Under the crumbling starry night.
I reminisced as I sprinted down the endless ‘Corridor of Stars’ alone, of the days after I had adopted Glenn on a whim.
…After I had endured the endless fighting and had reached complete exhaustion, I whimsically decided to adopt the homeless and young Glenn. There wasn’t any specific reason, just purely a whim.
After the event that brought Glenn and me together, I realized my own weakness that was hidden under the false veneer of strength and no longer pretended to be strong.
Right now, I decided to treasure my present and chose to live with another.
What I received was the warm, calm, and gentle days – days that have made me forget the pain and loneliness that accompanied me.
“Hey, Celica! What experiment will we be doing today?”
“Let me think… I know, how about alchemy? Want to make a red crystal together?”
“Uwaaa! That sounds fun!!”
The time spent with Glenn has quickly thawed my already frozen heart.
This was the greatest joy I had felt since I first awoke in this foreign world. People could not live alone, such a simple logic known to everyone took me close to four hundred years to realize.
But, it was at this time that I was afflicted by a certain ‘ailment’…
◇ ◇ ◇
“Tsk…? So this normal looking room is the famed centerpiece of the ‘Taum Observatory’?”
On the sixth and likely final day of the expedition, the group arrived at the deepest recess of the site, the planetarium chamber.
At the center of the beautifully polished hemispheric room laid a large and mysterious magic device, with a massive black tablet nearby.
The magic device took on the same shape of a large balance scale. At its center, one could see the numerous complicated gears and mechanisms all coming together in a thick columnar core. Two objects lie on the end of the ‘arms’, each being a shaped piece of crystal in the form of an icosahedron with its twelve corners filed away – a type of tricontadihedron. (1)
This magic apparatus was actually the functional part of the gigantic planetarium, a relic built using ancient magic from time long ago. Previous research postulated that it utilized light magic to create a projection of the night sky onto the hemispheric room.
Beyond the hypothesis gleaned from the tablets, nothing more was known about the object. Detailed analysis was prevented by the presence of Etherio Coating, which made dismantling or even removing portions of the device impossible.
What was the meaning of this device? For what reason was the device built? Because of all these unanswered questions, the device was known to be a mystery.
“I have never seen it in person before. But from what I heard, this planetarium is quite impressive! Glenn, are you paying attention?”
“Ah… Right. Is that so…?”
Celica was her usual self. The sight of her frail self yesterday at the hot spring felt more and more like a dream. Glenn definitely did not want to bring the matter up with Celica and tried his best to suppress his memory of her. (Or rather, Glenn really wanted to forget about all that transpired yesterday.)
“Umm, Teacher? Since we took the effort to come out all the way to ‘Taum Observatory’, we should use this planetarium to take a gander at the stars, don’t you agree?” Sistine has been nudging Glenn ever since they set foot in the planetarium.
“Huh? The stars? Are you serious…?”
Suddenly remember what transpired last night, Glenn impulsively shrunk back a step. However, Sistine did not seem to mind and once again pleaded for the opportunity.
“I beg of you, teacher. I want to see the planetarium in action no matter what!”
“Umm… I-I will think about it…”
“Let her take a look. After all, the device is one of the few famous landmarks in this observatory.” Celica voiced her support for Sistine.
“But… rather than fiddling with the useless planetarium device, I am more interested in summarizing our findings and thinking of a good thesis to write.”
“I’ll be sure to help you on that later, so just go ahead and enjoy the planetarium show.”
“Haa… If you promise that much…” Glenn reluctantly followed the previous thesis’s procedure in activating the device – first pressing a few locations on the black tablet and then inputting the commands.
“Hmm, I think this is about right? Ugh, ancient writings, how annoying…”
The magic used by the ancients, also known as ancient magic. Modern people could not understand the theory and the construction of ancient magic. No matter how they investigated, they could not use modern magic as a basis for the understanding of ancient magic. But, even not understanding the theory behind the devices, they at least could use modern magic to operate the already existing devices.
“I think that should be good.”
Everyone held their breath as Glenn tapped the various glowing letters on the black display tablet. Suddenly, the room was enveloped by darkness, followed by what could only be described as a complete change to their world.
Nebulae, comets, stars all appeared as they immersed themselves in the scene above their heads. Countless twinkling stars greeted them in the dreamlike environment of space, as if a pinch of silver dust was spread upon the darkness, leaving everyone breathless at the magnificent display. It was hard to believe themselves as still being confined to the chamber. Was it merely a trick of light that projected the image upon the dome? No… At that moment, everyone felt like they were standing in the middle of the boundless cosmos.
“A-ancients were quite the odd bunch. Despite being such an incredible sorcerous civilization, they would waste their resources on something so insignificant… What were they think-…?” As Glenn stood dumbfounded at the sight of the stars, his usual foul mouth could not seem to spew out condescending remarks.
“Who knows? Technological advancement and cultural realization develops at its own pace. Perhaps this fitted the agenda of a certain religious ceremony, or perhaps this was purely for entertainment, we would never know…”
After a while, Celica took over for the mesmerized Glenn and shut down the device.
As the device came to a halt, the room immediately reverted to its original appearance.
“Then, let us begin our investigation. Don’t worry, once we are done, you are free to look at the planetarium for as long as you would like.” Celica nudged the reluctant students to work.
Then, as with their usual day, they began to record and translate the drawings and etchings on the ground, search for hidden doors and passageways, and scour for evidence of unusual magic. The same mundane action they had been performing for the rest of the expedition.
However, everyone understood that the work would be more or less done by the end of the day, and, as such, despite being spread out across the room, everyone worked diligently in their tasks.
Mm. Either way, I doubt we will find anything peculiar…
Glenn smiled wryly as he traced his hand across the carving on the ground.
“Professor Arfonia!” Suddenly, Sistine rushed over to Celica.
“Hmm? What is wrong, Sistine? Are you looking for me?”
“Umm… I have a favor to ask.” Sistine was somewhat nervous as she asked, “Please, professor. Could you analyze the planetarium device?”
◇ ◇ ◇
Sistine reminisced about the time when his grandfather, Redolf Fibel, was still alive.
“My beloved Sistine. Listen carefully… Within the planetarium device located in ‘Taum Observatory’… there is something… that somehow connects it to the Sky Castle…”
“W-what are you saying? Are there any evidence? Dear grandfather?”
“N-not at the current moment…” The bedridden grandfather meekly shook his head, “But, the intuition built up through years of delving into archaeothaumatology and chasing after the Melgalius Sky Castle… that intuition tells me it is correct.”
Reflecting his heart, his eyes shone with absolute conviction.
“But… Regrettably, if it weren’t for these old bones of mine, I would definitely go to the ‘Taum Observatory’ and reveal the truth behind the planetarium device.”
Sistine then recalled the thesis ‘Investigation: Regarding Taum Observatory and Spatial-Temporal Magic’.
It was the last thesis written by her grandfather, his opus ultimum.
The thesis was lauded by all as an exemplary work of deductive reasoning… but in the end, fell just a step short. Such was the thought of not only Sistine and her grandfather, but all who came in contact with the thesis. Despite its wonderful reasoning, in the end, it lacked the evidence to tie everything together.
“I beg of you, Professor Arfonia! Please…” Sistine was filled with passion and lowered her head to Celica.
“H-hey, White Cat… I’m sure this is just a simple planetarium device.” Faced with the aggressive Sistine, Glenn was taken aback, “It is not just us. Some very powerful magicians have already investigated the device, with all the tools available to man, and even their conclusion was that the device is noth-…”
“Wait. I understand, let me give it a try.”
Although unsure why, Celica agreed to Sistine’s favor and silenced the annoyed Glenn.
She then stood in front of the planetarium device.
“Oh? Are you really going to do it? If you already agreed, then I will leave it in your able hands. After all, there is certainly the chance that you may discover something new.”
After hearing Glenn’s somewhat expectant words, Celica gave a nod and chanted the analytical Black Magic [Function•Analyze].
Sistine took a deep gulp, eagerly looking over Celica’s magic analysis.
I-if we can just find the evidence, then grandfather’s innovative research could finally be properly reevaluated, and grandfather will be able to gain the recognition he deserves…!
Sistine’s grandfather, Redolf Fibel was indeed a genius magician, so much so that even if Sistine worked all her life, she might not reach even an ounce of her grandfather brilliance.
However, contrary to his incredible abilities, Redolf’s later works were evaluated quite poorly, because until his final moments, he had never made any groundbreaking discovery. Given her deep respect for her grandfather, Sistine could not bear her late grandfather being treated like this, to see her late grandfather’s work ridiculed.
If it is Professor Arfonia… if it is the continents’ greatest seventh-ranked mage… then perhaps…
She would find some other mechanism within the planetarium device? Maybe, as her late grandfather has postulated, residual magic that would show that the device was related to spatial-temporal magic. Or maybe, as her grandfather believed till his dying breath, the device held a connection to the Sky Castle. Sistine looked upon Celica with hopeful eyes as she silently waited in anticipation.
An hour had passed since the start of the analysis, just as Glenn was about to doze off…
“…N-nothing.” Celica let out a deep breath as she dispelled the magic, and then turned to Sistine with a sorrowful gaze, “I have carefully searched every nook and cranny of the device, and other than the function as a planetarium, there is nothing else to it.”
“I-is that so…”
Sistine drooped her shoulders. While Sistine’s response was understandable, Glenn could not fathom why Celica sounded disappointed as well. He let out a deep sigh as he walked over to the disappointed pair.
“So, even you could not find anything. And here I thought, ‘If it were you~’. Ah, either way, could I get a copy of your analysis?”
“Mm. I have it recorded in the crystal, feel free to take a look at it later.”
“Thank you, it will be a big help.”
Glenn caught the crystal Celica tossed over. On the other side of the device, Sistine began to sink deeper and deeper into depression.
H-how… Even Professor Arfonia couldn’t find anything. That is to say…
No one alive on this earth could find the secret to the planetarium device. Rather, there likely was nothing to be found from the very beginning – that Sistine’s grandfather was wrong.
No, there must be something, grandfather has never been wrong. And when I grow up, I will definitely unveil the mystery.
Sistine wanted to confidently make such a declaration. But even the seventh-ranked Celica Arfonia couldn’t find anything. Face with this reality, Sistine could not help but fall into despair.
“Not to mention…”
At this moment, Sistine was also disappointed with herself, unwilling to accept that she lost to Celica in everything. Even for the sake of proving her grandfather’s hypothesis, she had to borrow Celica’s power. But more importantly, when recalling Glenn’s actions earlier…
Glenn obediently listened to Celica’s decisions and activated the planetarium device. Then, when Celica wanted to analyze the planetarium device, Glenn had a face full of anticipation and agreed with all of Celica’s conclusions. In short, from the very beginning, the one Glenn trusted the most on this expedition was Celica and not Sistine – a fact that was confirmed time and time again.
“Hmm? Wait, Celica, look at the etchings on this panel, what is your assessment?”
“Oh? This is quite similar to what I saw during the expedition to Cantare’s Nougat ruins. If memory serves, I believe the best interpretation of this design would be…”
Even after the investigation has recommenced, Glenn remained close to Celica. As far as the investigation was concerned, from the knowledge on ancient civilizations, to questions about on ancient magic technology, and then to the general direction, Glenn has always relied on Celica, to which Celica has always responded accordingly. To this fact, Sistine was feeling extremely dissatisfied.
When I was the one specifically recruited to serve as the archaeothaumatology expert…
“It can’t be helped, Sisti.” Rumia tried to placate Sistine after noticing her troubled feelings, “The gap between Sisti and the professor is still quite large. From her explanations, it is not hard to see that she has experience in numerous A and S ranked ruins. Not sure why, but the professor is extremely well informed in the field of archaeothaumatology, no different from any expert.”
Rumia was correct. Although Celica never explicitly advertised her experiences, it was clear from her replies. Celica’s understanding of ancient civilizations easily overshadowed that of Sistine, despite never having had published a single paper on archaeothaumatology. Whenever Sistine discussed archaeothaumatology with Celica, she would be awestruck by Celica’s breadth of facts and the depth of understanding. Sadly, being beaten in her own field was what brought about the greatest shock to Sistine.
“Not to mention, Professor Arfonia is the mentor of our teacher, as well as a mother-like figure to him. As long as the professor is present, it is no wonder that teacher would naturally come to rely on her…”
“But still… Uuu…”
Sistine looked upon the graceful lady next to the kneeling Glenn as he examined the carvings.
That place should have been rightfully mine…
Although Sistine herself could not identify the reason why she felt this way, she nevertheless watched them with a sense of unease and jealousy.
“Why… does my heart hurt so much?” Sistine muttered under her breath.
At that moment, a flash of inspiration came to Sistine. Sure, Sistine was inferior to Celica on many levels, but if she carry out her plan, then perhaps she could one-up her.
“Sisti?” Rumia tilted her head inquisitively as Sistine surveyed the surroundings.
Once Sistine confirmed that everyone was busy with their work and would unlikely interfere, she pulled close to Rumia and whispered.
“Hey, Rumia, I have a favor to ask…”
“To think, there really is nothing new to be found here…” Glenn grumbled as he browsed through the compiled notebook of expedition results.
“Mm. Although nothing new was found, at least there is closure from finishing the investigation.” Celica said with her eyes fixed on the notebook in Glenn’s hand, “Given how thorough we were, I’m sure the students will also collaborate on the ‘Ruins lack anything of interest’ conclusion. Oh, and don’t forget to thank all the students once this is done, got it?”
“Yeah, sure.” Glenn gave Celica a lukewarm response.
“Mm. Nothing interesting… Of course, I should have expected this…” Celica held a complicated expression as she muttered to herself.
Her face from the side was dyed with melancholy, with reasons unbeknownst to anyone.
“…Celica? What exactly is wrong… with you?” Glenn, being worried about Celica, pressed her on the matter, but he was soon interrupted.
Really, it was a sudden coup.
The surrounding began to reverberate with magic as streaks of blue light raced across the etchings on the ground.
Glenn hastily turned his head.
The planetarium device was beginning to churn.
I-It’s moving, what exact is happening?!
The previous thesis has never described such abnormal function before.
Glenn and the students were bewildered and remained where they stood. At the start, the planetarium device’s two arms did as it had done the previous time and projected the image of the stars onto the chamber. But then, the two arms began to spin along with the image of the stars. Faster and faster they spun, until the trail of the star’s silvery light drew countless concentric circles centered overhead. After a while, the device finally began to slow down, and, with it, the starry night disappeared from view.
At the north end of the chamber, the blue light illuminated a three-dimensional ‘doorway’. It was clearly a doorway leading to another space, a form of portal. Inside the floating portal was pitch black, and no one could tell where the portal led.
“N-no way. Is this for real?!” Sistine and Rumia exclaimed as they stood next to the stone control panel beside the planetarium device.
From the look of things, it was clear that the portal appeared because of some manipulation on their part.
In the moment that followed, Glenn and all the other students simply stood dumbfounded at the mysterious portal that appeared.
“Uwaaa! Too awesome!!” Following Kash’s outburst, all the students ran up to Sistine.
“Hey, how did you do that? What did you do to make that appear?!”
“Surely, this must count as an impressive find? It is a function that no one has ever heard about before!”
“Ahhh!! I can’t believe Sistine got to make a name for herself before me!!”
“I see… it required specific activation procedures to reveal the secret function. Then, Sistine, care to explain what exactly you did?”
Kash, Cecil, Wendy, and Gibul all joined in cheering.
T-this can’t be possible, right?!
Glenn trembled at the discovery.
The students thought that Sistine used some sort of unorthodox method and chanced upon the secret function while fiddling with the control panel. However, that was a misunderstanding, and the reality was more severe than they could have imagined.
When even the seventh-ranked Celica concluded that ‘Other than the function as a planetarium, there is nothing else to it’ using analytical magic, a mere second-ranked Sistine had no way of challenging that conclusion. In other words, there was no way for Sistine to have opened the door with the device’s in-built mechanism.
Glenn placed Celica’s recording crystal to his forehead and uttered the chant. The recorded data and analysis on the planetarium device flowed through his mind, and, after a moment…
I knew it! There was no way for any hidden mechanisms to be located within the device, there is simply no room for it to be placed! Even its current mechanism barely fitted inside the structure! For it to be possible…
Glenn removed the crystal and turned to Celica.
“Hey, Celica. What do you think? Could it be that she…?”
Yet, Celica did not pay any attention to Glenn.
Celica gripped her own head, gasping heavily while crouched on the ground.
“H-how could it be possible?”
Her face was pale, with cold sweats breaking out all over. Her condition was clearly very terrible, but her bulging eyes remain fixated on the portal made out of light.
“C-Corridor… of… S-Stars? R-right, that is the ‘Corridor of Stars’!!” Celica was acting in an extremely unusual manner as her mouth muttered odd words.
“Hey! What are you talking about? Corridor… of what?!”
“H-how can something like this… be possible…? B-but, I am… certainly…!” Celica kept muttering in a trance-like state, and then slowly stood up, “R-right… I…”
Celica wobbled as she slowly approached the portal, like an insect flying toward the light. But then, as if someone had pushed her from behind, Celica began to dash toward the mysterious portal with all her speed.
To everyone’s surprise, Celica sprinted into the portal and vanished.
“What?! Celica! Why the heck did you do that?!”
No one could believe what had just happened. For the experienced Celica, who had gone on countless expeditions, to make such a rudimentary mistake was unthinkable.
“Hey, Celica! We still have no idea where the portal goes! Aren’t you being a bit too rash?! Seriously, come back already!” Glenn hurriedly tried to chase after Celica.
But, perhaps the portal has exceeded its time limit, or perhaps because a mechanism in place for when a person enters, the sound of the magic earlier has once again came.
Before Glenn’s very eyes, Celica’s back disappeared from view as the portal vanished.
“Darn it! Celica! Celicaaa!!” Glenn leapt onto the tile where the portal had been and fervently shouted.
Silence. Everyone who was present at the scene was at a loss for words. Celica had vanished through the mysterious portal.
Because of the emergent situation, Glenn gathered all the students together and returned to the campsite. After restricting the restless students to their own tents, Glenn summoned Sistine and Rumia over to discuss the details. As expected, Re=L came tagging along with the two, but since Glenn planned to keep her in the loop anyways, no objections were made.
“I believe such precautions may be necessary…”
Glenn placed a magic crystal on each of the tent’s four corners, and then activated the soundproofing wards. It was to prevent others from eavesdropping on the conversation outside.
“Then, let us hear what you two did to the planetarium device.”
With that, Sistine and Rumia summed up their activities…
“As I suspected…”
Not willing to accept Celica’s results, Sistine secretly borrowed Rumia’s special ability and analyzed the planetarium device with Black Magic [Function•Analyze].
Rumia’s unique ability was [Magic Amplification], which could temporarily amplify the magic power of one she comes in contact with, allowing for a significantly stronger magic. Sistine only wanted to see if she could pick up anything Celica may have missed with Rumia’s assistance, but it turned out to be an incredible miscalculation.
With Rumia’s amplification, Sistine surprisingly found a hidden mechanism within the device and discovered a function that no one else had noticed. They had essentially struck gold.
Sistine could not resist testing the mechanism out and began to operate the control panel as indicated. She ended up activating the unknown function, and what followed was the appearance of the portal. Or so the story goes…
“Teacher, what do you mean by ‘as suspected’?”
“Rumia, I had always felt from a long time ago that your [Magic Amplification] is not really as simple as we thought.” Because of the sensitivity of the information, Glenn lowered his voice.
During the previous incident with the field trip. Rumia was kidnapped by a certain evil magician and made to participate as part of ‘Project:Revive Life’ by forcibly activating her ability. As with their previous assessment, [Magic Amplification] was believed to temporarily amplify the magic of those she come in contact, thereby allowing stronger magic to be performed. But, no matter how much amplification Rumia was able to provide, it should still be impossible to complete ‘Project:Revive Life’. However, the reality was that ‘Project:Revive Life’ did succeed.
Glenn believed this incident was not unlike the previous. Likely, the magic mechanism Sistine identified was one of ancient magic, that would have been otherwise unintelligible to their modern understanding. Yet, Rumia’s ability made that a reality.
In short, Rumia’s ability was a ‘certain’ power that makes the impossible, possible. This was likely to be the real reason why Rumia was targeted by the Researchers of Divine Wisdom.
But now was not the time to delve into that matter.
“I’m sorry…! S-sorry, teacher! I-if I wasn’t so obstinate, this could have all been avoided.”
“No, Sisti is not at fault here… If I had given more of a thought before using my ability, then…”
“Silly, neither of you is in the wrong here.” Glenn let out a sigh as he saw their apologetic and teary eyes.
“Certainly, I would have liked if you asked for permission first before going ahead with your power… Despite being in a foreign land, aren’t you guys acting a bit too overconfident just because you are surrounded by your classmates?”
“S-sorry, I was… hasty.”
“But still, we were originally here to unravel the mystery of the ruins, so what you found can’t be really be said as a bad thing. Rather, the real problem is…”
Bam! Glenn angrily pounded the desk in the center of the tent. Rumia and Sistine could not help but shirk back at his rage.
“That crazy old woman! What exactly was she thinking?! Charging in alone like that…!”
“Glenn… what should we do about Celica?” Re=L asked with her usual emotionless tone.
“Of course it would be to bring her back!” Glenn immediately replied, “I have a bad feeling about this. That Celica was acting weird lately, although I do not know the reason. Either way, we cannot simply abandon her like this!”
Celica was, in Glenn’s eyes, someone who had always been quite reserved and met others with an aloof but confident attitude. Glenn has never seen Celica so flustered before. Not only that, when recalling the conversation with her at the hot spring the previous night, Glenn could constantly envision her unusually depressed face. As such, Glenn was convinced something was wrong with her ever since.
“White Cat, Rumia, listen well. I need you to open that portal again, and Re=L, once I am gone, I leave the rest of the students in your care. Do you all understand?” Glenn said to the three girls as he took out explosives and ammo from his baggage, “I will head to the other side of the portal and will need you to open the portal – once tomorrow morning, once at lunch, and once more at night. If I have yet to return with Celica by then, I want you to leave us and return to Fejite.”
Glenn could sense the nervous atmosphere from Rumia and Sistine behind him. However, shrugging it off, Glenn went on to complete one final check of his revolver and holstered it on the back of his belt.
“The good thing is that others will think you only accidentally chanced upon the mechanism for the portal. To avoid Rumia’s ability from being revealed, I need you three to get your stories all sorted out.”
“Teacher, I want to come along.” Rumia requested as Glenn was heading out of the tent, “During class, I have heard you mention it before. Within ancient ruins, there are many portals that allow access to another floor, but the majority of them are not one-way, right? Since the ancients themselves also used the same portals, making the portals one-way will only be problematic for them.”
Rumia eyes were brimming with conviction.
“In other words, it is highly possible for there to be another control panel to open the portal from the other side. If we instead use that control panel to open the portal, then the chance of teacher’s and professor’s safe return will be greatly amplified, am I not right?”
“Y-yes, that isn’t wrong… but…”
“I know the risk involved! But, I am fully resolved! So, please also let me help with the rescue of Professor Arfonia! I beg of you!”
“But-…” Just as Glenn opened his mouth to reject her.
“T-teacher… I-I also want to go…” Sistine, who has been seemingly hesitant with her head hung low, suddenly declared. Although her shoulders were clearly trembling, she still firmly stated, “Because this was all my fault to start. I know teacher tends to boast, so there needs for someone to cover your back. Moreover, although I am not as knowledgeable as my grandfather, I still have spent countless hours studying archaeothaumatology. Once we are on the other side, my knowledge perhaps could be of some use… so…!”
“I will go as well. I want to rescue Celica.” Re=L plainly announced.
“Y-you guys…” Glenn looked at Rumia and the others, with his heart in complete turmoil.
Re=L aside, the danger was simply too great for Rumia and Sistine to come along. No matter how low the ranking of the ruins was, all of it would be thrown out the window when dealing with uncharted territory. ‘It shouldn’t be that big a problem’… There were plenty of stories of explorers stepping into a new area with such naïve thoughts, only to never return.
Certainly, there was always the chance that they would be able to immediately locate Celica and return. However, there was also the chance that things won’t go smoothly, and what awaited them on the other side was an enchanted cave with no way to return. Despite being a worst case scenario, it nevertheless was very possible. Could Glenn knowingly bring Rumia and the others into such a dangerous place?
Glenn was conflicted and momentarily unsure of how to decide. After struggling internally, and then taking into account all the risks and rewards, Glenn made his final decision.
“I still cannot take you guys along. You will remain here and only open the portal according to our previous arrangement.” Glenn announced to the girls.
“With me gone, who will lead and protect the rest of the students? I cannot take you along, so…” Glenn turned his back to them, clearly with no wish to discuss the matter further.
As Glenn was walking out of the tent for a breath of fresh air, Glenn was greeted by Kash, Wendy, and the rest of the students standing outside his tent, despite his explicit instructions for them to remain in their own respective tents. The students themselves seemed to have something they wished to say.
Did they hear everything earlier?! N-no, that is impossible with the soundproofing wards I had set up…
Glenn tried to hide his surprise at the sudden development.
“Hey, teacher… what is your plan regarding the matter with Professor Arfonia?” Kash asked after a long period of silence.
“C-Celica? Don’t worry about it, I am going right now to bring her back. So all of you, rest easy.”
“You are going alone?”
“Hmph… Of course. For something as simple as this, I am more than enough.”
Sistine rushed out from the tent, “T-teacher?! For you to say something like that!”
“That’s right, we…!”
“Enough is enough! You kids just be quiet!” Glenn’s loud outburst cut Sistine and the others short.
“Hmm?” Kash looked at Sistine, Rumia, and Re=L standing behind Glenn and, after seeing their anxious faces, turned to look at Glenn.
“Oh, I get it now… Hey, teacher…” Kash leapt at Glenn after a short dash, “Y-you baaastard!!”
Kash’s kick flew straight into Glenn, which made Glenn roll all the way back into the tent behind him.
“Really! Knowing you, I bet you were thinking about Rumia and other’s safety when you planned to go alone. But now is not the time for that!” Kash pointed his finger at the fallen Glenn, “Although I may not be qualified to say this. I know you are strong, but you are still just a third-ranked magician! You will definitely need help! Am I right?”
Kash’s words were very reasonable, making it difficult for Glenn to refute. Certainly, if it was just Glenn alone, even against a mere malevolent spirit would prove to be very difficult. With that in mind, for Glenn to solo uncharted territory was beyond stupid and would likely result in Glenn’s senseless death.
“While I may just be a burden if I went, Rumia has her unmatched ability in healing magic, Sistine has her combat magic and knowledge, and Re=L has her sword… I’m certain they will become your strength!”
“Teacher! If Rumia and the others have already resolved themselves to follow you, you should just let them! This way, the rescue of the professor will be able to proceed more smoothly! Don’t worry about us, we will be fine on our own!”
“Don’t look at us like this, we are, after all, your proud students, and we have gained plenty of experience in real combat. As long as we remain in the campsite, even if we end up facing dangerous monsters, I’m sure we will get through it just fine.”
“The professor is important to teacher, right? Why are you still putting up a strong front at a moment like this?”
Kash, Gibul, and Wendy all chipped in one after another.
“Teacher, please don’t be rash and try to do everything alone…”
“No matter how strong you are, you won’t be able to help the professor like that.”
“Hehehe~ We all believe that teacher will definitely be able to bring the professor back safe and sound.”
Even Lynn, Cecil, and Teresa were no different.
“Y-you guys…? Why would you all go to such lengths for Celica…?” Glenn was flabbergasted by the students and unintentionally voiced a dumb question.
“Because, we are friends!”
Kash’s candid answer made Glenn realized it. Just as when the students came to accept him, they have also come to accept Celica.
“You guys…” Glenn gazed at his students for a while, with his heart filled with warmth…
“…I understand, please lend Rumia and the others to me. I promise, I will definitely bring them back safely to you all… Of course, that is with Celica in tow.”
After making his decision, Glenn turned and said.
“Please, help me, Rumia, Sistine, and Re=L. Celica singlehandedly brought me up from when I was just a child. She is the only family I got, so…”
After hearing Glenn’s sincere request, the three girls all silently nodded their heads in affirmation.
(1) Basically something like this made with crystal on the ends.