The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 34

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(The Occupation Incident at Ophelius Hall – 4)

The rain still pours incessantly.

In the expansive main hall of Ophelius Hall, the sound of the falling rain echoes like a persistent reminder of nature’s melancholy.

As Taely and her group enter, the main door closes behind them. The torrential downpour’s direct assault on the hall is replaced by the tapping sound of raindrops striking the outer walls.

A stroke of lightning briefly illuminates the hall, revealing Ed sitting stoically in the center, his expression unreadable as he receives Taely’s party.

“Ed… Rothtaylor…”

Though the Rothtaylor family name has since been revoked, leaving him unable to claim it, it retains an antagonistic resonance for Taely.

“Why are you here at Ophelius Hall?”

Taely’s voice takes on an icy edge. While nearly half a year has passed since their last encounter, calming the depth of her emotion, Ed Rothtaylor remains a person she cannot bring herself to be near.

Aila and Elvira are all too aware of this fact.

“…”

Elvira rapidly assesses the situation before her.

The pristine marble floors that had always characterized Ophelius Hall are now marred with muddy footprints, and toppled cabinets no longer hold their rightful place. The chaos suggests a group of students has passed through, leaving behind a man who now sits guarding the path.

“Ahaha. It’s not quite a normal situation, is it? How amusing. Didn’t see that coming.”

Elvira laughs heartily. Though the details are uncertain, the unfolding scenario seems entertaining.

“Unfortunately for you,” Ed finally speaks, having been seated in the center of the hall, “you won’t be able to go any further.”

He gives no reason, though he’s obliged none. It’s clear by his drawn lips and stony visage that no amount of questioning would sway him.

Elvira’s response, then, is predictable.

“Ahaha, amusing. Suppose I insist on passing through, you think you can stop me?”

Elvira Enniston is Sylvania Academy’s top first-year alchemy student.

Alchemy students typically aren’t categorized as front-line combatants. They delve into the structure of spells, study the properties and origins of materials, and research the efficacy of various herbs and magical potions.

That’s not to say their combat potential is non-existent—in battle, alchemists carrying an array of magical potions and artifacts can pose as a wildcard, wielding the power to invert the tide of battle with unpredictable variables.

Teachers managing these inscrutable and mischievous students command respect, perhaps surpassing even the notorious oddities among the magic students.

Elvira Enniston belongs to a handful of these peculiar individuals within alchemy, esteemed as the most eccentric and solitary among them.

Though she’s not a specialist in direct combat or magic, being outmatched by an average second-year magician isn’t within question.

Elvira laughs again, a hint of mischief in her voice.

“If you don’t want to get hurt, you’d better step aside.”

The confrontation with Ed Rothtaylor establishes itself. Taely has already settled into a combative stance. Despite seemingly having no involvement in the incident, Ed’s blockade implies an abnormality—there’s a clear understanding amongst the group that something is amiss.

A peaceful demonstration seems unlikely to be the conclusion, an intuition that torments them.

Even so, the situation doesn’t appear overwhelmingly dire—Ed’s basic magic proficiency may be well-regarded, as Zix once mentioned, but that alone can’t overcome the disparity in absolute firepower and numerical advantage.

It’s three against one.

Among them, a knight already fulfilling his role, a magician capable of rudimentary spells, and an alchemist boasting the highest proficiency in her year.

Despite Ed’s daunting presence in the center of the hall, an overwhelming power gap in favor of the group remains apparent.

Taely unsheathes her sword.

“What’s your purpose, Ed Rothtaylor? Tell me what’s happening upstairs, right now.”

Ed remains silent, simply sitting and observing.

“Then… I’ll have to force those lips open!”

With Taely kicking off the ground and Aila reading her mana, the battle commences. Elvira reaches for her alchemy bag when suddenly, Ed lunges forward.

– Clatter!

The chair rolls across the floor as mana gathers in Ed’s hands. Elvira instantly recognizes the magical energy—’Wind Blade’. His target is clear.

Taely, Aila, Elvira.

As a magician, Ed’s primary threat lies with Taely. In a mage’s duel, maintaining distance is crucial; to keep channeling mana for spellcasting is to secure victory. In mages’ fights, this emphasis maybe diminishes, but with a skilled swordsman involved, maintaining distance becomes crucial once more. The moment a melee expert closes the gap, the magician’s chances dwindle to naught. Thus, Taely, the swordsman, is undoubtedly Ed’s intended first takedown.

If Elvira and Aila can manage to flank Ed while he’s preoccupied… The outcome seems favorably straightforward for the punitive force.

– ‘Whoosh!’

Instead of striking the group, Ed’s ‘Wind Blade’ targets the ceiling—a misplaced expectation.

The chandelier’s chain snaps cleanly, groaning with the shearing force, before the grand fixture plunges towards the center of the main hall.

– ‘Crash!!’

– ‘Clatter.’

Taely reacts in time, reversing her forward momentum to evade. The chandelier spikes into the location Taely was heading towards, billowing up dust and obscuring sight within the hall.

“Kyaa!”

“Aila! Are you okay?!”

“I’m fine, Taely! I just fell over because of the shock!”

After the din, murmurings echo throughout Ophelius Hall. The confined students are starting to waver, contemplating whether they must destroy this expensive building to escape.

The first to succumb to this fear would be Clevius, who has yet to emerge from his room.

“Elvira! What about you?”

“Don’t worry about me…!”

– ‘Whoosh’

Elvira’s auburn hair, tied up at the back, flutters as stray strands are sheared off by another ‘Wind Blade’, floating in the air.

The blade wasn’t aiming for Elvira’s hair but for her alchemical gear bag. The leather is slashed apart, and the various magical potions inside spill out.

– Rattle!

That Ed would irreverently smash such an imposing chandelier was something Elvira had not anticipated.

It was assumed that they could easily overpower someone responsible for merely disrupting the peace. After all, the posh interiors of Ophelius Hall seem inviolable, the expensive-looking chandelier an untouchable display. To destroy it without a second thought—how could one take responsibility for that?

From Ed Rothtaylor’s perspective, such audacity isn’t quite daring—should plans proceed as intended, the entire Ophelius Hall was slated for demolition anyway. By that point, the condition of the main hall would concern no one, nor would anyone seek to assign blame.

Knowing this, even the splendid chandelier appears merely as a potential battlefield asset to Ed. However, to Elvira, witnessing Ed’s extreme measures to halt the group’s progress sparks an uncomfortable sense of dissonance.

‘In any case, he’s serious… Something is definitely happening upstairs.’

Elvira shifts her focus back to the array of potions scattered on the floor.

Numerous low-tier potions lay around, yet not a single one is broken—thanks to Elvira’s reinforcement spells etched on the containers, which maintain their integrity until she actively dispels the enchantments.

As Elvira moves towards the potions

– ‘Fwoosh!’

A pillar of fire, centered on Ed, separates her from the potions.

The linear wall of fire, arising from basic ‘Ignition’ magic, suggests extreme repetitive mastery—Ed has taken an elementary spell and amplified it. The fiery barrier envelops the main hall in several layers.

‘This isn’t good.’

Ed’s maneuvering is swift and precise—natural as the flow of water in constructing the battlefield.

The core of the punitive force is Elvira. But the critical weakness of an alchemy student is the absence of direct combat ability without reliance on magical artifacts and potions.

Therefore, depriving Elvira of her potions and artifacts leaves her without options.

Even if her bag were full of alchemical gear, simply spilling the contents and erecting a firewall to block access would effectively halve her combat efficiency.

While most alchemists would wear emergency artifacts, like rings or necklaces, Elvira’s confidence in her abilities led her to find such precautions unnecessary.

If Ed had anticipated this far, Elvira might be flustered, but she dismisses the thought, knowing it’s far-fetched.

In any case, maintaining a fire barrier of that scale will strain an average magician like Ed. It suggests he’s aiming for something.

A critical mistake—the brief lapse caused by the shock of the chandelier’s crash. Elvira berates herself for letting her guard down, affording Ed the opportunity to strike.

‘Fortunately, I have reserves…!’

From within her clothes, Elvira retrieves a small glass figurine, a rabbit-shaped artifact pre-removed from her bag for particular research. Fortunate indeed.

Smashing the glass on the floor, Elvira summons an artificial spirit creature from her crafted magical device.

– ‘Grrr’

A rabbit—it is, but not with the gentle maw of a herbivore. Its teeth are savage, its eyes glinting; the size alone rivals that of wolves and lynxes.

Speedily, Elvira channels her mana, etching a fire-resistance spell on the rabbit’s skin to enable it to break through the wall of fire. The hastily inscribed sigil hurts the spirit beast, bleeding the magic into its hide, but Elvira proceeds.thesizeoftheThis is a one-time-use servant—painful for the creature, to be sure, but necessary.

– ‘Fwoosh!’

Yet another ‘Wind Blade.’

The new target is Aila, it seems, as Ed no longer regards Elvira as a threat.

“Ahhhh!”

-‘Clang!’

Taely’s ‘Elemental Slash’ cleaves through the ‘Wind Blade.’

“Get a grip, Aila!”

In the hall, a wall of successive flames, the vast chandelier, and rising dust obscure the view, complicating tracking of Ed’s movements.

Taely is a born swordsman; were it her wish, she could slice through flame and wind alike. Yet, her development in covering large areas at once is nascent.

Ed, dancing agilely behind barriers of fire, could not be overpowered immediately.

Furthermore, although it infuriates her, Ed’s focus on Aila is clear.

Aila Triss might possess deep magical knowledge, but her strength is not immense. At best, she’s at a level of a first-year student beginning to learn basic spells. Ed’s skilled basic magic pulverizes any defensive matrix she attempts to erect.

As a result, without Taely’s protection, Aila stands to be overpowered in moments.

Taely would not have predicted such grave developments and regrets her decision to include Aila in this situation.

If Taely chose to throw herself into the fire to confront Ed, Aila would be left utterly defenseless.

“Taely! Let me make my way out of the hall…! Just until then…!”

Aila is fully aware that she’s currently a burden. Rather than shrinking under this realization, she seeks an immediate solution.

Given the circumstances, evacuation to safety is her best option.

-‘Kyaaa!’

The fire-resistant rabbit charges, hardly straining Elvira’s magic, towards the chandelier. The beast, formed in haste, may not yield dramatic results, but it can constrict Ed’s movements and reveal his position, if only momentarily.

“Taely! If I close in on him, can you take him down?!”

Elvira shouts between licks of flames. Though deprived of her usual magical supplements, she could defeat Ed with a single opportunity.

“It’s not a question of can or can’t; I have to do it!”

“Good, I like your spirit!”

Elvira grins and, wrapping her still-damp robe around her body, dives into the curtain of fire.

“Elvira!”

Startled, Taely cries out, but Elvira already rolls across to the other side, tearing off her flaming garment. Her auburn hair has caught fire, but she quickly pats it out, leaving only singed strands. Her right forearm bears a mild burn, but she decides not to concern herself with it for now.

The ground is littered with magical potions. It was a short separation, yet she missed them dearly.

Ed Rothtaylor’s strategic advantage springs from his control over the battlefield and obscuring visibility.

Relying on throw-requiring potions or aim-demanding artifacts risks stretching time. The solution?

It seems you’ve prepared extensively, but we have a warrior capable of close combat on our side…!

Clutching a treasured magical potion, she flung it towards the chandelier in the center of the hall.

With a crash and a whoosh!

A heavy magical aura seeped among the party. The potion, made by mixing night butterfly flowers and chub mushrooms, was infused with a ‘discharge’ spell. Its effects are so well-known—suppressing the release of magic, the temporary suppression of magical byproducts. In essence, it’s an anti-mage elixir.

The principle lies in disrupting the flow of magic, making it difficult to control, so it doesn’t affect magicians of intermediate level or higher who are sufficiently attuned to mana sensitivity. Its effects last only a few minutes at most, so it’s not particularly useful outside short-term confrontations.

However, the opponent was only using basic magic, and what was needed was indeed a short-term confrontation. Taely, realizing this, adopted an offensive stance.

The walls of flame filling the hall subsided.

Across from the chandelier, through rising dust and ash, stood a man drenched in blood.

In one hand, he held a hunting dagger, and in the other, he supported the limp corpse of a rabbit almost as big as himself.

He kicked the rabbit’s body aside with his foot, and it rolled along the ground before disintegrating into ashes. He had delayed for as long as necessary; his role was fulfilled. Not a bad outcome considering the effort spent in manifesting it.

An injury from a rabbit’s tooth marred the man’s right shoulder, and his blood-soaked school uniform was a complete mess.

Yet without showing any change in expression or movement, he watched over his comrades. Even a sense of dread seemed to emanate from his gaze.

“Ed Rothtaylor!”

Taely charged forward, and seizing the moment, Elvira fished through the mixed potion vials, checking each label.

The use of the night butterfly flower potion meant that for a short while, any intervention with magic in this hall was hampered. This was a critical blow especially to fellow mages Aila and Ed. Since Aila’s capabilities were already meager, it was quite a beneficial exchange.

With Taely’s skill in swordsmanship and Elvira’s use of magical tools and potions, they were the only significant forces for a brief moment.

Now was the time to land a fatal blow on Ed Rothtaylor.

However, Ed Rothtaylor had no intention of blocking the approaching Taely; instead, he kicked a nearby display case, sending it toppling over.

A basin on top spilled, its thick contents pouring out over the entire hall, a liquid previously asked to be brought in by Kelly…

“This smell… It’s oil! Taely!”

Ed kicked over a candlestick in the corner of the hall. The oil caught fire, and flames began to rise again. A new source of light emerged in the dark hall, and the spreading fire began to take control of the space.

This wasn’t a magical blaze created by a ‘fire’ spell. This was a genuine fire ignited with oil. Along with the wooden parts of the fallen chandelier, the display cases lined up around the edges began to catch fire.

“Have you gone mad?! This is the Ophelius Hall!”

Elvira shouted.

Unlike the magical pillars of fire, the current flames were a natural disaster, burning everything equitably.

If the fire spread through the corridors, it could lead to casualties.

With that thought in mind, Elvira scanned the surroundings but shivered anew.

Under the urgency, they hadn’t properly checked.

The number of decorative cases that had filled the hall was noticeably reduced. The most flammable furnishings and valuables were already cleared out, minimizing their number, and even the smoke that blocked the view continually was sent out through the windows beside the emergency staircase.

As previously mentioned, the floors and walls of the main hall were all made of marble, with stone doors leading to the main entrance and corridors. If firmly closed off, and with the stench well-contained, the smoke from the fire at this scale would hardly be noticed from the corridor’s side. It was nothing more than a few burning cabinets in a grand hall.

This preparedness to contain the fire within the hall signified something.

‘Was all this part of your plan…?’

Elvira clenched her jaw and gathered her potion bottles. The flames spread, and the red glow filled the hall. At the center, the figure of the fallen, blood-covered blond noble briefly appeared.

If he had planned to start a fire, he could have just done it from the beginning.

Had it been just a fire, not controlled by magic, Elvira wouldn’t have used the night butterfly flower potion.

The only reason to induce such a situation is…

“Even so, you can no longer use magic!”

Taely yelled from within the rising flames.

The largest factor restraining Taely’s movements was Aila’s presence. With the method to target Aila safely gone, there were no means left to pressure the advancing Taely.

The heat of the blazing flames is intense, but Taely, born with the path of the sword saint, easily slices through the fire.

Elvira felt the presence of a chilling unease up her spine.

Their opponent was just a second-year student from the magic department, yet they had a close combat warrior versed in the sword saint’s techniques and even the top alchemist. The difference in strength doesn’t even warrant emphasis.

Yet the response was too smooth.

It’s as if they foresaw every move, as if they predicted the opponent’s actions perfectly. From neutralizing Elvira’s magical tools first, to making it difficult for Taely to close in, to persistently targeting the weak spot called Aila. The strategy had no flaws, and there was no waste in action.

The level of his power, the strategies he could use, the psychological vulnerabilities of the opponent, and even knowing what potions were in Elvira’s bag felt like they were entirely seen through. It was a disturbing feeling like standing naked, making the sense of unease in Elvira grow stronger.

Magicians tend to panic and fall when their magic is blocked.

However, this way of compensating for the difference in specs by adjusting the battlefield and targeting weaknesses was less like a mage and more like a tactician.

If that’s the case, then the current situation is also strange.

If magic isn’t at play, any fire is nothing more than paper to Taely.

With just one preparation and attack timing, Taely could cut through the fire and clear the path to Ed. Then his movement would become apparent, and Elvira could even provide support.

Perhaps that brief moment of opportunity is the key. However, Ed Rothtaylor is no longer able to use magic…

“No, Taely!”

When that thought reached her, Elvira screamed.

But Taely’s movements, aiming to cut through the fire with ‘Elemental Slash,’ are full of momentum—it’s too late to stop now.

Realizing this situation means there is still ‘a move left’…!

There remains some physical long-range weapon that Taely’s party doesn’t know about, one that doesn’t rely on magic to attack!

The moment she thought of that possibility, it was too late. Taely’s sword cut through the flames, and in the hands of Ed Rothtaylor, now revealed, was a short bow—surely hidden in the fallen cabinet earlier.

“You can… handle a bow…?”

The aim is already complete.

Taely wouldn’t be subdued by a single arrow. His reflexes could very well allow him to deflect the arrow with his sword, possibly even creating an opportunity for retaliation.

To truly restrict Taely’s movements, one must not aim for Taely himself. The aim instead goes to Taely’s companion, slumped in a corner of the hall.

“Aila…!”

By the time it was an ‘ah-ha’ moment, it was too late. The tension in the bowstring released, and the arrow mercilessly progressed towards its target.

One of the first things learned by first-year students is a basic defense spell.

A self-defense magic that minimizes ‘physical force’ directed at one’s body, and Aila is capable of casting it as well. But ironically, the effect of Elvira’s night butterfly flower potion is equally applied to all magicians.

Defenseless Aila is the target of the arrow. Taely, with near-superhuman reflexes, turns and charges towards Aila, but he cannot be faster than the arrow that has already begun its flight.

– Whoosh, thud!

But the arrow never reaches Aila.

“Phew…”

The sound of breaking glass is heard.

It’s one of Elvira’s magical tools, ‘Claw Hand’—a glass marble that, when within sight, can pull even small objects from afar.

The arrow aimed at Aila’s abdomen loses its force and flies into Elvira’s hand.

“Finish it, Taely!”

Confirming the sight, Taely’s eyes, burning with rage, turn to Ed.

Elvira wanted no more meddling. As much as she wished to block Taely’s group’s entry, letting the chandelier collapse and starting fires was truly insane.

Perhaps it was just a simple sit-in by the failing students.

What else was happening upstairs in the Ophelius Hall that they went so far to prevent passage, she couldn’t tell… But launching an arrow at Aila was a line crossed, an act far removed from merely threatening with magic.

If such an arrow had struck the fragile Aila, it might have proved fatal. This was a clear criminal act.

Thinking this, Elvira tried to relax her hand gripping the arrow. As her vision reached the tip of the arrow, she gasped anew.

The arrowhead was blunted.

Instead of its sharp iron tip, it had been cut off, and something akin to a bundle of hay was tied broadly around it to neutralize as much physical force as possible.

It was clearly modified to reduce lethality.

In the midst of chaos, who can confirm the state of an arrowhead?

Nevertheless, the direction of the aim, if it impacted at all, was between the lower abdomen and the thigh, areas with nearly no vital organs. Perhaps if it hit directly, only a bruise would form.

‘Were you going easy…?’

Elvira screamed again as that thought reached her.

“Taely! Be careful! There’s still some…”

Before she could finish saying ‘there’s still something left…’

– Boom!

A sound like the walls of the second floor collapsing echoed across the room, followed by the shouting of some coward.

Regaining her composure, Elvira saw that Ed had already been struck by Taely’s sword and was pinned against the wall.

“…What?”

Quietly leaning against the wall, putting his bloodstained body in order, Ed remained expressionless.

*

“Are you mad?!”

The chandelier had collapsed, most of the display cases were burnt, and the main hall was a mess. There sat Ed, with his clothes bloodied by the demonic servant, still without any expression.

“There must be a reason you’re doing all this!”

Taely, fists shaking with anger, yelled.

Elvira watched quietly, lips sealed.

Ed eventually allowed Taely to approach, and by the natural superiority of a swordsman over a mage, he was subdued.

It was a struggle, but they ultimately managed to restrain him.

Elvira didn’t feel relaxed, though.

Throughout the fight, her heart kept feeling… penetrated.

The battle scenario and posture seemed to dance in Ed’s hand.

If Ed Rothtaylor truly sought to suppress Taely’s group, he wouldn’t have shown himself at all, and would have collapsed the chandelier from the start.

If he were just an overconfident fool of a mage, it might have been different, but the gap between that impression and Ed’s manner in the battle was indescribable.

Something felt like it was motivated by intent.

Although Taely and Aila, because of the urgency, might not have thought it through, Elvira’s expression was stony, unlike her usual naive demeanor.

‘Something is definitely strange.’

Elvira, screaming behind the furious Taely, looked straight into the opponent’s face.

Even in a defeated position, there was no hint of resentment on his face. He was just leaning against the wall, waiting for Taely’s tirade to end.

Finally, when Taely took a deep breath to regain strength, Ed lifted his head and spoke.

“Is it over?”

Even in this situation, he does not lose his calm tone.

“If it’s over, go up. Stop your barking.”

He didn’t even try to stop them from leaving.

“What did you say…?”

Pushing past Taely, Elvira stood directly in front of Ed and looked down at him. They had to question him at this point.

In the main hall of Ophelius, filled with the sound of rain beating against the outer walls.

“Why did you let us off?”

That piercing question doesn’t stir Ed’s expression. If anything, it’s Taely and Aila who are taken aback by it.

“What are you talking about, Elvira?”

“He let us off? This person? Us?”

Elvira ignored their questions and continued to glare directly at Ed.

“Answer me.”

A brief silence ensued. But Elvira wasn’t about to permit it.

She would persist in observing him until she got an answer—as if vowing to question him for a lifetime.

But naturally, that questioning couldn’t go on forever.

– Bang!!

The main door of Ophelius Hall opened once again.

The gentle sound of rain against the outer wall was drowned out by the loud sound of the rainstorm coming through the door.

A bolt of lightning struck.

For a brief moment, the world lit up, revealing the figure of a girl who shook her wet hooded cloak. The cape flower hairpin, which she had pondered and chosen the night before, is now clearly visible.

Who could possibly mock the girl’s purity? Even if it’s a misconception, she is free to indulge in happy fantasies.

However, the disparity between imagination and reality can sometimes be cruel.

Instead of appearing at the pavilion in an elegant manner as the girl imagined, the boy is attacked by a gang of thugs and collapses covered in blood.

Room for further response…

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