Chapter 4: Academy Life (1)
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.
Life at Rowan Military Academy began for the new cadets.
The first-year cadets were divided into four classes from A to D based on their examination scores. Magic Arts was the only course where all thirty-two cadets would convene. Each class had only eight people, and Mahoro quickly learned everyone’s faces and names.
The curriculum was generally split into three courses: General Education, Military Arts, and Magic Arts. But for Magic Arts, the practical component would be saved for later in the course. They would first learn the mechanics behind magic and the natural history of the world, for they were the necessary fundamentals for the practice of magic. Zach desperately wished to use magic, but the cadets would have to wait a while longer before they were given Magic tutorial.
There were very few cadets who had learned magic from their families even if they did have magic conduits, and most were experiencing magic for the first time, for the personal use of magic was prohibited. The magic they would learn here was all in the name of protecting the kingdom.
General Education was mainly an extension of the subjects that Mahoro had been taught, which did not concern him too greatly; however, on the other hand, Military Arts was a concerning problem for him. Lessons included the assembly and disassembly of firearms, the proper use of weapons and arms, marksmanship, physical combat, swordsmanship, and when they advanced as cadets, they would also learn military tactics. This was the first time Mahoro would hold a gun, and he did not think he would be able to shoot it in his lifetime. Yes, it was a military school, and it was a given that he would have to learn these subjects, but it took all of Mahoro’s effort just to keep up with these activities that were wholly unfamiliar to him.
“Mahoro, it appears that you have a leftover part.”
Today, the cadets had to assemble their firearms at the start of a signal, but for some reason at the end, Mahoro had one leftover part, and the entire class laughed at him. The instructor looked at him with a face that said Good grief. Mahoro had only ever learned under a private tutor, so he had never realised this, but apparently he was a very poor student. Only after coming to a school, an institution where many of his own age gathered, did he learn where he stood in relation to the world at large.
“Ahhh, everyone’s so advanced here,” Zach complained as they ate in the dining hall, which was located in the Main Building on the ground floor of South Hall. Many cadets gathered there chattering loudly. Generally for lunch, they would either eat here or at the mess hall of the Accommodation Blocks. The meals were free, and Mahoro would choose what to eat based on his mood that day. He had never had the experience where he was allowed to choose his meals based on his own preferences, and he found mealtimes to be very enjoyable indeed.
It had only been their third day at the Academy, but Mahoro found the lessons to be too advanced for him, and every day was a struggle to keep up. Perhaps it was attributed to the high population of nobles here, but Mahoro was distraught watching how well the other cadets performed, even in Class D.
Their time from nine in the morning until three in afternoon was dedicated fully to lecture and tutorial, and after that was free time for clubs and extracurricular activities.
Mahoro sat drinking his orange juice, and when he heard a joyous commotion from across the room, he turned to look without thinking. Entering the dining hall was a small group of cadets with Noah at the centre. He could tell that Noah had noticed him from afar too. They had passed each other several times in the hallways and the mess hall since their first encounter, and every time Noah would fix him with a probing stare, and Mahoro would start shaking.
Zach noticed Noah’s group sitting nearby, and he whispered in Mahoro’s ear, “Ohhh~ Look, it’s two of the Platinum Three. Lord Noah is beautiful today as usual.”
Sitting at the table with Noah was a young man with sandy brown hair about Noah’s height and the cadet named Theo whom he had met the other day. Theo acted as if he was Noah’s manservant, taking care of his every need.
“The Platinum Three…?”
Mahoro frowned, and Zach grinned meaningfully.
“I told you before, right? They’re the elite cadets who get their own rooms. And those are two of them. There’s a really fit bloke with sandy brown hair next to Lord Noah, see? That’s Lord Oscar, and he’s a noble from the House of Rutherford. The other person is Theo. Everyone says that he’s Lord Noah’s valet. Ahhh, Lord Noah is so handsome today.”
Mahoro took a quick glimpse at the three. Oscar was a handsome man with a brightness to his good looks and a well-proportioned figure. Even from afar, Mahoro could see that he was brimming with confidence.
Noah abruptly turned to look in his direction, and when their eyes met, Mahoro hastily looked away. He wasn’t looking at Noah by any means, and he hadn’t approached him either, but Mahoro was worried that perhaps he had offended Noah in some way.
“Say, why did Lord Noah single you out after the entrance ceremony? Was it, you know, love at first sight? You do look very cute, Mahoro.” Zach peered at Mahoro with glistening eyes and poked him with his elbow.
Noah had dragged Mahoro away in front of everyone, and there were many people who wanted to know the reason for it. Zach had kept asking him about it, but Mahoro was at a complete loss for how to answer him. Mahoro was the one who wanted to know why he was singled out.
“He said that he suspected me of hiding a magic stone… Anyway, he was really scary. He kept insulting me and looked at me like I was an insect.”
There was nothing else he could say about it, and Mahoro slumped his shoulders. But just because Noah had his suspicions, why did he have to harass him like that? Mahoro couldn’t comprehend it.
“Anyway, did you pick your extracurricular activity?” Mahoro tried his best to not let Noah bother him and stuffed his mouth with a sandwich. He wanted to forget the fact that an older cadet had already targeted him from the first day.
Zach’s eyes sparkled. “Oh, the school clubs~”
Cadets were given two hours after their lectures from 3 to 5 o’clock for clubs and extracurricular activities, and new cadets were required to join one before the winter holiday.
“Want to join the Magic Society?” Mahoro asked him hopefully. The Magic Society was the school club that Siegfried had joined. Zach had come to this school because he had wanted to learn magic; he would likely join it with him. And with Zach there, Mahoro would likely obtain much better information than he would otherwise.
“Ohhh, the Magic Society, hmm? …We can’t.” Zach smiled wryly.
“Huh? Why not?”
“Well that’s ’cause it’s suspended right now,” Zach said, sounding disappointed, and Mahoro was stunned speechless. Suspended—?
“I wanted to join too, so I asked an instructor about it. But half a year ago some kind of trouble happened, and now the club is suspended. So you wanted to join too, Mahoro?”
Mahoro was frozen from his shock. This was terrible news. He had planned to join the club to acquaint himself with some of the older cadets there, hoping to get some information about Siegfried from them. With this plan ruined, Mahoro abandoned his hope for his mission.
“I was thinking of joining the Grimoire Research Society. What do you think, Mahoro? …Mahoro?”
Zach kindly invited Mahoro to join another club with him, but Mahoro wasn’t listening at all. He had to investigate Siegfried’s time at the Academy, but he lost one of his promising leads. The cadets in Siegfried’s year were all dispatched to active field training, and they weren’t at the Academy. What should he do now?
Mahoro finished his lunch, and after telling Zach that he had business to take care of, he headed over to Central Hall of the Main Building. On the second floor, next to the clock tower mechanical room, was the clubroom for the Magic Society. Just as he had heard, there was a notice plastered on the door that said Keep Out. Mahoro was unwilling to give up, if only he could get inside and investigate, and he tried opening the locked door.
Mahoro jumped in fright at the disgruntled-sounding voice. When he turned around, he saw Noah and Oscar. Theo wasn’t around, and Mahoro worried that Noah might harass him again. Noah glanced at the door with the notice posted on it.
“Relax. I’m sorry about last time. I hate bullying the weak. I prefer to keep them out of my sight.”
Noah very likely saw that Mahoro was scared that he would accuse him of something again, and he softened his voice as he approached him. Mahoro wondered if he had imagined things, but did Noah just insult him again…?
“Oh… It’s all right.”
The apology felt anticlimactic, but Mahoro let it go. Noah crossed his arms and looked down at Mahoro.
“But still… There’s something very strange about you…”
Noah looked like he was still bothered by something and stared hard at Mahoro. Oscar walked up next to Noah, looking amused.
“Oh, what’s this? Are you the little outsider that Noah’s been preoccupied with? What’s your name?”
Oscar held his hand out towards Mahoro with a smile. He seemed to have a cheerful disposition.
“Come to think of it, I haven’t heard it either. Pipsqueak, what’s your name?” Noah asked magnanimously.
He replied meekly, “I’m Mahoro.”
“Don’t call him ‘pipsqueak.’ He’s so tiny and cute. I’m really very interested~ So you’re called Mahoro. I’m Oscar Rutherford. I’m a good friend of his.”
Oscar was just as tall as Noah, with a lean muscular build and soft sandy brown hair that ran to his shoulders. He looked at Mahoro with friendly blue eyes.
Noah placed his hand on the door with the notice and asked, “Don’t tell me that you’re interested in this club?”
“Oh, do you want to join?” Oscar asked in a kind voice.
“Y-Yes! I want to join!” Mahoro said, straightening his posture, and Oscar gave a few pats to his head.
“Oh, really? Did you hear that, Prez?” he asked Noah.
When Mahoro looked over at Noah, Noah stated curtly, “I’m the club president.”
So that meant that Noah was in the same club as Siegfried. So did Noah know him?
“I’m also in the club. It’s suspended right now, but it should reopen next month.” Oscar smiled as he ruffled Mahoro’s hair. “You’re so tiny, I just want to play with you. You don’t look eighteen at all. You look maybe fifteen at most.”
“Don’t you think he’s like a hamster?”
At Noah’s and Oscar’s teasing, Mahoro stepped back and smoothed down his ruffled hair. He was used to people calling him daft and muddled, but he was unhappy about being called a hamster.
Mahoro kept his hand over his head and asked, “So I can join next month then!?”
Noah smirked. “The Commandant did give us permission for it. But I’ll warn you, we get a lot of applicants who want to join our club, but we can’t just let anyone in. How will you fare, hmm? We have a height requirement, you know. You have to be at least 170 centimetres1 tall to join,” he said with an affected air.
Mahoro despaired as his face fell. He couldn’t all of a sudden grow 20 centimetres.2 It would be hopeless.
“Noah, don’t tease him. The poor thing. There’s no requirement like that to join,” Oscar said, perhaps taking pity on him.
His relief was only momentary, and Mahoro worried about the selection process. But apparently there were no concrete selection criteria—the club members would discuss the applicants among themselves and decide which cadets to admit into the club. If he failed to get in, he wouldn’t be able to get information from them about Siegfried.
Mahoro made the decision to ask the two of them a question. “Um… Do you perhaps know of Lord Sieg?”
The moment they heard Sieg’s name, their amused faces instantly turned stiff.
“Sieg…? You mean Siegfried Baldwin? What about him?” Noah’s eyes turned icy, and he interrogated Mahoro in return. Mahoro didn’t think that just saying Siegfried’s name would elicit such a response, and he was taken aback.
“Um… I’m a distant relative of Lord Sieg,” Mahoro answered nervously.
Noah and Oscar exchanged looks with each other. Mahoro was certain that they both knew Siegfried.
“So you’re related to Siegfried.” Noah looked down at Mahoro, irritated. Perhaps it was a mistake to mention Siegfried’s name to them, but there was no turning back.
“Lord Sieg has gone missing, and I was told to investigate the reason for it. I am a ward at Lord Sieg’s estate,” Mahoro said carefully.
Noah looked at Oscar with a stony expression, and Oscar shrugged his shoulders in response.
“He’s withdrawn from the Academy, and he was the one who filed his withdrawal,” Oscar murmured wearily.
“I’m aware of that. But after that… he disappeared. Please, I’m begging you. Please tell me what you know about Lord Sieg! I’m searching for any clues that might shed some light on his disappearance!”
Mahoro was desperate. He had finally found people who had information about Siegfried, and he wanted even the slightest clue that he could possibly get.
A disgruntled voice came from above his head. “It’s his fault that the Magic Society is suspended.”
“What…?” Mahoro looked up to see Noah frowning.
“Noah. …Sorry, Mahoro, let’s speak about this later. Noah gets into a bad mood when it comes to Sieg.”
Oscar wrapped an arm around Noah’s shoulders to calm him down, and they left.
Mahoro was shocked at the unexpected information. He never knew that Siegfried had caused trouble at the Academy.
—–Translated by daydrop. Please read on the original site at daydrop.nowaki.net.