The Rebirth of the Hero’s Party’s Archmage chapter 43

Episode 43

“First place in the midterm exams of the 1388th term, Rain Ludwick!”

At the unexpected moment his name was called, Rain unwittingly clenched his fist in the air. He couldn’t fathom the logic behind it—his heart was simply racing uncontrollably.

– Only the valedictorians of <Delaiteen> are granted the chance to encounter Lynn’s corpse.

Was this a step closer?

Had he advanced another step forward?

Although he felt somewhat guilty for snatching this spot from his greener 300-year juniors… he had no other choice.

“When I first heard it from Kat, I was skeptical, but who would have thought you’d become the top cadet.”

Madelia Page approached and fastened a resplendent decoration string made of dragon bone on his school uniform cape, reflecting light brilliantly.

“It’s a symbol of the top cadet. You’d better do your best not to have it taken from you.”

The cadets, who had been dumbfounded, doubting their ears, finally started to find their voices.

“Wow, is this for real?”

“The prodigy himself clinched the top cadet spot?”

“He surpassed all the late-term disciples from the Eight Great Schools!”

Then, the second, third, and fourth place cadets were announced. Second place was Christa Worden, who everyone had assumed would be first, followed by Nora Ledy in third, and Caiden in fourth.

“Hmm♪”

Nora looked at Rain with interest, her eyes shining as if she found him more intriguing than expected, while Caiden was simply staring ahead in silence.

“······.”

On the other hand, Christa watched Rain from the side and eventually shook her head as she bit her lip.

‘I’ll accept this defeat. I’ve already admitted my loss in the labyrinth test.’

The taste of losing the first-place position for the first time was more than just bitter; it was scorching. The taste of blood that filled her mouth was unavoidably harsh.

‘The gap isn’t that wide yet. We both received S grades, so the difference isn’t substantial.’

She had many chances to turn things around. So there was no need to cry—tears should be shed only in joy after achieving first place. She had made that promise to herself.

“That’s right. There’s no need to cry, Christa.”

Amidst the applause, Professor Caroline looked at her student Christa and beamed with a supporting smile.

‘Hard work never betrays your expectations. Someday, it will become the power to twist the tides.’

Thus, perseverance in the face of adversity is truly a valuable asset.

‘Adversity gives birth to tempering, and tempering to persistence. The power of this persistence will be an invaluable asset in achieving your dreams.’

Adversity is not a downhill phase of life but rather the ultimate turning point, Christa. Don’t be disheartened. You are outstanding.

‘Excellence is not inherited, but reborn; you have the potential to be more outstanding than any other cadet.’

So don’t cry.

It’s not time to weep yet.

* * *

It was during lunchtime on that very day when the student council approached. A girl with a refreshing short blonde haircut and playful eyes entered the classroom.

The inscription on her student ring was ‘a dragon with spread wings’. She was a sophomore.

And like Rain, she was wearing a school cape fastened with a dragon bone decor. She was the current top cadet of the second year.

“It’s been a while since we’ve met like this. Wow, impressive, impressive! Our Rain as the top cadet. The fool who used to only stare up at the sky, hahaha.”

She heartily patted Rain’s back as if they had always been close. It wasn’t much of a surprise. That’s just the kind of person she was.

I guess you could say we knew each other.

We met once at a family meeting. Of course, that was before Rain regained his memory.

“And hello to you too, Christa!”

While Christa, who had missed the opportunity for priority support from the student council, waved back with a bitter expression, the other cadets blinked and exchanged glances.

“Th-that’s Sandra Keppel…!”

“The lady of the Western Magic Nobility…”

“A monster who’s never missed first place since her freshman year…”

Sandra, as if accustomed to such murmuring, paid no attention and took Rain by the hand, leading him into the corridor.

Her reputation within the school is remarkable.

Indeed, the magic within her is also noteworthy. Is this the person Professor Kyle mentioned?

“Come on, let’s go. Everyone’s waiting just for you. We’ve got a mountain of work to do.”

“Are you the student council president, senior?”

“Me? President? I’m still a sophomore. I haven’t even been vice president yet. I’m a secretary.”

Sandra waved it off lightly.

Hmm, not this person then?

If it had been, I would have been a tad disappointed. Sandra was impressive, but considering Professor Kyle’s high praise, my expectations were far greater.

“Then, from which family or school does this student council president come?”

At this, Sandra ahead laughed as if she found it amusing. The expression on her face said it was interesting that someone knew nothing about the famous student council president.

“Neither family nor school.”

“?”

“He was just some guy who seemingly learned on the streets. But you know, I can’t see any way to catch up to him.”

“???”

“You don’t know? He’s famous by the nickname ‘Absolute Prince of the Streets’.”

A prince…

Even if it’s just a nickname, that’s a title usually reserved for royals; was it really used for someone who isn’t even nobility?

‘It’s surprising the nobility haven’t rebelled. Is his skill really that exceptional?’

The student council office was located on the fourth floor of the Dragon Wheel Hall, an iconic place with a view over most of the academic buildings.

By the way, the associations that can use the main Dragon Wheel Hall as their office are all deeply rooted ones, and there aren’t even five of them.

The student council’s office was larger than any club Rain had ever explored, with elegantly curved desks, chairs, and lights, and each member possessed exceptional magical power.

“Here is this year’s first-term top cadet, Rain Ludwick. He’s going to be the new face of our student council. Professor Kyle says he’s a candidate for next student council president.”

The current student council comprised four members. Usually, only top and second-place cadets are allowed to join, which was an expected setup.

Will this work?

“Felix Drake, the vice president.”

The boy with a small frame and a kind impression nodded lightly. The seal engraved on his ring was ‘the roaring dragon,’ and he was a third-year cadet I was meeting for the first time.

A third-year…

That alone meant he was a genius, having flawlessly completed two years of schooling at Delaiten, where half the students drop out each year.

“And this one over here is Triwis. She used to handle miscellaneous affairs, but now she’s in charge of accounting.”

A second-year female student, sitting in a corner tackling a mountain of paperwork, nods emotionlessly, like a doll.

“Is all that paperwork part of the job?”

“Paperwork usually piles up at the start of the semester. Now that Rain’s handling miscellaneous affairs, it’ll have to be done, at least until a successor officer arrives.”

What?

A semblance of terror flashed across Rain’s eyes.

“What are the student council’s activity hours like?”

“Every day after class we gather. If there’s nothing urgent, we have a brief meeting and call it a day. But if there’s work, we stay until it’s finished.”

“Hmm, I think I’m far too underqualified to join such an excellent group.”

Time to give up quickly.

Such a heavy labor group is not for me. Then someone sitting by the sunlit window turned their chair around.

“Rain Ludwick, is it?”

The moment I saw that person… Rain’s eyes widened in double shock.

Firstly, because of his appearance.

With fair skin and evenly balanced features, he was not just handsome but more beautiful than many women.

Rain himself was quite the pretty boy, but this creature was on another level altogether.

“And that’s Valensidus, the student council president you were asking about!”

The other shock was… the faint remnants of black magic lingering in that guy’s eyes.

No, it wasn’t just a remnant.

It was an intuition.

In Rin’s era, he had felt this eerie something when facing numerous dark mages – it writhed in that guy’s cold, inorganic eyes.

‘And this guy…’

Even by Rin’s standards, a formidable expert. Even without showing hostility, the aura was sharp, like being pricked by a needle – an owner of finely honed magical power.

“Just take him back. He’s below expectations, unlike what I heard. The Krista Warden that Felix brought last time would be better.”

“What are you saying, president?! The whole school’s in an uproar because he beat five successors of the Eight Great Schools and took the top spot.”

Sandra showed a mediating smile. Perhaps due to their social difference, she didn’t seem to use any honorifics.

“It’s not about talent that I don’t like, it’s his attitude.”

Valensidus pointed at me with his long, pale but heavily calloused fingers.

Does he use a sword?

No, the location of the calluses is different from those arising from sword use. What kind of armament does he use?

“Did you think you’d be pampered upon joining the student council, as if you were still at the manor?”

“Not really.”

“Then why the sudden change of attitude the moment you learned about the miscellaneous affairs’ duties? Answer me honestly.”

Now, what to do with this guy.

Would anyone believe me if I yell, ‘This guy’s a dark mage!’? They’ve trusted him for two years, whereas I’ve just been recognized – that approach is out of the question.

For now, Rain shrugged nonchalantly.

“To be frank, it sounds bothersome. I don’t see why I should take on such responsibilities.”

“For you, serving your fellow students is a no-go? You’ve got the wrong mindset.”

“I’ve heard that a lot before.”

Way before.

Since Rin’s time, that is.

Seeing Rain being so forthright, a strange light flickered in Valensidus’s eyes.

“No, it’s not entirely your fault. Born a noble in a country that blindly pursues aristocracy, it’s understandable you’d think that way.”

“Aristocracy, what?”

“The ones at the top, you see. They shouldn’t just seek to be served. A true leader is someone who encompasses and serves the powerless.”

For some reason, in that moment…

Amidst the spring breeze fluttering the curtains, the smiles of Lister and Friede flitted by.

“Don’t you agree? It’s people like those who deserve to be served in the name of king or noble. You shouldn’t become a noble just because of your lineage.”

“!”

“The student council is a place where you learn this mindset. You’ll see it’s not just about grades; it’s not just an organization that earns students’ respect. Whether you’ll take on the duty or run away is entirely up to you, so I won’t say more.”

Interest piqued beyond the deep skepticism.

What is this guy all about?

All the dark mages Rain had encountered were either power-hungry or had the mindset of madmen.

‘Is he disguising his true nature with sophistry, or is he normal but simply dabbled in dark magic for some reason?’

If it had been before, I would have turned hostile as soon as I learned he was a dark mage…

But considering the rumors that even the innocent young Treyina dabbled in dark magic, I gave the benefit of the doubt.

Meeting Valensidus’s gaze, Rain sighed and scratched the back of his head.

“Seeing how fervently you speak, it seems like you really want me here, against what you say. Fine. Miscellaneous affairs? I’ll take it on.”

It wasn’t the student council activities that intrigued him. Nor was it fighting a dark mage. It was the interest in this Valensidus.

The student council could be a legitimate place to observe and monitor him.

If I’m going to be attacked unexpectedly, I’d rather watch and attack first than be caught off guard.

“But, Mr. President, as you said, I’m inadequate, so there’s a chance I won’t be able to perform the tasks well. Is that alright with you?”

Valensidus’s lips curled with a mocking sneer.

“No need to worry about that. I will correct every single one of your mistakes.”



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