The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 67

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Lucy Mayrill (4)

The winter night air differed curiously from that of spring and summer, devoid of the forest’s inherent moistness. Instead, the chill that fills the lungs feels refreshingly crisp.

The rustling sound of footsteps through the leaves teases my ears. I tighten my grip on the rope slung over my shoulder. Initially, I considered crafting a rudimentary ladder, but as the depth seemed greater than expected, it would’ve taken a whole day to make. So, I simply prepared a rope to descend with.

“What brings you to follow me to such a place?”

There was something peculiar about today’s conditions, I had that feeling.

Lucy, still clutching the cuff of my sleeve, doesn’t show any sign of change in her expression or appearance.

Reaching the forest’s edge, I can see the hole Lucy had made.

It’s less of a magical feat and more akin to a brute force assault; sheer magical power condensed and hurled forward.

Thanks to that, the entrance hole isn’t very large. Considering Lucy’s small stature, no matter how much she compressed her mana, there was a limit to the size of the hole she could create.

I tie one end of the rope to a nearby tree and throw the rest down the hole into the underground.

The well-dried rope unfurls and plunges down, blazing a new path.

I give the rope a few good tugs to ensure it’s securely fastened.

“I could use my magic to descend together.”

“No need. Like I said before, we’re not going down just once. I need to check if I can climb up and down by myself.”

I can’t always bring Lucy to the library with me.

After telling her to follow me using her magic, I grip the rope and thrust myself into the abyss.

Sliding down, the rope brushes against the wall; I concentrate, ready to brace myself against the inner wall should the rope slip or snap. The rope, however, is quite sturdy and unlikely to fail.

Lucy, who should’ve gone ahead using spatial magic, oddly insisted on following me down the rope.

Finally reaching the main hall of the library, I am greeted by almost total darkness. I must wait for my eyes to adjust to the deep shadow.

Eventually, I make out the aftermath of the damage caused by Lucy’s magic. Most of it seems buried beneath the marble that supported the inner walls, but plenty of magical engineering equipment and recipes appear to be intact.

There’s no need to gather them all now. Since the entrance to the secret research chamber has been sealed, no one will be coming to this library anytime soon. We have plenty of time.

I stride towards the central table of the library.

Sweeping away the tabletop, I find an odd crack on the floor. Prying it open reveals a keyhole.

Lucy, who had been following me closely, tilts her head in curiosity.

“Why hide a secret vault here and manage a separate key for it?”

“I wonder.”

Inserting the key I retrieved from my pocket, the stone twists clockwise with a clanking noise, and the marble floor starts to slide open.

“Whoosh!

A gust of wind erupts from within as concentrated mana, once contained in the close space, is suddenly released.

Steeling myself against the shock, I focus my gaze and… a small golden magical engineering object catches my light – no larger than a thumb.

*

Panting slightly – it’s a given that climbing back up would be more taxing than the descent.

I tug at the rope and push off with my feet, sweat beginning to pour down as I ascend.

Despite Lucy’s offer to help, I declined. It would defeat the purpose if I didn’t try to climb up on my own.

I consider the effort a part of my physical training as I pull myself up the rope.

Lucy hangs from the rope above, looking almost casual due to the weight-lightening spells she’s cast on herself.

“It seems climbable enough…”

The library’s underground depth wasn’t as profound as I’d anticipated. Thanks to the physical training I’d maintained over the past year, the climb, although exerting, wasn’t overwhelming. If I felt fatigued, I simply rested against an outcropping, gripping the rope tightly.

Nevertheless, using the rope as a regular means of transport seemed impractical. I would need to either make or acquire a proper ladder in time. And perhaps now was the time to collect the magical engineering materials I asked Lortelle for… Could I manage to get a decent ladder thrown into the bargain as a service?

Considering these thoughts, I knew the merchant wouldn’t give anything away for free.

“We’re almost out. The outside is close.”

“Okay… I know… Whew…”

Wiping away sweat, I draw a phoenix-shaped ring from my pocket.

The legendary gold Phoenix ring, crafted by magic of the stellar realm.

It twists the timeline, allowing future mana to be accessed in the present.

——————————————– [ Glast’s Golden Phoenix Ring ]

Grade: Legendary Usage: Unlimited Manufacturing Difficulty: ●●●●◐ Sensitized to: Ed Rothtaylor The magical device allows you to twist the timeline and draw future mana into the present.

Imbued with stellar magical power and advanced time magic, the legendary magical engineering object ‘Golden Phoenix Ring’ drastically increases the wearer’s mana for a time. It enables the casting of spells that would normally exceed the body’s mana reserves.

After using a spell that demands beyond the maximum mana capacity, there is a long period wherein mana becomes suppressed relative to the excess used. Once suppression begins, the ring’s power cannot be utilized until it’s lifted.

——————————————–

“I think I understand why this magical engineering object was clandestinely stored in the library and why the key was kept separate.”

I look up at Lucy. Is she motivated by curiosity, or does she remain uninterested as usual?

Her expression obscured by the combination of moonlight and stars leaves her thoughts ambiguous.

Being able to ‘borrow’ mana from the future theoretically allows for the use of high-level magic right away – but the consequence is combat incapacitation proportional to the borrowed amount.

It essentially becomes a last-resort trump card for urgent use, or alternatively, a means for personal enhancement during peaceful times.

If I could temporarily surpass my own limits using this artifact and repay the borrowed power gradually… it might be an advantage. For example, for spirit contracts.

This could explain how Professor Glast glaston could handle so many spirits despite his relatively low spirit affinity.

Ultimately, the core of spirit affinity lies in ‘mana efficiency’ – the effectiveness of mana use within spirit magic.

Adequate innate mana is essential; no level of affinity or efficiency matters without it. Yenika has both high mana and affinity, hence her almost nonsensical command over numerous spirits – a truly blessed constitution.

The ring would help overcome the barrier to high-level spirit contracts commonly hindered by an innate shortage of mana.

If I could manage the contract by temporarily accessing future mana with the magical ring, I could slowly replenish what I’ve borrowed.

A reckless but simple calculation: if I abstain from using mana for just a month or two, I could likely form contracts with high-tier spirits. Of course, the risk for a mage unable to cast even basic spells for such a period is immense.

But fortunately, the winter break is approaching, offering a relatively low-risk opportunity for such schemes.

Ultimately, this is akin to taking a loan of mana from the future – and whilst everyone else is restricted by their maximum mana capacity in making contracts with superior spirits, I alone could break through that barrier, an overwhelming advantage.

It’s as if everyone else can only buy a house with cash, while I alone could take an interest-free loan – if that isn’t too impoverished an analogy.

In essence, this artifact wields the power of stellar magic that twists the stream of time – an action not just anyone could undertake.

A treasure that serves as a resource for critical moments or everyday enhancement; even if the entire library was scoured, likely no object more precious would surface.

“This ring is a magical device that allows you to harness power beyond your innate mana capacity. Of course, there’s a risk, so it can’t be used carelessly.”

It was clear from the beginning that the professor had a specific intention in all his actions.

He’s always preached about how pushing borderline talent is a sin, and that uncovering and refining the raw gem of natural ability was his true calling… And yet, behind everyone’s back, he’s been crafting artifacts like this.

Now I understood why the library was stocked with so many magical engineering formulas – all part of his research.

It seems this was all a part of Glast’s grand scheme.

The key that once rested in Glast’s arms was never meant for me—it was intended for Muri. A final gift to her daughter who had faced the wall of talent and ultimately met her demise. When I consider it like that, the puzzle pieces fall into place.

But in the end, the ring never reached its intended master. Glast himself probably anticipated this to some degree.

“If you had time to make something like that, you might as well have—”

“Don’t speak of pointless things, Lucy,” I cut her off. “What’s done is done.”

*

“You know, there was this one time I lost a button off the sleeve of my shirt.”

It was unbearably tough, climbing walls by gripping onto ropes—I hadn’t anticipated it would be this hard. When I had imagined it in my mind, I thought it might be manageable, but now I really think I need to get a ladder soon.

“The button at the end of this sleeve. I didn’t realize how important it was until it was gone. Without it, the sleeve became too loose and uncomfortable to wear. I struggled with it for quite some time.”

Nevertheless, I am nearly at the end of this uphill struggle. I had even considered asking Lucy to pull me up halfway through, but as I got closer to the top, a streak of stubbornness hit me, and I ended up climbing all the way.

.

Lucy, rambling on at the top edge, is strangely unfamiliar. Was she always this talkative?

“Is that so.”

“The maid at the Ophelius mansion mended it for me. Since then, I make sure to be careful not to let my sleeves catch on anything when I use my levitation magic.”

Lucy sits absentmindedly at the summit, looking up at the sky. Stars gleaming between clouds are reflected in her eyes as if to be embedded there.

“After losing it, I often realize how important the trivial seemed… Things I thought were insignificant turned out to be quite significant.”

“That’s a common story, isn’t it? Something often taught in fairy tales.”

“Yes.”

Insignificant things are, in fact, significant.

Sharing a meal, sitting idly beside someone, exchanging a few trivial conversations, checking in on each other, bumping into one another now and then, visiting when bored. The everyday life that one shares with another is a collection of such trivialities.

Dramatic relationships that stretch further with each extraordinary event only happen in dramas. Crises and adversity overcome by willpower, someone being rescued from the depths, or being the one who rescues.

While it is undoubtedly romantic, it isn’t necessarily realistic.

It’s not about right or wrong. Rather, I wonder if such tales are more suited for Taely than for me.

Heroic journeys. The life of a protagonist. The trials of the world. Friendship, effort, and victory. Relationships that blossom amidst it all.

However, for those living ordinary lives, building relationships isn’t about glitz and glamour.

More monochromatic than initially thought. Yet, there can’t be a comparison of superiority.

Both the brilliantly blooming rose and the modestly forming lily are beautiful. We do not rank their worth.

What Lucy must have felt when she lost Gluckt… I wouldn’t rashly presume to know.

“I actually followed you because I wanted to ask you something.”

A few more pushes off the wall and I’ll be on the ground. I can already feel the refreshing air outside.

“Are you going to the Dex mansion?”

The question caught me unexpectedly.

Looking up, I saw Lucy perched at the entrance.

The decision whether to enter the Dex mansion or to continue camping was balanced.

Entering the Dex mansion would undoubtedly make life more comfortable. I could forget all the survival rules I had adapted to and live according to the strict academic schedule with limited freedom.

Maintaining the camp life would allow more freedom and less constraint on time. It provides an excellent environment to train physical and crafting skills without much temporal restriction. However, even though I’ve somewhat adapted, the wild’s living conditions are harsh.

I could invest more time improving the camp environment, but it too would be the product of effort. With everything becoming busier, I wonder if that’s even feasible.

Each choice has its pros and cons, and if the scale remains unmoved, the final decision comes down to the smallest weight.

No matter how minuscule, if there’s a slight tilt, one tends to choose that direction.

“Is it necessary for you to go?”

A surprising line from Lucy.

Unexpected, yet I couldn’t say it was entirely incomprehensible. Her expression, looking up, was understandable enough.

“Living in the Dex mansion would be more comfortable… It’s not sane to live in the wilderness during this freezing winter.”

After saying that, I felt too breathless and decided to head to the ground.

I grasped the rope tightly.

Lucy, having listened, just looked silently at the sky.

Sometimes the stars are visible, but mostly the sky is filled with relentless dark clouds.

“It might rain.”

Her remark was so unexpected that I replied without thinking.

“No.”

“…?”

“It’s not the season for that.”

Finally on the ground, I lay flat on the dirt, taking deep breaths and looking up at the sky as a snowflake landed on my nose. Considering the time, it was the first snow of the season.

The time for rain had passed, but the coldness suggested otherwise.

Lucy usually has a knack for detecting the signs of rain but can’t always be on the mark.

It’s impossible to believe the sky will only pour raindrops.

But one might assume the rain will come out of habit once the monsoon season is over, even past its time.

The number of falling snowflakes silently increases.

While the persistent drizzle of rain feels dismal, seasonal snow landing softly gives out a cozy feel.

One could prattle on about the unromantic process of condensation and heat released through solidification, but that’s beside the point.

The battering rain and the softly falling snowflakes are undeniably different.

“By the way.”

I spoke quietly to Lucy, who was still watching the snowflakes fall.

“I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t secured enough firewood for the winter.”

At my comment, Lucy sharply turned to me, meeting my gaze.

“I can’t handle it all alone, so help me out if you have time. Didn’t you say that we’re running short on firewood?”

“Really?”

– Whoosh!

– Thump!

Lucy pounced on me as I lay sprawled on the ground, fixing her hat with one hand and leaning in close with her face.

“Really? Really? Really?”

“I’ve completely adapted to camp life… if we can just improve conditions a little more, living here will be much more advantageous.”

“…”

At that, Lucy lifted her upper body and looked up at the snowy sky.

I doubted my eyes.

In no scene or route had I ever seen it—Lucy’s lips curled upward so conspicuously. I was utterly stunned.

Act 2’s cleanup was over, and now we were moving into Act 3, where the trials become larger. As I close my eyes, a truckload of thoughts comes to mind.

Feeling disillusioned with the corrupt faculty inspectors, the benevolent Princess Phoenia who as student president aims to seize new scholastic power, and Lord Lortelle who wishes to exploit the academy’s privileges for his own gain are all formidable challenges.

Saint Clarice who yearns for the fall of the Telos Order and the disaster of an alchemist, Claude, who drinks the blood of an evil god and becomes corrupted… each of them is a worthy opponent, but the one who will be at the end of this stage is none other than the girl herself.

The final boss of Act 3, ‘The Awakened One’, Lucy Mayrill.

Let’s greet each other again after all the stories have ended. Surely, both of us will be alive and well.

*

– Clack

The documents piled on the table are thick. There are more than a couple of matters to deal with this week.

“Phew…”

Assistant Professor Claire sat in her personal office, sipping coffee.

The absence of my mentor is surprisingly immense. It’s a mystery how they managed such difficult work while progressing with the seal research.

Most of the work is done, though. After handling the conference matters, all that’s left is the entrance exam for the new students during the vacation break.

Everything had been prepared, including the notice to be sent to the new students’ addresses. They will start gathering on Acken Island during the winter break to take their exams.

I had a lot of thoughts about the exam content. I considered telling them to find a crystal like last year, but that could lead to second-year students leaking the content. I need to think about this some more.

“Hmm~, no matter what… I’m still short on helping hands.”

Assistant Professor Claire scratched her head and sighed deeply.

“Perhaps… I should ask for additional help from the scholarship students at the academy. This much should be allowable by the academy, right? With my image of being the youngest professor swamped with work lately… everyone tends to listen to my requests quite endearingly…”

Even though I knew it wasn’t entirely a good sign, it was a necessary measure.

Anyway, Anis, my assistant who is in charge of the tasks, is pretty adept at handling matters… all I needed now was a sharp student who could supervise the rest.

Hoping for a competent student to come along, Assistant Professor Claire dove back into the swamp of her workload.

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