The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 31

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The Occupation of Ophelius Hall Incident (1)

The initial goal was to secure stable living environment before the end of the holiday season. The hastily made wooden shelter was so deplorable that I couldn’ even remember when I last had proper night’ sleep.

I had thought that by the end of the holiday season everything would be ready, so I could go to my classes from my cabin in the second semester. However, with the start of the second semester just week away, there’ still long way to go.

“Hmm…”

The completed cabin was equipped with wooden door and windows. I’m worried that the hinges, which I bought pretty large to avoid them loosening and causing headaches, might squeak with rust… Still, that’ better than them falling off entirely.

Regardless, there are still several tasks to complete before I can move into the cabin.

The most important are the fireplace and furniture.

The fireplace, in particular, worried me. While it’ not cold at night right now, as the seasons change, internal heating becomes crucial.

Plus, at night the fireplace will be the only proper source of light, and I’ll need it to cook food too… For various survival activities, starting fire inside is essential.

That said, in my rush, if I were to make fireplace from wood and it caught fire, it would all be for naught, so I need to find sturdy materials to build fireplace. The first thing that comes to mind is bricks.

Elte’ General Store is like an emporium, but even then, they wouldn’ distribute construction bricks in such an educational facility. Thinking of getting bricks from Nail Hall’ construction site or buying them… they wouldn’ have leftovers to spare for me after ordering precisely what they needed.

So, I’ve decided to start making bricks myself from today.

[ New Crafted Item ]

The leftover timber from the casting work was quickly shaped into rectangles and nailed together. It looks like this could work as mold for bricks if filled with mud.

Creation difficulty: ◐○○○○

“Sigh…”

After roughly five minutes, I quickly made casting mold and threw the hammer on the workbench, then wiped away my sweat.

I’ fill the mold with mud from the riverbank, press it tightly, and then set it in the shade to dry before removing the mold. After repeating this process hundreds of times to produce standardized bricks, I plan to dry them for about week, stack them properly, and then build the chimney and fireplace.

However, for the bricks to stick together, I also need something like cement; using just mud seems too flimsy and likely to crumble, so I might need to fashion some kind of support.

In addition, I need to create furniture for inside, although I have yet to form concrete plans for that.

I feel like my woodworking skills have improved enough that I can easily put together simple furniture. Basic items like chairs and tables should be relatively straightforward if I have the material.

For bed, the frame seems easy enough to create. As for the mattress, if I can find large cloth or sack, I could fill it with feathers, cotton, or hay.

If possible, I’ also like to replace my windows with glass panes. I wonder where I could find some.

With these thoughts in mind, I strapped my bow and wandered through the forest in search of daily provisions.

[ Combat Ability Details ]

Grade: Combat Novice Specialization: Bow Bow Proficiency Lv 6

– Critical Shot Lv 3

– Rapid Shot Lv 2

– Retreating Shot Lv 1

Aiming Sense Lv 2

Expanded Vision Lv 1

It becomes clear once again. Ed Rothtaylor just doesn’ have talent for combat skills. Even after semester and half the holiday, practicing with the bow relentlessly, the proficiency levels of bow-related skills have barely improved.

It seems I need some extraordinary measures to spur growth. I must somehow create an opportunity for proper advancement.

“There it is.”

Suddenly, I spotted young deer wandering through the forest. I pulled out my bow and concealed myself among the trees, murmuring to myself.

Lately, various guests have been visiting the camp quite frequently.

Belle Mayar occasionally stops by to share various food ingredients, but not so much lately.

Zix, that guy, claims to jog through the forest every 3 to 4 days. It seems he doesn’ just run through the forest but all over Acken Island. He definitely has extraordinary physical strength. If Elka wasn’ in the magic department, he would have likely joined the combat division.

Other visitors include poor student who ran away terrified after seeing me carrying bunch of squirrel carcasses, and Princess Phoenia’ knight, Claire, who checked to see if I was doing well before leaving.

What should I say? It feels like the number of people who know I’m living in the north forest is starting to increase… As long as they don’ cause trouble and attract the attention of the academy, it should be fine…

After all, not all of Acken Island is under the academy’ jurisdiction, so there’ no reason they could kick me out on whim. No need to worry too much.

Among the regular visitors, three are worth noting.

Visitor A is genius of mage who comes at completely random times.

He’ been found lying beside the campfire in broad daylight, and sometimes on the roof of the hut in the wee hours of the night.

When I returned from hunting, I’ve found him lying in the hammock made of fishing nets, his eyes sparkling as he looked at the cabin. He seems to think it’ like having secret base or hideout… He would ask me non-stop.

“Hey, are you going to make chimney too?”

“Wow, there’ door now!”

“Let’ make back door, too!”

While I was chopping firewood by the river, he would appear above me in tree and ask,

“Why not use glass for the windows?”

“Is it not going to collapse? Better not use magic near here, then.”

“How about putting window on the roof?”

He’ blatantly interrupt me while I was collecting traps to improve them.

“Can I use magic inside the hut?”

“What if you laid badger skin inside first?”

When I was sharpening the blade of my dagger on rock, he’ sit on that rock and chirp questions at me.

“Wouldn’ it be better to align the door with the sun?”

“Hey, shouldn’ there be at least two windows for good ventilation?”

Anyone would think he’ the one building this thing.

Tired of replying every time, all I’ve been doing is picking up this magus and throwing him in the wooden shelter over and over.

That’ Visitor A.

Visitor B is top student of the second year and quite competent spirit master. I’m more welcoming towards him.

“Ta-da! I brought some eggs. Belle said Ed would be happy if I brought them, so here you go.”

Ehehe, he laughs, placing basket filled with eggs next to the campfire – welcome neighbor who brings rare-to-find forest food and supplies.

This spirit master is common sight, contentedly reading under tree and chatting with spirits daily.

One day he summoned spirits, brought large basin, and began boiling water out of nowhere.

“Check this out, Ed! You’re gonna love it. Just keep doing your thing!”

Grinning, I didn’ pay much mind and kept filling molds with mud down at the river. When I later returned for supper, I found him trampling something in the basin.

It turned out to be my uniform shirt.

Though I wash it frantically every time, after wearing it all semester, it was bound to accumulate some stubborn stains.

The spirit master seemed quite bothered by this.

“Ta-da! If you boil saltwater and step on it like this, it gets whiter. Neat, right? My parents used to do it lot whenever our clothes got dirty on the farm.”

Beaming with pride, he presents now dazzlingly white shirt. It’ as if asking for my praise. With an awkward chuckle, I clap for him – You’re the best! So cool! Impressive you know this! He bows his head shyly in response, seemingly bashful and self-satisfied.

Visitor B, amicable as he may be, occasionally displays baffling behavior. For instance, he greets Lucy unsuspiciously when she appears at the camp unexpectedly, but then asks how often she visits. In some ways, he’ hard to read.

That’ Visitor B.

This brings us to Visitor C.

While encounters with A and B aren’ particularly surprising, and normal interaction suffices, C’ appearances elicit “Why are they here?” kind of reaction.

The sun was beginning to descend in the west, casting the forest in crimson hue.

After an hour-long chase following missed first shot, I finally returned, carrying my captured young deer. Walking near the campfire, I encountered two unexpected individuals.

One was tidy maid, standing serenely with her hands folded.

The other was lounging by the fire, supporting their chin with both hands, humming tune.

“Oh my, senior. We’ve been waiting for you. You took quite some time with your errand.”

The individual known in society as ‘The Golden Daughter.’

This was Visitor C.

*’The Occupation of Ophelius Hall Incident’ is an event signaling the start of Act 2, taking place on the last day of the holiday at Ophelius Hall.

A brief summary still turns out quite lengthy.

As the holiday period ends and students begin returning to the academy, those of lower academic standing who have long harbored resentment towards the privileged residents of Ophelius Hall decide to occupy the dormitory.

At the heart of it is ‘Representative Willain of the Inferior Students’, whose manifesto is so lengthy it’ well over twenty pages.

The superior students, living almost nobly with differential treatment in dormitory facilities, not only have the privilege of choosing their seats first in classes held at the professor’ building and more flexible meal times but are also assigned personal maids. Moreover, the conveniences offered by the academy are on completely different level.

The emotional buildup led to an explosion during this return-to-school season when heavy rains poured over the southwestern Belor region of Acken Island. The academy, catering exclusively to Ophelius Hall students, announced it would provide chariots and boat rides for the return, allowing few days’ leeway for those unable to return on time.

The despair of the inferior students, unable to score timely return despite braving the downpour, fearing deduction in their grades, reached boiling point. Following gathering at Dex Hall, the inferior students united…

[End of Translation]

The establishment of the plan to occupy the luxurious and aristocratic Ophelius Hall and voice their grievances was, of course, reality-deficient scheme. Ophelius Hall was home to students with the greatest skills of each grade, and the maids managing the place were by no means easy opponents. They could all wield rapiers, and the senior maids even mastered intermediate magic.

No matter how many underachievers gathered, the task of taking Ophelius Hall was impossible. Watching from distance, they resembled lemmings marching off cliff. Even if they did manage to occupy it, causing havoc in Ophelius Hall, where all manner of nobles and children of influential families resided, would only backfire. Thus, the scale of the situation was inevitably limited.

That was until Lortelle covertly intervened.

“There’ an interesting plan afoot among the underachievers,” Lortelle said with sly smile across the campfire. I continued sharpening my dagger without any particular reaction.

Lifting my gaze beside me, standing there modestly, was surely the head maid of Ophelius Hall, Ellis. Her silent presence bore no discomfort, standing as if attending to Lortelle’ needs… She has sole access to all protective magic formations within Ophelius Hall. Though referred to as protective magic, slight twist in direction could repurpose them anytime.

There’ no need to labor the point on how important that authority is, thus only those who earned long-term trust from the academy could bear the title of head maid. In other words, she was not someone who could be easily bought with few coins.

“So?”

“I need your help, senior.”

“Why my help particularly?”

“Because you are most suitable.”

Lortelle sighed deeply, continuing.

“I was going to entrust this task to that jester… Tote, but the kid got seriously hurt and plans went awry.”

Hearing those words, I set down the dagger I had been sharpening.

“Oh my, you’re finally taking my words seriously, senior.”

“What happened to Tote?”

‘Jester Tote,’ not significant role but name I remember distinctly.

Appearing at the start of Act 2, he’ the intro boss who picks fight with Taely during holiday season and gets beaten up, reappearing as phase 1 boss during the ‘Ophelius Hall Occupation’ incident in Act 2, Chapter 3.

While not as grand as the Glascan subjugation event, the ensuing Ophelius Hall event does hold sway, with clear setup involving five named bosses.

1st floor boss ‘Jester Tote’

2nd floor boss ‘Gloomy Clevius’

3rd floor bosses ‘Cutlery Manager Shenny’, ‘Laundry Manager Kelly’

4th floor boss ‘Underachiever Representative Willain’

5th floor boss ‘Head Maid Ellis’

Tote’ role is to jump out first, lightening the atmosphere, get beaten, and disappear. By rights, he must be bought off by Lortelle to get involved in the Ophelius Hall incident.

“Tote, I didn’ like the frivolous vibe he gave off, not too reliable either but… he had one tight lip. I was considering trusting him, but I never thought Zix would beat him that badly. He’ hospitalized now.”

There seems to be an obvious derailment of the plot. Surely there should not have been any significant events during this break.

“Zix beat him up?”

“It seems Tote picked fight with Taely and Zix during the break. Really, I don’ understand why he does such things.”

That much is known.

A trivial villain marking the start of Act 2, he exists to flaunt his arrogance, pick quarrels over nothing, and ultimately get beaten up by the protagonist’ group.

Basically, character to hype up Zix. Mocking Taely with claims of talentlessness before getting his skull cracked by Zix, if memory serves.

If it’ during the holiday season, Taely and Zix would have been considerably friendly, meaning Act 2′ intro could plausibly have proceeded. I was certainly conscious of that.

But there could have been parts I failed to recall.

For instance, the specifics of what Tote said to Taely.

“Did Tote call Taely worse than an insect, even lower than Ed Rothtaylor? Harsh words, right?”

“…”

“And since he insulted both Taely and Senior Ed at the same time… Zix had double the reason to be angry.”

That’ why I avoided entangling with main characters… but even so, this is difficult to tackle.

“Normally I would’ve roughed him up, but that day he was even angrier, Elvira told me he was utterly destroyed. Well, after he calmed down, he did go to apologize… It was an emotional reaction, anyway.”

Following this, Lortelle took breath.

“I can’ trust such an emotional person.”

Then he looked straight at me and said…

“Anyway, it’ nothing difficult. Just get the keys from Miss Ellis and when the underachievers come storming in, open the door for them.”

“There should be many others who can do that.”

“Not as many as you would think. You have to stay cool no matter what and more importantly… you need reason to take part in such thing.”

The reason for Lortelle’ words was clear.

“Even if I pay well, what’ to stop someone from spilling the beans to the academy’ internal investigator after it’ all over? It’ not like I can trust just anyone to hide the fact that first-year Lortelle is behind it all.”

With that, I believe I understood why Lortelle sought me out.

I was ousted from Ophelius Hall, enduring ridicule, contempt, and scorn throughout my school life.

Honestly, I don’ care much. Ed Rothtaylor was someone who deserved such treatment. It’ bit unfair from my perspective, but right now, surviving is my focus.

The students’ perceptions of me will eventually erode over time. In fact, the first years seem to be gradually warming up to me.

“Don’ you want to strike back, Senior Ed?”

But Lortelle said so, smiling deeply.

It’ inferred that I might nurse secret grudge against the academy. Needless to say, that’ conjecture.

“I’m not particularly inclined that way.”

“Oh my.”

“But, let’ hear your terms.”

Composedly, I quickly reached conclusion.

Alright, upon reflection, the plot is already twisted. However, unlike Act 1, the distortion isn’ so significant that it’ beyond rectification. In fact, this level is almost charming.

If I refuse Lortelle’ offer now and he leaves to find another, the uncertainty becomes greater. Who will fill Tote’ role as the phase 1 jester is unknown.

Better I play that role myself, adequately open doors, and lose as necessary to Taely. After all, Tote isn’ more than that.

The crux is the absence of the phase 1 boss Tote. If that can be resolved, the story will flow smoothly again as intended.

However, there’ no need to work for free. Considering one can afford to pay, it’ right to receive fair compensation.

“Twenty coins.”

Lortelle whispered. For the task at hand, the payment is unreasonably low, but considering it includes hush money, it roughly adds up.

From my perspective, desiring the narrative to follow its natural course, there’ no intent to reveal Lortelle’ involvement. Essentially, it’ almost free money.

If I handle myself well, there won’ even be an investigation. Just stay inconspicuous, let Taely advance, and perhaps enjoy cup of tea in Yenika’ room, then simply vanish.

“Deal.”

I replied and started sharpening my dagger again.

Nothing more needed to be said. My actions expressed this.

I’ve become an impromptu phase 1 boss.

*

“Something feels off.”

In the forest night.

The young tycoon and head maid quietly returned to Ophelius Hall.

The taciturn head maid, who hadn’ uttered word, finally spoke when alone with Lortelle.

“That man hardly ever asks ‘why’.”

An experienced maid knows how to read people. It was apparent that Ed Rothtaylor was more than mediocre figure.

The mere content of their conversation doesn’ justify treating Ed with such disdain. Yet, the ‘dissonance’ mentioned by the head maid was something Lortelle felt keenly too.

“It seems you felt it too, Miss Ellis.”

Lortelle smiled.

“Thinking about it, that man has always been that way.”

One does not sense the natural curiosity expected of humans.

If Lortelle presented such proposition, flood of ‘why?’ should have ensued naturally.

Why would Lortelle want to get involved in Ophelius Hall’ occupation?

Why is head maid Ellis complicit with Lortelle?

Why do they not reject the underachievers’ collective actions?

There should’ve been countless why’ . With twenty gold coins at stake in the transaction, it’ human nature to be curious. Why is all this happening? False pretenses were prepared just in case.

Yet Ed Rothtaylor only questioned ‘why’ once.

Why come to me with this request?

“One would think… it’ one of two things. Either you’re someone with no interest beyond the money you receive or…”

A shiver ran up Lortelle’ spine for the first time in while.

“…you’ve already grasped the entirety of our circumstances.”

The warmth lingering on the three coins returned earlier was vivid in memory. Ed Rothtaylor was certainly not one to sell his life for gold.

Thus, by process of elimination, only one possibility remained.

“How much does he know? There wasn’ single clue.”

Lortelle closed her eyes, letting out her characteristic fox-like grin. A sensation not felt in long while. It was ‘the fear of the unknown’.

As the night deepened, Lortelle’ strides through the darkness of the forest were undeterred.

While the boy merely sharpened his dagger across the campfire during Lortelle’ enthusiastic chatter,

what was he contemplating after Lortelle left?

Unable to grasp his intentions, Lortelle’ heart raced.

He smelled of kin.

Distinctly and unmistakably.

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