The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 48

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The Battle for the Sage’s Seal (3)

– [Abnormal Status: Exhaustion]

Due to overwork, you are experiencing high fever, indigestion, chronic fatigue, migraines, periodic fugue states, difficulty breathing, deteriorating vision, magical dissonance, and muscle relaxation.

Please take sufficient rest to recover from this abnormal condition!

I am well aware that there are limits to human stamina.

It’s good to train hard and strive for survival until the day I graduate, but I also know that all this is meaningless if I neglect my health.

That’s why I’ve regularly checked my condition, tried to live a structured life, and made an effort to consume a variety of nutrients. However, I couldn’t help the sheer volume of labor I had to endure.

Even though susceptibility to overwork varies greatly between individuals, I didn’t expect fatigue to hit me like a tidal wave so suddenly. Before I could even muster my wits, I must have passed out, because I couldn’t put up any resistance.

At some point, we all experience fevers so intense that it’s hard to endure.

While lying in agony, even breathing feels difficult without doing anything else.

No matter how hard I try to grasp at my muddled consciousness, I get dragged into a sensation of floating in space.

I regain and lose consciousness intermittently.

In those brief moments of clarity, my blurry vision catches glimpses of Yenika and Lortelle with grave expressions, seemingly exchanging words.

But then, I lose consciousness again and am plunged into a hazy world where fragments of old memories resurface.

Memories from playing “Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman,” specifically from Chapter 10, Act 2 – the Battle for the Sage’s Seal and the Glast Conquest.

The final chapter of Act 2, in which Taely got embroiled, undoubtedly began with Professor Glast kidnapping Taely’s companion, Aila.

I recall the storyline of that final chapter feeling distant in my dazed mind.

The greatest scholar Sylvania, who was born with an incredible academic talent and achieved magical advancements several dozen times what others could not.

I remember well the tale of Glast, who twisted the world’s principles to study the power of the Saintly Magic to resurrect Sylvania.

This mad narrative was about transposing the mind of Sylvania into the talented vessel of Aila in an attempt to spearhead an era of progress.

A figure who failed to achieve his dream and ultimately plunged to his death from the top of the magic tower he created.

What was his obsession with academia, and what was the value of progress that he abandoned research ethics and his career for such an absurd choice? Many players at the time had their doubts about Glast’s decisions.

After all, if his actions were so easily understood, it wouldn’t be called a madman’s narrative.

Moreover, his last words uttered before falling from the magic tower were rather nonsensical.

The last words he spoke, dreaming only of advancing academia and discovering the talented, just before dying on top of the magic tower he created with Saintly Magic…

What was it… again…

“Zzzz……….”

My eyelids flung open as if an alarm inside me decided it was time to wake up.

My whole body felt heavy, especially my lower abdomen, which was warm. Struggling to sit up, I discovered a girl wearing a witch’s hat the size of my head sprawled across my stomach.

“….”

“Uugh… too salty… just a little…”

How can someone’s sleep talk be this irritating???

Thinking of lifting her whole body and throwing her off as usual, I put strength into my arms, but Lucy wouldn’t budge.

Lucy is deceptively light, almost to the point of wondering if she’s really human… I can normally lift her off her feet with a swoop.

Since Lucy appeared to be her usual self, it’s likely that my inability to lift her was due to the state of my own body.

I was in a state of complete debility. With many tasks pending, my body was at its limit. Sighing deeply, I lay back down again.

The scenery was familiar. It was my hut, and seeing as the blanket was new, it must be an item from the Elte Trading House. I wasn’t exactly sure what had happened, but I had a rough idea.

I could easily imagine the fuss Yenika and Lortelle would make.

“Ugh…”

Stirred by my movement, Lucy woke up with a sudden flutter of her eyelids.

She rubbed her sleepy eyes several times and propped up her upper body, still sitting on my lower abdomen, to meet my gaze.

Then she stared blankly into space before uttering…

“I’m hungry.”

“Do you do anything other than eat and sleep?”

“Congrats. You’re awake.”

With that, she waved her hand through the air as if to roll up her dangling sleeves, then she placed her index finger on my solar plexus and started pressing firmly.

She continued in a soft, deliberate voice.

“Your magical energy was terribly tangled. Overexerting yourself with magical training, learning spirit magic, no rest, and you kept repeating it for months, which led to this.”

“…”

“You know that magical flow goes dormant while you sleep, allowing you to reestablish efficient bodily functions, right? Didn’t you learn that in magic class? By pushing to the limit with magical training right before bed, and barely sleeping, your energy ends up like this.”

“You, always asleep during class, seem to know the content pretty well.”

“I just don’t listen because I already know it.”

At the focus of Lucy’s pressing fingers, a whirl of magical energy began to stir.

To Lucy, who appeared nonchalant with her blank expression, her hat brim started to flutter.

“I was pressing it down so the magical flow wouldn’t get more tangled. It seems to be loosening up now.”

“Have you been doing this the whole time I was asleep?”

“It’s not hard work, but it’s so boring I fell asleep a few times.”

A fresh sensation spread from the center of Lucy’s fingers, bringing ease to my body. I felt brief surges of energy during my unconscious state, likely thanks to Lucy’s efforts.

“I could tell people were wary.”

“Wary?”

“Uhm… People keep giving me looks when I’m by your side. It’s annoying. Well, they don’t complain since they need the help.”

A comfortable sensation diffused through my body, making me feel more relaxed. I took a deep breath, and my body seemed to regain some strength.

“There’s no immediate fix for physical weakness except rest, but the magical part should be resolved.”

“Hey.”

Calling Lucy for no particular reason, she looked down at me unchangingly.

Her ash-grey eyes, still as a mirror-lake, actually made me feel more comfortable with their dry indifference.

“…Thanks.”

“Don’t get sick. It’s tough when you’re sick. Some even die from it.”

With knowledge of Lucy Mayrill’s past, that statement wasn’t something I could ignore lightly.

The archmage Gluckt, who bestowed the blessings of the stars upon her.

On a rainy night.

Lucy had watched Gluckt, who had been like a grandfather to her, dying in bed right by her side.

I wasn’t certain how many days I had been in this stupor, but it was clearly not brief.

Knowing that she had been pressing down my twisted magical energy the entire time… It must’ve been an irksome task for her.

No matter how often she stole jerky, invaded homes, or acted like a willful stray cat, and despite her unreadable expressions… you inevitably had to guess what was on her mind.

And as a result, I simply had to thank her.

– Creeaak.

“Oh, senior. You’re conscious. I wasn’t sure whether to use the cabin’s stove, so I started a fire outside for now…”

Just then, the cabin door opened, and an unexpected figure entered.

Brushing back his long disheveled hair, Zix Effelstein strode in with a lively greeting but froze in his tracks.

Lucy, who was atop my abdomen pressing down on my solar plexus, turned her head to look at Zix.

She sat motionless with her same blank expression, grabbed her hat, and disappeared in a flash. The lingering trace of wind was the only evidence that the indolent genius had been there moments before.

“…”

Zix brushed his bangs up and plopped down on a wooden chair with an incredulous expression.

“Senior, how many is this now…? Ah, but of course. A strong male would naturally have multiple females. Not that unusual, really.”

“…”

“Is this… the open-mindedness of civilization? Perhaps I have regarded civilization too narrowly after all…”

If left unchecked, who knows what sort of misinterpretation Zix might run with, and Elka would be foaming at the mouth.

First, I had to clear up the misunderstanding.

*

“Senior Yenika is in critical condition with accumulating missed classes from the beginning of the term. She was sent back to the academy, as missing more classes would be dangerous. Lortelle had been deferring business at the trading house and couldn’t delay any longer, so he had to return to the residential building.”

“I see. But how did you end up nursing me in the cottage?”

“Lortelle came to ask me. But you see, I’m not particularly adept at the delicate task of caregiving. Women generally have better dexterity and finesse than men, right? I suggested asking someone like Elka, Anis, or Claire, but they absolutely refused, claiming it would be life-threatening… so here I am.”

Zix ladled some roughly made soup from a pot into a bowl and handed it to me.

Although not particularly delicious, I managed to lift the bowl and spoon and took a bite. It had an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink quality to it.

“Originally, senior, you’ve always been a bit of a lone wolf in the academic community. There aren’t too many people who are close to you, and finding someone amongst them willing to help led to them turning to me.”

“Thanks. Must have been a hassle for you.”

“It was nothing. I merely stayed in a room and trained just like I usually would in camp. You should take better care of yourself, senior. When I saw Yenika’s face at first, I thought something grave had—”

“I thought you were here for a ceremony.”

Zix let out a deep sigh and poked at the fire with a poker.

“Well, it’s not like you have a chronic illness, so there’s no need for such a fuss. Just rest up for a few days and you’ll be better. Your body might feel weak for a while, so take this chance to skip a few classes too.”

“Yeah. I suppose I have been somewhat negligent with my health. I feel a bit bad for worrying people around me unnecessarily.”

“There’s no need to be concerned, as it seems you’ve done it all in good spirits. Just focus on recovering your health.”

The soup was honestly quite tasteless, but adhering to Zix’s advice about replenishing nutrients, I continued to force the spoon to my mouth.

There are still things I need to confirm in the midst of all this.

“Speaking of which… I heard that the students from the Alchemy Department were secretly producing Mandragoras without the club’s knowledge and caused an incident.”

“Ah, Elvira that troublemaker… In the end, Taely and Clevius took care of it before it got out of control. It didn’t reach the academy’s higher-ups.”

Seems like Act 2, Scene 5 ‘Exploration of the Alchemy Club’ ended well.

“I also heard rumors about a monster that the Telos Order disposed of and it managed to sneak into the academy’s underground waterways.”

“That was me and Taely. Aila accidentally dropped her pendant into the waterways and while trying to retrieve it, we encountered a monster and dealt with it. But were there really rumors about it?”

Looks like Act 2, Scene 7 ‘The Demon in the Underground Waterway’ episode also passed without any issues.

I could deduce that these incidents were resolved with the rumors spreading and the changing external circumstances… but it was still reassuring to hear it from the person involved.

Now it seems the only major event left is the battle over the Sage’s Sealed Writ.

Upon this realization, I suddenly remembered that I had yet to check the most important fact.

“By the way, how long have I been in a comatose state?”

I casually asked, expecting it to have only been a day or two, but Zix answered so lightly it was concerning.

“Today marks the tenth day. Everyone will be ecstatic to see you awake.”

“What?”

“Well, you won’t be able to see them today. Senior Yenika is supposed to be at the academy at this time, and Lortelle… he just left, citing an important negotiation he has to prepare for tomorrow.”

The negotiation for the purchase of the Sage’s Sealed Writ.

That was happening tomorrow.

I briefly held my breath.

I hadn’t fully grasped the situation yet.

With no way to know how the board had been played in my absence, I was completely in the dark.

“Hey, Zix. Could you pass a message to Lortelle for me?”

“Yes? Is it urgent?”

“Yeah… It might sound a bit strange, but…”

If there was enough time, I would consider various options and try to find the most stable approach, but with the situation pressing in, I had to employ any means possible.

“I… I’ve developed a need for something. Just one thing… With it, I really think… I could grant any request… really anything…”

“Suddenly?”

* Negotiating team, assemble.

* Luncheon.

* Confirm the status of the Sage’s Sealed Writ.

* Confirm the purchase method.

* Bidders write their bids on parchment for collection, and the one with the highest bid wins the purchase.

* Conduct ‘Empathy’ transfer procedures.

* Disband after completion.

After reviewing the report on the order of the Sage’s Sealed Writ purchase negotiation, the paper in the hands of Princess Phoenia turned to ash and disappeared.

They likely wouldn’t want to make the sale of the Sage’s Sealed Writ public just yet.

Princess Phoenia requested the academy to allow her to attend the negotiations as an observer.

While there was no need for the princess to be present at the negotiations between unrelated groups, the academy agreed to her request as she was royalty, and it was easy enough to create a justification.

In high-stake auctions where large sums of money are involved, it’s common to have the attendance of reputable witnesses. The credibility that comes with a royal presence is as heavy as the lineage itself.

There were not many contenders in the negotiation for the purchase of the Sage’s Sealed Writ. After all, there were not many groups capable of paying such an amount.

Having eliminated all other contenders, only Elte Company and the Rothtaylor family remained.

While one might imagine a fierce negotiation between them, it seemed likely to be ended swiftly.

Headmaster Obel Forcius came up with a clever plan, opting for an auction-like approach where the highest bidder would win.

However, he did not disclose the bidding threshold.

Elte Company and the Rothtaylor family. Each bidder would submit their written bids, and the higher bid would win the purchase.

“It seems likely that Crebin will win the bid.”

That was precisely why Princess Phoenia was on edge.

Typically, Elte Company approached such negotiations with the intention of buying ‘goods’ to turn a profit.

However, the Rothtaylor family seemed to have a bigger intent, desiring to obtain the Sage’s Sealed Writ. If profit was not the goal, there was a likeliness they would bid a significantly higher sum.

Even if they lost the bid, they’d likely be ready to negotiate once more with whomever became the owner of the Writ.

Of course, not knowing what the right price was, they could not carelessly jot down any high figure, thus the tension between them was bound to be intense.

“To reveal such a method only a day before. Elte Company and the Rothtaylor family must be stressing over it now.”

“Of course, Claire. If they had disclosed this earlier, they could’ve agreed in advance on how much they would bid.”

For the academy to profit, the company and family needed to be engrossed in the feeling of battling an ‘unknown enemy.’

The pressure of not knowing how much the opponent will bid. The uncertainty of how much to bid to securely obtain the Writ.

“Headmaster Obel is quite savvy. Rather than dragging out the negotiations and letting suspicious rumors spread, he’s opted to quickly conclude the bidding. It benefits him in many ways and reduces the possibility of loss. But… whatever the method, it seems likely that Crebin will end up with the Writ.”

Elte Company probably won’t place an unnecessary value on the Sage’s Sealed Writ.

“I’m still worried…”

What could Crebin possibly be planning to do with the Sage’s Sealed Writ?

It was truly unsettling not having any information about Crebin. If only I could discern his intentions… the situation would feel much clearer.

Unfortunately, the clue that could aid in that, Ed, had been lying comatose for nearly ten days, leaving one to feel engulfed by dense fog.

If I couldn’t ask Ed directly, perhaps I could inquire of someone close to him? The thought had crossed my mind.

If someone close to Ed were to make idle mention of his affairs, it could shed light on his background.

Yet, rumor had it that Ed, even when active at the academy, was always reticent, focusing solely on classes and practice, not having many relationships. Always busy and seemingly overwhelmed with living a diligent life.

Princess Phoenia let out a sigh, sitting on a bench in a corner of the academy.

“They say if there’s anyone close to Ed Rothtaylor who is worthy of note, it would be the second-year leading Spirit Master, Yenika Faelover.”

Claire, who had been standing quietly by her side, ventured to advise.

“We could summon her, though whether she’ll provide meaningful information is uncertain.”

“No need. I’ve already met her once while wandering through the academy.”

In Sylvania, not knowing the leading Spirit Master Yenika Faelover was akin to being a spy.

Although involved in the Glascan incident, and after receiving help from Princess Phoenia during a disciplinary committee, Yenika had sent a heartfelt letter of gratitude and visited the royal lodgings to give her thanks in person. The memory of the girl with pinkish hair was vivid.

She was beloved by everyone and in turn loved everyone; watching her, one could feel envious. It was as if wherever she stepped, flowers bloomed. Conversations with her left everyone smiling joyously.

They all lived happily ever after.

A fairy-tale protagonist was just like her.

“About a week ago, I inquired about Ed Rothtaylor during a joint elemental study class.”

However, after Ed’s collapse.

Yenika encountered in the academy… her eyes had gone cold as she looked at Phoenia.

The reasons for her change in demeanor were unclear.

While she continued to grace the academy with her lively and bubbly presence, her behavior towards Princess Phoenia was not warm. She tried to hide it, but to Phoenia, it was clearly evident.

The reason, predictably, was likely the same as with Lortelle.

Even that innocent girl, loved by the academy, was not on Princess Phoenia’s side.

Realizing this, Princess Phoenia swallowed deeply.

The autumn sky was high and clear.

“Anything?”

These were busy times. There were moments when I wished to check on Ed’s condition at his cabin, but a mountain of work at the company weighed heavily on Lortelle’s shoulders.

Letting out a deep sigh as she tied her hair to one side, Lortelle offered a cup of tea to an unexpected visitor.

“To think that Senior Ed would say something so perilous.”

“That’s my point, Lortelle. You would think he knows your true nature.”

Zix, sitting on a guest sofa sipping tea, also let out deep sighs in turn.

Already burdened with the workload, Lortelle straightened up and allowed her alluring smile to spread fully.

“Anything and everything. To suggest that to a merchant… It seems like an uncharacteristic mistake, Senior Ed.”

In the dimly lit reception room settling into darkness, Lortelle suppressed the corners of her lips from curling up mischievously.

Whatever she imagined… despite trying to remain composed, her involuntary, fool-like chuckles, especially after just worrying over Ed’s recovery from his sickbed, seemed utterly terrifying to Zix who was observing.

Elka’s innocence was fortunate. The civilized world was indeed incomprehensible and fearsome.

The time for negotiations was nigh.

Regrettably, the one holding all keys to the situation was a boy lying in a cabin, a fact no one was aware of at the moment.

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