Maruyama: I went over 50k characters, but from the activity statistics, you guys don't seem to have a problem with it so I put everything into one chapter.
For those of you on your phones, sorry! This Maruyama has faith in you all that you can pull through!
Frostfire10: This is 30 pages long. That is all I will say.
The Academy Part 3
Translator: Frostfire10, Henet
Several days had passed since the legendary magic caster had joined their class.
Even for such an outrageous event like this, the passage of time did its work and allowed them to settle into their new rhythm.
The fact that Fluder was the most powerful magic caster in the lands seeped into even the smallest conversation and he had displayed his overwhelming prowess during practicals. However, because of his status, he did not act like a tyrant like most students would do in his position.
He seemed to be a difficult person to handle, but he was a very wise and solemn person.
And so the current situation was caused by the students eventually learning not to fear him.
However, the number of casual conversations had still remained low, and the atmosphere had only warmed up within this specific class, and the other classes still remained extremely tense in front of Fluder. The cafeteria still was stone cold silent.
And even his classmates were still unwilling to speak to him in a friendly manner. After all, they had only known Fluder as a figure in their textbooks, statues and paintings. During breaks, few students would walk in front of this class and they would instead avoid it by taking a longer route.
And the worries of the teaching staff did not lessen at all. And for the ones teaching Fluder, it only increased.
However, there was one big change.
A knock came from the door, and a student entered.
Everyone's eyes moved to stare at him. Here's another one, they thought.
That student glanced around the silent classroom and then proceeded directly for his target.
Which was, of course, Fluder.
"A pleasure to meet you, Fluder-sama. My name is Gida Klent Nis Tialef."
He then bowed. It was a graceful one, one that only nobles could pull off and commoners could only fail to imitate.
"Hmm…. And what do you need from me?"
"Yes. I would like to request to join Fluder-sama's team."
This was it.
These two days, eminent students – those that could cast spells – would come and try to promote themselves to Fluder. Or more precisely they wanted to be accepted to join Fluder's team.
In fact, the current one had quite the magical ability, and Jet, despite not knowing his face, had heard of his name.
And he was currently doing his best to entreat Fluder to allow him to join his team.
Jet honestly admired him.
Everyone who had asked to join Fluder was of high noble standing and had excellent grades. And these students, along with the ones who dared to ask the legendary magic caster for assistance, were famous throughout the Academy.
And Jet felt that the commonality shared by all of them was not their excellence.
It was their ambition.
Or maybe their greed. Basically they were not satisfied with their current position and had the strong desire to climb upwards. Despite being born as nobles and uncovering amazing magical talent, they still strived to improve themselves.
If Jet were not to admire this, then what would he admire?
He certainly was fine with his current position, and he did not wish to climb by sacrificing someone else. He was not so narrow-minded as to not feel a sense of respect for those who were able to do something he could not.
After some time, the pitch ended, and Fluder made his decision.
"I understand your position. However…."
What happened next had been repeated multiple times before.
I understand your position. However, I do not intend to let you join your team. You are an excellent student, and allowing you to become a member would lead to the loss of a potential leader of the Empire. In this exam, people such as you should be taking the lead. Gather your companions and lead them onwards. Do not hide underneath my shadow.
I wish for normal students. Not ones that will try to lead, but the ones that will be led. I am interested to see how I shall command them.
"I will remember your name. Gida Klent Nis Tialef."
"Thank you very much, Fluder-sama."
Everything he said was as if it were from a script.
The student would then give a deep bow and leave the classroom.
And so, why me?
Jet thought to himself.
In the midst of their conversation, he had noticed that Fluder's gaze had flickered over to himself.
(….Although I can guess….)
He simply could not understand it.
(It seems that I'll have to ask Senpai for her cooperation. No, not cooperation, but a deal will need to be made…. But now is not the time to be thinking about that.)
Jet stood up from his seat, left the quiet classroom, and stepped into the hallway. He had a promise with Nemel to keep. The two of them would normally leave their classrooms early when they were meeting each other. However Jet was late. Afterall, he was not so socially inept as to brazenly leave the classroom during such a delicate situation.
And this was one of the problems with having such an esteemed guest present. One had to pay attention to every small little detail.
While silently complaining, he saw his destination, and a sense of hostility filled his mind.
Nemel was indeed there. The problem was the man pushing her back into the wall. The students walking by pretended that they did not exist, being proof that the man was the son of a Great Noble.
Nemel was frantically looking around for help, and her eyes landed on Jet. Her entire face lit up. And seeing this sudden change, the man smiled and turned to look at Jet.
"May I ask…. What are you doing?"
"Nothing much, I simply wanted to talk to her."
"And is it necessary to have a conversation in such a manner?"
"I have things I wish to discuss in private."
Nemel dashed over to Jet. Her fearful figure brought back memories of their younger days, causing Jet to become even more inflamed.
He would not lose in a battle of fists.
However, he would then be expelled, and he would be powerless to help Nemel.
Rangoburt might not be able to use the full extent of his family's authority, but even a small portion would be a monumental challenge for lower class nobles. They would not be able to handle him.
And he could not punch him in front of this many people.
Rangoburt brushed aside a stray lock of his hair and began to stroll towards Jet.
Stopping just a hair's breadth before the two, he was glared at by Jet.
"….Hmm. I didn't plan on doing anything. I simply had business with your class."
Jet knew what he meant. Rangoburt probably wished to join Fluder's team.
But at that moment, Jet's eyes flashed with inspiration.
He might be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. However, there was a high probability that everything might turn around.
He could protect Nemel for now. However, he had no idea how to protect her in the future. The main problem would be when the Student Council President Frianne graduates.
Seeing Rangoburt disappear off into the distance, Jet steeled himself.
"Hmm? What is it, Jet? Ah, but before that, thanks for saving me."
"….It's fine…. Sorry for being late. If only I came earlier."
"No. But…. I feel like we are coming closer and closer to the end …."
What does that mean?
Jet felt his stomach churn.
"….Hey. This might be the wrong choice. But will you believe in me?"
"Hm? I don't really get it, but I believe in you Jet."
Those eyes filled with a childish hope were staring right back at Jet.
"Sorry about this but come with me."
When they returned to the classroom, they could hear Fluder going through his scripted rejection.
Jet opened the door without hesitation, knowing that he would be interrupting Fluder.
Several reproachful gazes fell on him, the strongest of which came from Rangoburt. His gaze was filled with clear and scornful hostility.
Standing next to him, Nemel was rooted to the spot, frozen by their reception.
Taking a deep breath, Jet closed his eyes and spoke.
"What is it?"
"Would you like to form a team with me?"
The classroom grew noisy. Jet knew that they were mocking him, and even some of his closer classmates were doing so.
He knew that this was crazy. Objectively, he would agree.
To the great magic caster, Fluder Paradyne, who could use the legendary sixth tier of magic, a student who could use the first tier was nothing special.
Know your place.
Those were the words encapsulated in those gazes.
"We have very few people, myself and another. And so, if Fluder-sama joins, we still need to search for two more students …."
Nemel was a stone statue. And in the corner of his eye, Jet could see Rangoburt laughing at them.
This was to be expected, he was too unfit for someone as grand as Fluder.
This was a gamble.
If they were rejected, as commoners who came out of the woodwork, they would lose their face, and Rangoburt would come at them with full force. Additionally, they would face the ire of the nobles and many would make fun of them.
The smarter thing to do would have been to ask Fluder discreetly. It would have been fine to ask another time.
However, this moment was perfect. As an attack.
—The next moment, the classroom exploded.
"Sure. I shall join your team as a member."
"Thank you very much!"
Jet bowed deeply.
And when he looked up, he snuck a peak at Rangoburt.
And there was an unbelievable sight. His eyes were wide open in shock, and his mouth was left agape. It was too foolish a look for a pure-blooded noble to have, but Jet could not bring himself to make a fool of him.
Because it truely was a ridiculous situation.
(Anyway, Nemel is safe now.)
If Rangoburt acted against Fluder's new teammate, Nemel – or Jet- it would be taken as an act against Fluder. There was no way that any student who had entered the Academy would dare to do so. Even for Great Nobles, this did not change.
Admittedly, as a commoner, Jet was not too clear about noble society and so this was not a certainty. However, this was still the safer option.
He was the fox that was borrowing the strength of the tiger.
Others might think this to be an unscrupulous move, but was it truly? The alternative was to expose his childhood friend to danger due to his powerlessness.
As a commoner, Jet knew that he had few methods available to protect her from the reachers of a Great Noble. Then, why would he hesitate to drag his name through the mud to protect her. A man who was unable to throw away his pride was more of a scumbag.
Rangoburt paled as he took a few steps back.
If Fluder had mentioned that they were having a conversation, Rangoburt could still maintain some face. However, he was completely ignored. This meant that Fluder viewed Jet with more importance than himself.
Nobody in high society could miss the implied message.
Jett patted Nemel's still frozen body on her back, and stepped forward to introduce her to Fluder.
Jet was well aware of the importance of information.
Information had monetary value. In fact, Jet had actively used information to make life easier for him.
Such as discovering those who aimed to harm his childhood friend and being able to redirect their ire towards himself.
However, there was one issue.
He had no ability to estimate how valuable the information he had on him was. To be honest, as a commoner, Jet did not understand the value of information related to the aristocracy.
If Jet had friends amongst the nobles, he could listen to how the rumours had been shaped and estimate a rough guess. However as he was currently the centre of attention, the few aristocratic friends he had were all keeping a distance.
There was also the problem with choosing the buyer.
That was why he set his sights on one particular girl.
Frianne Wyliea Van Gushmond.
She was the student council president of the Academy and the daughter of a Great Noble Family, the Gushmonds. She likely had the information that Jet wanted. But, it was unlikely that she would share it with Jet.
The only reason why Frianne was close to Jet was because her rival – in magic – had asked her to. "Even a little bit is fine, but please keep an eye on him," she said.
And thanks to that sentence, a commoner without any money or connections could protect himself and his childhood friend.
However, that was only limited to his life in the Academy.
It would certainly not extend to anything relating to noble society.
Once school ended, Jet entered the student council room. Fortunately, she was the only one there.
Frianne gave her usual friendly and welcoming smile.
Frianne was kind. However it was the kindness expected of the Student Council President, and as someone whose friend (rival) had asked to look after him. It was not the kindness from a Great Noble.
If he asked her, he would probably see a side of her that he had never seen before.
And it terrified him.
Even though Jet expected and prepared himself for it, he still wanted to avoid seeing the cruel and frightening appearance of the senior who he thought had been close to him.
And even if he asked her, if he did not provide enough benefits for her, she would not inform him of anything. Nobles understood the value of information.
In other words, there was a strong possibility that he might end up accidentally stepping on the tiger's tail.
"Is there anything, Jet? If you came in here without a proper reason…. I'm sorry but…."
Frianne addressed the quiet Jet in a gentle tone.
However, within her eyes was a firmness that the regular Frianne would not have. Jet could see it. From his body language, she knew he had a reason for coming.
Her response was cold. After all, if a mere commoner intended to meet her in her capacity as a noble, she had no interest.
There was no way that a commoner like Jet could offer her any information that could either surprise or benefit her. Normally, that is.
"If I told you that Fluder enrolled into the Academy in order to meet me…. You would assume this to be the ramblings of a madman right?"
Frianne cut him off with a smile.
Such a narrative was absurd. Why would the most powerful magic caster of the Empire personally act for the sake of one student? Yet, Jet continued to silently stare at Frianne.
Seeing Jet's response, another emotion began to dye her eyes. It was interest.
Precisely because she was familiar with his personality that despite his words, she knew that he had a reason.
Jet wiped away his sweaty palms with his trousers.
She was waiting for him to continue. And thus the first step of beginning negotiations-Piquing interest-had been successfully completed. The next was to ensure that he was on the same footing as her. If he was not, then his information would be bought for an extremely low price.
"There is a reason."
He stopped there. Mouth still and unmoving.
He needed her to be the one to ask. He could not freely offer his information and reveal his hand.
Accepting Jet's intention to make a deal, the Student Council President disappeared.
She was replaced by an entirely different person.
She was a Great Noble. She was not a mere tool to be used to bond families together, but was a true Great Noble who was raised with the expectation of contributing to the house.
However, the Great Noble disappeared as well, and the Student Council President returned. No, she was not truly the President. She was simply the Great Noble wearing a mask, a facade.
"….Hmm, I believe that is simply a misunderstanding, but what happened? Can you tell me?"
It was as if he were a regular student that the President was worried about. However, Jet knew that this was not true.
(It's a mask. She is not the kind…. Stuco President that I know….)
Frianne simply stared at Jet. But she then shifted her gaze towards the ceiling. She seemed so fragile, and Jet felt a tug at his heartstrings.
"Did you see through me? It seems…. That I underestimated you a little."
Her voice was gentle, it was concealing a cold, steel, will. No, she was intentionally revealing it.
"….Hey, Jet-kun? Just because I have been nice to you…. You don't believe that you can make a deal with me right? Normally, it would be impossible for you to be on equal footing with me considering that I have been giving you so many favours. If you really do, you would be quite the ungrateful person."
She smiled. But yet Jet sensed a strong pressure emanating from her. This was ridiculous, but for an instant, Jet thought that a strong gale was rampaging through the room.
"Or do you want to make me an enemy? ….If I do not stop him, he might go overboard you know?"
It was at that moment, that Jet knew that he was being treated as an equal. She was not threatening him. If she really were, she would not merely say it but instead take actual action. If either of them had the advantage, she would not do so.
And thus, they were equals.
Frianne was now fishing for a better deal, and so Jet's attempt at diplomacy worked.
Jet played his ace in the hole.
After all, this was the best occasion to use it.
"Senpai, Fluder-sama is in my team."
"….Really? This is news to me.”"
"Is that so…. Then that is how it is. That girl is also a member."
"I see. My earlier words were perhaps a tad excessive. Sorry, my apologies."
Frianne was bowing her head in apology, but there was no way that this was the first time she was hearing of this. He had pressurised her because she knew. Jet could play his cards, and confirm the rumours. If he could not punch back against her jab, she would be in a good position. However, it did not go this way.
Jet had fended off Frianne's attack and had damaged her instead.
His ace relied upon others, but in a way, this card he had was amazing.
This was to be expected.
No gambler would ever ignore the card called Fluder.
(….So this is senpai as a noble.)
Her smile was kind as always, but this was not the Frianne he knew.
Jet felt the hand that he had dried dampen with sweat.
Honestly, it was scary. But, there was no better and trustworthy source of information than her.
"Senpai…. I shall tell you everything I know. And so, please lend me your wisdom."
"Is that so…. Then…. I shall warn you as your kind senpai for the last time. I will most likely use this conversation to benefit myself. Ready yourself."
It was a roundabout method of speaking, and it was difficult to grasp her intentions. But somehow, Jet understood.
Frianne was extremely kind.
She would definitely bring this information, distorted or otherwise, back to her house, and use it to her advantage. And so, she was asking him to think before he talked.
This was her mercy.
(Thank you, Arche Ojou-sama)
Jet felt extremely grateful to the woman who was the sole reason Frianne was treating him so nicely.
"….Returning to the earlier point of conversation, I believe that Fluder has joined the academy to become my team member."
"….What is your proof?"
Jet explained about how a butler from a noble house had paid him a visit.
Right after he had said how he could not move to the next grade as he was unable to form a team, Fluder had joined. The timing was too perfect.
And if Fluder had joined a different class, and he had not asked Jet to join his team, Jet might not have come to this conclusion. However, Fluder was in the same class as him, and he had seemed to want to invite Jet several times. It seemed impossible, but Jet was sure that he was right.
And thus Jet had a question.
Just who was pulling the strings.
Fluder was a legendary magic caster, one whose name resounded across the Empire. No one could possibly order such a figure to become a student—Or rather no such madman would exist. The only one who could do so, the Emperor, was not such a person.
And without the intervention of a third party, Fluder would not make such a decision himself. Such a man would certainly not want to be a student.
There was only one possibility. Fluder was being made to do this by someone.
And, just how powerful could such a person be?
Jet believed that he was someone close to the Emperor. And so he was terrified, and ran everywhere to collect information.
Listening to his story, Frianne was quiet.
Her eyes were sharp and wide open, as if her earlier attitude were but a lie.
She was simply that shocked. Just when Jet was about to ask if she was fine, Frianne suddenly spoke.
"Did…. You hear the name of the knight?"
"I believe…. He called himself Ray."
"I cannot confirm anything with just Ray. What sort of person was he? What did he look like? Tell me everything you remember."
Jet told her all that he could remember.
Normally, he would not have remembered much from that night, but the shock from that miraculous experience, the first time someone wanted to hire him, had left a strong impression on him.
After Jet replied, Frianne asked another question. She asked about the finer details of his appearance, as if she had an inkling about who he was.
After hearing all there was to hear about him, Frianne heaved a big sigh. A multitude of emotions were dancing in her eyes, and they all mixed into confusion.
"….There is a connection between Fluder-sama and this knight called Ray…. This might be preposterous but…."
Jet knew. All nobles were experts in hiding their true feelings underneath a smile. Even if Frianne was not of a high noble class, all nobles were expected to learn the skill.
But now, Frianne was clearly shaken.
Of course, it was entirely possible that this was a ruse. But Jet felt that this was sincere, raw emotion.
"….The Archduke, Ainz Ooal Gown. Have you heard of this name?"
Jet thumbed through his memory, trying to recall the name.
One of the classes in the academy was to learn about the names of famous nobles. However, he did not recall this name in the textbook. However, he had heard of this name somewhere. Especially about how he was not a Margrave, but a new position had been created for him—
Jet finally recalled where he had heard the name.
"Ah, the new noble…. Right?"
Yes. He had heard that the Empire had welcomed a new noble family.
"Just that? Have you not seen him before? ….He was in the parade, standing next to the Emperor…. Did you not see him?"
"….I had heard that there was a parade in celebration of the Empire's victory, but I did not see it."
Jet was busy working, and thus had no time to go see the parade. From the rumours, he wore some amazingly extravagant clothes.
"Then, what have you heard about the Archduke?"
"….Mostly about how he is a magic caster and how he was granted a new noble rank."
"Got it. So you don't know much about him. Then firstly…. The General of the 8th Army is Ray."
"General Ray? I had thought that the General of the 8th Army was General Gregan though?"
"That was two years ago. General Gregan commands the 6th Army. Am I wrong?"
I have no clue.
As a commoner, Jet knew little about the Generals of the Empire. Of course, there were those who wished to join the Imperial Army, and some who wished to climb further, but Jet wished to stay safe in the lower ranks. So some thought him to not know about the world, but he did not care. And so he could only nod along with Frianne's information.
"And so there is a relationship between the Archduke, General Ray, and Fluder-sama?"
"Yes. This touches on some dangerous information about noble society, but do you still want to hear it?"
Jet was screaming in his heart.
If for some reason, Jet was caught, if he was discovered to be privy about certain things, he would be in greater danger. As a commoner, it would be very suspicious for him to know about the hidden secrets of nobles. However, since he was the one asking, he could not stop here and run away. He had to steel himself and proceed.
Jet shook his head.
"….I have heard that General Ray approached the Archduke on his own volition. And Fluder-sama pledged himself to the Archduke due to his overwhelming magical power."
Understanding her words, a cold shiver ran down Jet's back.
The Emperor used his tool, the Imperial Army, to display his absolute power. And a General, one who led the Army, had joined forces with someone other than the Emperor. And that person was someone who had made the strongest magic caster in the history of the Empire submit to him.
Noble society was complicated and filled with ghosts and monsters. But as a commoner, Jet had no inkling about the factional disputes within. But he did understand at least this.
If things went badly, the Emperor's absolute authority would be taking a hit.
Huge internal battles could occur in the future.
A sense of unease filled Jet's chest. He was a commoner, and was not used to hiding his emotions. And so just by looking at him, Frianne understood his inner turmoil.
But, she simply asked him another question.
"What value do you have? Why, does such a transcendent being place you in his eyes?"
A transcendent being, that was Archduke Ainz Ooal Gown.
Just what sort of person was he? Well, as a powerful magic caster that could make that great magic caster bow to him, he was a terrifying existence.
Jet shivered at the high chance that such a being was paying attention to him. And then he stumbled upon the only reason.
He pointed to his eyepatch. Or rather, what was hidden underneath that eyepatch.
"There is only one reason. This eye."
"….What do you mean? Is there something special about it?"
"This eye has a special ability. It can see through illusions."
"…. A special ability?"
No matter the illusion, this eye could see through it. That was the ability it had. Apart from this eye, there was no possible reason why a magic casting noble would want him.
No, he was still sure that this was not enough to send the Great Magic Caster into the Academy as a student. There might be another reason.
And whilst he was dealing with this question, another one popped up.
Just how did he get that information?
Few people knew about his eye, and for most people, he had explained that his eye was weak. Despite all of this, just how did the Archduke know?
(….No, as a magic caster better than Fluder-sama, he probably found out with an amazing spell or something?)
The other was that he got the information from the only other person who knew-the noble lady who his mother had worked for- but that was impossible.
"I see…. Then…. I understand. Do you have anything else you would like to ask?"
"Yes. Please tell me about Archduke Ainz Ooal Gown. I need to be wary of him."
As a mere commoner, the Archduke was an impossible opponent. Or rather, anyone who had the ability to send Fluder to scout him was someone Jet could not possibly face. But he wanted to avoid danger as much as possible, and knowledge was power.
"I got it. I'll tell you some information."
After hearing about the Archduke, Jet bowed and took his leave.
As the door closed, Frianne heaved a sigh.
She did not expect the conversation to turn in this manner.
That was her honest thought.
"I should probably change how I interact with Jet-kun but…."
She had no idea how to change it.
It would be best if she could build a relationship with the Archduke, but she had no idea what her goal even was.
Jet believed that the archduke was the one who forced Fluder to enrol, but Frianne disagreed. There was probably a middleman.
"After all…. This is really dumb."
Sending Fluder into the same class as Jet, and as a student nonetheless, and with such a perfect timing. This was the strategy of someone who clearly did not think things through.
"But, if it is the Archduke…. Does he have another goal?"
The rumours that the genius known as the Blood Emperor was highly wary of the Archduke had a high degree of reliability. And the rumour that what he feared was not the Archduke's army nor his magic, but his intelligence.
The plans of such a person could definitely not be seen through by people like herself and Jet.
"….I can't do this by myself. I need to talk to father and brother…."
Heaving a big sigh, Frianne looked around the classroom.
Of course, no one was there. However, she had a bad feeling, that someone was there— that the Archduke was observing her.
She knew it was ridiculous.
There was no way that someone as powerful as the Archduke would personally observe a girl like herself. However, once the thought was it her head, it refused to leave.
Frianne looked towards the door.
She had purposefully hid some information about the Archduke from Jet.
"….There is no benefit in telling him about it…. And I should not talk about it too…."
Archduke Ainz Ooal Gown.
He was actually an undead.
And as many of the upper echelons of the Empire knew of this, many different people were moving about with their many different motives.
"There is an anti-Archduke fashion forming around the clergy…."
Leaving the classroom, he proceeded down the corridor.
He was staring straight ahead and walking forward, but Jet's head was actually in a mess.
All the information he had heard from Frianne.
The strongest noble in the Empire. Military, Strength, Wisdom, and Wealth. As well as several gorgeous women serving him.
And for such a person to have an interest in him.
"Is my eye really that valuable?"
There was no other reason why he would have an interest in himself.
If he were an adventurer, it might be useful. If he were a guard, protecting gates—
He recalled the words of the woman who had guided him onto his path.
His ability was certainly more useful than many others, but it was not that effective. If he joined occupations that would utilise his ability, he would be quite successful. But apart from those, the uses of his eye were very limited.
In fact, there were many items and spells that could be used to see through illusions. His ability was not particularly rare.
He was not worth an upfront investment, or so he had thought. At best it was worth a slightly higher wage.
That was why he could not understand this. Offering a mere student such a high wage was not a reason to lower the initial investment.
"….What if the ability to see through illusions is but a small part of my eye's ability. It might be hiding its true ability."
Frianne had mentioned this several times before, and Jet cycled between considering the possibility and rejecting it. It was something that some bard would sing about in a roadside tavern. But, the bad feeling he got during his invitation was probably because he had noticed something was off.
Even after he had gathered his info, he still had no idea what the Archduke's goal was.
Sighing, Jet shook his head. He then tried his best to chase the Archduke out of his head.
Even if he was right, there was no solution to his problems. And so Jet decided to forget about it.
And he had more pressing issues.
As he walked down the corridor, he noticed a commotion around the corner.
Since his view was being blocked, he had no idea about what was going on, but it was clear that there were several people. And they did not seem to be happy.
Jet wondered what to do.
If he were to continue forwards, he would probably be dragged into this situation. However, it would be a pain to take a detour to return to the classroom. This had nothing to do with him, and so why should he suffer.
Jet, like a headstrong child, continued onwards. However, just to stay safe, he would stay clear of them as much as possible.
However, if it were not for the aggressive male voice, and the trembling female voice, he would have turned around all together.
And the moment Jet turned the corner, as if aiming for precisely that moment, the girl-who was about the same age as Jet-collapsed. Since he was avoiding them, he could not catch her, but her fall was light, and she did not seem to be injured.
Jet glared at them, as if to ask what was going on.
Standing before him were four boys, all of whom seemed to be older than Jet, as well as the fallen girl.
Jet recognised none of them.
The boys also sent sharp glares at Jet, but they were merely telling him to get lost since he had no qualms with them.
Looking towards the girl, sitting up from the ground, Jet met her blue eyes.
They were filled with fear.
That was the first thing Jet noticed.
She was pretty, but as she was cowering, his first impression of her was that she was a quiet girl. Her tearing eyes only served to strengthen this. Rather than a noble, she seemed to be a commoner.
In contrast, the boys all seemed to be nobles.
"….What is it, you. Hurry up and get lost."
The boy who seemed to be the leader gestured Jet to leave. But instead Jet, in a deep voice asked him a question.
"….What, are you guys doing?"
The boys recongised the tone in his voice, and responded with mocking smiles. It was a common expression that a certain group of nobles made when looking at commoners. And it was an expression that Jet particularly hated. His irritation turned to fury, but he refused to show it. He suppressed it as much as he could.
Although, his acting skills should be easily seen through by nobles like them.
"This has nothing to do with you right? Am I wrong?"
Jet could only nod in his heart.
(It's just as you say.)
He had no relation to any party. There was not even the slightest need for him to jump into this headache-inducing situation. He was already in hot water. Adding more fuel to the fire would only burn him.
Even the Academy was bound by societal rules. If the relatives of this girl were working for any of the houses these boys belonged to, jumping in would only exacerbate the situation. And there was the possibility that these boys were the sons of Great Nobles.
This small kindness could bring big problems.
Then what would be the best way to extract himself?
Wondering if he should simply abandon her, Jet took a quick glance at the girl.
Her quivering figure, trying to make herself as small as possible, reminded him of his childhood friend, Nemel.
Jet made his decision.
He put purpose into his step, and glared head on at the boys.
"This is my problem. We're fellow students after all."
"Hah! This is a meeting between fellow members of the examination group. An outsider like you should stay out of this."
"This is a meeting?"
"Yes. There are many ways to hold a meeting, right!?"
The girl quivered.
No matter how one looked at it, she was being forced.
Jet clicked his tongue, making sure the other party could hear.
The boys turned hostile. However, one of them now paid close attention to him; he was probably the ringleader of this little circus.
(….But it's quite surprising for there to be such superficial people amongst the nobles.)
Most of the nobles Jet knew were skilled at concealing their emotions. Especially those higher up in the ranks.
From this, he could infer that they were certainly not that high up.
"Bastard, don't get carried away."
One of the boys clenched his fist and stepped forward. His message was clear. But Jet liked this approach. Rather than political weight or wealth or background, this method was the easiest to solve.
Jet closed his hands into a pair of fists.
The situation was now rock-bottom. Unfortunately there were no bystanders nearby. If a fight broke out, he would definitely be made the aggressor.
(To use his help again….)
Jet had a wild card, but if he played it, he would owe a large debt to the one who gave it to him, Ainz Ooal Gown.
He had used his name several times before. But he would be safe as long as he was not found out.
But now, if he was discovered….
If he brought out the name of the legendary magic caster, many would come out of the woodwork, searching for information. This would then trickle upwards to the Greatest of all Great Nobles, the Archduke. He could then trace this all the way back to Jet, and realise that Jet had relied upon Fluder.
Using Fluder's name would be like struggling in a spider's web.
The possibility of a terrifying spider appearing was high.
Jet continued to examine the girl.
Her hands were clasped together, as if she were praying to a god.
Jet steeled himself, readying himself to at least get the fist punch in. If he managed to do so, his card would be much more effective.
"….Hey, wait a moment."
Despite this explosive situation, the leader of the group fell silent.
Following his lead, the three who were marching menacingly towards Jet, simply stopped.
The girl responded.
"Could you please tell him yourself? That this is a talk between ourselves, and that outsiders are not necessary."
Jet's face fell, and the boy smiled in victory.
"Eh, eh, umm."
The girl looked around in a panic, before finally hanging her head; her hair fell, covering her face.
(Well, that's it….)
If the girl said that this was none of his concern, that would be the end of the conversation. However, the girl remained silent. It was clear that she did not want to.
The leader could not hide his anger, and growled in a low voice.
"Just who would want such a useless girl like you in their team?"
"….I, I do."
Jet realised that this was the time to strike, and so he slowly spoke to her. If he did not take his hand, this would be the end.
"This is just perfect. My group only has three people. I would be happy if you could join."
The girl's head shot upwards in shock. Her deep blue eyes were wide open, and Jet could see his own face reflected within them. But they were soon drowned in an ocean of black.
"Ah, b, but. I'm not really…."
Ignoring the enraged boy, Jet spoke to her again.
"We only have three people. If we cannot get anymore, that will be it. Just by joining, you'll be a great help."
He then stretched a hand out to her.
"Don't keep sitting there. Stand up."
"You! And such a useless girl!"
"Hey, shut up for a bit. I'm talking to her. You are not useless. Now."
Although she was hesitant, the girl grabbed his hand. Her hand was thin. Unlike the fine and smooth hands of a noble, hers was the rough hands of a commoner.
Gripping her hand tightly, Jet pulled her up.
"And so, do you have anything you need with my teammate?"
As Jet glared at the boy, one of them clicked his tongue in annoyance.
"You better not regret bringing along such a useless one."
Jet spat out his thoughts, took the girl's hand, and walked away.
"Th, thank you so much."
After getting quite the distance away from the boys, the girl spoke to Jet. She was hesitant in her words, but her voice was certainly not quiet. However, she was quick, and her lack of intonation made her difficult to understand.
"No, well, as I said earlier, we don't have enough members and you'll be a great help. But…. We need one more, so rather than helping you, this might be making things worse."
Jet was about to shrug his shoulders, but he then recalled that he was still holding her hand, and he felt quite embarrassed about the warmth he was feeling.
Jet finally understood the reasons for all of the gazes of curiosity and jealousy he received while walking down the hall. For just how long were they walking like this for?
Releasing his rip in a panic, Jet caught a glimpse of the girl's disappointed face, but it was probably just him.
The girl brought her hand up to her chest, and hugged it with her other, like it was something precious.
Jet felt his face glowing red. And he could hear the grinding of teeth coming from somewhere around him.
"No you did nothing wrong."
"Ah, yeah. Th….anks. And…. So, can you tell me your name? I'm, ah, I am Jet Testania."
"I am Ornesty Eizel."
It was a name he had not heard before.
As making connections was a part of school life, he kept a note on the better students in the Academy. So even if he had not met them in person before, he often knew their names.
However, Jet had not heard of her name before.
So as Jet told her about his class, she told him about hers. And then, she spoke about her relationship with the group of boys.
She spoke extremely fast, but in summary—
They were classmates, and they allowed the friendless her to join their group. And how they constantly troubled her with their demands.
That was her story.
As various parts were dark and depressing, Jet did not pry further, but a flame of anger burned bright in his heart.
At the same time, he decided that he needed to form a complete team as fast as possible. If there were insufficient members, they would be split up, and Ornesty would be in a more dangerous situation than either Jet or Nemel.
And the next on the agenda was to introduce her to Fluder.
He made the call on his own, but it would be bad if Fluder offered an opposing opinion. However, if the Archduke truly sent in Fluder to attract Jet, it was likely that he would be allowed this.
However, this would mean that he owed the Archduke, but since he could not afford to abandon Ornesty, it was a price he had to pay. He simply had to pray that it would be as small as possible.
"Can I borrow a bit of your time? The other two members should be in the classroom. If you're fine with it, please come over."
"Ah, I understand in fact please allow me to come over please."
What would her reaction be when she saw Fluder, Jet thought.
She would stand there with her eyes wide open.
It was the expected response. Anyone would do the same if they learnt that a bigshot was in a classroom.
"Um excuse me if that is some kind of illusion it will be bad because there has to be some kind of punishment for creating an illusion of such an important person.
With a speed that was twice as fast as compared to when she was walking to the classroom, a torrent of words burst out of Ornesty's mouth.
Jet wondered if she had heard the rumours floating about the cafeteria, but it was honestly not strange if someone did not know. Especially someone like her who did not interact with many people.
"Nope. That's the real deal."
Ignoring the panicking Ornesty – if he did engage her, Jet felt that it would never end – and spoke to the two looking over at them.
The two were naturally Fluder and Nemel. Before he had left for the Student Council Room, he had called Nemel over to let them break the ice.
Unfortunately, the ice could not have been said to be broken. Nemel was standing ramrod straight, and her face was tense. But it was much better than the first time they had met.
"I have returned, Fluder-sama."
"Welcome back, Jet-kun. By the way, who is that behind you?"
"Yes. This is Ornesty Eizel who I would like to add to our team. Will that be acceptable, Fluder-sama?"
"If you believe it is fine, then I do not mind."
Jet pushed Ornesty forward, so that Fluder could get a better look at her.
"U, um there is no greater honour than being able to meet Fluder-sama! My name is Ornesty Eizel and I am honoured to introduce myself to you I am but a normal student but I will do my best to not bring shame upon you as someone of the same group."
"It is fine. And we should all be helping out each other as members of the same team. Rather than trying not to bring me shame, you should do your best to produce the best results for this team.
"Ah! Y, yes!"
Jet looked away from the bowing Ornesty and towards his childhood friend, and immediately felt something was off.
Even though he was supposed to be seeing his usual friend, for a second, he felt like he saw someone completely different. But that feeling immediately disappeared, and the regular Nemel returned.
"Ornesty. This is Neme—"
The moment he said that, he heard the door opening behind him.
Turning around, he saw a girl he had never seen before. Her face was completely average, and her long blonde hair was tied up high in a side ponytail. And she was heading straight for Jet.
"My name is Nabe. I have come to join your team."
This was the first thing the girl, Nabe, said. She then removed the ring on her finger. Jet had no idea what that meant.
(Is she trying to bribe us with money? But is she going to do that in front of Fluder-sama?)
It was an attempt to use money to bribe a commoner like him to allow her to enter the same team as Fluder. However, he had no idea if she was going to do it in front of the entire class.
And whilst riding his train of thought, he heard someone take a deep breath. And looking towards the source, Jet saw something unbelievable.
The Great Magic Caster had his eyes wide open in shock.
"I hope that no one will disagree?"
The girl was speaking as if it were a done deal.
(Taking into consideration Fluder-sama's reaction…. This is probably someone related to the Archduke. If so….)
"Well, unfortunately, our positions might be filled so this will be difficult."
Hearing Jet's response, Nabe spun around to face Jet. Her black eyes, which were rare around these parts, held deep confusion.
"Fluder-sama. What should we do? Isn't this a bit difficult?"
"N, no…. Isn't it fine? I don't mind having her join."
"….If Fluder-sama says so, then I agree with her joining the team. What do you two think?"
As if they were twins, Nemel and Ornesty nodded their heads in unison.
Jet heaved a sigh of relief that things were proceeding as he had hoped.
The reason why he refused and then asked Fluder for his opinion, was to return the favour. Basically he had used his favour to let Ornesty join. Now Nabe had joined thanks to Fluder.
(Why do I have to think about these small details…. I would rather let everything go with the flow.)
A tempting idea flashed through his head. There was no way that a mere student could face a Super Great Noble, and so this was most likely a meaningless resistance. However, since his opponent's goals were unknown, it would be best to stay out of the way as much as possible.
Despite it being meaningless, Jet pushed himself to continue to work hard.
"Then shall the four of you introduce yourselves to each other?"
At that, Fluder walked towards a corner of the classroom, and took out a board from his robes and started to write on it. Jet took a quick glance at him, but soon refocused his attention on creating the questions he wanted to ask Nabe.
The board he took out was nothing but a prop. It was nothing more than an act to convince people that he was using a magic item.
The reason he took some distance was because he had received a <Message>. Of course, the sender was his master. Normally he would immediately reply, but he could not do so in front of the others. While his master's voice would only reverberate in his head, he would have to audibly speak to reply.
He had wished that there was a spell that would allow them to communicate silently, but Fluder had no idea if such a spell existed.
Suppressing his desire to lower his head, Fluder contracted Ainz.
[Yes, Fluder. I have dispatched Naberal, so there are four people in the group right?]
"No, there are five people now."
For a moment, Fluder felt as if the permeating silence had frozen space itself. Something like that should not have been possible, he could not fully deny the idea. Although they were communicating through <Message>, if it were his amazingly powerful teacher, it might be possible.
Rather, he could not even fathom the extent of his teacher’s power. For him, anything might be possible.
[W, wait. You have enough people?]
"Y, yes. It is thanks to master…. After Nabe arrived."
If I was informed just a bit earlier, I could have made a much better act, or so Fluder complained silently, but there was no way he would tell this to his master.
If there was some reason for having to rush Nabe over, then he would be thought a fool if he just blindly spouted his words. Alternatively, she might be his observer.
(These are the thoughts of my genius master. There has to be a reason of sorts.)
[….Not four people?]
"Y, yes. Fortunately, one person has just joined."
[I, is that so? T, that's great. I was worried about you.]
"Thank you for your concern. But I believe I will be able to handle the situation. I am extremely grateful for your willingness to lend us Nabe-sama."
[Y, yes. Y, you're welcome.]
It was a very strange scene.
His master was calm, cool and collected, and was someone that could see through everything. He wielded great magic power, and feared nothing. But, his master was off-balanced, to the point that even he could hear it in his voice.
(What's going on? What happened?)
The only thing he could think of was that something unexpected had happened. However, a situation that could worry such a great man like his master was certainly not simple. Then, what just happened?
Fluder racked his brains for the answer.
Several ideas came to mind, but he immediately rejected them. Because none of these would cause Archduke Ainz Ooal Gown to panic.
Fluder returned to basics. And then he felt a ray of light shine down from the dark clouds above.
What if he was surprised at the fact that there were not four members?
"Basically there is something off about the fifth person…."
It was unclear if that was truly the case, but that was the only thing he could think of.
Fluder took a quick glance and met eyes with the girl that Jet had brought, Ornesty. It seemed that she was only taking a cursory glance at him.
Normally, Fluder would end it there. It was natural for anyone to be curious about the famous magic caster.
However, considering his master's reaction, it was clear that she was looking at him for another reason.
As expected of my teacher.
Fluder admired him from the bottom from his heart.
His master had probably noticed that there was something suspicious about the fifth person, even when he was so far away. If she did not pay attention to him, he might have been fooled. And after he had ended one of the <Messages> with his master, he did hear a rush of footsteps from outside his door. These incidents might be related.
There was only one problem.
(So just what is she…. But since she is someone who can cause master to become panicked…. This is probably impossible but is she someone from the theocracy….? It will be dangerous if she can collect information using charm magic. I shall avoid her as much as possible and observe her. Is this why he sent Narberal-sama….? Was he surprised at how she got the first move? If so then she is as smart as master…. I shall need to bury my pride and ask master…. No, I’ll try Demiurge first….)
The garden was shrouded in silence, and unpopulated. At certain times, the magical fountain would light up with a dazzling display of water spray. But as it was not that time, it remained silent.
Haahh, Rangoburt sighed.
His current situation was precarious. Moreover, wherever he went, he was mocked and ridiculed.
Rangoburt was expelled from his team, despite being the leader. The reason was straight forward.
His teammates knew he had been messing with Jet before. That was why they feared that Rangoburt would bring about Fluder's anger and that they themselves would be caught up in it.
Their response was to cut all ties with him and kick him out from the team.
He was unhappy.
Their decision irritated him.
However, this was to be expected for nobles.
Rangoburt was the third son of a concubine.
The eldest son had no magical ability, but was still very talented and so was designated to inherit the house. It was impossible for the inheritance of the house to come to Rangoburt . He could use the authority of the house because his other brothers could not use magic and so he was expected to make up for that deficiency.
If he was judged to be unable to assist his house in the aspect of magic, he would lose all his privileges. Of course, that was very unlikely. Fortunately, Rangoburt had magical talent. And quite a great one at that. He would easily be able to find work.
However, if he were put in opposition against Fluder, there was no way that would happen.
There were many nobles in the school. This meant that news of Rangoburt's situation had spread among the nobles and further.
No, it would be great if at worst, he was unable to find a job. If he had caused trouble for the house, there was the possibility that he could be killed.
No one could deny that this was his future.
"….If the rumor spreads further, more people will shun me…. All my connections will be severed, and it would be difficult to get someone to help me …."
It was difficult to recruit new members for the promotion test. If he failed, he would not be able to maintain even his current position.
He was cornered in all directions, and had no means of breaking through.
He was about to sigh again, but it then overlapped with another sigh.
Rangoburt moved his gaze and saw a young man.
His features were mediocre at best and there were no signs to indicate that he had the blood of nobility.. In addition, Rangoburt had memorised the list of students who were from aristocratic households comparable to his own. The young man was not one of them.
Judging that the person was a commoner, he felt unpleasant being so close. But he then laughed.
A commoner student and the current him. Which side was in a better position?
The young man spoke.
"I looked up to them. Those who extended a helping hand to those in need. That was why…. My timing was bad. So I was unable to form a team. If I force myself upon them even though they have the numbers…. I will look really bad. Was it a good or bad thing to have kept it a secret from her?"
He had no idea what he was saying. And the man was certainly not saying these things just to tell Rangoburt.
He was probably speaking to himself. It was nothing more than ideal thoughts. But, there was something there buried deep inside.
Rangoburt felt he did not know the whole story, but he did understand that the person probably could not find a team for the promotion exam.
"Do you have anyone who would want to form a team with you?"
The young man fell silent. He then stared at the unmoving fountain.
"None. None here. And I have no one in mind. So I was thinking of going home."
The man spoke with a lonesome look on his face, but inspiration flashed through Rangoburt's mind.
And before he could even think, Rangoburt's mouth moved. Normally, he would consider the pros and cons of his actions. But at this moment, he did not do this. There were probably two reasons.
One was of course, because he had no group to join.
The other was because the current him could empathise with the young man.
"If there is no other option…. Would you form a team with me? ….If you join me, you will likely be drawn into a troublesome situation. But if that is fine…. Let's form a team."
A few seconds passed with a lingering silence. Then, the young man nodded.
"That's not a bad idea. If I return like this…. It will be quite a sad affair."
"Is that so, then excellent. Could you please tell me your name? I am rangoburt Eck Waria Roberbad."
"Oh, my name is Momon. Pleased to meet you."
The mysterious transfer student Momon-san's escapades of "What are you doing you bastard!" and "What an amazing achievement", are not part of the main storyline so I will create a Digest chapter. Although I think this will be more interesting! I can already envision him winning a colosseum tournament and buying slaves.
And the web Narberal is more upfront than the book Narberal. Or rather she can act better. Can she hide her disdain for humans….? The book Narberal can't I think. But because she can't hide it, she's even cuter.
It's been a long time since I wrote anything, but in the settings, I wrote that she has a very rough manner of speaking. This is another place where she diverges from the book.
Ah, I'm tired. Writing 8000 characters in 1 day tires a man out.
The next one will be in August…. I might be pushing myself.