༺ New Semester (1) ༻
A new semester began.
1st graders were turning into 2nd graders with new freshmen being added to the mix. There were many things happening and most 1st graders had to move dormitories as they entered their second year at the Academy depending on their major and career paths but that didn’t apply to me.
“Wow~ Korin. You are done already?”
“Thanks to Doggo helping me, it wasn’t that hard.”
When I returned to the special dormitory after a long time of absence, there were a few things to do such as cleaning and removing the messy weeds, but cleaning didn’t take that long because all I had to clean was my room and the storeroom.
“More importantly, Korin! You will be in your 2nd year from tomorrow! Congratulations!”
“Same to you. You are in your 3rd year now.”
Tomorrow was the freshmen welcoming ceremony already. Just like what we went through last year, the new students would take their Grading tests and receive their temporary Grades.
Thinking back to the past reminded me of how everything started. Just 1 year ago, I had entered the Academy as a Grade 5 Knight and yet here I was, sitting at Grade 1.
“We are here from Dumons Furniture. Where would you like this to go?”
“Ah, please come this way!”
I wasn’t the only one taking care of the mansion in preparation for the new semester. Marie was also bringing in a bunch of new furniture into the dormitory, and those seemed to be being sent here in the form of a donation.
“Huh? Senior, are we getting a new bed as well?”
“Hnn? Y, yeah… Umm, how should I say this… It’s a bit uncomfortable compared to the one at home…!”
Huh? Wasn’t she using it just fine for 2 years now? And the bed she had at her home…
“Oopsies! Hey Brother Kim! Be careful! You’ll get squashed to death if one of these lands on top of ya!”
“G, got it…! Ehew. Is this a palace for newlyweds? What kind of…”
The workers were bringing in beds that were clearly bigger than normal single-sized beds. They were… much bigger than expected.
“Amazing, right? They are really good beds. Apparently you fall asleep just by lying on it.”
“They do look impressive. Thank you for changing all of our beds but what about yours, Senior Marie?”
“I have one too! It’s that big one there!”
“Looks similar to the one I saw in your house.”
It had the same size as the bed that was in that Evergreen Room or something which was given to fiancés. It was so wide that two people wouldn’t be able to fill it.
“Hehe… It’s just in case there is a guest coming over.”
Was she talking about her friends? It made sense considering how she had a bunch of friends like Isabelle. Plus, I did hear that girls tended to play like that sometimes; going on the so-called pajama parties and such.
In any case, it seemed that all the furniture in the mansion was being replaced to suit the standards of the Potato Empire in the south. Walking away from that, I carried a garbage bag full of weeds and headed to the incinerator at the back of the dormitory.
That was where I found Hua Ran.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“As you can see, I’m cleaning the yard. What about you?”
Wondering what she was talking about, I looked inside the incinerator and found a massive tuna being burned inside it.
“…Can you explain to me what that is?”
“Like, it’s not like I don’t know what it is, but…”
“I heard eyeballs are good for IQ? Or something.”
“I don’t know if that’s true or not, but more importantly, why are you cooking that in an incinerator?”
Hearing my question, Hua Ran tilted her head as if I was asking about the most obvious thing in the world.
“I can’t cook something that big in the kitchen.”
“Oh~ So you want to eat the whole thing as it is?”
Aiya. Look at this girl. Even though she had the memories of Ran, she was still a baby who had only spent 3 years in the society. She was just turning 4 now.
“Next time, just tell me. I can chop it up into smaller pieces and cook them for you.”
“Like, how did you even get a tuna this big? And didn’t you buy massive flatfish last time as well?”
“I bought them at the market.”
“…They sell these?”
Did they sell fish this big? There had to be something wrong with that marketplace and the storeowner for deciding to sell things like these as a whole to a little girl.
“Ehew. Well, you cooked it anyway so let’s grab Doggo and eat it together.”
“This is mine.”
“Like, there’s no way you’re going to finish the…”
“…Alright, sure. Have the whole thing.”
She was stubborn and possessive like a little girl. After pondering by herself for some time, Hua Ran pulled my sleeves and added.
“You can have some.”
“What an honor to hear that.”
No matter what, it would be hard for her to eat this enormous tuna by herself, and maybe she knew that. That must be why she was offering it to me.
“But still, let’s chop this into pieces. If we leave it like this, the outside will get scorched but the inside is going to stay raw.”
I was carrying out a sudden tuna chopping show and thinking about having this for lunch when Alicia appeared from the other side.
“Mr. Korin~. Let’s have lunch together! Uhekk?! What is all this?”
“I get that but…”
“Quiet down and just help me cook these.”
It was then. The dimensions tore open as the head of our dormitory with a mature beauty appeared from within. What she found first thing after returning to the dormitory was us cooking large chunks of tuna on campfires placed around the yard.
“Student Korin? What are you doing?”
“We’re cooking tuna. You should join us for lunch.”
“Haa… Where did you even get this?”
“You should ask the sister next to me.”
After turning her eyes to Hua Ran, Josephine gave an understanding nod.
“Thanks for the offer but I have an appointment for lunch already.”
“That’s a shame. By the way, you look tired. Have there been some problems?”
Everyone in the Academy knew just how hard Lady Josephine was working, but today, she looked more worn out than ever.
“A long friend of mine is very distracted. I don’t know what’s happening to her but…”
“Maybe it’s related to romance? I am more than willing to give all ears if you want to share some stories.”
“It’s fine. More importantly, Student Korin.”
“Can I ask you to be one of the guides for the freshmen welcoming ceremony tomorrow? Normally, we have the high-performing 2nd-year students be guides.”
By a guide, she was referring to the job Marie played during the entrance ceremony, such as guiding the new students to the carriages and making sure they didn’t lose their way.
This Academy was as big as a small city, and it was thus normal for freshmen students to lose track of where they were.
“Sure. But there’s more than that, isn’t there?”
“You mean the prac lesson at Hunting Grounds?” asked Lady Josephine.
“I am incredibly willing to enlighten the new students!”
“…Do you have some strange plans in mind?”
“For example, the Immortan Lork or…”
“I am not sure what you are talking about, Miss!”
“If I hear even a single word about Immortan Lork, I will bring this up in a disciplinary committee meeting.”
“You can definitely trust me. I am Korin Lork.”
Josephine stared at me with half-squinted eyes before finally giving her permission.
It was looking like it would be a fun start to the semester.
“I need some more volunteers apart from Student Korin. What about you, Student Alicia?”
“Umm… I think I can join. I just have to do the same thing that the seniors were doing last year, right?”
“Yes. There will be some differences in rules, though.”
In the end, our job was still to interrupt the freshmen students while testing their skills.
“I think I can help out then.”
Just like that, Alicia was also in the crew. I thought about inviting Yuel in as well, because she was pretty much invincible inside the Hunting Grounds.
That was when Hua Ran suddenly opened her mouth while raising her hand. I thought she would hate tedious things like testing freshmen students, but I guess that wasn’t the case.
“You cannot. Student Korin and Student Alicia can, but you might hurt the freshmen students.”
Lady Josephine’s concerns made sense. We were like pistols and miniguns whereas Hua Ran was an anti-tank missile. Having her attack the new students with nothing but bulletproof vests would be too inhumane.
“I can… hold back.”
Josephine hesitated after seeing her persist. Normally she would have said ‘No’ with no questions asked but I had a feeling that she was a lot nicer to Hua Ran after the festival.
“Fine. But is Ran listening right now?”
“Ran. If you think it’s dangerous, you must step in and stop her. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“She said yes.”
It looked like even Hua Ran was going to be joining the freshmen prac lesson, which was unfortunate for these young poor souls.
“Hehe. I’m looking forward to getting juniors.”
Alicia seemed incredibly excited to have juniors that would be treating her with respect and had a full smile on her face. That wasn’t strange though, because that was the same for me.
There weren’t going to be many key freshmen students this year. Well, that was to be expected though, because it did not make much sense from a development standpoint to assign a lot of importance to juniors that were coming in mid-way into the game.
Of course, that didn’t mean that there weren’t any important named characters among the new students, but it was just that they weren’t as powerful compared to the boss-level characters, Hua Ran and Marie.
‘Besides, those guys will be entering this year anyway.’
One of those two guys would probably come first among the freshmen this year as long as nothing unexpected came up.
“Professor. Do you remember the two freshmen that I was talking about?”
“I do. The two of them will come to the special dormitory,” replied Professor Josephine.
“Umm… Do you know some of the new students?” Alicia asked.
“Only two of them.”
“Ah, Student Korin.” That was when Lady Josephine opened her mouth after seemingly remembering something. “If you have time, could you help me clean the rooms for the new students?”
“Well, sure but those guys are siblings so they’ll probably be sleeping in the same room. I can do it by myself.”
“No. There are two more rooms that we need to prepare.”
“That is part of the reason why we’ve ordered new furniture through Student Marie.”
It was only on the day of the entrance ceremony of the 1st Semester that I understood what she meant.
“Now. All of you, come this way.”
The next day, I waited at the south gate of the Academy to guide the new freshmen students entering the Academy for the first time. The clueless new students gathered in front of me after hearing my words.
“Hua Ran. Make the poster straight so they can see better.”
I wasn’t by myself and next to me was Hua Ran. She was wearing a long poster that read, ‘Welcome to the Academy!’ on her neck.
While I was in the middle of welcoming the new students, I spotted a professor coming to work from her home. It was Professor Lulara Mars of Alchemic studies.
“Oh wow~. You were here already~.”
She, who had the same voluptuous body as always, greeted with her usual stretchy voice.
“Student Korin? You are dressed up today, aren’t youuuu?”
“It is the entrance ceremony for the new students, after all.”
Although I usually preferred wearing a t-shirt with leather pants, I was a bit more mindful of my outfit today and was thus wearing a suit and a dress shirt.
It looked neat in my opinion, although I wasn’t wearing branded clothes all over like Doggo. Well, that was not a good idea in the first place… His mother, Marie, was spoiling him too much!
“Fufu. The girls are going to be very happy todayyy~. You are going to be very popular~.”
Professor Lulara got on the carriage that went straight to her building, while we decided to wait for a few more students to arrive.
Hua Ran, who had been silent the whole time, suddenly opened her mouth.
“That doesn’t suit you.”
“Huh? It doesn’t?”
“Really? Everyone was saying it was okay though…”
“Is it really that bad…?”
Well, preference in clothes was a subjective matter anyway so I let that go. I threw a glance at Hua Ran, who was looking straight forward with the poster hanging on her neck, and realized that her lips were in a slight pout.
Why was she in a bad mood all of a sudden?
Inside the carriage with a bunch of freshmen students, I screamed through the microphone as the students responded with a shout.
“Nino, Maximus, Keyser Soze!! Sonador, and Spartaaaaaa!! They don’t die! I don’t die~~!”
“You’re doing great!”
“I have no idea what he’s saying though…!”
The 2nd year student senior singing a song in the carriage was like an annual event that helped the freshmen students forget their nervousness.
“Oppa! You’re cool!”
“Cool? Anything else?”
“Okay, you over there. I’ll remember ya. You are a part of my crew now!”
“Now, thanks for listening to my song, and let’s start getting off!”
Hua Ran and I got off first with the freshmen students following behind us. Seeing them reminded me of last year.
“So, there are going to be professors inside. Go in, and good luck!”
Most of the students seemed to have no idea why I was wishing them good luck. Towards the back of the group were the siblings, Ren and Ron.
“Bro… I mean, Big Brother. We will see you later.”
“Alrighty. Good luck to you, and you too Ren.”
“We don’t need luck.”
Patting them on their extra-soft honey-blonde-colored hair, I sent the two of them into the Liberty Hall. Inside, the 1st year students will be undertaking their first grading test just like I did last year.
Even though Ren and Ron appeared like primary school kids, there were probably going to be less than a handful of students this year that could have a meaningful fight against them.
“I have to go,” said Hua Ran.
“Okay sure. You said there’s something to do at the church, right?”
“There’s that too.”
“Someone annoying wants to see me.”
A visitor for Hua Ran? Who could it be? There were only a few people even back in the game that interacted with Hua Ran, so that was a bit of a surprise.
She disappeared after kicking off the ground. Even though I told her multiple times to not fly across the Academy, she was still the same.
There was a time when she crashed into a bird and had us eat a whole bird for dinner. It was very tedious to pluck the feathers and wash the guts out, so I really hoped she would stop doing that.
Another carriage arrived as soon as Hua Ran left.
“Hu~. This way please! And everyone, be careful on your way down!”
It was Alicia’s voice, which meant they were coming from the western gate. Naturally, I turned my eyes to the freshmen students that were getting off the carriage, and…
“Aht, be careful.”
A girl stepped down on the ground with a walking stick with the help of Alicia. She had such a memorable appearance; one that no one could forget upon seeing once.
And I happened to know who that was.
The girl had blazing and fiery red hair. She had matching ruby-colored eyes but those were clearly different from the red indifferent eyes of Hua Ran.
Her cold and cruel eyes had a vertical slit in them. Hua Ran was a lofty beast, whereas she was more like a venomous snake.
Her body was smaller than the other girls and boys of her age, but there was an undisguisable sense of pressure in her atmosphere that did not allow anyone to look down on her.
Even though the students were allowed to wear anything, one could say it was as expected of her to come to the entrance ceremony wearing a luxurious dress.
– Clomp! Clomp!
The girl walked straight towards me and stopped right before me.
“Knight Korin, yes? Nice to meet you. My name is Miruam Elizabeth El Rath.”
I could hear Alicia gasping for breath at the back. Right – it might be possible to not know her first or her second name, there was no way anyone in this kingdom wouldn’t be aware of her last name.
Without even caring about Alicia gasping behind her, the girl who called herself ‘El Rath’ raised her hand that was covered with an opera glove.
『When in front of an attractive lady, it is the courtesy of a gentleman to give her a kiss and ask for a dance, Knight Korin.』
『Knight Korin. Look. This is our child. Beautiful, right?』
Her face overlapped with the one I saw in the past. She was one whom I had a stronger impression of in the last iteration than the game. The one who…
“An honor to see the princess.”
Kissing her on the back of her hand, I demonstrated the required etiquette of a knight.
She was Miruam Elizabeth El Rath, the 2nd Princess of this kingdom.
Umm, Lady Miru? Why are you here?
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