The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 91

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Student Council President Election (4)

– Pitter-patter, thump

Even the same rain feels different with each season.

Spring rain feels like it’s compacting the Earth, distinct from the refreshing deluge of a summer downpour with its hissing sound.

While stepping out into a summer squall makes water droplets pummel the whole body, walking in the spring rain feels like a firm pressing down, which somehow brings calm.

The dampness soaks into sounds too. Gone is the usual rustling through the grass; only the squishing of diluted mud underfoot and the splashing in shallow puddles fill the forest.

“It’s my first time venturing out to the northern coast. The cliff areas are vast, desolate, and sparsely populated—nothing much to see! And quite the long trek as well!”

Muk, perched on my shoulder and clearing his throat, was my only conversation partner.

“If I may be bold enough to say, my humble Muk, contracting with the mid-tier water spirit, Lady Reisha, was indeed a splendid choice! While Lady Reisha’s ‘Blessing of the Water Lion’ might not be as versatile as my Flame Ward, depending on the circumstances, once something triggers it…”

Endless explanations are Muk’s specialty. There’s never a dull day with his boasting about all sorts of spirits, which is now endearing to me.

Thus, I advanced toward the north, exchanging ideas with Muk.

The northern forest is far from small. Even after a year living here, I still find unfamiliar paths. Probably because I tend to stick to the same trails.

“So this is what it’s like.”

Reaching the edge of the cliff in the north took quite some time.

Acken Island is busier the further south you go, mainly because all the major facilities of the Sylvania Academy are concentrated there. It makes sense—the bridges connecting the continent’s Parenn Peninsula are in the south.

Even passing the midpoint, most of it is deserted wilderness, and upon reaching the northern tip, it feels like a world completely separate from Sylvania Academy unfolds.

Just like the spirit I contracted, water spirits are significantly influenced by the moisture around them.

Rotting fish are still fish, so even in dead dry zones, because she’s a mid-tier spirit, she’d be incomparably more powerful than lower spirits. Still, her true value shines in an environment brimming with moisture.

A coastline teemed with cascading rain. There can’t be a more perfect setting for manipulating a water spirit.

Should all the stringent conditions be met, they say even a mid-tier spirit can unleash power rivaling that of a high-tier one, but, to be honest, I do not wish for so much; I probably couldn’t handle the magic power required.

I drew the bow I had brought with me.

This recurved bow was the result of much effort over a long time. Among the many I’ve crafted through trial and error, this one was the finest.

Pointing it toward the churning sea, I pulled back the bowstring. Wrapping my hand with mana, the arrow of energy I conjured glowed faintly.

More than just a mana arrow. Charged with the essence of water, this particular mana arrow wasn’t limited to merely penetrating foes.

“Hmm… It doesn’t consume too much mana by itself, but after firing and activating it, I wonder if it’d be different…”

“Direct mana consumed up to this point is minuscule for the creation of the mana arrow, but if you cast the spirit formula, it’d be a different story.”

“I’ll need to actually use it to get a feel for it.”

“And firing recklessly wouldn’t be an option either. Lord Ed’s mana pool has grown significantly, but it’s not enough to offset the inefficient loss of mana due to weak spirit sensitivity.”

I nodded and for the moment, released the spirit formula. Utilizing spirit formulas is a complex field within spirit magic. Familiarity with the actual manifestation of spirits should be settled first.

As the rain poured and the coastline was lashed by waves, the conditions couldn’t be better for handling a water spirit.

With that thought, I began to gather mana when suddenly…

“It’s an honor to see you again after such a long time, Lord Ed.”

.

I turned at the sound of my name.

Two men, cloaked in gloomy robes, had found their way to my location without notice.

Act 4’s final chapter, the third phase’s mid-bosses.

The dark servants of the Rothtaylor family.

Two knights sworn to Crebin in exchange for promised lands, Cadec and Nox.

*

Cadec and Nox were veterans who had spent their lives with the Rothtaylor family history.

Underneath the robe, designed to shrug off rain, stands Cadec—slender and neatly dressed in a suit with a puffy necktie. He looks much tidier than Nox, though similar in age.

On the other hand, the well-bearded and robust Nox looks much more casual.

The square jaw beneath a proper attire and the muscular frame are clear proof that he isn’t an opponent one can take lightly.

That Crebin’s top enforcers, both seasoned through countless battles, are now on Acken Island, signals something amiss.

“It isn’t exactly a pleasant reunion, but it’s not entirely welcome either.”

The object of the two knights’ attention is the young man with golden hair standing at the tip of the cliff. In his hand, he holds a reflex bow large enough to match an average person’s upper body.

He turns his upper body towards the knights. Against the backdrop of the sea and rain, the light in his eyes meets theirs through the heavy strands of wet hair. The bow aimed at the ground embodies a formidable presence.

“It’s ironic to be addressed as ‘lord’ by someone who’s been expelled, one might say it’s I who should be thankful.”

He was well aware of who Cadec and Nox were.

The mid-bosses of Act 4’s final chapter, the Eagle Knight Cadec, and the Bear Knight Nox. Neither was an easy rival.

“We’ve heard of Lord Ed’s tales.”

Cadec knelt where he stood.

“We’ve heard of the many occurrences since your expulsion and how, despite it all, you valiantly continue to honor your duties.”

“That’s correct, Lord Ed. We were… ignorant of this.”

Nox, of robust stature, also knelt and bowed his head.

“We must confess, our discontent for Lord Ed’s actions at the Rothtaylor mansion was immense. We’re penitent and in reflection now believe the expulsion was warranted.”

His deep voice resonated with some authenticity.

“However, upon reflecting on Lord Ed’s life here on Acken Island, we’ve reconsidered.”

Nox retrieved a leather pouch containing a poisoned dagger from within his cloak and laid it upon the grass.

“We were sent under Crebin’s orders to eliminate you from the Sylvania Academy, by any means necessary. We were even instructed to assassinate you with this virulently engraved dagger, should the chance arise.”

In the rainy milieu, the kneeling knights continued their narrative serenely.

“Yet we know there was something off about Lord Ed back then. The impetuous child we knew vanished like a ghost, and in his place, a different person seemed to dominate the mansion… It couldn’t have been your true nature.”

“We now recognize that the current Lord Ed is the embodiment of the rightful heir that truly suited you.”

The effect of the various rumors and assessments of Ed circulating within Acken Island on the two knights is unknown to all.

Nonetheless, there was an absence of hostility in their earnest, bowed posture as they continued speaking.

“Please, restore everything to its proper order, and pave the way to elevate the Rothtaylor name once again.”

“We as retainers are prepared to follow, wherever that may be. We’ll thoroughly explain the whole situation to Lord Crebin.”

The knights sealed their lips and waited, heads bowed, for Ed’s response.

Stepping a few paces forward, Ed looked down at the two kneeling knights and, closing his eyes for a brief moment before reopening them, said…

“Don’t play games with me.”

“You’ve grown, Lord Ed.”

The swift strike of wind was from the Eagle Knight, Cadec. Ed swiftly dodged and rolled across the muddy ground.

Cadec, regaining his posture, swung his sword again. The reach of his wind strikes, negating the concept of distance, required the mindset of facing a magician rather than a knight.

But there’s an issue; unlike a mage, Cadec is also skilled in close-quarters combat.

“Kraah!”

From Nox’s roar, the rain parted as a wave emanated outward. The flames that erupted around him were quenched by the rain, but his magically tinged mace remained formidable.

Quickly, Ed widened the distance and pulled back his bowstring. His former spot was now impaled by the hefty mace.

A cornered individual’s hope tends to scatter their attention.

Offered the chance to reclaim his nobility after a year-long wilderness ordeal, how potent and enticing that lure must be for Ed Rothtaylor.

Yet, before the knights finished speaking, Ed did not relax his battle stance. Both knights clearly sensed his acute alertness.

One could be certain from the past arduous year that his life had not been an easy one.

“Do you remember my daughter, Meliana? The poor child who lost an eye to Lord Ed’s sheer amusement.”

Ed, having put some distance between them, glanced at Nox while shaking the rain from his cloak.

“I seem to recall something of that nature.”

“Sigh…”

With a tight fist thrust into the air, a blast of flame shot forward. Reacting swiftly, Ed neutralized the flame completely with basic defense magic.

“It’s evident I was too complacent. The culprit who robbed my daughter of her sight, to think I could still burn with loyalty to you… Surely, Lord Ed, you wouldn’t be fooled by such deception.”

Gripping his mace again, Nox braced himself with gritted teeth.

“Revenge is a hollow pursuit. It leaves only endless emptiness in its wake. However, these aren’t words for Lord Ed, who harmed my daughter.”

“… You have a point.”

As Nox lunged forward, Ed crouched and pulled a dagger from his thigh sheath, planting it in the ground, even as Cadec’s magically charged sword strikes bore down on him.

Cadec and Nox. The two knights had a fixed pattern of assault. Nox, in the vanguard, swung his flame-touched mace, and with each swing, flames erupted, necessitating a wide berth for avoidance.

Cadec kept up constant pressure, alternating between close and mid-range. A single hit could permit a flurry of follow-ups, demanding caution.

– Whoosh!

The flames from the swung mace singed a few strands of Ed’s hair.

Rolling backward to dodge, Ed found only the endless cliff behind him.

A single blow from Nox could be instantly fatal, considering the mace’s mass and the flames’ intensity. But strategically, Cadec’s sword strikes were far trickier.

The sensation of tightrope-walking on the edge of life and death sent chills down the spine.

Yet, the frontline drawn back to the edge of the abyss was within Ed’s calculations.

– Whoosh!

Despite the awkward movements.

Even an eternal mace cannot be avoided forever. It’s almost a miracle that I’ve avoided it until now. If this stalemate continues, the enemy’s attack will be inevitable.

Realizing that there are no more avenues to evade, Nox swings his final strike, but as Ed extends his hand, a stream of blood spurts from Nox’s back.

“What…?”

Information superiority is a key element in Ed’s combat style.

Ed can recite Nox’s and Cadec’s specs, their approach to combat formations, and their means of attack, but they have no idea of the growth Ed has gone through.

It is precisely this asymmetry in information that serves as the only tool to compensate for insufficient specs.

Embedded in Nox’s back is the dagger that just moments ago was thrust into the ground.

“It can’t be… psychokinesis…?”

It’s not psychokinesis, but a spirit formula instead. Something easily realized in calm contemplation but difficult to discern amidst frantic battle.

– Kwaaang!!

A blast of explosive magic envelops the edge of the cliffside. Cloaked in the Blessing of the Fire Ward, Ed remains untouched by the blast.

“Nox!”

-Fwaaak!!

There’s no time to rest.

An arrow imbued with magical energy slips through the smoke and embeds itself near Cadec’s leg.

“Keugh!”

Almost superhuman reflexes allow Cadec to evade the arrow, and after a moment’s thought, he sends a fierce wind slash through the rising smoke.

Nox might be hit, but more importantly, Ed must be completely subdued.

His life may have been cornered to excess, but compared to the debauchery at the Rothtaylor estate, his explosive growth is unmistakable.

Complacency is a knight’s worst enemy. Even if Nox is caught in the attack, he would understand that it was a necessity in such circumstances. Such understanding between two who have crossed swords for a long time can be conveyed without spoken words.

There is no path to dodge. The hit is certain. The question is how effectively you can neutralize your opponent.

As the wind blows the thickening smoke away, Ed appears with wounds all over his body.

However, his stance, pulling back his bowstring, remains unaltered. Unless it’s an amputating strike, he’ll tough it out through sheer willpower.

Regardless of a wound’s depth, the pain of a cut has the power to unsettle the human mind. Even if a vital hit doesn’t subdue one instantly, it typically burdens the mind significantly.

Certainly, the wounds themselves cannot be considered shallow. Still, Ed’s stance did not falter.

He loosed his arrows relentlessly. Cadec, born with lightning reflexes, parried all the arrows.

Yet it was ambiguous to land a finishing blow since Nox had been incapacitated.

After all, close quarters combat seems to be the best approach against Ed Rothtaylor. Even for Cadec, adept at ranged suppression, the need to close in had arisen.

However, a new variable that could reset the battle formation caught Cadec’s eye.

– Hooouuk

Through the clear smoke, fallen Nox is visible. Seemingly unconscious, but…

‘Nox… you sly dog…’

Nox is a seasoned veteran.

He’s not subdued; he’s feigning submission…!

To instill confidence in Ed that only Cadec remains.

Ed has no time to spare for a confirmatory kill on Nox, too pressured by Cadec’s movements.

Cadec quickly realizes Nox’s intention. His task was simple: create an opening for Nox’s strike.

With that thought, Cadec backs away to adjust the distance – only to have his ankle snagged by a ‘puddle’.

“…. What…”

Looking down at his left ankle amidst the downpour, he sees the arrow that had missed and now sticks in the ground. The magic arrow, imbued with the essence of water, wasn’t meant to impale enemies.

The magic arrow, marked with the spirit formula ‘Water Source Manifestation,’ creates a vast puddle on the barren land.

The magically manifested water source becomes another battleground for water spirits.

Using surprise tactics effectively hinges on acting beyond the opponent’s expectations.

A missed arrow is usually dismissed from an enemy’s mind, seldom realizing that it served as a springboard for an ambush.

As one’s gaze shifts upward from the drenched left foot, a sizable puddle is seen sprawling behind Cadec. From within the water, the mid-tier water spirit, Lioness Lacya, lunges and bites into Cadec’s neck.

“Kaaaaaaaack!”

Cadec tumbles over the puddle. Breath becomes a struggle as water invades his throat and stomach, and the weight of the pantheress saps his strength.

‘I can’t… breathe…!’

Flailing in the water, eventually, Cadec loses consciousness.

But the battle isn’t over.

Believed to be entirely unconscious, the injured Nox abruptly rises behind Ed.

Surviving a massive explosion without any magical protection has left his body scorched. He ignores the burns and lunges at Ed with a retrieved dagger.

His speed is blindingly fast, pushing the limits of the naked eye. Just before the knife pierces Ed’s back, Nox is certain of victory.

– Fwaaak!

However, a sudden gust of wind halts Nox’s momentum and flings him over the cliff’s edge.

– Kagang!

The dagger rolls on the ground.

The defensive magic, ‘Blessing of the Gale’ – a high-level wind spirit skill – triggers off to block unseen physical attacks periodically.

Nox, who failed even his final strike, has no means left to fight.

A water-formed pantheress rises from the puddle, standing behind Ed. His bat-winged shoulder piece still aflame, and his horizontally held bow unscratched.

Nox swallows hard at the sight of Ed, slowly turning to face him.

Ed approaches Nox with calm certainty.

Death approaches. As with all deaths, it comes slowly but surely.

Having reached the beaten Nox, Ed remains silent for a while, as if organizing his thoughts with a serene expression.

Nox speaks up slowly.

“Is it too much to ask for a swift end?”

“That’s my line to say.”

Ed replies and looks up at the rain-drenched sky.

“Life has become meaningless. This existence, this struggle… it’s all become trivial.”

Spirits are summoned back to their world, and Ed casually tosses his bow aside.

“My father has decided to kill me. So, it seems that my death is inevitable. He’s a man who can even twist fate.

“That’s…”

“If so, even if I finish you off here, this cycle won’t end. Eventually, in some grand and preposterous way, he’ll seek to kill me. Once he sets his mind to it… he rarely changes his course.”

With those words, Ed picks up the dropped dagger. The dagger’s surface is engraved with a deadly curse – just one that can kill with a mere graze.

“It wasn’t the best life. How pettily and how miserably I’ve managed to survive… you can probably sense it well, Nox. Nobility’s grace? Bloodline’s dignity? I’ve discarded them all, boiling bark for food and feasting on boar carcasses.”

“…”

The heavy clouds overhead mirror Ed Rothtaylor’s life.

“I won’t flee to death as a way to pay for sins. I’ve never been so honorable, and besides, it’s pointless. But for a loyal retainer like you, who devoted a lifetime to the Rothtaylor household… I can give one last gesture.”

Afterward, Nox watches in disbelief as Ed tosses him the cursed dagger.

The cursed dagger rolls to Nox’s feet, its glinting handle seemingly beckoning him to grasp it.

“Revenge is often empty, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely without meaning,” Ed says.

“By bringing closure to your vengeance, you’ll feel like you’ve tied a major knot in your life.”

Ed exposes his arms defenselessly.

“Stab me. If my own clan negates my existence, then I no longer desire to live such a pitiful life.”

In the rainy abyss, Nox, shivering, clenches his hand and stands up, facing Ed who looks down impassively.

Wondering if it’s all a trap, Nox remains in perpetual doubt, but he finds no reason why Ed, seeing him completely defenseless, would set a trap now.

Nox rushes forward with clenched teeth.

Blood flows along the blade’s sharp edge.

Blood also rises to Ed’s lips.

“Cough… Cough…!”

Tasting blood’s acrid flavor.

“Cough… Ha… Ha…”

“This… this is…”

Nox senses a faint laugh behind Ed’s groaning.

He feels a profound fear at Ed’s composure, even in the face of death.

The curse of the dagger marks Ed Rothtaylor’s body. The skin ripples with engraving symbols, and the poison’s agony begins to overwhelm him. Slowly lifting his head to meet Nox’s gaze, Ed says,

“You’ve done it… congratulations.”

Bloodied and smiling, Ed looks the embodiment of terror.

“You finally… avenged yourself.”

With that, Nox, sweating, yanks out the dagger and kicks Ed away.

Staggering, Ed is pushed to the cliff’s brink before plummeting into the distant abyss below.

It’s a moment of finality.

“Aaaaaaah!”

A sharp scream splits the air.

The northern cliffs are one of the most remote places on Acken Island, enabling the two knights to follow and enact their plan without hesitation.

Nox is taken aback, having not expected a student to be in such a place.

Lightning flashes across the sky.

The screaming girl runs across the clearing to the cliff’s edge. Nox has no strength left to stop her.

“Ed, Ed…! Ed!”

The basket she brought rolls, scattering snacks soaked by rain.

She arrives desperate, sits on the ground, and stares down the cliff, but the darkness beyond remains unseen.

“This… this can’t be…!”

Nox tries to speak but his battered body fails to obey.

Instead, his trembling legs give way, and he collapses.

After an indeterminate passage of time.

The girl slowly rises, drenched from head to toe, and turns toward Nox with an unfathomable aura.

“You… you are…”

A rising power fills the atmosphere.

Though the girl’s face remains obscured, Nox intuits she is an insurmountable foe by the mere scale of power emanating from her.

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2 responses to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 91”

  1. Thank you for your hard work!

  2. Hmm. So Ed knows Crebin was given the power to determine causality, and thus let himself be stabbed.

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