V06 Chapter 1: Teacher Goes on an Archaeological Expedition

I have… returned.

Returned to these calm, peaceful, mundane, and slightly lethargic days…

Granted, nothing interesting ever happens in these days, but it is precisely the reason why I find these days especially precious.

Initially, I did not see myself deserving of such a life. I refused to acknowledge it and alienated myself from it.

But, a certain student pulled me from my withdrawn state and returned me to this bright and colorful world…

Perhaps… I can… stay in this world…?

She told me I could continue to enjoy these calm and peaceful days.

What should I do for the one who allowed me to remain in this bountiful world? What could I possibly do to repay her?

As I repeatedly thought of this debt – a certain incident occurred.

“Glenn-kun… You… will be fired.” Headmaster Rick suddenly declared.

“Huh? Huuuh?!”

Glenn’s surprised voice echoed throughout the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy headmaster’s office.

“Hey, just a moment, what is this all about?”

Glenn nervously slammed both hands on the headmaster’s desk and leaned his body forward.

“I do not recall doing something that would warrant me getting fired… probably… no, definitely not!”

“We will discuss later why you can’t seem to confidently deny it…” Headmaster Rick calmly replied, “What I just said earlier isn’t completely accurate, so let me correct it.”

“…Not accurate?”

“Yes, it’s more accurate to say, ‘You will be fired if it keeps going on like this’.”

“T-then, why is it…?”

“Seriously? Are you an idiot? I always knew you aren’t the brightest bulb, but I never thought you were this big an idiot, Glenn…”

While leaning on the nearby wall, Celica interjected into the conversation.

Her anger clearly visible on her beautiful but distorted face, with veins bulging on her forehead from the rage.

The injury that Celica suffered from the recent expedition down into the Underground Labyrinth has yet to fully heal. Her slender build was wrapped in bandages, and her left arm held in a sling.

Such a pitiful sight seemed mismatched from her usual aloof attitude.

“Glenn… Have you submitted your thesis on magic? Surely you know that the deadline for submission has long since passed…”

Despite her pitiful appearance, Celica’s piercing words and cold glare exerted considerable pressure on Glenn.

“Ah… Thesis on magic…?”

Glenn face warped at the realization, nervously blinking his eyes.

“…I see, that… Umm… Is it really necessary to write one?”

“‘Ob-vi-ous-ly! You big idiot!’ Ahaha~”

Suddenly, sparks of flame burst forth as Celica blew Glenn up with a spell.

“You are a teacher of the academy! It should be painfully clear that you needed to periodically report your research progress with a thesis!”

Celica dragged the burnt Glenn by his collar and shouted at him.

“Ugh… W-what the heck, I’m sure this is the first that I heard about it…!”

“At least read the job requirements! You dumb kid!”

After a period of intense shaking, Glenn’s head just meekly drooped down.

“From your reply, I presume you didn’t even bother to do any research for the thesis?”

The headmaster looked sternly at Glenn.

“…M-mmn.”

“One of the conditions for the extended employment of a teacher is the periodic submission of a thesis to report their research progress. It’s part of the academy’s operational rules. It is different from that time in which I took you on as a teacher despite your lack of a resume. On this matter, I can’t help you even if I want to!”

The headmaster let out a difficult sigh.

“Celica, I just thought of a great idea, why not just let me get laid off and go back to being a moocher…?”

“Rejected, you idiot!”

Celica mercilessly kicked down the wisecrack who still dared to joke.

“Ouch… I guess now is not a time for jokes.”

Glenn wobbly stood back up and turned to face the headmaster.

“Is there no way to fix this, headmaster? I know I am not qualified to say this, but I hope to be a teacher for a while longer… at least until those kids graduate…”

“…Hmm? G-Glenn… You…?”

Glenn’s serious visage brought about a surprise from Celica. In no way has she ever expected such words to come out of Glenn.

“Uhh…”

Glenn’s demeanor also surprised the headmaster, who let the room descend into silence as he was unsure how to respond.

“Is there any possibility to see that the thesis deadline extended? I will certainly write one… I beg of you! Please give me the chance!”

Glenn begged with his head lowered.

Daaarn it…!!! I can’t let myself get fired…!!!

At that moment, in his mind, Glenn was set upon by a novel fear.

It will seriously be bad if I get fired now! Just a while ago, I secretly used Celica’s name to shop by mail, with everything to be paid in installments. I won’t be able to pay for it if I am no longer getting paid!

That item was a magic doppelgänger puppet.

The plan was a simple one: Have the puppet take his appearance and teach the class in his stead, so that he can skip work.

Glenn seemingly had grown, but at the same time, remained the same as always.

‘Until those kids graduate’. Such words came out spontaneously, perhaps reflective of his changed inner thoughts, but it seemed the path was still long before he could become a respectable adult.

Darn it, because of problems with my own credit, I had to use Celica’s name, and selected ‘no returns’ for the lower price. I’m totally screwed! I cannot be without a job until the money is paid! Or more accurately, I’m screwed if Celica ends up finding out about what I had done if I am derelict with my payments!

With such troubled thoughts…

“I beg of you! Headmaster!”

Glenn applied all his innate skills to perform the perfect dogeza.

“You speak of writing a thesis, but do you even have anything to write it on? Just reviewing the literature won’t suffice you know…”

“T-that’s…”

“Certainly, it’s hard to limit the progress of magic research to strict deadlines. So, while the deadlines are set, there is always some flexibility and can be extended for quite some time. But if you have nothing to write your thesis on, any extension is moot.”

Glenn revealed a pained expression. Certainly, without any research to build a thesis and just rely purely on citing literature won’t make the cut before the close scrutiny of the reviewers.

S-so… am I really doomed? How could I possibly explain to those kids…?

Before the fear of not being able to meet his payments, his first feelings were of regret to his students.

“Although… Hmm… Glenn, you happened to be in luck.” The headmaster spoke with a smile, “Have you heard of ‘Taum Observatory’ before?”

“…? Umm… Isn’t it some ancient ruins in the northern region…?”

Unsure of the headmaster’s intentions, Glenn racked his brain for the relevant details.

“Yes, as you may have been aware, the site’s difficulty is rated as ‘F’. The site lacks any significant sorcerous relics, the ley lines are also quite lackluster. Neither the magical nor the archaeological value is anything worth mentioning. If it weren’t for its inaccessible location, it would probably have long been turned into a tourist attraction…” After a moment’s pause, headmaster Rick then continued in a stern voice, “However, a few years ago, certain magician’s research of the ‘Taum Observatory’ proposed the site as the ritual ground for spatial-temporal magic.”

“…Ah?! Really?!” Glenn responded in surprise, “Are those not just unfounded rumors? Hasn’t ‘Taum Observatory’ been repeatedly investigated already…? F-furthermore, something as absurd as time travel is…”

Spatial-temporal magic. To anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of magic, such talks were nothing but fantasy.

Time and space were intricately linked, where the time flow within a space could not be cut off from the rest, such was the law of the world. As such, one could speed up and slow down time in a space, or teleport and distort the space with the progression of time – Granted, the difficulty of such spells was immense. But to separate both space and time from its natural flow – ‘time travel’ was deemed theoretically impossible. Such was one of the two greatest laws governing magic, ‘The Law of Internal Validity’, which stated that the world would naturally correct itself to its most stable state, would never permit any challenge to the natural order. (1)

“But… The magician who posited such a theory was a famed genius, so much so that we cannot simply disregard it as madness.”

The headmaster revealed a pained smile and let out a long sigh.

“Just as Glenn-kun said, ‘Taum Observatory’ has been repeatedly investigated, and the results were without any promise. As such, no self-respecting researcher was willing to take up the task. Moreover, everyone is busy with their own research projects to have the spare time for such a fool’s errand. But, since the genius magician brought up such a theory, we could not simply ignore it. So at the very least, a repeat expedition was deemed necessary…”

The headmaster gazed at Glenn with deepening intent.

“We have left the site untouched for quite some time. Don’t you think it is about time to dispatch someone to check it out again?”

“Headmaster… could it be that you are asking…?”

“Glenn-kun, I wish for you to lead the expedition to ‘Taum Observatory.’ If by the odd chance you are able to discover evidence of spatial-temporal magic, your name will be forever left in the annals of discovery. That and ‘finding no evidence’ is also a valid result given the circumstances, and if you write it into a thesis… Haa… While those reviewers may laugh at it, they will at the very least let you keep your position… How does that sound?”

It was a lifeline for Glenn.

Glenn leaned forward and gratefully gripped the headmaster’s hands.

“Headmaster…! I understand! Please, just leave it to me!” He said with the utmost confidence.

As he expressed his gratitude, within Glenn’s heart…

Ugh… So troublesome…

Glenn resisted the deep desire to shout in frustration.

Research expedition?! For someone who enjoys relaxing at home, isn’t this just a form of torture?! Why must I do something this troublesome, are there no easier alternatives…?!

…Glenn still failed to mature even the slightest.

And what is this joke about spatial-temporal magic? Such outlandish tales, how could it possibly motivate anyone as a path to fame? If the headmaster mentioned treasures hidden away, then maybe…!

Unaware of the internal conflicts within Glenn, the headmaster then dropped a bombshell.

“However, I must regrettably inform you… as far as the expedition is concerned, the academy will be unable to reimburse you for your expenses. Glenn-kun, you must cover the expenses out of your own pocket. This is because the fund allocation has already finished for the year, even if we make an exception, by the time the funds have been approved, there will be negligible time for you to write your thesis.”

W-what the heck…?! I must pay out of my own pocket?!

Within his heart, Glenn was beyond surprised at such a revelation.

“N-no problem! I have been a teacher for some time after all! I should be fine with the savings I have built up.”

Glenn forcibly suppressed his nervousness and replied with a faked confidence.

Ugh! My stomach is churning again! To have to self-fund an expedition is too much! I n-need to think of something… I’m going to be screwed if I carry on this expedition as normal, especially with how little I have left after the repeated salary cuts.

At the edge of the proverbial cliff, Glenn suddenly had a thought.

T-that’s right…! As long as I bring some students along, I can skimp on the hiring fee for expedition members! This way, I will be able to avoid any personnel expenditure…! Hehehe~!

A complete human trash.

If I remember correctly, any site rated D or above is prohibited for academy students… B-but! Conveniently, ‘Taum Observatory’ is F-ranked! The lowest possible rank! It is a trash site that could not even be used for the student’s ‘Archaeology Practicum’! Everything is perfect!

With little change to his facial expression, the devious plan continued to evolve…

I only need to trick the students and make them labor away at the site… all for the sake of my continued employment… and for the sake of my salary!

At the same time Glenn refined his plan and let out a conniving smile in his heart…

“Glenn!”

Celica approached Glenn with a stern face.

Ah? Celica?! C-could it be that s-she sensed my intentions…?!

Glenn did his best to suppress his nervousness and prevent the colors draining from his face.

However, Celica’s serious expression relaxed and turned into a smile, with tears that soon followed…

“To not even worry about the costs, all for the sake of your students… T-that’s good… You’ve really grown…”

Celica brushed away the tears at the corner of her eyes. Her expression of joy so much removed from her usual cold visage… almost as if the person in front of Glenn was a different person.

“…Ah? Uhh… Mm.”

The surprised Glenn was at a loss for how to respond.

“Hohoho~ Celica-kun has always been worried about you.” The headmaster happily said, “I am not aware of the details, but I’ve heard that you experienced some rough times in the past. Times that made you disillusioned with the future. Celica-kun has always been worried about you, even after you took the position as a substitute teacher.”

“H-headmaster?!”

Celica’s face turned beet red, retorted with a tinge of anger to camouflage her embarrassment.

“C-can we not talk about it in front of Glenn?! D-don’t be mean! Unfair!”

“Ahaha, sorry I let it slip…”

Ugh… The stinging pain from my bad conscience…

Glenn profusely sweated as his heart ached at the revelation.

“Well then, I guess the matter is settled…”

Either way, I need to get away from Celica as soon as possible.

“J-just leave the repeat expedition of Taum Observatory t-to me! I n-need to get the preparations in order, till then…”

“Glenn.”

Just as Glenn was about to step out of the office, he was stopped by Celica.

“…Good luck.”

“Mm, thank you.”

After a confident reply, Glenn departed from the headmaster’s office.

◇ ◇ ◇

After encouraging her terrible disciple, Celica thought to herself as she strolled in the academy hallways.

“That’s right. People can change…”

Within Celica’s mind, she recalled the days a year ago, when Glenn had just lost his emotional support – the self-deprecating and emotionless Glenn.

The encouragement she showered him and the magic she taught him led to the tragedy and resulted in Glenn’s ruin. ‘Glenn may never recover, perhaps for as long as he lives’ – such thoughts tormented Celica, for which she shed countless tears.

But the reality was not pitilessly cruel.

Thankfully, Glenn seemed to have recovered from his trauma, albeit it took quite some time.

While Glenn certainly has acted suspiciously when he accepted the job, he has seen significant improvement compared to himself one year ago. At the minimum, he was no longer the ’empty shell’ he once was.

Although he faced hardship, he did not become discouraged. Although he struggled with his day to day life, his eyes remained looking toward the future.

“Hmph… But still, for me to say this now…”

Celica revealed a bitter smile.

People change.

For the immortal Celica, it was a painful realization.

Yes, humans constantly change, for better or for worse. As they live, they make mistakes, they hesitate, and they encounter hardship. Nonetheless, they grow, and they change.

Guile, ignorance, and misfortune were all facets of what it meant to be human.

For Celica, whose own time has stagnated since the very beginning, the very concept of change was foreign to her…

“Ah… Here it comes again.”

A sense of anxiety and worry washed over Celica, as if having a scythe dangling inches above her neck. Her breathing became a struggle, her ears ringed, her heart raced, her legs weakened, and her focus blurred.

“D-darn it… Ugh…”

Celica propped her body up against the wall with her injured hand and pressed her palm against her head with the other.

Times and times again such attacks would come. This was Celica’s ‘ailment’ – one not of the flesh, but of the mind. Although Celica was well aware of the cause, she knew no way to resolve it. As of late, the frequency of the episodes has worsened, roughly around when Glenn took on the mantle of the teacher and once again returned to the path of life.

“…”

For the moments that followed, Celica did not move and only repeatedly took deep breaths, as if waiting for a storm to pass… until finally, peace returned and Celica raised her head once more.

“Taum Observatory, was it…?” In the deserted hallway, Celica muttered under her breath.

◇ ◇ ◇

The following day.

Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, Class 202.

“Haa…”

Unlike the other students noisily chatting away before the start of class, Sistine wearily stretched herself out on the desk and let out a long and audible sigh. Her silky platinum hair spread upon the table, as if a glistening river.

“Sisti, please don’t feel dejected, I’m sure there will be other opportunities…”

Rumia, sitting next to Sistine, tried to comfort her.

“Mm… I understand… But even so, it is still hard to accept…”

Sistine slowly lifted her face, without an ounce of her usual aloofness. If one had to describe her, it would be an air of utter dejection.

“Rumia, what is wrong with Sisti? She looks out of it.” Re=L, who sat behind them, quietly asked.

“Uhh, a little of this, and a little of that…”

Rumia was unsure how to properly respond and just went with a pained smile. Sistine, on the other hand, continued to silently mutter to herself.

“I worked my arms off writing that application essay for a position on the expedition, so why couldn’t they be gentle with their words… Are they purposely making fun of me? Not to mention…”

“Don’t worry too much…”

Rumia could only do her best to calm the fuming yet disappointed Sistine.

Although, Sistine’s anger was not without reason.

It all started with Professor Rufi Fosil’s desire to field an expedition to the newly found ruins in the eastern region of the empire and began to gather research assistants from among the students.

With her strong desire to follow in the footsteps of her late grandfather, Redolf Fibel, who was a renowned expert in archaeothaumatology, (2) Sistine eagerly applied for the position in hopes to garner experience in the field.

However, her application was quickly rejected. ‘Female, too young, too low of a grade, too low of a magician rank, too opinionated’ and so forth, they picked at Sistine’s various inadequacies. Even the essay that was to be evaluated as part of the application was discarded to the side.

“What the heck! Isn’t there supposed to be gender equality among magicians? And what was ‘too opinionated’ supposed to mean!”

Sistine’s anger welled up whenever she remember the contemptuous response given by Professor Fosil.

“Haa… Either way, counting this time, it is the fourth time I was refused for an expedition… How discouraging…”

Not just this time, Sistine has applied every time there was an expedition, yet every time she failed to get accepted.

“But Sisti, some of the points they brought up were quite valid. As far as your magician rank was concerned, it is, after all, only the second ra-…”

Rumia abruptly stopped at the sight of Sistine’s furrowed eyebrows.

“B-but, Sisti is the top student of our grade, compared to the other second year students, Sistine is already so amazing. Even I am just a first rank. On that aspect, from what I recall, don’t research expeditions usually require members to be at least above the third rank?”

“Mm… That… is certainly true…”

“Furthermore, wasn’t that site’s difficulty rated as B++?”

Difficulty rating was set by taking into account the combined factor of the site’s traps, mechanisms, guardians, beasts, and regional conditions. They were set into one of seven broad category – S, A, B, C, D, E, and F, and subsequently divided into 21 more specific ranks. A rank of B++ signified a risk of death even for professional expedition members with ample preparation.

“It may be better if you didn’t go. I would be worried if you were to embark on such a dangerous expedition.”

“Uuu…”

It was difficult for Sistine to argue against the magician rank and site difficulty.

While magician rank was not a strict representation of one’s ability, by and large Rumia was correct. The same could be said about the site’s difficulty. Just calmly evaluating her own capability for a slight moment was enough to recognize herself as inadequate.

With Rumia’s verbal jabs, Sistine puffed her cheeks in meaningless protest.

The childish behavior of her best friend made Rumia unable to do anything but wryly smile.

“Do not worry. With how hard Sisti is working, I’m sure one day you will be properly recognized and accepted into an expedition.”

“…T-thanks, Rumia.”

With Rumia’s gentle encouragement, a slight smile returned to Sistine’s face.

“Haa… Everyone, good morning!”

Glenn threw open the classroom door and confidently marched to his desk. Unlike his usual lazy appearance, today he was strangely energized.

At the same time, the bell rung, signaling the start of class, and the side conversations slowly died down.

“Umm… Before we start, I have an announcement to make.” Glenn excitedly declared at the podium.

Something is up…

Such feelings made all the students stare attentively at Glenn.

“You guys are always cooped up inside the classroom, studying from the textbooks, and memorizing esoteric facts… Is that really good? Are you satisfied with such a boring education?”

Glenn’s sudden outburst startled the students, and whispers began to pop up left and right within the classroom.

“You are all magicians seeking the ‘truth of the world’, right? Sure, there is plenty of knowledge to be had within the books, but this world cannot be contained within mere lines of words. It’s a world filled with many wonders just waiting to be explored! If you do not yearn after these wonders, what make of magicians are you?! What sort of truth-seeker are you?!”

Bam! Glenn swung his hand at the table and continued his torrent of words.

“You should spend more time learning about the world and expand your horizons! After all, you are still all too young. If you keep yourself cooped up in your rooms, you will become more and more detached from the world! You must step out of your comfort zone and experience the outside world! Discover the unknown and grow your experiences! After all, new discoveries are always just around the corner, and you should expand your understanding of the great world we all live in! Don’t you all agree?”

“I… really want you all to experience what this world has to offer. To forge you all into splendid magicians who are well versed in all manners of discipline, truly worldly existences. To make your futures brighter and full of hope!”

Glenn’s arousing speech created a fervor of excitement within the classroom.

“…Because of these beliefs, when the headmaster requested me to head an archaeological expedition. I immediately accepted given my desire to contribute to the magic community. To tell you the truth, I was secretly planning to bend the rules a little and take some of you on the expedition with me!”

The fervor continued to grow among the students.

“Together, let us venture out into the great outdoors, explore the ancient wonders, experience its greatness, expand the understanding of magic, and achieve new heights!”

Glenn’s words had a portion of truth to them.

A first-rate magician must not only be well-versed of spells, but also have a broad understanding of the world. Such reason was why magicians were frequently synonymous with ‘Sages’.

As such, the students were unable to refute Glenn’s arguments and passively absorbed his words.

“The ruins I was tasked to explore this time around is that famous ‘Taum Observatory’.”

“T-Taum Observatory…?!”

Suddenly, Sistine leapt up at the mention of the ruins.

“Huh? White Cat? What’s the matter?”

“Ah… N-nothing… Nothing at all…”

After being focused on by the gazes of the entire class, Sistine shirked back into her seat with a reddened face.

“…? Ah, either way, I was hoping to select some students in this class as members of the expedition. Sadly, I couldn’t bring too many, as I won’t be able to manage too big a group on my own. At most, I can accommodate up to eight members. There is nothing more I can do, I hope everyone can understand…”

Glenn’s words riled up the entire class into discussion.

“That’s great, Sisti! For an opportunity to come by so soon!” Rumia joyously spoke to the nearby Sistine.

“The difficulty rank is also quite low… It is a perfect opportunity for Sisti, who currently lack experience!”

“Y-yeah… Although all this sounded somewhat suspicious, it certainly is an enticing opportunity…!”

Although she was unaware of Glenn’s intentions for riling everyone up, both her eyes beamed with the desire to participate.

“…Now, who wants to participate in this expedition and make a name for themselves? It is an opportunity of a lifetime, and its first come, first serve!”

Just moments before Glenn’s remarks made Sistine reflexively raised her hands.

“Hmph… The teacher is being silly as always.”

The glassed youth stood up as he flashed a sarcastic smile. It was Gibul Wisdan, one of the students in Glenn’s class.

“Why would you even want to recruit members from our class? We are just regular students. Why not seek your members from those fourth graders with at least the third magician rank, or some of the graduate students? If I am not mistaken, expedition members require a minimum of the third magician rank to participate.”

Although there were thorns in Gibul’s words, he nevertheless raised a valid point.

“Ugh, you… Do you know how much an able third-ranked magician costs to recru-? Ah crud…”

Glenn quickly stopped his tongue after letting slip the real answer to Gibul’s question.

“I-I mean… Taum Observatory is nothing more than an F-ranked site! As I have said earlier, it is a rare opportunity to find such a lowly rated site, so I was hoping to bring you guys along to expand your horizons!!” Glenn nervously reiterated his unconvincing excuses, almost as if to cover for his earlier slip. “Yes, that right! This kind and caring teacher only wishes to give his beloved pupils the chance for an ‘Archaeology Practicum’… Yes, it is a special session! You should all be grateful!!”

Glenn continued to spew out excuses and let out a forced laughter.

“Oh… So it seems the rumors from yesterday were true…” Gibul slightly tipped his glasses and scoffed.

“Huh? What rumors, Gibul?” The well-built Kash asked.

“Teachers needed to regularly submit thesis on the progress of their magic research, but our lovely Glenn over here never bothered with it. Now, with the threat of being fired, he was hoping that the expedition will get him in the administration’s good graces, or so the rumor goes.”

“F-fired?!”

Upon hearing Gibul’s depiction of the events, Rumia leapt up with colors drained from her face.

“I-is that really true?! Has teacher really not written a thesis?!”

Rumia revealed a pained expression, making it hard for others to look directly at her.

“Ahaha~! W-what are you talking about, I h-have no i-idea…!”

Ah, so he really didn’t write a thesis, and now will probably be fired…

Seeing Glenn’s constantly swimming eyes, all the students inevitably reached the same conclusion.

“Haa… Pushing your inadequacies on your students, what an irresponsible teacher you are. Not only that, but you are also planning to cut down expenses by taking advantage of your students as unpaid labor, there is a limit to the shamelessness you know…”

Gibul’s verbal insults and sharp glare struck deep into Glenn’s heart.

“W-what are you talking about, Gibul-kun?! Do you honestly believe I would plan such heinous acts and sully this noble profession?! I ask you to trust in me!”

Glenn’s voice crackled in his response. His lack of persuasiveness was evident to all in the classroom.

Now knowing the real reason behind Glenn’s sudden expedition, the students once again fell into chatter about the merits of participating.

“R-regardless of the intention, something like an archaeological expedition should be quite a novel experience for you students. Not only participating on expeditions, a magician is also required to participate on all kinds of on-site investigation! The experience of participating on an expedition is definitely a valuable one! Right? Right?!” Glenn desperately pleaded.

“I-indeed, being a member of archaeological expeditions is a dangerous job. There are frequent monster attacks, obstacles of nature, and unimaginable ambushes from ancient traps and guardians… with the occasional unavoidable death. As such, I definitely won’t force any of you to join!”

Death. This one word that made the students skipped a breath.

“But this time, the place we will be exploring is that Taum Observatory… Let me reiterate, it is the F-ranked, super novice-friendly Taum Observatory. If you take all this into account, it’s rather… Ah, forget it!”

Glenn suddenly leapt into the air and made a twirl.

“P-please save this poor sod! I beeeg of yooou!!”

Two full flips, followed by a perfect landing with his limbs and head touching the ground. A stellar execution of Glenn’s special personalized magic ‘Double Moonsault Dogeza’.

Glenn’s shameless gesture rendered the whole class speechless.

“Teacher, please raise your head.”

Breaking the silence, Rumia unhesitantly stood up.

“…I wish to assist teacher in the expedition.”

Rumia brought her clasped hands to her chest and, with a smile, looked Glenn straight in the eyes. Her appearance was reminiscent of a saint, with a bright glow seemingly spreading out from her back.

“Uhh…”

Rumia’s resolute appearance made Sistine, who originally planned to participate, shirk back her hands.

“A-angel?!”

Glenn looked up from his dogeza and was completely entranced by Rumia’s display.

“Mm… I know you would definitely join in. Yeah, I am sure of it!”

Finally, Glenn raised himself up triumphantly, his cheeky attitude was already beyond help.

“Yes, I will do my best to help teacher write a splendid thesis… Although, I am not sure how someone inexperienced like me can really help…”

“T-thesis? W-what are you talking about? I don’t u-understand where you’re getting at!”

Returning to his feigned ignorance, Glenn revealed a forced smile to Rumia.

“Seriously, how could you not be of any help? You are well-versed in healing spells, a bare necessity to survive in the wilderness. To tell you the truth, at the time when I was planning the expedition for the class, you were one I thought as indispensable. Thanks a bunch!”

Glenn’s excessive praise made Rumia let out a chuckle.

Not long after Rumia, another girl spoke up.

“Although I am confused about the details, I will volunteer myself for the expedition.”

Re=L stood up in the back as she announced in her usual half-asleep, expressionless, and almost mechanical state.

“I am Glenn’s sword. Just leave Glenn’s and Rumia’s protection to me.”

“Y-you… Ah, forget it, your combat ability as a vanguard is unmatched… Although I sincerely doubt there will be any fights on this expedition. Either way, I’ll be relying on you, Re=L.”

“Mm.”

With Rumia and Re=L’s participation, the classroom had an air of acknowledgment like ‘Ah, of course this would happen…’ and ‘I was certain those two would join…’.

“Sisti, you should hurry up.” After Rumia sat back down, she whispered to Sistine.

“Ah… I know… but… Uuu…”

“Sisti?”

For some reason, Sistine did not look very pleased or happy. She had a complicated expression with her mouth tightly shut, seemingly with no intent to declare her participation. Rumia, on the other hand, was unsure what to make of her beloved childhood friend.

Actually, Sistine Fibel was holding a slight childish grudge against Glenn. Although she really wanted to announce her participation, she would rather hear the request from Glenn himself. Basically, she was feeling jealous.

Rumia… you are indispensable.

I’ll be relying on you, Re=L.

Even Rumia and Re=L was directly praised to such extent by Glenn – one known for his lack of directness, the trust that existed between them and Glenn was undeniable. Certainly, if one considered their abilities, it was no wonder why Glenn would place such deep trust in them.

The potency of Rumia’s healing spells was not shy to any professional healers, and it was something Sistine could not compare. While the combat strength of Re=L, an operative of the Imperial Court Mage Corps, was also unparalleled. Considering the dangers they might encounter on the expedition, there were no better candidates.

Although they were clear choices… an indescribable feeling surged up in Sistine’s heart. Simply, Glenn’s public display of trust in those two left her unsatisfied and envious.

J-just not long ago, I fought alongside teacher and triumphed over a powerful foe…

If she were to volunteer herself, would Glenn also shower praise upon her?

N-no no no… That definitely won’t happen…

“Ah? White Cat? You also want to come? Umm… Given how opinionated you are, I really don’t want you to come along. I guess since there aren’t any other volunteers, I’ll just bring you along. But, please don’t be a burden.”

Her mind could easily imagine the arrogant Glenn, speaking in a tone that would make her boil inside. Not to mention, the situation would be infinitely worse since he just openly praised and demonstrated his trust in Rumia and Re=L.

Uuu… B-but, I really want to go on this archaeological expedition…

Sistine wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Redolf Fibel, and become a famous archaeothaumatologist.

To explore the many ruins within Alzano Empire and to complete her grandfather’s dream by solving the mystery of ‘Melgalius Sky Castle’, were reasons why she worked so hard in her studies of magic. Moreover, because of certain personal reasons, Sistine really wanted to explore the ‘Taum Observatory’ at least once. So to say, in Sistine’s heart, she really yearned to go on this expedition. Although her heart did not lie, Sistine’s pointless pride and trivial jealousy, along with not being able to directly express herself in front of Glenn, stood in the way of her announcing her intentions.

What can I do? I really want to participate, but also don’t want to be treated differently from Rumia and Re=L, to be seen like a burden.

Her eyebrows unconsciously furrowed.

“Hmm… Is there anyone else interested in joining?” Glenn beckoned the students from the podium.

At that moment, Glenn casted a glance toward Sistine… but Sistine was agonizing over the decision with her hand over her head and did not notice Glenn’s glance even once.

…T-that’s right! If I think about it, experience gained on research expedition can be counted toward our total combat experience! Therefore, I can give the excuse that for the sake of gaining experience, however unwilling I am, I will wish to participate! This way, my participation will be seen as a favor to him!

With the new idea in mind, Sistine recovered her usual vigor.

This way, no matter how the teacher ends up evaluating me, I won’t lose any face! Yes, let’s go with th-…

Just as Sistine was about to raise her hand…

“Then, count me in.”

Surprisingly, it was Gibul’s voice.

Sistine meekly drooped her head at the interruption.

“Although I have no interest in teacher’s continued employment. But doesn’t experience gained through research expeditions counts toward our total combat experience? For the sake of building my resume, even if it is just a pointless F-ranked site, I am willing to participate.”

My idea was scooped…!!

Sistine went back to hanging her head in frustration. Gibul got to that excuse first.

“Haa… You are really a problematic kid, but it’s fine. Now, anyone else?”

W-what to do, what to do, what to do…?!

If I use the same excuse to participate after Gibul, won’t it feel very unnatural? Won’t people see it as me purposely trying to hide my true desires, that I use the same excuse to pretend to be uninterested? Should I think of some other excuse?

Sistine became trapped within a labyrinth of thought. At the same time, Gibul’s announcement rekindled the interest in other students.

“Teacher! Me! Pick me! I love these sorts of adventures! Hey, Cecil, you should come as well!”

“That’s right. As a prospective scholar, I am interested in archaeological sites. Teacher, can Kash and I sign up?”

“Really? You do know this isn’t a simple field trip, right? Well, fine, you’re both in.”

The well-built Kash Winger and the taciturn bookworm Cecil Clayton both joined in. The total count of members is now up to five.

“Ah… Teacher, m-me as well.”

“Hey! Teacher, if that’s the case, please let me join!”

Soon after, the shy and apprehensive Lynn Tethys and the idol-like Teresa Reidy both raised their hand in interest.

“Teresa is alright, but… Lynn, are you sure you wish to join? That’s a surprise, I always took you for someone quite sheltered.”

“T-that… I… I s-still want t-teacher to keep t-teaching… Umm… A-although I may not be much of a help, but c-chores and stuff, I can definitely do… T-therefore, please.”

“Ah, is that so. Thank you Lynn, I’ll be in your care.”

Ugh! I’m so envious of those who could clearly speak their minds!

Sistine could only curse at her own lack of courage.

“That’s right, teacher. As for the necessary supplies of the expedition, just leave it to my house, the Reidy Conglomerate, to prepare. Of course, all supplies will be prepared at cost, and I will definitely ensure it will be less expensive than anywhere else. This way, we need not have to worry about the quality of the preparatory work. Certainly something that works in the favor of teacher, considering the circumstances… Hehehe~”

Glenn just blankly stared at Teresa’s broad smile.

“Hey, Teresa… where did you learn that the school won’t cover the expenditures for this expedition?”

“…Ah? What is teacher talking about?”

“It is hard to refuse such beneficial conditions. But still, are you planning to expand your connections within the school and increasing your business experience? For the sake of your conglomerate’s future…?”

“Oh? What could you possibly mean?”

“Definitely the scion of a great merchant, how scary… Either way, it will definitely be of a big help.”

Uuu… I am jealous of how good a reason and how clear a goal they have…

Sistine continued to hang her head in displeasure.

At this point, after Lynn and Teresa’s joining, there was only one spot remaining.

Ugh, I can’t care about my pride anymore!

At this point, Sistine finally broke free of her torment.

I don’t care what that guy thinks anymore! Other ruins aside, only Taum Observatory… only this one site I cannot let by!

With all her strength and courage, Sistine decided to stand up to declare her intention. But just moments before she raised her hand…

“Ah, that’s right. About the last spot on the expedition team, to tell you all the truth, I already have decided on someone.”

“Wh-…!”

Glenn’s sudden declaration caused Sistine to freeze.

Ah…? Am I… done for…?

Sistine’s mind turned into a field of white.

“The final member, is someone that I will definitely need on the expedition, even if I have to grovel on the ground and beg her to go.”

And then Glenn’s glance turned towards Sistine.

“…Ah?”

Looking at Glenn’s gaze made Sistine’s heart race nonstop.

“The final member is…”

Glenn slowly walked over toward Sistine. He has said it before, it was someone for whom he was willing to grovel on the ground.

C-could it… really be…?!

As Glenn approached, Sistine’s heart beat faster and faster.

T-teacher, even though he doesn’t speak of it, within his heart…

Sistine could barely contain her joy.

…However.

Huh…? Ah?!

Glenn walked right past Sistine’s seat…

“Wendy, the last person must be you. Could you please participate? I beg of you!” Glenn said to Wendy Nablesse, located five seats behind Sistine.

Bam!

Sistine’s collapsed back down and landed her forehead squarely on her desk.

“How can a highly respectable lady like me go to such a rustic place?”

Wendy held her face with one hand and tilted her head away, displaying a clear disinterest in the prospect.

“To write a thesis, I need to decipher the words on the tablets. Perhaps there could be some new findings in the interpretation. As someone well-known to be a genius at deciphering encoded messages, I need you on the expedition.”

“…” Wendy quietly thought to herself.

“S-so? How about it? I beg of you, I will definitely vouch for your safety. A-although I am certain there would be no danger to begin with, but in one-in-a-million chance, I will definitely keep you safe. So please participate!”

Glenn begged with his hand clasped.

After looking at Glenn through the corner of her eyes, Wendy let out a sigh.

“Haa… I really don’t know what to do with you…”

Wendy begrudgingly agreed to join.

“It’s not unusual for a noble to survey how the commoners lived. Not to mention, responding to the request of commoners is also a duty of nobles… Although I am somewhat unwilling, I will still go.”

“T-thank you! Wendy-chan, I love you~!”

“Stop it! How disgusting! A gentlemen should never act so flirtatiously before a lady, a gentlemen is…”

Wendy began to lecture the ecstatic Glenn on the meaning of gentlemen.

…On the other hand.

“…”

Sistine’s time has completely froze.

“Sisti, what happened…? You clearly were excited to participate in the expedition…”

“Sistine? Hmm? Not responding at all… How odd.”

Sistine could no longer hear Rumia’s worried voice or Re=L’s emotionless inquiries. She completely blanked out, looking back and seeing how her pointless pride has prevented her from participating in the opportunity of a lifetime. How shallow and childish she was.

The surrounding students were also confused. “How come both Rumia and Re=L were participating, yet Sistine was left behind?” Such peculiar development was difficult to explain.

“Ah, wait! I am not done with my talk yet…!”

“Uhh… Alrighty…!”

Glenn backpedaled away from Wendy and returned to the podium.

“With this, the expedition team is set! I thank you all for your time and assistance! Let us gather together after class to discuss the details and preparations of the expedition.”

As Glenn called the discussion to a close…

“Hmm?”

Sistine wobbled up to Glenn like an emotionless cadaver.

“W-what is it, White Cat… A-are you planning to criticize me for not writing a thesis?!”

Glenn reflexively took a step back from the approaching Sistine.

“N-no! Its n-not my mistake, White Cat! R-rather, it is a p-problem of the system…!”

However.

“Uuu… Ahh…”

“…?”

“T-that… T-the…”

Sistine’s eye were filled with tears. Her mouth opened and closed repeatedly like a fish out of water. Quite evident that she was trying to say something, but the words that came out from her made little sense.

“Umm… What is wrong? You are scaring me…”

Sistine suppressed voice sounded angry, but at the same time, conflicted. The unusual appearance of Sistine made Glenn unable to respond.

Rumia let out a pained smile from behind. She used hand signals (an absolutely necessary skill for a magician) to hint at Sistine’s true desires and then lowered her head in request.

“Ah… So that’s how it is. And here I thought…”

After a moment’s pause, Glenn, who has finally realized Sistine’s true intentions, simply shook his head a few times and, with a pained visage, let out a long sigh.

Glenn then turned to the class and announced, “Then, can I leave you to be the leader of the expedition, White Cat?”

“…Mm?”

At that moment, White Cat let out a surprised look at Glenn.

Glenn continued, “Ah, I was obviously planning to bring you along. Regardless of whether you are willing or not, I was going to drag you along. I decided upon this from the very beginning… Yeah.”

“B-but, why… me?”

“Umm… Regardless of how it is, I am someone who is unfamiliar with archaeothaumatology… How to put this, I need someone to consult, basically an expert I guess. Don’t you fit the bill perfectly?”

“E-expert? M-me?!”

“Y-yeah, either way, I need you to join the expedition regardless of what you think, even if it means abusing my power as a teacher. If you refuse this request, I will forcibly fail you… Hehehe~”

“Y-you…!”

Light returned to the husk-like Sistine.

“T-to use grades to force a student’s participation, y-you are a complete trash! W-why can’t you just ask me normally?!”

“No can do, I don’t like to hold in my feelings… unlike a certain someone, you copy?”

“Uuu… F-fine! This time is an exception! D-don’t think to use such unreasonable methods in the future! S-speaking of which, you only landed yourself in this dilemma because of y-your poor professionalism.”

Sistine angrily launched a verbal barrage, and now naturally transitioned into lecturing Glenn. But, to any outside observer, it was quite obvious that Sistine was ecstatic about being able to participate in the expedition.

Haa… What a troublesome girl.

This time, everyone, including Glenn, came to the same conclusion.

◇ ◇ ◇

In the week that followed.

While class went on as usual, the details of the expedition, the daily travels, and the necessary supplies needed to be ironed out. Other than the meetings to discuss the details, members of the expedition also needed to complete outdoor survival training. The tasks at hand were numerous. Before long, after non-stop and grueling work, the penultimate day before the final departure has arrived.

In the bustling southern district of Fejite, at a small and discreet tavern hidden away in the labyrinthine alleyways, Glenn sat at the counter.

“Mm… I think the hardest part is finally over…”

The enervated Glenn let himself rest on the counter. With the final preparations wrapped up today, Glenn could finally take a breather.

“Although those kids still think it will be like a picnic… that should be fine, as long as I carefully watch over them.”

But Glenn was not in the position to force discipline upon them.

As long as everyone ensure their own responsibilities…

“Then…”

Glenn’s purpose for coming to this small tavern was not for its alcohol. It was to meet up with a certain someone, but that person has yet to arrive. Glenn did arrive an hour early after all.

“Hmph… I guess I got here a little bit too early.”

Normally, Glenn would barely arrive on time, but coincidentally he had something to do in the nearby southern district, so he arrived unusually early.

“Sleepy… Is there nothing here with which I could pass the time…?”

The bored Glenn rummaged through the bag at his side and found a stack of paper within.

“Hmm? This is…”

He pulled out the stack of paper from the many stuff left within the bag. It was a thesis on magic.

The title was ‘Investigation: Regarding Taum Observatory and Spatial-Temporal Magic’

“Ah… So this was the paper that headmaster mentioned. It was because of this paper that we were compelled to reinvestigate the Taum Observatory.”

A few days ago, Glenn used his privilege as a teacher to take out a copy of the thesis from the academy’s library, but soon forgotten it in his bag.

“Speaking of which, because of how busy we had been with our preparations, I never got the opportunity to read the paper…”

If a certain white-haired girl was present, she would definitely shout ‘that is really irresponsible of you’ and begin a long lecture.

“…Either way, I have some time to burn.”

Glenn flipped through the paper as he let out a yawn.

The citations of prior research looked pretty normal. It spoke of a previous expedition and their findings at the Taum Observatory, the research papers on the site, and the translations of the tablets. Overall, a pretty straightforward introduction.

From the looks of it, that site really is worthless…

Glenn lazily flipped through the paper.

The numerous tablets within the Observatory were all translated, but none that was worth mentioning within the field of archaeothaumatology – or rather, was of benefit to the research into sorcery. The structure of the ruins has been completely analyzed, and all of the hidden chambers were well-documented. There really wasn’t anything left to discover at the ruins.

To be worthless to such a degree, it is a rather scary thought, considering what the thesis is suggesting.

Glenn was now worried about how to go about writing his own thesis and let out a yawn at the thought.

When reaching the part about the author’s own research and insights, the contents of the paper took a drastic turn.

Taum Observatory was recognized by everyone in the magical community as a completely worthless site. Yet, the author challenged that widely held opinion and concluded that Taum Observatory was an ancient ritual site for spatial-temporal magic – a huge magic installation.

Speaking of which, how did he reach such a ridiculous conclusion?

With a sarcastic smile, Glenn flipped the page with a single finger.

Mastery over time and space, also known as spatial-temporal magic, was the greatest mystery of Black Magic. Because of how absurd it was, there was bound to be multiple restrictions to its activation. For example, the limitations described by magic theory. However, this thesis contested that, as long as one properly activated the installation, one would be able to freely manipulate time and space. In other words, time travel… Obviously something of pure fantasy.

Ha! Clearly the author was overthinking it. If there really was a device as the author described… How to say this… Won’t the world be already destroyed?

Glenn unconsciously let out a chuckle.

“…! …Oh?!”

Slowly, Glenn became more and more absorbed in the thesis. The various different tablets and drawings showed evidence of the ancients’ research into spatial-temporal magic. The different perspective toward the analysis of the expedition results: How long distance teleportation requires ley lines, and that the similarity between the described ley lines and the one at Taum Observatory. Theoretical studies with such similarities as a basis, thought experiments, and so forth…

Glenn could not help but think about what compelled the author to go to such great lengths for his research. The incredible concentration and imagination that went into the conjectures, almost as if perfectly building a castle in the air, attracted and excited every fiber of Glenn’s attention. It convinced readers that the worthless Taum Observatory was an important ancient installation and made readers believe its purpose was undoubtedly for spatial-temporal magic. However, the most important part of the paper, the part that tied all the theories together: the evidence of magic in the temple, was nowhere to be found. ‘Why? How can this happen? Was something missing from the site? Did we overlook something?’ The words of the thesis permeated the distraught feelings of the author.

“Ah… I have ended up reading it all at once.”

Glenn took a deep breath and put away the thesis. He then took a glance at the time and noticed he had burned more time than he expected.

“But still, the report definitely would compel people to reinvestigate the site. At the same time, not one of those well-established professors was willing to take up the expedition… Certainly, no matter how well one writes a follow-up paper, it will feel like a cheap knockoff of the original.”

Despite not presenting any strong evidence, this thesis was undoubtedly the magnum opus of its author. The imagination and thought experiments, the carefully formulated reasoning, and the crisp conclusions were all deserving of study by others.

“…So who wrote this wonderful paper?”

Glenn excitedly flipped to the cover and read the author’s name.

‘Redolf Fibel’

“Hmm? Fibel… Why does that name sound familiar…”

The image of a certain talkative platinum-haired girl began to float into his mind… Just at that moment.

“What a rare occurrence, it’s rare to see you arrive earlier than me.”

“Wah!”

The sudden cool voice that rang out from behind his back gave Glenn a scare. Glenn quickly caught the thesis he reflexively dropped and glared at the youth with critical eyes.

“D-don’t scare me like that, Albert!”

“You are too careless. If I were an assassin, I would’ve killed you three times over.” The cool youth, Albert, emotionlessly replied.

It was a scheduled day for their periodic exchange of intelligence.

“I’ve heard you gotten yourself into something troublesome, Glenn.”

“Ah, that is…”

“Hmph, to need your students to cover for your mistakes, you are honestly beyond help.”

After the sharp criticism, Albert sat himself next to Glenn.

Of course, Albert was well aware where Glenn would be heading tomorrow, his cool appearance contained a tinge of anger and frustration.

“Uhh… N-no… That is, some special circumstances developed on my end…”

“…”

Albert did not care for Glenn’s excuses, but silently gestured to the bartender, to which a glass of brandy slid down the counter and into Albert’s hand.

“Haa… You bastard are really merciless.”

Glenn also gestured for a glass of brandy.

With drinks in hand, the two exchanged details about recent developments – The current situation within the Imperial Government, the movements of the military, as well as news from the magic academy. Overall, a very professional exchange of intelligence.

“Speaking of which, Albert, were there any movements from that organization?”

Glenn shifted the topic to one of his interest.

“Those people… Lately, they have been unusually calm…”

That organization they were discussing was the one that targeted the disowned princess, the unique ability user Rumia, and would go to any lengths to capture her – the cult that called themselves the ‘Researchers of Divine Wisdom’.

“But they did make an attempt on the princess a few days ago.”

“W-what?! Is that true?!”

The unexpected answer led to Glenn’s sudden outburst – an outburst that echoed in the quiet tavern.

“…Calm yourself. Don’t let something as petty as this disturbs your cool.”

“Yes…”

Albert kept his usual cool and quietly sipped his glass of brandy.

“So what happened exactly?” After a pause, Glenn asked Albert.

“We discovered it early and have quietly disposed of the ones involved.” Albert briskly replied, almost as if nothing has happened. To which, Glenn let out a long sigh.

“Ah, how to say this. With you around, we can really sleep without a worry.”

Glenn took a sip of brandy, the liquid was tasteless in his mouth.

“Likely, it was some eager members operating on their own. There were no high ranking member among them, and their overall skill was pitifully low. They were all complete and utter trash.”

“But, as long as we have you standing guard, no matter how strong the enemy, they are nothing more than trash. Isn’t that right?”

Glenn then shrugged his shoulders at Albert’s silence. It was quite unimaginable that something like this happened in the city without him becoming aware.

Glenn was originally a member of the Imperial Court Mage Corps. Although only a measly third-ranked magician, he could always pull through in life-and-death battles. But compared to that, Albert was able to clean everything up without the notice of Glenn. While his actions were less disruptive, it was somewhat terrifying to be guarded in the shadows.

“Since then, those people do not seem to have any major movements. For the time being, it can be said that the princess is safe.”

“I-is that so…”

With the wonderful news, Glenn relaxed his expression, only to have Albert rain on his parade.

“But, by the intelligence we got from the higher-ups, it seems that the organization has taken to a new direction. One can rather say, they are preoccupied so as to ignore the princess for now.”

“New direction…?”

“That’s correct. The organization has realigned its focus on a new direction and has a new goal at hand. We are unsure of the details. ‘The Hermit’ and ‘The Hierophant’ are looking into it.”

“…”

“More importantly, recently, Jatice Lowfan’s movement are quite concerning.”

Jatice Lowfan: The ex-operative of the Imperial Court Mage Corps that was responsible for the tragedy that unfolded around Glenn and Sistine during the previous month. A complete and utter madman.

“The Jatice that faked his own death and then hid away for over a full year before returning… After that encounter with you, he seemed to be active in the regions around Fejite, wiping out anyone with relations to the Researchers of Divine Wisdom… occasionally getting innocent civilians involved in his rampage.”

The topic instantly made Glenn’s stomach churn.

Jatice was a dangerous individual who believed in his own form of justice. If necessary, he would not hesitate to murder innocents and would not be ridden with any guilt, for he earnestly believed his actions reflected ‘justice’.

“Just this morning, the Court Mage Division sent out a subjugation force to the eastern region to eliminate Jatice. In the ensuing battle, the force was completely wiped out, falling completely for his trap.”

“Darn him… He is acting hostile to both the empire and the cultists, just what exactly is he trying to achieve?”

The sound of Glenn’s fist smashing at the counter echoed in the empty pub.

“I am not sure, but it feels like he is searching for something. It also seems like he is purposely revealing himself, baiting others into attacking him.”

“That bastard…”

With an unusual interest in Glenn, Jatice was someone hard to figure out. Rather, it would be unthinkable for a normal person to understand the thoughts of a madman.

“In the past few years, the conflict with the neighboring Kingdom of Rezalia has been heating up. Just recently, the sudden rise and maneuver of the extreme right party – the Order of Saint Carol, made the inquisition more aggressive with their hunt for heretical knowledge. Regardless, there were too much going on for the military to pay attention.”

Just then, Albert calmly changed the topic.

“After the higher-ups’ deliberations, it was decided that for a while, the protection of the princess will be wholly given to the ‘Chariot’, and I will be summoned back to headquarters. Once my orders are complete, I will return at the earliest time possible… Sorry.”

“You are being recalled from Fejite? I guess the personnel shortage is quite real…”

Such was the case for Glenn back in the days as well.

As among the strongest of the Imperial Court Mage Corps, Albert could easily complete many difficult missions and was a favorite among the top brass of the military. It was not the least due in part to how he could coldly execute any task assigned to him.

“It can’t be helped. Neither the enemy nor we have infinite military power at our disposal. If no fish is going to bite the ‘bait’, then there won’t be a need for a ‘fisherman’ to stand by. Although saying it like this leaves a bad aftertaste.”

Bait. Albert said with a tinge of sarcasm, but sadly it reflected the thoughts of the military and the government.

Rumia was the ‘bait’ for the hostile organization to reveal their cards. As such, she could not freely decide to withdraw from school. She has to remain in the conspicuous magic academy, where to the military and government, she served both as ‘bait’ and ‘surveillance target’. If something were to happen, she could also turn into ‘target for elimination’. Additionally, by keeping her among magicians, her unique abilities would not be easily revealed to others.

With such distasteful methods, Alicia the Seventh must be worried sick for her beloved daughter.

Speaking of which, why have the Researchers of Divine Wisdom… changed their focus…?

To this very day, the Researchers of Divine Wisdom would use every trick in their arsenal to get their hands on Rumia – dead or alive. It was not wrong to think that for the sake of a certain goal of theirs, the Researchers of Divine Wisdom needed to get their hands on the unique ability holder Rumia.

Yet, the organization now was up to something else… certainly a matter worthy of concern.

Was Rumia no longer an essential part of their plans?

Glenn’s anxiety began to rise rapidly at the realization.

During the last field trip, the Project: Revive Life incident… Did I overlook something?

Worrisome matters kept on piling up. Yet no matter how hard they thought about it, there was not a single lead to follow.


(1) Basically something akin to Entropic Cascade Failure.

(2) Archaeothaumatology: Archaeo- = Ancient, Thaumato- = Magic, In short, the study of ancient magic.

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3 thoughts on “V06 Chapter 1: Teacher Goes on an Archaeological Expedition

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