The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 66

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Lucy Mayrill (3)

With every step she took, fallen leaves would spring up. She meandered through the mountain as if half floating until she came to her senses to find that she was already halfway up. She sat at the edge of the top of a coniferous tree that was roughly visible, and gazed down at the mountain. The color palette of the forest, once vibrant and multicolored, had now settled down. As late autumn approached, the foliage slowly disappeared, and the mountain prepared to welcome a new season. The girl gazed blankly at the sky.

Sniffing the air and taking a deep breath, she could feel the sticky humidity clinging to her lungs. “Looks like it’s going to rain,” she muttered quietly, her voice sounding much younger and clearer than usual. The girl, quick-witted, realized as soon as she heard her voice—it’s a dream. Looking down at her attire, she wasn’t in her usual academy uniform but in an old blouse she used to wear wandering the mountains. And the scenery was not that of Acken Island.

It was the Lamellar mountain range of the northern empire where she spent her childhood. Between the outstretched branches, the old cabin is visible, too. Why was she dreaming of her youth now? She wasn’t the type of girl to analyze such things deeply. However, since she was dreaming, she wanted to reminisce about good memories.

Who came to mind was the owner of that cabin. A man with a bushy beard, wrinkled skin, and a crooked back, but with a spine as straight as his convictions. He claimed to be a scholar and was also a first-rate magician. Yet, what he usually did was split wood, read in his armchair, or pluck at an instrument while staring blankly at the fireplace—seemingly trivial activities.

This great mage was already in the twilight of his life when the girl had just been born. What life he had led was a complete mystery to her. Deciding to visit him in her old dream, she lightly powered her legs and leaped through the trees. The sound of wind slicing through the air and the rustling of her clothes pressed against her ears.

She swiftly soared through the air and arrived at the cabin, landing gracefully. The familiar sight of the old cabin felt like returning home. A figure’s shadow swayed in the window against the cozy light of the fireplace. She could easily picture the sage’s silhouette as he sat in a rocking chair, waiting for her.

The girl walked with a spring in her step towards the cabin, feeling uncharacteristically excited.

– Thud. Thump. Thump.

But she had overlooked one thing—the humid air that had made her chest feel damp. As if collecting on the foreshadowing, it began to pour down rain.

“…”

The rain quickly intensified, soaking her. The dampness made her clothes cling to her skin, and strands of hair stuck to her cheeks, asserting their presence. After briefly looking up at the downpour, the girl turned her gaze back to the cabin and caught her breath.

Just moments before, the cozy cabin appeared to have gone dark. The light of the fire seen through the window vanished in seconds. Cobwebs hung thickly from the eaves, and the once-clean doorknob was now dusty. It was a nightmare.

Despite the realization, her body moved involuntarily. She quickly opened the door and looked inside the cabin… Someone still sat in the rocking chair.

In the dim interior, amidst the dank air, the sage slowly turned his head.

It was a fleshless skull. The skull looked at her, clattering its teeth.

As time passed, the bones had crumbled, and centipedes crawled through the cavities where eyes should have been. The teeth continued to clatter, then whispered to the girl—why didn’t you save me? There was a chance, why did you ignore me?

There was no change in the girl’s expression. As always, she looked blankly at the skull.

The skull cursed her. Don’t think that those around you will last forever. Eventually, they will crumble and disappear in life’s storms like me, and you will be left alone counting your days until death. Loss comes without warning, which you well know.

As if suddenly freezing into a perpetual grin, the teeth halted with a click.

Still, the girl didn’t move. The skull gradually turned to dust and disappeared. Only the clothes it wore collapsed onto the chair.

– Woosh!

Lucy opened her eyes and sat up.

“…”

She was in room 203 of the abandoned wing. The academy was focusing all its efforts on rebuilding the Ophelius building, but it seemed likely that they would only be able to return next semester. Until then, they had to make do with elaborately decorating the old abandoned wing. Despite that, it could never be as luxurious as Ophelius had been before the devastation.

Since there was no helping the situation, most students had to accept it. Thankfully, the talented work of the Ophelius maids didn’t go anywhere—they made living in the somewhat inferior building tolerable.

Wiping away the cold sweat, Lucy kicked off the blankets and stood up. She immediately opened the window. The cool morning air cleared the stickiness from her sweat. The outer parts of the dormitory and the entrance to the faculty building came into view.

Curfew had long passed. It was an audacious time of night, but Lucy, not even bothering to take off the frilly nightgown the maid had forced on her, quickly donned her witch’s hat and jumped out the window.

Immense magical power burst from her entire body, and in an instant, she manifested a high-level spatial magic.

For reasons unknown, Lucy felt a compelling desire to go to the northern forest. Arriving there in a blink, she landed in front of the old cabin.

“….”

After swallowing, she looked through the window. The flickering flame of the fireplace was in view. Ed Rothtaylor lay asleep on a simple bed covered with a threadbare blanket.

A sigh of inexplicable relief escaped her, and Lucy leaned against the outer wall of the cabin and sat down. From there, she had a clear view of the camp. As someone who had napped in many places, Lucy quickly noticed that vitality was seeping away from the camp.

The stockpile of firewood wasn’t increasing. Food supplies were the same. One side of the workbench was broken but remained unfixed. The smoker hadn’t been used in a while. Traps that should have been set in the forest were all now on display at the camp.

The owner of this camp… was preparing to say goodbye.

Strictly speaking, it had nothing to do with Lucy. Yet, she felt empty, and sat down, hugging her knees, gazing at the sky. The drizzly sky seemed to look down on Lucy.

“It might rain.”

With that calm remark, there was no one to answer.

* [ Magic Ability Details ]

Grade: Skilled magic student Specialization: Elemental magic Common Magic: Quick Casting Lv 9 Mana Detection Lv 9 Fire Elemental Magic: Ignition Lv 15 Wind Elemental Magic: Wind Blade Lv 14 Intermediate Magic has become accessible!

Spirit Magic: Spirit Sensitivity Lv 13 Spirit Comprehension Lv 13 Spirit Manifestation Lv 3 Sensory Sharing Lv 3 Spirit Slots: Lesser Fire Spirit Muk Sensitivity Level: 3 Elemental Diet Efficiency: Good Unique Enchantment Skill: Favor of Flame (Temporary Immune to Fire Burst) Explosiveness (Junior Explosion Magic)

Increased Fire Magic Abilities Spirit Slot: Vacant New Spirit Slot!: Vacant

“I might be able to contract a mid-tier spirit soon, Ed. Merilda really wants to contract with Ed soon. At this rate, it might actually be possible.”

The days were growing colder. The end-of-semester evaluations were soon to begin. Although she had already applied for the academic scholarship program, she still wanted to earn a merit scholarship, so she was willing to allocate some time to her studies.

However, it was important not to neglect training in other areas, which highlighted the significance of time management. It was fortunate that she had a good mentor in the field of spirit magic.

“Your growth is truly remarkable, Ed. Your spirit sensitivity already surpasses that of typical novice spirit casters, and the foundational mana sensitivity has significantly improved as well.”

By the crackling campfire, sitting on a wooden stump, she practiced spirit magic. She diligently practiced to master spirit manifestation and to skillfully reach sensory sharing with Muk until she could share all senses with the spirit. A skilled spirit caster should be able to share both the five senses and inner feelings with their spirit, but actually achieving that extent…

There’s no need for that… It’s said that it’s more efficient to train only in sharing the most crucial perceptions.

Sharing sensations isn’t very mana-efficient, and its effectiveness plummets beyond a certain distance, so even Yenika rarely uses it unless necessary… It does feel somewhat like a double-edged sword.

Still, it’s best to master everything that can be learned.

[Thanks to your consistent efforts in imbuing various objects with spirit formulas, you’ve made remarkable progress, Mr. Ed.]

Muk jumps happily on Yenika’s shoulder, but his mood doesn’t seem entirely joyful. Instead, he looks slightly nervous.

“Uhm… Lucy… did I do something wrong…?”

Yenika manages a forced smile… but clearly, he’s still worried.

For whatever reason, since morning, Lucy has been clinging to me and glaring at anyone who approaches with a sharp look.

Lucy usually doesn’t move unless the sun is high in the sky or she’s hungry. But today, for some reason, she came early to the campsite and sat down.

Usually, the maids at Ophelius Hall help her maintain a neat appearance, but today, she escaped the dormitory before dawn, wearing only a light frilly dress that looked like pajamas. Surely there are days when one inexplicably becomes industrious. It seems even fortunate Lucy has one or two such days in a year.

Although I intended to go about my business, she suddenly clung to my clothes and followed me around.

– ‘…What’s the matter?’

– ‘…’

She’s silent as if she’s taken a vow of silence whenever I look at her to speak. Yet, she won’t let go of my clothes.

I spent the morning in this odd state, gritting my teeth and refusing to shake her off.

I had decided to start early in the morning for a training session on the weekend.

Since I was now ready to start learning intermediate magic, I spent the morning studying reference books on intermediate magic and practicing controlling my mana.

Despite that, Lucy just lay on my lap, wagging her little legs as if in protest, and refusing to leave.

When I had an early lunch, she stuck to my back, and when I began self-studying spirit techniques, she sat behind me, leaning on a tree trunk, gazing blankly at the sky.

Weekends are busier anyway.

I have more free time on weekends compared to the hectic weekdays, so it’s a time to catch up on all backlogged tasks.

She hardly shows up during the free time after school or before bed, but she becomes almost hauntingly clingy when things are most pressing, as if she’s toying with me.

Yet, whenever someone approaches, she suddenly stiffens and becomes tense.

Zix jogging past, she makes a strange sound to keep him at bay…

When the neatly dressed Belle Mayar arrives hurriedly with clothes and accessories, Lucy surprisingly accepts Belle’s help without resistance.

Wondering if Lucy ate something wrong, I touch her forehead to check her temperature, and rather than being hot, it’s cold.

“If I’ve done something wrong, I’ll apologize… okay…?”

By the time lunch is over and Yenika comes to help with spirit technique training, Lucy’s demeanor becomes even sharper.

She seems to harbor a particular hostility toward Yenika… but it’s more like a look of fear than aggression.

She stands up hastily, sweating profusely, and continues to block Yenika from approaching… but when asked to explain, she just shakes her head vehemently.

And yet, as soon as Yenika comes within a few meters, Lucy glares as if ready to bite.

I have no idea what rhythm she wants me to follow.

Yenika, who has been unjustly targeted by Lucy for days, can only feel aggrieved.

Considered annoying by such an attitude, Yenika’s good nature and the sense that Lucy is not her usual self leave her at a loss.

“It really must be something she ate. She’s fickle by nature, so she’ll probably calm down soon.”

That was all I could say.

Lucy clung to my back like a cicada, glaring intently at Yenika.

She wrapped her limbs around and stared as if to say ‘go away,’ resembling a child preventing someone from taking their toy.

Yenika looked unsettled, tilting her head a few times before finally sighing deeply and leaving the camp.

*

Intermediate Fire Magic ‘Focused Blast’

An evolved spell from the ignition incantation, this intermediate spell concentrates mana at a targeted point to create a small-scale explosion.

The power and scale are proportional to the amount of mana, so some users may only cause burns, while archmages can destroy buildings.

Despite seeming insignificant compared to the ignition spell, ‘Focused Blast’ is not simply an intermediate spell without reason. Its advantage lies in its overwhelming versatility.

The long casting time and visible spread of fire make counteracting ignition magic straightforward.

However, ‘Focused Blast,’ which ignites flames instantly at the targeted location, delivers overwhelming shock and leaves no chance for response if one cannot quickly detect the flow of mana.

“Even after a whole day, I can’t get basic mastery… starting with intermediate magic, the difficulty of learning definitely becomes tangible.”

Having nearly no magical talent, it naturally took time to acquire intermediate magic. Even with preliminary study during the elemental lectures, it’s still challenging.

Despite training nearly all day using the most efficient methods, the skill doesn’t seem to appear in the skill window, leaving me feeling drained.

As the sun sets, there seems to be no progress, which is frustrating.

“Ah well… let’s eat.”

I closed the elemental studies book and carelessly tossed it aside.

Then, I picked up the lump on my lap.

Lucy wouldn’t think of leaving all day while I was studying mana flows and reading the elemental studies book, insisting on sitting on my lap.

“…Ugh…!”

After stretching out her tiny body and yawning, Lucy’s expression remained unchanged.

“…I’m hungry.”

“Go eat. Ophelius Hall’s student mealtime is almost over.”

“Okay.”

Remarkably, with no fuss, Lucy got up from her spot, ready to leap toward Ophelius Hall, then suddenly corrected her posture.

She stood up straight against the tree trunk and looked at me, asking.

“Hey.”

“What?”

“What will you do when I leave?”

It’s unusual for Lucy to pose such a question, indeed unexpected.

While preparing a pile of wood for the campfire, Lucy watched me quietly.

“I have things to do after eating.”

“Things to do?”

I turned my head slightly, looking towards the makeshift wooden table. On it lay the key to the secret vault handed to me by Professor Glast.

The academy’s investigation seems to be wrapping up, and the entrance to Professor Glast’s secret lab, created without authorization, has been sealed.

I planned to use the hole bored by Lucy to enter the library and check its condition and the contents of the vault.

Without any further delay, I intended to move tonight.

“Before that, I need to check the campfire and fireplace. The temperature could drop below zero at night, and without care, one could actually freeze to death.”

We were nearing winter break.

Even bundled in layers, breath would turn to mist once the sun set. For the next while, I planned to use Muk’s flame for double heating. Without needing to use a large amount of mana immediately, it made sense to conserve firewood.

If I were to move into Dex Hall, these concerns would be unnecessary.

Whether to move into Dex Hall or continue cabin life, the scales waver. Before the holiday starts, it’s better to decide to set future plans clearly.

Oblivious to my thoughts, Lucy observed my face before suggesting…

“Let’s go together.”

She uttered, bewilderingly.

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