Surviving as a Mage in a Magic Academy - Chapter 54
“So what you’re saying is that this bone is a gift from Professor Mortem?”
“Sir Wardanaz, I’m not too familiar with magic, but among thieves, there’s a saying that warns us against getting close to a black mage.”
His two friends pointed out the cold truth.
The skeletal summon was indeed a bit eerie as a gift.
Why would the professor give him something like this…
Even Yi-han couldn’t defend him this time.
“I’m sure it has its use.”
“With all due respect, sir, it might. However, it’s still uncanny to look at.”
Though Ratford was loyal to his superiors, he wasn’t too sure about this either.
Yonaire, who caught on to Yi-han’s ambivalent feeling towards the skeletal summon, rushed to think of some advantages that the summon might have over other creatures.
“Having said that, you won’t have to feed it anything, and it seems loyal to you as well. It can help you in various things…”
Yonaire chose not to answer Ratford’s question.
“…and I guess it looks quite cute?”
“Thanks, Yonaire. But listening to you two has cleared up my mind. This is weird.”
Yi-han had tried to think of ways in which he could make use of this gift but to no avail.
He could no longer shield the professor’s actions. This was absolutely a weird gift.
“Why would he give me a skeletal summon?”
“Dunno…more importantly, why would he give you a partial summon?”
“Maybe he wants Sir Wardanaz to look for the other parts that are scattered throughout the academy?”
Yonaire laughed at Ratford’s suggestion, not believing it in the slightest.
“As if something like that… Wait, you can’t be serious, right?”
Yi-han didn’t find this funny at all, finding Ratford’s explanation rather plausible.
‘Maybe that really was his goal.’
Otherwise, a random piece of hand bone that he received from a student of the Black Tortoise wouldn’t stick so perfectly to the bone that he got from the professor.
Someone with common sense would ask “Who in their right mind would enjoy collecting bones?”
But as the academy had shown time and time again, there was no such thing as a professor with common sense.
Professor Mortem probably thought they would have a blast going out on treasure hunts.
‘Just thinking about it is giving me the creeps.’
More so than the summon itself, he was terrified by the professor’s twisted view of the world.
As a normal person, he couldn’t keep up with what the professor was thinking!
“Wardanaz! How was your visit to the black market? …Wait, what’s up with that bone!?”
Asan, who joined them a while later, was bewildered when he saw the summon moving around Yi-han.
What the heck is going on?
Quite a few students had gathered before Professor Ingurdel.
In fact, there were students from all four towers as everyone that took the alchemy class had to gather materials for the assignment.
This was a chance for them to enter the mountain range with a professor. If they missed it, it would be difficult for them to gather the materials that they needed.
Professor Ingurdel slowly opened his mouth when everyone had gathered.
“Prioritize safety first and foremost. Nothing is as important as your life. I want members of each tower to gather around and confirm who’s here. Once you’ve entered the mountains, perform regular checks and report if anyone goes missing.”
Professor Ingurdel had a knack for instilling fear in the students. Some students had already become pale from the nervousness.
‘Better nervous than dead.’
If they entered the mountains thinking it was a picnic, they might be met with tragedy. It was better to keep them on their toes.
Those from the Blue Dragons all knew each other.
This included Yi-han, Yonaire, Asan, and the princess.
“Hey, Wardanaz. I heard the dish you made for the Black Tortoise was out of this world,” said Asan.
“You’re exaggerating. It was just regular stew.”
Yi-han thought the Black Tortoise was embellishing the story.
Anything would taste amazing when consumed in a state of hunger.
The stew that he made for them was nothing out of the ordinary. He had made it on the spot by throwing in some vegetables, oil, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce.
“No, it actually tasted great.”
“She’s right, sir.”
Yi-han was puzzled.
Ratford aside, he didn’t expect Yonaire to react this way too.
“But it didn’t even have any meat inside. Aren’t the dishes that I serve at the dorm better?”
“No. Maybe it’s because we ate it together outside. The stew tasted way better.”
‘Is there something different about the ingredients?’
The vegetables that they harvested and put in the stew. He could think of no other explanation.
The vegetables in Professor Uregor’s garden had grown at an unusual rate. Yi-han reckoned the professor must’ve poured some special potion to make them grow and taste better.
‘Wait, could he have used an elixir? Maybe I shouldn’t have harvested them without asking.’
For a split second, Yi-han seemed to regret his decision.
However, when it came down to it, the professor never mentioned staying out of the garden, and to begin with, that was his part of the garden.
‘Yup, not my fault.’
If he had known that the stew was so delicious, he would’ve reserved a bowl for himself.
‘I wonder how it tasted…’
“Wait, aren’t you from the White Tigers?”
Asan was addressing an elf with long black hair.
She was the student Yi-han had talked to previously, and what was worth mentioning was that she had sworn her allegiance to the princess despite being from the White Tigers.
“I’ve already sought permission from my dormmates. I’ll be accompanying Her Highness.”
There were a couple of other students that didn’t belong to the Blue Dragons hovering near the princess.
Their loyalty to Adenart was quite impressive.
Yi-han looked around himself.
That was when a student from the Black Tortoise carefully brought up a suggestion.
“I heard you have a beef with the White Tigers, Mr Wardanaz. Shall we gather some men to harass them?”
‘Is that how you guys see me?’
“This place will do. Now students, go gather the materials that you need.”
After trudging through the mountains for several hours, Professor Ingurdel told the group to stop when they came across a flower field.
The students split into small groups and moved in an orderly manner as the elven professor watched on with warm eyes.
The students had realized by now that teamwork was essential if they were to survive in the academy.
‘I’m happy to see that you’re all doing well.’
Each tower had a student or two acting as its leader.
Though the manner in which they led others differed from person to person, there was no doubt that they played a central role in keeping the groups together.
Wardanaz was one such leader, and through his charisma which befitted the progeny of a prestigious household, he was exerting his influence over his tower’s students as well others.
Fortunately, he had a good character despite his cold appearance. If that wasn’t the case, the Blue Dragons would’ve been much rowdier than they were now.
‘Leaders are always born within the tower one way or another, but he’s a cut above the rest.’
The stories that he had heard from the other students had shaped the professor’s impression of Yi-han.
He was glad to know that Yi-han wasn’t the type of person to flaunt his authority over others simply because he came from a lineage of mages.
Chirp, chirp, chirp.
The professor looked up from where he was seated when he heard birds chirping from above.
And just like that, he vanished.
Yi-han was made aware that something was wrong as he was putting turkey tail mushrooms and dwarven hammer mushrooms into his basket.
Several Black Tortoise students had approached him with terror-stricken looks.
“Is there a problem?”
“The professor…he…he vanished!!”
Yi-han was dumbfounded to hear this.
Immediately, several possibilities flashed past his mind.
Did the professor leave after giving them a false sense of security to teach them some sort of a lesson?
‘No. I trust Professor Ingurdel… statistically, it isn’t wise to trust a professor, but if it’s him…’
Yi-han shook his head.
Did enemies like the anti-magic extremists infiltrate the academy and kidnap the professor?
‘That’s even less likely to be the case. After what happened last time, security must have gone up a notch. If people did manage to get in, the lich should resign from his position.’
In that case…
‘Did he get done in by a monster? But the professor’s a sword master that can go head-to-head against Arlong. Can a monster defeat him without causing any commotion? And would such a powerful monster exist in the outskirts of the mountains?’
Truth be told, it wouldn’t be strange for any monster to appear near the academy, but Yi-han trusted the professor’s skill. He wouldn’t go down that easily.
“What should we do? What should we do?”
“Calm down, everyone. The professor might’ve left to fetch something.”
This was highly unlikely, but Yi-han said it to calm the students.
‘We aren’t dealing with a monster, and we aren’t lost either. There’s no need to panic. All we have to do is return from where we came.’
Although they were in the mountains, there were still paths here and there, probably made by the upperclassmen that came before them.
They had climbed a long way, but they could go back by following one of the paths…
Rain suddenly came pouring down, and Yi-han was beginning to think that this was all part of an elaborate scheme.
Yi-han and several other students hid under a cliff to avoid the rain.
Nilia wiped herself while looking upset.
“Finding a path back to the academy would be impossible as things stand. We might get lost along the way and possibly suffer from hypothermia. We might also encounter monsters, which would be a nightmare to fight in the rain.”
The students were in despair when they heard what she said. However, Nilia was quick to console them.
“Don’t worry. We’ve found ourselves a nice hiding spot. We just have to wait for the rain to stop. Then—”
“I say we look for a path back even if it’s dangerous. It’ll be harder to return if it rains harder later.”
“No, as I said—”
“I don’t see the students from the White Tigers and Immortal Phoenix. How are we going to find them in the rain?”
“We should seek help from the professor! Let’s think of ways to contact him.”
Nilia gave up and sulked.
Yi-han waved her over. She scurried over to his side and began collecting branches.
Meanwhile, the students argued over what they should do in this situation.
Some suggested finding a way back, while others advised joining up with the rest, and a few proposed searching for the professor.
Yi-han left them alone as he lit a fire. His skeletal summon scampered here and there, collecting branches to use as firewood.
“I keep telling you that we should look for a way back!!”
“No, we should regroup with the others! Strength in numbers!”
“But what about the professor!?”
The debate had reached a climax, and with no one willing to back down, the students sought a judge.
“What do you say, Wardanaz?”
Yi-han, who had been peacefully lighting the fire, was dragged into the argument.
“Shouldn’t we wait until the rain stops?”
“…Y-you make a valid point.”
“Right. We should probably wait.”
Nilia glared at her friends.
‘That’s what I’ve been saying this whole time…!’