit Sensitivity, but I also opened up a Spirit Slot, which allowed me to attempt using Spirit Contracts, and even a potential contract with a high-tier Wind Spirit.

Of course, contracting a high-tier spirit is currently beyond my capabilities, but since Merilda in the northern forest isn’t going anywhere, I’ll be able to command a high-tier Wind Spirit if I refine my magic abilities further.

And there’s more.

– ‘I’ve reviewed Princess Pheonia’s letter of recommendation. The Glast Foundation provides various bonus benefits. Our policy is to give the utmost consideration to the students’ preferences…’

– ‘Scholarship.’

– ‘While financial support is indeed important, you should first hear about the benefits we can offer…’

– ‘Scholarship.’

– ‘Our foundation offers support in academics, priority facilities access, additional points for college service, especially eligibility for upscale dorms…’

– ‘Neutral… No, Scholarship.’

It doesn’t matter what benefits they offer if they don’t register my name in the academic records.

Princess Pheonia acknowledged my achievements and kept her promise by submitting a recommendation to both the academic council and the Glast Scholarship Foundation. There was no reason not to accept the unexpected windfall, so I clenched my teeth and got my tuition waived for next semester. It was indeed fortunate, granting me additional time to train.

Thus passed a night that was akin to a calamity, and the second act of the stage began.

I adjusted the load of woodworking tools in my arms as I headed toward the northern forest. The flow of the second act was already clear in my mind. The struggle between the Elte Trading Company and the academy, the bidding war over the Sage’s Seal, it all came to mind.

The intriguing part of the second act is that the so-called ‘Golden King Elte’, who exudes the aura of the final boss, turns out to be a decoy boss. Elte is taken out of the picture mid-to-late narrative by a backstab from his adopted daughter Lortelle, shifting the spotlight onto the true boss, ‘The Inquirer Glast’ lurking in the shadows.

Senior Professor Glast, who oversees the first years, is a formidable opponent, but there are still a few mini-bosses Taely must overcome before reaching him. Unlike the first act, the second act introduces three mini-bosses: ‘Deceiving Tote’, ‘Maid Manager Ellis’, and ‘The Golden Daughter Lortelle’.

Each character, progressing through chapters and events, plays different roles but Lortelle’s performance stands out. Putting aside her role as a hidden heroine for later, Lortelle is overwhelmingly villainous in the second act. Her life walking the thorny path of a ruthless world is clearly reflected in her actions.

The lesson from the Glascan subjugation is clear. Whether or not the story flows as intended must be judged diligently and consistently. Since it’s impossible to predict how any variable might affect the plot, it is essential that I come through unscathed and unharmed. I’m too busy looking out for myself.

“Oh?”

As I passed near Ophelius Hall deep in thought, I caught a glimpse of Yenika in the distance.

Considering her house arrest must be coming to an end soon. Although the formal disciplinary period remains, she probably wanted to get some fresh air.

Now that I think about it, I haven’t planned anything special concerning Yenika.

“Hmm…”

It would be awkward to suddenly act friendly now. After all, I had deliberately kept my distance from Yenika.

But now, Yenika has completed all her roles and stepped off the stage. With no more significant role in the plot, her importance is almost on par with that of the senior maid, Belle Mayar.

To survive in this world, one must train oneself, acquire a good degree, and prepare a better living environment—there’s so much to do. Yet, of all the assets one can have, ‘connections’ hold a unique irreplaceable power.

When you get down to it, Yenika is a promising figure even in Elte Trading Company’s books, willing to go out of her way to clear her debts. Once she graduates from Sylvania with a degree, she’ll definitely become someone.

Moreover, having already stepped down from the main scenario stage, it might be a good time to actively build a connection with her now, right?

If there’s anything particularly bothering me, it’s the current perception surrounding Ed Rothtaylor. Among the main characters, it seems some overrate me, and among the first years, rumors have elevated me from the lowest of scoundrels to someone lacking in manners but with a certain something.

But whether the second years will see me in the same light is another matter entirely… And so, Yenika probably heard an earful of gripes about me today. Anytime, the public opinion of me could flip upside down; I’m always in such a volatile environment.

Yet, Yenika seems unfazed by such rumblings… She usually responds favorably.

Would it hurt to say hello and be a bit friendly? The chance to build a connection with someone of Yenika’s caliber doesn’t come around often.

“Yeah…”

With a nod, I approached Yenika, who was weakly walking towards Ophelius Hall.

“Hey, Yenika. Looks like your house arrest is over.”

I gamely initiated the greeting.

Being greeted unexpectedly is something Yenika might be used to. After all, she’s the idol who receives the love of all sophomore students.

She will cheerfully respond to the greeting, share some banter about life, and then depart merrily to attend to her own business. That’s the sequence I imagined as I awaited Yenika’s response.

“Uh, um! Hey!”

But as soon as her eyes met mine, Yenika clutched her wooden staff tightly and took a few steps back.

“Oh, Ed! Yeah!”

Struggling to approach, unable to meet my gaze, her pupils flitted about, and then, as if overwhelmed, her face flushed crimson.

“I have something… at Ophelius Hall! See you next time! Bye!”

Fearing that I might say something more, she swiftly ran off.

So this is how it is now—even the legendary holy maiden Yenika is giving me the cold shoulder. An astounding feat in its own right.

Indeed, rumors are fearsome. But I understand.

Even the most resilient girl can be swayed by persistent whispers and gossip—the power of the crowd is that formidable.

While I’m not morosely wounded or depressed, losing what could have been a valuable connection feels like a loss. But what can I do, however regrettable it may be?

I nodded to myself, offering a silent tribute to the now-lost prime networking candidate.

No matter, I’ll keep my dignity. Fare well, Yenika…

I readjusted my grip on the cabin-building materials and continued on my way. Now that the preliminary design work was finished, it’s a good opportunity to train my production skills.

I’ve got extra time on my hands… So it’s back to training, nothing but training.

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