The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 99

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The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide

Student Council President Election (12)

I flicked the chess piece shaped like a horse’s head with the tip of my index finger. It was a knight, symbolizing cavalry. Pressing down on the top of the upright piece, it began to tilt diagonally if pushed with some force. As my fingers kept tilting the piece at the brink of falling, it eventually did fall over with the sound of a click, rolling across the chessboard. And so, the knight fell in battle, a sacrificial pawn for a strategic exchange.

Princess Phoenia, who sat alone by the window manipulating the chess pieces, sighed softly. With a swift movement, she gathered her platinum blonde hair and tied it up only to let it cascade down once again as she let out a deep and exaggerated sigh. She was in a melancholic mood.

The news brought to her by Captain Claire of the Royal Guard was the cause—a report on the death of Ed Rothtaylor. Though the full details were not yet clear, preliminary investigations by the academy suggested that his death was likely an assassination orchestrated by the Rothtaylor family’s own influence.

“How did things end up this way…?”

Ed Rothtaylor and she… perhaps the term ‘a relationship of love and hate’ would be closest to describing it. Yet, even that wasn’t quite accurate. To put it more precisely, it was Princess Phoenia who owed an emotional debt to Ed Rothtaylor.

Upon hearing of his death, she couldn’t help replaying their past encounters in her mind. Their first meeting had not been auspicious, and more often than not, they had been at odds. If she could ask the late Ed Rothtaylor what he thought of her, he would likely recount them as uncomfortably incompatible—with her being a thorn in his side to no small degree.

Yet, Princess Phoenia was no ordinary individual—she was the sublime Third Princess of the Clorel Empire. Comparing her status to that of Ed Rothtaylor, who was reduced to a commoner after his expulsion, would be an understatement, like comparing the heavens to the earth.

For her to be wrought with grief over news of Ed Rothtaylor’s death seemed peculiar—what was their relationship in the end to cause such despondence? Nevertheless, for Princess Phoenia, who always held doubts about the Rothtaylor family… Ed’s escape from that fence had its significance. He was certainly not someone who deserved such a futile death.

Determined to resolve the tangled threads of their relationship, she had canceled most of her pending engagements, even rushing through others, intent on finding time for a proper conversation with him.

But now, that scheduled meeting was tomorrow, and the Rothtaylor family did not wait for Princess Phoenia.

-Crack.

Suddenly, she heard the sound of teeth gritting, startlingly realizing it was her own. Sitting still by the window, not doing anything but fiddling with the chessboard, she looked no better than a defeated hunting dog. What are all the accolades and love from her people worth if she continuously fails to act on her own convictions?

Every time Princess Phoenia attempted to exercise her royal duties, nothing ever seemed to pan out as she intended. The love she received from the public was not because she actively wielded power or lobbied for influence, but simply because she didn’t. Unlike her sisters, who contested the throne and pushed forward with their convictions despite public opinion, Phoenia lacked the drive to assert her own authority.

Political decisions are often double-edged swords. Gaining something invariably means losing something else, and more often than not, such decisions required sacrifices. She pictured Ed Rothtaylor’s figure overlapping with the fallen knight on the chessboard.

Although their initial encounter was far from promising, Ed Rothtaylor had slowly proven his worth. If he were alive, he might have been a remarkable individual, not just a pawn of his family’s influence.

Yet his death seemed all the more meaningless now.

Opportunities had existed for Princess Phoenia—to listen to him, to mend the rift between them, to swallow her pride and deepen their connection. A hectic schedule, petty pride, and repeatedly dashed confidence had barred her from pursuing them.

Realizing this too late, she had frantically cleared her backlog of duties in preparation for their meeting. Still, the cruel edge of fate had been swifter. It was a failure beyond excuse, and she could never free herself from the burden of guilt.

“…”

Turning to her desk, she saw an array of documents, all gathered in her ambition to become the student council president of the Sylvania Academy. It was a feeble power compared to that of the Clorel Royal Family, insignificant as a fingernail, but within the walls of Sylvania, it would have been her own sphere of influence, independent of royal backing.

That was Princess Phoenia’s initial aspiration—not to end as a mere Third Princess, reliant on royal favor, but to carve her own position as president of the Sylvania Academy’s student council.

“I… should not seek to hold power…”

She murmured this realization softly, her eyes losing their spirit.

– Knock, knock.

There was a knock at the door.

She granted permission to enter, and the door slowly creaked open, revealing Captain Claire, accompanied by Tanya Rothtaylor, soaked and muddied, panting heavily.

*

The setting was the central hall of the Ophelius Mansion.

The rain had nearly stopped, and the stars could be glimpsed between the clouds. The situation had somewhat settled. The individuals frozen by Lucy’s time imprisonment spell had been left as they were, as those aware of Ed’s survival needed time to coordinate their story.

The evacuated Ophelius Mansion was now quiet. Although some students might have remained, none were visible. Even the junior maids who had been aiding in the evacuation seemed to have departed completely.

It had been a swift development. Despite the lack of time for proper response, the elite staff had managed a 15-minute student evacuation, likely reporting the incident to the faculty wing.

“Good… everyone is here…”

The living quarters were not as close to the faculty wing as one might expect. If they were just receiving reports of the incident now, it would take at least ten minutes to arrive even if they hurried.

With time in short supply, it was crucial to convey the essentials quickly, but the state of those gathered was far from normal.

First, Clevius was unconscious, propped up against a column with the help of Elvira. Elvira sat beside Clevius, silently observing, clearly exhausted and curious about the circumstances.

Zix was meanwhile apologizing to Yenika in a corner, his demeanor uncharacteristic as he bowed profusely. Yenika’s cheeks were flushed with anger as Zix seemed to have said something inappropriate.

As for Lortelle, they were in another corner, hands covering their face as if caught in their own drama.

“What are you up to, Lortelle?”

“…”

After straightening his coat and recomposing himself, Lortelle smiled widely at Ed.

“I knew you would be okay, Senior Ed.”

“Yeah. Sorry to have worried you like that.”

“No need. Worrying, I mean. If you think about it, it’s obvious Senior Ed wouldn’t die so easily. Remember you taught me that magical device pattern… the Delheim Hourglass that helps preserve life was among them.”

Lortelle added with a grin,

“A merchant must always maintain composure and reason. Despite shocking news, it is essential not to lose one’s cool mind. Right, Zix?”

“…”

Zix, still sweating profusely next to Yenika, failed to respond at first.

“Right, Zix?”

“Uh… umm…”

“Right, Zix?”

“Yes… Lortelle has always been unflappable…”

Picking up on the silent pressure, Zix rubbed his face as he spoke.

“It’s difficult to tell… this bargaining style of a merchant, whether it’s genuine or not…”

Ignoring Zix’s puzzled look, Lortelle calmly continued,

“Do you really think I’d have considered such a thing could kill Senior Ed? There’s such a thing as unnecessary worry. However…”

Lortelle stood up, closing the distance, and then tugged sharply at Ed’s collar, peering closely at his face.

“Rational judgment doesn’t always go as planned.”

With that, Lortelle lowered his head with a broad smile.

“Facing you like this in person, relief sets in… I guess I was worried after all.”

The weight of old concerns seemed to dissolve from the chest. Lortelle let out deep sighs of relief.

“It turns out you did make me worry, Senior Ed. And as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, it seems only right that you compensate me for this anxiety.”

“What?”

Just as Lortelle was about to embrace him in the next moment, Ed quickly…

The moment I raised my head, there was a girl who squeezed through the crowd and pushed her way in.

Seeing Lortelle genuinely surprised was a rare occurrence indeed. She was always composed, most of her surprise nothing more than a facade.

But this time, it was real. She was unmistakably flustered, if only momentarily.

Lucy pushed Lortelle away with a whoosh and thrust her arms forward, assuming a defensive stance.

Her face full of discontent, she seemed to shout, “Don’t come any closer!”—Lortelle was left momentarily dumbfounded.

Lucy Mayrill, after all, is the type of person who always looks half-asleep, indifferent to the actions of others as she casually yawns.

Yet here she was, desperately trying to keep Ed at bay, and a sense of unease began to awaken in the depths of Lortelle’s heart.

Lucy, puffing out her cheeks while waving her arms about, was clearly a girl acting out of jealousy, her body reacting before her mind.

She glared at Lortelle with an intensity like she was about to devour her. But when her rear inadvertently brushed against Ed’s body, she jolted from the unexpected contact as if shocked by electricity, quickly retreating.

She was the girl who would cling to Ed whenever she could, chewing on jerky or sometimes even found sleeping on his stomach from sheer boredom. Now, blushing red over such trivial skin contact, her actions seemed unnaturally contrary to her usual demeanor.

“…”

Not only Lortelle but also Yenika, who was continuously receiving apologies from Zix, felt the oddity of the situation.

Lucy Mayrill didn’t usually draw much attention from Yenika and Lortelle because of her aloof, ethereal demeanor—almost as if she existed on a higher plane, giving off an otherworldly vibe.

Although wielding overwhelming magic that commanded everyone’s awe, Lucy herself lacked any significant pride or drive in her actions, resembling more of a background character than a person.

Could such a girl truly develop affection for someone, nurse feelings of love, and become self-conscious? It seemed so far from reality that both Yenika and Lortelle had unconsciously set aside any such notions about Lucy.

However, Lortelle, ever cautious and considering even the smallest of possibilities, was conscious of this potential—though she did not expect it to manifest so abruptly in reality.

“Lu… Lucy… you…”

Before Yenika could say anything, Ed nonchalantly placed his hand atop Lucy’s head.

Then, as if it was the most natural thing, he pulled her to his side, softly pressing her against his shoulder to soothe her.

To Ed, this level of contact was nothing extraordinary.

Having grown accustomed to Lucy’s clingy behavior, he didn’t consider a slight shoulder pull or a snug side hug as anything particularly noteworthy.

Yet, to Lucy at that moment, Ed’s touch was a catastrophe. Unfortunately, she had just crossed a pivotal point in her perception of Ed Rothtaylor.

Her awareness of Ed had been completely reconstructed, prompting her to consider the intricacies of male-female dynamics.

But this was strictly Lucy’s own predicament.

For Ed, treating Lucy so casually was perfectly natural.

“—!”

Unable to utter a word, Lucy’s face flushed with heat as if she was about to burst, regretting becoming so suddenly conscious of such intimate gestures.

However, one’s reaction must inevitably change with their perspective and position—that’s human nature.

“Why are you like this, Lucy? Lortelle is genuinely concerned, there’s no need to be so suspicious. I understand you’re on edge because your emotions have just settled down, but…”

As Ed spoke, heedless of Lucy’s inner turmoil and only warning her against being too cautious around Lortelle…

Lucy paid no attention to his words. She simply sat, pulling her witch’s hat over her eyes, regaining her composure.

– Thud.

It was Yenika who pulled Lucy away, distancing her from Ed.

“You’re too close…!”

Surely, such a reaction was absurd.

Yenika had frequently visited Ed’s camp and seen Lucy and Ed cozied up together numerous times. Yet, she had never felt any sense of urgency due to Lucy’s indifferent attitude—until now, when Lucy Mayrill seemed unmistakably peculiar.

Thus, led by her intuition as a girl, she had acted.

Embraced in Yenika’s arms, Lucy finally snapped to her senses.

With a sharp shrill, she escaped Yenika’s embrace and confronted them assertively. Lortelle’s gaze upon her had turned cold.

Silence enveloped the space between Yenika, Lortelle, and Lucy in the mansion’s entrance hall.

“This is…!”

Zix, who had been watching them with arms crossed, gulped down his saliva. The scene before him was even more captivating than the gladiatorial matches they used to watch together in the Islan mansion. And it wasn’t from a distant seat but a front-row view. Just as Zix was about to settle into his spectator’s spot with a “Hooh”—

“Um~.”

Elvira, who had been sitting quietly beside the fainted Clevius, broke the silence.

“Aren’t we running out of time?”

Indeed, the group had no time to waste.

Despite Ed having survived, they could not yet announce this fact. They briefly explained the situational urgency:

They had to apologize to Clevius and Elvira,

find the runaway Tanya,

prepare their testimonies for questioning by the academy officials,

and once all was settled, Ed had to leave immediately.

Zix slapped his knee in disappointment, but he knew Elvira was right.

“That’s right. We should quickly proceed with the conversation first, seniors.”

*

“Ah!”

Clevius opened his eyes to find himself at the edge of the Ophelius Mansion’s entrance.

His body still ached from the beating he received from Lucy. It seemed that he had been half-healed already—less of a medical treatment and more of a direct magical intervention.

Propping himself up, he took in his surroundings and realized Elvira was sitting quietly behind him.

“What…! What happened…!”

He felt his body’s wounds less severe and they had been attended to. Not by medicine or first aid supplies, but by direct magical healing.

Fumbling with his shoulder, he found some of Elvira’s long orange curls sticking to him.

The situation suggested that he had spent quite some time lying with his head in Elvira’s lap.

“What are you making such a fuss for, you silly Clevius?”

“What’s going on? Am I… dead? Well, with that mess I made, it wouldn’t be surprising if I died stupidly…!”

“Stop being so noisy, already. Just sit over there. I’ve heard everything, so I’ll fill you in on the story.”

The rain had stopped completely. Under the night sky, a large, round moon claimed the heavens.

Clouds had passed, leaving the sky void and clear, stars scattered across it like salt. Illuminated by their light, Clevius and Elvira sat quietly under the garden tree, looking up.

“You’re just going to have to testify that you stopped Lucy.”

“What? Me? How could I have possibly stopped that monster!”

“Stop complaining. Everyone agreed to stick to that story, and I’ll explain everything later…”

Elvira firmly gripped Clevius’s hair, eliciting a painful squirm from him as she pulled him back down onto her lap.

“Just rest for now.”

“But what are you doing…! Ah…”

Complaining that the situation was not comfortable, Clevius tried to get up despite his injuries. Elvira, however, pushed his nose down firmly.

It was unexpected when Lucy sincerely bowed her head in apology for smashing the magical apparatus and beating up Clevius. She was the one who provided him with emergency treatment.

In addition, she had somehow secured a promissory note from the Elte Trading Company for compensation and confidentiality, claiming they were short on cash now but would generously compensate later—Lortelle even stood as guarantor for this deal, which surprised Elvira.

As for the personal circumstances of Ed Rothtaylor, who was hunted by his family, it wasn’t incomprehensible to her.

Elvira considered explaining all the intricate details, but decided that making sure Clevius was comfortable was the more immediate concern.

After a few struggles, Clevius gave up against Elvira’s insistent hands and lay still.

In the ensuing silence, Clevius firmly pressed his hands against his eyes.

“Suddenly it strikes me… just starting over makes me think all this is pointless…”

Under the now-clear sky, he looked up from Elvira’s lap, biting his teeth as he spoke.

“Life really is… a bitch.”

Clevius knew this all too well, experientially.

Complaining before Elvira would only result in being scolded—as usual—to stop whining.

However, Elvira merely smirked and continued to gaze up at the night sky with him.

Elvira’s life hadn’t been smooth sailing either. As the troublesome Anis girl constantly meddled with by her sisters, a dropout from the Alchemy Society, and now the head of Sylvania Alchemy Department.

She considered recounting her troubles but decided it would seem petty.

So, she just quietly said,

“You’re right, Clevius.”

Before the academy officials arrived, the two lay looking up at the stars for some time.

The formerly looming clouds were nowhere in sight, leaving a clear sky that filled their view.

The vast starry sea was far away, but the brilliance of its light was clear and certain to their eyes.

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One response to “The Extra’s Academy Survival Guide Chapter 99”

  1. Nice we got a side character ship. Always nice to see some of those.

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