The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 98

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Student Council Election Battle (11)

Zix Effelstein always lived by his instincts. In the wild world where he could have died at any moment, it was not realistic or rational judgment, but primitive and instinctive intuition that had kept him alive. This was in stark contrast to Lortelle, who had always lived within an orderly system, making rational decisions her whole life. That’s why he often found himself at odds with her.

He had lived through experiences that the flowers of the greenhouse could hardly imagine. Hiding and running from the predators of the prairies was almost a daily routine for him; feeling the threat of death every day was nothing special. Therefore, Zix didn’t easily get scared or feel panic.

But now, he couldn’t help but swallow his dry saliva.

An impending sense of crisis that he hadn’t felt in a long time; fear that made his spine chill and breath quicken was creeping up on him.

“Ugh… I’m going to catch a cold at this rate.”

Yenika Faelover’s figure speedily approaching through the rain.

And the chilling silence of Lortelle blocking the exit.

Zix Effelstein had an accurate grasp of Ed Rothtaylor’s relationships with people. Consequently, he could quickly understand situations. He knew that Lortelle was already half out of her mind due to the news of Ed’s death.

Though he felt uneasy for not knowing her malicious intentions, in a one-on-one fight, Zix would never be inferior to Lortelle. However, Yenika Faelover intervening was a variable that even Zix found chilling.

After all, Ed Rothtaylor must have saved a nation in his past life, for he was a man bizarrely blessed with women. Having many women following him was a testament to his abilities. In the wild world, it was not rare for a strong male to have several females. Whatever this meant in the civilized world, though, was a complex issue.

Regardless, the current situation was an unfavorable variable.

More than anything, Yenika Faelover… was among those devoted to Ed.

With Lortelle already consumed by cold fury, emotional Yenika Faelover couldn’t have been taking it well.

At least in Zix’s mind, there was no way Yenika could stay silent after hearing of Ed’s death.

Thus…

“I’ve been looking for you, Tanya.”

At those words from Yenika… he had no choice but to gulp down saliva.

Zix looked at Tanya with a side-eye without relaxing his grip on the hilt of his sword.

Tanya, trembling, was already cornered against the wall.

There was something bone-chillingly frightening about the cold fury in Lortelle.

At least Yenika seemed somewhat collected, contrary to expectations.

Nonetheless, Tanya appeared to be terror-stricken by something unpleasant in her memory… tears brimming in her eyes.

Zix imagined how terrified he would be in Tanya’s place. It would feel like walking a tightrope above a chasm.

Considering taking Tanya’s side in this situation seemed reckless, but despite that, Zix decided to trust his instincts. Having observed Ed and Tanya, he had a growing conviction that Tanya wasn’t directly responsible for Ed’s murder.

Facing both Yenika and Lortelle was too much even for Zix.

He was a master of duels. His skills, experience, and innate fighting instincts were almost unmatched at the academy.

But even he had weaknesses. His almost prophetic ability to anticipate and reflexes, his battle sense, all became ineffective in the face of overwhelming firepower.

If the opponent was a ‘duel subject’ using swordsmanship and magic, Zix wouldn’t lose, but against Yenika, who commanded legions of spirits with mass and firepower, the match-up was simply unfavorable.

“I have something to say about Ed─”

So, when Yenika started the conversation, he reluctantly took the last resort he wanted to avoid.

– Kwaang!

Zix’s magic, quick as light, shattered a section of the corridor’s wall. He didn’t want to cause property damage, but in a situation as dire as this, he had no choice.

“Woaaaa?!”

“Ugh!”

Yenika and Lortelle stumbled in the sudden gust of wind and dust.

Seizing the moment, Zix wrapped his arm around Tanya’s waist and jumped through the broken outer wall.

The rain had almost stopped.

The remaining drizzle and the wind striking his entire body gave Tanya another surge of fear.

– Thud!

Even wrapped in wind magic, the impact of the landing wasn’t completely cushioned.

After landing near the back door and steadying themselves, Zix put Tanya down. If they took the path behind Ophelius Hall and headed towards the west living area, they could find a place to hide.

Zix straightened up and looked back at Ophelius Hall.

He couldn’t help but take a deep breath.

A giant fire lizard clung to the outer wall, surrounded by numerous fluid spirits. There was also a wolf the size of a house peeking through the window, and it was easy to count the number of subordinate spirits in the hundreds.

Controlling that many spirits at once was always an impressive sight. The spirits all looked like they were searching for someone.

Undoubtedly, they were looking for Tanya Rothtaylor.

She too seemed to have fully realized this. The trembling of her teeth intensified.

“Pull yourself together, Tanya Rothtaylor.”

Zix wiped the rainwater from his face several times and then spread his robe, draping it over Tanya.

“Follow this path behind and run. When you reach a fork, head west. Keep running like mad and you’ll reach the living area.

Once inside, hide in the town. The more complicated it is, the harder it is to find you. If you think you’ve shaken them off, find somewhere to ask for help. You’re the heir to the Rothtaylor family, so it would be ideal to seek out someone from the royal power or a familiar noble family.

Being indebted to the heir of the Rothtaylor house could potentially give one political grounds or social standing. Tanya’s life was in itself a good bargaining chip.

“But what will you do, Senior Zix…?”

“I’ll hold them off as long as I can so they can’t pursue you. It’s impossible to subdue Yenika or Lortelle, but… I should be able to fend them off long enough and then escape on my own.”

“Why go so far…?”

“If you weren’t Ed’s sister, I wouldn’t have gone this far. Consider yourself lucky.”

Zix pulled out a magical tool from his pocket. It was a slate with four red orbs embedded in it.

‘Hellgo’s Winged Shoes’, a device that temporarily increased agility.

Using a leather strap, Zix tied the magic tool around Tanya’s waist. Then, grabbing her shoulder, he spun her around and pushed her back firmly.

Pushed by the force, Tanya ran a few steps before stopping and looking back.

Zix had already lost interest in her, instead focusing on Ophelius Hall, filled with spirits.

Biting her lip, Tanya closed her eyes and sprinted into the path.

“Sigh…”

Zix drew a deep breath and drew his sword, checking the flow of magic with his other hand.

Yenika’s pursuit was slower than expected. Since the spirits had already detected the trail, pursuing them shouldn’t be that difficult… the reason was unclear.

Perhaps, he guessed, she was conversing with Lortelle.

It’s not the time for banter when your target has just escaped in front of you. They weren’t known to get along in the first place.

However, Zix shook his head. What did it matter if they were rivals now? Both were consumed with the grief of vengeance.

Dealing with both of them wasn’t an easy task, but buying enough time for Tanya to escape and then making his own escape was entirely possible.

Nevertheless, knowing this didn’t stop the cold sweat.

One spirit mage revealed herself between the broken walls.

She was completely drenched, with a few strands of hair sticking to her face, looking utterly pitiful.

As she mounted a huge water-hawk, the countless fluid spirits surrounding her descended to the ground behind her.

The scene was like the arrival of a queen, holding a long oak stick at an angle and descending to the ground amidst her spirits.

Zix took his battle stance and stared straight at her as she landed lightly on the stone pavement.

Facing her, Zix clenched his teeth and shouted.

“You won’t listen now, no matter what I say, will you, Senior Yenika. I fully understand that sentiment.”

Straightening his sword, Zix spoke with determination.

“However, convictions vary among people, and although all evidence may point to that girl as the culprit, I have decided to follow my intuition. If you don’t understand, there’s nothing I can do! That’s… my way of life…!! I’ve lived like that my whole life!”

But Zix did understand Yenika’s feelings. He, too, had a beloved, Elka Islan.

So Zix shouted with all sincerity, not casually dismissing her pain.

“I know what it’s like to love someone, too. Just the thought of the pain if I lost her is unbearable… I fully understand.

If I lost her, I’d hate the whole world, the years lived would seem futile, and if given a chance for revenge, I’d burn with the flames of fury. It’s inevitable. Because it’s someone you love! You loved Ed more than anyone…!”

“What… what…”

Tragically, there was no way for Zix to realize he was the only one being so earnest.

His position left no choice; it was a sad predicament indeed.

Considering Yenika’s perspective, who had figured out the full story, there was nothing that could flare her face redder than this narrative.

“Ed’s already passed away; what’s the use of choosing my words? I understand. How could I not understand how earnest and longing Yenika’s feelings for Ed were… why wouldn’t I understand…!!”

“Ah… Ah, no…! Don’t talk so loudly, so thunderously…!!!”

“The heartache might not easily heal… but love itself is valuable. Even if it’s lost love, the passionate heart you held for Ed will remain…!”

“Screaming in absolute belief that she will become a part of Senior Yenika!”

-Boom! Crash!

The fire spirit’s flames burst forth, and Zix was hit by the unexpected attack, falling to the ground.

Even the most brutally evil forces would wait during moments of transformation or serious dialogue…

It was never anticipated that the kind-hearted Yenika, in the midst of a heartfelt story, would be interrupted by such a sudden attack.

If you were to speak for Yenika, she was already shaking in anger, her cheeks red and tears forming in her eyes, as she prodded Zix repeatedly with her staff.

“Ed isn’t dead! Ed is not dead! So please, just stop…!”

*

Sniffing the air, one could catch the comforting scent of fresh grass, a smell that would occasionally waft from the stack of hay in the corner of the cabin.

Lucy didn’t particularly dislike this fresh aroma and would roll around in the hay as she pleased.

However, the maids at Ophelius manor, insisting on maintaining a sense of class, would often spritz perfume on Lucy to mask the smell of the grass.

Sometimes, while being carried in the arms of the maids, she would catch the delightful fragrance of freesia flowers, a luxury product pleasing even to Lucy’s indifferent nose. Yet, she couldn’t help thinking it unnecessary to go to such lengths to remove the scent of grass from her body.

When she mentioned this, the maids had quite an answer for her.

They claimed that with enough exposure, fragrances tend to settle on the body and transform into one’s personal scent.

The body of a person who frequently smokes would always carry the heavy aroma of tobacco, and a girl who grew up playing in peach orchards would always have the sweet scent of peaches flowing through her hair. Lucy tilted her head, but the maids were quite serious.

They emphasized the importance of ‘immediate response.’

Once a scent has settled on the body, it’s quite difficult to alter it later.

One should start addressing it just as the scent begins to take hold, allowing for gradual changes to personal scent.

“I’ve got a lot to do. First off, I need to gather everyone involved and explain things all at once. Time is of the essence… the academy’s people will be barging in soon…”

As I tried to understand why such a useless memory had come to mind, Ed spoke up, wiping his wet face.

It wasn’t anything grand, but just the sound of Ed’s deep voice was enough to make Lucy feel like her spine was on fire.

Unable to look him in the face, she pressed her hat down hard, feeling an overwhelming sense of unease in her overflowing heart. This feeling was new to her, hence, a natural reaction.

“There’s a lot that’s happened… I need to explain my situation… Not too much, to avoid complications, but… hmm… I will let Clevius and Elvira know… Tanya is being sought out by Yenika… Yeah, let’s first get out of this rain and head inside.”

“Uh…”

Finally managing to voice a question, Lucy asked tentatively.

“What… did you say?”

“So you weren’t listening. Anyway, I’ve got my own reasons, so I’ll explain and we’ll go together. Let’s gather and talk. And we need to agree on what we’re going to say to deal with the aftermath… You’re up against the disciplinary committee. And… Clevius and Elvira got hurt pretty badly too, so you should apologize.”

“Ap… apologize?”

“Yes, apologize. They got injured trying to stop you. It looks like Elvira lost almost all of her equipment for magical engineering, and Clevius bled like a fountain.”

“But… that’s… it’s not like I…”

Lucy wasn’t without a response.

Half out of her mind, Lucy had tried to suppress those blocking her path as gently as possible.

Certainly, to those she confronted, even this may have felt harsh due to Lucy’s overwhelming magical power… Nonetheless, there was no intention to harm Elvira and Clevius to such an extent.

Lucy might not have been too thoughtful, but Elvira brought all her magical engineering tools and set them off wildly, and Clevius even stabbed himself in the pursuit of Sword Blood Magic.

Lucy was merely responding to their attack… but that was merely Lucy’s perspective.

“No matter what anyone says, the fact that you’re responsible for their injuries doesn’t change. I didn’t mean to either, but there’s some fault involved, so I’ll explain what happened with you. Let’s go together later.”

“No matter how…”

Trying to object, Lucy found her voice receding.

Sighing at the sight of Ed’s face brought the realization. His reaction was not significant or unusual; it was all too common for Ed. But to Lucy, it felt like thunder striking her heart.

She felt despised and treated as pitiable by Ed Rothtaylor, and his disappointment burned her.

Suddenly, as such thoughts flashed through her mind, Lucy’s back felt like it was aflame.

Lucy Mayrill, who would brazenly lie down anywhere, breathing as softly as a feather, sleeping through the afternoon, was not supposed to care about others’ opinions or judgments.

But choked by just one expression from Ed, she blurted out her response in a rush.

“Okay, I’ll… apologize.”

“Oh, that’s wise.”

Despite being a girl with formidable magical powers that could penetrate mountains and whose spells made even the most senior professors marvel, it was mystifying how a few words from Ed Rothtaylor held such significance.

If Lucy came to the conclusion that these lingering emotions indeed stemmed from love, the question of why she developed such feelings in the first place nested in her mind like coiling smoke.

She would come to regret recalling the past, as it incapacitated her thinking with a heart pounding like a hammer.

Lucy had spent quite a lot of time with Ed. Initially, she wasn’t wholly aware of it since Ed’s camp was simply a spot for her afternoon naps.

To her, Ed Rothtaylor was like a handyman roaming around the camp, so there seemed to be no reason for emotional ties.

However, reflecting on her behavior over the past year, sneaking into Ed’s cabin as if it were her home, napping on the bed he slept in, clinging to him while reading, stretching out on his lap, swinging her feet while carried to the wooden shelter, sitting against each other feeling the campfire’s warmth, watching the starry sky, or having meals together by the fire… If the relationship had been between old mage Gluckt and young Lucy, its meaning would change completely.

An old teacher and his young student, a grandfather and his granddaughter, a caretaker and his ward. Any such comparison might make sense. But if she hadn’t felt any aversion or distance from such daily interactions, then she had gravely erred.

When this dynamic involved Ed, and when translated into a male-female relationship, blood rushed to Lucy’s head.

The heat rising in her seemed to strike her brain, but there was nothing she could do about it now. The future may be mutable, but the immutable past is the world’s law.

They say the essence of responding to an acquired scent lies in the timely intervention.

But lax and insensible Lucy could never have had the presence of mind to respond in such a timely manner.

Perhaps a scent becomes embedded without one’s awareness, so much so that, regrettably, affections do as well. Lucy was… already too far gone.

Without knowing when the change in her sentiments began, Ed’s distinctive earthy aroma had already wafted through her hair, collar, and hat.

Regardless of her late realization of this emotional anomaly, it was now impossible to turn it around, having missed all golden opportunities for an immediate response, losing the most vital period of intervention.

Then, the remaining approach lay in finding a way to control the inferno that had begun to blister her heart over time.

“Apparently, you don’t look hurt, which makes sense. Anyway, we don’t have time, let’s go inside.”

Distracted again, her breath hitched at the rush of emotions tumbling forward, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

“No, it’s… uh…”

“Just as well. Yenika’s had a hard time looking for Tanya. Now that we owe her, we’d better wrap things up quickly and offer some help.”

When the name Yenika Faelover was mentioned, Lucy’s actions became incomprehensible even to her.

“??”

Ed, who had turned hastily to head towards Ophelius, found his sleeve fiercely gripped and pulled.

“…??”

Even Lucy herself was taken aback by her own actions.

Only then did the girl begin to realize her possessiveness.

“Do… Do we have to go right now?”

An already difficult conversation.

*

Heaving breaths, Tanya stumbled through the woods and tripped over a rock, taking a harsh fall. She tumbled in the mud and finally got herself together.

“If I keep going this way… I’ll reach the dormitory…”

Tears welling up as she shook off the mud, Tanya stood up, took a deep breath, and moved her legs again.

“First… I must find help… somewhere connected to the Rothtaylor household…”

Survival was the immediate concern.

The first place that came to her mind was… the royal lodging. The Rothtaylor household has a deep connection to the royal family, having produced many prominent court officials, starting with household head Crebin Rothtaylor, a close confidant of Emperor Clorel.

Perhaps the imperial family would help. Even though they wouldn’t let the debt stand, right now there was nowhere better to turn to.

“First… I have to keep moving… Can’t rest… surely… they are chasing me… I can’t be caught, not really…”

It’s sadly ironic, but… nobody was actually chasing Tanya…

“And… I have to clear the charges of murder against my brother… I must… find out the truth… Heave… Heave…!”

Yet tragically… she has already been cleared of the murder charge…!

“I can’t… be caught no matter what…”

But cornered Tanya could not realize this.

In the end, there was only one thing that could be said to help her.

Just be strong… Tanya Rothtaylor…

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