༺ Dorothy (1) ༻
The morning sun was peeking through the curtains.
Mary, the Astrea family’s exclusive maid, woke up with a firm spirit.
She got out of bed and folded the duvet neatly.
After a light meal of a sandwich and hot coffee, she washed up and changed into her maid outfit, and neatly combed her long purple hair.
The whole process was done like a machine. Her place was neat and tidy, and everything was well-organized.
She inspected herself in the full-length mirror, tying her finely combed hair into a ponytail while checking the fit of her clothes. Everything seemed fine.
The 20-year-old maid tidied herself up and left the maids’ quarters.
In a room on the 4th floor of Charles Hall – the top-class dormitory of Märchen Academy – there was a young lady she served.
The young lady was always up on time. Her long green hair was disheveled as she sat on the bed, dozing off.
Even when she was dozing off, she kept the duvet neatly folded, a habit she inherited from her father, Gerald Astrea, the head of the household.
Mary served the young lady breakfast, which she ate blessedly well, for she was a voracious eater.
When the young lady finished being bathed and was dressed in her school uniform, Mary trimmed her hair and sat her down at the dressing table to make her face even prettier. Then, with a black cloth, her light green hair was tied into two pigtails.
Even today, Lady Kaya Astrea looked perfect.
Mary was satisfied.
“Yes, my lady.”
Kaya glanced up and down at her reflection in the mirror, and then a frown formed on her face.
‘What is it?’
Your appearance looks perfect today too, doesn’t it?
“Well, I’m feeling a little…”
“I’ll fix it.”
Kaya didn’t really care about her appearance. It was only because she was from Duke Astrea’s household that she had to dress up beautifully with the aid of a maid to protect her dignity.
As such, Kaya had never once expressed dissatisfaction with Mary’s work.
In addition, Kaya’s appearance, which was created by Mary’s touch, had always been praised by many.
Mary’s skill at styling played a large part in her being selected as Kaya’s exclusive maid, and ending up following her to Märchen Academy.
In other words, her ability to dress up Kaya in the prettiest way possible was something she took pride in. Nobody could ever take Mary’s pride away from her.
As such, Mary couldn’t help but have doubts.
Did she make a mistake without realizing it?
…No. She closely examined the young lady’s reflection in the mirror, and found nothing wrong with her work.
The two-pronged hairstyle was perfectly symmetrical. The make-up was also perfectly suited to the innocent, yet elegant appearance of a student. As usual, a pretty lady was there.
So, what’s the issue? I mean, what did I overlook?
“I’m thinking of changing my style for once… What do you think?”
“Making it a little more feminine…?”
Lady Kaya said with her eyes raised, as if it were something she uttered after careful consideration.
Mary wondered why the young lady had a sudden change of heart, and instinctively guessed the reason.
“Lady Kaya, may I ask why you want to change your style?”
“Just… I want to dress up a bit more.”
She was ashamed of herself that Lady Kaya wanted to embellish herself further.
She wanted to accept it as a simple desire to become prettier, but Lady Kaya’s behavior had been far too suspicious as of late.
She showed a dazed appearance as if she were an empty shell, or she would be lying in bed at bedtime, kicking the duvet out of the way saying, ‘Why did that happen?’ and then…
A recent suspicious memory flashed through Mary’s mind.
She went to her room to serve tea to Lady Kaya, only to find her silently looking out of the window.
There was no response when she knocked on the door and asked to enter.
Mary snuck over to the side and watched her. Lady Kaya was blushing with a blank expression on her face while staring at a silver-blue haired man passing
Then, when Mary said that she had served her tea one more time, Lady Kaya’s face flushed with surprise and embarrassment.
The moment had come.
It was obvious that Lady Kaya had a crush on the silver-blue haired man.
Maybe the last time she stayed out?
That was the day Mary’s life expectancy was cut short. She was so worried, she thought she was going to die.
Fortunately, Lady Kaya came back safely, and said, ‘I have been protecting the peace of the Academy…’ Even though Mary didn’t understand what she meant, she assumed everything was fine since Lady Kaya said such things with a serious face.
Lady Kaya’s behavior only became strange after that.
At that time, what if she had stayed out with a man overnight, could it have been that silver-blue haired man?
‘It’s a mistake.’
She would not have done anything indecent. Because if she did, it would have been plainly obvious on the young lady’s face.
But the mere fact that she had stayed up all night with a man must have been a tremendous stimulus to Lady Kaya because of her vulnerability towards the opposite sex.
Until she graduates from the academy, treat her as though she is a man.
That was the order of the family head, Gerald Astrea.
She could clearly imagine his enraged figure.
Mary rubbed her forehead. Her head was already throbbing.
“…My Lady, this appearance suits you the best.”
“Is that so? It can’t be helped then…”
Kaya twirled her fingers through her ponytail with a flushed face.
The surrounding atmosphere seemed to be indifferent to Mary’s feelings of frustration and disappointment towards herself.
─ ‘House Astrea Code of Conduct! What is the third principle?!’
─ ‘Second daughter, Kaya Astrea! Respect your instructors! Respect your elders! Behave with respect to those who deserve it! Maintain your appearance!’
The family Code of Conduct was etched into Kaya Astrea’s mind by Gerald Astrea.
The real meaning behind the third principle was…
‘Train yourself to be a person who, in the future, can stand shoulder to shoulder with those you admire.’
However, Kaya realized that she hadn’t been living up to the teachings properly.
‘I want to look good for Sir Isaac.’
The only person that Kaya currently admired was Isaac.
Did she present him with a neat demeanor and a decent appearance? No.
Speaking on her demeanor, she only showed immaturity when they went to take down the ant demons.
Every time she thought of the foolish side she showed to Isaac, she kicked the fuzzy duvet while thinking, ‘Why did I do that?’
Besides, what about her appearance? Wasn’t she always wearing the same outfit? Even in front of the person she admired, she didn’t look any different from her childhood self.
Kaya arrived at the Class A lecture hall for her morning class.
Her mind was filled with thoughts about Isaac. But the fact that she hadn’t seen him much lately made her heart sink.
Whenever she looked at Isaac, he seemed to radiate an ethereal light, but she lacked the courage to approach that light.
Even when he’d told her never to stalk— observe him again.
If he had reached the realm of an Archwizard, he would easily notice Kaya’s approach. She couldn’t afford to observe him.
It was simply a matter of speaking to him normally.
But after returning from defeating the ant demons, she became nervous when standing in front of him. It felt psychologically difficult.
‘The House Astrea Code of Conduct… was it always this difficult to follow, father?’
She thought about changing her appearance at the very least, in an attempt to catch Isaac’s eye.
When Mary told her that her usual twin tails suited her best, she couldn’t say anything. Kaya was never much of a beautician, even in her own mind.
‘I want to see Isaac…’
She just had to go for it, what was so difficult about it? She knew the answer, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it.
Kaya wrapped her hands around her head and groaned.
* * *
Let’s give Kaya a gift.
She was extremely helpful when I went to kill Garzia the Hermit. If I didn’t give her something in return, my heart would be troubled.
However, because she had a lot of gel and lacked financial constraints, monetary rewards were unlikely to appeal to her.
‘Then, should I give her an item exclusive to the heroines?’
In ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, you could give a heroine a gift that she would like in order to increase her likability. The chocolate that I gave to Amy during the childhood friend kidnapping case was one of those gifts.
Kaya was also one of the official heroines. I knew very well what types of gifts she would like.
Among them, the best was by far the ‘Armana Wand’. Among the heroines’ endgame weapons, this was the only item that could be obtained from the secret shop.
A wand made of the 8-star giant tree ‘Armana’, which guarded the Great Forest. It was the only wand among the ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ weapons that resonated with plant mana. In addition, it had a gemstone made by condensing Armana’s mana.
In other words, if she had it, she would be much more attuned with plant mana.
The [Elemental Firepower] and [Elemental Efficiency] of the existing elemental magic would also noticeably improve.
If Kaya had a great desire for improvement, she would jump up and down with happiness the moment she received it.
‘It’s so expensive…’
I walked out of the secret shop after buying the Armana Wand.
The Armana Wand was very expensive. The price was a whopping 120,000 gels. That was why at the beginning of ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, it felt like a pipe dream.
‘It’s surprising that I still have money left over.’
Even after using 120,000 gels, I still had quite a bit of gel left.
The academy provided all the textbooks and high-end writing supplies. I wouldn’t have to worry about the cost of living as long as I didn’t spend too much.
I checked the Armana Wand as I walked. On the outside, it appeared to be a piece of grayish-brown wood with a gemstone roughly inserted into it. But it would feel different in the hands of someone with excellent mana perception.
I have to give it to Kaya later when the time is right.
I went back to the dormitory, put the Armana Wand in a box, and headed to the corner of the garden as usual.
Now that I had finished my lessons for the day, it was time to focus on training.
I arrived at a corner of the garden and took my seat.
‘I feel like I’m going to level up today.’
I was filled with excitement.
After some light stretching, I conjured up a [Frostfire] in each hand.
– Mana Recovery Speed (C-)
– Stamina (C+)
– Strength (C+)
– Intelligence (C-)
– Willpower (B+)
– Elemental Firepower (C+)
– Elemental Efficiency (B-)
– Elemental Synergy (C+)
– Elemental Series 2 (Locked)
– (★1) Ice Generation (B-) / (★5) Black Ice (B-)
– (★2) Ice Curtain(C+)
– (★1) Cold Divergence (B-)
– (★1) Basic Protection Magic (D)
– (★4) Frostfire (D+)
– (★4) Ice Wall (D+)
– (★5) Frost Explosion (D)
– (★7) Psychological Insight
In the evening, the night sky was slowly driving away the glow of the sunset.
In a corner of the garden, the grass was frozen around me. These were the traces of me using magic in order to increase the proficiency of [Frost Explosion], [Frostfire], and [Ice Wall].
I only used [Frost Explosion] once, since using it consumed a third of my total mana.
But the increase in proficiency was proportional to the amount of mana consumed, so my proficiency would rise quickly even if I used it fewer times than other spells.
I was in the middle of casting a spell when the leveling system window popped up in front of me.
My level had increased by 1.
I was overjoyed.
I finally reached the mana power spike zone, level 51. My mana increased to 1000 in one fell swoop! My mana that was only rising gradually before, had now increased by half of my previous mana.
[Frost Explosion] consumed 200 mana each time it was used. Thus, after using it 3 times, I would almost run out of mana, but now it was possible to use it 4 or 5 times.
In addition, the increase in mana rose exponentially with each level, to the point where the expression ‘exponential’ would be overshadowed.
The Isaac Coin is going to skyrocket~
While I was happily looking at the system window, a new system window suddenly appeared and overlapped it.
Oh right. If I had the unique trait [Hunter], I would be granted a passive skill based on my level.
By the time I got [Hunter] in the game, I was already at a high level, so I didn’t realize that I had already acquired it.
I opened the status window, went to the [Skill Tree <<Details>>], and tapped on the [Neutral] slot which activated the passive skill [Demon Detection], a skill derived from the unique trait [Hunter].
Type: Passive Skill
– Lv 51 (O)
– Possesses Unique Trait [Hunter] (O)
I knew where and how the demons would appear in the future.
But I wasn’t sure if they would behave the way I wanted them to. Meaning, [Demon Detection] would be useful at times.
I invested the newly acquired 2 stat points in [Physical Training Efficiency].
I had to train and study at the same time, and this routine required tremendous stamina. Perhaps it was because of my recent investment in [Physical Training Efficiency] that I noticed an increase in stamina. Thanks to this, I felt that my overall training efficiency had increased.
Besides, my [Magic Training Efficiency] was Grade A, so I could afford to do it.
It would be better to invest in [Physical Training Efficiency] as much as possible and aim to become Iron Man Isaac.
Now, there are only three events left that could be considered important until the end of the first semester of the first year. The Duel, Familiar Summoning, and End-of-Semester Evaluations.
The Dueling Chapter in Act 3, Scene 1 of ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ was significant because it showed Ian Fairytale challenging Luce Eltania to a duel and fighting, revealing to the students that he had the light element constitution. There was no need for me to intervene, as there was no impending bad end.
There was also nothing special about summoning a familiar. I guess you could say it was a good thing in terms of increasing my power, but there was no crisis.
There was a reason why these crisis-free chapters would be repeated twice. It was because the last part of the first semester, the Thunderbird Subjugation, was excruciatingly difficult.
So far, thanks to the [Hunter] trait, I had been overwhelmingly destroying the demons, but I really needed to be prepared to die during the end-of-semester evaluation. It was because the Thunderbird Galia is extremely powerful.
In ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, the maximum level was 200 and the level of Thunderbird Galia was 175. On the other hand, even with the [Hunter] trait activated, I would be level 151.
The higher the level, the greater the gap a single level caused. In fact, it meant that it would be impossible to win against the Thunderbird.
The best I could do was avoid him as much as possible.
The villain of the Thunderbird Subjugation part was ‘Vera the Summoner’. If I killed that bastard before being overwhelmed by the Thunderbird, the situation would be over.
‘I have to train hard.’
Now was the time to focus on my training.
Slapping my cheeks with both hands to drive away my worries, I put my fingers together and created a gap between my hands.
Ice mana began to condense as it flowed through the gap.
Light blue ice mana condensed into a dense mass. It flowed quietly, like the calm before a storm, and gathered in my hand, softly shining like moonlight.
In order to use [Frost Explosion] with the body of an ordinary Isaac, it was necessary to spend time in this position.
It took about 5 seconds to condense mana as quickly as possible and use [Frost Explosion]. If I wanted to increase the power, I needed to spend more time in the preparation process.
Condensing to 15 seconds was the limit at my current level. After that, the mana stopped gathering and leaked into the surroundings.
Then, in my mind, I engraved the magic circle for [Frost Explosion].
When the magic circle of [Frost Explosion] appeared in the air, it implied that the spell activation condition had been met. It appeared in front of my hand this time.
The light blue mana that had condensed in front of my hand began to rotate slowly. It was a shape that seemed to gather the radiating cold air.
I held it in my right hand and extended my right arm forward, aiming at the air.
The magic circle of [Frost Explosion] followed the movement of my right hand. Now that I shot this…
What was that? A scream?
No, it seemed like laughter.
My concentration shattered in surprise, and the condensed mana was dispelled.
I raised my head.
In the sunset sky, a female student was falling at a terrifying speed.
A witch hat pressed tightly against her head, a shawl draped over her shoulders, and the hem of her skirt fluttering wildly.
Her long, flowing hair was a light shade of purple, tied up at the very end.
And a slight glimpse of her face full of laughter could be seen from under the hat.
A cluster of beautiful, vibrant starlight flowed out from the girl’s toes, causing her fall to slow dramatically.
She landed lightly in front of me.
At the same time, the starlight that was seeping out disappeared.
“Ahahaha! Ahh, that was fun~”
She, who had a pretty and cute appearance, smiled brightly as she let out a cheerful voice.
‘Oh my god…’
For a brief moment, I wondered if I was mistaken.
As long as I was transmigrated in ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱, I was bound to see her someday.
An opponent I hadn’t expected to suddenly fall out of the sky.
It was like running into a celebrity when you least expected it.
She turned to face me, as if she had finally noticed my presence.
With eyes that seemed to contain the universe, her star-shaped pupils captured my appearance.
Elements: Wind, Rock, Starlight
Officially, everyone could only use two types of elements. The only exception was when you received the power of a fairy. Just like the girl standing right in front of me.
She had made a contract with Stella, the Star Fairy, and used magic with an unusual element called ‘Starlight’. It wasn’t derived from the main elements, but it was an element in its own realm, so there is nothing to discuss.
That was why she was called the ‘Star Witch’ and was one of the most powerful forces in the academy.
“Huh, you’re a first year.”
“What were you doing here?”
She asked with a smile as she straightened her witch hat.
It was Dorothy Heartnova, my favorite character.
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