༺ The Childhood Friend Kidnapping Case – Interlude ༻
I dropped to one knee and picked up the Abyssal Ring. It was a thin, rusty, ultramarine blue earring with strange rune-like characters engraved on it.
If worn for 7 days, this item loses all functionality, then even if not worn, you can read the other person’s psychological state.
Rank: Tier 1
The Abyssal Ring was an earring that could be worn on the ear’s pinna. When I wore this and looked at my opponent, I could see their psychological state through the status window.
Originally, it was an item that Ian should take, but it would be much more useful for me to take it than a Master Fainter. If he ever had to use it in the first place, I could step in and solve it.
I had no intention of giving Ian any loot, unless it was absolutely necessary for the sake of the story, or if it was something I could spare.
I turned to face Ian and Mateo as I cleared the ice that surrounded the abandoned warehouse. Kaya stared at me in awe as she cast her healing magic on them.
For definitive treatment, they would need to visit priests specializing in healing magic, or be taken to the hospital. Kaya’s magic was only for first aid.
Ian, on the other hand, had a monster-like resilience due to his light element constitution. Kaya’s magic would be sufficient to heal him.
Now that things had calmed down, I thought of testing the Abyssal Ring.
I clipped the ultramarine blue earring on my right earlobe. It shrank to fit the size of my earlobe and gave off a cold, metallic sensation.
I gained a passive skill that activated on the condition that I was wearing the Abyssal Ring, but if I wore this earring for seven days, the condition would cease to exist.
I covered my ear with my right hand so that neither Kaya nor Mateo, who were staring at me, would notice.
Then I looked at Ian, who had fainted first.
Element: Light, Fire
Psychology: [ ]
As expected, a new ‘Psychology’ section was added to the status window. Because Ian was unconscious, it appeared to be empty.
Psychology: [Confused by the fact that you are strong.]
Mateo was staring at me. It was the first time I had seen someone’s face filled with surprise, doubt, and admiration. Among them, ‘doubt’ seemed to be the most prevalent.
Ah, Mateo’s level increased by 1 too. It was most likely due to the team EXP.
Elements: Wind, Ice
Psychology: [In awe of you.]
Kaya looked like an ardent believer looking at the cult leader.
‘…Well, she’s leveled up by 1 too.’
Phew, know that you’re stronger because of me.
I removed the Abyssal Ring from my ear and put it in my pocket. From tomorrow on, it would be natural to wear this as a normal accessory.
I then proceeded to walk toward Kaya, Ian, and Mateo. Mateo had a confused expression on his face as he looked at me. Because of the shock, he seemed to be unable to speak.
Well, I didn’t really have anything to say to him.
“Yes, Sir Isaac.”
When I stopped in front of Kaya and started talking to her, I was taken aback. Looking up close, her eyes shined so brightly, to the point of being overwhelming.
…First of all, I’d like to ask Kaya something.
“Are you here to help Ian?”
“Yes, ah! Sir Isaac, do you know Amy Holloway? I heard she was kidnapped…”
“I kept her someplace safe.”
“I knew it!”
Kaya exclaimed as if she had predicted this. Her pupils were still shining in an overwhelming manner.
“I’ll handle the aftermath. I’m going to take these guys to the hospital, get them treated, and tell them to keep their mouths shut!”
I didn’t say anything, but she knew exactly what I wanted. For some reason, I didn’t dislike this sensation.
The only thing that made me feel burdened right now was her longing gaze, which was not in the least bit ashamed.
As I felt a tickle in my heart, a small smile crept across my lips.
When I said such heartfelt words, the corners of Kaya’s mouth twitched violently and her lips started trembling. It was the expression she made when someone she admired complimented her.
I’m actually just a nobody, yet you look at me like that…
What can I say? I’m kind of flattered.
“And keep quiet about the appearance of the demon this time.”
“Yes? Why is that…? Ah! I see.”
I was about to explain the reason for this ruse, but when she said she knew right away, I was left speechless.
I wasn’t sure what kind of thought process was involved, but it didn’t matter as long as she did what I wanted.
It brought back memories of the time I played ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱. Soon, Mateo’s subordinates would wake up and they would help Mateo and head to the hospital.
It was the end of that situation.
I gave Kaya a nod and began moving to where I had ‘kidnapped’ Amy.
Throughout the walk, I could feel Kaya’s burdening gaze as well as Mateo’s suspicious gaze.
I purposefully avoided looking back and hurried my steps.
As the sun set, the sky began to darken.
The transition from sunset to ultramarine blue was stunning.
“I brought you more chocolate.”
“Oh! You’re here!”
Amy jumped out of her seat and rushed to me like a rabbit when I arrived at the hideout.
When she asked for chocolate, her eyes glowed like those of a Pomeranian.
“It’s a little later than I thought. But isn’t it cold outside? I feel chilly for some reason, don’t you?”
Amy inquired, her voice full of worries.
It appeared to be because of me constantly emitting cold air while fighting the Orpheus the Submerged.
I scratched my cheek and laughed awkwardly.
“I don’t want you catching a cold.”
“What are you doing?”
Amy suddenly extended her hand to me, and a faint flame appeared in front of her outstretched hand.
Oh, it’s warm.
“Ah, thank you.”
“I’m the one who’s thankful. Today was so much fun, and the chocolate was delicious too… By the way, Isaac, what’s your answer?”
“I asked you to be friends.”
Come to think of it, I didn’t properly answer her request to be friends before I left.
But she was about to hear it all from Ian… She should be able to figure out why I brought her here pretty quickly.
I wasn’t sure how she would react then.
Still, why do I have to avoid it now?
“Friend… That’s good.”
Amy smiled brightly while basking in the warmth of the flames. Her smile was sincere, like a blooming flower.
❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ 「Act 2, Chapter 2, The Childhood Friend Kidnapping Case」 was over. After escorting Amy out of Josena Forest, we parted ways in front of the dormitory. She belonged to ‘Briggs Hall,’ which housed students from the middle and lower classes.
I decided not to eat dinner. Since I was enjoying refreshments with Amy, I wasn’t that hungry.
In the dark night, I went to a deserted corner of the garden to check my potential.
– Magic Training Efficiency (C+): 33/100 [UP]
– Learning Efficiency (D): 12/100 [UP]
– Water Resistance (D): 6/100 [UP]
– Ice Resistance (C-): 24/100 [UP]
– Lightning Resistance (C): 29/100 [UP]
– Rock Resistance (E): 2/100 [UP]
– Wind Resistance (D): 13/100 [UP]
– Neutral Magic Resistance (D): 8/100 [UP]
– vs. Other Races Combat Power (E): 1/100 [UP]
– vs. Heavenly Beings Combat Power (E): 0/100 [UP]
– vs. Demon Combat Power (S): 100/100 [MAX]
‘My level increased by 6, and I got a total of 22 stat points. If it’s 22…’
My first goal was to master [Frost Explosion]. In other words, I had already decided where I would invest my stat points.
I poured all 22 stat points into [Magic Training Efficiency].
If it was Grade B+, it was in the realm of a genius.
Even though Isaac’s own potential and abilities were limited, my future growth rate would be interesting to watch.
Following that, I practiced my magic and headed to the physical training room.
The students from the Knight Department greeted me as if they had been awaiting my arrival. And then all hell broke loose.
The next day.
I met Amy while I was walking down the street. I was nervous about what I would hear for a moment, but unexpectedly, she greeted me with a wide smile.
She appeared to be very happy. She said Ian came to her yesterday and hugged her tightly and said he was ‘worried’.
Embarrassed by the sudden hug, she asked why, and Ian replied that he was ‘worried that something happened because he didn’t see her today’.
He must have stuttered quite a bit. But Amy was in such a good mood that she just let it go.
Besides, she must have been happy that the color of Ian’s heart had brightened again.
‘So Amy’s on the lover’s route.’
If you rescued the kidnapped Amy during the ‘Childhood Friend Kidnapping Case’, you would have two choices. [Pat the shoulder] and [Hug]. If you selected [Hug], you would follow Amy’s lover’s route.
Congratulations, Amy. Your wedding will be really touching.
And, judging by the fact that she didn’t mention anything about Ian being injured, it appeared that he had been healed immediately by Kaya’s healing magic. To avoid worrying Amy, he must have gone to the dormitory and changed his clothes.
He didn’t seem to have told Amy about his confrontation with Mateo, let alone about me.
If I thought about how he didn’t show much of a reaction to me in the classroom earlier, it seemed that Kaya and Mateo had agreed to keep quiet about me.
That’s highly commendable, Kaya.
“What’s with this earring? Did you buy a new one? It suits you well.”
It wasn’t until I finished talking about Ian that Amy noticed the Abyssal Ring on my right earlobe.
I had to wear it for a week, but I was glad that it looked good on me.
Following that, Mateo called me. To be more specific, the entire gang, including myself, was summoned.
After being hit by Kaya’s wind magic, Mateo’s subordinates had no memory of the previous events. It was all due to them losing consciousness. When they awoke to find the abandoned warehouse completely destroyed, they assumed it was all Kaya’s fault. Mateo must have affirmed their assumption.
As soon as they woke up, they supported Mateo and headed to the hospital. There, Mateo received professional healing magic and was finally able to move.
Of course, he was not completely healed. Mateo had bandages wrapped around his arms and torso. He appeared to be in pain, seeing as he flinched every time he moved his arm, but he seemed able to move his body without much trouble.
At an alley behind the academy building, Mateo bowed his head and apologized to us.
“I’m sorry. From now on, I am going to live honestly and compete with my skills. Thank you for going along with my orders. In the future, I just want all of you to be my friends.”
The subordinates patted Mateo on the shoulder without saying anything, as if they thought he had been subdued by Kaya.
Although there were twists and turns, things progressed similarly to the story. I was greatly relieved.
You feel grateful, huh child.
Mateo sent away all his other men, leaving us alone.
We went to the garden, sat under a tree, and started drinking. Of course, he was the one who bought it. ‘Cause I didn’t even have a penny.
“All… I watched everything. The scene of you defeating the demon…”
Why are you talking so respectfully?
“You were pretending to be weak on purpose…”
“Just speak normally. It’s awkward.”
“How dare I…”
I wasn’t sure what Kaya said, but Mateo seemed to have succumbed to her misunderstanding.
“I’ll get angry if you don’t.”
“Ah, I got it…”
Mateo reluctantly spoke informally again.
Kaya had a habit of using respectful words with everyone, so I didn’t say anything, but it was awkward when a guy who had always spoken informally suddenly used honorifics, it was difficult for me to bear.
“Thank you… Without you, I would have died there. Not just me, but the guys I just sent there too.”
“Think of it as the payment for the meals.”
“I guess my life costs as much as food.”
Mateo burst out laughing, as if dumbfounded.
He was always serious, so when he smiled, it felt awkward.
To that extent, he seemed to think that the balance payment was excessively unbalanced.
“…I apologized to Ian.”
“Is that so?”
“I understood after talking to him. I was on the wrong track. Just as the nobles looked down on the commoners, I, a commoner, was also treating them harshly. I thought that was the way to resist the nobles…”
I wasn’t interested in whatever realizations Mateo had. When he heard Ian’s main character philosophy or beliefs, and reflected on himself, it was obvious that he was talking about something like that.
Once I knew things were going well, my mind was full of plans for the next one.
‘Now’s the problem.’
「Act 2, Chapter 3, Practical Training」, and 「Act 2, Chapter 4, Ant Legion」.
I was already planning how to deal with the ant demon ‘Garzia the Hermit’, who appeared in Act 2, Chapter 4.
Garzia the Hermit was level 140, and his ant army had excellent collective intelligence and presents a carcinogenic evil element.
There was a reason why the already difficult Hell difficulty was rapidly increasing.
It was because, as soon as he manifested, he stored up his strength in the ‘Tantak Underground Cave’ in the academy grounds.
Then, two weeks later, with a full power-up, he showed up in front of Ian in the middle of the practical training.
After completing Act 2, Scene 4, you could explore the underground cave of Tantak.
Zephrim’, a rare mana remnant, could be found there. It was simple to carry because it had solidified into a magic stone.
Zephrim was created as a result of Garzia repeatedly discharging and rebuilding mana while accumulating power. It was primarily used for accessory or weapon forging and was very profitable.
In other words, my strategy was to enter Tantak Cave first, defeat Garzia the Hermit, who was hoarding strength, and collect Zephrim.
I wasn’t sure if it would work out. In ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, it was impossible to explore the Tantak underground cave ahead of time. It was uncharted territory.
‘But, what if it works out?’
I could prevent a bad ending in advance, and avoid being a beggar.
It was just a brief escape at most. All I would have was a lot of gels.
Just imagining it made me feel good. Feeling confident that I would win the lottery, I thought about what to do with my earnings.
“…So I’m going to see what Ian does in the future.”
This bastard hasn’t finished talking yet.
Inside Class A’s classroom.
Even in class, Kaya Astrea couldn’t stop thinking about Isaac.
Throughout the day, she had been experiencing an overwhelming sensation of excitement.
Earlier, while hiding behind a tree, she secretly overheard the conversation between Isaac and Mateo, so she was becoming even more addicted to the Isaac Drug.
How many achievements had Isaac made in this disturbance alone?
He joined Mateo’s gang and saved Amy Holloway from being in danger.
He defeated the dangerous demon.
He even reformed Mateo.
After all, a person who reached the realm of an Archwizard was truly amazing.
As a prospective wizard, he was a person she couldn’t help but admire.
‘How can you be so amazing, Sir Isaac…’
Isaac was a very different person from Kaya, who could only study or train magic.
The fact that they were classmates of the same generation, the same academy, the same department, and peers excited her.
As Isaac had asked her to do the day before, Kaya properly informed Mateo.
Isaac is a man who has reached the realm of an Archwizard, and he is pretending to be weak because he has a meaning deeper than the abyss and broader than the open sea.
At that time, right after defeating the demon, she was so engrossed in the Isaac Drug that she over-expressed it a bit.
She instructed him to keep the appearance of the demon a secret and to take it with him to the grave. Everything had a purpose. In fact, Isaac had to have a deep and profound meaning for everything since he was in such a position to protect the students.
She warned him not to say anything about Isaac, and that if he did, he would not be let go.
She faked a story and told Ian that she and Mateo worked together to defeat the demon somehow. Amy was safe, so she intervened to keep this matter a secret.
By the way, did Ian Fairytale have the body of a human? It was hard to believe that he was healed with nothing but Kaya’s own healing magic.
Of course, depending on their constitution, some people have exceptional resilience. It’s also possible that he managed to avoid the demon’s attack. Kaya decided not to think too hard about it.
‘But as an ordinary person, you would only see a demon once in a lifetime…. It’s a bit strange that so many of them appeared in such a short period of time.’
Since arriving at the academy, she had encountered demons twice. If the rumor about a demon appearing during the class placement evaluation was true, that meant the demons had already appeared three times in Märchen Academy.
The demons appeared so rarely that they were regarded simply as a natural disaster.
The fact that they appeared at the academy so frequently was a very strange thing.
And whenever the demons appeared, Isaac defeated them…
‘The reason Isaac came to this academy… is it related to the demons?’
Was there some huge secret hidden in the Märchen Academy?
Isaac is a genius among geniuses who has reached the realm of an Archwizard, so isn’t it because he already knew the secret that he infiltrated this academy…?
It was a terrifying thought. In other words, didn’t that mean that there was a great danger lurking in the academy, to the point where an important figure like Isaac had to step in?
…Ah, no way.
Kaya swallowed her saliva as the ridiculous thought ran through her head.
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