With flustered faces, Ann and Lennon coughed and turned away from each other.
Rather than being close, they had been the kind who were jealous of each other and it was embarrassing that just because they passed, they were hugging each other.
“It’s late, so sleep here for today.”
“Is that alright?”
“There are many rooms here.”
The place that the Magic world paid for Jamie was a penthouse that was 198 square meters.
And it was too much for an 8 year old to live alone, but Jamie was a noble so this much was expected.
“And the classes will start from tomorrow after school, so come here right away once the classes are over.”
“Why are your voices so low?”
Jamie smiled satisfied, as if they were under him.
“Just go to any room and wash up and go to bed. I’m leaving.”
“Have a good night!”
“Go and sleep.”
Jamie went back to his room and shut his eyes tightly. He was quite tired from watching the two kids move for 24 hours.
Even after Jamie left, Ann and Lennon stood there dazed, and glanced at each other. Then, without anyone telling them anything, they went to empty rooms.
“Have some rest.”
Despite not even hitting puberty, their actions seemed highly conscious of the other gender.
Jamie shook his head feeling the awkwardness from the children.
Still, the disciples weren’t that bad.
Although they weren’t amazing, if they were raised right, they would become good magicians.
“Right. I hope that both of them will grow with good powers.”
Things are different from the old days.
Since he decided to take disciples, Jamie had no intention of giving them warm hugs like before.
That feeling no longer lingered in him, and the current situation wasn’t relaxed.
And alone, it would take at least 10 years to raise Ann and Lennon to a usable level.
Maybe it might take more time than that.
Which meant he had to work hard on them.
And they would toll till they die trying to work.
“I learned a very good thing from Hamilton.”
Jamie waved and red hair and black glasses popped out.
And he stood in front of the full length mirror as he tried them on.
“Very nice. I look forward to tomorrow.”
Ann woke up early in the morning and looked at the clock.
Tick-tock-tick the second hand rotated.
The hour hand pointed to 7, and the minute hand was to the third point between 50 to 55.
The academy starts at 8:30.
And they usually live in dorms so it wasn’t a huge deal even if they woke up at 8.
The problem was that it wasn’t a dorm. Ann remembered last night. After the 24 hour test, Mr. Jamie told them to sleep in his home.
So she went to an empty room and washed her face. And surely, the alarm clock was set.
Ann saw the alarm clock rolling on the floor.
Blurred memories came to her.
A loud alarm sound. She hit it with her hand and stopped it and slept again.
“I-I am late!”
Ann got up and went to the washroom.
In the living room, neatly dressed, Lennon mumbled with bread in his mouth.
“Eh-slept long? You were even snoring.”
“S-snore? I snored?”
“Really an amazing sound. How many times did I wake up thanks to you.”
Lennon shook his head in disbelief and Ann’s face flushed red.
Ann ran to the washroom.
Lennon giggled as he looked at her.
It was an obvious lie. Lennon’s room and Ann’s room were quite far apart, so there was no way snoring could be heard.
Such a naïve one.
He thought of making it more fun next time…
Lennon’s eyes nearly popped out at the sudden impact on his head.
He glanced back and looked at Jamie who was sneering down.
“You child. Move quickly.”
“… it is said that hitting the brain destroys brain cells, and results in poor memory.”
Jamie was about to hit again but Lennon ducked and ran out of the hall.
“I-I’ll come back safe!”
Ann couldn’t get her head right because of all that happened, so she said that to Jamie.
Was she going to live here?
Ann opened the door as Jamie wrinkled his eyes and thought.
“Ann. Come here.”
Jamie, who called her, motioned her to come closer.
And he put two necklaces in her hand.
“Give one to Lennon.”
“What is this?”
“Proof of becoming a disciple. Just think of it as a gift.”
A gift was a gift. What was think of it as a gift?
Yet, despite that, Ann had a smile on her lips.
A silver necklace with a small purple cube.
It was flashy, just cute. No, more than that, she liked the ‘proof of being disciple’.
Ann immediately hung around her and asked looking at Jamie.
“How is it?”
Ann laughed like a child. Well, she was a child. But until now, Ann didn’t have the chance to be like a child.
There will be a lot of work ahead and she will not be able to smile like today.
So Ann’s smile was precious.
“You will be late. Leave.”
“I’ll come back safe!”
Ann’s steps were lighter this time.
Jamie looked until she left.
“I should also get going now.”
The beginning of a very leisurely morning of a teacher.
“Wow! Barely made it…”
Ann managed to get to class ten minutes before the bell rang.
Since morning she used Haste to come here, and she was exhausted as she ran.
Gasp- she kept taking huge breaths and was about to sit, but looked at Lennon who was behind her seat with a smirk on his face.
She heard from Jamie that the thing about her snoring and Lennon being unable to sleep was an outright lie.
‘Son of a gun!’
Guess who wasn’t acting like a 9 year old.
… even as she thought about it, she remembered that her teacher, Jamie, who she was going to consider as her master, was just 8 years old.
And she was 10 years old.
Ann sat down, feeling the concept of age turning weird.
‘I don’t want to give him the necklace.’
On the way out. Jamie gave her two of them saying it was a gift to the disciples.
And told her to give one to Lennon, but seeing him smile she didn’t want to give him.
‘Still, I am the older one here, so I need to be patient.’
It was right to show an adult-like appearance to someone younger.
Ann approached Lennon with a sullen face.
“Why? Don’t worry. The thing about snori…”
“B-be quiet! And…”
Ann’s eyes widened as she looked at her friends warning Lennon to not speak.
“If you say that nonsense again, you will die. I heard everything from the teacher okay? Don’t act mean to this sister.”
“Sister, my ass.”
“Uh. I won’t give this to you if you don’t be polite to me.”
Ann showed the necklace to Lennon with a smile.
Lennon didn’t know what it was.
“What is that? Even if you give me that, I have no intention of acting nice.”
“What is this bastard spouting? Teacher gave this to me as proof of becoming his disciple.”
Lennon’s eyes lit up.
One way or another he was still a 9 year old. It was the age at which his mind would want it.
“Anyway, if you go around talking nonsense, you will die. I will hand this back.”
“What rudeness is that? Look at you.”
“I am sure the teacher will come after you if you don’t get this or act high.”
It wasn’t known if what she was saying was true, but he knew that Jamie would definitely come after him.
He did hit his head right this morning.
“Anyway, treat me with respect.”
Lennon stuck his tongue out and Ann put the necklace down.
Lennon, who snatched it away, began to look at it with shining eyes.
Ann watched that and went back to her seat.
And as she sat down, Finn spoke.
“What? When did you become friends with him?”
“Nothing. But how is your body?”
Yesterday he looked bad and today he seemed better.
“The drug worked well.”
“Yes. Apophis EX is a small version of the new…”
Finn recounted the trip to Trinity and the maker of Apophis X and even about Ivan in detail.
“The manager seemed gentle and Ivan was a VIP and I got the EX as a special gift and because this is a safer variety of the new EX which is under development. But still, this works a lot better than X and now I am more refreshed than ever and my head is so clear.”
Finn spoke excitedly but Ann’s expression darkened as she said,
“Finn. I think you should stop having it.”
“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”
“No matter how I look at it, yesterday was weird, your condition wasn’t normal body aches. And isn’t Apophis X meant to be a nutritional supplement?”
“What nutritional supplement in the world can cure body aches? Nutrients are just plain nutrients. It is something which makes you feel a little fine, and a bit refreshed, that is all.”
But look at the state of Finn.
This wasn’t some nutritional supplement. It was looking like the effect of steroids which were forcibly raising the body level.
In particular, amplifying one’s mana. The drugs with such an effect in the world cannot be simple nutrients.
And what Finn looked like yesterday was clear side effects. And now she was convinced.
“Stop having that. I don’t know why such a thing is even popular, but it will harm your body…”
Finn cut her off.
“I know that you are jealous and feeling inferior.”
“It is you, not me who needs to wake up. Even though you can’t applaud your friend for not doing well, you shouldn’t try to demean them by saying such things.”
“You really suck.”
Finn got up and left the class.
Ann just looked at the door dumbfounded.
“What is with him?”
Lennon approached her and pointed to Finn who left, but Ann didn’t respond.
Something was horribly wrong.
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