The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 44

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Translation:

Professor isn’t just anyone (2)

“Oh my, I’m really sorry, Senior Ed.”

The next morning, taking advantage of the weekend, I headed towards the living quarters of the bustling southwestern part. Crossing through, I made it almost to one of the two bridges that connected to the outside of Acken Island, the Mekses Bridge. It felt as though I had walked for nearly two hours.

As soon as I entered the Elte General Store’s Sylvania branch, which is the most prominent building upon crossing the great bridge, the employees promptly guided me to the reception room, as if they had been waiting. The eerily polite atmosphere was almost uncomfortable for me.

Lortelle, who had been waiting for me in the reception room, politely apologized for forgetting to prepare the contract we had promised.

“I’m so sorry for the mix-up, considering you arranged to meet me in advance. I’ve been so distracted these days.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, truly sorry. It looks like you might have to visit again next week. As an apology, we have prepared some tea and snacks for you. Also, when you leave, please collect a few magical engineering supplies that were missing from our inventory at the cash register.”

Lortelle looked very different from when she was in the faculty housing.

Contrasting her usual academy uniform wrapped in a robe, she was now dressed in a long flair skirt with a crisp white blouse, and wearing an elegant hat trimmed with gold.

Because I had only seen her soaking wet from the rain or wearing old robes when she got involved in the last incident, this new appearance was rather striking.

Her clothes seemed excessively luxurious for everyday wear, and when I asked her if she had some kind of event, she just smiled brightly and queried back, “Do I look alright?”

“An important event?”

“Yes, there are such things.”

She laughed off my question and only nodded in response, so I did the same and broached the main topic while sitting across from her in the luxurious reception room.

“I want to discuss something. Do you handle furniture items too?”

“Of course.”

“I’d like to buy some affordable but decent furniture. The items in this branch are all high-end. Can’t I just get a simple desk, chair, or cabinet that does its job?”

“Oh, have you completed your cabin?”

“It’s almost done. Just some minor finishing touches left.”

“Hmm… As you know, Sylvania has a higher demand for noble-type products, so we don’t often supply finished products focusing on practicality and price. I could personally source them for you, but it will take some time.”

Lortelle, with her hand on her chin, seemed lost in thought for a moment and then smiled, “Hmm.”

“It’s a bit awkward to give away merchandise for free. As I said, giving away sales items for free is unethical for a merchant and may look bad to other merchants around.”

“That can’t be helped.”

“Well, there is a more direct method.”

Then, Lortelle stood up from the sofa in the reception room and walked briskly to the work desk, gathering magic in her hand.

She magically snapped the leg of an expensive-looking wooden chair.

– Crash!

“…”

“How much is that chair worth?”

“That’s a secret.”

She was bold, perhaps overly so, or maybe she possessed an exceptional drive. Either way, it was the spirit of a leader. Her gaze moved from the chair to the cabinets and windows. Since I couldn’t carry them all anyway, I stopped her for the moment.

“Well, I’ll send the other ‘junk’ to you later.”

“Right.”

“Anyway, there are a few things I want to mention to you, Senior.”

Reseated on the sofa, Lortelle took a sip of her tea. Despite her effort to look graceful, it was hard not to see the disparity between this act and her recent destruction of the chair.

“Do you know Assistant Professor Claire Elfin, the first-year elemental studies professor?”

“Yeah, I know her.”

“She’s been making some interesting moves lately… I’ve been keeping an eye on her. She doesn’t seem too dangerous, being a bit of a scatterbrain, but still…”

Claire Elfin.

She was a young woman newly appointed as a professor this year, and none other than the stubborn survivor who had endured nearly a decade as the apprentice of Professor Glast. She makes her appearance in Act 2 as the second phase boss of the Glast subjugation… It’s about time she showed up in the scenario.

“Why?”

“Just… She has a strange intuition, and she was assigned to manage the academic side of the recent Ophelius Hall takeover. I’ll handle it, so Senior doesn’t need to worry, but I thought you should know.”

“Alright, I’ll keep it in mind.”

After that exchange, I also took a sip of my tea. Lortelle’s eyes held a strange gleam as she looked at me.

When I met her gaze, she cleared her throat and approached once more, hopping onto the coffee table and leaning in.

“You’re so good at maintaining a poker face, Senior Ed. This was supposed to be a bold move on my part.”

Her voice was laced with evident disappointment, and I immediately understood that she was referring to the episode before receiving the torch.

“I guess you don’t see me as a woman, do you, Senior Ed?”

Lortelle swung her feet and poked the table relentlessly.

“Well, there’s no point in beating around the bush. I see you as a man of interest, in every sense of the term you’re thinking of. Even the favors I’ve done for you are because of my personal interests.”

“I get what kind of answer you’re looking for, but…”

“Oh, I wasn’t expecting a reply. As you know, I don’t engage in battles I can’t win.”

She sighed then pressed her hand over my chest with intent.

“If I pushed for an answer now, I know what would come spilling out. I only make a move when my victory is clear.”

“…”

“Merchants are creatures that only engage in certain wins. You may seem indifferent now, but… well.”

She grinned as she boldly spoke, “You won’t be the only one unsettled by this.”

Looking closely, Lortelle’s fingertips were trembling.

Her seductive smile was consistent, whether she felt sure of victory or cornered.

The disposition of a merchant, never revealing their hand, isn’t easily shed.

* [ You have acquired the advanced crafting skill ‘Magical Engineering’. An advanced crafting skill slot has been consumed. ]

The magical engineering tool, made of a small glass orb and its stand, had a simpler structure than expected and I could analyze it quickly.

I felt a strange sense of achievement having finally learned a proper advanced skill.

As I packed the rest of the magical engineering supplies to organize them in the cabin, I walked through the camp with my load.

As evening approached, a chill began to set in. Autumn was truly here.

When I first began living in the woods, it was early spring. At the time, securing basic sustenance was more critical than worrying about the cold.

However, as the colors of the leaves started to shift to a magnificent display, the cold seeping up from the earth could no longer be ignored.

“Hmm…”

The time has come when outdoor sleeping is no longer feasible.

Moreover, as winter approaches and snow accumulates, hunting animals for meat will become more challenging, and the number of edible plants will decrease, making food supply a major concern.

I must prepare for the winter.

The soft and cozy feeling of gently falling snowflakes… the romantic image that comes to mind with winter was beautiful only because it presupposed the existence of a sturdy house and a fridge full of food.

Still, it wasn’t a totally hopeless situation – I had a backup plan.

“Eighteen… Nineteen… Twenty.”

I unfolded the leather pouch Lortelle had given me. Inside lay twenty neatly stacked gold coins.

In an extreme situation, I could spend money to escape it. However, wastefulness is forbidden. I resolved to minimize spending on consumable items, which are one-time expenditures.

I could survive this semester on the scholarship provided by the Gluckt Foundation, but who knows what happens next semester. To manage the semester fees, expenditures had to be efficient.

It’s clear that Lortelle has taken a liking to me, but relying on her favor is a very uncertain plan. Even if I were to do so, it would be only after the scenario concludes. Until then, it’s impractical.

I’m not spinning some tale fit for a moral textbook about not exploiting someone’s kindness for personal gain.

Firstly, getting too close to a main character in the scenario goes against my principles, and even if I ignored that rule, a person’s heart is like a reed; it can swiftly change direction.

Self-sufficiency is key to survival. Relinquishing control of one’s life to another’s fleeting kindness is too perilous. Irrespective of circumstances, one must be accountable for their own life.

Still, I would be willing to spend a bit of money to reinforce the cabin or to acquire quality woodworking tools.

These are items I need to use consistently, and they will directly help with improving my life skills.

However, I cannot excessively spend money on basic necessities like food or firewood. Concessions might be made for spices or oils, which could aid in improving my cooking skills, but spending money on things I could find in the forest is absolutely out of the question.

“Ignition.”

I easily cast the ignition spell which I now found simpler than breathing towards the fireplace.

– Whoomph!

The fire blazed up within the well-built fireplace, and the smoke traveled nicely up the chimney which took two full days to complete.

The fireplace itself turned out larger than initially planned, taking up almost two-thirds of the wall.

I had adjusted the design to strengthen the fire — in other words, to increase its heat output. At this point, it was more of an oven than a fireplace.

Wood for burning was in steady supply, so focusing on the heat was a deliberate choice for the time being.

But, as a result, the chimney size for the exhaust had to be increased, which was really hard work.

– Crackling, crackling.

The sound of firewood burning echoed faintly inside the cabin.

It wasn’t even early evening yet the cabin was already quite dark. Nevertheless, the warm light filled the interior, brightening the atmosphere and lifting my spirits.

I stared blankly into the dancing flames for about five minutes before leaning back against the cabin’s wall and sitting down.

“Phew…”

Even though I heaved a sigh sitting slumped against the wall, a satisfied grin spread across my face.

During my time participating in outdoor camping activities, the concept of ‘heating the air’ seemed nearly impossible. Warmth was not something that would come to me as I lay down; it was something I had to actively seek by getting close to the fire.

But now, there’s a roof overhead, a ceiling above.

The walls and roof were finished with mud, and the floor was covered with skins used as carpets.

These materials have a high heat capacity; once warmed up, they do not cool down quickly. If I can heat the air once, that cozy sensation will spread throughout the house.

The problem, though, is the fuel efficiency which is worse than expected… The only solution seems to be spending more time collecting firewood. If I’m short on time, I suppose I’ll have no choice but to use magic to chop down trees. Lighting the fire isn’t a big hassle, as I can use fire-starting spells.

Still… it seems necessary to work on improving my magical efficiency.

I’ll have to be conservative with the firewood for now but finally, it’s time to move in. Once I arrange some furniture, I’ll have a stable living environment.

The warmth gently heats one side of my face.

For some reason, the fact that I have warmth is immensely reassuring, as if a weight has been lifted off my chest.

“…Has it already gotten this late? I should check the traps first.”

Lately, I haven’t just set snares for small animals, but have also begun to install traps targeting larger game.

I hope for a good catch.

*

“If you think it’s possible, then maybe it could be,” suggested Assistant Professor Claire, expressing her opinion that something unseen still remained in the Ophelius Hall occupation incident.

Professor Glast neither agreed nor disagreed, seemingly indifferent to begin with.

“Assistant Professor Claire. You have a peculiar intuition and occasionally come up with plausible hypotheses… but there are times when you’re off the mark in important details. Please refrain from overestimating your judgment at critical moments.”

“You’re being harsh with your words, aren’t you? Right?”

“…”

In the Triss Hall student counseling office.

Sitting across from each other with a desk between them were Assistant Professor Claire and Zix Effelstein.

“I see.”

“Listen, Zix. You attend Professor Glast’s classes, so you’d understand, but why is he always like that? I’ve been his protégé for nearly a decade, and I’m already overwhelmed with work he’s dumped on me, yet is a word of encouragement really that hard to give?”

Zix sweat beading on his forehead, provided lukewarm agreement.

After becoming responsible for dealing with the Ophelius Hall situation from the faculty’s side, Assistant Professor Claire decided to conduct her own investigation upon sensing something off while reading the files.

She planned to interview individuals not yet investigated by the Academic Inspection Department, including Ed, Zix, and Yenika.

Zix was called to Triss Hall as the first person to be asked, but rather than an interrogatory interview, it turned into more of a grievance session.

The conversation, which began with due formality and honorifics, soon shifted into Claire talking impulsively about her own situation and sighing deeply.

If teaching assistant Anis or other students could see this, they would let out deep sighs and shake their heads in disapproval.

“Gosh, this isn’t the time. You look so dependable, Zix, I can’t help but vent.”

“That’s too much praise.”

“And that’s why I have this odd feeling. Though it’s out of focus and treated as delusion now, there are one or two eyewitness accounts that claim to have seen the Golden King Elte… and Ellis’s motive seems weak. Well, since Ellis confessed everything, it seems there’s no room for further investigation…”

Zix swallowed a dry gulp.

To others, Assistant Professor Claire might look like a scatterbrain with no wits about her, inappropriate for the faculty.

The amount of her academic knowledge and her level of wit simply do not align.

Her published papers and academic research are indeed impressive… but the woman herself seems to have a few screws loose.

Yet, her peculiar intuition often turns out to strike the very heart of the truth.

“Don’t you think there might be some unseen scheme at play?”

“Like… what, for example?”

“Hmm, well, for instance… speaking of the Golden King Elte, his daughter’s in Ophelius Hall, isn’t she? Lortelle, I mean, Lortelle.”

At that, Zix choked back a gasp.

“It’s probable that Taely testified he witnessed Ellis holding Lortelle captive, right? And afterward, she ran out of Ophelius Hall, and her whereabouts are unknown…”

“But, still…”

“But Lortelle isn’t the type to do something bad. Hmm! She’s got good grades, a pleasant nature! She even brought me a whole bunch of tarts once when I was working overtime, cheering me on.”

“…”

Claire continued with a cheerful smile before lowering her voice to a whisper.

“In my opinion, Ed Rothtaylor looks suspicious. Right now, he’s expelled, remember?”

She whispered, as if fearing someone might overhear, though it was only Zix and Claire present.

The name seemed to come from nowhere, and Zix stiffened in response.

“Senior Ed, you mean?”

“Yes. I know it may sound like a conspiracy theory, but hear me out, Zix.”

Though he was supposed to merely be an interviewee, why should he be subjected to such stories?

The actions of the associate professor lacked any semblance of dignity, yet Zix found it hard to object.

“Everyone else at the scene was either an Ophelius Hall student or involved personnel, someone who wouldn’t be out of place in the incident. But Taely and Ed, those two had no particular connection to Ophelius Hall, yet they got mixed up in the matter. Taely can be ruled out since he was dragged in by Elvira and is also a party to the resolution of the matter. That leaves Ed. Why was he at Ophelius Hall at that time?”

“…”

“Aha! It’s because Ed is behind this whole conspiracy! The criminal always returns to the scene of the crime!”

With an ostentatious ‘ba-bam,’ she shows her self-satisfactory grin.

“But isn’t there usually a motive behind such actions? What gain would Senior Ed have to instigate such an event?”

“That’s what we’re about to find out! We’ll confront Ed himself!”

“Suggesting a suspect and then searching for motives and methods afterward… Isn’t that backwards?”

“It can be a method as well. Backwards investigation. Just another approach, Zix.”

Claire’s tendency to act on impulse wasn’t new. Worried that Ed might get into trouble capriciously, Zix became worried.

“Well, Zix, you don’t seem suspicious and apparently don’t know much about the situation, so I’ll let you off.”

“So you’ll summon Senior Ed to Triss Hall for interrogation?”

“No. In cases like this, if you give people time to prepare an excuse, they escape like eels. You have to strike from our side.”

Zix’ plan to give Ed a heads-up was thwarted.

“I’m not certain where he’s staying after being expelled from the dorm, but I hear he’s often been seen around the North Forest. Let’s go there and confront him.”

*

When you resolve to act, you must proceed with drive. That was Claire’s policy.

Her schedule was chaotic, balancing research proposals, checking next week’s lecture materials, and addressing student suggestions… But since she had accepted the task, she couldn’t shirk it carelessly.

She hoped to scour the North Forest before sunset, but there was so much to wrap up that darkness had already fallen over the woods.

“Hmm… maybe I should’ve come tomorrow. It’s hard to find free time except on weekends…”

The darkening woods felt ominous, not a sight conducive to an efficient search.

Unless Ed lived in the forest, it seemed unlikely he’d wander it at this hour. If one’s not sleeping and eating here, what reason would there be to roam the forest so late at night?

‘Let’s just come back when it’s daylight.’ Deciding this, Claire turns to leave.

– Rustling.

A noise from beyond the footpath stirred the bushes, causing Claire to gulp and quickly hide behind a nearby tree.

Wondering if it might be a wild animal, she peered out to see the notorious fallen noble, Ed, coming from the underbrush.

Under one arm, he carried the bloodied corpse of a young deer. On the other shoulder, he bore the unconscious body of a human.

‘What… what is that…!’

His heavy breathing was like that of a beast, and for a moment, the gleam in his eyes shone through the darkness.

Claire, in stunned silence, swallowed hard.

The boy on his shoulder, subdued and hanging motionless, was undeniably Lucy Mayrill, the prodigy that even Professor Glast would tuck his tail and submit.

She seemed without any will to resist, utterly defeated.

‘It’s Lucy… it has to be Lucy Mayrill…!’

There isn’t a single member of the faculty who wouldn’t recognize that name.

The Academy headmaster, Obel, a magician on par with the Great Magician Gluckt and the Grand Sage Sylvania, would have to muster all his strength to face Lucy.

Lucy Mayrill, born with preposterous talent.

And there, she was subdued with a single arm by a boy disappearing into the forest. Claire simply watched.

Claire couldn’t bring herself to move.

This required more digging. Her intuition had indeed not failed her.

‘I may truly have a talent for detective work…!’

With a fiery determination, Claire decided to follow Ed’s trail, holding a scoop for a story even Professor Glast would collapse in shock upon hearing.

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