A month had passed since Isaac made an example of the three. The school holidays were just around the corner and the Campus was bustling with excitement. The three were clueless as to the sudden change in behaviour of all the women in Campus, and there was nothing they could do about it. Unable to endure the degrading treatment from the girls, Shuren ended up slapping one of the female students in the Campus. He was expelled for his action, and upon hearing of the disgrace, he was also disowned from his family. With Shuren gone, Louise and Borden began to panic and dropped out of Campus as if trying to run away from the institution.
Rumours of Isaac’s involvement in destroying the lives of the three had spread quickly within the Campus. It didn’t take long for Isaac to become the one person not to mess with amongst the boys within the Campus. He was like a piece of turd to them. All you’d get for messing with shit is a stain on your hands. They would avoid him as best as they could, ignoring him at a distance if they happened to meet him. Meanwhile, Isaac continued to solidify his position amongst the girls.
He would approach the commoner girls with poor backgrounds and give them goods which they could never pay for themselves to them as gifts. While some of them refused outright, Isaac would try to convince them, telling them how they would be on the road of success while he would be stuck in a rural town or a city unable to surmount to anything and that they can help him later when they have more capabilities in the future. Many of the girls reluctantly accepted the gifts after that. Since support amongst the girls was the main goal, Isaac never recorded the goods that were given to them, which helped him achieve his goal faster.
Amongst the many women in the Campus, there were also female lecturers and professors that Isaac needed to please. They were few in number, but their influence within the Campus was significant. Isaac used Mazelan’s connections to gift expensive perfumes and makeup to them.
Even the professors and lecturers had to use what was provided by the Campus just like the students for fairness’s sake. They were plenty curious as to how the female students suddenly got hold of these beauty products, but their pride prevented them from questioning the students. They were quite pleased when Isaac took the initiative and began giving gifts without being asked to.
Even the boys who sought attention from the girls began making orders. Isaac, however, gave them prices which were ludicrous beyond measure. If any of them tried to negotiate, he would simply say ‘Are you really trying to get a discount on the gift for the love of your life?’ That one sentence was enough to end the conversation. If Isaac were to even slip the word that they are stingy, who knows what monster that rumour would turn into. The boys had no choice but to empty their wallets and their tear ducts.
Isaac finally got the peaceful life that he wanted, but after a few days of enjoying the dull and uneventful life, Mazelan visited him.
“I’ll be receiving guests?”
“Yeah. So you’re going to have to empty some of the storage rooms in this building.”
“I didn’t know the Campus received guests.”
“It’s a special case. In truth, it should be me handling this situation, but as you know, I’m doing my final thesis for my graduation and I don’t have the time for this. Think of this as paying back for all the times I’ve helped you out.”
“Tsk. Fine. But I don’t have to show them around the Campus as well right?”
Watching Mazelan avoid his question with an awkward laugh, Isaac made a deep sigh.
“Just how special are they for them to break the Campus’ tradition of not allowing outsiders like this?”
“Technically, they aren’t outsiders.”
“They are enrolled in the College.”
“Was it possible to enter the College without going through the Campus?”
There are about 30,000 students in the Campus. Although it seemed large at first, they made up less than 10% of the entire continent’s population. Students of the College were rarer; they made up less than 1% of the population.
PR Note: For reference, in 2018 there were 56.6 million students in elementary and secondary educational institutions in the U.S., which has a population of roughly 327.2 million in 2018 (~17% of total population). That is not counting those enrolled in college, university, or other post-secondary educational institutions. Sources: National Center for Education Statistics and Google Search (which is sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau and compiled into a convenient graph).
“That’s why I’m saying they are special.”
“It’s been a while, but the Elves and the Beastmen have decided to send their children to the College.”
Elves. Though often considered the symbol of beauty, their imagery differs between western and eastern cultures. It seemed the elves in this world are more akin to that of the Asian literature.
“Yes. Not just any elf or beastman either. They are the daughters of the Elder in the Elf Reservation and Chief of the Northbear Tribe.”
“I think I know what an Elf is, but what’s a Northbear Tribe?”
“They literally turn into a bear when you piss them off. If you want to get technical, I guess they are a carnivorous race.”
“Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve seen any other races before.”
“Non-humans rarely leave their own Reservations; they are extremely reserved and secluded. Their enrollment into the Campus is entirely dependent on the approval of the Reservation themselves, and they’ve been refused enrollment many times. However, their most talented individuals are an exception. There are actually many non-humans in the College. They only socialize within themselves because of their secluded nature, making it hard for any of us to actually see them.”
“So why are these amazing people coming during the holidays, instead of coming like a normal person on the enrollment day?”
“You could say it’s because of the distance?”
“Yep. Because most of the Reservations are in isolated pockets throughout the Continent, it takes an extreme amount of time for them to travel to Gabelin. You know that right?”
“Even after using the trams?”
“That’s the cause of the problem. The trams have been in use for about 10 years now, but the non-humans are so secluded that they weren’t aware of their existence. They left their Reservations earlier, but because of the trams their travel time was cut short quite significantly.”
“So you’re saying they came too early.”
“Yes. And since we can’t just leave the students of the College unattended in Gabelin, the Campus has decided to welcome them as guests until enrollment season.”
“Ha… Understood. So I just need to empty two rooms and prepare for them?”
It also meant that he needed to live with them until the Campus opened again. Even if they are non-humans, it’s still very inconvenient to share the house with them.
Once Isaac accepted his request, Mazelan vigorously shook his hands with a bright smile. He then looked around to check if anybody was watching, and whispered in Isaac’s ears.
“This is just a rumour, but apparently both of them have something wrong with their personalities.”
Isaac was sure that Mazelan dumped this work to him because it seemed bothersome and that his thesis was just an excuse. Non-humans were difficult enough to deal with, but if they have a screw loose in their head, there was no telling what disasters were awaiting him.
The Campus was quite the tyrant even during the holidays. They would forcefully kick out all students, even if they volunteered to stay to study. The College was of course, the exception. What was unexpected was that the Campus would provide insubstantial financial support in the name of a ‘travel allowance’, and just as its description, provided insubstantial amount of money for the students.
The only catch was that if they refused this support, they are given priority in riding the ship leaving the Campus. The students from rich families gave up the aid without a second thought in hopes of tasting the freedom that much faster. And the aid would then be delegated to the poorer, commoner students instead. This was a prime example of how well the Campus was run as an organisation, matching its fame.
With all the students leaving, there wasn’t any need for lecturers or professors either. The Campus would basically turn into a ghost town. A giant fleet was assembled to transport all the students out of the Campus. Isaac thought just how efficient this was when he saw this for the first time in the last holiday season.
The holidays of Campus were akin to a public holiday in the continent. The capital, Gabelin, will be met with a tidal wave of visitors. Not just the students, but all their families will gather to greet them at the harbor. The Empire used this event to train their Navy, performing a large military exercise. They participate in maneuvering, transporting, and landing exercises. And the amount of money raised from the visiting students and families was astronomical.
Isaac was curious as to how the Capital could handle such a large influx of people in such a short time, but that was part of the training for the military as well. It was training in preparation for a large influx of refugees entering the city during a world crisis, which would increase the Capital’s defence force’s tasks of controlling the mass traffic to maintain public order. Isaac was astounded as to how efficiently the Empire used this event.
While the entire continent was fired up for the holidays, Isaac was left back in Campus alone. It suited him perfectly. There was no longer a need for him to leave the port to deal with the girls with a forced smile.
The only thing Isaac wasn’t happy about was that even the student cafeteria closes during this time, forcing him to buy food en masse to last the holidays. He had no problems keeping himself well-fed, but cooking and doing the dishes was a hassle.
“Yawn! I wonder how many I’ll catch today.”
Lately, he had been spending most of his time fishing. He wasn’t particularly fond of the activity nor was it his hobby, but it was the best way for him to past time.
Watching the wide and open sea calmed him. It prevented him from remembering. The memories, the past… It’s why he liked fishing.
A small dot appeared out of the horizon, and as the dot came closer and closer Isaac began to wonder. There was no need for a supply ship to come to Campus when it’s empty. Yet what sailed in front of him was the supply ship he was very familiar with.
“Ah! Is she coming now?”
Realising he had a guest to receive, Isaac began to clean up his fishing tools. By the time he was finished, the ship arrived at the port.
“Hey! Isaac, you’re still alive!”
As soon as the ship finished docking, Gonzales came out of the ship to give Isaac a big hug.
“Ow! It hurts!”
Trained by the rough seas, Gonzales was strong enough to beat most men when it came to strength. And all that strength was used to squeeze the life out of Isaac.
“Hahaha, I guess I got too excited.”
“Have you been getting more guests for your inn?”
“Of course! Thanks to you, the dining area is packed from top to bottom!”
Gonzales gave a heartfelt laugh and Isaac followed.
Isaac was Gonzales’ greatest treasure. Thanks to him, Gonzales managed to save his family and gain the respect from his children. Isaac had been constantly reminding him that this business was only lasting 5 years and that he shouldn’t waste his money in luxuries tempted by the sudden boost of income. At the same time, Isaac had been recommending Gonzales’ inn to the commoner students, saying that they’ll receive a warm welcome if they mention Isaac’s name.
“Anyway, I doubt you came here alone, so where is she?”
Gonzales’ face turned strangely at the mention of the guest, and quickly took a more formal stance.
“Ahem. I have to return immediately after dropping this guest. So um, take care.”
As Gonzales quickly ran back to the ship, something began to come out from the ship.
‘… A teddy bear?’
It was a small bear. Other than the fact she was wearing clothes and walking on two feet, she was most definitely a bear. Not just a normal looking bear too but one that looked like a teddy bear doll. Her white and fluffy fur peaked out from the edges of her clothes, and her small hands and feet tempted Isaac’s petting instinct.
‘Man, this is in a way, incredible temptation.’
If there were any girls around, they would have reacted so fiercely to her cuteness that they would have fainted.
“Hello, my *Hubae. My name is Isaac, and I have been tasked with showing you around until you enter the College.”
TL Note: “Hubae” is the romanization of the Korean word for “underclassman,” and it has the Japanese equivalent of “kouhai.”
As she looked up to Isaac with her large sparkling eyes without a word, Isaac stopped his urge to pet her head and continued his words.
“Not going to speak your name? Then out of convenience, I’ll call you Teddy Bear.”
“Kunette? A pretty name.”
The bear nodded without a word. Isaac was starting to wonder if all North Bears were like this until he remembered Mazelan’s mention of how their personalities are special.
“It’ll be short, but let’s try to get along.”