The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 8

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The Day Before the New Semester Begins (1)

“Alright… what to do with this…”

In the southeastern part of the northern forest, there was a small lake, and at the center of it, on an islet, stood ‘Merilda’s Guardian Tree.’ Leaning against the tree and focusing intently was the spirit summoner Yenika. I was lost in thought when I spotted her.

*

The new semester was drawing near, just one day away.

There was much to prepare before heading back to school. First and foremost, I needed to address my disheveled appearance.

After ten days of living in the wild, I closely resembled a hermit. Despite washing daily in a stream, the hairs growing in patches on my face called for a shave. I had used the blade of a hinge torn from a wooden bag, ground down for my grooming, though it was quite alarming. Running the risk of a cut from the rusty blade could lead to an infection like tetanus.

However, maintaining a semblance of dignity was essential if I wanted to go unnoticed and continue my academic life at Sylvania. Being caught by a school official in my ragged state would invite unwelcome disasters. I had to think of a way to obtain a clean razor blade.

After tidying myself up and completing various other preparations for returning to school, I finally picked up my bow.

————— [ Combat Ability Detail ]

Rank: Combat Novice Specialty: Bow Bow Proficiency Lv1

————–

I chose my specialty in the combat abilities section without hesitation: the bow.

‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ offered four abilities.

Combat, magic, life, and alchemy.

One would combine two of these to determine their specialized profession.

Combination of combat and magic would result in a magic swordsman or a magic fighter.

Specializing in magic and alchemy could lead to becoming an alchemist or a spiritualist, and so on.

If I were a player free to choose my specialized profession, there might be room for contemplation, but in my case, the two abilities I needed to combine were already determined.

The skills in the life category were essential for survival, and having possessed a student from the magic department, I couldn’t avoid training in magic.

So, specializing in magic and life skills wasn’t a choice; it was a necessity.

While the synergy between the two wasn’t particularly strong, doors to fields such as magical engineering and enchantment were open to me.

As mentioned before, no weapon complements these skills quite like the bow.

My physical attributes like endurance, strength, and reflexes weren’t impressive, making close combat a challenge. Attacking enemies from a distance would be the most ideal form of combat…

If I could refine my life skills to produce high-quality arrows, I might be able to enchant them with spirits or magic.

Therefore, it would be ideal to specialize in the bow for combat ability and in spirit summoning for alchemical ability.

“Spirit summoning, huh…”

However, spirit summoning required an innate talent, that of spirit responsiveness.

Bonding and communicating with spirits is a skill that has its limits when it comes to training. This is why historically, great spiritualists were all born with the innate capacity to resonate with spirits.

“If I can’t do it, it can’t be helped… but it’s a pity.”

There aren’t many alchemy skills that are easy to specialize in, maybe herbology at best…

Still, since I can’t force spirit responsiveness into existence, if it’s a pity, I’ll need to find an alternative method.

“Anyway, I must test the bow I made by staying up all night.”

I was exhilarated when I managed to craft a bow with a production difficulty rate of two levels, but whether it was truly practical was another question.

My arrows were mere twigs with sharpened hinge blades attached. I used all the hinge blades I had to make four, unsure of their lethal efficiency.

Against large animals like boars, they would be pointless, but they might be significant against smaller creatures like squirrels and rabbits.

Strapping the bow to my back, I went hunting.

Two hours later,

After bagging the corpses of two squirrels, I came across Yenika at ‘Merilda’s Guardian Tree.’

A talented spiritualist from Sylvania Academy’s current second year, she was the youngest ever to contract with the high fire spirit Tarkan, and later, she would fall under the control of the high dark spirit Velosfer, seizing the Student Council building and summoning Glascan’s right hand, becoming the final boss of ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman,’ Act 1.

*

I have no ambitions; I just want to graduate. That’s my policy.

Not that I’m devoid of romance.

I sometimes wish to become the protagonist of this world, to walk the path of a glorious hero, basking in everyone’s praise.

But the path of a hero is usually a thorny one.

There’s a reason they receive acclaim. They advance through thorny paths as if they were flower beds, bleeding all the way.

The protagonist of this world, ‘Taely,’ I have yet to know who or where they are, but I’ve played through their role countless times.

The grand epic that spans five acts and forty-three chapters. The ordeals that protagonist Taely has to face are more than a mere mortal can handle.

The academy life that seems vibrant and romantic ends in endless death and pain, facing formidable and overwhelming foes.

Especially from the last semester, the scale of the trials escalates, constantly threatening and pressuring Taely.

The exhilaration and triumph felt upon overcoming them are undoubtedly sweet, but I don’t want to deal with all those trials. And even if one endures those arduous trials, the rewards waiting aren’t necessarily grand.

Honor and glory are valuable, but they don’t come for free. On the contrary, the sacrifices required in the process are overwhelmingly many.

Knowing what lies ahead, only a fool would willingly walk into such a path.

So, that’s my conclusion.

Whatever happens, ‘stick to the official story.’

It’s following the ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ scenario I know. Then, Taely will resolve all crises after facing various trials and tests.

I’ll just stand by, offering applause, and looking to secure my benefits while aiming for my diploma.

After all, I am one year ahead of Taely.

The scenario of ‘Sylvania’s Failed Swordsman’ intensifies around the time Taely is close to graduation, the climax of the story.

That’s when diverse forces stir outside the school, threatening students, creating a desolate atmosphere, and unleashing myriad trials upon them.

I just have to get my diploma and leave right before that season hits.

That’s my strategy—enjoy the sweetness without enduring the hardship, leaving the protagonist to deal with the challenges while I set off to find my own life.

Isn’t that a beautiful plan?

So, here is the current situation.

One of the crucial characters in the scenario, and the first ordeal that will befall Taely, Yenika Faelover.

It’s best to steer clear of her, to follow my own path.

That is a reasonable course of action.

As I was about to leave with that thought,

“Oh my, you must be the ‘interesting friend’ that Merilda mentioned?”

Yenika opened her eyes and spoke to me.

In life, things rarely flow exactly as planned.

*

“This forest is completely under Merilda’s jurisdiction. That high spirit often gossips more than her status would suggest.”

The ancient high wind spirit who had protected this forest even before Sylvania Academy was founded was casually referred to by the girl as if they were friends.

Her hair was a rich, pale pink and neatly brushed, and while the braids on each side provided a warm impression, she seemed a bit cold, draped in a fluffy shawl.

Covered in the standard uniform of Sylvania Academy, a red coat over a sky-blue skirt, and surrounded by trees, there were a couple of unfinished magic tomes spread out, indicating that she had been reading in solitude.

“The holiday’s over and you’re just back at the dorm, but you seem to have a lot on your mind… High spirits are revered, but it seems lonely without someone to talk to. Can’t imagine how you managed with boredom during the break.”

I chuckled and made small talk, but within, I was troubled.

My intent was to involve myself as little as possible.

While the issue with Princess Phoenia was directly related to my circumstances and warranted some intervention, this was a whole different story.

“Being lonely without someone to talk to is the same for anyone, isn’t it?”

Her innocent smile seemed warm and kind. It was shocking for players early on to witness this.

She, the dependable and kind second-year senior, would soon seal the Student Council building and occupy it, marked all over with Glascan’s curse seal.

She was the shock to the players who were just beginning to adapt to this world’s rules.

This episode was the true starting point for deep immersion in the story. Even I uttered an expletive when I first saw it.

So why was she talking to me?

She herself provided the reason.

“Do you live in this forest? Since being expelled?”

“The forest’s master told you?”

“Merilda is a bit nosy. She loves this forest.”

Her smile seemed to shine with the brightness of flowers fluttering around her. She looked like someone with whom the world’s worries were trivial.

From my perspective, the dissonance with her image of occupying the student council building was quite uncomfortable.

“To have such affection for the forest, do you not notice an uninvited guest settling in?”

“Um…”

I felt unnecessarily conscious of the squirrel corpses hanging from my back. I had also cut down quite a few trees.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s natural for the forest’s creatures to prey on each other. Merilda wouldn’t be bothered by something so trivial.”

“That big and burly giant wolf seems to have a tender heart.”

“Unexpected, right? Ahahaha.”

Merilda, guardian of this forest, took the form of a massive wolf-shaped high wind spirit. Though seldom appearing before humans, she was known to be surprisingly tolerant.

It wasn’t unusual that she had let my camping, hunting, and gathering activities go by without incident.

“Your appearance has changed quite a bit. Hmm… During the last semester, Ed, you were… Although we didn’t talk much, your voice had a more forceful tone!! But now it seems more serene. Image change?”

“Something like that.”

“Ahaha, same here. The maid in Ophelius Hall braided my hair. What do you think? Do I look more lively?”

No matter how she asked, I couldn’t offer an assessment.

To continue conversing jovially with this girl, who would become one of the most detestable characters known to Ed Rothtaylor, was beyond me, considering I knew her future.

But, if I wanted to keep my distance, the method was simple.

Even if she had the lofty disposition of a great person, I knew a kind of magic spell that would make her swallow her salutations and look at me with doubtful eyes.

“Yenika. It must be fate that we meet on the day before school starts. May I ask you a favor?”

“A favor?”

“I’ve found myself in urgent need of money and I’m looking for a place to borrow some.”

I casually uttered that magical spell.

“Would you stand as my guarantor?”

Cut.

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