The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 88

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The Student Council President Election War (1)

The greatest slayer of warriors in this world is none other than arrogance.

Beware of those who, confident in their abilities, charge bravely and valorously, believing such acts to be virtues.

Do not hold in high regard those who constantly risk their lives to assert their existence to the world.

Fear, Clevius.

Fear is your weapon.

If the moment to flee ever comes, run away so fast that you almost lose your tail.

Do not risk your life for pride. Do not become obsessed with honor either.

You do not need to forcefully confront every crisis and challenge that comes your way. You do not need to hurt yourself by attempting the impossible.

Live like that, and there will come a time when your feet won’t move, even if you could normally run away as fast as you’ve always done.

There will certainly be a time when your feet are stuck to the ground and refuse to move.

In front of trials that the whole world declares impossible, you feel the need to stand firm, gripped by your legs.

Although your whole body trembles as if it might go mad, strangely, your hand gripping the sword is filled with steadfast strength. As though ensnared by inertia, your body yearns to move forward even in the face of certain defeat.

What drives you in such moments is not pride or honor, but a conviction of an entirely different kind.

If it’s not that, then run away. Beg for your life in a disgraceful manner and survive by cowardice.

Survive ignobly, even if you have to roll in the mud, and wait for your time. Never sacrifice your safety for high honor and glory.

Do not live the life of a hero. Do not walk the thorny path that nobody forced upon you.

The flower that blooms atop a cliff may appear noble, but ultimately, it is the tough weeds that fill the garden. I hope you never forget this truth.

– “Duel Application”

“…”

After the snowstorm had ceased, the Ophelius Hall became bustling with students preparing for the next semester. The duel application presented by first-year top student Wade Callamore against Clevius arrived during the peak of the snowstorm.

Clevius rose from the bed in his private room and sat at the table where the maids had prepared refreshments. In a room where the curtains always cast a shadow, he grabbed a handful of snacks, biting and chewing loudly. Then he shook, a curse slipping out as he hunched over and looked at the floor.

“Why… Why the f**k… does it have to be me…”

A bead of sweat trickled down beneath his dark circles heavy with gloom. Clevius did not even respond to the genius swordsman Wade of the Callamore family’s challenge. However, he couldn’t withstand public opinion demanding an answer and eventually expressed his intention to forfeit. He neither wanted to get hurt in a pointless fight nor be humiliated in front of everyone.

People said it was typical of Clevius, and he wasn’t even dissatisfied with their assessment. Maybe this was better. It was preferable to fade into obscurity after being branded a coward than to be beaten miserably in public.

Clevius hesitantly lifted the curtain of the window. A comforting light briefly entered the dark corner of the room but stopped short. The view outside showed that winter was fully over, and spring had brought life bursting forth everywhere.

It was the scenery that gloomy Clevius hated the most.

“That bastard Wade, with his personality, will probably keep throwing duel applications everywhere…”

Clevius had heard rumors about Wade too. They were about how full of himself he was, craving recognition. He boasted of defeating all the seniors, and the rumors even spread among the first-year students.

Being the first target was both misfortune and a stroke of luck. Once the next target was decided, the first target would quietly be forgotten.

“A dog’s life…”

As spring blooms with beautiful flowers and Sylvania Academy revives with its unique romance, Clevius, enshrined in darkness in the corner of his room, turned his back on that radiant romance.

He was surely a man belonging to the darkness.

As if to say, what of it, the fluttering petals outside the window seemed to declare.

It was a new semester.

*

Spring comes when you start to forget about it, which is what makes it so special. Looking at the world awakening from a blanket of white snow and the warm sunlight nurturing the blossoming flowers, I realize that it’s been a year since I started this life.

Last year at this time, I was kicked out of Ophelius Hall and haphazardly set up my life in the forest, but now I have a decently established camp and cabin filled with useful furniture.

Once a body that drenched in sweat like a river by attending just one class, has now become well-trained enough that jogging to and from class feels easy.

“Oh my, a familiar face.”

While I was taking advantage of lunchtime to buy supplies for the lab from the residential building to take back later, I noticed a familiar girl sitting at Laplace Bakery’s terrace near the bridge that led from the living quarters to the professor’s building.

Her infamy had grown enough that no one was unaware that beneath her ever-smiling, outwardly kind facade, she probably harbored hundreds of sly plans.

“It’s just after the opening ceremony, and you’re already working on lab tasks, Senior Ed.”

I waved my hand casually in response to her greeting.

If you want to check on the girl’s state, just look at her hair. If her reddish-brown locks, once loose, are now neatly tied on one side, it means she’s relaxed.

In important meetings or formal situations, she’s the opposite, letting her hair down and adorning herself with various accessories.

As expected, she’s a figure with a substantial role in her company, so she’s not someone one can easily approach.

“Lortelle,” she smiles widely and gestures to me, inviting me to sit and have a cup of tea as if that was all she had in mind.

“You drink tea alone here, Lortelle? That’s surprising.”

“Well, I was just taking a break on my business trip. I’ve finished important discussions, and once the staff wraps up the inventory check, I was about to leave.”

“Inventory check?”

“Could we get another cup of tea here, please?”

While smiling, Lortelle quietly communicated with an attendant close by, who then darted off swiftly. The one who had rushed off was an ordinary employee, but the one who came back carrying tea was the owner of Laplace Bakery himself.

A man who once worked in the royal palace kitchens and owned several well-known eateries in the capital, sweating profusely, places another cup of tea before us. After bowing politely and asking if we needed anything else, he returned to the kitchen.

It seemed some sort of finalization was taking place in the kitchen, according to Lortelle’s words.

“I’ve never seen that man wearing such an expression before.”

“Well, he must be nervous about something. After all, you can dust anyone and find some dirt.”

“But what right does your company have to go through a bakery’s storeroom? Is it okay for just any business partner to do that?”

“We are merely business partners, but since the bakery orders all its essential ingredients from Elte Trading, they’re rather attentive to us. There aren’t many places on Acken Island that can handle the volume Laplace Bakery needs apart from Elte Trading.”

Volume aside, Laplace Bakery uses a lot of high-quality ingredients, especially those where freshness is crucial. Unless the trading house has a lengthy history in distribution and has proven reliability, it would be hard to trust and commit.

In a city with a sizeable market, different trading houses might have competed for orders, but on the limited scope of Acken Island, story changes.

If Elte Trading refused to supply them, Laplace Bakery could find their business becoming difficult literally overnight.

Lortelle wore the most benign smile in the world.

“Exclusive power can be quite fun at such times, don’t you think? It create authorities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.”

“It seems you’re the only one having fun, judging by the expressions of everyone else.”

“Don’t be so sour. Although you’re absolutely correct.”

Lortelle chuckled and then swept her fingers across her teacup.

“There is some legitimacy to our position after all. It seems like they’ve been caught making fake orders.”

“Fake orders?”

“Yes. Placing bulk orders for goods they don’t need, then canceling them as delivery dates approach. In the end, they’ll always get caught, but there’s always a vendor that tries to pull this.”

I set down my bags and took a seat opposite her, lifting the teacup prepared by the owner himself. It smells more fragrant and intense than usual, as if it was made with special care.

“It’s an obvious story, but during the snowstorm, there were some difficulties in getting supplies to Acken Island. The roads froze, and carriages were unable to travel.”

“Unavoidable, due to a natural disaster.”

“Yes, that’s right. Thus, most of the vendors in the residential area were waiting their turn for supplies. We were trying to supply materials quickly to areas with higher demand and more urgent needs…”

It was all too predictable from there.

Laplace Bakery, eager to get supplies quickly, artificially inflated their order with unneeded items. As delivery neared, they kept only what was essential and canceled most of the rest.

They might have thought that the scale of Elte Trading’s inventory would allow such a move to slide by, but it was a rather naive assumption.

There’s a high demand for ingredients right now, and the canceled goods could just be sold elsewhere, so there’s no financial loss for Elte Trading. However, with most vendors waiting in line and one resorting to tricks to get supplies, the offense is significant.

“Traders might sell their souls for a penny of profit if it balances the books, but that doesn’t mean they lack all professional ethics. Besides, to us, all clients are the same.”

Having established herself among Elte Trading’s decision-makers, Lortelle has practically become the unseen queen of the living quarters’ underworld.

Of course, Lortelle does not govern or rule over anyone directly. It’s not her status, nor does she have such authority.

However, where people gather, chaos follows, and therefore, control is necessary.

Lortelle’s means of control is money itself. If you delve into the hidden undercurrents of the seemingly peaceful residential area, you’ll see that all money eventually flows into Lortelle’s wallet.

– Bang!

Shortly after, a door banged open, and a man burst out. It was the chef who had brought us tea earlier. He had probably completed a significant part of the inventory check.

Comparing actual use and order quantities isn’t particularly hard.

“L-Lortelle! Please hear me out! The person in charge is being too demanding! I have nothing to say regarding the orders, but if you limit our future orders this much…”

He knew. Without approval from Lortelle, the employee wouldn’t have imposed restrictions on orders single-handedly. All this had happened within Lortelle’s sanctions.

Yet in desperation, clinging to straws, he came out to appeal to Lortelle.

With a pathetic posture, he pleaded with Lortelle, explaining his personal situation, justifying the order quantities, giving insight into the operational status of the store. Lortelle simply sat through his plea, eyes half-closed, a teacup against her lips.

“Please… Just once, consider our store’s circumstances…! If it comes to this, we…”

“That’s right.”

Interrupting her tea-drinking, Lortelle spoke up, making the man gulp down his breath, anticipating her continuation.

And then, she turned to me–not the man.

“I have classes in the afternoon. Should we head to the professor’s building together?”

From the start, Lortelle hadn’t bothered to seriously listen to the man.

Rising from her seat, she cast a fleeting glance in the man’s direction, though her gaze was utterly cold.

*

“The student council president elections are close.”

“You don’t plan to run yourself?”

“Although I’m tempted by the power of the student council, if I had to devote my time to it over my business with the trading house, priorities would shift in the wrong direction.”

The crowd was buzzing as we crossed the student plaza in the professor’s building, a clear indication it was a new semester. During holiday periods, the plaza was almost deserted, every shout echoing through the space. Now, it was so crowded it was hard to see the plaza’s layout.

“The ideal situation for me is having someone favorable to me become president. Are you not interested, Senior Ed? I could support you.”

“I have no such intention. There’s no guarantee I’d win anyway.”

“What a shame. I thought you’d say that.”

Lortelle walked draped in a semi-robe over her uniform blouse, her arms embracing a couple of books.

Lortelle herself seemed overwhelmed with tasks between the trading house and her studies. She was still a student, after all, and committed to honing her magic to the best of her ability.

Chances are she, too, breaks down her day into minutes to manage everything.

“Your sister mentioned running for the election. Was her name Tanya? Maybe I’ll support her.”

“Tanya?”

Lortelle glanced around briefly and lowered her voice as she spoke to me.

Geossi spoke.

“I wouldn’t want to support Princess Phoenia even if someone beat me to death. Well, it seems like most of the scholars are in support of her… She’d become the most promising candidate as soon as she decides to run.”

“I won’t go into minute details, but…”

“I understand, senior.”

Lortelle said softly.

“I’m not sure if Tanya knows this, but once Princess Phoenia declares her candidacy, it’s almost hopeless for Tanya. Even if by some unfathomable miracle the majority of grade chiefs support Tanya… it will still be considerably insufficient. No matter that she’s the second daughter of the Rothtaylor family, the difference in their standings is just too great.”

At his words, I nodded.

In official competitions as well, Tanya loses by a truly unbelievable margin. Using all her resources, she desperately tried to gain even one more vote in a disgraceful struggle, but the overwhelming margin never decreased.

Tanya Rothtaylor, the younger lady doomed.

In face of the despairingly overwhelming vote difference, she had to suppress her frustration and exit shaking with anger… She was nothing more than a stepping stone villain from Rothtaylor.

“By the way… Senior Ed, do you support Princess Phoenia?”

“Me? I don’t know. It’s not really about who I support, but if I had to say, I would cheer for my kin Tanya a bit more.”

“I’m relieved to hear that. I was a bit anxious thinking even you might support Princess Phoenia. Most scholars look up to her, but… well, if it’s not senior, then that’s fine.”

I’ve been involved with Princess Phoenia for a while. There were various incidents, but I couldn’t say I left a good impression.

“She probably hates me quite a bit.”

“Is that so?”

“I’m not sure, but… If I were in her shoes, I think it would be hard to feel particularly good about me… Yeah, she might harbor a great grudge against me, or at the very least some resentment…?”

“If you say so, I do feel relieved…”

“Relieved?”

“…”

Lortelle wrapped her hands around her book and hung her head low.

“You know I see you as a man, Senior Ed?”

“…”

“Jealousy is more common than thought, you know? Despite appearances, I am female.”

She then wrapped one arm around my own and after casting her gaze downward, slyly lifted her eyes.

Her eyes narrowed fox-like as she blinked coquettishly and looked up at me with a cunning smile.

“Did it strike home?”

“…”

“Shall I check your heartbeat?”

In the middle of the square, I pressed down on Lortelle, who was about to burrow her ear at my chest, sending her away with a small grunt. She grinned and shook her head.

“Just building walls around yourself… Do I look like I’ve done something wrong?”

“There’s nothing you’ve done wrong to me but… until I graduate, it’s a bit tough for me.”

“…Until you graduate?”

The girl, who has adjusted to catch even the slight nuance of a thousand negotiation tables, sees every hint of tone and choice of words as clues and information.

“What about after graduating?”

“…”

“Oh, that seems like snagging some major information.”

With arms crossed and a crafty smile, Lortelle looked up with her chin resting on her shoulder.

“Some sort of temporal restriction. I wonder if it’s all right to hand over such tremendous information. Although I’m not sure what meaning you attribute to graduation, it seems there will be some emotional progress post-school.”

“…”

“Although, whether you can maintain your fortress until then, I can’t really tell~.”

Lortelle released me and swiftly stepped back, then trotted away before turning back to look up at me, her hand on her smile, foxy as ever.

“I’ll stop here for now… graduation feels distant as we speak, but after all, it is just the year after next. Time flies unexpectedly, you know?”

“I have nothing to say against that…”

“Of course, you would say that, right? Anyway, you seem to be in good health, and your studies are progressing faithfully, so that’s comforting. How have the items for Demonic Engineering I gave you last time been?”

“I’ve used them all. I trained in Demonic Engineering over the break.”

“Oh, any successful outcomes?”

I pondered for a moment on how to respond… then nodded. Depending on results alone, it was a huge success.

Through an unrealistic schedule and day-long Demonic Engineering training, by the day before school started, I had finally completed a prototype of the legendary grade Demonic Engineering equipment. Since I hadn’t had the chance to use it practically, it remains a prototype.

“That’s good to hear. Since it’s been useful, it’s a positive thing for me too. Unfortunately, I was too swamped with problems over the break to take care of everything.”

“Problems are that many? Like the incident at Laplace Bakery?”

“Let’s just say, that incident is part of the problems. The immediate main concern is a shortage of liquid funds. My wallet is a bit tight.”

Lortelle is short on money. Though it seems hardly plausible, on closer inspection, the issue became clear.

Assets and cash are two completely different concepts.

“Due to unexpected expenses, it looks like there will be a delay in assessing the situation and restoring lost funds after the loss of a chest of gold coins from the main storehouse that was being transported by carriage caught in an avalanche. That means available funds are rather tight.”

Regular cash inflows from the trading firm have been disrupted. Such disasters seem periodic for a firm her size.

“That’s why even with so much assets, I’m in a situation where I have to tighten the belt. Branch office is also avoiding unnecessary expenditures. I will personally not spend where not needed, and I intend to reduce even the necessary ones.”

“Is the cash situation that tight?”

“Just a temporary bottleneck. It’s not desperately short on money. Ordinary life’s basic needs are still well secured. It’s just that, I’m a bit short on extra spending power.”

Basic needs as per Lortelle’s standards would have different monetary units to begin with.

These variables are mostly due to the aftermath of the snowstorms that hit near Acken Island. Although it’s spring, the effects of winter remain firmly in place.

“I’m not exactly in a good mood. Just yesterday, I denied a request from a shaky business to repay a transaction whose due date is far from over.”

“Their circumstances weren’t that good either, it seems.”

“Everyone’s struggling. Especially when it comes to managing money.”

Lortelle fluttered her hair caught by the blowing spring wind.

“Don’t worry. Managing money is my specialty. Now that I’ve set my mind to it, there’s no way I’ll increase unnecessary expenses any further.”

With that, she smiled again like a fox.

I remembered her icy gaze upon the men in the bakery. Regardless, Lortelle has a nature that becomes cold like metal when engaged in business matters.

“Don’t worry. Senior Ed, by the way, why are you heading to class without your books?”

As we dived deep into the array of teaching buildings, the classroom was not far.

“Me? I have to stop by the library to borrow them.”

“You’re borrowing books for the class? If it’s the student library, you have to go all the way to the outskirts near the teaching building.”

“Just think of it as running for exercise. If I slack even a little with my physical conditioning, my body weakens quickly.”

“It’s not a distance to be running! Just buy from the academy’s…”

Lortelle stopped herself in mid-sentence. Books aren’t exactly cheap to pile on, particularly for a student. Sylvania’s textbooks are all high-grade material.

Still, it doesn’t make sense to be sprinting back and forth between the library and the lecture building, although for me, it seems as routine as breathing.

Suddenly, Lortelle began to sweat bullets. She took out her wallet and trembled, rummaging through its content.

What could be so painful… She doubted with tormented eyes and then hesitantly asked.

“How much… all of them, combined…?”

I politely refused.

*

“Did you check the library organization? Senior Ed.”

Seeing Zix’s face after the new semester started feels like it’s been a while.

After finishing the elemental studies class and pushing through the crowd into the square of the education building, Zix, who had been leaning against a nearby tree, approached me.

“Yes, they handled it well. Thank you.”

“It was nothing. I used magic to work, so it didn’t take long. But, Senior Ed, have you heard about Wade?”

“Wade? The first-year chief?”

Zix nodded.

The recollection slowly comes back to me. Episode 3, Act 3, the start of the student council presidential election.

The story of Wade Callamore’s challenge. As far as I knew, this challenge continued until Act 5.

Wade, born with innate swordsmanship talent and overwhelming martial power claiming the position of first-year chief, was not satisfied with just that position. He challenged each department’s chief to duels, defeating them all, and even went on to challenge the older students.

Wade, who wanted to win them all within his limits, swept through the academy’s famous figures and chiefs, and even after a close battle with Zix in tatters managed to win.

Of course, Zix was quite exhausted and couldn’t use his full power, and the outcome might’ve been different otherwise, but a loss is a loss.

Wade, once making a rampage as if he were about to take down all the academy’s strong players, eventually loses to Taely in a joint combat exercise.

For a first-year, his feats are commendable. Until his defeat against Taely, the opponents he faced were by no means weak. He was indeed worthy of being called an ace student of the first year.

“The promising students are all sent to the dueling arena by this freshman. I heard he’s also interested in you, senior.”

“Well, thanks for telling me in advance. Take care of yourself, too.”

“There’s a welcome party for the freshmen tonight. Will you come and see his face?”

I knew Wade’s face more than familiarly.

“No, it’s okay. I have other plans for this evening.”

“Plans for this evening?”

“Yenika agreed to help out with spirit magic.”

With the mana suppression from the ring dying down, I was slowly able to use my full magic power.

After completing the medium spirit contracts, at least in the third year, no one but Yenika would be superior in spirit magic.

Plus, acquiring intermediate magic, filling up with basic magic proficiency, and a little more progress in mana sensibility training… I’d be among the top ten in the third year.

There’s a taste of accelerating the training with visible progress. If you see results, it indeed adds interest to the training itself. I wonder if this is what people who hang out in gyms all day feel like.

With that, I waved goodbye to Zix and left the square.

Looking back at the view of the plaza, it’s a lively scene of the academy.

Though I thought I wouldn’t care much about such things, seeing the vibrant academy somehow raises my spirits.

The fresh air specific to the new academic year lightens my steps.

Over the hill, I walked across the teaching building complex.

*

“Hmm… I should’ve mentioned it after all.”

Negotiating the line in interpersonal relationships is invariably difficult.

Zix muttered to himself as he watched Ed walk away, leaning back against the tree.

Along with the library information, maybe I should’ve also mentioned Princess Phoenia.

Since Zix and Phoenia were classmates, their paths often crossed during lectures. Phoenia usually surrounded by her escort was difficult to approach, but it was different during classes.

Princess Phoenia looked especially dispirited since the holidays.

However, when conversations about Ed would come up among Zix or others, Phoenia would bizarrely tilt her head to listen or seemed keenly attentive.

At first, it felt like a misconception, but the more he watched, the more the name “Ed Rothtaylor” seemed to provoke a reaction from her.

“I’m still not fully convinced…”

Zix leaned against a tree in one corner of the plaza, staring vacantly at the clear high sky. It’s been a while since it was so clear.

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