The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 61

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Glast’s Conquest (10)

*Pant*…*Pant*…

The hill road leading to Triss Gallery was steep.

Though I had been conditioning my body with morning and evening drills, thinking that such a gradient would be trivial, it seemed I had failed to take into account just how tired I already was.

Having reached the midpoint of the hill road and looking back, I could see the eastern half of the island at a glance. Far in the east, near the cliffs, I could see smoke being used as a signal by Yenika.

“All fifty-seven members have been confirmed aboard the boats. It appears the entire party has successfully retreated. With the confirmation complete, Ms. Yenika will likely return soon.”

A bat made of flames flew in from the outskirts of the cliff, landing on my shoulder. Far away, the boats were swimming through the magnificent sight of waves crashing against the cliffs below.

In the already dark night, had they really traversed waves like those, climbing up from the cliff area? Even with a desire to move incognito, avoiding the scrutiny of the scholars, it seemed an incredibly reckless plan.

Nonetheless, the judgment of the mercenaries was cold. They were well aware of how much damage leaving behind their client could do to their reputation. Nonetheless, the decision to abandon Elte must have come from a stark realization of the difference in power. There is no folly greater than to proceed with an impossible contract.

Even if it meant their livelihood suffered for a time due to the hit on their reliability, it wasn’t more important than their lives in the moment. Surely, it was such clear-cut decision-making that allowed them to survive as veterans over the long term.

Turning away from the sea and looking inland, I saw that the number of mana towers established by Professor Glast had already reached a dozen. Erected using pre-etched celestial magic circles scattered about Acken Island, the towers now reached so high I wondered if they could be seen even from the mainland across the sea.

*Boom! Boom!*

*Squeeeeek!*

Sharp screams pierced the night sky of Acken Island. The last boss of the secret lab, the ‘Reanimated Devil of the Underground Waterway,’ was screaming in agony.

It was only natural that Taely’s raid progress had advanced significantly over time. It was finally time to enter the final stages of Glast’s Conquest and bring the second act to a close.

I had postponed the decision of what to do with Elte after his suppression. For now, I had handed over his custody to the Elte company, deciding that the matter could wait until after the conquest. The finer details would likely be handled by Lortelle, who would also end his own bad blood with the situation.

Having subdued Elte and the mercenaries, and after negotiating with the mercenary leader to retreat, I confirmed that they all left the island. Despite my sprint, it took quite some time to reach the vicinity of Triss Gallery.

The second act too was nearing its end.

The stage of my role reversal, which began in the secret lab, was reaching its conclusion. Triss Gallery, where all the events of this episode began, was my final destination. All I needed to do was check if the named bosses had been dealt with properly and if there were any outstanding issues.

In fact, Triss Gallery had no issues—that was expected. It was a mere confirmation visit. Being thorough would not hurt.

Taely had reached the underground waterway as planned, and having confirmed sufficient clear specs, all that was left was to wait with hands off the reins.

Most importantly, Lucy, the biggest variable, had been dealt with somehow.

*Huff*…*Huff*…

Catching my breath, I looked up at the whole of Triss Gallery. The academy staff were busy assessing the damage without a moment’s rest.

The confusion was finally settling, and the students’ evacuation seemed complete, with movements suggesting they were ready to commence pursuit of Professor Glast. As always, the academy must prioritize minimizing damage and ensuring student safety, hence their conservative and slow decision-making process.

That must be why Taely took the initiative, but even so, it seemed excessively sluggish. It almost felt like the top brass were deliberately dragging their feet.

“Of course… Triss Gallery seems just as expected.”

With this, I had surveyed all the stages of the story. I hadn’t expected to be running in reverse, but fortunately, Taely seemed to have handled the majority of things well.

Not only had I accumulated a lot of combat experience, but I also received a multitude of rare magic engineering formulas. Depending on how I used them, it was possible to craft spectacularly over-spec magic items—a truly rare piece of good news.

And I had prepared to some degree for the upcoming trials; not perfectly, but sufficiently so.

I slipped into Triss Gallery, unnoticed by the frantic staff. They presumed I was just another student victim based on my tattered clothes.

Walking up the staircase amidst the broken fragments of the building, I soon found myself on the rooftop floor. Set atop this already high hill, opening the door revealed the sprawling night sky before me.

I had run from the secret lab, and finally, I arrived here. It was a short, yet long journey.

There sat a girl, swinging her legs with childish abandon atop the railing. Her back was familiar—I had come hoping to find her, and sure enough, there she was.

I knew that she enjoyed napping on the roof of Triss Gallery. It was common to find her at various building rooftops, but she was most frequently spotted at Triss Gallery—likely because of the open landscape and panoramic view of the island she could enjoy here.

“What are you doing here?”

“I was watching that.”

She was looking at Professor Glast’s mana towers.

The array of towers adorned the night sky like beautiful pillars of light. While students unaware of the full situation saw them as ominous symbols, to those somewhat transcendental to the incident, they appeared romantically aurora-like.

Soon, everything would come to an end. Taely’s sword ceremony was already on track. Defeat was far from reach.

“I was just reminiscing about the old days.”

As the radiant sky shone upon her, the girl patted the spot beside her on the railing, signaling me to sit with her.

Carefully, I sat beside her, heaving heavy breaths onto the perilous edge. While Lucy might survive a fall, I would meet instant death. Of course, in such a case, she would swoop to my rescue, but that didn’t change the danger.

“What’s up?”

“Why?”

Although Lucy calling me was typically predictable, I responded nonetheless.

“Do you have any beef jerky left?”

“I told you earlier I’m out.”

“Ugh…”

Our conversational rhythm had become so routine that it hardly affected our emotions anymore.

I just sat beside Lucy, gazing up at the mana towers together.

There was nothing left for me to do. I could simply watch as a spectator, a supporting character, a villain, as the play drew to a close. For a view of the audience, there was no better place than this.

“Remember that time I cried a lot?”

Gazing at the glowing sky,

Looking up, Lucy blurted out those words without preamble.

“I cried a lot because something incredibly sad happened, but somewhen, it didn’t seem as sad anymore.”

“Why?”

“Just, after some time, it didn’t feel that sad. I wondered why. Had there been some change in my heart to suddenly feel this way?… Turns out, it was a surprisingly trivial reason.”

Turning her head to look at Lucy’s face, it was indeed expressionless and dazed. Though the light from the Tower of Magic shone intensely on her, not a flicker of emotion could be felt.

“It was just because a lot of time had passed.”

Lucy came to that conclusion on her own. It was an accurate and perfect insight.

“A lot of time has passed; only a fool would tear open old wounds… Even if you try to revive grandpa with holy magic, eventually he’ll have to leave again.”

-‘Are you sure you won’t regret it?’

The question was asked for no significant reason.

I have seen every scenario of at least once. Naturally, I watched the bad ending where Lucy utterly destroyed Taely.

But the face of Lucy, disappearing calmly into the underground water after demolishing the player… it couldn’t be described as the slightest bit refreshing.

In the end, Lucy, with her gaze cast downward, had no choice but to answer in a soft voice.

– ‘No.’

The reason Professor Glast could persuade Lucy Meyrill was that he promised to use the power of holy magic to resurrect the great sorcerer Gluckt.

If Lucy’s actions were going to disrupt the plan, then instead of reviving Sylvania, it would suffice to bring back Gluckt, Lucy’s mentor.

Although Gluckt might not be as illustrious as Sylvania, he was a historical figure who achieved modest progress. It may have been a deviation from the original goal… but if it meant swaying Lucy to their side, it was a gamble worth taking.

It was obvious the kind of rhetoric Glast would have used to entice Lucy.

He would have incessantly prodded and stoked the longing nestled in a corner of Lucy’s heart. Of course, his eloquence went without saying, being a professor. It was entirely feasible to bait and captivate Lucy, who lost her judgement momentarily due to sorrow.

Therefore… swaying Lucy’s mind was not difficult.

Because Lucy already knew.

What is lost is lost. There is no need to resurrect the pain of loss.

“And, if grandpa revived, he’s likely going to pinch my cheeks and scold me. That would hurt.”

Three great taboos exist that twist and defy the world’s laws, blur the flow of time, and reject the fate allotted to humans:

the pursuit of immortality, the resurrection of the dead, and time reversal.

These areas are considered the ultimate taboos within magical studies.

I quietly looked up at the bright aura and continued.

“It would only dishonor the memory of a great sorcerer who devoted his life to the study of magic if he were to be revived through such forbidden magic.”

“Besides, grandpa made all his preparations for death before passing away. If he got angry and died again, who knows? …Yeah, I knew it from the start. All the talk about reviving him was just my selfishness.”

While living modestly himself, he donated all his wealth to the Sylvania Academy.

His legacy could be found all around the academy.

One of the three buildings destroyed by Yenika in the student council was named Gluckt Building, and the institution that awarded me my scholarship for this semester was also the Gluckt Scholarship Foundation.

Moreover, Gluckt’s name was engraved all over, so perhaps to Lucy, the academy itself felt like an heirloom left behind by Gluckt.

“So, Lucy.”

After all the bustling and urgent matters had concluded, I finally became an observer.

“Are you really okay?”

It wasn’t my place to say since I had asked her to stay, but I couldn’t help asking.

Human emotions can’t be simply adjusted at will.

Reviving Gluckt would have been an overly impulsive choice, and she probably knew it. She also knew that one should not be swayed by loss and cloud their reason.

However, rejecting such a chance would have a strong impact on one’s feelings, at least for a human being.

The girl’s face was devoid of expression. But to assume that her inner self is as calm as a placid lake would be premature.

From life’s experiences, we learn an axiom:

Those who do not show their feelings outwardly often have the most turmoil inside.

Even if one lives by suppressing their emotions, we cannot conclude that they’re okay until we’ve looked within them.

How unpredictable humans can be.

One might think they are fragile and tearful, yet they endure hardships steadfastly.

Someone who appears stoic and mechanical, seemingly always fine, can actually collapse easily.

Therefore, I had to ask for confirmation.

And the response that jumped out was:

“Hey.”

“…”

After all that’s happened, more jerky? So like you… I almost sighed with resignation.

“Lend me your shoulder.”

So that was why she was seated beside the railing… it was all for this.

I didn’t answer with words, instead, I simply nodded my head lightly.

It will be difficult for anyone to pursue holy magic as passionately as Professor Glast in the future.

The magic of resurrecting the dead thus becomes a train that has passed.

The dead remain dead. Lost is lost.

Those swayed by past losses and forsaking the present rarely encounter a good end.

Perhaps that is the difference between Lucy and Professor Glast.

Everyone experiences loss differently, but it comes to all impartially. Learning to accept loss and to heal present wounds with what we have is key.

Lucy understood this thoroughly.

And so, Lucy and I sat side by side for a while, gazing up at the Tower of Magic.

The stars in view seemed loftier than usual. It was incredibly beautiful.

*

– Bang!

The punitive force, drenched in the blood of countless demons, now stood atop the Tower of Magic.

At the peak, formed of swirling light, an open plaza provided a clear view of the starry sky… and there stood Professor Glast with the bound Aila.

Surrounding them were scattered test tubes and research materials. The immense grimoire floating in the air was the ‘Sage’s Edict,’ ready after completing empathic work.

“Professor Glast!”

With Taely’s shout, Professor Glast stood up and turned around.

His face, scarcely alive, was drained of vitality. Appearances suggested he was dying already from several sleepless nights.

But the holy power emanating from his body was not to be taken lightly.

Looking straight at the punitive force, Professor Glast muttered something inaudibly.

It was unclear who these last words were directed at. But as he reached the brink of extremity, one thought came to mind:

This could be his last testament. And with that intuition, Professor Glast carefully savored his words.

“I miss you… Muri.”

Professor Glast repeated the name once, then closed his eyes gently. The final battle of act two had begun.

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