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Chapter 53: Preparing for the Breakthrough
You thought the flag would be raised?
Nah! Don’t expect that from me!
And so, here was Elrise who had safely returned to the academy after the Birth Festival.
Except for getting a birthday present from Vernell who had accompanied me, looking around the festival was all I really did.
We just walked around the town and talked about what the city had been like before, which parts had changed, that kind of talk.
As anyone who’s played the game would know, this was a nation without any restaurants, so even if you lingered around, rather than stopping for a warm meal, you could only watch people having snowball fights.
As for why there were no restaurants… While it’s getting better now, there were a lot of people who had died of starvation up until quite recently. There were so many corpses that piling them all up would’ve made a tower so high it would’ve touched the clouds.
The situation was especially bad during winter. In fact, it was so harsh that amongst five kids, two of them would never make it past the coldest season and end up dead.
Parents selling or abandoning their own children to reduce the mouths they had to feed was considered a common thing to happen.
In cases where food cost insurmountable amounts of money and hunger became the new norm, nobody could afford to open a restaurant.
Even if they had enough food to do so, any sane person would rather stockpile it for their own family’s sake.
At least now with the cultivation of potatoes, the number of deaths had reduced but still, no one had enough leftovers to open a restaurant.
Everyone was desperate to make it past winter.
And so, winter vacation ended and the 3rd trimester started. As if that wasn’t enough in and of itself, the Perverted Glasses Bastard who had gotten arrested had ended up escaping from prison and coming back.
In the game, the 3rd trimester was the climax.
The first event was the all year Fighting Tournament I’d talked about before.
This Fighting Tournament was quite important in the game.
At this point Elrise had already been punished and left the stage, and Eterna had been appointed Saint.
Moreover, during this time, the Guard Knights tasked with protecting Eterna were lacking in numbers.
The reason for this was that during Elrise’s generation, Guard Knights were only selected if they were Elrise’s Yes Men, and Guard Knights who had the ability to be proper advisors like Viscount Fox were driven away, so all those left were the ones with prestigious parentage and handsome faces, most of whom had questionable combat skills at best.
(On a side note, I did make sure to choose them based on their ability instead so most of the current members are different.)
Obviously, there was no way Eterna could trust them and so everyone but Leila had been demoted to common knights. This had led to an unusual situation where Leila was the only one who had gotten to keep their position as Guard Knight.
Even though Elrise had already been exiled, Eterna was unable to trust knights that had been chosen by Elrise, so the plan was to appoint the top 4 participants in the tournament as Guard Knights.
On the same note, Vernell had to reach the top 4 at all costs (a failure to do so would result in a “game over”). At this point, your rank would make all the difference concerning Eterna’s favorability towards you and if you managed to rank 1st, you could even replace Leila as Prime Knight, so it was preferred to aim for 1st rank during this event for Eterna’s route.
But that was how things were within the game. This was different.
In this world, the posts for Guard Knights were filled and so there was no lack of them currently.
Which would mean that even if you managed to emerge victorious, you would not be appointed as Guard Knight.
Well, it could still affect any future evaluations though!
Seeing as strong students were still necessary for the Teleport Sealing Operation, however, the tournament was still an important event in finding the needed manpower.
Now that I think about it, we might have to rethink the Teleport Sealing Operation.
The reason this operation was even necessary was because nobody knew the location the Witch would teleport to.
But now, we had the cheating turtle who was capable of observing everything in real time on our side.
Now all I had to do was to protect the end flag, Eterna’s village, let the Witch teleport away on purpose to make her weaker, ask the turtle about her location and, finally, chase her down. There wouldn’t be a problem, I thought, confident in myself.
And so, I went to the pond behind the academy for confirmation for whether my plan would work or not.
“Fumu, I indeed could. If it was me, I could determine the location of the Witch.”
I mentally fist bumped as I heard the turtle’s words.
And just like that, the greatest problem had disappeared.
If we could locate where the Witch teleported to, we wouldn’t have to go so far as to go through with the Mana vacuum operation.
In that case, Vernell’s group wouldn’t have to be exposed to unnecessary danger, and I could end it all by myself.
If I could figure out where she’d run to, it’d be my victory.
Though I could not move as fast as teleport magic, I still had “Festina Lente (Haste Make Waste)”
Even if she ran to the other side of the world, I should be able to chase her down.
On top of that, the Witch teleporting weakened her, so it would reduce the challenge of beating her considerably and I’m not one to scoff at an easier difficulty.
However, the turtle just had to be a killjoy.
“You must know that there is one exception. There is something I can’t observe. Your “barrier”. The moment you deploy the barrier in your room when you go to sleep… I’m unable to observe anything inside of it.”
This exception that made the turtle unable to observe my room… I had already expected something like that.
As expected, it couldn’t see things inside of the barrier I had deployed.
This was great news to me. It meant I could still protect my privacy.
But my happiness at this revelation was not shared by Leila who was listening to us from nearby, as she put on an expression of displeasure for some reason.
“Prophet-sama… but that means you tried to peek into Elrise-sama’s bedroom… is that really the case? Because if so, even if you are Prophet-sama…”
“Wa-, wait, calm down! I am a turtle. And a female one on top of that! There’s no way I’d ever pine after a human female, you know!? Hey, Elrise! Stop her, please!”
The turtle hurriedly defended itself against Leila’s accusations.
Her impatience was based on the premise that the animal could predict the future… Did that mean Stocco was seriously about to hit this turtle?
Stocco, stay. Don’t bully this turtle or it won’t want to cooperate with us anymore, which would be quite troublesome, so stop it.
As I reached out to stop her with my hand, Stocco glared at the turtle, but slowly put down her fist.
On another note… this turtle was female, huh? I’d always thought it was male.
“Fuh-… What a short tempered girl. Anyway, it’s not like I can observe everything, anyways. There’s a possibility of the Witch using the same kind of barrier to hide, so letting the Witch teleport away only to fruitlessly chase her around… I can’t recommend such a tactic. By my predictions, once the Witch teleports away, she will use magic to hide because she’ll fear being found by you again. That would only make it more difficult to find her once more.”
“Can’t you predict where she will teleport to?”
“It’s not that I can’t, but there are too many candidates for her to choose so the accuracy of my predictions will suffer. It’s not a good gamble to make. At best, it should only be the backup plan in case she manages to get away.”
I had thought it was a good plan but it had gotten refused.
Damn… I was starting to get irritated by Alexia’s cowardice.
To think it was this troublesome to face a boss character that escapes as soon as it’s found…
If you are a boss character, at least act like one and wait on your throne like a good villain.
It’s boring to be a boss who’s prepared to escape immediately, Alexia.
“In the end, we can’t change the plan… I see.”
“Yes. Since we know her current location, it’s best to just end everything here at the academy. Our best approach is to find a way to stop her from teleporting altogether. Just treat me as insurance in case she manages to escape after all.”
In the end, the plan stayed the same as it had always been.
There was no way things would go this conveniently, which was extremely frustrating.
Even though I was capable of many things, all I could do was to leave everything to Vernell’s group, making me feel even more miserable.
At the very least, I could still help prepare everyone’s equipment…
The Fighting tournament ended as expected with Vernell’s group dominating the top spots.
Winning 1st place was Vernell, Aina made 2nd place. 3rd place was Mary and 4th place went to Eterna.
Mob A and Fiora were included in the top 8.
The ranks were slightly different from before but it was luck of the draw after all.
Mob A fought Mary for the quarter-final, after which Mary went up against Vernell for the semi-final, ending her fight there.
Meanwhile, Eterna had improved her magic prowess considerably to the point where she even managed to get to the semi-finals, and while she lost to Aina, she’d still managed to put up a good fight.
The explanation seems almost too simple but I didn’t know how to explain it in detail.
In the end, Vernell’s group had gotten stronger and ended up winning. Easy as that.
And so, after the conclusion of the tournament, I called the 8 best fighters to the 5th floor.
From now on, we’d need to train these 8 people and follow our original plan in order to reduce the Witch’s MP.
I had wished to increase the number of Guard Knights, but… according to the turtle, 8 seemed to be the limit.
If we increased the amount of people on this mission, the Witch wouldn’t think of it as “Students who just happened to enter the lair” and the possibility of the Witch immediately escaping would increase drastically. Alexia, enough of your cowardice already.
The two people standing next to Vernell’s group were also part of the top 8, with one of them being a muscular man from 3rd grade. His name seemed to be Crunchbite Dogman.
Just going off of his name I got the feeling he’d end up being the underdog1 who’d fall to the enemy first.
The other person was a 3rd grader as well. They were a suspicious person wearing a hood, but…
“… What are you doing, Instructor Supple Ment?”
“Well, whatever could you mean, I wonder? I am part of the top 8. 3rd grade student, Tom Toy, reporting for duty.”
In front of us, was the Glasses Bastard who was wearing a hood for some reason.
He answered Leila’s question in an aloof tone, trying to make himself sound younger, but at the end of the day it was still Perverted Glasses Bastard no matter how you looked at it.
It seemed he had mixed with students in order to participate.
Hey, why had no one noticed that? Was the judge teacher blind??
Now that I think of it, he was the judge teacher…
“Oh, my Saint! Please grant your weapons meant only for the best 8 students to me!”
It seemed that preparing a reward had had the opposite effect to what I had intended…
Actually, I had declared to give special weapons to the students that managed to reach the top 8 at the start of the tournament.
People would be motivated by the notion of winning a prize, and I had meant it as a way to strengthen the students that would be involved in the operation as well as as an apology for involving them in it.
While I did make sure to grant everyone the option to refuse, but… a request from the “Saint” to “help defeat the Witch” was practically a compulsion for the people of this world…
Even in the game, Elrise often made such annoying “requests.”
This academy was an institution that fostered Knights, and Knights were those who served the Saint, after all.
This meant that refusing the Saint’s requests would lead to questions like “why come to this academy in the first place if you’re not willing to help when duty calls?” Even more so if said request was about defeating the Witch.
I also understood that presents were the least I could do to apologize and relieve a little of my guilt.
Yet, to think it had come to this…
…Well, it was what it was.
If you thought about this situation more, it meant one less student had to be needlessly involved.
At least my – admittedly – tiny conscience wouldn’t feel any guilt whatsoever for involving this Perverted Glasses Bastard.
“Are you an idiot? There’s no way we would agree to someone who’d guaranteed himself a spot in the top 8 in such an unfair way!”
“I don’t mind, Leila.”
And so, I agreed with Perverted Glasses Bastard’s participation, ignoring Leila’s protests.
This might sound like an evil thing to say, but if the students had really lost to him, I would be correct to assume that Perverted Glasses Bastard was stronger than any of them, meaning there was a higher possibility of him surviving.
Moreover, rejecting a potential member would only reduce our fighting power.
Since it had come to this, I just decided to let him get involved in our plan.
Furthermore, however you put it, Perverted Glasses Bastard was considered a Mid Boss in game, making him quite strong.
When fought in the game, he had a 1st form as well as a 2nd form and while 1st form was no different than a common mob, in his 2nd form, he fused with a giant golem, a feat that common people couldn’t even dream of accomplishing.
He wasn’t supposed to possess such power but in the game it was explained as his “Love for the Saint,” making it bad by nature.
Anyway, he was (limited as an enemy in this version of events but still) strong enough to fight Vernell’s group all by himself during the later stages of the plot.
“Leila, bring them out.”
As I signalled Leila, she hurried to open the box sat next to me.
Inside were the things I had requested from old man Aiz, various ores and metals.
The sword I had made for Vernell previously had been made randomly using earth, but this time, I was determined to do my best when crafting his weapon.
I held my hand in front of me, using earth magic to split up the material’s composition and then turning it into a hard metal.
Trying many things, I ended up making an alloy as hard and tough as possible, using it as the material for making a weapon.
I did not know the name of metal. It was a metal not found on earth after all.
So let’s just give it a chuuni name!
This alloy’s name would be orichalcum, I decided on the spot.
And so there they were. Orichalcum weapons.
I crafted a weapon for every member, and handed them out to everyone.
Lastly, I gave one of them to Leila as a present.
Leila already possessed a proper sword as Prime Knight but… she hadn’t been using it lately for some reason.
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