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Volume 14: Adventurers’ School
The school regulations of the Hero Preparatory School stated that all students were of equal standing while on the school’s grounds.
However, the school did not exist in complete isolation from the outside world; it was in the capital of the kingdom, and a third of its students commuted from their own homes rather than living in the school’s dorms.
Given that, it was difficult for a student who grew up in the slums to act as if they were equal to the students who were from noble families, no matter how talented they were.
Of course, Meorilith, who was principal of the school, understood this. This section of the school’s rules was nothing more than a principle to ensure that the teachers evaluated all students equally regardless of their backgrounds, and to deter trouble from occurring among the students.
Meorilith was a former A-class adventurer herself. With this principle in place, she had the ability to punish teachers that accepted bribes from nobles to give favorable treatment to their children, students from noble families that forced students who were commoners to join their party, and the noble families themselves – though she did not punish the parents of the students directly, as this went beyond the authority of a school’s principal.
However, there were gray zones in every part of the rules… areas that weren’t black, but couldn’t be described as white, either.
“Look, it’s Elizabeth-sama,” a student whispered to the student walking beside him.
A girl with golden hair tied into twin tails on either side of her head walked by, with six other students following behind her.
“Acting like a princess as always, with her lackeys mindlessly following her,” said another student.
“She’s not ‘acting like a princess,’ you idiot, she is a princess. She’s the youngest daughter of the previous duke of the Sauron Duchy!”
“I know that. But rumors say that she’s an illegitimate child who isn’t recognized by the family, don’t they?”
“I told you, those are just rumors! Given that she has the right of succession, she’s a princess of the Sauron Duchy, no matter who her mother is.”
The Hero Preparatory School allowed students from noble families to use their financial assets and connections to recruit other students into their parties.
Financial assets and connections were possessed by the students’ families; they were not skills possessed by the students. However, it wasn’t realistic to eliminate all influences from powerful families.
Finding capable companions to form parties with was one of the skills an adventurer needed. Young men and women who were poor would die quickly if they had too much integrity and pride, while those who were more pragmatic might survive by choosing to become followers of children from noble families and having high-quality equipment purchased for them. There was much truth to this concept, and adventurers who fell into the latter category were considered to be wiser.
Of course, there were also cases where the followers of children from noble families died quick deaths because they were sacrificed like pawns without a second thought, and adventurers with pride and integrity survived due to the strong bonds between them.
In the end, financial assets and personal connections were just two criteria among many; it was best for adventurers to consider them but also consider skill and personality when choosing companions to form parties with.
It was unclear as to whether Elizabeth Sauron and her followers had thought that far, but their party was certainly a large one.
“Seven people, including the princess herself, huh. It’s gotta be the biggest party in the school, right? Even if one of them is just the princess’s attendant, that’s still pretty impressive,” one of the students said.
“All their grades are way above ours, including the princess and her attendant, you idiot. The other four are pretty capable too, and… Huh? Is there one more, now?”
“Hmm? … Ah, you’re right. If I recall, that’s one of the people who stood out most among the students who enrolled during the spring term.”
There was also a group of female students whispering among themselves nearby.
“I wonder what it is that she wants? The practical Dungeon training isn’t today, is it?”
“No. She must be here to invite the one that she has her heart set on!”
“You know, that makes it sound like she’s going to invite him for a romantic tryst. What are you going to do if you cause a misunderstanding with Alek-kun?”
Elizabeth’s group ignored the whispering girls and stopped once they found the male student they had been searching for.
“Alex! I do hope you’ll give me a better answer today,” said Elizabeth in a high-handed tone, with her followers in tow.
“… You people are so persistent,” sighed the boy named Alex.
Alex was a boy from a farming village some distance away from Orbaume. He had a face with well-ordered features, but a medium build; he certainly didn’t look like he was particularly gifted with physical strength.
However, he was a promising individual who, like Elizabeth, had achieved top-class results when they enrolled last fall.
Despite being from a farming village with no dojo or private magic teachers, he was a user of ‘Swordsmanship’ and ‘Archery’ whose skills were recognized by the instructors, and a skilled user of magic. His instructors had described him as ‘already on the same level as the most capable of D-class adventurers – no, on the level of a C-class adventurer,’ and ‘a talent that only comes around once a decade – no, once a century.’
Thus, there were rumors that he possessed some Unique Skill or the divine protection of a god – the kind of Skill possessed by legendary heroes, or the divine protection of a great god – that made it easier to acquire and improve combat-related Skills, magic-related Skills, or both.
But these rumors were only partially correct. He did possess a Unique Skill, but not the kind that the rumors spoke of.
“Sorry, but no matter how many times you approach me, I don’t have any intention of joining you. And I’ve already formed a party. Try someone else,” Alex said.
He was looking at Elizabeth with an exasperated look in his eyes – the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ a superior version of the ‘Demon Eyes of Appraisal’ Skill.
The ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ showed Alex the details of Skills… How much experience was needed to gain or increase the Level of a Skill. He had used this Skill to increase the Levels of his Skills from a young age.
He could look at his own reflection in a bucket of water to check his own Status in detail, and he had used that information to come up with effective ways to practice ‘Swordsmanship’ and ‘Archery’ on his own.
As for magic, it had taken him a long time to learn how to concentrate Mana using a book that had been at the house of the leader of his village, but he was now capable of using magic of the attributes.
He could look at wild animals to see their Statuses, and he had hunted the weaker ones to increase his Levels. By bringing the spoils of his hunt back to his village and building up a reputation, he had convinced the adults of the village to let him attend the Hero Preparatory School – with the aim of becoming an S-class adventurer.
Thus, he had carefully selected his companions by using his ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal.’ He had found people with latent talent and Unique Skills that would allow them to become even more proficient with the sword or with magic than him, helped them awaken their talents, and gained their trust.
Of course, he hadn’t chosen his companions solely based on their talent; he had considered whether they had trustworthy personalities.
One was a childhood friend from his own village, one was a friend he had met at this school, and one was a slave that he had purchased by cutting down on his already-meager living expenses. Nobody had paid any attention to them until Alex chose them to be his party members.
But now that their dormant talents were awakened by Alex and his ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ everyone was certain that they, like Alex, would one day become renowned adventurers.
The slave girl that Alex had purchased was not a student at this school, but slaves were considered property of their owners. She was allowed to participate in practical training sessions, and the other students knew of her.
From Alex’s perspective, Elizabeth and her party fell far short of the standards he had for his companions. He had already checked the Statuses of her and her five lackeys numerous times, and even when he considered their future potential, they were less than what he was looking for.
It’s not like they have no talent at all, but this just isn’t…
Elizabeth herself was among the five most capable students at this school. She was considerably skilled with the sword and at magic; if she wanted to be a D-class adventurer or a knight, she was already ready.
But the ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal’ told Alex that she would need an extremely long time to reach the next Level. It seemed that she had already run into a wall in her development.
From what Alex could tell, if she continued putting in all her efforts without yielding, she would probably be able to reach C-class, but it was unclear as to whether she would ever reach B-class, and A-class was completely out of the question for her.
Her lackeys were even worse than that. Elizabeth’s attendant was more than significantly less capable than her already, and the Dwarf girl and the three male students were about the same as the average student at this school – or even below average.
Of course, they didn’t possess any Unique Skills. Even if Alex were to join them, there was no talent for him to help them awaken.
That was why he had refused Elizabeth’s offer, but it seemed that Elizabeth, who hadn’t realized that Alex had already written her off, didn’t intend to give up.
“You don’t need to worry about things like that. All of your companions can just join my party,” Elizabeth said.
“… That would make ten of us. And one of my party’s members is a slave. You don’t mind?”
“What’s the matter with having ten people, or even more? There isn’t a limit to how many members a party can have. And what is important for adventurers is not where they came from, but their skill.”
For the first time, Alex’s opinion of her improved.
As she said, there was no limit to the number of members a party could have. The Guild recommended somewhere around five members, with a minimum of three. Still, although it was rare for parties to have ten or more members, it wasn’t unheard of.
And the other thing Elizabeth had said was that where an adventurer came from was of no importance. However, many noble-born students at the Hero Preparatory School regarded slaves with contempt. Slaves weren’t students, so it wasn’t against the rules to discriminate against them… though there were limits to this, as causing them actual harm would be treated as damaging another student’s property.
But I don’t think all of them would agree, Alex thought.
Behind Elizabeth, her female companions seemed indifferent, but her three male companions looked dissatisfied. Well, they were already dissatisfied with the fact that Elizabeth was so fixated on Alex, so the issue with the slave was likely just a cherry on top.
“Sorry, but I’ve already got my eyes on someone else to join my party,” said Alex.
And with that, he made to move past Elizabeth and her party… but that seemed impossible, so he turned around to use another corridor instead.
The candidate Alex wanted to invite to join his party was the very large newcomer who had shown remarkable results at the recent spring term entrance examination – Pauvina Zakkart. He hadn’t actually seen her yet, so he hadn’t seen her Status, but he suspected that her current ability would be equivalent to his own, even if the rumors were extremely exaggerated.
Given that she used the name of the ‘Fallen Champion’ Zakkart as her surname, and that she was the adopted daughter of Honorary Countess Darcia of the Alcrem Duchy, taking her into his party would come with the risk of trouble with the Church and with nobles. But it was possible that she had so much potential that it would be worth taking that risk.
First, he wanted to check her Status to see whether that was the case or not.
If Elizabeth and her party weren’t standing in his way, Alex would likely have tried to head towards the classroom of the students who had enrolled in the spring term.
“I can offer you anything you need! Is that still not enough for you?!” Elizabeth called out to him.
Alex was skilled and had capable companions, but there was indeed something else that he needed – money. No matter how much he increased his Attribute Values and Skill Levels, top-quality equipment was needed to stand at the top as an adventurer, as well as Magic Items and consumables like Potions.
Of course, it was possible for him to earn the money he needed himself. If he was to become an S-class adventurer, then he would need to do so. But Alex and his companions were underage and still just students. There were limited options available for them to earn money. And even though Alex was told that he was as capable as a C-class adventurer, he evaluated his own skills to be somewhere between upper D-class to lower C-class.
He and his companions had no experience in fighting powerful enemies of Rank 5 or above; he knew that they wouldn’t immediately be able to earn large sums of money.
The ordinary method would be for them to earn money while gaining more experience, but if they could get their hands on good equipment now, it was possible that they would be able to accomplish great things immediately after graduating.
But without even turning around, Alex rejected Elizabeth’s offer.
“… No, you can’t offer me anything,” he said, and he started walking again.
He already knew who Elizabeth was.
Elizabeth was the youngest daughter of the previous duke of the Sauron Duchy, and her mother was someone he had named his official mistress just a few days before the Amid Empire’s invasion. This woman was the eldest daughter from a family of knights, so Elizabeth wasn’t technically an illegitimate child, but those around her treated her as if she were.
And she had already been crushed in a foolish struggle over succession by Rudel, who was now the duke of the Sauron Duchy… and the nobles who had supported her were on the verge of cutting her off completely. The only reason she was in this Adventurers’ School was because she had to increase her own worth by making a name for herself as an adventurer.
It was likely that whichever noble was supporting her had demanded that she attend the school and earn the excellence award as a condition of their continued support. This award was given by Principal Meorilith to a student that she acknowledged as exceptional.
But Elizabeth and her party didn’t have the ability to earn that award, and she was well aware of it, which was why she was stubbornly attempting to recruit Alex.
Alex had taken completely average students and instantly turned them into promising individuals with top-class grades, and Elizabeth was hoping that he would do the same for her and her party.
With a background like that, there’s a limit to how much she can do for me. In fact, it’ll just be troublesome if I get involved with her… not that I don’t pity her, though, Alex thought with a sigh.
The person who had sold him the information about Elizabeth was someone who worked for a certain noble who did not wish for Elizabeth to gain power.
When he had gotten far enough that he couldn’t hear the insults that Elizabeth’s lackeys hurled at his back anymore, a tall, slender boy ran up to him.
“Hey, Alex. Are you sure that was wise?” he asked.
This boy’s name was Robin. He was a student who was a year older than Alex, and he was one of Alex’s companions.
He had originally wanted to be a shield-bearer, but he was hopelessly deficient in talent for ‘Shield Technique,’ and Alex had seen a latent Unique Skill in him called ‘Natural Gift: Dual-wielding Spears.’ Now, rather than using a shield and an axe, he stood out as an unusual spear-user who wielded two spears.
“It’s fine. You know about Elizabeth’s circumstances, right? And I’m more interested in seeing the newcomers that the rumors mention,” said Alex.
“Yeah, I know,” said Robin. “You’re going to invite them to join us if they’re as skilled and talented as the rumors say, right? That’s exactly why I’m asking if that was wise…”
Alex gave him a puzzled look. “What does refusing the offer of Elizabeth and her party of six have to do with the newcomer, Pauvina Zakkart?”
Robin gave an exasperated sigh. “Elizabeth’s party of seven includes the Dhampir who’s Pauvina Zakkart’s older brother.”
“Huh?! Are you serious?!”
“I’m serious. There’s only one student in this school with white-hair and eyes with different colors.”
“Those guys… Just when did they add a new party member?!”
Assuming that it would be the same invitation as always, Alex hadn’t even looked at Elizabeth’s lackeys, let alone checked their Statuses. He hadn’t taken any notice of Vandalieu, who had remained silent, his presence faint.
“So… how was he? You noticed Vandalieu Zakkart there, right?” Alex said, pressing a palm against his forehead.
He hadn’t imagined that the older brother of the girl he intended to recruit would join the group that he had been brushing off.
He could only hope that he hadn’t made too terrible an impression. He prayed that he hadn’t, but it seemed that there was no god who answered his prayers.
“… He was silent and just glaring at you. He wasn’t even blinking. His eyes were just open and staring. I don’t know why, but it gave me the shivers,” said Robin.
Hearing this answer, Alex buried his face in his hands.
A short while before Elizabeth approached Alex to invite him to join her party…
Vandalieu was eating lunch in the corner of an empty classroom.
“… I suppose an enjoyable school life was always impossible for someone like me,” he sighed.
Now that he was a student at the Hero Preparatory School, Vandalieu was all alone, as if he had drifted away from everyone.
Having been put in a different class from Pauvina’s, he had made his best efforts to make new friends and find people to form parties with for the school’s practical training.
But his classmates had clearly avoided him, and the teacher hadn’t checked in on him either, so he was the one person in his class that found himself alone.
This had something to do with the fact that the nobles of Orbaume central had tried to have the children of nobles who were in their pocket approach Vandalieu.
Vandalieu was in the class for students who did not achieve top-class results in the entrance examination. Those who had barely passed to those who were about average were in this class. There were students from noble families in this class as well, but… none of them were students who were directly under the influence of Orbaume central’s nobles.
Those students were in the class for those who achieved top-class results, the class where Pauvina was. Vandalieu’s classmates from noble families had been warned by their parents that the student named Vandalieu Zakkart was to be approached by other students under the orders of certain powerful people, so they shouldn’t get involved with him. Thus, they were keeping their distance from him.
Vandalieu was also at fault for hiding his true abilities too much.
Given his results from the entrance examination, students wouldn’t be lining up to form parties with him, but they weren’t so terrible that he wouldn’t be able to form a party at all, either.
However, in his self-introduction that he had given on the first day of school…
“I am proficient in ‘No-Attribute Magic,’ ‘Unarmed Fighting Technique,’ ‘Throwing Technique,’ and ‘Staff Technique.’ I am also a tamer, and have familiars with me,” he had said.
This was a problem. Vandalieu had simply spoken honestly about his strengths to the extent that he could, but the students had taken this differently.
‘No-Attribute Magic’ was generally looked down on, as it was considered to be a kind of magic learned to practice magic of the attributes. Indeed, it didn’t have many different spells, and the spells that did exist had simple effects. Without a vast quantity of Mana and the skill to control it, it would be difficult to ascend with no-attribute magic alone.
Vandalieu stating that he was proficient in ‘No-Attribute Magic’ was equivalent to saying that he was even less skilled than that with magic of the attributes. No matter how much fine control he had over his Mana, nobody expected much of him as a mage.
As for ‘Unarmed Fighting Technique’ and ‘Throwing Technique,’ Vandalieu had heard from Kasim and the others that he had befriended in the Hartner Duchy several years ago that they were unpopular Skills among adventurers.
Monsters surpassed humans in physical strength; one would need a countless number of lives to become proficient at fighting against them with nothing but their own bodies that had limited reach. As for ‘Throwing Technique,’ it used projectiles whose range was more limited than arrows, but were often costlier and bulkier. It was difficult to use with the skills and finances of a rookie adventurer.
Vandalieu was aware of these things, so he had also appealed his ability in ‘Staff Technique’ and his skills as a tamer.
His ‘Staff Technique’ wasn’t of a particularly high level, but it was more than enough for his needs as a student. And he had thought that his tamed familiars joining them in battle would appeal to the other students.
But in reality, adventurers considered ‘Staff Technique’ to be nothing more than a means of self-defense for mages.
A warrior would normally use a spear, club, or axe. There were no frontline warriors that fought monsters using a stick with no blade or specialized part for striking as their main weapon.
Thus, this Skill was treated as a method of self-defense for mages to buy some time to finish casting spells when their enemies came too close.
And Vandalieu’s familiars were known to be the ‘mysterious plant-type monster’ Eisen, about whom rumors had been spreading across Orbaume, and the Undead that he had tamed at the Cursed Mansion.
As a tamer, taming such monsters was an incredible achievement. But the students were uncertain if they could truly rely on these monsters during practical training, which were extremely similar to real battles.
And monsters only obeyed their tamers; they didn’t obey their tamers’ companions.
Vandalieu had also mentioned his exceptional physical abilities that he possessed because he was a Dhampir, but he had done too good a job at holding himself back during the entrance examination.
Thus, the other students had concluded that Vandalieu was a disappointing student who could only use no-attribute magic and couldn’t even be relied on to fight on the frontlines despite his physical strength.
On top of that, his classmates who weren’t from noble families were wary of the fact that he had the surname ‘Zakkart’ and the fact that his mother was a Dark Elf, a race that didn’t often become honorary nobles. They were wary of the potential troubles that could come about from getting involved with him, so they kept their eyes on him from a distance.
The teachers were also making no effort to improve this situation. The goal of this school was not to teach schoolwork to adolescent boys and girls. It was to train them to become adventurers that could survive battles to the death.
Teachers would stop extreme bullying and conflicts between students when they got out of hand, but otherwise, they wouldn’t proactively interfere.
Thus, Vandalieu was now eating lunch all by himself while being consoled by Chipuras and Daroak, the light-attribute Ghosts who had been Vampires when they were alive.
“It is nothing to concern yourself over, Vandalieu-sama! You have us, do you not!” said Chipuras.
“I believe that these low-class humans are unworthy of accompanying you, in any case,” said Daroak.
“I suppose you’re right,” said Vandalieu, feeling better as he started eating again.
“Indeed! These humans are unworthy of accompanying you, Vandalieu-sama! Only your servants and us Undead are worthy!” Daroak shouted excitedly.
“Daroak, I was agreeing with Chipuras,” Vandalieu said. “But I’m glad you feel that way. Thanks.”
Daroak laughed. “I am grateful and delighted!”
Even as he was having this conversation, he was also focusing on the spirits around him, as well as Mei and the others in his ‘Inner Worlds’ in an attempt to distract himself from his lonely school life.
He was only attending this Adventurers’ School as an excuse to be in Orbaume and to invite students and teachers to join him if they came under his guidance. He just needed to focus on that.
Later on, students would be allowed to form parties for practical training with students from other classes as well, not just their own. Vandalieu just needed to wait until then.
He had already unconsciously abandoned the idea of continuing to make an effort to be friends with the students in his class.
Nobody had noticed this – neither Vandalieu himself, nor Darcia or any of his other companions – but he had no idea how to eliminate the distance between himself and others.
He hadn’t made a single friend on Earth; he hadn’t been close to anyone. And in Origin and Lambda, spirits, beings with a connection to the death-attribute, and those who were guided by him had approached him and become his companions of their own accord.
Thus, he knew nothing but the simplest concepts of growing closer to someone who didn’t approach him.
And that was precisely why Elizabeth was coincidentally able to have him join her party.
“Hmm?” said Vandalieu, noticing footsteps.
The classroom’s door suddenly opened, and several students came in.
“My lady, are you going to try and invite that person again today?”
“Of course I am. I don’t imagine that I’ll be successful, but the new students have arrived, and if I don’t make it known that I have my eye on Alex, his party might grow even bigger, and it will be even more difficult to have him join us.”
It was Elizabeth Sauron and her followers. Taking no notice that Vandalieu was in the classroom’s corner, they began a meeting to come up with a strategy to have Alex accept Elizabeth’s invitation.
“How arrogant it is of a mere commoner to refuse Elizabeth-sama’s invitation over and over.”
“Elizabeth-sama, there is a merchant that my family is on good terms with. How about I order this merchant to trap Alex’s family in a great deal of debt?”
“I see. No matter how obstinate he is, he would have no choice but to accept if his family is taken hostage.”
Hearing the strategy suggested by the male students and unable to ignore the disastrous results it would bring about, Vandalieu approached them to say something.
He didn’t know who this student named ‘Alex’ was, but he felt that it would be too heartless to do nothing about it.
But before he could say something –
“Absolutely not!” Elizabeth said to the boys, rebuking them and changing the trajectory of the conversation. “If it’s ever discovered, we’re the ones who will be expelled, and even if Alex joined us as a result of such a plan, he would resent us! I am always telling you, aren’t I? We must be very particular with which methods we choose!”
“I would expect nothing less of you, my lady!” said one of the girls – Elizabeth’s attendant.
“Mahelia-chan and I agree that we shouldn’t break the school’s rules, but it’ll be impossible to recruit him at this rate, won’t it?” said the other girl, a Dwarf.
Elizabeth’s attendant, Mahelia, was deeply impressed by her integrity, but the Dwarf girl seemed to believe that Elizabeth’s current methods were not enough.
Even Elizabeth had begun to think that continuing this would be meaningless, as she had already been refused numerous times. “You make a reasonable point, Zona. But two of Alex’s companions have also refused my offer, and the other one is a slave, so there is no way to invite her…”
“Then how about trying to seduce him?” suggested the Dwarf girl named Zona.
“Do you really think he would fall for that? He looks at us no differently than he looks at boys. And I did just say that we must be particular with our methods, didn’t I?” said Elizabeth, glaring at her.
“Soooorry,” Zona said, stepping back playfully and stopping diagonally in front of Vandalieu.
“But this is the best time for it. Everyone, this will be our last invitation to Alex,” Elizabeth declared.
Her followers were surprised, and Vandalieu was frozen in place, having lost his opportunity to make his presence known.
“But Elizabeth-sama, Alex could be of great use to us. If we use him, it would not be impossible for us to graduate at the top of our class!” said Mahelia.
Like the other Adventurers’ Schools, one could graduate from the Hero Preparatory School once they finished enough courses. But if a student’s exceptional grades were acknowledged by Meorilith, the principal, she would present them with an award and send a letter of recommendation for them to the Orbaume Kingdom’s government.
Over time, students had begun referring to those who received this award as ‘recipients of the excellence award’ and ‘top graduates.’
This award was the goal of many students, not just Elizabeth and her followers… Although Vandalieu was not particularly interested in it, he felt like ‘use’ wasn’t a good word to use.
“It’s true that with the Unique Skill that Alex surely possesses, which allows him to awaken talent in others, we can certainly earn the excellence award,” said Elizabeth.
So that’s how it is, Vandalieu thought, turning around to go back to his corner of the classroom.
“But with all of us gathered here in this classroom, we should be able to earn the award even without his help! Isn’t that right?!”
The assertion that they could earn the award without this student named Alex and the fact that they had invited him to join them so many times contradicted each other, but this contradiction wasn’t why Vandalieu had frozen.
It was because he had made a misunderstanding.
‘All of us gathered here in this classroom’… In other words, that includes me?
Incidentally, Elizabeth and her followers still hadn’t noticed Vandalieu, whose presence was thinner than air.
But Vandalieu hadn’t noticed that he hadn’t been noticed.
“So, she has realized that she can earn the excellence award with Vandalieu-sama… It seems that for a human, this girl has an eye for people,” said Daroak with his arms crossed.
Berkert let out a maniacal laugh, then burst into song. “The power of unityyyy, heartwarming friendshiiiip! I would always feel sick when I saw it in the past!”
“Quiet, the two of you!” said Chipuras, who had a bad feeling about this. “Vandalieu-sama, I do not know what you are thinking, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding!” he said, desperately trying to stop Vandalieu.
“Whether we succeed in inviting him to join us or not, let’s all do our best together!” said Elizabeth, extending one of her hands out in front of her.
“Yeah!” the others said, standing in a circle and placing their hands on top of hers.
But none of them looked very convinced by her words, other than her attendant.
The Dwarf girl looked a little exasperated, and the three boys looked like they would agree with anything she said.
And at the very end –
“Yeah,” said another voice, and a boy with eyes resembling those of a dead fish added his own hand to the pile.
Elizabeth and her companions, who hadn’t noticed Vandalieu’s presence, all froze with their eyes wide open. The six of them all stared at him as if to demand: ‘Who the hell are you?!’
But despite her surprise, Elizabeth saw the lunch box and water flask behind him and realized that he had been eating lunch on his own in this classroom since before they came in.
“W-w-w-we’ve got a new, reliable companion with us now, so let’s go to Alex’s classroom now!” she said, pretending that she had been aware of Vandalieu’s presence the whole time.
Elizabeth always acted confident, but she also had a cowardly, timid side to her as well. Her declaration that they would be fine even if they failed to invite Alex to join them was just for show as well, providing an excuse for her to stop extending her invitation to Alex, as she was afraid that her followers would abandon her if Alex continued to reject her over and over.
She had a bad habit of making herself look bigger and desperately trying to hide her own blunders – even blunders that were meaningless to hide.
“Y-yeah,” said her followers.
They were surprised to realize that Vandalieu was there, but Elizabeth seemed to have been aware of him, so none of them objected. As Elizabeth walked off, they started moving as well so that they wouldn’t be left behind.
And so, Vandalieu, who had become one of Elizabeth’s lackeys… or rather, companions, delighted at having escaped his loneliness, followed after them.
Those were the events leading up to the present, but… Elizabeth was a little relieved.
The boys among Elizabeth’s followers were furious.
“What an insolent commoner! Saying that we can’t offer him anything…!”
“If we were anywhere else, I’d have him thrown in a cell for his disrespectful behavior. This is why I hate country folk who don’t know their place!”
“We don’t need that low-born scum’s help, Elizabeth-sama. It’s just as you said.”
But despite their insults for Alex, Elizabeth’s shoulders felt a little lighter with the knowledge that this would be the last time that he rejected her in front of them.
“I don’t care about him anymore. Let us focus on making him regret refusing our invitation,” Elizabeth said, giving herself some freedom while appeasing the boys.
Meanwhile, behind her, Zona was speaking to Vandalieu.
“Hey, you. What are you thinking?” she asked. “You haven’t spoken a word.”
“No, it’s just… I’m thinking the same thing as her,” Vandalieu replied.
Vandalieu didn’t know the rumors about Alex or what people said about him. But he very much disliked Alex’s attitude.
Alex had written Vandalieu off without even looking at him. In all honesty, there was quite a big problem with the three boys’ attitudes as well, but even when taking that into account, Alex’s attitude was still unpleasant.
Vandalieu was aware that his feelings on the matter were influenced by the school environment that triggered his trauma and his favorable impression of Elizabeth.
Thus, he didn’t intend to do anything to Alex. He wouldn’t directly harm him, of course, but he would also refrain from interfering with his practical training or taking his family hostage. He wouldn’t even harass him or speak ill of him behind his back.
“So I think I want to put in just a little effort,” Vandalieu said.
All he would do was put a tiny bit of effort into his school life.
Of course, regardless of whether I put effort in or not, that student named Alex enrolled at a different time, so I won’t be able to directly influence him and Elizabeth-san’s competition over the excellence award, he thought.
“Just a little? You’re such a weird… You know I’ve just noticed, but the color of your eyes and your hair… Could it be that you’re Vandalieu Zakkart?” Zona asked.
“Yes, I’m sorry for the late introduction. My name is Vandalieu Zakkart,” Vandalieu said.
“It’s really you?! Umm… Elizabeth-sama?!”
This day’s events caused great shockwaves for Dandolip, Meorilith, and the prominent nobles of Orbaume Central.
- Name: Alex
- Race: Human
- Age: 13 years old
- Title: None
- Job: Magic Archer
- Level: 37
- Job history: Apprentice Hunter, Apprentice Mage, Warrior, Magic Swordsman
- Passive skills:
- Strengthened Muscles: Level 1
- Poison Resistance: Level 1
- Active skills:
- Trap: Level 1
- Silent Steps: Level 2
- Dismantling: Level 1
- Archery: Level 4
- Cooking: Level 1
- Swordsmanship: Level 4
- Mana Control: Level 2
- No-Attribute Magic: Level 2
- Light-Attribute Magic: Level 1
- Coordination: Level 2
- Magic Fighting Technique: Level 1
- Unique skills:
- Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal
Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal
A Unique Skill that is a superior version of ‘Demon Eyes of Appraisal.’ It allows the user to see the Status of any person or creature that they look at, but it also shows the details of how much progress is needed to increase the Levels of their Jobs and Skills.
It also shows latent talent (Unique Skills) that have not yet appeared in the target’s Status.
For example, if someone were to look at a boy wishing to be an adventurer with ‘Demon Eyes of Appraisal,’ they might see his current Attribute Values and Skills, such as the ‘Swordsmanship’ Skill with a Level of 1.
But with ‘Demon Eyes of Great Appraisal,’ they would see in detail how much more training the boy would need to do in order to increase his ‘Swordsmanship’ Skill’s Level from 1 to 2. For instance, the boy might need another year if he continued the normal training that he was doing every day. If he added practice battles against someone of equal skill to that training, that time might be reduced to half a year. If he fought real battles once a week against Goblins and Horned Rabbits, then it might be reduced to a month. This Skill allows the user to see such details.
They would also see how much progress the boy would need to acquire Skills that he does not yet possess… such as magic-related Skills or other combat-related Skills.
Alex used the effects of this Skill to see which Skills he was suited for and find efficient training methods for him to increase his Skills’ Level on his own.
He has also used this same method to find latent Unique Skills and talent in others, and they have joined him as companions.
However, like all Demon-Eye-related Skills, its weakness is that it can be stolen through eye transplantation.
And because it is a Skill that relies on vision, the user must keep the target within their field of vision if they want to keep reading their Status.
Finally, if the user’s own ability is far below that of the target, they can only read parts of the target’s Status, or in some cases, none of it.