The Campus was a giant island shaped like a semi-circle that could be reached by sailing for an hour from the Empire’s capital, Gavelin. At the centre of the island was the College, the most prestigious school of the campus, while other schools were spread across the entire island.
The Campus was home to many schools such as magic, military, sailing, finance, art, technology, and others. It was designed to enroll talented individuals into a specific school with the goal of producing the finest professionals into the Empire, and only those whose talents had been approved by the Empire could enroll into the Campus.
The Campus was sometimes called the Duchy of Campus due to their independence and isolation from the outside world, which was to make sure their students would focus on education and education alone. In fact, the Campus was run by a Committee made up of the Student Council members and the professors and lecturers of the Campus.
“So this is the Campus.”
After the short cruise across the ocean, Isaac disembarked onto the empty port. It was different from what he expected. The port was empty, containing only the necessities such as the docks, a few warehouses, and lodges. There was a wall separating the inner and outer port, and the only way into the Campus was through a gate atop a gentle slope. The sailors busy with unloading the goods looked at Isaac, who stood alone.
“You lot! Stop wasting time and get back to work!”
The loud and rugged voice prompted the sailors back to work, and the sailors began to move faster than before.
“Hm? What’s this? Did no one come to see you? Well, don’t worry. I’m sure someone will come to check the unloading of the supplies.”
“Thank you Mr. Gonzales, for letting me know.”
Isaac gave his gratitude to the middle-aged sailor who comforted him. Mr. Gonzales scratched his beard, unaccustomed to words of gratitude from a noble.
“Are you really a noble? I guess I’m weird too, talking so casually to a noble like this.”
The first monster attack in 10 years had gathered much attention from the Empire. As the sole survivor, Isaac became famous, along with his current family situation.
“Well, none of that will matter since you’re set for life after you graduate from the Campus, so perk up you hear. Ah! There he is.”
Gonzales gave his encouragements as he patted Isaac’s shoulder. Isaac turned to look where Gonzales was looking, and he saw a car slowly approaching them.
‘It’s so strange to see them every time. Using mana… It’s basically the cleanest fuel imaginable.’
A familiar object in an unfamiliar world. Isaac was dumbfounded when he saw it for the first time, but soon accepted it. If the social infrastructure is at a modern level, so too must their transportation.
“Oh! Is that the new automobile that everyone’s been so noisy about? Heard they were planning on selling them to the nobles, but it seems like they’re already up and running in the Campus.”
As Gonzales struggled to contain his excitement, the car gently stopped in front of Isaac and Gonzales.
“Hello. You’ve arrived early today.”
A handsome young man with a blonde hair stepped out of the car and greeted Gonzales.
“Yes. We were blessed by lady luck with a good wind.”
“That’s good to hear. I assume the supplies are fine?”
“You can bet on it, sir. We checked them before we sailed here. We’re currently unloading them into one of the warehouses; would you like to observe?”
“I’ll deal with the documents first. But who is this young man? This isn’t enrollment season and I believe no one left the Campus to my knowledge.”
Gonzales was perplexed at the boy’s question and replied.
“He was supposed to enroll into the Campus, was he not?”
“Huh? I’ve never received report on a transfer student.”
“Hello, my name is Isaac Rondart. Nice to meet you.”
“Rondart? From the Baron Rondart family?”
“Ah, so you must be Kainen’s little brother.”
“… I’m his older brother.”
According to Isaac’s memories, his two younger brothers were Kainen and Kaizen. Of the two, Kainen had already entered the Campus through normal procedures and was now enrolled in the College. If this man in front of Isaac knew Kainen, he must be from the College as well.
Confused, the young man tilted his head and replied.
“Older brother? I’ve never heard that he had an older brother?”
“Uh, Master Mazelan, just a moment.”
Gonzales couldn’t stand how the conversation was heading and took Mazelan into a corner. He began to whisper into his ear, letting Mazelan know what situation Isaac was in.
After the explanation, Mazelan sighed deeply and approached Isaac.
“You did well in making all the way here.”
“It was nothing.”
“Just wait a moment. I need to find out something.”
Mazelan excused himself and entered one of the buildings in the port. He soon came out with a serious expression as he talked to Isaac and Gonzales.
“Come with me for now. This isn’t something I can handle alone. Ah! Mr. Gonzales, tell the captain I’m sorry. I’ll also leave the documents to you.”
“Don’t worry sir. I’ll have it ready. Kid… I mean, farewell, Master Isaac.”
Despite how casually Gonzales treated Isaac, he was still a noble. Gonzales couldn’t treat him as he usually did when Mazelan was watching. He bowed toward them and then headed for the warehouse.
“We should get going too. Get in.”
Mazelan got into the driver’s seat and opened the passenger seat for Isaac. As Isaac hesitated to get in, Mazelan smiled.
“You don’t have to be so scared. This is the newest invention from the Empire’s Institute of Technology. It’s still in its testing phase, but there haven’t been any accidents yet.”
Isaac reluctantly entered the car. As he watched the trees pass by him through the window, Mazelan began to talk.
“I think you should know about this. From what I know, we’ve never had a case like this before.”
“I know it might sound cruel, but the Campus teaches their students that you can only make the best decisions when you have a firm grasp on the situation you’re in. So I’ll be straight about this.”
“In truth you aren’t the only person to be in a situation like this. Seeing how Kainen never mentioned anything about an older brother, I can suspect what’s happening. Schemes and plots for the inheritance is a common thing in nobility. Especially since the number of nobles who have an estate have dropped significantly in the recent years. The profit that comes with it is incredible.”
“So I’m just an unavoidable casualty.”
“No. When you have neither support nor any protection for your claim as the heir, you’re just shit out of luck.”
What a straightforward, almost cruel way to teach the reality.
Isaac thought to himself with a bitter smile. If his consciousness was Isaac’s not Joon-young’s, he would have been bawling his eyes out at this point.
Mazelan glimpsed at Isaac. He was surprised at how calmly Isaac was accepting it all.
“The real problem right now is that the Rondart family brought their family feud into the Campus. I’m guessing they’ve tried to keep you as secret for as long as they could, and you’re only here now because they couldn’t handle the interrogations anymore.”
‘An amazing analysis.’
Isaac mumbled to himself as he watched the streets outside. They had passed many buildings, schools, plazas and fields. They were now on a road leading up a mountain.
“Where are we going?”
“Uh…. Well. It’s weird to say this, but you can take it as an honour. It’s not common for someone who isn’t associated with the College to enter it.”
The College… Isaac’s eyes brightened with curiosity as the building came into view. The College stood like a castle on top of the mountain. Its imposing figure matched its reputation as the pinnacle of education in the Empire.
But in Isaac’s eyes, the College seemed like a complete waste. You could learn any kind of art or skills in the College. The same applied for the Campus. Separating the greatest geniuses from others and placing them in a separately-run institute would only end up increasing the maintenance required to run the Campus as a whole.
“Here we are.”
Passing through the magnificent gate, Mazelan lead Isaac to the building in the center. Isaac was very close to whistling in admiration when he entered the building. The ground floor was full of artistic wonders. He almost couldn’t tell if this place was a school or an art gallery.
“Beautiful, right? These are all the graduation projects made by the College students in the school of Art. Some say that if we sold all of the works here, we would easily make a profit equal to 5 years of the Empire’s total revenue.”
Even Isaac who knew nothing of art could tell each and every piece was a treasure on its own. There were brilliant paintings, elegant statues, and beautifully crafted sets of swords and armour.
“I’d love to give you a tour, but sadly, we don’t have much time. There’s someone waiting for you.”
“Who would that be?”
“The Headmaster would like to see you.”
Just as the Campus is called the Duchy of Campus, the Headmaster of College who sits at the top of the Campus is given the title of Duke when he is appointed. The title is a temporary one lasting only as long as his appointment, but the honour of receiving it lasts throughout one’s bloodline.
The current Headmaster, Corduroy was a legendary figure who received the title of Headmaster as a commoner. He was both a symbol and a goal for many of commoners.
After a long wait in the waiting room, a voice called Isaac and Mazelan in to the Headmaster’s room.
The room was elegantly decorated, with shelves upon shelves of books arranging both sides of the wall. At the end of the room was a window and a lavish desk, where an elderly man sat and looked through some documents.
‘He looks like a grumpy old man.’
Just one look was enough to give Isaac the impression that he was difficult to work with, had a short temper, angry, and one to hold a grudge.
“Headmaster, I have brought Isaac.”
Corduroy briefly looked at the two standing at the entrance then turned back to the document at hand. The two could only stand still and wait.
How much time had passed? Corduroy was engrossed at working through the documents and completely ignored Isaac and Mazelan. Isaac thought to himself ‘what the hell is this’ and approached the desk Corduroy sat.
“The name’s Isaac Rondart.”
Isaac introduced himself with a bow, and only then did Corduroy take his eyes of the documents and look at Isaac.
A brief, but awkward silence filled the room. Suddenly, Duke Corduroy asked a question.
“What do you want to do after you graduate the Campus?”
“I would like to become an administrator or a solicitor in a small village.”
A hint of curiosity could be seen in Duke Corduroy’s eyes. It seemed the answer was unexpected.
“I’d like to live out my days as peaceful and leisurely as possible.”
“Wouldn’t a mayor or chief of the village be more suitable?”
“It’s much better to be a powerful second-in-command than a leader who needs to take responsibility for his actions.”
“For a brat, you seem to know how the world runs.”
Corduroy smirked at Isaac then waved Mazelan to come closer. After handing out a document to him, he waved his hand again, this time telling them to leave. Mazelan quickly looked through the document, and his face twisted with disbelief. Sadly, he wasn’t in a position to question Corduroy’s actions and quietly led Isaac out of the room.
When Corduroy saw Isaac disappear behind the closed doors, he mumbled to himself.
“A strange one.”
“Did you find something?”
One of the shelves in the room split in two, and a man entered the room.
“His eyes, they’re dead. In my experience, ones like that are those who became insensitive to death because they’ve seen too much of it. They also don’t think much about lives of others or themselves.”
“He did go through that incident. It must have been quite a shock”
“I’d be relieved if that were the case.”
“If you suspect it that much, you could increase the level…”
“We lost too many agents from an unprecedented incident. There aren’t enough agents to watch a mere level 5. Let’s just leave it for now.”