Chapter 7: Shift in Relationships (4)
The news that Mahoro had lost control of his magic had immediately spread through the Academy, and the cadets stared at him wherever he went. He was a First Year and yet he had a familiar that accompanied him everywhere, and unfortunately it would draw attention to himself. Albion followed him at every turn, and no matter how fast Mahoro tried to outrun him, Albion would pursue him without fail. Albion tried so hard to keep up with his short little legs that Mahoro felt bad for leaving him behind, and afterwards when Mahoro needed to run, he would let Albion ride on top of his head. There was the incident where his magic had gone out of control, and Mahoro hadn’t been able to make any progress on his investigation into Siegfried. Each day he would find himself fretting in front of a blank sheet of stationary, wondering what excuse he should give to Lord Samuel.
His Magic tutorial with the Commandant was always held outdoors.
“Now try to light each of the candles here. One at a time, all right?”
The Commandant wore a black cloak, and she pointed to the rows of taper candles lined up on a stand. Mahoro took his wand, feeling nervous, and tried to light a candle.
Albion growled. As soon as Mahoro recited the incantation, Albion scratched at Mahoro’s cheek with his claws. It was fairly painful, and Mahoro jumped back in reflex, and a large flame rushed from the end of his wand. All fifty candles lit up at once, and there was still fire emitting from his wand.
“I need to put it out… Wah!”
Albion bit his hand hard when Mahoro started panicking, and he yelped from the pain. Maybe that was why the fire went out, but blood flowed from the back of his hand. Albion had been trembling in fear just a little while ago, but now he suddenly became vicious. Mahoro wondered if it was because he was a familiar.
“Mahoro, you are essentially a massive fuel tank. When you use magic, you only need to use a tiny drop of your power. Learn to control this power of yours.” The Commandant waved her wand with a stern expression, and all the candles went out at once. “Again,” she commanded.
Mahoro took several deep breaths and recited the incantation again. “O Spirit Ignis, heed my call and light a fire.”
Albion immediately scratched Mahoro on the cheek again. It was better than before, but he still lit up all the candles.
“Albion, keep your scratches and bites to his arms only. Look at the sorry state of this cute face.”
Mahoro’s face and arms were all scratched up after his endless attempts to light the candles. Every time he recited the incantation, Albion would bare his fangs and claws at him, and Mahoro was so terrified that he couldn’t concentrate properly, let alone control his magic.
Mahoro repeated the same incantation for about two hours, and the last flame he produced was about half the size of the one at the start of the lesson. But he still lit up about two-thirds of the fifty candles.
“All right, you must be tired. I will see you at our next lesson.”
The Commandant neither praised nor berated him; she gave him a pat on the shoulder and left. Mahoro wearily returned to the Main Building.
“Mahoro, are you okay?” Zach looked worried as they headed to their next tutorial.
He must have looked exhausted. Although Mahoro answered, “I’m okay,” he couldn’t even swing his sword properly during Swordsmanship tutorial. He had tried his best to keep up with the other cadets, but he had no strength, and his movements lagged behind everyone else’s. Furthermore, Professor Andre had probably heard about his situation from the Commandant, and he stayed close to him the entire time. One day the cadets would use swords with magic stones embedded in them, and when Mahoro thought that maybe he would cause another accident like before, he became depressed.
His individual magic lessons continued every day, and Mahoro felt so drained emotionally that he couldn’t help it.
He was already struggling with his subjects unlike the other cadets, and no matter how hard he tried and tried to improve, he felt like he made no progress, and it made him despair. He even secretly practised his magic on Sundays, but he saw absolutely no improvement. He had enjoyed his new life at the Academy just a short while ago, but now it just weighed on him.
After lectures and tutorial, Mahoro went to the Library, and whilst reading a book on philosophy, he became forlorn.
Philosophy was much too difficult for Mahoro to comprehend. He understood nothing that he had read, and the true meanings that the author wished to convey were completely lost on him. He thought himself to be utterly hopeless; he couldn’t even understand a book that he read for his own curiosity.
Just when he noticed a shadow in front of him, a voice had called his name, and Mahoro raised his head. Leon was there looking down at him.
“Err, hello… Please feel free to call me Mahoro.”
Mahoro remembered how Leon had helped him when his magic went out of control, and he stood up to show his respect. Leon paid no attention to their surroundings and sat down next to Mahoro.
“I want to ask you something. Noah seems to be following you around, but is he bothering you? If he is, I can tell him to stop,” Leon said, lowering his voice. Maybe he didn’t want the cadets reading by the window to overhear him.
“Uh… Err, it’s fine…” Mahoro stared at Leon without blinking.
Apparently Leon was worried about him, that maybe Mahoro found it difficult to refuse an older cadet’s advances.
“I’m not sure that I would call it bothering me… I don’t know how to put it…” Mahoro didn’t know what to say. Would Leon go and do something about Noah if he said that Noah was bothering him? But wouldn’t that make the relationship between Leon and Noah worse? It was true that he was troubled by Noah approaching him, but he felt like it didn’t necessitate asking Leon to make Noah stop.
“If you’re in love with Noah, then I won’t say anything. But once he decides on something, he tends to put on blinders…” Leon crossed his arms and frowned.
Leon and Noah had argued with each other the other day, but from the way that Leon spoke, Mahoro realised that Leon and Noah probably understood each other very well.
“So you have lived at Siegfried’s estate? I heard it from Oscar.”
Mahoro was surprised and closed his book. “Would you happen to know anything about Lord Sieg?” he asked, his eyes filled with hope and expectation.
Leon looked around the Library and rose to his feet. Mahoro wondered if the action meant that it wasn’t wise to have the conversation here. Mahoro nodded and went to return his book to Mrs Anne.
Leon was waiting for him outside of the Library. Mahoro rushed over to him, and Leon started talking as he walked.
“So you’re looking into Siegfried’s disappearance? I think that it’s likely that Siegfried was investigating the island.”
The island…? So Crimson Island? Mahoro looked back at Leon quizzically.
“He could have looked into the restricted areas like the lake and the forest… The grounds of the Academy only covers one-third of the island after all.” Leon pointed towards the forest. “There is also talk about a magic wall that blocks the eastern side of the island. That maybe a tribe called the Forest People live there or perhaps a special animal species.”
Why had Siegfried investigated the island? Before Siegfried withdrew from the Academy, he had disappeared into the forest for ten days. Did he happen to find something there? And Mahoro hadn’t known that the Academy only covered one-third of the island. That would mean that the island was much larger than he thought.
“Why are the restricted areas restricted?” Mahoro tilted his head to one side. There had been a barrier erected near the lake, and apparently there was one in the forest.
“Mahoro, no matter what happens, don’t ever enter a restricted area again. A second infraction will certainly mean expulsion.”
Mahoro frantically pulled his head back at the intimidating warning. Of course, he had no intentions to trespass again.
“…This is the first time Noah has ever shown an interest in other people.”
Leon stopped in the middle of the hallway that led to the Main Building and studied Mahoro closely.
“In some ways his emotions can be a little broken, but I’ve never seen him fixate over anyone before. I suppose that I might be worried about you,” Leon whispered, looking sombre.
Mahoro’s heart roared in his ears, and he couldn’t say anything. He had thought that Noah’s attitude towards him was only simple curiosity…
“If Noah causes you any trouble, tell me. You look like you have a hard time refusing that type of person, and it makes me worried.” Leon rubbed his nose and gave a faint smile.
Mahoro had thought that Leon was a scary person, but he turned out to be nice. Mahoro thanked him before leaving.