The next day after the enrollment ceremony. As soon as I entered the classroom, my classmates’ fun chatting stopped and I heard whispering instead.
I understand that they can’t possibly accept me right away, but this doesn’t feel very good.
Neither Emily nor His Highness Edgar looked to be here so even if I took my seat, there wasn’t anybody who would talk to me.
After a while, the classroom stirred. His Highness Edgar arrived.
“Good morning, Your Highness.”
Everybody greeted him in unison, hoping to win His Highness’ favor. However, His Highness only seemed annoyed and didn’t reply.
After putting down his things on his seat, he stood in front of me.
“Hiya, Claudia. Is Emily not here yet?”
“Good morning, Your Highness. I think that she will come soon.”
His Highness which won’t even return greetings, starts talking on his own accord only with me. There’s no way such situation would be fun for the surroundings.
Sure enough, a certain noble lady shrieked.
“Your Highness! Why do you only pay attention to that woman?!”
The girl which shouted had a blonde hair and blue eyes with ringlets akin to the typical hairstyle that ojou-samas in anime have. Her eyes were sharp, as if to show her strong will.
Surrounding students were keeping their distance from her, but there were also those who nodded in agreement.
His Highness Edgar turned towards the noble lady with a displeased face.
“Who the hell are you?”
Perhaps experiencing shock due to her name not even being remembered, the girl’s face turned red and she started trembling.
“She is the daughter of Marquis Gordon, Your Highness.”
The one who answered His Highness’ question instead of the girl was the handsome boy from yesterday…Ronald.
“Oh?…So in the Marquis Gordon’s family, people are taught that it’s okay to call noble ladies with higher status than them by『that woman』?”
His Highness Edgar glared at the girl.
“S-such a thing….”
Certainly, her attitude wasn’t something that could be praised. But even before that, what does calling a person she had practically met for the first time by “that woman” say about her as a human?
“Other people better listen carefully too. Just because somebody has a different appearance or attributes from other people, that doesn’t mean that you can look down on them. Don’t act rudely towards my friend any more.”
His Highness Edgar ordered with a strong voice.
“Not knowing the first thing about me, it’s honestly irritating that you people swarm around my status. If you are going to keep this up, I also will think of ways to deal with you.”
Only after being told directly did the surrounding students realize their mistakes. The classroom became so quiet that the turmoil just a moment ago seemed like a dream.
In the meantime, the teacher came and the first lesson began. It seems that first they are going to check our attributes.
Attributes are usually determined by the family lineage, but sometimes the children are born with different attributes from their parents or with multiple attributes. For example, I don’t possess the wind attribute that the Letsya ducal family has had for generations and His Highness Levy possesses both the fire and water attributes.
Children of the Leycia nobles often have their attributes examined by their tutors before they enter the school. Moreover, there are also the children who can use some basic magic.
However, for the school’s side it would be preferable to have a clear grasp of their students’ attributes, so all inspections are done at once at the beginning.
The method is easy. You only have to touch the crystal ball that has been placed before the teacher.
My classmates put their hands on the crystal ball one by one. Each time the crystal ball changes its colors to red or yellow, blue or green. The teacher looks at it and identifies the attribute.
As a result of the examination, it has been determined that Emily has a water attribute, while His Highness Edgar possesses a fire attribute.
I clearly have a darkness attribute, but just like others, I also need to undergo the examination. Especially because I haven’t been inspected by my tutor – Jordan.
The so-called magic is unexpectedly hard to handle and can go berserk at any chance. It’s because the spirits, who are the source of the magic powers, respond sensitively to the emotions of the humans they like. And it seems that there are times when they synchronize with the emotions of those humans and make their magic go berserk.
They especially like the humans with the same attributes as them. Because of that, it’s necessary to check whether or not the students have any hidden attributes.
When I stood in front of the crystal ball, everybody’s attention naturally gathered on me. Immediately after I touched it, the crystal ball was dyed black ―― the color of the dark attribute.
The teacher’s face lost color from fear and small screams leaked from the mouths of the students.
As a result of the examination, it was determined that I only had a dark attribute.
A week after that. Extracurricular lessons were held in order to deepen the friendship among the classmates and come in contact with the spirits.
There are 6 spirit attributes that make up the nature: light, darkness, fire, water, wind and the earth. That’s why, it has been said that the spirits gather at a place with rich nature. However, since only those who have been granted protection are able to see them and hear their voices, the actual situation is a mystery.
That’s why, the new students first go out to the forest for their extracurricular lessons and come in contact with the nature. They start by walking in the forest and feel the presence of the spirits living there.
After being brought to the forest, we ended up doing a so-called orienteering, as in we had to split in groups and complete our assignments.
Because I didn’t have any friends in my past life, this kind of school events were only painful. But now I’m genuinely looking forward to it.
The group members are decided in advance. My team consists of 5 people, including Emily, Lily Mind of Marquis family, Grayson, the prime minister’s son, and Ronald.
Lady Mind is Grayson’s fiancée and is a naive and cute girl with pink-brown hair and blue eyes.
Immediately after we were divided in teams, Ronald showed a sociable smile on his face and talked to me/
“Lady Letsya, l will be in your care today“
He’s always smiling and interacts with everybody without any discrimination. He also talks with His Highness from time to time and even calls out to me casually like this.
On the other hand, Grayson glared at me with eyes full of contempt.
“This is the worst. To end up in the same group as the one with the protection of the dark spirit king of all people. As if I could act together with this kind of dangerous person!”
Just from those words, I fully understood what he thought about me.
Contrary to his docile appearance, Grayson clearly rejected me without any hesitations.
“Grayson, stop it.”
His fiancee, Lady Mind, reprimanded him, but her eyes were clearly tainted with fear when she looked at me. I also felt like her voice was somehow shaking.
It’s a common reaction. While I was thinking so, Emily looked at Grayson and Lady Mind as if she was about to assault them at any moment.
“If you don’t like it, you are free to go back, you know? It’s not like I especially want to have extracurricular lessons with you people.”
Emily’s thorny words angered Grayson.
“What did you say?”
“Grayson, I told you to stop it already.”
Lady Mind immediately held him back and said to pacify him.
Ronald also chimed in with a cheerful voice in order to reduce the tense atmosphere.
“Now, now, let’s leave it at that, shall we? It’s the precious extracurricular lesson so let’s enjoy it.”
Then, he nonchalantly whispered to me, “are you okay?”
“Thank you very much. I am fine.”
When I replied with a whisper, Ronald smiled with a relief.
It feels like I’ll be putting him through much trouble today.
Though thanks to Ronald the atmosphere calmed down and we decided to start orienteering.
Even while walking on the mountain trail, Grayson was still mumbling complaints to himself.
“Why do I have to go through this kind of….”
Hearing this, Emily scowled and dug into it.
“I can hear you.”
Extracurricular lesson that just begun. But the atmosphere between the members of the group was already bloodthirsty. I secretly sighed.
“The scenery is beautiful. Also, the weather is very nice.”
Ronald said so and smiled. He was trying his utmost to calm down the atmosphere.
The teacher might have known that our group would end up like thus and added Ronald to smooth things out. In other words. he was made to pull the short end of the stick…because of me.
In order to not put any more burden on Ronald, I advanced while trying to avoid touching Grayson’s nerves as much as possible.
The task of the orienteering was to collect certain medical herbs and arrive at the goal before the dusk. Since the designed medical herbs are different for each team, we cannot imitate other groups.
We have to coordinate with the group members and reach the goal only by depending on the map.
The children of the nobles of other kingdoms wouldn’t do a thing like this at the school. We are taking this kind of classes because Leycia has a close relationship with the spirits.
In this world. the spirits exist only in Leycia.
The spirits can only exert their original powers in Leycia ―― the land that matches their constitution. In addition, if they leave Leycia for a long time, they will gradually weaken and eventually disappear.
On the contrary, if a person from another kingdom enters Leycia’s territory, they will also become able to use magic. Though they would need more practice in order to borrow power from the spirits and use it. Unlike Leycia where there is a school that teaches it to us, in other countries gaining such opportunities is more difficult. That’s why, only few people other than Leycia citizens are able to use magic.
Because of such circumstances, we, who are able to use magic, are a quite special existences in this world. Among us, there are also the royalties are in positions to guide the nation by using this power, so the role of the education is held in great regard.
That’s why, even this game-like orienteering has a very important meaning.
First, we walked towards the riverside where our designed medical herb was likely to grow.
“Are we there yet?”
Less than 30 minutes after we started walking. Grayson, who was at the end of the line, let out a complaint.
Emily in the front took her eyes off the map and turned around.
“There is no way we would reach the destination right away.”
She seemed to be irritated, since her tone was somehow harsh. Emily returned her gaze on the map once again and steadily advanced ahead.
After a while, Lady Mind, who was walking in front of me, tripped showily.
Looking at her face-planting the ground, I gave out an surprised voice.
“A-are you alright?”
I reflexively extended my hand to help her up.
“Y-yes. Ah…no, I’m…okay….”
She noticed that the held out hand was mine and withdrew the hand she was about to reach out.
At that moment, Grayson rushed over to us.
“Don’t touch my fiancee!”
He declared strongly and helped Lady Mind up.
Ronald also took a glance at Lady Mind’s face and said with a worried voice.
“Do you have any injuries?”
“Thank you very much, I am fine.”
While replying to Ronald, Lady Mind averted her eyes from me. Whether it was because of guilt or fear, she didn’t even try to look towards me.
Looking at the situation, Ronald smiled bitterly and this time turned to me.
“Are you also alright, Lady Letsya?”
“Yes, I am fine. Thank you very much.”
Expressing my gratitude, I started walking once again.
Then, a few moments later. When I heard the scream “Kyaa” and turned around, Lady Mind had tripped again.
“Good grief, it’s you again? How many times do you have to fall until you are satisfied?”
Emily sighed as if she was exasperated.
Lady Mind shrunk back and apologized.
“It’s not her fault. Lily is the Marquis’ daughter. It’s natural that she wouldn’t be used to walking on roads like this.”
As if to protect Lady Mind, Grayson stood between her and Emily.
“Everybody here is a high ranked noble. She is not the only special one.”
It seems like Grayson’s objection got on Emily’s nerves.
“U-um, I am very sorry. It was my fault. Grayson, I’m okay so don’t get mad.”
Lady Mind apologetically hang her head down.
“Emily, let’s walk a bit slowly so Lady Mind doesn’t fall anymore. It would be a waste if we didn’t enjoy the precious extracurricular lesson together.”
I thought of today as a picnic and was looking forward to it. But even so, I don’t want to keep this antagonizing atmosphere.
As if my thoughts had gone through, Emily took a deep breath to calm her heart down and opened her mouth.
“….You’re right. It’s a valuable experience so let’s have fun.”
I nodded with a smile at Emily’s words.
After that, Grayson grabbed Lady Mind’s arm and started supporting her so she wouldn’t fall.
The tense atmosphere between us didn’t change, but Emily and Ronald were being mindful so it didn’t turn into a dispute.
“Emily, how much longer will it take?”
I don’t know the exact distance, but I think that it’s about time we got close to the goal.
“If we continue like this, we should be able to reach the goal in about thirty minutes.”
When Emily in front said so, Grayson sighed as if fed up.
“We still have to walk that much?”
Ronald smiled towards Grayson.
“I think that this kind of exercise is good too from time to time.”
“Despite being a noble, you’re saying something a commoner would say”
It was a quite rude manner of speaking. But Ronald replied without showing any signs of minding it.
“Is that so? but even nobles ought to exercise. There are people who practice swordsmanship even though they aren’t knights and ladies take a walk in the garden too.”
“That is only a preference. Nobles wouldn’t bother walking on such mountain path.”
“You are right. And that is the reason why this is a very good experience.”
Lady Mind was looking over the situation, while anxious about when Ronald would snap in anger. But from the beginning till the end, he had been dealing with Grayson with a smile on his face.
At that moment, I suddenly heard a strange noise. It sounded like a beast’s roar.
Perhaps because other members heard it too, everybody held their breaths and listened carefully.
“Is something there?”
Lady Mind’s face turned blue. Grayson opened her mouth in order to reassure her.
“That’s impossible. There are no beasts or monsters here. I’ve never heard about them showing up either.”
What Grayson said is right. In this forest there shouldn’t exist anything that would bring harm to the humans. That’s why it was used for the extracurricular lesson.
“Nevertheless, it is true that we heard a strange sound. It would better to move under the assumptions that something is there.”
Everybody nodded at Ronald’s words.
Proceeding while wary of the surroundings, we heard the sound like a beast’s roar again and stopped our steps.
“I don’t want to do this anymore! I’m scared!”
Falling into panic due to her fear, Lady Mind run back towards the path we came from.
Grayson hastily chased after her.
“P-please wait! It would be risky to separate right now!”
Ronald tried to stop them, but probably because they couldn’t hear his voice, the two ran off in no time.
I instantly grabbed Emily’s shoulder when she was also about to follow them.
Emily stopped and turned back towards me with a bewildered expression.
This forest is vast in its own way and if you get lost, you will most likely be unable to find your way out. We shouldn’t thoughtlessly follow Lady Mind right now.
“Emily, please continue heading towards the goal.”
Emily was surprised by my words and opened her eyes wide. Looking at her, I continued.
“There is definitely something in the vicinity. This forest is very dangerous.”
“In that case, I cannot leave them alone even more, can I?”
Emily tried to follow after Lady Mind once again. I put more strength in holding her shoulders in order to stop her.
“That’s why you have to go ahead and report this to the teacher, Emily. I will be the one to chase after Lady Mind.”
Nothing must be allowed to happen to Emily.
Besides, I have the power of the Dark Spirit King. Even if I lose my way, I can use shadow transportation to escape the forest.
“I have Gerald with me, so I can deal with any unforeseen accidents.
Emily had a worried expression and she was hesitating.
“I will also go with Lady Letsya. I have some confidence in my magic skills, so I won’t get in the way.”
Ronald’s words seemed to have slightly relieved Emily. I wouldn’t have any problems even if I was alone, but she must feel more reassured if a guy like Ronald is with me.
“….I understand. I will bring the teacher right away.”
“Yes, I am counting on you.”
As soon as the talk finished, I immediately chased after Lady Mind and Grayson.
『You could have just left that selfish woman alone.』
Gerald talked to me telepathically. And in turn, I also replied using telepathy.
『I cannot do that. They’re my classmates. I would feel uncomfortable if something happened to them』
『You’re too good-natured. I wouldn’t care even if she died in a ditch.』
『That would be a case for you.』
The spirits don’t care about the people other than the ones they’ve given their protection to. If the person dying in front of them wasn’t their contractor, they wouldn’t think much of it.
On the other hand, they have abnormally strong feelings towards their contractors. If somebody tried to harm them, they would do everything they could to prevent it.
If you angered Spirit Kings who have especially strong powers even among the spirits, there is no way of knowing what would happen. That’s why, in a sense Spirit Kings are very scary beings.
I and Ronald pursued Lady Mind and Grayson, running down the path we came from.
After a while, I found the two of them.
Although we were able to find them, they were in a situation which could hardly be called safe.
For reasons yet unclear、Lady Mind was about to fall from the cliff。She was holding into Grayson’s hand and dangling mid-air.
Grayson’s face was also distorted in pain. Even if the other person was a delicate girl, it would be difficult to support her weight only with one hand. Even more so if it was a hand of a still underdeveloped child.
“This is bad, I won’t make it in time.”
Despite saying so, Ronald ran towards the two at full speed. I also hurried and followed him.
But, the next moment ―― Lady Mind’s hand slipped out from Grayson’s hand.
Lady Mind’s face turned pale from fear and was dyed in despair.
『Tch, what a pain.』
Despite saying so, Gerald took my feelings in consideration and used magic. The shadow extended, enveloped Lily’s body and pulled her up to the top of the cliff.
I sighed with relief.
“Thank you, Gerald.”
『It was none other than your request, after all.』
The shadow that was enveloping Lady Mind disappeared and she sunk down to the ground. The vigor from the time she ran away on her own had vanished and she could only keep trembling.
I approached her and spoke gently.
“Are you alright?”
Lady Mind slowly lifted her face and looked at me. Large droplets of tears started to fall from her eyes.
When I gently embraced her, she buried her face into my bosom and started wailing. She must have been really scared. Well, it’s only natural because she would have died if I hadn’t come.
Grayson put the coat he was wearing on Lady Mind who was crying her eyes out.
I was relieved from the bottom of my heart that both of them were safe.
Eventually, Lady Mind who stopped crying looked straight at me and opened her mouth.
“U-um, Lady Letsya, thank you very much for saving me.”
She corrected her posture and thanked me, and after that also bowed her head towards Ronald.
“Thank you very much too, Ronald-sama.”
“No, I only tagged along and didn’t do anything.”
Grayson also lowered his head towards bitterly smiling Ronald.
“Thank you for saving Lily…Lady Letsya too, please let me thank you.”
The bloodthirsty atmosphere from before had disappeared like a dream and was replaced with a calm atmosphere instead.
“I only did something that was natural as a human. I have asked Emily to call for the teacher. They should be heading towards here at the moment. After taking a small rest, let’s proceed to meet up with them.”
Lady Mind nodded while being held in Grayson’s arms.
After taking a short rest, we cautiously proceeded towards the goal.
And right when we returned to the place where Lady Mind turned back ――
A large monster suddenly jumped out from the bushes.
“Why is a monster doing at such a place?”
Lady Mind turned pale and Grayson froze out of fear.
The body length of the monster seemed to be about 2 meters. It looked like a goat, with 3 horns growing on its head.
The monster also seemed to have noticed us and was looking at us to gauge the situation.
“I lay down my arms.”
Ronald’s face was pale but at least his voice was still calmly expressing his thoughts.
“This is not the time to be speaking calmly, Ronald-sama.”
While shedding cold sweat, I was only thinking of letting everybody here escape safely.
The monster seemed to have decided to attack us, turning its torso towards us. Just with that, everybody shrunk back in fear.
Lady Mind burst out crying and clung to Grayson’s chest.
“Why?! Didn’t they say that monsters weren’t supposed to be in this forest?!”
Grayson kept repeating 「Why, why」while hugging Lady Mind.
“It seems to be finally getting bad…”
When I looked at Ronald, I noticed that the usual smile had disappeared from his face too and was replaced with a stern expression. Though, he still didn’t seem to have lost his composure.