Translator: Notalk and Billy Stevens
It was May, and the sun-kissed showers of Spring were fading . It was almost time for the songs of love .
Small flowers kissed the entrance of Hebrion Academy, branching out from trees that contained limitless vitality inside . This was an annual tradition of Hebrion Academy . Romantica’s eyes sparkled at the sight of the breathtaking greenery lining their school . She had a spring in her step as she danced through the corridor . “Buckthorn trees . ”
“The flowers of the buckthorn tree symbolize progress,” added Pram . It was unusual of him to comment .
This was a historical tradition originating from the school’s founding principal, Eiricquel Hebrion . It was a prayer for the growth of Hebrion Academy and its students . Today, the students rarely cared about the founding principal’s wishes—they were just here to enjoy the scenery . As the pair strolled under the trees, they lost track of time, awed by the gorgeous landscape around them . Eventually, the sound of falling raindrops rang across the leaves . “It looks like it’s about to rain,” said Pram .
Rain began to pour down from the overcast sky . It rained all across Hebrion Academy and the skies became murky . Romantica paused and pursed her lips . “I don’t want to get my clothes wet,” complained Romantica as the rain rode down the hem of her string-spun clothes . The rain flowed between the grooves in the strings like a river . The downpour quickly drenched the uniforms of Romantica and Pram . Despite that, they didn’t mind one bit .
“It rained like this back in the Shadow World, right?” reminisced Romantica .
“It was colder and more unpleasant back then . ”
The two of them knowingly smiled at each other and covered up with their jackets . “The rain hasn’t changed—it’s just that our situation’s different . ” Romantica took the lead as the two of them travelled to Starling dormitory, home of their fearless leader .
As they walked into the lobby, Romantica took the initiative to dry herself with magic . The Starling dormitory lobby was almost empty, likely due to the rain . Desir Arman sat in the center of the lobby, waiting for them to arrive . He wasn’t alone .
Sitting across from him was a beautiful girl with platinum blonde hair . Strands of gold woven with silver—the color of the southern lions . The mere sight of it made her peers sing praises of her name . The silver-haired spellsword, Ajest Zedga F . Kingscrown . There were in middle of a heated conversation .
“It was already past 2 o’clock by then . It was past the time for the 2 o’clock demon to appear . The gears of the clock tower should have stopped by then,” explained Desir . “My hijacking only works on spells cast through a formula . The demon summoning device in Privius Clock Tower appears to have been built on an advanced magic formula . It was only because of this that it was possible to hijack it . ”
“I see . I do recall the sound of the gears stopping at some point . I hadn’t realized that . ” The hint was there—she merely didn’t put it to good use . She was deep in thought as she collected her thoughts .
“Drawing me into close combat wasn’t a bad choice, but you should always keep the battlefield in mind . We were in a Shadow World—not taking the objectives into account was your downfall . ”
Ajest’s shoulders slumped as she took it all in . She had been goaded into her every move . “So you always had your eyes set on the big picture, instead of only focusing on our fight,” said Ajest bluntly .
“Well, maybe you’re right . ”
Ajest grew quiet, and reflected over the course of events that took place in the Shadow World . She closed her eyes, and organized her thoughts and said three simple words to Desir . “I lost . Decisively . ”
Desir waved his hand and dismissed Ajest’s thoughts . “You’re going too far . I can brag, but there was luck involved . If my analysis was a bit slower, or your blade a bit faster…”
“Then we would have avenged Mr . Desir,” said Pram . The pair interrupted the conversation and separated the two of them . “By that point, we’d essentially won our part of the battle,” added Romantica .
Desir grinned at the arrival of his party members . “You guys came . ”
The group of four crowded around a table and sat down . Romantica looked moody as she glanced at Ajest and spoke directly to Desir . “Weren’t we the only ones meeting you here?”
“Ajest’s only here for a moment . She had a few questions about our fight . ”
“Even so, she’s an enemy—right? We almost lost because of her . Don’t you think you’re be a little too calm?” Romantica’s eyes darted from Desir to Ajest .
“If that was all it took for you to lose, then you weren’t even worthy of entering Alpha class,” said Ajest .
Romantica’s eyed flared . “What?!” The regal Ajest gave Romantica a casual glance and said no more . Catching a whiff of the arising conflict, Desir hurriedly added some choice words to the conversation . “Ajest is just trying to say that we deserved it, seeing as how we passed the exam and have been promoted to the Alpha class . ” He scratched his head and gave Romantica a slight smile .
“What—that’s what that meant?” Romantica crossed her arms, putting on airs . “Well… I supposed if you’re going so far to say something like that, then so be it . ”
“Honestly, we wouldn’t have been able to win without Romantica’s sniping . Thanks, Romantica . ”
“W-wha? Thanks? Mm… well, you didn’t need to thank me or anything…” Romantica turned beet red and started twiddling her fingers in embarrassment at Desir’s thanks .
“And me? Mr . Desir, what about me?” Pram’s eyes gleamed in anticipation . “You did well too, Pram . ” Desir patted Pram’s head as the latter hugged Desir’s waist . Pram clung to Desir like a puppy and pushed his head into Desir’s palm .
Ajest watched the scene unfold from behind them . “This means we’re taking a break from training now…right?” Romantica looked apprehensive as she looked over to see Desir’s response .
“On whose authority? Training happens every day,” said Desir with a stern appearance .
“W-what? No! We barely got out of the promotion battle yesterday! This is too much!”
“Did you forget exactly what won us the promotion battle yesterday?”
“Even so… tch!”
The conversation turned into a noisy ruckus as Romantica and Desir bantered back and forth . Seeing the break in conversation, Ajest stood up from the table and announced her leave . Pram tried to cover up his laughter at the scene of his fellow party members, before seeing Ajest . “Hm? You’re leaving already?”
Ajest took a good look at the rest of the group, before wordlessly holding up her Identity Pass . Blue Moon Party’s insignia displayed on the display . A party summons . They couldn’t make her stay any longer . As she started walking to the door, she paused before turning around and looked at Desir . She seemed hesitant, a far cry from the ice queen they normally associated with her . “Desir, I have a… a request . ” Her eyes looked intently at Desir, as if searching for the answer without need to ask her question . “I know this is shameless, but may I join your training sessions?”
Romantica and Pram stood stunned at the request . Desir nodded cheerfully at Ajest . “Every morning at 6 o’clock sharp, and after class . We meet at the Training Sector’s entrance . ” The door creaked open and the sound of rain poured into the lobby . Ajest opened her mouth slightly, then closed it again . A whisper of a smile showed up on her face as she turned back around, and stepped out of Starling dormitory . The door closed, and the sound of rain died down .
Thank you .
“So what are we going to do now, Mr . Desir?” Pram asked . “Now that we’ve been promoted to Alpha Class, are we done with the pa—“
“Of course not . ” Desir was resolute . “The discrimination against the Beta Class still exists . We’re going to create a path for all of the talent in Beta Class . ”
“What a wonderful plan!”
“What a pain in the neck…”
The responses from his fellow party members were very different . Desir teased “Then, Miss Romantica, are you leaving the party?”
“Wh-wha? Who’s leaving? I’m just saying it’s a hassle! Obviously I’m going to help!”
“If it’s ever too much, you can always quit . Hehe,” said Pram .
Desir sat back down and leaned into his chair, watching the two of them argue .
‘I shouldn’t forget my real objective . ’
He needed to handle the looming threat of the Shadow Labyrinth . Entering the Alpha Class was the first step . After gathering more party members and helping them grow, they would methodically clear away the Shadow Worlds, reducing casualties as much as possible . When the true threat known as the Shadow Labyrinth appeared, the party he trained would become the key to clearing it . As Desir became embroiled in his thoughts, he heard a familiar voice chime in .
“I see you’re all here . ”
Professor Brigitte stepped into the lobby and sat down in front of the three students . She surveyed the members with a mild expression .
“I have some very important news for everyone here . ” Brigitte raised her finger, and waves of mana exuded from her body . A chocolate cake appeared from thin air and landed on the table . It was a huge cake—large enough to cover the whole table . The decorations adorning the cake were exquisite . Romantica did her best not to drool all over the table . She recognized the cake immediately .
“Beswald Bakery’s specialty cake!?”
Beswald Bakery is a famous bakery whose prices made your eyes pop out of their sockets . Only then did Desir and Pram catch on . “Isn’t this a bit much?” asked Desir .
The professor laughed joyfully at Desir’s question . “Not at all . Seeing that pig-headed noble so humiliated is well worth it . ”
“Pig-headed?” Desir inquired about exactly who Brigitte was referring to, when she pulled him into a tight hug . Her arms were trembling and her cheeks flush with excitement . Desir was shocked by the current state of events and he tried to reel back in confusion . “Professor?!”
“Wh-what are you doing!” Romantica blurted out .
In quick succession, Pram also whined . “Wait your turn!”
Despite the protest of Pram and Romantica, Brigitte hugged Desir even more tightly . “Well done . You’ve done it . ”
She held up three Alpha Class badges, and the three youths were ecstatic . They jumped in the air and were wild with joy .
“Congratulations . You have been formalized as Single Rankers of the 217th class . ”