Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 34
“Can’t be having Uregor’s disciple riding a regular horse, now, can we?”
Yi-han had to make a conscious effort to maintain his expression. Though he didn’t want to receive special treatment, he couldn’t let the professor know of his dissatisfaction.
At times, an angry professor would show you hell which even a demon couldn’t.
Bungaegor took a few steps before stopping before one of the horses.
It was a beautiful white horse that was neither too big nor too small, with a great physique and lean muscles.
The horse stared intently at Yi-han before blinking its eyes. There wasn’t any trace of violence like the other horses.
If Yi-han had been a few years younger, he might’ve mistakenly believed that the professor had gifted him a nice horse.
However, he was someone that had gone to hell and back. He wasn’t so naive as to get tricked that easily.
‘Could it be a devil in disguise?’
There had to be something more to this white horse!
“This horse’s a steal, I tell you. Although it’s hard to please and has the roughest personality out of all the horses in this stable, as long as you manage to tame it, you’ll be able to handle other monsters with ease,” said Bungaegor in a good mood. “Granted, it might be a bit too difficult for a first-year student.”
“In that case-”
“But since you were able to deal with the Thunder Bird in such a stellar fashion, I’m sure you’ll be just fine! I trust you, Wardanaz!”
The difficulty had gone up because of his excellent performance!
‘This is unreasonable…’
While Yi-han and Bungaegor were exchanging dialogue, the other students approached the horses and struck up a conversation, not willing to give up.
“Who’s a good boy? Who’s a… Ahh! It’s biting me!”
“Stop spitting, will ya!? Stop spitting!”
“Why’s it headbutting me!?”
But things weren’t going smoothly for them.
Witnessing the mayhem, Nilia carefully suggested a different method.
“How about getting to know them first?”
“That’s what we’re trying to do!”
“We shouldn’t try to touch them from the get-go. Instead, we can brush them in the morning, clean their stables, and feed them…”
Nilia believed there was nothing wrong with what she said.
When she was part of the <Shadow Patrol>, such things were commonplace, especially when they had to tame wild animals.
Without showing diligence and sincerity, it was impossible to have the other party open up to them.
“What? But that’s such a drag…”
“You mean we have to wake up early and visit the stables every morning?”
However, the other students weren’t too keen on the idea.
Not to mention the other towers, even within the Black Tortoise, most of the students came from wealthy households.
Looking after horses was a job for the slaves and servants. Why would they do it themselves?
‘Is there something wrong with their heads!? We’re in the academy right now!’
Nilia barely managed to stop herself from shouting that out loud. Even if she was right, she’d be treated as an odd one out. It was better to just remain silent and suffer alone.
‘I’m doing it even if the others don’t. Once they see how close I’ve gotten to one of the horses, they’ll surely reconsider.’
Her ears were drooping down, and she felt like sulking.
Just then, Yi-han and Yonaire approached her.
“Nilia, have you selected a horse that you like?”
“We’re planning on visiting them every morning. Wanna join us?”
With tears in the corners of her eyes, she hugged the two. Though they belonged to a different tower, they were her true friends.
Unsurprisingly, Yi-han and Yonaire were baffled by the sudden hug.
‘What’s wrong with her?’
After the class ended, Yi-han visited Uregor’s hut with Bungaegor. More precisely, he was dragged along as he couldn’t refuse the professor’s order.
“Oh, you’re here…wait.”
Professor Uregor became pale upon seeing his elder, his eyes becoming wide open and shaking uncontrollably. Yi-han caught the transformation in 4K.
“…Why’re you here?”
“Do I need a reason to visit my nephew? Move aside. Goodness, gracious! Look at you, you’re rotting away in this tiny hut of yours. And it’s not even clean! All this dust!”
“I-It’s not that bad,” Uregor protested weakly.
He was telling the truth. The hut had become much tidier thanks to Yi-han’s regular visits.
“You call this ‘not that bad’!? You haven’t cleaned this place at all! Also, it’s fine to immerse yourself in alchemy, but isn’t it about time you marry and start a family? You’re still a bachelor at this age! Your elders are becoming worried…”
Uregor looked over at Yi-han, pleading for help. Seeing how desperate he was, Yi-han lent him a helping hand.
“Um, professor? Should I prepare a meal?”
“Oh, right. We can’t have our disciple starve to death. Make yourself at home. Uregor, since you’re terrible at cooking, I’ll be borrowing your kitchen. I’ll prepare a delicious meal, eastern-style.”
“But I’m not fond of eastern cuisine…”
“You said something?”
Uregor quickly shut his mouth and stopped grumbling. He turned toward Yi-han, speaking to him with anguish in his eyes.
“How were you these past few days?”
He was clearly trying to change the topic of their conversation.
Yi-han took a second to consider what he should say.
‘Should I tell them about how I joined the Order of Presinga?’
“Hold on, that staff…”
Uregor finally noticed Yi-han’s new staff.
“Where’d you get that from?”
Yi-han fell silent for a brief moment before answering with yet another question.
“Promise to keep it a secret?”
This was an unexpected turn of events for Uregor. He brought up the staff just to change the subject of their conversation.
But from Yi-han’s behavior, he deduced there was something more to the staff than he initially thought…
“Boy, our family has a tight lip.”
Bungaegor had been cutting ingredients and cooking, but she soon joined them after washing her hands.
“Whatever secret you share on a dinner table, it’ll remain a secret. By the way, aren’t there any other ingredients besides bread and meat?”
“Aunt, I don’t need you telling me what to eat…!”
“That’s why you’re not as healthy as before! For us dwarves, the eastern diet is the best. Instead of wheat, you should be having rice. Just you wait, I’ll make a delicious jjigae.”
Sadness returned to Uregor. The dwarven professor once again changed the topic by speaking to Yi-han.
“So, the staff. Where’d you get it? I can feel a certain life force coming from it…”
Yi-han briefly summarized the events of that night, trimming a few details here and there.
“I was having a late night walk in the mountains when I stumbled across a talking oak tree…”
“…You were having a late night walk deep in the mountains???”
“Yup. Nothing beats a walk in a dark and silent mountain.”
Uregor and Bungaegor stared at Yi-han in disbelief. However, Yi-han didn’t budge one bit.
‘So he tried to escape.’
There was no other reason for a first-year student to enter the mountains in the dead of the night during the weekend.
“Wait, did you just mention a talking oak tree? Did you perhaps solve its riddle?”
“I did. How’d you know?”
“It’s famous around here… so that staff must be from the oak tree.”
Uregor nodded as he looked at the staff in interest.
The talking oak trees were a bothersome bunch, having rather strict personalities, but their vision and wisdom weren’t something to be looked down upon.
The staff in Yi-han’s hands was overflowing with life force, presumably from the tree spirit. It was certainly not an ordinary staff.
“What effects does it have?” Yi-han asked expectantly.
He was human too, and he couldn’t help but grow curious. After all, the talking oak tree had spoken like the staff was a big deal…
“It’s great for farming,” said Bungaegor.
She brought the steaming hot pork kimchi jjigae and placed it on the wooden table.
The jjigae contained several seasonings, a generous quantity of pork, and ripe kimchi that had been stir-fried. The familiar aroma that came from the jjigae made Yi-han’s heart race.
As a former Korean, eastern dishes which bore a close resemblance to Korean food were right down his alley.
In comparison, Uregor’s expression was grim.
The jjigae was flaming red and contained green onions and red peppers. One glance was all he needed to know that it would be spicy.
‘What is she thinking, cooking something so spicy for my disciple…’
“Thanks for the meal!”
Yi-han scooped up a large serving of rice and put it in his bowl of jjigae, eating it heartily afterwards.
This came as a great shock to Uregor.
He’s got no problem with it!?
‘Isn’t it spicy? Does he enjoy spicy food?’
“Bravo. As expected of Uregor’s disciple. You even know how to eat jjigae properly.”
Bungaegor was satisfied by the sight of Yi-han howling down the food.
With the Empire being so huge, there were quite a lot of people that didn’t know how to eat dishes that came from other regions.
Compared to them, Yi-han was much more pleasant to the eyes.
Any elderly dwarf would applaud seeing how he chowed down the meal!
“Why can’t you be like him, huh? Now eat!”
Uregor, on the other hand, was a slow eater.
While the human-dwarf duo ate their meals, Bungaegor continued with what she was saying previously.
“Since there’s a tree spirit dwelling inside that staff, it’s very useful for growing crops. One might even say the staff is alive! It’s an extremely rare item, and precious too.”
“Um…are there any other effects?”
“No idea. What I just said is only the most common effect that such staffs have.”
Of course, there was nothing bad about growing crops, but it was far from what he had been expecting.
‘So it’s for agricultural use…?’
He didn’t expect to become invincible or learn magic in his sleep, but something that helped him control his mana would’ve been nice…
“Hey, nice timing. You plan on starting your own vegetable garden, right?”
“A vegetable garden?”
Bungaegor grew curious about Uregor and Yi-han’s conversation.
“I thought you were from the Wardanaz Family?”
“He’s a bit special.”
“I can see. So, what do you plan on doing with it?”
“This and that. Anything edible, really.”
“He’s interested in eastern cuisine, so he’s planning on growing cabbages and green onions.”
“Is that so?”
Bungaegor was happy to hear this. She began looking forward to how it would work out.
“I can help you if you wish.”
“Yeah, I’ve some experience with gardening.”
Yi-han and Bungaegor walked out of the hut together.
Behind the hut, a separate space had been prepared for Yi-han to start his garden. He had ploughed the soil regularly, so it was in good condition, and he could plant the seeds whenever he wanted.
“You should start with crops that take some time to grow. Potatoes and sweet potatoes would be nice.”
Bungaegor was aware of the predicaments new students had to face when they first entered the academy. Potatoes and sweet potatoes were great ways to satiate their hunger.
“They’ll take at least two months to grow, but you won’t regret it.”
“You’re right, professor.”
Yi-han agreed with Bungaegor’s opinion and started planting the seeds starting from one corner of his garden.
‘Is he really a Wardanaz?’
Bungaegor was slightly taken aback seeing him get to work.
Anyone with some experience working in the field would be equally amazed. After all, Yi-han went about in the fields like a seasoned farmer, working tirelessly.
…Is he really from the Wardanaz Family? Like, really?
Uregor, who stepped out of his hut sometime later, noticed something peculiar.
“Did you plant these during the weekend?”
“No? I planted them just now.”
Uregor cocked his head in confusion.
Then how come they’ve already sprouted?