Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 21
– When there are only crazy people around a certain individual, one should question if that individual is crazy as well.
This saying rang true in Einroguard. With most of the professors here being clearly nuts, Yi-han began to worry about the mental well-being of the normal-looking professors.
‘Now, let’s analyze this calmly. If my memory serves me right, Garcia is close with that crazy Principal. Hmm, as I thought, I shouldn’t trust any of the professors here.’
The professor would’ve pounded his chest in frustration had he heard what Yi-han was thinking.
True, maintaining the spell until the end of the lesson was a mentally draining task. In a sense, it was like balancing a spinning top on a fingernail. However, there was a reason why Professor Garsia gave him this task.
Since Yi-han had been able to succeed in producing water after only three tries, it meant he was extremely talented in this field, even considering his affinity.
But that talent was nothing before his enormous mana reserve, and the professor believed that he would shine even brighter if polished further.
The professor had given Yi-han the instructions, firmly believing he would succeed. Unfortunately, Professor Garsia’s sincerity wasn’t transmitted to his student.
‘From now on, I’m going to assume all the professors here have a screw loose somewhere.’
Such were the thoughts going through Yi-han’s mind as he maintained the ball of water in the air.
The remaining class time quickly slipped by, with some students from the Blue Dragons succeeding in casting <Light> and the princess succeeding in casting <Produce Fire>.
Yonaire was happy to learn that she had an affinity for wind magic, whereas Gainando almost ended up burning his staff.
And during all that time, Yi-han had remained focused, maintaining the water in the air without uttering a word.
“Sir, don’t you think he went too far?”
Uregor wasn’t sure what Yi-han meant by that. The dwarf didn’t think there was anything wrong with the story.
“…Perhaps Professor Kim has taken a liking to you. Wouldn’t that explain why he made you do those exercises?”
“Just like how I’m tending to your farm right now?”
‘And there he goes grumbling again.’
Yi-han had managed to hit the nail on the head. With nothing to say in return, Professor Uregor silently complained in his mind.
Friday afternoon was a much-awaited time for everyone that was looking forward to the weekend, yet Yi-han was tending to the farm near Uregor’s hut.
If there were other students around, they would’ve whispered about how the professor was being mean to Wardanaz and giving him chores to do.
However, Uregor had the perfect excuse. After all, this was something Yi-han had volunteered to do.
– Professor, I’d like to help around near the hut.
– Ohh, is that true?
– In exchange, I’d like to eat here from time to time.
– …Do as you please.
– And while I’m at it, may I take some food and bring them back?
– Don’t even dream about it, brat.
“It’s my fault for even asking.”
Uregor shook his head and raised his arms in defeat.
– How was your first week?
He had asked this question without thinking much of it, and now he was paying the price. However, other than his manner of speech and frequent grumbling, Yi-han was without a doubt one of the most promising students among the freshmen.
That was probably why Garsia Kim gave him special treatment.
Uregor also had to admit that Yi-han was exceptional, and that wasn’t in regard to his magic…
‘Look at him persevere through all the chores. The lad’s got a promising future.’
…Instead, he was talking about Yi-han’s ability to perform chores.
Yi-han would have been pissed if he heard that, but the professor was being dead serious. In his opinion, what alchemists needed most was the ability to tirelessly complete chores.
Sensitivity to mana and being able to tell reagents apart?
Affinity to spirits and being close to them?
Having perfect control over mana and being able to perform meticulous tasks?
None of that was truly important.
Superhuman patience was required of talented alchemists as they had to diligently clean a mountain of flasks every day without running away, and Yi-han had that within him.
Other nobles would have never agreed to take care of the farm and manage the hut, no matter how much food was offered to them. Yet Yi-han always visited the hut to perform his duties in exchange for his reward. That alone was indicative of his promising talent in alchemy.
‘Why am I suddenly feeling the chills?’
Yi-han had been digging out potatoes until now. It wasn’t that cold in particular, but he suddenly felt a shiver run up his spine.
“Are you tired?”
Yi-han answered the professor without putting much thought into it.
He was honestly fine. Not only did he have a lot of stamina, but he was also already used to being ordered around by a professor. Furthermore, harvesting fresh vegetables from a field and taking out fish from fish traps could hardly be considered difficult.
Uregor suddenly laughed, seeming satisfied, which left Yi-han dumbfounded.
‘What’s up with him? Does he enjoy watching others work? I swear, all these professors are the same…’
“Wardanaz, you’re truly gifted in this field.”
“Brat, you think I’m spouting empty words?”
Uregor clicked his tongue. As of now, whatever he said would go in one ear and out the other.
‘How did someone like this appear from that granite-like Wardanaz Family?’1As in very stoic and hard, like a statue made of granite
While sitting down on his armchair, Uregor took out a dwarven cigar pipe and lit it. He then proceeded to enjoy smoking for a while before opening his mouth once more.
“Did anything else happen?”
‘Does he have nothing better to do?’ Yi-han, who was dusting off some carrots, wondered.
But from another perspective, what Uregor was doing truly befitted his status as a professor. After all, professors loved to have their students do all the work while they waited, looking bored out of their minds.
“Any conflict with students from the other dorms?”
“How’d you know?”
“You’re not the first freshman to be welcomed into this academy, and neither will you be the last. It’s all very obvious.”
Uregor looked pleased with himself as he smoked.
“Let me guess. It was with someone from the White Tigers.”
“That’s exactly right.”
Yi-han inferred from the professor’s words that the two towers had a history of conflict.
“Not surprised, really. On one side, you have the Empire’s established nobles, and on the other, you have the knights. Not to mention, you guys are young as well. Conflicts were bound to happen.”
“Sir, don’t you think it’s foolish? They’re wasting their time fighting over something stupid, time which could be invested in studying magic.”
Uregor nodded in agreement. He was absolutely right; there was nothing more foolish than this.
However, what was youth without a sprinkle of foolishness?
“Wardanaz, I’m glad that you at least have a level head. Yes, there’s no need to squabble over these silly things. Instead of wasting their time fighting, it’s more logical to use them to study magic.”
“I think so too.”
“Perhaps there would be fewer fights this year thanks to people like you. Even if the White Tigers try to find trouble with you, just ignore them.”
“Umm, but I already fought them.”
Baffled, Uregor lowered his pipe from his mouth and stared at Yi-han.
‘What happened to finding such fights foolish and stupid??’
“What else was I supposed to do? They picked a fight with me,” Yi-han defended.
For the time being, Uregor nodded.
True, there were times when fights were inevitable, especially ones that the other party initiated.
“It seems the lads over at the White Tigers are all quite rough this time. Normally, they wouldn’t pick a fight with someone on their first week. How did it happen?”
“I was taking swordsmanship lesson, and they just kept provoking me.”
Uregor lowered his pipe once more, taken aback.
“They’re really out of line!”
“Clearly, you’re the weird one here!”
The professor was at a loss for words. There were so many classes out there, and yet he had chosen to take swordsmanship. No wonder the White Tigers looked for trouble.
“You’ve done well to escape unscathed. Though they’re slow to learn magic, most of them tend to be great fighters.”
“Yeah, it took a lot of effort to bring down three opponents.”
Uregor decided to put his pipe away. It seemed it wasn’t the day for him to smoke.
“You…took them down?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t easy. I was lucky.”
“…You can stop working for today. I’ll prepare something for you to eat.”
Uregor made up his mind to treat Yi-han better from now on. He worried that Yi-han would later return as the Empire’s greatest swordsman to assassinate him.
The vegetables in Uregor’s hut were all fresh and large, having been grown in an environment rich in nature.
The professor washed the potatoes, carrots, and onions in flowing water before peeling them and chopping them up into big pieces.
He then prepared a pot and threw in a stick of butter, stir-frying it along with some onions and garlic.
“Bring some of the meat that’s being hung outside.”
“But those belong to me and Yonaire.”
“…Am I cooking for myself?”
Yi-han decided to apologize to Yonaire later on and brought the smoke-dried meat that was outside.
Uregor tossed the meat inside the pot, stir-frying it alongside the other ingredients. Then, he poured enough wine inside to add flavor to the dish. Following that, he added potatoes, carrots, onions, and some others.
“I’m making a stew that’s passed down within the family. You won’t need any side dishes. A warm loaf of bread is all you need with this.”
He said this with confidence while adding in a bit of salt.
And the stew was indeed delicious. Yi-han had not been able to drink any warm soup for the past few days, so the dwarven stew really warmed him up.
For a while, there was only the sound of him eating the stew with his spoon, making sure there was nothing left in his wooden bowl.
‘Ah, this is bliss.’
As a hardened graduate student, his reply was almost immediate.
Though he didn’t say it out loud, Uregor looked extremely happy and proud.
“Professor, before I entered the academy, did you have to take care of everything in the hut?”
“What about the students before us?”
“Hmph. They were all lazy and tactless. They all fled before long.”
For a split second, Yi-han wondered if he’d been had, but the milk had already been spilt.
“It must have been…tough.”
“Tough? This is nothing if you wish to become an alchemist!”
In reality, cleaning the hut, clearing the stove, checking the ingredients, tending the farm, laying fish traps in the river, and installing traps on certain paths weren’t exactly “nothing”.
‘Now that I think about it, it’s strange. Why don’t I find it tiring?’
Yi-han sighed at his lack of awareness regarding the amount of labor he was doing. He had worked under professors for such a long time that he was now numb to it.
“There’s a lot of space left on the farm. May I grow some crops as well?”
Uregor was genuinely impressed. Unbeknownst to Yi-han, the professor was praising him inside.
‘He’s really born to be an alchemist.’
Not only did he not shy away from all the chores, but he was also actively seeking even more work.
He was truly talented in that sense.
“Of course, you may. What do you plan on growing?”
“Oh, just some cabbages and green onions.”
“Not a bad selection.”
Uregor stopped himself just as he was about to nod.
“…You’re not planning on doing business with them, are you?”
“H-how’d you know? Did the students before me try it already?”
‘You’re definitely the first of its kind, brat!’