Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 38
‘Isn’t he someone from the Black Tortoise?’
Yi-han carefully observed what the student was doing.
The boy was a demihuman from the rat race. Though he was short and had a slightly hunched back, his footsteps were completely silent.
Yi-han wondered if the boy had received some sort of special training.
Arlong, the elderly knight, had previously told him that the way people walk could give insight into their identities.
Knights, mages, hunters, and thieves all walked differently, and the boy’s movement was like that of thieves.
‘If I’m not wrong, rat demihumans aren’t really welcomed within the Empire.’
All races were said to be equal in the Empire, but the reality was different.
Some races were naturally more popular than others.
Unfortunately, the rat race wasn’t well-liked as many of its members were known to be thieves, vagabonds, pickpockets, and scavengers. Hence, people often had misgivings about the rat race whenever something happened.
‘I shouldn’t jump to conclusions. It’s not like all of them are thieves.’
Yi-han didn’t let prejudice cloud his judgment.
Just because he was from the rat race, it didn’t necessarily mean he had been trained as a thief.
However, that was when the student took out a crudely made key, fiddling with it and trying his best to open the locked door. It didn’t require a genius to know his intentions.
‘Oh well, who am I to criticize him.’
Yi-han was also breaking multiple rules right now trying to secure an escape route, so he wasn’t in a position to criticize anyone.
‘It might be a good idea to cooperate with him.’
Since the student had even prepared a key, it was clearly not his first time coming here.
It went without saying that Yi-han’s group wasn’t the only one trying to escape.
For the time being, Yi-han slowly crept toward the student. He’d be in hot water if the student noticed him and let out a scream, alerting the authorities.
He quietly stepped behind the rat demihuman who was still busy picking the lock. Then, he equipped his staff, pointed it at the student’s neck, and whispered.
“Don’t shout. You’re dead if you do.”
Ratford had been a professional thief and a member of the <White Crows> prior to his admission into the academy.
He had been completely floored when he first received an invitation to Einroguard. He didn’t think the academy would accept thieves, even if they showed a lot of potential.
Fortunately, he didn’t face any discrimination once he was in the Black Tortoise.
Nevertheless, he felt like there was some distance between him and the others. While he was a thief that was active in the streets at night, the others were mostly children of wealthy merchants.
As such, he felt the need to prove himself to others.
Just like the huntress Nilia, he wanted his friends from the same tower to acknowledge his abilities (He, of course, had no idea that there was someone else like him).
– Since the academy is so large, there’s bound to be a kitchen or a storage room somewhere. I’ll rob them blind and get all the food and daily necessities we’ll ever need!
While the others went about their daily lives travelling between classrooms, he had cautiously investigated the keyhole that would give him access to the region behind the central stairways.
Using the tip of his fingers, he had probed the inside of the keyhole and made a makeshift key. This was an impressive feat that an average thief could only hope to achieve, but after pouring in numerous hours of work, he succeeded.
Glory awaited him at the end of the tunnel, but someone ambushed him just as he was about to cross the finish line.
The answer was obvious. It had to be the academy’s security guard.
As a professional thief, he was prepared for such scenarios.
He slowly raised both arms and spoke while cowering in fear.
“P-please don’t hurt me. I surrender.”
The number of beatings a thief received was different depending on whether he violently resisted capture or quietly surrendered.
Since he’d been caught, it was better to remain obedient.
“Hush. I’m here for the same reason as you.”
It was only then that Ratford turned around to look.
A robust-looking boy in a priest’s uniform was keeping an eye out, and the staff in his hand was no longer pointed at Ratford’s neck.
Ratford was stunned.
Because the threat had been so ruthless, he had assumed that the one behind him was a security guard.
He would’ve never imagined that such a bloodthirsty threat came from a fellow freshman.
“Lower your volume.”
“…who are you?”
Even as he asked, Ratford had a rough idea of who he was facing.
The boy before him was tall and well-built, and he had just now wielded his staff like a weapon.
All clues pointed at him being a student from the White Tigers.
‘Don’t know where he got the priest uniform from, but I guess he’s pretty clever.’
By wearing a priest uniform, he could avoid suspicion while going around at night.
Ratford was surprised that a musclehead knight could think so deeply.
“Yi-han Wardarnaz. Blue Dragons.”
Ratford’s jaw dropped.
Soon enough, Ratford recovered. However, he hadn’t exactly come to terms with the reality.
‘Someone from the Wardanaz Family…out at night…and that priest uniform…’
Nevertheless, as they were in an urgent situation, he stopped thinking about it.
He was even more shocked by what Wardanaz said next.
“You’re suggesting that we move together?”
“Two’s always better than one. Having an accomplice would make things easier for you as well, right?”
“…Do you have any idea who I am?” Ratford asked in exasperation.
Yi-han paused for a moment.
“Are you the principal’s son?”
He obviously wasn’t, but the answer rendered him speechless.
Anyone with eyes could see that Ratford was a rat demihuman, and he was fiddling with a fake key in the middle of the night in front of a door.
Common sense would lead to the conclusion that he was a thief.
“I’m a frickin’ thief! Why would a young master like you who’s from the Wardanaz Family want to join someone like me?”
“Dude, why do you think I’m here?”
Ratford wasn’t able to come up with an answer.
…Indeed. Why was he here?
“You sure about this?”
“Yeah? I mean, you were trying to figure out where they store the food, right? I was trying as well.”
After receiving yet another shocking blow, Ratford finally uttered the question that he had dying to ask.
“Are you really from the Wardanaz Family?”
Ratford was beginning to suspect whether Yi-han was telling the truth.
No matter how he looked at it…
“You gonna join me, or should I continue by myself after knocking you out?”
“W-woah, calm down. There’s no need for violence. Alright, let’s move together. As you said, two’s better than one.”
Ratford agreed in a heartbeat when Yi-han menacingly pointed his staff at him.
One thing was for certain: he had no chance of beating Yi-han.
“Good. Now, you have a key, right?”
“Does it work?”
“No, it doesn’t. It seems the lock is protected by magic.”
Ratford anxiously shoved the key into the keyhole again.
Realistically speaking, if it was being protected by magic, there was nothing he could do about it.
It might’ve been a different story if he had his tools, but as things stood…
A key floated out of Yi-han’s pocket and inserted itself into the keyhole. Then, it turned on its own, opening the door.
“W-where’d you get that key?”
“I stole it from the principal’s office.”
“Y-you’re joking, right?”
“No. For real.”
Previously, he had obtained this key when he had to stay behind after class with Asan and learn <Lower Control>.
He had always wondered what the key was for. Apparently, it was for this.
‘…I should be careful.’
Since the key was found in the principal’s office, he couldn’t let his guard down.
He braced himself to be on the lookout for unexpected happenings.
After going through the empty banquet hall, the great hall, and several closed doors…
Ratford suddenly lied down on the ground.
“I hear something. I think there are people beneath us.”
Yi-han finally knew where the workers entered from.
A passage that was aboveground would definitely attract the students’ attention, and they would try to take advantage of this knowledge.
However, if the passage was underground, it would be much more difficult for the students to learn about its existence.
No wonder they never came across any workers…
‘Why go to such lengths?’
“They must be in an underground storage room. There has to be a way for us to head down!”
Ratford sprung into action hearing what Yi-han said, and not long after, they were able to find a stairway leading down.
They had only gone down one flight of stairs, yet the air around them felt different.
In the room upstairs, there was some light coming in through the windows. Here, however, everything was dark and chilly.
Yi-han thought of producing a ball of light, but his instinct stopped him from doing so.
He was more careful than usual as the key that they used had come from the principal’s office.
‘Based on his past actions, I wouldn’t be surprised if the principal laid some traps here.’
When he heard a rustle coming from beside him, he warned Ratford with a hushed voice.
“Don’t light anything.”
“There might be someone waiting ahead of us.”
Ratford was startled by the warning given by Wardanaz.
Indeed, they were currently in an unknown location. Out of nervousness, he had almost lit a fire without thinking.
Without Yi-han stopping him, he would’ve made a massive blunder.
‘…Actually though. Who in the world is he?’
He had heard rumors about this boy from the Wardanaz Family while he was at the Black Tortoise.
– He’s absolutely ruthless. Everyone in the Blue Dragons is already following his orders.
– Apparently, even the prince and princess have to step on eggshells around Wardanaz.
– I was in the same class as him before, and he was able to succeed in a spell that everyone else was failing in. And it only took him one try!
– Can you believe it? He used his magic to suppress a Thunder Bird during the mounting class.
Ratford initially thought the rumors had been exaggerated.
After all, they were all freshmen at the end of the day.
However, now that they had met, he no longer thought the same.
The air around him was no joke!
A light flashed far ahead, and their surroundings became bright.
Yi-han and Ratford immediately held their breaths and lowered their bodies.
They hadn’t been able to see anything due to the dark, but now that there was light, they realized they were in a huge warehouse.
It was packed with countless shelves and tables, with all kinds of things on top of them.
The warehouse keeper had a lamplight with him as he slowly walked about.
The warehouse was as silent as a grave, and they could hear the muttering of the warehouse keeper.
“8 portions of cheese… Confirmed. 5 bottles of maple syrup… Confirmed. 22 white flash papers…Confirmed. 3 silver soul needles… Confirmed.”
‘He has everything memorized!’
“The alarm magic is starting to lose its effect. I should cast it again.”
Yi-han felt waves coming from the warehouse keeper’s direction as the latter cast magic on the items.
A shiver ran down his spine.
Every single item in the warehouse had alarm magic cast on them.
If they had touched the items without knowing this, they would’ve been dragged away to the Punishment Room.
Their hearts sank.
The warehouse keeper had spoken to them while facing their direction.
‘We shouldn’t be visible from that angle!’
Even though his head was a mess, Yi-han forced himself to remain calm.
‘How did he notice? Is he probing us? Should I turn on invisibility?’
The warehouse keeper slowly approached them. When Yi-han saw his face, he was shell-shocked.
There were layers of bandage over the warehouse keeper’s eyes.
He was blind!