༺ Class D ༻
[Class Placement Evaluation Result]
1st. Luce Eltania 8350 pts.
2nd. Kaya Astrea 8200 pts.
3rd. Ciel Carnedas 8020 pts.
4th. Tristan Humphrey 7720 pts.
5th. Doji Tu Mals 7600 pts.
300th. Isaac 20 pts.
“Ian’s a surprise, I can’t believe he’s Rank 240 with Grade E…”
“It must be some sort of fluke.”
“Whew, even a fluke deserves praise. I mean, look at Isaac, the same Grade E got 20 points, 20 points!”
“20 points? Is he even human…?”
‘Orphin Hall’, the Magic Department building.
The first-year students from the Magic Department were gathered in the hall on the first floor of the building. Meanwhile, a large piece of parchment, imprinted with the results of the class placement evaluation, hung on the hall’s central wall.
I was ranked 300th out of 300 students in the first year of the Magic Department.
I expected it… But, seeing it is another matter. I really am in last place.
On the other hand, Ian, who also had Grade E magic power, was ranked 240th. My insignificance stood out even more.
The students laughed as they looked at me.
Haah… Nothing in this world is going my way.
The class placement evaluation was essentially a test to determine which class each student would be assigned to. As the name implied, the provisional class was only temporary.
Of course, I would be assigned to the worst class, Class D.
For reference, the class placement evaluation reflected not only the results of the class placement evaluation, but also the results of the mana evaluation. In other words, Ian Fairytale, who had Grade E mana, would also be assigned to the same Class D as me.
Even when I played ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, the result of the class placement evaluation was unconditionally evaluated as Class D. In the end, it was an inevitable fate for Ian.
Class D itself was no problem.
No matter which class I’m in, I’m going to do my best to become stronger.
The problem was… Money.
’20 points, so 20 gels…’
I would be given 20 gels – the price of two 10 gel loaves of bread.
How am I supposed to live on nothing but two loaves of bread?
“··· The only answer is a loan.”
I’m afraid I can’t avoid being a debtor.
A student’s information was shared between the Academy and the bank, since the island’s banks themselves were under the Academy’s control.
If the loan became a non-performing loan, their credit rating would fall, and the student’s performance evaluation will be penalized as a result.
It meant that if you lack the ability, you should leave the academy, or die trying.
It was a ruthless system befitting the elitist and predatory education policy of Märchen Academy.
I let out a deep sigh.
༛༛ ༛ ༛༺༻༛ ༛ ༛༛
Shortly after the class placement evaluation, Luce reported to the Academy regarding the appearance of the demon.
The faculty called an emergency meeting. Judging from what happened in the game, I knew the gist of what they talked about.
Firstly, when a demon appeared, it was kept secret to prevent confusion among the students.
Because there were no signs of an outside invasion, it was concluded that the demon had been present in the Delphine Forest from the beginning.
As a result, the academy staff would thoroughly investigate the academy grounds and devise alternatives for identifying and eliminating risk factors.
Of course, the Academy’s alternatives would have little to no impact.
Even if they inspect every corner of the exam hall just before the exam and put up a barrier, that wouldn’t prevent the demons that were sleeping under the ground in the form of mana from emerging during the test.
They couldn’t stop it.
In the end, the director and the principal would have to shoulder a heavy burden, but the academy would continue to run, so there was no need to worry.
However, this time there was something different from the original game’s story.
It’s my existence as Isaac.
Luce seemed to have also reported about the monster that had defeated the demon, which was just me in disguise.
I could tell by looking at the notice posted on the bulletin board in Academy Square.
The notice depicted a humanoid monster with ragged muscles, and it read: ‘Students who have seen a figure with this appearance, please report it.’
‘This is what it looks like…’
In the game, when you wore a Cloak of Disguise, your character changed as if you were wearing a skin. So I knew how scary the Berserker looked.
More than 2m in height, with bulging muscles. That huge guy had the face of a ferocious monster with black skin and a large gaping mouth.
The sharp but well-arranged teeth were clearly visible.
Plus, the fangs were as big as those of a saber-tooth tiger, and with its haggard hood pressed down, the corners of his eyes appeared to be dark, which only served to emphasize its ferocious eyes that radiated an ominous red glow.
All these traits combined to form an appearance that could only be described as menacing.
‘I’m about to be misunderstood for a demon.’
The demons would continue to appear until Ian graduated, and I would continue to hunt them down.
If the academy staff, who would be in trouble because of the demons, got to know me like that, I don’t know what kind of trouble would arise.
It was only a matter of time before my existence reached the ears of student council president Alice Carroll.
The same went for being talked about by students. Just imagining it made my head hurt.
It would be best to reach the final boss, the Evil God Nephid, while reducing as many variables as possible.
That’s why I bought a Magic Cloak of Disguise, but of course, it turned out to be a Berserker skin…
If I catch a demon and get misunderstood and attacked because of my appearance, it would be a disaster.
Still, I couldn’t help it.
Firstly, I didn’t know how to recognize the concept of that outfit. The only thing in stock was that one outfit, and the shopkeeper didn’t explain anything.
‘But I can’t buy anything else anymore…’
One of the secret shop’s features was that it didn’t offer refunds or exchanges. And to add insult to injury, the price range was too high to buy another Cloak of Disguise.
Currently, I was in a position where all of my assets would be gone if I just bought and ate two loaves of bread.
In the first place, it was doubtful that other stocks would have come in time.
“I am hungry…”
The growling sound from my stomach brought me to tears. Hungry…
But all I had was a 10 gel loaf of bread in my hand.
I sat on a bench in broad daylight and began to eat.
Now, my only remaining wealth was 10 gels. I would have to go to the bank later and get a loan…
I’m a freshman who has just taken the class placement assessment, and I’m already in debt.
I have played the game countless times, and nothing like this has ever happened…
It’s painful, really.
“Are you alone?”
Suddenly, a deep male voice called out from behind.
It was an all-too-familiar voice that I heard a lot while playing ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱.
I turned around to see the owner of the voice.
His brown hair was parted into bangs, leaving his forehead exposed, and his facial features were defined. He had a sturdy physique, so he fit the image of a rock element.
He was a named character who would eventually face Ian Fairytale and play an important supporting role in the future.
As I stared blankly at him, Mateo introduced himself.
“It’s Mateo Jordana. You’re Isaac, right?”
Mateo asked while leaning slightly on the bench.
His voice echoed as if it were in a cave. I wish my voice was overflowing with masculinity like that.
“Right, why do you ask?”
“Only one loaf of bread… Are you not eating a proper meal?”
“That’s because I don’t have any gel.”
“You’ve already used up the gel? No, no way… Were you robbed?”
Mateo furrowed his eyebrows.
It was a response that reassured me that we were on the same side, it was only natural considering he was a commoner. He must have felt a sense of kinship with me, another commoner.
Mateo’s gang, which would be formed later, were all commoners. Mateo was going to rebel against the nobles, and Ian was the first to come into conflict.
In order to prevent a bad ending, Isaac, me, needs to be this guy’s subordinate for a while.
“Well… That’s right.”
I lied on purpose to garner his sympathy so he would buy me food.
Mateo had a strong sense of camaraderie, so he couldn’t easily ignore a pitiful guy like me. And now, that camaraderie was directed toward ‘commoners.’
Besides, he had become accustomed to saving money, and his magic skills were also top-notch. No matter what, he would always have a few extra gels.
“Damn it, the nobles did it again…! Follow me right now. I’ll help balance your nutrition.”
I didn’t say whether the robbery was the work of a nobleman or a commoner, but Mateo seemed to make his own assumption.
It would be great if I could just get some food. Due to his personality, it seemed I wouldn’t have to starve for the time being.
Sweet. I didn’t expect that to work.
Of course, I planned to pay off my debt all at once when the time came.
I went to the student cafeteria with Mateo and ate a 50 gel meal. He asked who the robber was, and I evasively replied that I didn’t know because it was late at night.
༛༛ ༛ ༛༺༻༛ ༛ ༛༛
“The classes were determined by combining the results of mana evaluation and the class placement evaluation. This is the lowest among all the classes, Class D.”
In a classroom with 20 people, I was sitting in the middle.
Five students were assigned to the top class, Class A, and twenty students to the worst class, Class D. The rest of the students were clustered into Class B and Class C.
In other words, the place I was in was the classroom for students in Class D.
“Meaning, all of you are the most incompetent freshmen students currently in the Magic Department.”
In front of the podium, the professor in charge of Class D glanced over the students with blue eyes as he recited his orientation in an apathetic tone.
It was Professor Fernando, a handsome-looking man with silver hair.
I could see the fluttering figures of the Class D girls. It was to the point where I could start hearing jokes about how fortunate it was for them to be in Class D.
…Who could possibly be making such sarcastic remarks so happily?
“This is Märchen Academy. In this world, only the strong survive.”
Professor Fernando continued to speak as he slowly paced back and forth with his hands behind his back. The sound of his shoes echoed throughout the classroom.
“The educational opportunities may be equal, but there is no consideration for the weak in results. If you don’t become strong, you will only be eaten by the guys from the top class. So survive, failure to do so will result in expulsion.”
If you failed to meet the standard, you would be given a strike. Once you accumulated 3 strikes, you would be expelled.
Come to think of it, maybe the reason that Isaac didn’t appear after the beginning of the game was because he was expelled…?
…I’ll have to work harder.
“Even if you are in Class D, you are supposed to be the elite of the elite, just like the other students of Märchen Academy. Develop thoroughly and try as hard as you can. This is your duty as both wizards and students of Märchen Academy. If you do all that, you will graduate with your diploma. Do you understand?”
Professor Fernando stopped and asked the students in an ice-cold voice.
The female students gave a lively, “Yes!”
Professor Fernando was taken aback by the unexpected mood of the students.
I had been through this brief orientation so many times to the point of getting tired of it. I practically had the entire thing memorized. I was even capable of imitating the professor’s voice.
“Hmm. Then, let me explain the curriculum for Class D going forward.”
In the game, the cutscene ended here and the scene changed, and the phrase 「Act 2, Chapter 1, Class D」 appeared. It meant that the second act of the story had begun.
Despite that, Professor Fernando’s orientation continued. It was a scene outside of the game.
By the way, the episode about catching Trevion the Evil was 「Act 1, Chapter 1, Ian Fairytale」.
The mana evaluation episode was 「Act 1, Chapter 2, Passion of a Grade E」.
The class placement evaluation episode was 「Act 1, Chapter 3, Class Placement Evaluation」.
“…During the first semester, you will intensively master one element. The first semester curriculum is also structured accordingly. If you can properly master one element, you will be able to become a proficient wizard.”
In line with the academy curriculum, it would be more efficient to intensively master ice magic during the first semester.
The second element could be learned in the second semester of the first year.
Afterward, Professor Fernando explained the schedule ahead. It was filled with stuff I already knew.
It had nothing to do with the curriculum, but soon, 「Act 2, Chapter 2, Childhood Friend Kidnapping Case」 would begin. This was the episode where Ian and Mateo got involved, as well as the event where I could get the loot called the ‘Abyssal Ring’, which gave the wearer the ability to read minds.
Then there was the 「Act 2, Chapter 3, Practical Training」 episode.
During the practical training, the infamous 「Act 2, Chapter 4, Ant Legion」 episode would begin once ‘Garzia the Hermit’, commonly known as ‘The Little Ant’ emerged.
One of the Wailing Walls of ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ in Hell Difficulty. He was a demon who was hated by many players.
His pattern was very tricky, and his level was 140. Even if I used the [Hunter] trait, it would be difficult to defeat him.
In addition, Garzia’s servants, the ‘Disaster Ant’ legion, had excellent collective intelligence and used all kinds of tactics to pressure the player.
Now, why would the already hell mode suddenly spike in difficulty? The reason was Garzia’s setting.
There was a countermeasure for Garzia that I had thought of beforehand. I just hoped it would go well.
As much as Garzia was called a Wailing Wall, there was a very useful item called the ‘Sheath of Disaster’ he would drop despite being hated.
‘That has to be mine, no matter what.’
Next was the 「Act 3, Chapter 1, Battle」 episode.
At this time, a PvP performance evaluation would be scheduled. It was sparring, which would be a way for the freshmen to fight one on one against each other.
The key point of this episode was the scene where Ian fought Luce and surprised the students by using his light magic.
‘Who am I fighting with?’
By then, I would be a little stronger. It would be a good measure to assess how strong I had become.
Let’s just avoid insurmountable walls like Kaya, since it was obvious that I would just be overpowered.
Next was the 「Act 3, Chapter 2, Familiar」. That was when I could get a familiar, and the episode that concluded the long-awaited first semester, 「Act 3, Chapter 3, Semester Exam」. This lead to 「Act 3, Chapter 4, Thunderbird Subjugation」.
Once I finished ‘Act 3, Chapter 4,’ the first semester would be over, and we would be given time off. In order to grow stronger, I would have to plan my vacation very specifically. Before that, though, I had to survive the Thunderbird.
Let’s keep thinking. I need to recall each episode in as much detail as I can, and use all the advantages I can get.
‘I have to defeat the Evil God Nephid and clear this game.’
༛༛ ༛ ༛༺༻༛ ༛ ༛༛
Luce couldn’t concentrate on the class.
Just as she had expected, she was assigned to Class A, and one student was already trying to build connections.
“Luce Eltania, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m from the Whiteclark family…”
Once Luce arrived in the classroom, she ignored the students who were trying to make her acquaintance by keeping a cold demeanor.
She didn’t care much about others in the first place. Her main concerns were neither connections nor a youthful life.
She entered this academy with her eyes on ‘Märchen Academy’s Senior Diploma of the Magic Department.’
Then, her goal of becoming a Tower Master would be much easier.
Like a small fishbone stuck in her throat, there was something that kept bothering her.
She couldn’t hear the contents of Professor Philip’s class, who was in charge of Class A. It didn’t matter, though, because it felt like she was reviewing stuff that she already knew.
‘The Demon, and Greung…’
After Luce reported what had happened during the class placement evaluation to the academy, she was told that ‘there was no outside invasion.’
In other words, Greung and the demon were in Delphine Forest from the very beginning.
‘At that time, there were only first-year students in Delphine Forest. Is it possible that either the demon or Greung was a student in the Magic Department who used a Magic Cloak of Disguise or something… At least that can’t be the case for the demon.’
The freshmen at the Märchen Academy had to undergo a detailed verification process to see what elements they had.
Just in case, if an intelligent demon had entered the academy, its darkness mana would have been discovered. In other words, there was no way the demon could be an official student.
‘But Greung is different.’
On the other hand, Greung simply showed ‘Ice Magic’, an ordinary element. It was possible that the monster could be an academy student.
‘It looked like he had come to hunt the demon… Did Greung know in advance that a demon would appear during the class placement evaluation?’
Such thoughts plagued her mind.
‘What if Greung is a first-year student in the Magic Department and was in Delphine Forest during the class placement evaluation? What if he entered Märchen Academy with the purpose of hunting demons? What if for some reason he didn’t want to be discovered, so he used a Cloak of Disguise to hide his identity…?’
…It made sense that an absurd monster was hiding with such a motive.
But Luce immediately shook her head.
‘…That’s stupid. We already finished the mana evaluation on the first day. If someone was that strong, he would have been caught.’
The results of the mana evaluation did not lie. It was impossible to hide the maximum amount of mana.
…Unless it was the ‘Realm of an Archwizard’ that Professor Fernando referred to.
‘No way… it can’t possibly be, right?’
It’s not. It can’t be. It wasn’t possible for a student her age to have reached the realm of an Archwizard. It wasn’t realistic.
Luce pondered as she stroked her chin with her slightly bent index finger.
‘Or, maybe Greung is a vagabond, and was wandering through the Delphine Forest.’
Let’s think about it, are there any more clues?
Clothes. Luce recalled the clothes Greung was wearing.
Her eyes caught the appearance of the clothes that Greung was wearing when magic manifested and illuminated it in the night forest.
The memory came back to Luce as vividly as a photograph, and she examined the fragments of her memory.
Not entirely neat, but almost new. They weren’t tattered enough to be seen as a vagrant.
What if it was ‘Magic Cloak of Disguise’?
Perhaps he anticipated that a situation would arise in which he would be forced to conceal his identity.
And… the story of him appearing to slay the demon.
…It didn’t make sense, but at least one hypothesis came to mind.
‘Among my classmates, there is a person who has reached the realm of an Archwizard, and that person secretly entered this academy to hunt demons… There’s some kind of mystery hidden in this academy…’
Luce let out a small laugh. She thought of it herself, but it was ridiculous.
‘What nonsense am I thinking of…’
But what if it was real?
‘…It wouldn’t hurt to investigate.’
Luce had always kept her heart closed to others since the age of ten, after she signed a contract with Thunderbird Galia.
But now, for the first time in a long while, she was seething with curiosity about someone else.
‘First of all, I’ll have to pay attention to my classmates who use the ice element.’
Luce wrote that decision with a quill on a parchment that laid beside her book…
[Uncovering Greung’s identity]
…Then, she smoothly underlined the sentence.