Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 22
Uregor let out a dry chuckle before nodding his head. It wasn’t his position to judge what Yi-han did with the vegetables he grew.
“As far as I know, you’re the first to come up with such an ingenious idea. Creative… creative indeed.”
“Oh, is that so? Thank you. I hope the business does well.”
“I wasn’t praising you. Ever heard of sarcasm?”
Though he was grumbling, knowing how to manage one’s wealth was important for an alchemist. The ingredients and reagents that they required were all bloody expensive, and alchemists had to earn enough money to purchase them.
‘Seeing as how he’s so thrifty, he’ll probably never have trouble in regards to his finances.’
“Cabbages and green onions…Hm, they’ll go well in a jjigae.”
The professor’s words caught Yi-han’s attention.
With how vast the Empire was, its cuisine wasn’t limited to Western food, and each region had its own delicacies.
The Wardanaz Family was located in the western part of the Empire, and the people there usually ate bread and cheese that westerners on Earth enjoyed.
Personally, Yi-han was more familiar with eastern cuisine, which consisted of food such as rice, noodles, miso, and red chilli paste.
“Professor, do you like jjigaes?”
“I do, but I avoid eating them.”
“Because it’s food from the east, and I don’t like eastern dwarves.”
Uregor said this with a frown, as if he remembered something unpleasant.
“Had a bad experience with them?”
“See, some of my older relatives live in the east, and they keep nagging me whenever I visit them…Sometimes, they tell me to sell regen potions because they’re expensive. At other times they ask why I’m so poor, or why I don’t visit them often. They even called me impertinent once for using a long pipe at such a young age…”
His complaints were much more detailed than Yi-han had expected, leaving him speechless.
He’d been told that people in the east value rules and tradition even more than people in the west, but he didn’t think it’d be this bad.
“But enough about me. There’s nothing wrong with the food, and it’s not like I dislike them. I’ll eat with you when you make jjigae next time.”
Yi-han had never invited him to eat with him, but he knew better than to say that out loud while the professor was in a grouchy mood.
“It’d be my honor to serve you, sir.”
Hearing this, Uregor nodded.
‘Wait. The Wardanaz Family’s located in the west. Does he know how to properly cook eastern food?’
He felt slightly uneasy. Though Yi-han was great at housework, nobles that knew how to cook were few and far between. From the way he cooked steak last time, it was clear he had the basics down, but eastern dishes were rather tricky to make.
“…I take back what I said. It wouldn’t be right of me to eat something that a student grew.”
“Hm? But professor, the pork you used to make the stew was something my friends and I-”
“If you put it that way, I was the one who released the boars in the mountain!”
Uregor finally exploded.
After finishing their meal and cleaning up, Yi-han got ready to return.
“Right, what are your plans for the weekend?”
“Do I have to come here and work?”
“…I’m not that evil. Do I look like the kind of person that would call students here on weekends?” Uregor asked, feeling wronged.
Yi-han was surprised to hear this.
‘Huh? You mean they don’t usually call students out on weekends? But why? Isn’t that a passive skill that all professors have?’
“You’ve worked hard this week, so you don’t have to come over again. I won’t stop you though if you wish to start your farm immediately…Having said that, you’ll probably be busy,” The professor said while giving him a meaningful look.
Yi-han became worried when he saw this.
‘What’s this about?’
“Is there some event coming up?”
“Event my ass. Just think for a moment. The students have been starving this whole week. What do you think they’ll do on weekends?”
“Set fire to the academy?”
“…You’re being too extreme. They’ll look for ways to appease their appetite.”
The students who were at their wits’ end would try to fetch food themselves…or at least that was what the lich principal envisioned.
Usually, the freshmen would start to think to themselves during weekends as they would have time left over.
– Why’s the academy being so cruel to us? Is it because the principal’s an undead?
– I don’t want to keep starving! I should find something to eat!
– Comrades! Let us join hands to achieve our goals!
“I do vaguely recall hearing about the students of the Black Tortoise looking for fruits and nuts in the forest behind the academy’s main building.”
Uregor didn’t seem surprised to hear this.
How students behaved typically had to do with which tower they belonged to. For example, students of the Black Tortoise were originally commoners, merchants, or slaves, so they didn’t care about how others viewed them and would act quickly whenever a problem arose. Hence, there was nothing strange with them scavenging for food in the forests and mountains.
“Since you’ve set a precedent, I’m sure others would also try to hunt for prey as well. Normally, not many people think of hunting on their first week.”
“It’s all thanks to the professor’s teachings.”
Uregor was about to grin after hearing Yi-han’s flattering words, but he felt something was amiss.
‘Is he holding a grudge against me for releasing the boars?’
“How do the students of the Blue Dragons normally fare?”
“They’re usually the slowest to act. It’s as if their butt is glued to their chairs.”
Yi-han couldn’t help but agree with that statement. He could already see that very few people from his tower would venture out into the woods for food this weekend.
“But there are always several bright minds that come up with brilliant ideas after weeks of starvation.”
Uregor stared at Yi-han as he said this.
For some reason, he felt like the Blue Dragons this year wouldn’t be the same as before. To start off, this Wardanaz Family’s offspring had a unique mindset about the things around him…
‘What an interesting chap.’
“Most venerable professor, may I ask about the other towers as well?”
“I suppose there’s no harm in telling you. If we’re to speak about the Immortal Phoenix…as you already know, they’re a different breed. They aren’t the type of people that falter because of hunger.”
The Tower of the Immortal Phoenix was composed of priests and priestesses sent by the Empire’s various religions. They were used to living frugal lives back in their temples, so they usually adapted well to the academy.
While students of other towers searched for food, those of the Immortal Phoenix sometimes opted to endure and pray. Such was the power of faith.
‘Amazing. How can they bear eating that kind of food every day?’
But Yi-han soon realized something. He had also led a similar life during his time as a graduate student.
‘Hmm. People are surprisingly more durable than I thought.’
“By the way. Wardanaz, do you plan on hunting during the weekend?”
There wasn’t any reason for him to lie.
“Then be wary of the White Tigers. They’re used to going out on hunts as well. They normally refrain from doing so on their first week, but I’m sure they’ve heard of a certain someone’s achievement in this field.”
“It’s all thanks to you, professor.”
“…I’m glad you know. Anyway, we always get a lot of troublemakers from the White Tigers. Being descendants of knights, many of them are hot-blooded.”
“Understood. I’ll make sure to plan well and gang up on them if a conflict arises.”
‘That’s not what I’m trying to say…!’
Uregor was about to say that out loud, but decided otherwise in the last second, believing that Wardanaz would handle whatever was thrown his way in an appropriate manner.
“Who knows, you might not meet them at all. The forest is huge after all. Not to mention, the brats over at the White Tigers might choose not to hunt, instead…what am I saying. You guys are still on your first week.”
“What might they do instead?”
Uregor wished he hadn’t let his tongue slip. He could already see Yi-han trying it out himself.
There were tall walls surrounding the academy’s premises, and there were protective spells cast on them. However, there were always a few people that tried to escape.
Taking into account the towns near the academy and the things they could acquire from there, escaping didn’t sound like a terrible idea.
‘A new coat, a new shirt, a new belt, a new pants, a new set of boots, bread and butter, cheese and jam, an assortment of dried food, needles and strings, paper and quill, soap and perfume…Damn it. There are so many things I can get that I can’t wrap my head around them!’
The gears in Yi-han’s head began to turn the moment he heard the word “escape”.
He would be able to live like a king inside the dorm if he succeeded.
“This is exactly why I didn’t want to tell you about it!”
Uregor knew what he was thinking the moment he saw Yi-han’s face.
“What do you mean, sir?”
“Don’t pretend like you don’t know. You’re making a list of all the things you’d purchase if you manage to slip out!”
“Did you cast a spell on me?”
“As if! Don’t even think about it. The White Tigers are always the first to attempt it because they’re as dumb as a brick!”
“Did anyone succeed?”
“…Some have succeeded, but!”
“You’re going to regret it!”
Uregor was about to lecture him but stopped midway. Quite frankly, he wasn’t obligated to stop Yi-han, and as previously mentioned, what was youth without a sprinkle of foolishness?
“You know what, do whatever you want.”
“What do you mean, professor? I wasn’t planning on doing anything.”
“Yeah, and I bet pigs can fly.”
Three people were interrogating an orc with menacing expressions on their faces inside a dimly lit room where the only source of light was a single candle.
“Choi, do you understand the situation you’re in? Huh? You better cooperate with us if you wish to leave here alive!”
“…Yi-han, I plan on answering your questions regardless, but what’s up with this prince?”
Dolgyu stared at Gainando, confused. Though the prince was threatening him, he didn’t feel scared at all. Instead, he found the situation laughable, as it would only take him a single punch to knock the prince down.
He had followed the three to the room after being jumped on, only to see this farce.
“Hmm, I guess the effects aren’t that great.”
Yi-han opened the curtains, allowing sunlight to enter the room, and Yonaire blew out the candle.
Gainando looked back and forth between Yi-han and Dolgyu, trying to understand what was going on.
“You guys know each other!? I thought we’re supposed to interrogate him!?”
“Yeah, we’re acquainted.”
“Then what was the point of that!?”
“If we didn’t drag him here like this, the folks over at the White Tigers might have suspected our relationship.”
Dolgyu was taken aback when he heard this.
Yi-han was right. It might have caused a needless misunderstanding.
“Thanks, Yi-han. They would’ve indeed found it suspicious if you approached me in a friendly manner.”
“Oh, don’t mention it. You’re our spy after all.”
“…Wait. What do you mean I’m your spy?”
Dolgyu protested his new title as it sounded rather dishonorable.
Yi-han, on the other hand, found this amusing.
“You promised to inform me ahead of time if Moradi tried to lure me into a trap.”
“That I did.”
“Wouldn’t that make you a spy?”
“…There should be a better way to phrase it!”
Dolgyu was from a knight’s family, and he was doing this out of pride and honor, yet he was being labelled as a spy.
“I think spy fits perfectly in this situation.”
Gainando, who had been listening to their conversation, chipped in. However, he quickly backed out when Dolgyu glared at him.