How to Survive at the Academy - Chapter 29
How to Survive at the Academy
[Translator – Plumper]
[Proofreader – kianianian]
Chapter 29: Yennekar Palerover (2)
The smell of gold coins.
Lortel’s sense of smell had always relentlessly caught the scent of money.
She was at Tricks Hall, where faculty offices were located – the heart of the academic district.
Outside, the building was made of neatly stacked black and red bricks, antique marble decor adorning the exterior. Regardless of what time it was, the glass windows were always spotless. The entrance to the hall was magnificent, always guarded by men on watch. There were also two extra guards watching the gate out back.
It was where people who wielded administrative power and were at the top of the administrative system were. This was where people who made the final decisions stayed, along with people who managed the academy’s finances, those who drafted the curriculum and schedules, those who reviewed student complaints, and those who decided on academic policies. Headmaster Obel and Assistant Headmaster Rachel’s offices were located here.
It was a place that very few students came to. Most of the people around were general faculty, professors, or outsourced personnel. Students were already busy studying as it were, they wouldn’t have had a reason to visit the administrative building in the first place.
Lortel smiled at the personnel guarding the entrance as she moved toward the lobby.
The smell of gold coins irritated her nose. And walking into the main lobby finally revealed its source.
At the center of the Tricks Hall lobby was the academy’s treasure, encased in a glass display to show it off.
It wasn’t anything fancy. It was just a magic book that looked worn out, burned here and there.
It was called the ‘Sage’s Seal’. And whoever it may be, they would be unable to help but thickly swallow at the name alone.
It was the record of the academy’s founder, Silvenia Robester. The person who had explored and discussed ‘Celestial Magic’.
Celestial Magic predicted the flow of the stars and used that power to twist the providence of the world itself. It was known to be the most incomprehensible and profound branch of magic.
Numerous researchers had tried to interpret and reproduce the records within that seal, but no study had ever been completed. It was a book that remained the ultimate challenge for academia.
But aside from its academic value, the book was also a symbol of Silvenia Academy.
The book had a fixed schedule for when it would come out of its glass case. It only ever left it when it was needed to study Celestial Magic, and for public events such as the entrance ceremony for new students, inauguration ceremonies for the student council or the headmaster, as well as for year-end graduation ceremonies.
Lortel stood in front of the display as she took a deep breath, eyes looking at the Sage’s Seal.
“It really does smell like money.”
Lortel whispered softly with a nonchalant smile.
That book was the trigger that signaled the events of the second arc.
The heart of Silvenia Academy.
The Sage’s Seal.
And the first purchase target for the Elte Company.
* * *
[Life Skills Details]
Grade: Beginner Craftsman
Specialized Fields: Woodworking
܀ Handicraft Level 10
܀ Design Level 4
܀ Collecting Skills Level 8
܀ Woodworking Level 10
܀ Hunting Level 7
܀ Fishing Level 6
܀ Cooking Level 5
܀ Repair Level 5
In my box were a saw, a hammer, a sharp ax, a sword used in place of a machete, and a bunch of nails thrown about at the bottom. It was less than one gold coin, all in all.
Silvenia was an educational facility. I was worried they wouldn’t be selling such woodworking items in the business district. Luckily, I was able to get a lot of quality items from the Elte Company’s store. They sold everything.
I sat on a log bench, stretching my body here and there.
The Act 1 finale was now over. For the time being, there shouldn’t be anything important happening in the main story.
I didn’t have to worry about the tuition fee until next semester. This left me with more time to train my body and make an effort to improve my standard of living.
Act 2 would officially start come second semester. There was an end-of-semester evaluation episode before it but nothing big was set to happen there.
Taylee would start to genuinely raise his grades and learn how to use Wind Slash or other such skills as Elemental Slash. It was just a filler episode. Originally, it should have taken place before the Glasskan Subjugation but here we are.
Vacation came after the closing ceremony. I could then spend all my time tending to my camp. I shouldn’t waste such a golden opportunity.
But more than anything, I needed to solve the safety issues of my living area first.
I reviewed the design structure of the cabin I had mapped out in my head and nodded. It would’ve been great had I drawn out a proper blueprint. But then again, even if I were, I wouldn’t have been able to follow it as much. Immediate problems could only be solved by improvising and building as similarly as possible.
Either way, it shouldn’t matter if it were a little crude. It wasn’t like I was going to sell it anyway.
Life would be a lot harder for me for now than it had been compared to when I just started living out here. The good news was that every bit of hard work I put in would become the basis of my growth, so it wasn’t like I was going to be blindly suffering.
And this body had a natural talent for production. Somehow, I thought, it should all work out.
It didn’t provide much comfort but… I should work as much as I could and increase my proficiency level.
Yeah. With that thought in mind, I stood up and held a sword.
Then I marked the trunk of a large oak tree nearby with a horizontal stroke.
Today was the first day I was constructing my cabin.
I decided where I would build my cabin.
My current camp was a little too close to the river right now. It would be catastrophic were the river to overflow.
I chose a space that was moderately shady, large, and inconspicuous. I then proceeded to flatten the land.
I removed all the trees and large stones that were in the way and flattened anywhere that was slightly sloped with my shovel.
After I was done with the base groundwork, it was already time to sleep. I checked how much food I had left first. I noticed I was starting to slowly run out so I decided to restock tomorrow. After I had decided to go hunt the next day, I fell asleep memorizing the major events in history for my upcoming Magic History written exam.
I started to collect the wood I would need. The proficiency level of my Wind Blade was quite high now so it was relatively easy to do. However, using magic too much would affect my Vitality so I made sure to do it in moderation.
But no matter, because trimming the wood ended up being harder than cutting them down. I had no way to mass-produce neatly standardized planks. I had to manually peel the bark off each tree one by one… and cut them one by one.
Removing the twigs off, peeling off its bark, and turning it into lumber took more than two hours each. Looked like I would be working on them for quite some time.
Another notable thing that happened was I met Yennekar but she ignored me again. Her friends Clara and Anise looked quite smug as she ran away from me without so much as a glance. They were smiling snidely, as if to tell me I shouldn’t ever think of getting close to their friend for even a second. Well, it wasn’t like I was planning to, anyway.
I started to experience some muscle pain from working on the wood for quite a while now.
It had been a while since I set up camp here in the northern forest. I thought I had gotten used to walking every morning and using my body to do strenuous physical activities every day, but my body had been screaming at me ever since I started building my cabin. I decided to endure it though. Because I knew that this would all benefit me in the end anyway.
I was able to stick up on a bit of food but I still had a long way to go.
I met a low-ranking wind spirit that looked like a sparrow while walking around the forest with my saw. Just in case, I asked if Merilda was uncomfortable with me violently cutting down all these trees. However, the spirit only turned its head the other way. Well, I guess the spirit was more generous than I thought.
I debated if I should sign a contract with the spirit but I didn’t want to unnecessarily waste one of my two spirit slots just like that.
End-of-semester evaluations were coming up so I decided to stop working on the wood for the time being.
I spent most of my nights invested in my studies. I was quite confident with my written knowledge but I felt that my practical skills were still lacking and I needed to train some more.
Despite that, I knew my magic skills had come a long way compared to when I started. I was now more skilled than an average first-year student.
I met Yennekar in front of the exam center at the academic district but she just ignored me again. Beside her, Clara and Anise looked quite satisfied at her non-reaction.
I was almost done preparing the wood I’d need. Although they might still not be enough, I could just go out and make some more if I needed them.
The closing ceremony was just ahead. My grade came out well. Not enough to receive a scholarship but as long as I kept growing at this pace, I could try again next semester.
Wind Blade had also risen a level. It was already a level 11 which was already quite high to begin with. But using it to cut down trees and removing twigs every day seemed to have trained it enough to increase it by another one.
I didn’t have any means to move the wood planks I had made, so I ended up borrowing a wheelbarrow from the ongoing Student Center construction site. It wasn’t for free, of course. After paying for it, they allowed me to use it for as much as I wanted as long as they didn’t need it.
So I gathered and transferred every wood I processed one by one and moved them near my camp.
Vacation had finally started. This meant I would be able to spend my entire days here at camp in the meantime.
Most of the students went back to their hometowns. But since I didn’t have any hometown to return to, I planned to use this time to start building my cabin.
First, I used Wind Blade to cut the logs in half and use the flat surface to act as beams for my cabin. I only managed to get halfway done after working all day.
When it was time to stock up on food, I checked the snare trap I set up the other day but found Lucy caught in it instead, sound asleep. I shouldn’t have used jerky as bait… it was a mistake.
I threw Lucy into the shelter and went back to work on the beams.
Ziggs wandered into my part of the forest. He said he was jogging around as part of his training.
I asked why he didn’t go home this vacation and he said that since Elka couldn’t go due to her academic work, he decided not to go back home as well. He was the same as always.
He saw me building my shabby-looking cabin and asked if he could help.
I considered rejecting his offer since I was building my cabin as part of my training, but then I thought it was better to get help with the things I couldn’t handle by myself.
He ended up helping me erect and fix a central pillar and four outer pillars. We also finished working on setting up the beams needed. We finished the hard work sweating like crazy on the floor.
Ziggs went back to Ophelis Hall as it began to get dark out. He told me to let him know if I needed any more help later on.
It was raining. The timbers were soaked with rainwater, making them too heavy to work with. And since they would need a day or two to dry, I thought I should focus on my other tasks in the meantime.
Senior Maid Bell Maya came by at night and gave me some herbs and mushrooms. She asked me how things had been with Yennekar so I gave her an honest answer and told her it seemed like Yennekar now hated me.
Bell only tilted her head in response. After which, she returned back to Ophelis Hall.
Yennekar and her best friends seemed to also be staying at the academy this vacation.
The shape of my cabin was beginning to come together with the beams and pillars installed in place. The next step was to stack up the logs I cut to build the outer walls.
I couldn’t just stack them on top of each other, of course. I had to cut out a little bit at the end of each piece of wood to act as a joint.
It was like hell. Saw, chisel, hammer… just to cut out the joint so the wood would all fit together. I felt like I was going to lose my mind.
But in the end, it all came together pretty well.
The outer wall I had previously stacked together had collapsed around one of the pillars. I realized matching the joints together wasn’t strong enough to hold the whole structure together.
What a disaster.
I came up with an idea to hold everything together. I would drill a hole in each piece of wood and then insert a sturdy iron rod into each joint. I went back to the general store run by the Elte Company and bought the necessary materials.
I ran into Yennekar and her friends by the bakery while I was downtown. And like always, Yennekar ran away the moment our eyes met. I expected her friends to laugh at me with a satisfied look on their faces but it was only Anise who laughed.
Clara looked at me, then at Yennekar, and began to sweat.
Oh well. Guess she had a stomach ache.
“You were right. It was just like you said. Taylee isn’t half bad.”
Stacking the logs all the way to the top and working on the roof were jobs too difficult to do alone, so I ended up calling Ziggs over when I saw him jogging by for some help.
I had changed my mind these days. While it wasn’t a good idea to get too involved with the important characters, if I were too far away from them, it would be too impossible for me to know how the story was progressing compared to the original timeline. I couldn’t let the same mistake happen again. Which was why I decided to know about the going-ons of the other first-years from Ziggs.
We were sitting on the roof of the half-finished cabin, drilling a nail into each joint.
“I dueled with him during the end-of-semester evaluation, and during the fight, he never gave up but kept on getting stronger instead. He was still no match to me, of course, but he might become quite a good swordsman in the future.”
“Is that so?”
I was able to confirm that Act 1 Chapter 9 was proceeding without any issues.
“Do we need to nail this down too?”
“You can leave that side. I’m going to put a chimney there.”
Although my cabin was quite shabby, I planned to build a chimney for my fireplace. A space for smoke to escape was needed when heating the cabin. This required more materials aside from the logs I had cut but I would cross that bridge when I got there.
Vacation was already halfway through. I took the day off because it was too hot out. I thought I would even suffer from a heatstroke.
I worked with my top off because it was too hot out. The fine growing muscles that had covered my body had now upgraded to just being called muscles.
Whenever it got too hot, I jumped into the river and collected mud to fill the gaps between the logs. Since the roof may leak, I also treated it the same way and then covered it with the large leaves I had used to make my wooden shelter. I also used the leftover net to tie everything down.
I tied the little bit of the remaining net I had to a nearby tree to make a hammock. If I needed it for something else later, I could always just take it down.
In front of me…
Was my well-made cabin, welcoming me in.
[Newly Crafted Product]
After the logs were trimmed down to a uniform size, they were stacked together according to the pillars and beams built into the foundation.
It only has outer walls and a roof.
There is nothing inside.
Production Difficulty Level: ●●●●○
I sighed and threw my ax on the ground.
I then walked slowly towards my cabin. It didn’t have a door yet, but I could use my suitcase’s hinges and attach one in the future.
I passed through the threshold and sat in the middle of it.
It seemed to be a little bit more than 17 square meters. The logs I used were larger than I thought so it came out bigger than I expected. Not that that was a bad thing since now it just meant that it was wider. Although I suspect I would have trouble with heating the whole place but hey, it was nothing unacceptable.
I also saved a space for a window but hadn’t actually attached one just yet. There was also a space for a fireplace but I had no materials to make a stove right now so it was still left empty for the time being.
I still had no flooring, nor had I insulated the walls. And there was no furniture. None at all. It was just a cabin simply made out of logs.
But at least it has walls and a roof.
If I installed a door, then no bugs would be able to come in. And if I get a light source inside, then it would be comfortable to study at night.
Oh, and it would be perfect if I could find a desk and a chair. Or make them.
I wiped the sweat off my face.
I had a house.
That simple fact felt especially touching, as it was proof of how hard I’ve had it thus far.
I had been trying so hard to just survive day by day that I had completely forgotten about how important this was. It wasn’t until I had my own living space that I realized it.
I decided to take it easy for now and just sit back as the day came to an end.
[Life Skills Details]
Grade: Beginner Craftsmen
Specialized Fields: Woodworking
܀ Handicraft Level 13
܀ Design Level 8
܀ Collecting Skills Level 11
܀ Woodworking Level 12
܀ Hunting Level 8
܀ Fishing Level 6
܀ Cooking Level 6
܀ Repair Level 5
The completed cabin even had a level four production difficulty.
I had delayed checking my Life Production Skills and my Dexterity stat, both of which had been rising like crazy. Even my Vitality stat had risen doing so much manual labor the past few days.
My Advanced Production Skills would actually be unlocked soon… but I somehow didn’t feel like checking them right now.
I still had a long way to go.
It would be a good idea to start getting the materials for the inner walls, flooring, some furniture, the fireplace, a fence, some extra food items, and maybe even a small warehouse to store firewood and some junk. I also had to install a door and a window.
But for now… I just wanted to be underneath this roof, enclosed within these walls.
And just like that, I stayed still in the middle of my cabin for a long time.
It was Lucy.
She was hanging off from the windowless cut out in the wall and kicking her feet in the air, stars shooting from her eyes.
This cabin, which was the product of my hard work, probably just looked like a huge cat tower to her. She started climbing up all over the roof, overly excited.
I was thinking of kicking her out but… I still wanted to sit in this sense of accomplishment for a while more.
Over the horizon, the sun was just beginning to set.