TL/N: Happy Lunar New Year everyone, and here’s my red envelope for y’all~
On other note, you have all spoken through the polls, and the results were quite surprising (70% to 30% at the time of writing). In the case of overwhelming majority, I will put the last chapter of the side story on hold for now and proceed to Vol 7. Worry not, I will work on the last chapter sporadically and will likely have it released before Vol 7 is complete. For those who are curious, the final side story is parent visitation day, which is covered in the rokuaka manga, so read the manga if you wish to spoil yourself early ;p.
“Haa… What to do…”
On a certain night in Celica’s house, Glenn, a teacher at the Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, let out a deep sigh.
“It could clearly be made this way, and I shouldn’t have any problems with the alchemical cauldron… but still…”
Glenn looked over the book in his hand.
“Even then, I still do not understand ‘why could it be done?’.”
Glenn let out another sigh, before leaving the book face-down on a nearby table and went to bed.
“Haa… What to do…”
Repeating the same words, Glenn drowsily looked around under the flickering candlelight.
The walls were filled with shelves of magic tomes with little or no decoration. The room was originally Celica’s study. When Glenn was young, he had immersed himself in reading every book possible, eventually turning the study to his own bedroom.
“Hey, Glenn, it’s me.”
As Glenn reminisced his childhood, Celica invited herself in after a few knocks without waiting for Glenn’s reply. In Celica’s hands was a wooden tray, with a tea set and a full pot of tea on top.
“I made some tea. Care for a drink?”
What was the point in knocking if you are going to invite yourself in anyways…
Glenn suppressed his urge to retort and simply accepted Celica’s goodwill. He knew very well that there was little point to ask.
“Hehehe~ Here we have some high-quality tea from Ecoeur. Be thankful when you drink it.”
“Honestly, all black tea taste the same to me.”
“Hmph… What an unsophisticated fellow.”
Despite her words, Celica proudly laid out the tea saucers on the wooden tray, filtered the tea through a sieve, and poured the tea into a preheated cup with an altogether fluid movement. A warm and fresh fragrance permeated the surroundings and tickled their noses, dispelling any doubt in the quality of the tea leaves.
Celica gently added a teaspoon of sugar to one of the cups and, with a light stir, passed the cup over to Glenn.
It’s delicious… Definitely an excellent tea.
The moment the cup touched his lips, rich aroma and subtle flavor washed over him. Even for a neophyte like Glenn, the quality of the tea was startlingly obvious.
Glenn was reluctant to admit to Celica’s excellent tastes. On the other hand, Celica seemed to have noticed Glenn’s inner turmoil, to which she simply smiled broadly as she enjoyed the elegant aroma of the tea with a few graceful sips.
At that moment, Celica noticed the book on the nearby table. With her free hand, Celica picked up the book and looked at the open page.
“Ah! Isn’t this the academy’s alchemy textbook?”
“…Huh? Yes. My class has an alchemy experiment scheduled for tomorrow.”
“I see, so you are making the lesson plan for class. You are certainly looking more and more like a respectable teacher.”
Celica revealed a slight grin at the bumbling Glenn as she continued to sip tea.
“Oh, how nostalgic… ‘The synthesis of red magic crystals’? The curriculum is getting harder by the year….”
In her free hand, Celica flipped through the book in-between sips.
“…Hmm? From raw crystal ores? Ah, I see… You will be using an alchemical cauldron. Certainly, this is much simpler than what we used to do. So this is what they mean by the advancement of knowledge… Yeah, it’s hard to stop progress.”
Celica let out a chuckle as she placed the book back on the table.
“In my opinion, I still consider the correct way to synthesize red magic crystals to be through reconstitution, although others would probably see the method as antiquated. Not to mention, I haven’t heard many performing the reconstitution method as of late.”
“Reconstitution, is it?” Glenn blankly repeated Celica’s words.
“Hey, Glenn, do you still remember the reconstitution method?”
“…Isn’t that obvious? I used it countless times after you had taught me the process.”
“Right. Still, it feels like yesterday… The excitement on your face when your first synthesis succeeded-…”
“S-stop it!” Glenn interrupted the giggling Celica with a face dyed red by embarrassment.
Hmm… The reconstitution method…
Celica’s words had provided Glenn with a flash of inspiration.
Certainly, with the reconstitution method, the theory behind the synthesis could be easily understood.
At the core of alchemy was a science where matters were broken down to their ‘fundamental components’ and rearranged. This entire process could be represented through a series of alchemical formulas from reactant to product, of which the formulas for the reconstitution method provided the most concise and legible representation of the process.
By comparison, the alchemical cauldron was the preferred method for modern magicians by virtue of its simplicity, where the students only had to dump the reactants into the cauldron, chant the required spell, and operate the cauldron according to predetermined instructions to obtain the product. However, in doing so, the students would be left without any understanding of the theory behind the alchemical process.
Still, even if I want to teach the reconstitution method… How could I go about obtaining enough catalysts for the whole class?
The reconstitution method required the use of catalysts in its synthesis. Sadly, with the widespread use of the alchemical cauldrons, catalysts were considered obsolete and nearly impossible to find on the open market. Furthermore, catalysts have a short shelf-life, which meant Celica likely wouldn’t keep any in stockpile. As such, Glenn would need to prepare all the catalysts on his own.
Making catalysts is an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process. Not to mention, I will need to prepare enough for the entire class, with plenty of spares for each student. Looks like I won’t be able to avoid an all-nighter tonight…
Glenn let out a deep sigh as he looked blankly at the clock in the corner of the room.
“Speaking of which, I think I had forgotten to lock up the laboratory in the basement today. Since I have not done an inventory check on the alchemical catalysts in a while, it wouldn’t surprise me if things felt fewer than before.” Celica, who had been watching Glenn from the corner of her eyes, openly hinted as she drained the rest of her cup.
“…What are you implying?”
“…Nothing,” Celica replied as she stood up, evading Glenn’s suspicious gaze, “Well, since we are finished with tea, it is about time for me to sleep.”
With that said, Celica proceeded to clean up the tray.
“You should also go to sleep soon. Staying up late is the ultimate enemy of a healthy life… Ehehe~”
Celica gave an insinuating glance at Glenn before hurrying out of his room.
The room descended into silence once more as Glenn eyed the open book on the nearby table.
“Hmph… How silly…” Glenn scoffed as he lay back down on the bed, “Pulling an all-nighter to make enough catalysts? Why should I dedicate so much of my time on those brats?”
After Glenn had finished mumbling, he plowed his head into the pillow with his legs crossed.
“The alchemical cauldron is enough for those brats! I’m going to sleep! Good night!!”
With that said, Glenn closed his eyes.
◇ ◇ ◇
The following day, in the academy’s alchemy laboratory.
“For today’s experiment, we won’t be using the alchemical cauldrons! Instead, we will be completing the alchemy with the classical reconstitution method!” Glenn loudly declared at the front of the classroom.
Glenn’s sudden announcement caused the entire class to riot.
“Not another one of his outrageous announcements…” Sistine sighed as she massaged her temple in resignation to Glenn’s usual antics, “I don’t want to be the one to pour cold water on your plan, but in case you have forgotten, synthesizing the red magic crystal through the reconstitution method requires the use of catalysts. Just so you know, we don’t have enough time during class to make the cataly-…”
At that moment, Glenn brought a large metal chest on top of the desk.
“Not to worry, I didn’t forget about the catalysts. I had already prepared enough catalysts for our entire class.”
“Well! I just happened to know someone who specializes in creating catalysts! As a favor, I had asked him specifically to provide me enough catalysts for everyone! Aren’t you all amazed at my connections…” Glenn proudly declared.
Curiously, Glenn had dark circles around his eye and was helplessly wobbling around as if deprived of sleep.
“Once again, we shall be synthesizing red magic crystals by the reconstitution method, and I will fail anyone who does not participate.”
“Sisti, don’t say that. I’m sure teacher has his own considerations.”
Glenn’s overbearing attitude somewhat irritated Sistine, but Rumia was able to calm her down. Although other students were also at a loss, with Sistine and Rumia won over to his side, Glenn’s plan slowly gained momentum.
The one who stood up trembling with anger was Wendy, a student in Glenn’s class known for her twin tails.
“The reconstitution method is an antiquated scheme that even laypeople could perform! It is definitely not a fitting method for aspiring magicians like us!!”
“Considering how clumsy you are, I bet you just want to avoid doing anything more than operating the alchemical cauldron.”
“S-shut up, Gibul!” Wendy snapped at the glassed youth, “R-regardless! I hope to use the alchemical cauldron in conjunction with spells to synthesize products! It is the only method I deem worthy of true magicians!”
“True magicians, is it?” Glenn mumbled as he nodded to himself, “Very well, I understand. Since you so insist, I will let you use the alchemical cauldron.”
Glenn’s candid compromise caused the entire class to riot once more.
“…However! Instead of the red magic crystal, your assignment will be to synthesize a violet flame crystal.”
Wendy suddenly froze at Glenn’s words.
“N-not a red magic crystal, but a violet flame crystal? T-that is too unfair! We haven’t even learned the synthesis of violet flame crystals or its procedure for the alchemical cauldron! How could I possibly make something like that?!”
At that moment, Glenn took to the blackboard behind him and wrote out two long formulas filled with various symbols and numbers.
“Above is the alchemical formula for red magic crystals, and below is the formula for violet flame crystals. Look, the compositions of the two crystals are basically the same, with only variations in the amount of water and fire elementals. Wendy-san, are you saying you have no way of synthesizing something so similar to the red magic crystals?”
“Once you understand the alchemical formulas and theories behind the synthesis, you would be able to freely synthesize any product you wish through the alchemical cauldron. The fact that you know how to synthesize red magic crystals but not violet flame crystals proves that you do not truly understand the basic theories behind alchemy. Are those real magicians you spoke of people who perform alchemy on mere superficial knowledge of the discipline?”
Unable to counter Glenn’s sound logic, Wendy reluctantly drooped her head in resignation.
“If there aren’t any other objections, we shall proceed with the synthesis by the reconstitution method. Despite it behind a relatively antiquated method, I believe it is the best way for you all understand the logic behind alchemical formulas.”
Glenn revealed a wide grin as he walked across the front of the students’ desks before reaching the reactant stockpile at the corner of the room.
“Don’t think too much about it and give the reconstitution method a try, I promise you that you will all be pleasantly surprised. After all, the red magic crystals made through this method are vastly different from the naturally occurring crystals…”
In one smooth movement, Glenn opened the stockpile cabinet and froze in place.
One of the reagents necessary for synthesizing red magic crystals by the reconstitution method was a type of mineral called ‘pyroxene’.
“We are out of… pyroxene?”
Glenn’s entire expression was stiff, with drops of sweat coursing down his face.
“Wow… T-to think not even a single piece of pyroxene remained…” Sistine exclaimed as she peered into the cabinet from behind Glenn.
“Ahhh! B-bastard! Isn’t pyroxene a basic reagent in alchemy? Who the heck forgot to restock pyroxene?!”
“Umm… T-teacher, what is wrong?” Rumia worriedly asked.
However, Glenn remained unresponsive to Rumia’s question as sweat continuously poured out of his head.
“Oh? Teacher, looks like you are in a bit of trouble there~” Wendy smugly declared, “Ah well, since we are out of pyroxene, I guess we will have to return to our original plan of using the alchemical cauldron and raw magic ore in the synthesis of red magic-…”
“…Self-study.” Glenn suddenly proclaimed.
“The class is to do self-study for an hour!”
“W-what do you-…”
“Baaastard!! I won’t give up…!!”
However, Glenn completely ignored Sistine’s question as he kicked open the laboratory door and dashed down the hallway, while fully strengthened by White Magic [Physical•Boost] to almost a destructive degree.
Glenn unleashed a bone-chilling howl as he dashed out from the academy, down the streets of Fejite, and all the way to the merchant’s district.
“Hand over all your pyroxene now!” Glenn loudly screamed upon entering the shop for reagents.
“Ah! A robbery?!” The shop owner shirked back at Glenn’s aggressive demeanor.
“Stop talking nonsense and give me all the pyroxene you have!”
“Y-yes! H-here! P-please, just spare my life!”
“Stop talking in a way that could be misunderstood! I am asking you to sell me your pyroxene!”
“How much?! I don’t have the time so just name your price! If I waste too much time, my catalysts will be wasted!”
“Uhh… B-by market price, I can sell you pyroxene for 18 Lyr and 5 Clys…”
18 Lyr and 5 Clys, meaning 18 gold coins and 5 silver coins.
“Y-you serious? Why would some pyroxene cost so much?! That is almost a month’s wage for me!”
“S-still, the price of pyroxene is at an all-time high… N-not to mention, it is for a whole barrel…”
“Look, that barrel over there. It is filled to the brim with pyroxene.” The shop owner said as he pointed to a barrel that stood about as tall as Glenn.
“…Are you brain-dead?! Why would I ever need that much pyroxene?! I only need 5 kilos at most, enough to fill this small jar! Just scoop a bit for me!”
“S-sorry, but we are not a retail store… We primarily serve as a wholesaler…”
“Don’t joke around! What could I possibly do with that much pyroxene?!”
“Ah… The market street in the southern district should have some retail shops…”
“Do you know how long a round trip would take? I am very short on time!” Glenn retorted as he scratched his head in frustration, before throwing his bag down on the counter, “Argh…! To heck with it! Just get me the barrel!”
“Yes! Thank you for your patronage!”
“…So be it! Looks like I will be chewing on Cerotte trees for this whole month, and just when I had finally received my paycheck yesterday! D-darn it all!” (1)
The shop then spent a good fifteen minutes processing the order.
“Come on! Hurry up!!”
“Don’t be impatient… We need to follow strict guidelines when processing goods used by magicians, as the required paperwork is quite detailed.”
As soon as the transaction was complete, Glenn pocketed his now deflated wallet and set the barrel on his shoulders.
“Huh? Are you planning to carry the barrel by yourself?!”
“How else would I carry it back?”
“Don’t you have a wagon or cart?”
“Don’t be silly! Ugh… H-heavy… Even with the body strengthening, it is still quite difficult to carry…”
Glenn didn’t pay any additional attention to the stunned shop owner as he exited the shop while cursing at his own misfortune.
“Right over there! We had received reports from the neighbors that this shop was being burglarized!”
“There were also reports of screams from shop owner…!”
At that moment, several Fejitean town guards rushed over and stood in Glenn’s way.
Glenn’s face turned pale at their arrival.
“L-look! The bastard carrying a whole barrel of goods! I’m certain he is the robber!”
“Filthy robber! We shall teach you to cause trouble in Fejite!!”
“Ah, w-wait… I had bought this barrel full of pyroxene…”
“Don’t lie! We had already received the dispatch!”
“Also, what idiot would buy that much without preparing a wagon or a cart?!”
“Everyone had already heard the shop owner’s scream!”
“We will listen to your excuses back at the guard post! Now, surrender yourself peacefully-…”
“H-heck no!” Glenn shouted as he dashed down the road at an incredible speed.
“Ah?! The robber is making a run for it!”
“After him! Now!”
“There’s no time! I don’t have the time to deal with you all…!!”
With all his mana unleashed, Glenn’s body strengthening reached a whole different level. As the crushing force bore down on his bones, Glenn raced back to the academy.
“Ahhh! Why do I always run into these things?! Oh… What I would give to return to my freeloading days!”
An agonizing scream echoed through the town of Fejite.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Haa… Haa… N-now…!”
All the students stared curiously at Glenn, who had just returned and was catching his breath at the front of the classroom.
“Haa… Haa… D-does everyone have pyroxene and catalyst now? G-good, let us t-then start the experiment so listen up e-everyone! Chop the pyroxene into smaller pieces, then place the pieces into the mortar and pestle to grind them into a fine powder…”
“Umm… Teacher? I have a question.” Sistine asked as she raised her hand.
“Haa… Haa… W-what is it?”
“Umm… Are you alright?”
Sistine’s gaze fell to the side of the classroom, where an abnormally large barrel sat.
“S-so you are… Haa… Haa… Asking if my b-body is fine? O-or asking how… Haa… I am currently feeling?”
“Uhh… A little of both, I guess…”
“It should be quite obvious that both are not fine!!” Glenn yelled with tears streaking down his face.
“Of course…” Sistine sighed.
“D-darn it… Just when I was finally able to live with a bit of dignity… To end up having branches for lunch again…”
Rumia tried to comfort the weeping Glenn, but Wendy just looked upon Glenn with indifference.
“Hmph… I concede to your stubbornness… To think you would pay out of your own pocket for such an antiquated experiment…” Wendy mumbled as she gazed down at her laboratory bench, “Still, to go so far… Perhaps there is really something to be gained through this experiment…? I guess it can’t be helped now…”
Before her were the pyroxene and catalyst neatly packaged inside a piece of paper, as well as various alchemical glassware and a small lit stove, the standard equipment for alchemy shy the alchemical cauldron.
“Haa… All the effort I had spent mastering the alchemical cauldron in order to defeat Sistine… put to waste by that whimsical teacher…” Wendy grumbled under her breath as she picked up the pyroxene and began cutting.
Under Glenn’s guidance, the students were able to steadily proceed through the experiment.
They poured the pulverized pyroxene into a flask containing a special magic solvent, heated the flask until the pyroxene had fully dissolved, and then chilled the solution. Afterwards, the students added the necessary reagents, followed by repeated purification to shed the impurities, all the while carefully observing each change to the solution.
At the same time, Glenn continuously wrote on the blackboard at the front of the classroom.
“With the reaction just now, the solution turned from this to this… Two of the spirit elementals have been moved here… While the substitution for the earth and air elementals occurred in this order…”
Glenn drew a large arrow on a blackboard filled with countless numbers, symbols, and formulas. At the end of the arrow, he wrote a new formula, then crossed out parts of the formula with a new symbol noted above, followed by the results of the substitution.
“As you can see, these were the series of changes that had just occurred. I would like you to pay a close attention to the formula here. Doesn’t the resulting formula look familiar? Yes, this is the alchemical formula for red crystals. As such, the solution should start to turn red at this point.”
The students nodded along to Glenn’s explanation. They had finally come to appreciate the reconstitution method, since it would have been impossible to comprehend the separate steps through the rapid reactions within the alchemical cauldron.
“Note that the current state is still quite far from the final elemental composition of the red magic crystal. As such, we will need to add a trace amount of crimson lead to bring the elemental composition up to par. However, please be careful when adding the crimson lead, as one slight mistake in the quantity will turn the whole batch to waste.”
With that said, Glenn began to walk around the laboratory benches to supervise the students’ experiments.
“Sisti, this is quite fun!” Rumia whispered to Sistine as she weighed the crimson lead on a scale, “Although the process is quite troublesome, it does feel nice to see the synthesis of red magic crystals step by step.”
“Y-yeah!” Sistine replied as she carefully placed the weight on the opposite end of the scale and waited for the reading to stabilize, “It is a surreal feeling to see how this solution turns into a red magic crystal… Rumia, you were right…”
Sistine let out a sigh of relief as the scale settled at her desired value.
“Every step in this method is very clear. I think I understand now, as long as we do not add water elemental powder on step three, we would end up with violet flame crystal.”
“Right. As expected, Teacher is quite impressive!”
“…Mmn.” Sistine muttered a reply while looking over at Glenn.
Glenn’s lessons were known for their quality.
When he had first arrived at Magic Academy, Glenn would not treat his lessons seriously. Now that he had worked in earnest, Glenn was able to give quality lectures that bridged the theoretical with the practical. Incidentally, Glenn’s ‘resentment of magic’ remained the same as always and he would often speak of it with scorn in class.
However, Glenn seemed particularly candid with the experiment today, without the usual pessimism and resentment. Despite the thick dark circles around his eyes and the instability in his gait, Glenn remained focused on the lecture. For the sake of the experiment, Glenn even paid out of his own pocket for the pyroxene and, from his obvious lack of sleep and his unconvincing lie about a friend, pulled an all-nighter to prepare the catalysts.
What could have possibly driven that magic-hating teacher this far…?
Glenn’s sudden transformation left Sistine both surprised and confused.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Now, most of the preparatory work should be done. What’s left is to slowly inject mana into the solution.”
“Ugh… Not this!”
“I hate this step the most!”
The students looked at the small metal syringe and the cylindrical filter placed on their desk with unease.
“Although you all probably know the procedure, it doesn’t hurt to remind you all again. First, clean the syringe with holy water, then draw a bit of blood from your veins, and finally strain the blood through the cylindrical filter. With that, the clear magic serum could be collected on the collecting dish below.”
At Glenn’s explanation, the students all revealed a crooked smile. Using one’s blood in magic experiments was relatively common, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the students to draw blood from their own bodies.
“Afterwards, you only need to add a few drops of the serum to the solution. Once you are all done, I will write out the specific formulas on the blackboard to explain the phenomenon. Now, please begin-…”
Just as Glenn finished his explanation, a sudden outburst came from one of the students.
“I absolutely refuse!” Wendy protested.
“Why must I do harm to my own delicate skin for this pointless experiment?”
“Hey, Wendy… What are you saying? Haven’t we drawn blood multiple times before? Why are you bringing that up now?” Sistine rebuked her after being completely fed up with her selfishness.
“She is just being spiteful.” Gibul sneered in reply to Sistine’s words, “She is quite clumsy. By having her work on such convoluted multi-step experiments, she ended up being the slowest of the class!”
“S-shut up, Gibul!” Wendy retorted with her face bright red, “E-either way, I am absolutely against it! If my body were to be injured by this experiment, would you be able to take responsibility?! I-it is definitely not because of my s-slow progress at all!!”
With tears in her eyes, Wendy bit down on her lips in frustration.
Glenn let out a deep sigh.
Among the students in Glenn’s class, Wendy was ranked third in overall grade, right behind Sistine and Gibul. Born of a highly conservative aristocratic family, Wendy greatly valued her pride and could not tolerate her mediocre progress.
“I guess it can’t be avoided… Let’s just use my blood.”
All of the students’ gaze gathered on Glenn once more.
With Glenn’s usual lethargic demeanor, everyone expected him to brush it off with a ‘whatever you want’. As such, everyone was understandably stunned by his uncharacteristic remark. In a way, his remark showed how much he desired for the students to finish this experiment.
“Let me know if there are any other problems. The experiment is close to its end, so bear with me just a little bit more!”
“Ah… W-well, if you say so…”
Dejected, Wendy let her gaze fell to the side.
Glenn didn’t seem to particularly mind and coolly tied a tourniquet around his right arm before drawing his blood with the metal syringe in his left hand.
Ugh… Between the lack of sleep and fatigue, I think I am suffering a bit from mana deficiency. Even a single vial of blood is making me lightheaded…
Glenn barely managed to stay focused as he handed over the blood-filled syringe to Wendy.
“Umm… Can this really be used in the experiment? B-because, you know, using the teacher’s blood makes me feel d-dirty…”
“Is that how you see me?! Are you trying to make me cry? If you are, I will really cry for you!”
Wendy received the syringe with her face turned away.
Turning his head to the voice, Glenn was met by the ponytailed Lynn shyly standing behind.
“Umm.. S-sorry… But c-could I ask for a bit of blood as well?”
Lynn was wearing a mask, with an audible cough from time to time. She was clearly sick. As such, she would be exempt from drawing her own blood by the academy’s own guidelines.
“Alright, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.”
Glenn revealed a calm smile to Lynn as he took the syringe from her and drew another vial of blood.
Another wave of dizziness washed over Glenn. Once again, Glenn remained stalwart as he handed the syringe to Lynn.
“T-thank you very much!”
At this scene, the male students started to stir.
“Ah! T-teacher! Could I ask for a bit of blood as well?”
“I am also sick~”
“To tell you the truth, I am feeling somewhat under the weather.”
“Huh? Strange… I think I am running a fever…”
Glenn simply stared blankly at the clamorous students.
“Hey, that’s enough guys!” Sistine interjected as she stood up from her desk, “Stop making trouble for our teacher! Take care of something as insignificant as that by yourselves! Don’t you have any pride as magicians?!”
“Fine… We will take care of it our-…”
Glenn’s simple answer made the whole class descend into silence.
“It can’t be helped if you are all sick… I… will share my blood with you all… Be sure to last until the very end, alright?” Glenn continued with a surprisingly serene tone.
“N-no, it was only meant as a joke…”
“Here, pass me the syringe.”
Under the intense pressure emitted by the emotionless Glenn, the students nervously passed over the syringes.
“Umm… T-Teacher, I think it is better if we do it ourselves…”
“Hahaha~ No need to show off! Just leave it to your teacher!”
“W-wait a moment! Teacher, are you sure it’s fine if you draw that much blood?!” Sistine nervously protested Glenn’s odd behavior.
“Don’t worry about it. I am rather feeling refreshed with all the blood draws.” Glenn replied with a peculiar smile.
The bizarre development was causing a sense of unease within Sistine.
◇ ◇ ◇
“Hey, Celica! Is it time yet?”
“Hahaha~ Calm down, Glenn. Alchemy requires patience.”
Glenn suddenly found himself in a grey world, where he was performing an alchemical experiment with Celica. For some odd reason, his gaze was shorter than he had thought, but he felt no sense of discomfort.
“Finally, we will pour in the sodium hydroxide through the glass tube to neutralize the solution… One… Two… Three… Good. Now, open it up and see~”
Glenn eagerly opened the lid of the metallic case and retrieved the glass vial within.
The moment the glass vial came into view, Glenn’s eyes beamed with excitement.
“I-is this really a red magic crystal…?”
“Impressive, isn’t it?”
“Yeah! I have never seen a red magic crystal as awesome as this-…”
◇ ◇ ◇
“Teacher! Please wake up!!”
The grey world quickly dissipated with vigorous shaking, and Glenn found himself back in the real world.
“Huh? Where am I…?”
Around him was the familiar sight of the Academy’s alchemy laboratory, while Glenn himself was lying flat on the ground.
Sistine was kneeling on the floor as she shook Glenn. Closely behind her, Rumia and the rest of the students anxiously looked on.
“T-teacher… Y-you have finally woken up… W-with how sudden it was…”
Rumia let out a sigh of relief.
“Ugh… What happened? The last thing I remembered was the red magic crystal finishing up.”
“What? No! There are still many steps left! Have you gone senile?”
Ignoring Sistine’s incessant chatters, Glenn slowly stood up and shook his groggy head.
“Seriously! Why would you give so much blood when you are under the weather? Are you trying to get yourself killed?!”
“T-Teacher, we have tried giving you an erythropoietin injection, but it doesn’t seem to be very effective. How are you feeling right now?” Rumia asked with a worried tone.
“Better now. I probably fainted from the sudden decrease in blood earlier, but I should be fine now. Sorry for worrying you.”
“…Good. Don’t do anything silly like that in the future!” Sistine berated Glenn with the same critical tone as before, “Still, stop making us worry so much! Although your efforts are commendable, you should at least know your limits!”
“Are you really feeling well? You had been acting weirdly all day, perhaps it would be better if we call quits on the experiment and head to the infirmary.”
“I already told you I’m fine! Everyone, head back to your benches and continue to experiment!”
Seeing Glenn had recovered, the students slowly made their ways back.
“Umm… White Cat?”
“For all the trouble I’ve been causing… Sorry.”
“You are really a cute and bright pupil. I have to say that it is an honor to have a student as excellent as you…”
“””Uwaaa!! H-he really has lost it!!”””
“Y-you! What did you m-mean by that?!”
The students began to riot once more, with Sistine’s voice ringing above everyone else.
◇ ◇ ◇
Once everyone calmed down, the experiment proceeded smoothly under Glenn’s supervision after his dogged insistence to continue.
The students had distilled the solution through a glass still, which yielded a red distillate. The distillate was then poured into a glass vial and placed in a metallic box.
“…At this point, we have finished the alchemical formula specific for Red Magic Crystal. As long as you understand the process up to this point, you should be able to synthesize most flame attribute crystals of the seventh order through the alchemical cauldron with ease.” Glenn explained to the students after everyone’s experiment has been placed in the metallic box, “Up next is the irreversible crystallization step. In other words, it is the step where we ‘grow’ the crystal.”
Glenn wrote out the key points on the board before turning to the students.
As the experiment was nearing its end, the students all seemed particularly restive.
“Everyone, don’t get overconfident now… Waiting for the crystal to grow is also a critical component of the alchemy. Even the slightest change in temperature, humidity, or shock will disrupt the process. So please remain calm.”
“Glenn Radars!! Y-you bastard!!”
The door was thrown open with a loud bang as Halley, another one of the academy’s teachers, burst into the room. The force of the door caused the whole room to tremor.
“W-were you the one who made a mess to my herb garden?! I heard you were the one who was stomping around my garden! I won’t forgive you this time! Duel me!!”
“Haven’t I said to remain calm?! So calm the heck down!!”
In one smooth motion, Glenn rushed over to Halley and shoved a blackboard eraser right in his mouth.
With that done, Glenn paid no further attention to Halley, who was rolling on the floor in pain. Instead, Glenn anxiously turned to the nearby metallic box and opened the lid to check up on the students’ experiment.
“I-is it safe? Did the earlier shock speed up the crystallization? L-looks like… We are good.”
After checking all the vials, Glenn let out a breath of relief.
“Teacher is definitely… overworking himself.”
“Seems like it.”
Rumia revealed a complicated smile, while Sistine gave a deep sigh.
“Y-you bastard… Glenn Radars, are you trying to kill me?”
Halley finally pulled the eraser from his mouth and angrily marched over to Glenn.
“Huh? Ha-…something-senpai? Why are you here?”
“Y-you… Must you provoke me whenever we meet?!”
With veins bulging from his forehead, Halley gripped Glenn’s collar.
“I have heard you were the one who flattened my herb garden! How do you plan to compensate me for the damages?”
“Ah… So that was your herb garden… Sorry, I was busy at the time…”
Glenn lowered his head in apology.
“I will repair the garden for you later, so… Could you forgive me?”
“N-no! It’s also because you always looked down on me!”
“No, how could that… possibly be?”
“What was with that hesitation in your answer? What did you mean by that?!”
“Actually, Hard-gay-senpai is one of my role models in teaching!” Glenn said with a refreshing air.
“That is one of the worst mess-ups of my names you had ever come up with!!”
On the other hand, Halley was fuming with anger, seemingly reaching a boiling point. He pulled off one of his gloves and thrown it at Glenn.
“Now, pick up the glove! I demand a duel!”
“…I got it. If it would please you.”
Under the anxious gaze of the students, Glenn reached out toward the glove.
At that moment, Glenn seemed to have suddenly noticed something and dashed for the windows, stepping on Halley’s glove in the process.
Just to mention, stepping on the gloves of another mage was considered a grave personal insult.
Halley was left speechless by anger.
The students seemed to be unified in their opinion.
However, Glenn did not pay any attention to the students or Halley. Instead, he stood with his eyes glued to the window, as if staring into apocalypse itself.
“I-it’s raining! W-why must it rain?! D-darn it! At this rate, the humidity will affect the experiment… No, I cannot let that happen!”
Glenn picked up the small dagger on the table and made a small cut to his finger.
“Let’s use Black Magic [Air•Condition] on the wards at the four corners of the room to create a field that lowers the humidity… D-darn it, will I make it in time?” Glenn muttered as he swiftly wrote runes on the wall.
“G-Glenn Radars… Y-you bastard!!”
Halley gripped Glenn with trembling hands.
“Ah! Thank heavens that you are here!” Glenn cheered at Halley’s presence, “Come and help me finish the field! Or rather, get to it already!”
“Idiot-… W-why must I do what you say?”
“What are you waiting for? Hurry up! Do you need me to spell it out for you? Are you really that dumb?!”
“Is that how you ask for a favor? Don’t be unreasonable…”
Oddly enough, Halley seemed to have calmed down with Glenn’s barrage of insults.
“Please! The students’ experiment will be done soon! We can leave the duel till later!”
With the ‘students’ at stake, even Halley could not easily refuse.
“I will definitely chop you into pieces after this…” Halley grumbled as he started to write out the runes in another corner of the room.
“Haa… W-we’ve made it!”
The drizzling sound of rain came from outside.
Glenn let out a sigh of relief as he slowly collapsed onto the floor.
“…Now, Glenn Radars, are you resolved?” Halley asked eagerly while standing before Glenn, fully prepared for combat, “Let us fight outside, I hope you won’t use the rain as an excuse.”
“…Got it.” Glenn replied as he slowly stood up. “To tell you the truth, I do not like to fight. I had experienced too many days of hurting others and getting hurt. Why couldn’t people be nice to one another? I will probably never know…”
“However, if battle were the only way for us to resolve our difference… To save my beloved coworker from the dark feelings, I will take up the mantle! Ready yourself, Ha-…something-senpai!”
“Why are you making it sound like you are on the side of justice? What exactly is wrong with you?!”
Not able to wait any longer to deliver his revenge, Halley opened the laboratory door.
Curiously, a small shadow snuck in from the hallways, right between Halley’s legs.
Glenn leapt toward the shadow the instant he laid his eyes on it.
Halley was also knocked over by the diving Glenn.
“H-hot! HOT!!” Glenn roared as he held the tiny shadow in his hands.
“F-fire rat? W-why would there be a fire rat here?” Sistine exclaimed as she laid her eyes on the intruder.
“N-not good! The summoned fire rats have all gone out of control!”
Screams could be heard from a neighboring classroom.
“C-could it be that something went amiss in the summoning class?”
“D-darn it! Who was the idiot that messed up?!” Glenn lamented while grabbing onto the fire rat, “With this guy around, the surrounding temperature will undoubtedly spike. Haven’t I said before that I need the temperature to remain constant?!”
“T-teacher, I have some bad news…” Rumia announced as she looked out into the hallway, “M-more are coming…”
A massive swarm of fire rats was charging down the hallway, straight for Glenn’s class. The fire rats have a pair of big watery eyes and were considered by many to be a cute little monster. However, to Glenn, they might as well be the demon incarnate.
As the swarm of fire rats entered the laboratory, the surrounding temperature quickly rose.
“This is not funny! We are so close to completion! I won’t let you ruin the experiment!”
In a wild frenzy, Glenn began to scoop one rat after another.
“S-stop, you will get burned like that!”
“At least cast White Magic [Tri•Resist] on yourself first-…”
“There isn’t the time!!”
With countless fire rats in hand, Glenn tried to evict the horde from the classroom.
“Haa… Teacher really is foolhardy…” Gibul mumbled as he stood up from his seat, “Have you forgotten? Fire rats fear the cold since their metabolism will seize if it gets too low. In other words, a simple Black Magic [White•Out] will take care of them…”
With that said, Gibul raised his hand toward the scurrying fire rats.
“Hey! W-wait!! The experiment won’t survive the cold!!” Glenn yelled.
However, it was too late.
“‹Silver mist of winter›…!” Gibul uttered the single phrase spell.
As such, Glenn could neither hope to prepare his three-phrase defensive spell in time nor, with his hands full of fire rats, pull out the tarot card to activate Original Magic [The Fool’s World].
“I won’t g-give up!!”
Devoid of other options, Glenn courageously blocked the cold blast from Gibul’s left hand with his body.
“D-don’t mind me!” Glenn barked as his whole body shivered from the freezing wind, “…E-everyone, use White Magic [Tri•Resist] and c-clear the fire rats o-out!!”
As he gave the orders, Glenn’s body slowly started to keel over. The lack of sleep, the physical fatigue, the low grade mana deficiency, the blood loss, the burning, and the freezing had all taken their toll on him as he finally reached his absolute limit.
“Afterwards… Ah, s-sorry… I… think… I’m done…”
Glenn fell onto the ground.
“T-teacher?! P-please wake up!!”
“Haa… This is partly your own fault! You boys, come help out! We need help bringing him to the infirmary!”
With the voice of Rumia and Sistine receding from his consciousness, Glenn slowly faded into the darkness.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the end, the crisis with the fire rats was successfully resolved. After Glenn had lost consciousness, the other class had arrived to help, and, under the excellent command of Sistine, the students were able to capture most of the fire rats.
Fortunately, the experiments were unaffected by the commotion.
The field that Halley helped establish in the laboratory was more effective at stabilizing the temperature than previously thought. In a way, the students were able to avert disaster thanks to the first-rate magician Halley.
“Is this really a red magic crystal?!”
Later on, the students removed their glass vial from the metallic box and were awed by the sight of the crystal within.
“H-huge… To think red magic crystals could get so large…”
“…It is quite a surprise. Even natural crystals rarely reach such sizes.”
“The crystal is really pretty… The light passing through the deep crimson interior is mesmerizing.”
“It is completely different from a natural crystal, since there is no impurity to be found within… So it is no wonder why you would consider it as pretty.”
The students took the crystals out from the vial and carefully inspected them in the light. With the unexpected surprise that exceeded their expectations, the students were clamoring in excitement. If they had instead used the alchemical cauldron, the resulting crystal would be no larger than a pebble.
At that time, Wendy stood away from the jubilant crowd, quietly examining her own red magic crystal. Although the size was slightly smaller than her classmates’, she was nevertheless euphoric at the result, especially considering her usual clumsiness.
“…Glenn, was it?”
To be honest, Wendy never particularly enjoyed Glenn’s lectures. As his lectures tend to veer heavily on the practical aspects of magic, Wendy, who was raised on the conservative values of an aristocratic magician family, had always seen them as inelegant and plebeian. As such, Wendy had more than once thought about requesting a transfer to a different class.
“…It doesn’t hurt to stay for a bit longer.”
However, touched by Glenn’s courageous acts in saving their experiment, Wendy thought to herself with upturned lips as she tightly gripped the red magic crystal in her hand.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the infirmary, Glenn slept soundly on the bed.
“Really… How is it that he always cause others worry…”
Sistine had been complaining for a while.
“He needs to develop a calm judgment for what ‘he can do’. Otherwise, he will surely face regret one day.”
“Ahaha… I’m sure he understands…” Rumia consoled the nearby Sistine and reached out to pat Glenn’s head, “Thank you, teacher, for always giving it your all.”
Glenn revealed a calm smile as he slept, likely having a pleasant dream.
◇ ◇ ◇
“I-is this really a red magic crystal…?”
“Impressive, isn’t it?”
“Yeah! I have never seen a red magic crystal as awesome as this! It is as brilliant as the sun in the skies above~”
(1) For those who are curious, Cerotte trees (シロッテ) are Glenn’s infamous emergency rations when he runs out of money, as shown here in episode 5 of the anime.