༺ Meeting with the Students ༻
A day passed by, and the morning came.
I stuffed my limited belongings into my bag and went down to the first floor. As I glanced around, I noticed that the Red Bear Inn was empty once again, with no customers at any of the tables.
Just as I worried about the inn’s business, my eyes met Daisy’s. She smiled warmly as if nothing had happened last night.
“Did you sleep well?”
I silently nodded. Seeing my main bag on my shoulder, she seemed to realize that I was leaving, and her expression turned bittersweet.
“Why don’t you have breakfast before you go?”
There was an official event at the academy today, so I couldn’t afford to be late. And I could clearly see that she was keeping an eye on me. Daisy’s smile was a bit more awkward and tense than usual. No matter how hard we tried to pretend, it wouldn’t be a pleasant mealtime atmosphere.
I had paid for the lodging on the first day, but I suspected that the deposit might not cover last night’s meal. However, I didn’t think Daisy would take more money, so I discreetly left a gold coin in the room. She would likely discover it later.
I opened the inn’s door and stepped out onto the street. Then Daisy came out to the door.
She asked cautiously,
“Will we see each other again?”
“If the opportunity arises.”
“Feel free to come by for a drink anytime. Next time, I’ll have an even better drink prepared for you.”
As I did the day before, I silently waved my hand and left the inn.
I didn’t look back, but I had a feeling that she would continue to watch me.
I arrived at Philion Academy by tram.
Dressed in my instructor’s uniform and presenting my instructor’s ID, I breezed through the entrance. The strict inspection from the day before was absent. Instead, once my instructor status was confirmed, I received an overly polite greeting from the guards, making me feel a bit overwhelmed as I passed through the gate.
According to the information Instructor Lirya gave me yesterday, the entrance ceremony is tomorrow, but students must move into their dormitories by today. All Philion Academy students are required to live in dormitories, except for special cases. Instructor Lirya also mentioned that all the students in the class I would oversee had already arrived, except for one.
There are four classes at Philion Academy:
First, Diamond White, is composed of royalty and nobility.
Second, Garnet Red, consisting of commoners and gentry.
Third, Sapphire Blue, is made up of priests and theology students affiliated with the royal court.
Fourth, Emerald Green, comprising immigrants and different races from outside the empire.
According to Instructor Lirya ‘s explanation during the academy tour yesterday, I would not be responsible for any of these four classes.
“This year, there are quite a few special freshmen. That’s why the dean has established a new special class for these exceptional students.”
The newly established special class at Philion Academy this year, Opal Black, was the one I would be in charge of.
For some reason, each dormitory was located far enough apart that they could not interfere with one another. Within the spacious academy grounds, Diamond White was in the center, Garnet Red in the east, Sapphire Blue in the west, and so on.
Opal Black’s dormitory was at the northern end of the third zone. Consequently, regardless of which tram I took, I had to get off at the last stop due to the tram route structure.
After a 30-minute wait on the academy’s dedicated tram, I finally arrived at the Opal Black dormitory station. As soon as I got off the tram, a vast forest came into view. If I hadn’t been informed beforehand, I might have thought I had gotten off at the wrong station since I was suddenly in a forest after just being inside the academy.
As I followed a path through the dense forest, a magnificent mansion soon came into sight.
Despite the name Opal Black, the dormitory building wasn’t entirely painted black. The roof was black, but it harmonized with the pristine white marble walls, creating a majestic and elegant atmosphere.
What was most surprising was its size. The building was about five stories high, and when including the roof, it appeared even taller. Even the mansions in the second district, where high-ranking nobles lived, likely wouldn’t be this large. With fewer than ten residents in such a vast space, it seemed like a tremendous waste.
I arrived at the dormitory entrance and paused for a moment.
Beyond this point were the students I would be teaching. Dean Heinkel had said there were no correct answers in education, and Instructor Lirya advised against being overly anxious about the students, but I still hadn’t determined how to approach them.
I am an instructor, and my mission is to teach. There was no need to build a seemingly meaningful relationship with my students as long as I stayed true to that role.
One thing was certain: my personality wouldn’t allow me to be a kind and friendly teacher. I accepted this and humbly let go of that expectation, which helped me feel more at ease.
I didn’t plan to be mean, but there was no need to go out of my way to be liked either. With a lighter heart, I opened the door and stepped inside.
As expected of a mansion, the main entrance of Opal Black’s dormitory was grand and imposing. However, I didn’t need to manually open the heavy-looking doors. Some kind of magic must have been cast on them, because when I held up my instructor’s ID, the doors automatically opened, revealing a spacious and luxurious main lobby.
In that lobby, seven students were waiting for me.
“Is that person…?”
As I stepped inside, all the students’ gazes shifted toward me.
I calmly met the seven pairs of eyes that seemed to be examining me. In the tense atmosphere where no one spoke, a composed male student approached me with a short, clear cough, breaking the silence.
“Judging by your instructor’s uniform, you don’t seem to be the one student who hasn’t arrived yet. Are you, by any chance, our assigned instructor?”
I nodded my head lightly in response.
“I am the assigned instructor for Opal Black, Eon Graham.”
I replied while making eye contact with each student. There were three friendly gazes, three indifferent ones, and one hostile gaze for reasons unknown.
A girl with deep red hair turned her gaze away as if to show off. I knew who she was at a glance. My direct supervisor had annoyingly shown me her picture countless times, regardless of my wishes.
The composed male student spoke.
“It’s nice to meet you, Instructor Eon. Actually, we haven’t been here long ourselves and were waiting to introduce ourselves once you arrived. One person still hasn’t arrived, but we can’t keep waiting. May I start with myself?”
There was no reason to refuse his proposal. The roster provided by Instructor Lirya had the names and basic information of the students in my class, but it was natural for us to become familiar with each other’s faces through direct introductions.
As I nodded, the male student smiled gently and said.
“Then, let’s start with me and continue in order from the right. My name is Schultz von Valliere. I look forward to working with you.”
“Batar Koon. I come from the plains.”
These two male students had given me friendly gazes.
Schultz was a boy with dark gray hair and glasses. He was smiling softly, but his eyes constantly examined me, which suggested a somewhat calculating personality.
And then there was Batar Koon. He was a burly, cheerful-looking guy with close-cropped hair and muscles not concealed by his uniform. For some reason, he grinned at me with a remarkably aggressive smile.
“I am Saladin Al-Kamil.”
“My name is Titania El Illendrin.”
The three students had given me indifferent gazes.
Saladin had a deep coffee-colored complexion that was not commonly seen in the Empire, so I immediately knew he was from the desert kingdom of Al-Kamil. He seemed uncomfortable being in this situation, as if he didn’t want to be here.
Titania was a tall female student with elongated ears that unmistakably identified her as an elf. When the girl beside her didn’t say anything despite it being her turn, Titania gently shook her shoulders.
“…Oz? Oz, snap out of it.”
“It’s time for self-introductions.”
The girl who had only briefly glanced at me when I first arrived and then stared into space, seemingly uninterested, now gazed at me with dreamy, absentminded eyes.
With that, the girl turned her head away again.
“I’m Marian von Kalshtein. Pleased to meet you, Instructor.”
And then the girl with the familiar face who had been staring at me with a cold gaze.
I was surprised when I saw her name on the list Instructor Lirya gave me yesterday. I knew she was enrolling in Philion Academy, but I never thought I would end up being her teacher.
However, as far as I remember, Marian and I had never met before, and I hadn’t done anything to make her dislike me. Did her grandfather, Marquis Kalshtein, write something strange in a letter to keep me away from his beloved granddaughter? If so, I could understand.
And the last person who hadn’t introduced herself yet, the only female student who had given me a friendly gaze.
“I am Elizabeth von Galatea.”
Her snow-white hair and vertically slit red pupils were the characteristics of the Philion Emperor’s companion, the ‘White Dragon Albinisis ‘, and a physical feature of the Imperial family. It was evidence of the dragon bloodline, representing the legitimacy of the Galatea royal family.
Old memories slowly came back to life. I thought I had forgotten them all, but upon seeing that familiar eye and hair color, the face of a man who brought me terrible nightmares 15 years ago resurfaced in my mind.
“I look forward to working with you, Instructor Eon Graham.”
As she confidently walked towards me and extended her hand, the girl’s other identity was revealed.
She was the hero’s younger sister.