Chapter 18: Do You Like Meat?
In the end, I interfered with Aria Fontaine's magic until all of her mana was completely exhausted.
The surrounding students looked at Aria with perplexed eyes.
All of them looked at her as if they were wondering if she should quit now, but no one didn’t dare to open their mouth to speak.
I released her mana circuit that I had been holding onto.
Now, there would be no more disruptions in her mana flow.
At the same time, with a sound, the mana crystal extended forward.
“Ah, that’s it!”
Aria's pale face finally regained its original complexion.
It was a sight almost like a corpse coming back to life.
The range covered by the crystal was quite impressive.
Aria jumped around and cheered.
“I won! I definitely won!”
Then someone reached out and grabbed the mana crystal with a leisurely movement.
Long and slender fingers with sharp nails, like those of a witch.
Aria's expression, as she made eye contact with the owner of that hand, gradually became more serious and eventually completely froze.
She seemed to have finally realized why the surroundings had become quiet at some point.
Violet sighed and turned to Aria.
Aria pursed her lips, but she didn't give any answer.
“I clearly told everyone to do nothing and just wait.”
I watched Aria shrinking in real-time in front of Violet.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt Trixie’s gaze staring at me.
Our eyes meet in the air.
Trixie, with her blue hair as blue as a lake, swept her hair back and started approaching me with a subtle expression.
“How ridiculous were the professor's words for you to behave like this now?”
Aria was still being scolded by Violet.
In the midst of that, Trixie cautiously spoke, parting her lips.
Her voice was cold and rigid.
To the extent that I couldn’t even think of her as the drunkard, I saw the last time.
“Did you do something just now?”
'She must have a keen sense of magic.'
Even if I told her the truth, it wouldn't matter much, but I gave her a slightly different answer.
“Did you have a drink?”
Trixie thought for a while about what I said.
Perhaps thinking that I was talking nonsense, she swiftly turned her head away.
After class, the cafeteria in the academy was incredibly noisy.
It was filled with the sound of students chattering, and tableware colliding as people moved them…
I couldn't bear the environment to have a proper meal, so I ended up taking only the food and going outside.
I planned to eat alone, but someone insisted on sitting next to me.
It was a girl with impressive red hair, Becky.
“What is it?”
“I also wanted to eat here.”
I pondered for a while then said to her.
“Don't make a fuss.”
However, my warnings had no effect whatsoever.
After taking a few bites of salad, Becky started chattering like a sparrow.
“Did you see Aria unable to use magic? It was so refreshing for me.”
I didn't respond to her.
At the moment, my greatest concern was why the meat was cooked so poorly in the cafeteria.
“She always boasted about being confident in the support magic, but why did she keep failing in performance? It's refreshing, so refreshing.
Suddenly, Becky twisted her expression.
“Aria Fontaine~ It's a deduction…~ Don't ever think of the professor's words as a joke~”
She muttered in a strange tone.
It took me a while to realize that Becky was imitating Violet.
This time, I asked her.
“Do you have any idea why Aria made a mistake?”
“Isn't it just because she couldn't do it herself? She said it was like a god's curse…
Blah blah blah.
But where is such a god?”
Becky put a handful of the meat into her mouth as if the food was delicious today and said.
“Who would have interfered with magic? That's nonsense.
If that had happened, wouldn't anyone have noticed? There are so many students around.”
It was fascinating how someone as small as Becky could eat so much food.
Maybe she mastered space magic.
Suddenly, something else came to mind, so I asked Becky.
“Until the day before the exploration assignment, are all the lectures like this?”
“I mean, we only learn the use of scrolls.”
If that was the case, I was considering skipping the lectures.
From the beginning, I wasn't particularly fond of the scrolls.
It was the influence of my previous world.
There was even a term used to derogatorily refer to magicians who rely on scrolls as 'magic-using corpses.'
I would inevitably have to participate on the day of the assignment, but I didn't want to attend lectures specifically for practicing scroll usage.
I had always lived my life that way.
Without spending time on things that feel magically worthless.
Of course not.”
But Becky shook her head.
“The exact announcement will probably be posted in the evening…
Flan, you have to be careful.
Becky tapped me on the shoulder.
“Aria is getting all worked up.
Isn't it funny? Starting a fight and getting all worked up alone…”
I quietly pictured Aria Fontaine in my mind.
The image of her with numerous earrings and piercings.
One-on-one, or of course, even if Aria formed a group and lined up, I didn't doubt my ability to defeat her.
So I listened to Becky's words but didn't pay much attention to them.
With magic like telekinesis, mana was not the big issue.
And there was no one in her group who looked much more powerful.
“Professor Violet apparently loves to make students compete against each other.
It's said that when she's in charge of senior students, she even has them engage in magic duels.”
“Is it okay if you don’t participate in it?”
“You can't avoid participating or escaping. Professor Lee says that all of that would be reflected in grades.”
I couldn't just let those words pass by.
It was because I had made a promise to Scarlett to achieve the highest rank until the midterm evaluation.
“Still, if you get high grades, there's definitely a reward.
Seniors who received high grades under Professor Violet, they're all soaring and crawling now.
They get the opportunity to present papers first and conduct research at the Magic Tower…”
My ears were starting to hurt.
I had heard enough explanations at this point.
I chose my words carefully to interrupt Becky's speech.
“Do you like meat?”
“I want to get a high grade and study abroad in a unique region…
Huh? What did you say?”
Becky blinked her eyes instead of continuing her words.
I pointed at the meat with my fork instead of answering.
I like meat.
Who dislikes it?”
I put some meat on Becky's plate and stood up from my seat.
It gave leftovers to her.
…It was both environment and my mind friendly?
“What's this? Why are you giving it to me…
Huh? Where are you going?”
'Why does she talk so much?'
I ignored Becky's voice that reached my ears.
I had a lot to do today.
The Magic Department Store, the place that reflected magical trends the fastest, became a spectacle in itself for magicians to enjoy.
However, among the joyful atmosphere, there was one female student who couldn't show any expression.
“Oh my, Aria, look at this.
This wand decoration is so pretty.”
Aria Fontaine paid no attention to the chattering Hailey next to her.
No, to be precise, she couldn't.
That arrogant commoner was solely Aria's concern.
Even now, her teeth chattered at the thought of being deducted points in front of everyone.
“Oh, there are new scrolls added as well.
Aria, is there anything you like?”
With no response from Aria, Hailey leaned her face forward.
As if knowing what Aria was thinking, Hailey shook her head frantically.
“Don't worry too much.
How did you experience mana stagnation at that time? Flan is really lucky.”
Mana stagnation, it was a phenomenon that usually occurs when one's body is fatigued due to mana getting tangled up like a cramp in their limbs.
Even after hearing Hailey’s comfort, Aria’s expression was not good.
“Yeah, why? Didn't you experience mana stagnation? That's how I saw it.”
“Oh? Yes, you're right.
I did experience mana stagnation.”
“Right? If Professor Violet had arrived a little later, we could have witnessed Flan dropping out.”
Though she replied hastily, Aria still felt uneasy.
‘It was a little different from stagnation.’
As she recalled that sensation, Aria unknowingly straightened her back with tension.
Describing it as mere stagnation would be a great hindrance.
The threads of mana that should have formed a circuit for spellcasting couldn't be grasped.
The flow that should have smoothly flowed turned unruly.
The carefully constructed circuit was torn apart like a bursting bubble.
The dread of never being able to use magic again.
It felt as if she had encountered a major obstacle in an instant.
'Could it be…
Aria, whose thoughts had reached that point, unintentionally burst into laughter.
She wondered how flustered she must have been to have such thoughts on her own.
The premise of interference was that the spellcaster has a higher understanding of mana than the target of interference.
‘Flan, of all people? Better than me’
She vigorously shook her head to dismiss the thought.
She completely eliminated it.
It was an impossible story altogether.
Hailey tightly grabbed Aria's arm from the side.
“I'll buy you coffee! Let's drink it with Louis later.
Aria, you don't really fit in when you're so serious.”
Now let's check out the scrolls.
Do we need to prepare for tomorrow's lecture?”
Hailey and Aria crossed their arms and examined the scrolls one by one.
Floating scrolls, throwing scrolls, volatile scrolls…
The contents varied, and the prices were also diverse.
At some point, Hailey's gaze fell on one particularly bright red scroll.
“Uh~ I don’t recommend that to newbies~”
Just as Hailey was about to get her hands on it and examine it, a fairy shopkeeper suddenly appeared.
She continued her words while holding up a scroll that was larger than her body.
“This is an extremely lethal scroll.
It's used to poison orcs, but if it accidentally touches a human, it causes side effects.”
“What kind of side effects?”
“Paralysis symptoms~ But if you're unlucky, you'll be a plant person for the rest of their life, so we don't recommend it for freshmen.”
Hailey gulped nervously and grabbed Aria.
“It's best not to touch that, Aria.
The side effects are a bit scary…”
As if imagining it alone, Hailey narrowed her eyes.
From then on, the two wandered around the store.
Suddenly, while browsing through trinkets, Hailey's eyes widened.
“Oh, the announcement for tomorrow's lecture is up.
It's earlier than I expected.”
“Where? Let's look at it together.”
The two girls' gaze fell on the trivia that Hailey had unfolded.
[ Mock Magic Combat]
– Combat is inevitable in the process of competition.
The aim is to train students to showcase their best combat skills in practical situations.
– The results of the mock battle will be reflected in the grades.
– Special Note: As an upcoming exploration assignment, scroll usage is exceptionally allowed.
*Scrolls cannot be personally owned.
Three random scrolls will be provided on the day.
– To ensure fairness, Professor Leonard will be observing.
Hailey shook her head.
“The seniors were right…
Professor Violet really enjoys mock battle.”
As Hailey muttered to herself, her gaze suddenly turned towards outside the shop.
Her expression brightened noticeably, and she raised her hand excitedly.
“Oh, Louis is here! Louis!”
Hailey hurriedly rushed out of the store, but Aria's feet remained firmly in place.
Aria Fontaine envisioned Professor Violet's lecture that would take place tomorrow.
And as she continued to imagine, she finally made a decision.
Aria called the shopkeeper.
The fairy promptly appeared as if she had been by her side from the beginning.
“Yes~ Did you call me?”
“Please wrap up that scroll.”
A slender index finger pointed at the bright red scroll.
The fairy tilted her head in surprise.
“Hmm~ Oh, that extremely lethal scroll?”
Does a freshman have any use for that?”
Aria nodded her head with a subtle expression.
“We have an upcoming exploration assignment.”
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