༺ Dorothy (2) ༻
A magic talent that seemed to be blessed by the heavens. The depth of her power was said to be unfathomable.
With a level of 180, she was overwhelming.
I never thought I would see Dorothy Heartnova in person. I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her beauty.
Perhaps, because she was the character that I liked the most, it may have been that I was looking forward to seeing her.
A small blue jewel brooch hung from the ribbon of her school uniform. The color blue represented second year.
“I was training… but what about Senior?”
I struggled to maintain my composure, and when asked what I was doing here, I responded back with a question.
Despite asking just now, I already had a guess as to why Dorothy fell from the sky.
She must have descended from the sky while admiring nature’s beauty.
She did it here and there, but today she just happened to use the corner of the garden as a landing point.
“Me? You saw, didn’t you? I was falling from the sky!”
“Then why were you falling from the sky?”
“I was watching the rain clouds gather. I left because there was nothing more to see, so I came down.”
Dorothy answered with a smile.
“When I’m up there, I can see the horizon. I love the line between the sunset sky and the sea. It’s so romantic to watch the sun disappear beyond the horizon.”
In an excited voice, she started talking about things I wasn’t even curious about.
“I especially enjoy the moment when rain clouds form. Should I call it aesthetically pleasing? So! I was flying around watching it when I said, ‘I’m done now,’ and came down.”
Dorothy said innocently.
Her starlight magic allowed her to manipulate natural world forces such as gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak forces, which allowed her to see the horizon as she levitated.
It was on an entirely different level from simply floating with wind magic.
“So, what kind of training are you doing? Ice element? Why are you doing it here? Are you usually alone? What kind of magic are you using? How many stars can you use up to?”
She walked up to me with quick steps and showered me with questions.
Since she was ‘pretending’ to be curious, I went along with it. In reality, there was no curiosity or interest in her questions. It was just an act to ease the other person’s mind.
Dorothy treated others in a friendly way, but despite how friendly she appeared to be, she never opened her heart to another person. She wore the mask of a smiling face and always drew an invisible boundary between herself and others.
She was the exact opposite of Luce Eltania. While Luce was indifferent to others, if she opened her heart, she would open it up completely. This was because she didn’t know how to maintain a proper distance.
Dorothy leaned her face close to mine.
Startled, I reflexively jerked my head back.
She was always smiling, always trying to make everyone like her. However, there were a lot of pretenses mixed into that smile.
Beneath the witch’s hat, her eyes, which appeared to hold the entire universe, were staring into my own. It was as if they were trying to penetrate my very soul.
It wasn’t an analogy. She really could see straight through my soul.
My passive skill that could be used thanks to the Abyssal Ring, [Psychological Insight]. Dorothy could use a similar skill called [Emotional Insight].
Fear, affection, longing, love, friendship, and more. She could tell what emotions the person she was looking at was harboring towards her.
In addition, she also had a unique trait called [All In The World] which allowed her to see into the essence of living things, though the exact scope of this ability was not revealed in the game. It must have been to add a sense of mystery to Dorothy.
Well, the ability to see into the essence of things came later in the game. It was relegated to a basic skill for high-level characters.
“Do you know me?”
As expected, she could see right through me.
I wasn’t sure how my state of mind was being reflected to her, but it wasn’t looking good.
I couldn’t just answer, ‘I know you because I played ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱’, so I decided to fake it a bit.
“Yes, because you are Senior Dorothy.”
Dorothy tilted her head as if I didn’t give a very satisfactory answer.
In hindsight, her reaction made sense. It would be strange if I didn’t know Dorothy Heartnova from Märchen Academy. There must have been a deeper meaning to her question.
She was my favorite character. In other words, there was a high possibility that my feelings were seen as something like ‘affection,’ which was a pretty big deal.
In Dorothy’s situation, it would be strange to see those emotions in someone she never met before.
If so, what would be an appropriate answer?
‘Maybe I should say something like this.’
It didn’t take me long to come up with something I knew Dorothy would like.
“I’m a fan of Senior Dorothy.”
I said with a confident snort.
Dorothy looked surprised.
She was an attention seeker who loved to stand out. It was called celebrity syndrome.
She liked to stand out from the crowd, and that was why she always used ‘Starlight’ magic unconditionally when standing in front of people.
‘That’s why I like her.’
Dorothy was a named character, but wasn’t an official heroine. Even so, my favorite character in ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ was definitely her.
When I was living exhausted from studying for exams, I felt like a nobody with nothing special in this world.
It was an empty everyday life.
I would go to the study room at dawn when the sky was not yet bright and when I left the study room, the stars embroidered in the night sky would welcome me.
It was because of such an insignificant daily life and routine that Dorothy, a person who wanted to shine and reveal herself wherever she was, resonated so strongly with me.
You don’t know how much strength I’ve gotten from thinking about you.
“Hmm, I see. A fan of mine~”
Dorothy stepped back, closed her eyes, and nodded as she cleared her throat. She looked embarrassed. That was a genuine reaction, I knew it because I’d seen it in the game.
Thus, fans were the best being to disarm Dorothy.
It was a situation where the person concerned could even read my feelings. There would be no doubt about the answer that I was her fan.
“If I have a fan in the first year, doesn’t that mean I already have a fan club?!”
Does that exist…?
…No wait, is it actually real?
“Ahhh, what the heck. Can I have a fan meeting? The time has finally come for my autograph to shine!”
Dorothy’s thoughts quickly escalated, and excitedly counted on a fan meeting happening before it was even certain.
Still, she was cute, so I just watched her in silence.
It was as if my daughter, who hadn’t even graduated from kindergarten yet, revealed her aspirations, saying, ‘I will become a celebrity when I grow up’, and she seemed already worried about a fan meeting. How could that not be cute?
Of course, I had never been married, so I didn’t truly know the feelings of a parent, but I still felt that way anyways.
“Who’s the president?”
“For the first year, me.”
“Eh? Is it already divided into grade years…?”
I didn’t know. In the first place, even if there was such a thing as a fan club, I was just trying to be nice.
I had no clue about the other years, but I was pretty sure I was the No.1 fan of Dorothy in the first year.
❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ Yeah, I had a lot of experience.
“I mean, that autograph.”
I decided to get her autograph in order to follow Dorothy’s rhythm.
I took out a piece of parchment from the class materials I had brought to review and handed it to Dorothy.
She giggled, took out a quill pen, and scribbled her autograph on the parchment.
I got it back.
It was just scribbles.
“Nihihi, nice to meet you!”
“I’m happy that you’re happy. Nice to meet you too.”
“Look at the way you talk~ It’s so cute! Nyahaha!”
Dorothy smiled broadly. Just looking at her smile made me feel good.
“Oh right. I’m taking time away from your training, president.”
“Ah, it’s okay.”
“Mmm! That’s right. Since you are my fan, just looking at my face will recharge your energy, right?”
I wish that would give me strength.
Because otherwise, it seemed like I was going to fall behind in training.
“Just kidding~ I have to go now. Train hard!”
Dorothy turned to the side and started to walk away, waving her hand at me as she did so.
Then, when her figure disappeared into the trees and out of sight, my expression melted.
“It was a nice sight.”
She was really nice and pretty. Why was Dorothy not an official heroine?
That was my biggest complaint in ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱. If Dorothy had a lover’s ending, I would have spent two-thirds of my ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱ playing time on her route.
It was time to focus again. Regardless of the nice experience just now, it was time to get back on track and concentrate on training.
Now that I had gotten a bit stronger, it would be better to go to the training ground for a while and work on increasing my [Elemental Synergy] as well…
Dorothy’s cheerful voice hit my ears.
Turning my head in the direction of her voice, I saw Dorothy’s peeking her head out from behind a tree.
She still had a big smile on her face.
“What’s your name?”
Ah, my name.
“Yes, Isaac! See you again tomorrow!”
See you again ‘tomorrow’?
Just as I was about to ask why tomorrow, Dorothy waved her hand and walked away, her feet imbued with starlight mana.
A cluster of colorful lights floated for a moment in her wake and then faded away.
What, all of a sudden?
It felt like a nuance that said ‘You must see me tomorrow’.
Because I’m a fan? No wait, I am a fan, but…
I pondered, trying to figure out what Dorothy meant. However, thinking that it was a waste of time, I decided to focus on my training again.
If she really does come tomorrow, I’ll have to ask tomorrow.
* * *
“That’s interesting. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this…”
The silver-blue haired man who had been training a while ago.
He was hiding something sinister that even Dorothy Heartnova had never seen before.
Her unique trait, [All In The World], allowed her to see through the essence of everything under the heavens. Using this power, Dorothy saw the essence of the man named Isaac as soon as she saw him.
Inside his essence was an enormous existence, capable of swallowing everything in the world.
It was an existence that could only be described with that expression, and its identity was completely unknown.
It was something of immense size and looked terrifyingly ferocious – a mass of near-infinite mana that defied providence.
Its countless eyes all stared at Dorothy in unison, each one giving her a strong sense of oppression.
It made her feel as though she were an insignificant being.
And then it spoke to her.
──── [ ■ ■■■ ■■■■■, ■■ ■■ ■■■? ]
It sounded like high frequency, but Dorothy could instinctively grasp the meaning of those words.
It must have meant something like ‘You are looking at me with your bare eyes, do you want to die?’.
For a brief moment, she was scared.
It was fascinating that she felt fear simply because of something hidden in the essence of human nature.
Moreover, the giant thing had been completely assimilated by Isaac. It belonged entirely to him.
When it starts to rage, Isaac would be able to wield immense power.
She didn’t know how strong he would become, but it was probably beyond her imagination.
In short, Isaac seemed like a mild-mannered student on the outside who was simply being sincere.
But in reality.
Dorothy’s lips curled into a wry smile.
She had heard rumors of the so-called geniuses among the first years, like Luce Eltania and Kaya Astrea. Looking back, they were definitely talented. Especially Luce Eltania, who seemed to have the potential to reach the top in no time.
Even so, it was clear that if Isaac used his original power, they would not be able to withstand it, even if all of the first-year students, including the girls, attacked him.
Besides, if Isaac could borrow that power at will, he could easily surpass even Dorothy herself, who was called a genius among geniuses.
In conclusion, Isaac was not an easy opponent, even for the person called Dorothy.
He was the person who might become the strongest in the academy.
“As expected of Märchen Academy. This is why I like this place~”
There was a reason why it was called the most prestigious academy on the continent.
With the power of [All In The World], she thought that she had reached the point where she knew everything. There was nothing more to be interested in.
But now, something new and mysterious had appeared…
It was fun.
Dorothy smiled brightly and walked across the academy ground with light steps, hopping like a rabbit while doing so.
She decided to observe Isaac for the time being.
It was the middle of the night.
The sky was filled with rain clouds, making even the moonlight invisible.
High above the ceiling of the tall Kalis Hall, a demon clad in black was sitting on the railing, watching the surrounding landscape.
His grayish-brown hair cascaded neatly down his back. His face showed a hint of mischief, and his physique was dwarfed. Strictly speaking, he was a human male, but his skin was a dull gray.
A [Black Flame Curtain] made up of black flames surrounded him. As soon as the raindrops hit the curtain, they evaporated and disappeared.
The demon hummed a song as he swung his outstretched legs back and forth in front of the railing.
He was scanning the surroundings with his two pairs of eyes, looking up and down on both sides.
Earlier, he had come here to catch some fresh air after talking with Alice Carroll, the student council president of Märchen Academy…
…When a unique sight caught the demon’s eye.
Far away, a man in a navy-blue tracksuit was running across the academy grounds, with [Ice Curtain] wrapped around his body.
It would be understandable for someone from the Knight Department to be running in such bad weather, but the tracksuit clearly belonged to the Magic Department.
The demon studied the man. Thanks to his excellent eyesight, he could easily make out the man’s features, no matter how far away he was.
[Ah, he’s that Grade-E.]
The demon spoke in a low voice.
Silver hair with a slightly bluish tint and crimson eyes.
Thanks to the student council president, the demon had memorized everything after looking at the academy’s student record and the results of mana evaluation (which was public information).
He recognized the silver-blue haired man who was running at once.
The lowest rank that was rated as Grade-E in terms of mana. It was Isaac, a commoner and the man who was said to be the weakest in the academy.
[You’re a fool, you’re a fool. You’re not at the bottom of the first grade for nothing. Try exercising in this weather for a hundred days, a thousand days, and see if your mana goes up or not].
The demon giggled. Isaac looked pathetic. No wonder he had a miserable life at the bottom.
He would be much better off at the training grounds, practicing his magic, instead of running around in the rain.
[Ah, I want to play with you~ If I see something weak, I just want to crush it~]
The demon swayed his upper body from side to side and fell into agony. Should he harass that jogger or not?
…He gave up. After all, that guy was in the first year. Before the start of the dueling evaluation, he shouldn’t disrupt the schedule by doing something so conspicuous.
On the day of the PvP performance evaluation in the first year of the Magic Department, the demon planned to murder all the students. First he would imprison all the students with the 8-star magic [Fictional Hell] and play a large-scale death game.
Let’s hold on until that day. Suppress your desire to torment and kill humans. So that when the planned day finally arrives, you’ll feel even more exhilarated.
[Come quickly, that day~]
Suddenly, one day, he remembered the mission he had received from the evil god, Nephid. It was an instinctive feeling.
──‘Kill the Child of Light.’
The ‘Child of Light’ was a man named ‘Ian Fairytale’ right here at Märchen Academy. The light element had a property that made demons fearful, so it was easy to distinguish.
If possible, it would be better to deal with the demons and the troublemaker who were roaming around all at once.
Ah, he was looking forward to it. The thought that he would be able to play with the Child of Light, that troublemaker, and the many students all with his own hands, before mercilessly killing them.
The Demon, ‘Leafa the Illusive’.
That night was gradually drawing closer.
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