[“Are you really doing well in the academy?”]
“Yes, Sis. I’m serious. I’m already 22. I’m not a child anymore, so stop worrying. I even got the top rank in the written test.”
[“That’s a relief. Make sure you’re eating well…!”]
“Sis! My friends are calling me. I’ll contact you again later.”
[“Also, take care not to be late for classes…!”]
Elric confirmed several times through the noise until his sister’s face disappeared, and then he was finally able to let out a sigh.
Seriously, she was always so worrisome, then and now.
He felt uneasy the entire time he was talking to his sister through the crystal ball. And her face, filled with worry, was still vivid in his mind.
Contrary to his loud claims, he wasn’t enjoying his academy life.
“The communication has ended. The usage fee is 312 silver.”
“Please withdraw it from the designated account.”
‘I guess I didn’t have much money left. I might have to eat baguettes for a while.’
Elric thought as he left the communication station.
The sun was especially bright today, hurting his eyes.
“I couldn’t tell her I might be returning home soon…”
Elric shaded his eyes with his right hand and walked towards the dormitory.
His steps were heavy the entire time.
[End-of-Term Exam Results]
Basic Elemental Physics: A+
Arcad Geometry: A+
Classical Magical Philosophy: A+
Dark Magic History: A+
Mental Magic Arts: F-
Protective Boundary Construction: F-
Practical Attack Magic: F-
Total: 1.95 / 4.5
Ranking: 41 / 42
Assessment: A warning is given due to failure of mandatory subjects.
‘Darn it. Again…!’
Looking at the scorecard posted on the noticeboard, Elric closed his eyes.
Despite having many A+ grades, the word ‘Warning’ was all he could see.
This was already his fourth warning.
According to the regulations of the Usdun Academy, four warnings meant expulsion.
‘Damn! Does someone think I want to get these warnings?!’
Of course, just like any other academy, getting warnings or being expelled from Usdun Academy wasn’t a frequent occurrence, but it wasn’t unheard of.
However, most of those who received them either overrelied on their talents, or were reckless newcomers supported by powerful families.
Elric Melvinger, on the other hand, always belonged to the hard-working group, always studying in the library till the very end.
It might be considered boasting, but he prided himself on being quite intelligent.
He enjoyed reading even the old theses that neither his classmates nor most instructors could easily summarize.
The fact that he always scored full marks in writing and theory was proof of that.
Moreover, his affinity for detecting mana and his ability to control and manipulate it were also quite exceptional.
From theory to magical power, he was born with a talent that anyone would covet.
That was all.
“Damn this ‘Vascular Disorder’!”
What good was it to have a deep understanding and knowledge of magical studies?
Also, what was the point if he could detect and control mana when he couldn’t form the most crucial process of “Condensation.”
Elric was unable to draw mana from the atmosphere and etch it into his heart through the Circle process.
This was because the channels through which mana should flow were inherently severed.
His academic advisor called this a ‘Vascular Disorder.’
It was an abnormal condition that occurred once in ten million people.
He was born with a sharp mind, but, ironically, a body susceptible to a rare disease.
“Would the outcome have been different if I’d known sooner?”
In fact, until Elric enrolled in the academy, he had no idea that he had a rare condition.
After all, magic was a subject that was nothing but extravagantly costly.
Although his family claimed to be a noble house, now all their properties are crumbling, and their impoverished family can hardly support Elric.
Thanks to this, Elric had to study the basics of magic solely through self-study from a young age.
During that time, he didn’t have the chance to take a medical test that cost astronomical amounts.
Still, Elric wasn’t too worried about it. No, he didn’t even feel the need to take a test in the first place.
Before their decline, his lineage was among the most prestigious families in magical studies, leaving countless remarkable achievements.
He never imagined that their family history would disappear so easily.
Well, to be exact, it was a tragedy because they had too much.
“Even the magical physician said I’m too old now, so surgery is also impossible.”
Elric was reminded of the moment he received his acceptance letter from the academy and sobbed with his sister, feeling deeply distressed.
“Do I really have to end it like this and go back to my hometown?”
Currently, in his seventh year at the four-year academy, all the dreams and hopes he had at that time have shattered.
As he walked, Elric’s face was stern because of that.
Although there were seasonal semesters and supplementary exam systems to save the failing students, he received an F- in all practical areas, so he had to pay the tuition.
After all, practical skills were much more important for a magician than theory.
“Oh, it’s him.”
“They said he got an expulsion recommendation from the dean this time.”
On his way back to the dormitory, Elric noticed two female students whispering about him but chose to ignore them.
He really didn’t have the energy to care about that now.
Moreover, he was used to such gazes and whispers.
“That person is the grandson of our school’s founding president…”
“Exactly. He’s a disgrace to the Melvinger family, such a disgrace.”
“How far does the ‘Magic Prestige’ intend to fall?”
But Elric had to stop in his tracks.
He didn’t care what they said about him, but disparaging remarks about his family were irritating.
“Hey. You two, you’re first-year physics magic students, right?”
The female students suddenly stiffened as Elric looked at them.
Only then did they realize that they had spoken louder than they thought.
Still thinking what the disgrace of the ‘Melvinger family’ could do, one of them boldly stepped forward.
“So… so what?”
“Don’t you have a TA named Sean? He’s one of my enrollment buddies and my closest friend.”
In an instant, the faces of the two female students turned pale.
Then Elric threw a big sneer right in front of them.
“It’s because I’ve aged quite a bit, but among my friends, quite a few are already on the elite course.”
Usdun Academy was famous for its strict order between professors and students because the culture of the old tutor system still lingered.
Of course, associate professors also had immense authority.
“So, what are your names?”
“Let’s… let’s leave! This is ridiculous, seriously.”
The two female students, worried that Elric might catch a glimpse of their name tags, quickly covered them with their hands and hurried away. Their faces were flushed.
Elric just maintained a sulky face and didn’t bother to hold them back. After all, it would just tire him out.
However, he glanced over at a statue standing alone in the middle of the stairs leading to the main building of the academy. It seemed to be looking this way.
Then he continued walking towards the dormitory, as if nothing had happened.
The corridors leading to the third floor of the dormitory.
Elric had to scream out from the sudden blow to the back of his head.
“Ah, shit! Who…?”
“Ah, shit? What do you mean by ‘Ah shit’? Did you use my name again?”
Elric turned his head with an annoyed expression but then broke into a big smile.
“Who’s this? Isn’t this Sean of the ‘Peer-love and Country-love’?”
“Quit your nonsense. Didn’t I tell you last time? Stop bullying the juniors using my name. Huh?”
As always, Sean nagged on and on.
Unlike Elric, Sean wore a blue robe, symbolizing an associate professor. As he walked through the corridor, he naturally drew the attention and gazes of many students, but Sean seemed unbothered.
Of course, the same was true for Elric.
“Ah, I got it, Sean. You seem to have grown quite sharp-witted. How about we go outside and cool off?”
Sean’s face showed clear annoyance at Elric’s flippant attitude.
“Ugh! Seriously, just drop it.”
Giving up with a heavy sigh, Sean accompanied Elric to the open-air cafe on the first floor.
“That damn guy.”
Through the rising steam, Sean looked at Elric, and his face contorted in anger.
Just seeing that guy’s face made him want to curse.
“Why do you always have such a sharp tongue? Is it that time of the month for you?”
“Do you really want to die?”
“Hehe. Why get so worked up over a joke? Smile. Let’s live while laughing. Okay?”
Sean was certain. As long as he remained friends with that guy, he would never win an argument.
“Been busy lately?”
“How could I not be? Despite having the title ‘Associate,’ I’m still a professor.”
“True. That’s why they say it’s good to have successful friends.”
Elric seemed genuinely happy, as if it were about his own achievements.
Unlike his other peers.
That was why Sean couldn’t help but look at Elric with a bittersweet gaze.
In fact, unlike Elric, Sean wasn’t only involved in central politics but was also one of the heirs of the influential Six Star Mage Tower families.
Furthermore, he was an elite course student, was listed as the youngest member of the Imperial Research Association, and even treaded the path of being nominated as a professor.
This was the exact opposite of Elric, who was even referred to as a disgrace.
No wonder there were people who said Sean and Elric were like “parallel lines running at opposite extremes.”
Yet Sean didn’t care about public opinion, as he still maintained his relationship with Elric.
“But I heard you’re really busy? Why did you come? It doesn’t seem like you just came to ask about a name.”
Who did he take after? He was really quick-witted.
With that thought, Sean took out a bundle of documents from his bag and threw it in front of Elric.
“I came to show you this.”
“What is it?”
Elric, who was eating a cookie, put the rest of it in his mouth and picked up the document.
「Proposal on Exploring the Diamond Dragon, Shainak’s Nest」
It was a name that Elric had never heard before.
Neither in common names nor in scientific names did a similar name come to mind.
Was it a newly discovered sub-species of dragon?
Then Elric looked at Sean as if asking why he was giving this to him.
Sean replied nonchalantly,
“It’s an ancient dragon species newly classified in the academic world. There’s a predicted location for its nest. I thought you might want to join the exploration team.”
An ancient dragon species!
Did they find the nest of an Elder Dragon, which is now extinct and the source of magic?
Elric quickly skimmed the documents.
If what Sean said was true, depending on the results of the exploration, there was a chance he could obtain a valuable relic.
No, leaving that aside, it might even be a way to avoid expulsion from the academy.
As he was thinking…
Elric frowned for a long while.
By the time the steaming hot cup of tea had cooled down, the previously silent Elric spoke up.
“Recite the Three Laws of Mana Stream.”
“From high to low, from hot to cold, from wide to narrow. Why are you asking this nonsense?”
It was a question-and-answer typical for magic beginners.
Suddenly, one of Elric’s eyebrows twitched.
“But a nest here? That doesn’t make sense.”
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