Chapter 1: The pretend-enthuastic instructor, suddenly appears.
After classes at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, East wing, second floor—
At this time, all the students of year two, class two, were surprised speechless.
“Al-righty, is there anyone who wants to participate in the ‘Flight contest’?
Sistina called out to the class from behind the podium, but no one answered.
All her classmates hung their heads downward, and only returned a funeral-esque silence.
“…Then, is there anyone who wants to participate in ‘Transform’?
As should be expected, there was no response. The class continued to return an eerie silence.
“Hah~, this is hopeless… Despite the festival being next week, we still haven’t decided on our roster…”
Whilst shaking her head, Sistina exchanged glances with Lumia, who – as the scribe – was standing in front of the blackboard.
Lumia nodded once, and with a calm and unexpectedly clear voice, she called out to her classmates.
“Hey everyone. Since Glen-sensei told us ‘You guys do whatever you like’ for the festival, we’ve been given a rare opportunity, so why don’t we all try our best? I mean, for those who weren’t able to participate in the festival last year, isn’t this a special chance?”
Despite that, no one said anything. Everyone disconcertedly avoided each other’s gazes.
“…It’s pointless you two.”
A bespectacled young boy stood up from his seat and broke the silence.
The boy’s name was Gibel, who was the top performing student after Sistina.
“Everyone is afraid to do anything. I mean, it’s a given isn’t it? All the other classes will send their top-performing students to the each event, and no one wants to participate in a competition that they’ll lose anyway… right?”
“…But, now that we have the chance…”
Ignoring Sistina’s sullen rebuttal, Gibel continued.
“Not to mention, the empress herself will be spectating the magic competition for second years as a special guest. No one wants to embarrass themselves in front of the empress you see?”
Although what Gibel said was distasteful, it truly aligned with the feelings of the class.
“More importantly, Sistina, isn’t it about time for you to get serious?”
“…But I have been serious?”
“Haha, you sure are good at joking around. Right now, you’re giving incompetent people the chance to compete out of sympathy, aren’t you?”
Hearing the cynical words that came out of Gibel’s faintly smiling lips, the members of the class all turned their heads to face him.
“Look, thanks to your exorbitant suggestion, even the competent people whom were qualified to appear in the festival are cowering… Isn’t this enough already?”
“I-, I didn’t intent to do th-!? And for you to call everyone incompetent…-!
Raising her eyebrows, Sistina replied in a flustered manner.
Gibel ignored her replies, and spoke without sugarcoating his words.
“That’s enough lip service. Back on topic, hurry up and distribute the games roster amongst the high performers such as you and myself. If we don’t do that, then against the other classes… especially Harry’s, we have no chance of winning.”
“Winning’s not the only goal there is to this competition right? Also, we’ve already done that last year… I feel like doing that is super meaningless…”
“Winning’s not the only goal? Meaningless? What are you saying, you. The Magic Games Festival is not something where ‘meaning’ matters or not right?”
Gibel objected, and laughed scornfully.
“In this academy where it’s rare for one’s magic abilities to be compared to another, ‘Who possesses the greatest skill in magic?’ – Isn’t this a great opportunity to make that clear?”
“That might be true, but…-!”
“On top of that, a lot of graduates of this academy… such as bureaucrats in the ministry of magic and imperial court magicians, will be watching this competition. For those who aim to work in the same field in the future, this is a one-of-a-kind chance to appeal to them. Thus, is it not a given that top-performers such as myself should be given more chances to prove myself?”
“Hey, do you really think that way…!?”
Sistina angrily stared at Gibel.
However, Gibel readily ignored it, and continued his argument.
“Also, the class that wins this year will have the honor of receiving their medals from the empress herself. You should understand that such a chance is priceless right, Sistina? So like I said, stop arguing just cause you feel like it, and act a little more mature by solidifying our roster with top-scoring members of our class. You could say that this is for the sake of our class as well.”
“Gibel… you, that’s enough—”
The atmosphere in the classroom was terrible, and Sistina, who understood that, could no longer hold her anger. As she raised her voice to speak—
Bom-ta-ta-ta-ta— the sounds of someone dashing down the corridor leading to the classroom could be heard… In the next moment, ‘Bang!’, the door to the classroom was slammed open in a showy manner.
“I’ve heard it all! Leave the rest to me, the great Glen Ryders-sensei-sama—!”
Saying that, he meaninglessly brandished the coat that hung from his shoulders.
Standing in the open doorway – with his finger thrust high in the air, his chest raised to an unnatural level, his body twisted, a flirtatious gaze, and a proud gesture – stood Glen, whose movements combined to form an interesting pose.
“…So the nuisance arrives.”
Sistina pressed a hand against her head and sighed.
In front of the students who had been stunned by his sudden entrance with unknown purpose, Glen pushed Sistina aside, took a stand at the podium.
“Stop fighting you guys. Nothing will come out of this… More importantly—”
Glen showed a glimmering, refreshing smile, and said—
“Are we not all comrades in arms that are united for the singular purpose of victory?”
His leadership was pitiable. Such much so, that for a moment, the members of the class were united as one.
“Well, how should I say this…? You guys are running into problems at the roster stage?”
Disregarding the mood of the classroom, Glen continued to talk at the beat of his own drum. Actually, this was how he usually was.
“Geez, what are you guys doing? Are you guys motivated at all? The other classes have already decided on their roster, and are doing special training for the festival you know? My my, this is the difference in mindset between you guys.”
“The one who’s unmotivated is you isn’t it sensei!?”
Hearing Glen’s overbearing remarks, Sistina barged into the conversation.
“In the first place, when I asked you about the festival a few days ago, you told me ‘do whatever you want’ didn’t you!? So what are you trying to do right now!?”
Towards the unexpected response, Glen was at a loss for words.
“…I, said that? No, I really don’t remember at all.”
“Ah… you’re really are as annoying of a person as I thought you were. You don’t listen to what other people are saying at all…”
Faced with Glen’s ever-unchanging attitude, Sistina felt extremely exhausted.
“Well, let’s not worry about that. Since you guys can’t come to a decision yourself, allow me, the grand director that leads this class, to use my decisive judgment capabilities becoming of a super charismatic magic instructor, to decide on the roster for the festival. First thing’s first—”
With a burning, ambitious passion in his eyes, Glen grandly announced.
“If I will take on the leader position, then let’s win alright? We’ll go full force, and I will guide all of you guys to victory. That’s why we’ll draft our roster like this. Also, no playing around, remember that.”
The classroom became noisy. Since he was usually such a cold-blooded creature, it was hard to imagine him being so heated up about anything. The students of the class all turned to look at one another.
“Oi, white cat, give me a list of events of the festival. Lumia, excuse me for troubling you, but could you list all the events and names in the order that I say them?”
“I told you to stop calling me a cat… Geez!”
“Yes, I understand, sensei.”
Sistina, dissatisfied, handed over the list. Lumia picked up a piece of chalk.
Glen, with a serious gaze, looked through the list of events and the rules.
“Hey, oi, white cat, are the events for each year the same?”
“Nope. With a few exceptions such as ‘Battle’, the list of events are pretty much completely different. Completely new events will be suddenly added to the list, and even the ones that look the same at first glance have completely different rules…”
“I see, so they’re also testing the student’s ability to adapt. Which means… Hmpf….”
Looking at Glen’s expression, Sistina released a small sigh.
Geez, why is he suddenly motivated like this?
After a variety of incidents, Glen had become the magic instructor in charge of this class. Although the quality of his classes were high, the person himself was uninterested, if not slothful, regarding all matters related to magic research. Not only that, he would belittle the revered teachings regarding magic, and often times one would need to ask him the same question several times to get their point across. Either way, he was seen as an eyesore that wasn’t qualified to be a magic instructor… All of this, was basic knowledge regarding Glen for members of the academy.
However, Sistina knew that, although Glen was usually an annoyance, he was still someone who would stake his life for the sake of someone else when it really mattered; He was a passionate person at heart.
Since she knew this side of Glen, despite how she lectured him on a regular basis, she recognized that when it came to decisive matters, it was better for her to not intervene too much.
The same applied to the current situation. Rather, if he was motivated, she thought that it would be fine to let him do whatever he liked.
But… how should I say this…? This is a bit unpleasant…
At heart, Sistina was feeling a bit dejected.
Glen had said that they would win with full force.
To win with full force meant that the students with average grades would be left out, and that all the events would be monopolized by the few top-performing students of the class. In the end, the roster would be no different from last year.
Hah…. Why does he have to be motivated at this time…
In reality, Sistina was undoubtedly amongst the top five of her grade. Evidently, the roster had been decided on the same basis, and she was able to participate in the Magic Games Festival for first years… but it was uninteresting. It was completely different from what her father had told her. In the past, all the members of the class would participate, and everybody would be in high spirits, and a festive mood would ensue. However, at some point in time, this standard had been abandoned.
That’s why when she heard Glen tell her to ‘do whatever you want’, she felt relieved.
If everyone could participate, then it would surely be fun.
She will definitely make it a fun Magic Games Festival like the one her father had told her about — That’s what she thought.
However, seeing Glen’s engrossed and serious expression as he looked at the list, she believed that a fun festival like her father had described would not happen this year either.
‘Hah’, as if giving up, Sistina released a solemn sigh.
“…Alright, I got it.”
Glen raised his head. It seems that he was about to announce the roster.
“Alright listen in you guys. First, for the event with the highest points ‘Battle’ – Sistina, Gibel, and …. Cashew. You three will participate in this.”
Eh? At this moment, all the members of the class tilted their heads.
The ‘Battle’ event of the magic games festival was an actual 3-on-3 magic battle, and was the event that was given the most attention. It was a given for each class to select their three strong members.
However, if the roster for the event was chosen with grades as the basis, then after Sistina and Gibel should be Wendy. So why was the spot given to Cashew whose grades were worse than Wendy’s?”
Even Cashew himself was unable to hide his incomposure.
However, Glen ignored the troubled feelings that arose from his decision, and continued.
“Erm, next… ‘Speed Decryption’. Wendy’s the only possible choice for this. ‘Flight Contest’… Road and Kai would be suitable. ‘Spirit Defense’… Ah, Lumia has to do this one. Erm, from there, for ‘Search and Unlock contest’— For ‘Grancia’—”
As the participants were listed one by one, the students noticed that no person appeared in more than one event. As usual, the high-point events were assigned to top-performing students, but the average students were also evenly distributed amongst other events. It would appear that Glen wanted all forty members of the class to appear in one event or another.
Didn’t he want to win with full force? Didn’t he say that there was no playing around?
“—then, lastly, let’s leave ‘Transform’ to Rin. Alright, all the roster slots are filled aren’t they?”
Glen finished announcing the participants for each event. In the end, not a single person was disregarded. At the bare minimum, each person participated in one event.
“I can’t accept this-!”
Amongst the noisy students, the twin-tailed girl that had the presence of an ojou-sama, Wendy, wildly stood up from her seat.
“Why wasn’t I chosen for ‘Battle’!? My grades are better than Cashew-san’s aren’t they!?”
“Ah—, about that…”
Glen pressed his hand against his temple, and said with a slightly bitter intonation to his voice.
“It’s true that your spells learnt, magic knowledge, and magic capacity are all outstanding, but, you have some teensy shortcomings you see—? Your ability to adapt to sudden situations is weak, and you occasionally fumble your chants.”
“That’s why I judged that Cashew, who has better athletic ability and situational adaptiveness despite knowing fewer spells, would be more suitable for the ‘Battle’ event. I apologize if I displeased you. In exchange, you will participate in ‘Speed Decryption’, and isn’t that your specialty? In terms of ability with [Read · Language], not a single person will complain if I say that you stand head and shoulders above everyone else. So I’ll leave this to you. Please get the points for us.”
“W-, Well… if that’s the case… Although I feel irritated by what you said…”
Although angry, Wendy didn’t try to argue any further, and dejectedly returned to her seat.
Following Wendy, many other students raised their hands to ask why they had been chosen for a specific event.
“’Cause in the end, [Levitate · Fly] and [Gravity · Control] are both gravity-control type black magic, and at the heart of it, black magic is the same as techniques used to control movement and energy. Kai, you should be able to do it.”
“Teresa, during our alchemy lab a short while back, you used [Psy · Telekinesis] to clean up the remains of a flask that someone dropped right? You might not have noticed this, but you have an affinity for telekinetic-type white magic, especially long-range control techniques.”
“‘Grazia’ focuses far more on teamwork than individual play. Since you three always get along well, aren’t you guys the best choice? Not to mention, you guys are good at Synchro-chanting.”
However, each of the student’s inquiries were met with a clear and concise answer.
Basically, it appeared that though some students didn’t particularly stand out, Glen had a grasp of each of their individual merits. Based on that knowledge, he had drafted the roster for maximum potential.
Although no one knew why Glen was suddenly motivated, and it was impossible to deny that there were a few inefficiencies if his objective was ‘to win with full force’. However, it seemed that Glen had thought through this in his own way, and drafted what he believed was the best.
Not to mention, this…
Sistina looked at the names written on the blackboard. Fundamentally, each of the students were assigned to the events that made the most of their individual abilities. Although a few students were assigned to an event outside their merits, it was events where their merits could be adapted to make it work. It would appear that he had taken everything into consideration. It could be said that, had he not intently observed the students and become familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, he would not be able to create this roster. Glen usually seemed like he had no interest in the students he was teaching, but it appeared that he had kept a close eye on them the entire time.
Although he’s pretty hopeless as a person… occasionally, he can do these sort of things…
Looking at Glen, who responded to the student’s inquiries, Sistina showed a slight smile.
“—Now then, anymore questions?”
Glen scanned the classroom.
It seemed that at this point, there was no one who objected Glen’s lineup.
“Then, I guess it’s decided then?”
Although he was already laughing on the inside, Glen asked once more time just in case.
Fu—, my, I suppose that’s a job well done…
All said and done, Glen only had one goal – to win. Regardless of what happens, he had no choice but to win and pocket the special reward, for the sake of living on.
Rather, I refuse to die of starvation. If Serika says she won’t help, then she really won’t help, ‘cause she’s a cold hearted person.
Thus, although victory couldn’t be assured, he had no choice but to put everything on the table to secure the highest chance of winning. Although it was still a festival in reality, it would be troubling for him if he let everyone choose the events they wanted to participate in. For the sake of winning, he had no choice but to be sly with the roster.
In this manner, he would push towards his first objective. If all forty students of his class were aiming to win, then his roster suggestion should undoubtedly be the best.
Fuu…. Since I already pulled a few tricks, there’s no value in anything other than winning, the winners are always right after all… Well, if I could, I would use Sistina for every single event, but huh…
<TL Note: Glen uses half of the saying (勝てば官軍…) ‘The winner is the government’s army, and the loser are the bandits, which is essentially the Japanese equivalent of ‘the winner writes history’>
It was true that the roster utilized the class’ talents to the fullest, but it was impossible to make up the difference in individual ability between the top-performing students. Glen understood that. At the very best, the roster was enough to be competitive in each of the events. If he really wanted to secure victory, then he would probably have to assign all the top-performing students to every event.
…But that’s obviously against the rules huh… Well, it can’t be helped I guess, I do my best to use these forty people and challenge myself to maximize my chances of winning…
As Glen was thinking that—
“My my… Sensei, can you cut it out already?”
One of the students relaxedly stood from their seat. It was Giel.
“You keep saying that ‘We’ll win using full force’, but there’s no way we can win with this roster right?”
Could it be that you thought of a roster with a higher chance of winning?
‘If that’s true, then I’ll definitely use it’— For Glen, this was no longer a problem of an instructor’s pride and dignity, it was the difference between life and death.
“Oho? Gibel. That means you have a roster in mind that has a higher chance of winning? Alright, let’s hear it.”
“…Uhm, sensei, are you seriously saying that?”
Unable to hide his irritation, Gibel spouted those words.
“Isn’t that obvious!? Just have the top-performing students participate in every single event! That’s the standard for each year, and all the classes are doing it too aren’t they!?”
Eh? What? That’s alright? Although his body was frozen, his thoughts continued to ceaselessly flow. Anyhow, it seems that he now realized that he had made a terrible mistake.
Ah, the heck? So you could use the same person multiple times, and it’s a standard? Then let’s do just that. Heh—, yes—, oho—, hmm—…
Having heard that, Glen was fist-pumping on the inside.
Alrighty…. Guhehe, the current roster is sly enough as it is, but since the opportunity presented itself, I won’t hold back. I’ll take the slyness one step beyond…-!
In particular, I won’t hold back on using Sistina. This white cat girl might be cheeky, but she’s still excellent without a doubt. As cheeky as she is, if I put her into as many events as I can, then my chances of victory will definitely jump.
“Hmpf… I guess you’re right, if we do that…”
As Glen was about to approve of Gibel’s suggestion—
“What are you saying, Gibel!? After all the thought that sensei put into it, you’re trying to pick it all apart?
The girl that rebutted Gibel was none other than Sistina.
Hey-, yo-, wh-, why are you objecting Gibel—!?
Without a clue of Glen’s unease, Sistina faced the entire class, and pleaded to the them with a sincere expression.
“Everyone, look! Look at the roster than sensei has thought up! He has fully considered our strengths and weakness, and given each and every person the chance to play an active role in the festival!”
In response to Sistina’s pleading, the class entered a commotion.
‘Now that you say that…’, ‘It’s true that…’. From everywhere in the classroom, such whispers could be heard.
Hey… You guys… don’t get persuaded… I beg you…
“Despite all the thought that sensei put into it, are you all just going to shrink back and do nothing!? Are you going to give a meaningless excuse such as ‘I don’t want the empress to see my unsightly appearance’ to back away from participating!? Is that in itself not unsightly!? If you really believe that, how could you even possibly dare face the empress!?”
Whatever with being unsightly or unable to face her, just please stop saying such unnecessary things…
“To begin with, if we win by only having the top-performers compete, then what’s the point of this festival? Sensei said ‘We’ll go full force, and I will guide all of you guys to victory.’ had he not!? There is only a meaning to what he said if we all do this together!”
Then, Sistina turned and said.
The expression on her face was one that was rarely shown to Glen – A rare, impregnable, refreshing smile.
He had no choice but to say this. If he were to say ‘nope’ at this moment, then he would become nothing short of a supervillain.
“I-, It’s just as Sistina says….”
“Ah, that’s right… Even we….”
And then, the class’ atmosphere clearly indicated that they would follow Sistina.
Ah, don’t back down—!? Hey, wait a second you guys! This is a problem of life and death you know!? I’m gonna die of starvation you know!? Do you guys even understand!? Goddamnit!
At this point, he can only bet on his final safety net, Gibel.
Give it your best! Don’t lose Gibel-kun! Make the white cat eat your dust with a super-comeback!
Glen sent an imploring gaze towards Gibel, but…
“Fu, my my. You never change do you, Sistina… Well, fine, if the class all agrees on that, then do whatever you like.”
Gibel reseated himself, a cynical smile on his face.
You bastard, aren’t you a bit too weak you little herbivore of a boy—!?
“Well, let’s see what you can do then, Sensei?”
This annoying little—! There’s nothing that I can show you!
In response to Gibel’s provocation, Glen could do nothing but scream internally.
Then, to Glen—
“Ahaha, everything turned out great didn’t it? All according to sensei’s plan, right?”
Saying that, Sistina let a chuckle slip.
T-, This girl… Is she mocking me!? Me of all people!? She’s really means it doesn’t she!? Not only that, she’s hitting me with irony where it hurts…-!?
Glen could see nothing but the devil’s smile on her face.
C-, Could it be, that this girl… grasped my plan!? If that’s the case, then what a despicable person you are, blight cat…-!
“Well, since sensei seems to be finally be motivated for once, and even gave it his all to think of this roster, let’s do our best everyone. I’ll look forward to what you can do, sensei~”
“Y-, Yeah… Just leave it to me….”
Sistina, who was in a particularly rare good mood, showed a somewhat eerie smile towards Glen.
Hm… I can’t help but get the feeling that they’re not on the same wavelength… I wonder why?
Lumia gazed upon them with a wry smile.
In the week leading to the Magic Games Festival at Alzano Imperial Magic Academy, there was a practice period allotted specifically for the events.
Fundamentally, there were only three lectures during this period, the first and second classes in the morning, and the third class in the afternoon. After these classes ended, the rest of the time was devoted to magic practice under the supervision of the instructor.
Afterschool, at the courtyard that was filled with growing grass and surrounding by coniferous trees—
Glen leaned his back against a suitable tree, and gazed at his students, who were practicing for the Magic Games Festival, from afar. He seemed to be rather exhausted.
There were students that chanted their spells and practiced flying in the skies.
There were students that used long-range telekinetic-type abilities to play catch ball.
There were students that chanted attack-type spells, and struck the trees with beams of electricity.
On the other side of the courtyard, Sistina and Lumia spread a spellbook open on the bench, and – with troubled expressions – wrote something on the sheep skin paper. The various students surrounding them seemed to be discussing something. It seemed that the girls were organizing the magic techniques that they would use for the competition.
As of now, Glen’s class was silently fired up about the Magic Games Festival that was set to happen a week later.
“Geez they sure are passionate… they don’t even consider my feelings…”
As if his passionate yesterday was a lie, today’s Glen was nothing less than downtrodden.
Since he saw it. The members that would participate in the other class that is.
He used the summoning magic [Call · Familiar] to summon a rat, which he used to scout the other teams, but as expected, all of the other classes seemed to have excelling or even famous students participating in multiple events. Against a team filled with outstanding talent, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the students of Glen’s class didn’t amount to anything… Well, it wasn’t quite that exaggerated, but simply said, there was a great difference in individual abilities. No matter how he looked at it, it wouldn’t be easy to win.
Glen’s fate of ‘death by starvation’ was no longer just a joke, it would soon become a reality.
“Damnit, how unfair… Using nothing but excelling students. Do these people have nothing but winning on their minds!? There are things that are more important than winning right? Damn!”
It was true that he wanted to fill his roster with nothing but top students, but that thought had already been long lost.
“Tch… Should I do what I must and change up the roster? Within the bounds of a supervising instructor…”
Right now, the devil was whispering into his heart.
However, Glen glanced at his students.
Everyone seemed to be having fun. Yesterday they did nothing but cower away and back down, but now, none of them seemed to sweat the small things, and were probably looking forward to participating in the festival. It was because of their liveliness that they were intent on practicing for the events that they would appear in.
Seeing that, visions of his past seemed to flash through his mind.
“Magic Games Festival… ah, now that I think about it…. When I was still a student here… there was something like that wasn’t there…?”
Seeing the happy looks on the students as they practiced, Glen finally remembered. It seemed that the academy has a tradition that was something like the Magic Games Festival, but he had completely forgotten about it until now.
“Well, let’s not force it too hard. When I graduated from this academy, I spent three years doing nothing noteworthy… On top of that, I didn’t ever participate in the festival did I…?”
His memories as a student of this academy seemed to drift through his mind.
At that time, the malpractice of separating participation in the Magic Games Festival by students’ grades had already begun. Although only those who were below average were cut from consideration, Glen, who was a below average student, was automatically disqualified. Thinking back, Glen, who was three to four years younger than the students of his class, was most likely treated as an outsider by his classmates and friends.
That’s why, despite the high-spirits of the class and the students, Glen only spectated from afar, all alone. For Glen, these were boring and lonely memories, and as a result of having been treated the same for three years in a row, not a single shred of interest in the festival remained.
Since they were such dark memories, it was more or less a given that they would be forgotten. If he wasn’t in charge of a class that was participating in the games festival, he probably wouldn’t have ever remembered.
“Tch… Making me remember such things…”
Hatefully murmuring to himself, he once again looked at his students, who were all giving it their best.
“Hah… Geez, what an underhanded bunch… Ah, it’s impossible like this, for real….”
Winning is probably impossible. What can I do in a week? I can’t think of anything.
I can’t think of anything, but—
Amongst the students that were practicing, there was not a single one that was lonesome, nor was there anyone that merely spectated.
“Hah… My oh my.”
Glen scratched his head and stood up.
“…Well, whatever I guess.”
Murmuring to no one in particular, Glen showed a refreshed expression.
“In any case, I just gotta deal with the food problems first don’t I? I can’t look forward to the prize money, but I’m gonna politely decline the option of starving to death. There are shroty trees growing in this academy aren’t there… If it’s branches from those, then I can figure something out until the next payday…”
He hadn’t filled his stomach with anything but water since yesterday. With no other recourse, Glen decided that he would search through the academy’s forest for edible wild grass or sticks. It was then—
“You guys have been nothing but selfish this whole time… Just quit it already!”
Suddenly, angry voices could be heard from the distance.
In a bout of annoyance, Glen turned towards the direction of the voices. It seems that the students of his class were arguing with the students of some other class, and started a dispute in the courtyard.
“…Oi you guys, what happened?”
Since he couldn’t leave it be, Glen sighed to himself, and walked towards the source of the disturbance. The students in question were grappling one another, and both of them seemed like they would burst at any time.
“Ah, sensei!? These guys came after us, but they’re telling us to move away—”
One of the students of Glen’s class, Cashew, agitatedly ranted.
“Shut up! Seeing your oversized group messing around is an eyesore! We’re going to be practicing now, so go somewhere else!”
The student that was fighting with Cashew seemed to be just as agitated.
“What did you say—!?”
“Alright alright, STOP~”
Glen grabbed Cashew and the other student by the nape of their necks, and forcefully pulled them apart.
“Ack ack… O-, Ow…. My neck…”
“Uoo… I-, I can’t… breathe….”
“Christ, don’t fight over such petty things alright…. Your EQs are way too low.”
Confirming that the two of them were now obedient, Glen led go of his hands.
Having been released from Glen’s hold, the two of them fell to the floor and gasped for air.
“Erm, you over there… Judging by that badge, you’re from class one right? Are you guys gonna practice now?”
“Eh… Ah, yeah. That’s right… Uhm… this is where Harry-sensei told us to go…”
After being suppressed by Glen’s brute force, the two fairly large-framed students seemed to grow timid. The students of class one took a step back, and tackled the situation in an admirable manner.
“Hmpf, I see…”
Glen scratched his head, and looked around the area.
“Mm, well, it’s true that we’re taking up too much space… Sorry ‘bout that. We’ll move ourselves to one side, is that ok with you guys?”
“I-, If you can clear some space, then that’ll be fine…”
It seems that everything was wrapped up somehow, and the students who were observing the situation unfold were relieved.
“What are you doing, Kreiss!? Didn’t I tell you to secure a spot!? So why isn’t it clear!?”
A man in his mid-twenties entered the stage, together with infuriated cries. He was a bespectacled, sensitive man that wore the robe bearing the mark of an owl, which showed that he was an instructor of this academy. His name was—
“Ah, Yu-ray-senpai, wassup?”
“It’s Harry! Harry! It’s not Yuray or Harem-! It’s Harry Astray-! Glen Ryders, just how many times do have I have to tell an imbecile like you my name until you remember it!? Rather, you haven’t remembered my name at all have you!? Not in the slightest! Am I right!?”
The two of them gave the impression of being old friends.
Towards Glen’s lighthearted greeting, Harry showed an astounding reaction.
“…So? Is, erm, Ha-… something-senpai’s class is coming here to practice for the festival?”
“…You little… can you really not remember my name?”
With clenched, trembling fists, Harry moved on to the main topic, not wanting to waste time with idle talk.
“Hmpf, well fine, you asked whether my class is practicing for the festival right? The answer should be more than obvious. Not to mention, my class will be taking the victory as well. Under my guidance, anything other than victory is unforgivable! Furthermore, the empress will be present as a special guest this year, and will be the one to present the medals. The only one suitable for such an honor is none other than myself!”
“Ah-ha-ha! Damn, you’re so passionate about this! Well, give it your best, senpai!”
Faced with Glen’s playful attitude, Harry disdainfully clicked his tongue.
“More importantly, Glen Ryders, I heard about it. Do you really intend to have everyone in your class participate in the festival?”
“Eh? Ah, mhm, yeah, well, it happened didn’t it… it’s not exactly what I had in mind though.”
“Hah! Are you throwing away your chances of winning already? Actually, have you thought of what you’re going to say when you lose? Or are you just afraid of the class that’s under my guidance?”
Glen awkwardly shook his head.
For some reason, this Ha-something guy is really hostile towards me. I didn’t really do anything, but he’s just flaming me in a one sided manner. Well, it wasn’t much at first, but now that I think about it, I feel like that he started being hostile when I started to teach my classes seriously… I don’t really get the cause and effect behind this.
Well, it’ll probably be fine if I just give him a suitable response.
“No, that might actually be true you see— I mean, after all, Ha-… something-senpai’s class is filled with top-performing students you see— And my—, it’s pretty much decided that senpai’s class is gonna win you see— Ah—, I’m so jealous of the empress’ medal you know—”
Seeing that Glen was set on playing the fool, Harry irritatedly grit his teeth.
“Tch… what a coward. Well, fine, just hurry up a clear out of our practice area.”
“Ah— yes yes, immediately. Erm, would it be fine if we just moved to the space over by that tree?”
Glen took the space that each of their students needed to practice, and proposed a fairly proper distribution of space, but—
“What are you saying? I’m telling you and the rest of your class to move out of the courtyard.”
Hearing what Harry said, all the students of class two froze up.
Even Glen couldn’t help but press his fingers against his temples and protest.
“Senpai… no matter what, that’s a bit too much isn’t it… You’re being a tad unreasonable.”
“What’s unreasonable about this?”
Harry spat those words.
“If you’re being serious about this, then I have no problem with evenly distributing the practice grounds with you. However, you’re not motivated at all are you!? Not to mention, you let these poor performing students… You’re planning to work with these hindrances after all!”
“To begin with, your class has no plans to win, but to take over the practice space with a mob of useless small fry is nothing short of an annoyance for everyone else! If you know what I mean, then hurry up and get lost!”
Hearing such terribly demeaning words, the expression of the students from Glen’s class darkened…
—There’s no way we can let a failure like you participate in the glorious festival right? Glen.
—If you know what I mean, then hurry up and scram. You’re nothing but a burden!
The way the students overlapped with someone, from somewhere, from sometime…
“Ah… geez, come on. It’s just one thing after another today isn’t it? …Ah—, I’ve had enough of this…”
Glen, who suddenly said such things, ignored the students, who were unable to hide their troubled feelings, and suddenly pointed his finger at the dead-center of Harry’s nose. In conjunction with that movement, he flipped the robe that rested over his shoulders.
“About what you said, senpai, this is the best assignment for my class. You’re saying that I’m motivated? That I’m throwing away my chances of victory? Fu-, don’t talk bullshit would you? Of course we’re after it as well. Victory, that is. Well, feel free to belittle us however you like, just try your best to not let us blindside you alright?”
Curving his lips into a sneer, Glen showed a daring smile.
In response to Glen’s mysterious pressure, a sweatdrop formed on Harry’s forehead.
“…Ku, you can say whatever you like, but in the end you’re all talk. However, in reality, all you’re doing is that you’re making the excelling students of your class such as Sistina and Gibel play around aren’t you…-!”
“Hm? I see… Basically, erm… Ha-? Something-senpai thinks that my class’ composition is just for show, flimsy, or something like that right…?”
“E-, Exactly… what else could it possibly be!? Repeatedly using your top-students is practically a formality! It’s not just my class, all the other classes in every single year are doing it as well!”
“Ku-Ku-Ku… So it seems that it’s not just you. Rather, it seems that all the instructors at this academy are useless blockheads… No—way, no way, could it be that you thought that you could win just by putting top-performing students in every single even…? Fuha—HA-HA-HA-! I’m dying over here!”
Said Glen. His laughter was somewhat villainous.
“Alright senpai? We will win with everybody. Everybody, got that? If we’re all moving towards the same goal, then say anything you want about ‘who’s the main force and who’s the hindrance’, none of it matters. It’s all for one, and one for all. The feeling of unity is the best strategy you know? You understand me?”
“Ku-… you think that kind of illogical, spiritual theory will work…!?”
However, in response to Harry’s rebuttal, Glen stuck out his chest proudly and replied.
“Three months of wage.”
“My class will win, and you will give me three months’ worth of wages.”
In response to Glen’s announcement, not only Harry, but even the surrounding students were bewildered.
In particular, the students of Glen’s class looked at him with open-mouths.
“A-, Are you serious, you imbecile…-!”
“Now then, whatcha’ gonna do senpai? Will you take this bet? My, perhaps three months is a bit too much? If you lose then your research is gonna get stalled for a while isn’t it…?”
To instructors, wages had a special meaning. Compared to professors, the amount of budgeting they got for research was nothing more than a drop in the ocean. As a result, in order to make some achievements, and for the sake of advancing their own research, instructors of this academy had no choice but to fund their research out of their own pockets. Although magic instructors had a fairly high payline, they were often just barely scraping by.
Of course, Harry too, would like to avoid the risk of losing three months worth of pay. If he were to lose it, then during that period, Harry’s magic research would undoubtedly be slowed.
I don’t believe that I would lose, but it’s still a matter of chance. No one knows how it will turn out.
Furthermore— this Glen person’s strangely confident expression, and nonchalant attitude.
Does he have some sort of strategy in mind—?
However, before the students, there was no way that Harry could back down.
“The same applies for me! My class will win, and you will give me three months worth of wages!”
With sweat trickling from his face, Harry disdainfully announced such.
“Fu-… As expected of you, senpai. You got guts. I like that you know? It wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t like this… Ku-Ku-Ku-… My, I’m extremely grateful, se—n—pa—i.”
With unmatched composure, Glen showed a intrepid smile.
“Tch-…-! I-, I’ll make you regret ever messing with me…-!”
With a hateful sentiment, Harry stared intently at Glen.
The students observed the two with bated breath.
…Now I’ve done it ––––––!
Although he held a firm, daring smile on the surface, on the inside, Glen already had his arms around his head.
I felt a bit irritated for some reason when he was making fun of my students, but I’ve actually done it this time! Oi oi, what am I gonna do? This ain’t a joke anymore! There’s no way I’ll be able to survive for three months without real food! I’ll die you know? It’s not like I’m the sage of the east or something…-!
Simply put, Glen’s attitude might be imposing, but he was frightened to the core.
Strategy you say? Of course that doesn’t exist.
“Damn you Glen Ryders… An imbecile of a man like you…-! As mere third-rank third-rate magician who doesn’t have a single speck of pride as a magician, you dare belittle me…-!”
Uwah—, he’s angry now… He’s really really angry now…. A-ha-ha, shit. What am I gonna do!?
Right now, Glen had nothing but regret for his reflexive words and provocations.
Alright… dogeza it is. In this kind of situation, I have no other choice. Right now, I will desperately and sincerely beg for forgiveness and mercy— Now, bear witness to my special original magic [Moonsault · Jumping · Dogeza]—
As Glen was about to make a world record for throwing vanity, pride, and embarrassment—
“That’s enough, Harry-sensei.”
A calm, cool voice interrupt Harry from saying anymore before Glen could prostrate himself.
“I will not forgive you if you belittle Glen-sensei any more than you already have.”
The one who spoke was none other than Sistina, who had arrived on the scene at some point.
Why do you have to appear with such timing, you little white cat—!?
Glen was on the verge of tears.
“You are Sistina Phebell!? The prestigious house Phebell’s… ku-!?”
Harry was visibly shaken by Sistina’s intervention.
“To start with, the way in which you dealt with the matter regarding the practice grounds was far from reasonable. However, you contempt attitude towards Glen-sensei is unjust! If you plan to continue any further, then a problem may occur with the higher-ups in the academy regarding your unfit morals as a magic instructor. Would you like that?”
“Ku-…!? Y-, You little smoocher…-!”
In contrast to Harry’s bewilderment, Sistina showed a composed smile.
“Even if you didn’t result to such vulgar methods, Glen-sensei won’t hide or run away. At the Magic Games Festival a week from now, my class will compete fair and square against yours…”
Sistina, who was overjoyed for some reason, turned to face Glen with eyes full of expectation.
He had no choice but to say this. If he were to say ‘nope’ at this moment, then he would become nothing short of a supervillain.
“Damnit, remember this, Glen Ryders! I’ll make sure to crush your class first at the combined events! Wash your face and get ready for it!”
Why does the hurdle keep rising? Someone save me…
Tears began to flow from his heart—
“Don’t ever come here again.”
In contrast, he gave Harry a thumbs down, before running his thumb across his throat in a threatening gesture. Something such as ‘an inevitable series of events’ existed in this world.
Harry loudly exhaled from his nose, and angrily turned to leave.
Although he avoided one disaster, another super-mega-bomb was about to drop directly on Glen.
“… I misjudged you, just a little bit.”
Said Sistina to Glen. The silver-haired girl combed her hair upwards, and absentmindedly turned her eyes around the area, unsure where to look. Her face seemed to be somewhat red. Perhaps she had a cold?
“I didn’t think that you would go that far to protect our practice grounds…. Although I know that you’re someone who will push comes to shove, but… I mean, sensei is… you’re usually like you usually are and… seeing it once again… uhm…”
“It’s not like I did it for you guys or anything…”
“Fufu, you’re being modest?”
Of course, it was not modesty, but rather, an undeniable truth.
“To stake a price and compete using their own skills is a magician’s’ art…. Mhm, in the end, sensei is a magician at heart!”
Why is she happy? This girl…
“It’s fine, just leave it to me, sensei! Since sensei has this much faith in us, we will definitely win! Hey, isn’t that right, everyone!?”
In response to Sistina, everyone strongly nodded their heads.
What’s the basis for that response you guys…. You’re only having fun cause you guys have nothing to lose, damnit….
In the end, he was merely reaping what he sowed, but he tried his best to pretend that he didn’t know it.
On this rare occasion, Sistina showed a happy smile towards Glen.
And to Sistina, Glen returned a patient, but resentful smile.
“Hm… I can’t help but get the feeling that they’re not on the same wavelength… I wonder why?”
Lumia gazed upon them with a wry smile.
The days leading to the Magic Games Festival continued to pass.
In the end, (due to an inevitable series of events) everyone that wanted to participate in the festival was now participating. Glen, who (appeared to have) fully considered each and every one of the students (on the surface), was a stronger unifying force for the students than anyone had expected.
The students of Glen’s class were all in high spirits, and for the sake of winning, they all desperately practiced and studied. They were already at the point where they had no fear of losing to the top-performing students of other classes, nor the fear of embarrassing themselves in front of the empress.
For the sake of the once-in-a-lifetime, 2nd year Magic Games Festival, everyone gave it their best.
On the other hand, Glen also responded to the student’s passion (as there was no way he’d sit idly and allow himself to starve to death). Although his passion seemed a bit ghastly, he worked hard to help the students practice and study.
“Erm, ‘Grazia’… is a three-person event this time around huh. If there are the same number of teams as there are classes, then there are a total of ten teams. However, given the scheduling of the games festival, there’s no time for a tournament style bracket. On the day of the event, lotteries will be drawn to decide thee matches, and the rankings will be calculated based on the score difference… Hmpf.”
Holding the rulebook to this year’s games festival, Glen murmured to himself.
Today, Glen was in the classroom giving strategic guidance to the students that were participating in ‘Grazia’, a traditional team-battle game that involved creating barriers.
<TL Note: Reminder, ‘Grazia’ is a game in which points are scored by occupying space using a barrier>
“With those conditions… Alright, listen up you guys. Use a conditional activation sequence.”
Glen turned his eyes away from the booklet, and faced the students that were participating in the event – Alf, Bicks, and Shesa.
“In ‘Grazia’ the most important aspect is the speed at which you can construct the barrier isn’t it? That said, I used a familiar to observe the other classes a little bit, but… their speed is undoubtedly faster than yours. Each class is putting everything they can into practicing barrier formation speed. If we fight them directly, then our zone will be invaded and that’ll be the end of the story.”
‘Then what should we do?’. The students showed such questioning expressions.
“The way to fight against that is a conditional activation sequence. What I mean by conditional activation sequence, is a passive magic-sequence that activates when certain conditions regarding the corresponding field or object – which are set at the beginning – are met. We’ll be using this for our strategy.”
“A conditional activation sequence… right?”
Hearing about that, the students furrowed their eyebrows with bitter expressions.
Most magicians had pretty poor impression regarding conditional activation sequences.
“Well, it’s not going to make you look cool I guess, since it is a conditional activation sequence after all. As I said in the lecture a little while ago, it’s a wretched, ancient sequence that’s infamous for being used in curses and geises. ‘If X and Y isn’t done, then you will die’ kind of feeling… Well, forget about that.”
<TL Note: ‘Geis’ is read as ‘Geis’, but written as ‘constraint’ 制約>
Composing himself, Glen returned to explaining.
“Let’s review conditional activation sequences then. The strengths of this technique is that, if it’s completed, it will automatically activate. Since it doesn’t emit any magic power while it’s dormant, it’s also extremely hard to detect. The weaknesses is that you are unable to choose the timing at which you activate it, and the timing at which it activates is completely dependent on the action that your opponent takes.”
Glen wrote the strategy on the whiteboard.
“In a three-man ‘Grazia’, the standard is to have two people on offense and one person on defense, where the two-man group occupies a position, while the one-man group destroys the other’s encampments right? However, all three of you will be on defense. Focus everything into destroying the opponent’s encampment using ‘Field · Break’. Compared to creating one, destroying is a lot simpler after all.”
“But, if we do that then we can’t win…”
“That’s right, if we do that, then no matter how hard we try, we can only force a draw…”
“The goal is to make them think that we’re going for a tie”
‘I don’t really want to play this kind of dirty strategy, but well…’ thought Glen, as he scratched his head.
“I don’t want to say this, but compared to your opponents, you guys are weak. Our opponent’s pride will not allow them to accept a tie, and since the rankings are based on point differences, they will try everything they can to win with a big point margin. Thus, if the stalemate continue for long enough, they’ll definitely try to use ‘Absolute · Field’.”
“That’s the type of barrier that’s complicated to construct, but can’t be destroyed once it completed, right?”
“Ah, yeah. To add onto that, since they want to score big, they’ll definitely go for a huge scale one. That’s where you guys come in. You guys will create a super-broad field that will completely control the entire area, and the condition for its activation is ‘if the opponent creates an Absolute · Field that is beyond a certain size’… in order to obstruct the opponent. Our opponents will never suspect that a team that seems like it’s going for a tie, would try to turn the match on its head for a dominating victory… probably.”
With a slip of the tongue, Glen revealed his slight lack of confidence.
“Could it be that we’re going for a ‘Silent · Field · Counter’!?”
“For us, such a high-level strategy is…”
“But, you guys don’t have any other choice right? If we don’t try this then we’re going to lose one-hundred percent.”
Faced with the harsh truth, the students turned silent.
“That said, if the opponents are calm then we’ll lose either way. If our opponents go for a small ‘Absolute · Field’ to guarantee their victory, then we’re out, since the activation conditions won’t be met. However, we can’t set the activation conditions to apply on such a small field either. The strength of the sequence’s effect goes hand-in-hand with the difficulty in which the conditions are met. If we go for something too simple, then the tables will be turned in the remaining time after the field activates.”
Clicking and clacking the chalk against the blackboard, Glen wrote out the details of the strategy.
“The key is to force our opponents into using this large-scale skill. Thus, the deciding factor of this strategy is how quickly we can destroy their ‘Normal · Field’s. That’s why you guys need to put extra practice into ‘Field · Break’. Rather, let’s just say that that’s all you guys need to do. Got it?”
“U-, Understood, sensei!”
From a distance, Sistina and Lumia were gazing at Glen.
“He sure is passionate about this… Does he really plan to win with all forty of us…”
“Hey Sisti. From the side, sensei’s serious and hard-working expression actually looks pretty cool doesn’t it?”
Sitting beside Sistina, who seemed impressed, Lumia happily laughed.
“…Not really. To start with, given how he is usually, it would be troubling if he wasn’t at least serious every so often.”
“Fufu, how dishonest~”
“…W-, What do you mean?”
Regardless of that, however, the two of them had an unresolved question.
“But, why is sensei… growing paler with each passing day?”
“Mm… maybe he has a cold?”
This was the greatest mystery of the Magic Games Festival.
Like this, a week passed by in a flash.
Today was the opening day of Alzano Imperial Academy’s Magic Games Festival.
And the day that the Alzano Empire’s empress, Alicia the seventh, would arrive at the academy—