Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 25
‘No way. You’ve got to be kidding.’
Yi-han shut his eyes, but the reality was cruel.
You’ve taken the bait! And on the first week too! Hahaha! Hahahahaha!
“…What’s going on??”
Nilia’s voice was trembling, and she was still trying to make sense of the situation.
“It seems we’ve fallen under the principal’s trap,” replied Yi-han in a calm manner.
How Jijel discovered the escape path still eluded him, but it was clear she had been dancing on the palms of the principal.
The problem here was that Yi-han and his party had followed after her, and they were at risk of being exposed as well!
Since you guys are here on your first week, someone must have found one of the fake maps I’ve scattered around the Empire! Let this be a lesson: do not trust a map that’s from an unknown source! You might think it’s a treasure map, but it could be a trap laid down by a sinister lich!
‘Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with him?’ Yi-han wondered.
Principal Skelly had just admitted to making fake maps and hiding them in various places. And he had done this without the knowledge of when or whether they would be discovered by freshmen entering the academy…
‘He’s clearly doing this for entertainment.’
The principal might be saying it’s all part of student’s education, but Yi-han knew about professors like this, and they loved to do things just for fun.
Students of the White Tigers, listen well! Your escape ends here. It’s now time for you to return. The rules are simple. I won’t chase you myself. Instead, I’ll be sending my minions to pursue you. Return to your dorm without getting caught! Guilty if caught, innocent if not! Use whatever is at your disposal. You may take down my minions as well!
With that, a giant skull emitting a green light appeared in the dark sky, and undeads began pouring out of its mouth.
Hounds and pursuers made of bones fell one-by-one onto the mountain they were on.
Lights flashed at various locations as the skeletons brought out torches to begin the pursuit.
Nilia whispered in a panic, her eyes shaking in terror.
“Calm down, Nilia.”
“How am I supposed to calm down in this situation!? We’re dead if we’re caught!!”
“No, we’re not.”
Yi-han had already talked to the principal several times, and he was used to dealing with crazy professors. However, Nilia, who didn’t have such experience, found Principal Skelly terrifying.
From Yi-han’s perspective, the principal seemed to be toying with the students, but Nilia thought otherwise. She believed he was enraged at the freshmen for committing such a horrendous offence.
“Even if we’re caught, we’ll at most be sent to the punishment room.”
“P-punishment room? And we’ll be tortured for all eternity…never to see the light of day again…”
“I never said that.”
Nilia’s pessimistic imagination was running wild, so much so that Yi-han had to cover her mouth before looking around at their surrounding.
‘Are they skeletons?’
He heard the sound of bones rattling as their pursuers moved forth while rummaging through the bushes.
– Bark! Bark!
He could also hear the bone hounds growling.
“Run!! If any of them catch up to you, take them down!”
“For honor! Don’t forget your code of chivalry!”
The students of the White Tigers shouted as they pulled out their wooden swords, deciding to fight them out if they had to.
‘How does this have anything to do with honor or your code of chivalry?’
They had been caught while trying to sneak out of the academy. It didn’t seem remotely connected to honor or anything of that sort…
“There’s only one thing we can do in this situation,” Dolgyu said in a low voice.
This wasn’t the time to be arguing over which tower they belonged to. They had to work together in order to take down their enemies!
“You’re right, Dolgyu.”
“Okay, then I’ll head out first and-”
“We should flee while they’re drawing the attention.”
Dolgyu stared at Yi-han with his mouth agape. However, Nilia, Yonaire, and Gainando immediately agreed to the plan.
Dolgyu was about to open his mouth, but decided not to at the last second. After all, Yi-han was the leader of their group.
‘We should attempt to break through by targeting the place where the encirclement is the thinnest.’
Yi-han kept on observing. He wanted to make a run for it immediately, but he endured the urge to do so.
It was always best to wait and watch rather than lash out in a panic.
He looked around for the weakest link in the encirclement. Fortunately, the students of the White Tigers were attracting all the attention by running around and screaming, giving him plenty of time to do so. He wasn’t about to let this chance go.
‘But isn’t this going too far?’
He had been silently watching in the bushes, but he was soon dismayed to find out that the undeads were pouring out endlessly from the skull floating in the night sky. They were coming in droves, determined to overwhelm the offenders through their strength in numbers.
‘It seems I’ve underestimated the craziness of the principal…!!’
Yi-han inwardly groaned.
The principal was more deranged than he had expected. Since he claimed that those that escape would be deemed innocent, Yi-han thought the principal would at least give them a chance. As it turned out, he had created a total blockade.
‘No, maybe he thinks he’s going easy already. The brains of professors are wired differently after all.”
Maybe the principal thought the students would only grow if they can break through an encirclement of this calibre.
The issue here was that Yi-han had to break through this encirclement as well.
‘Uhh…even with the White Tigers drawing most of the attention, I don’t think this is possible. Should we just surrender?’
All the paths leading downward were being guarded by skeletons with torches, lighting up the night.
And more of them were coming down.
And even more of them…
With their number steadily climbing, the foot of the mountain became so bright it was like morning.
‘Wait a second.’
Yi-han noticed something strange.
The skeletons and bone hounds weren’t paying attention to their group at all.
‘Isn’t that weird?’
Granted, they were hiding in the bushes, and most of the attention was being drawn to the students of the White Tigers screaming as they ran down the mountain. However, if Yi-han and his friends had been discovered, there should have been a hound or two sniffing around them, trying to pinpoint their exact location.
Yet their bony pursuers were only chasing after the members of the White Tigers, ignoring them completely as they headed down.
‘Is the principal unaware that we’re here?’
He had naturally assumed the principal would know where they were hiding. After all, he was a mage completely beyond their realm of understanding.
But what if the principal wasn’t here in person?
‘I won’t chase you myself. Instead, I’ll be sending my minions to pursue you. Return to your dorm without getting caught!’
Now that he thought calmly about it, there was no guarantee that the giant skull here was the real principal. He could’ve just sent a clone or an image of himself from afar.
‘Which means we just have to avoid the eyes of our pursuers!’
Rather than fleeing while being chased, it was much easier to flee while hiding.
“…Let’s head up.”
“If we head down, there’s no way we won’t be spotted. Just look at how many of them there are. The moment we’re found, they’ll come at us in waves.”
Nilia’s eyelashes trembled upon hearing his reasoning.
“On the other hand, there aren’t any pursuers above us. We have a much better chance of not getting caught if we wait it out at the top or take a detour.”
“Okay, let’s go with that!”
He had been the one to suggest it, but he found it strange how quickly Nilia accepted his suggestion.
“I was the one who brought it up…but are you sure you’re fine with that decision? We don’t know what’s waiting above us.”
“Anything’s better than being caught and tortured in the punishment room!”
“…As I said, I think you’re misunderstanding something.”
They carefully climbed up for around 30 minutes.
“There’s a cave up ahead. Let’s go in there,” Nilia said in a whisper.
“Are there any monsters inside?”
“None. It’s a small cave, and I don’t feel any presence inside. I’ve thrown in a rock just now to confirm.”
Nilia pointed at her ears while saying so.
“We’ve been moving for quite a while now. I can continue, but the others are going to need some rest.”
“I guess you’re right.”
Nilia, Yi-han, and Dolgyu were fine, but Yonaire seemed rather tired, whereas Gainando was on a brink of death.
They had been walking in the darkness, and they had to flee in the middle while avoiding their pursuers, so they were both mentally and physically spent.
Yi-han used magic after entering the cave, illuminating it with a ball of light that shone brilliantly like the sun.
Yonaire used her coat and covered the cave’s entrance, making sure that the light won’t escape.
“You think they’ll chase us all the way up here?”
“Don’t worry. I’ve been paying attention while coming up, and I haven’t heard any rattling coming from the pursuers. They must all be gathered at the bottom of the mountain.”
Yonaire felt reassured after hearing what Nilia said.
Fortunately, Yi-han had been right on the mark. The principal’s summons had not noticed their group, so they didn’t follow them up the mountain either.
“So the question becomes how long his summons will remain.”
“Maybe we should’ve brute-forced our way through after all…”
Yi-han, however, disagreed with Dolgyu’s words.
“No, it would’ve been impossible to do so.”
“How do you know?”
“Considering his personality, the principal wouldn’t have left such an obvious loophole.”
Though the others wondered how he’d know that, they decided to remain quiet and respect his words.
“Regardless of whether we end up waiting until they disappear or taking a detour, we should rest for the time being. Let’s fill our stomachs first.”
Yi-han distributed the sausages, bread, and cheese that he brought with him.
Gainando popped a dwarven honey candy into his mouth and savored its taste. He hadn’t had anything sweet for the past few days, so his body reacted violently to the candy.
“Oh, no. We’re out of water…”
Nilia took out an empty water flask as she said so. They had walked for a long time and had drunk all its content.
“It’s okay. We have magic.”
Yi-han waved his staff with a shout, producing a puddle of water midair.
Nilia hurriedly filled her leather flask with water.
“Way to go, Yi-han!” Dolgyu exclaimed.
As he was from a knight’s family, he was slower than the students of other towers when it came to learning magic, so Yi-han’s magic almost seemed like a miracle to him.
Gainando and Yonaire also clapped their hands in glee.
“I was starting to feel thirsty!”
“Thanks for the drink, Yi-han.”
After filling up her flask, Nilia closed its cap.
“I want to learn water magic as well,” she said enviously.
“I’m sure you’ll be able to do it soon once you become more familiar with magic,” Yi-han replied in comfort.
It wasn’t that difficult a spell to begin with, and it was something anyone could do once they got the hang of it.
“I sure hope so.”
After saying that, Nilia waved her staff and began to chant.
A small fire appeared and landed on the kindling wood that she had prepared.
The sound of wood burning was soon accompanied by the warmth that came from the fire.
Everyone’s hands and feet were freezing after wandering around in the cold night, so they collectively let out a sigh of relief upon feeling the warmth.
“Phew. I’m glad it worked the first time. I learned it last time, but it wasn’t the most perfect, so I was nervous.”
She seemed to have quite a high affinity with fire as she was able to succeed in one attempt.
“I’m jealous of you. I wanted to learn water spells rather than fire ones,” she said as she looked over at Yi-han.
Yi-han was staring intently at her, making her feel uneasy.
Did she say something offensive?