How to Survive at the Academy - Chapter 30
How to Survive at the Academy
[Translator – Plumper]
[Proofreader – kianianian]
Chapter 30: Yennekar Palerover (3)
Senior Maid Bell was rumored to be the best and most reliable among the elite maids of Ophelis Hall.
She had authority over the other maids. She was in charge of educating the newly hired maid. She would even scold them.
Everyone had been speculating who would be next in line to Head Maid Elris, the current head maid and general manager of Ophelis Hall who was currently rumored to retire soon. The most likely candidate was actually Bell Maya.
Bell was already treated with more respect than the other maids of Ophelis Hall, but that didn’t mean her work differed from theirs because of her elevated status.
Lower-ranked maids tended to the dirty and vulgar chores around the dormitory. They must also always be ready at a moment’s notice for an order, making them ultimately responsible to take care of most things at Ophelis Hall.
This also applied to dressing the students. Usually, senior maids barely did these types of tasks themselves, but Bell would still roll up her sleeves and do them herself.
Just like this, Bell was combing Yennekar’s hair in front of the mirror when she casually brought up a certain topic.
“I went to young master Ed’s camp last time I went to the forest and saw something quite amazing.”
“Hm? Oh… You must mean the cabin?”
“…how did you know about it?”
Yennekar shrugged as she began twisting the ends of her hair.
“I… I saw it while passing by.”
“I see. He said he made it himself but I was quite surprised. It was much more impressive than I had thought. I had no idea he had quite the talent when it comes to that kind of thing.”
“I… I see.”
“I wanted to look inside but I refrained from doing so. I was worried it might seem too inappropriate to ask. I wanted to look around and see how sturdy it was.”
“I guess even someone like you wonders about that kind of thing.”
“Of course. I’m also human. Being curious is only natural.”
Bell was the perfect maid. She was someone who really understood the meaning of serving someone else. She was never satisfied with just cleaning and doing her errands well.
Doing everything for the person they are serving to their utmost ability, all without being too presumptuous – that was the true quality of a maid.
“Wouldn’t anyone who walks by and stumbles across that cabin be curious as to who built it, how did they build it, and what was inside? Such curiosity is a totally natural reaction to have.”
Strangely, Bell kept on bringing up the words ‘natural’ and ‘obvious’, as if she had a hidden agenda. Yennekar felt like she was being pushed. She had also wanted to visit Ed’s camp and see him. She also wanted to talk about things as well.
But of course, such thoughts as doubting others’ kindness or trying to guess their true intentions… there was no way Yennekar would think as such. To answer, Yennekar just nodded her head.
“I see. You’re right. Of course, it was only natural. Seeing such a thing, of course, you couldn’t help but be curious.”
Yennekar accepted what Bell said with a serious face.
Behind her, Bell let out a sigh of relief as she braided Yennekar’s hair. It was only natural for a girl Yennekar’s age to have feelings of affection and longing, but things would go well for her if she was this clumsy.
Of course, to meddle any more than this would be too much so all Bell could do for now was trim Yennekar’s hair as prettily as possible.
For today, Bell used a bit more strength in her hands as she quietly brushed Yennekar’s hair.
The entrance to the northern forest was the same as always. The green vegetation was spread out, as if welcoming everyone to come inside.
The entrance felt rather warm rather than dark despite the sun setting over the horizon. This was because of the fact that for Yennekar, the northern forest was a place she often visited whenever she needed to take a breather.
She particularly enjoyed sitting down and leaning on The Guardian Tree of Merilda while she read books and enjoyed the breeze, the sound of the leaves swaying around her. It reminded her of sitting on a hill back in her hometown, the wind whistling past her ears.
That was why she always visited this forest whenever she felt even a little bit homesick.
However, she hadn’t been able to enter the northern forest recently.
She was ashamed to admit the reason herself, that it was because there was a high chance she would run into someone, that someone being a student who lived in the forest.
It started with simple curiosity.
The wind spirit Merilda, who was guarding the forest, would occasionally transform into a small fox whenever she had the time and come out of the forest to visit Yennekar and chat with her.
They would sit by the windowsill in the moonlight late at night, chatting. For Yennekar, ending the day like that had become part of her norm.
The Ed Rothstaylor that Merilda spoke of was much different from the rumors she’d heard. Hearing his struggles just to survive in the forest, he sounded like some wild animal.
He got an upset stomach after eating the bark of a tree, his wooden shelter kept on collapsing on him, and how he tied his hair while chopping up firewood. Yennekar couldn’t stop laughing when she heard these stories.
When he caught and cooked his first fish with the fishing rod he worked so hard to make, when he completed making the durable drying rack, even when he first succeeded in hunting small animals using his handmade bow… Yennekar couldn’t help but proudly smile at hearing these stories.
She enjoyed sitting by the windowsill and listening to all of Merilda’s stories such as these. It reminded her of how her parents used to stroke her head while they read her fairy tales when she was young. Growing up, she became too embarrassed to ask them to do it again.
Whenever she felt like going crazy, she knew she could always rely on wrapping up her day with stories of Ed.
Yennekar rolled her feet as she wandered into the entrance of the northern forest. Yes, she was aware of how pathetic she was acting.
Was this because of the Glasskan incident? And yet, there seemed to be some signs even before then.
It wasn’t anything special.
Her affection and longing for Ed were like light rain–when she noticed it had been raining, her whole body had already been completely drenched.
In her defense, Merilda’s descriptions of him were way too detailed.
The wind spirit described the details of Ed’s muscles with his shirt off. Merilda even went into detail about his biceps and his abs that were starting to form. Yennekar couldn’t help her blood rush to her head.
She couldn’t even look at him properly when she accidentally ran into him downtown. Her eyes kept on straying and glancing at the tendons near his collarbones and the veins on the back of his hands…
She left as if she was running away, her nose bleeding. Her best friend Anise even worried about her. Clara looked even more worried, a strange cold sweat running down her face.
Yennekar didn’t bleed to the extent of that worry. It was quite an overreaction, something she thought was unusual for Clara.
“Just what the hell do you think you’re doing…”
Yennekar came to her senses. Every time she had a bit of time, she always found herself thinking about him. Was there anyone else as stupid as she was?
She stomped her feet because of how pathetic she was acting.
In the first place, Ed Rothstaylor was someone who had already been disowned by his family. Although he was often called Ed Rothstaylor out of habit, he was just now a commoner with a two-letter name–Ed.
This meant there was no longer a significant difference in their statuses. Truth was, Yennekar’s imagination was already going quite wild.
For example, she had already imagined the two of them working together back at their ranch in her hometown which was lacking workers. Or they could be doing research together somewhere like the Eastern Magic Society after graduation. Or they could stay in school together and become professors.
Thinking such thoughts made her kick her blanket around when she lay in bed… imagining.
She had no idea she was capable of such delusion, and as time passed by, her sense of shame continued to rise.
“How long am I going to keep acting like this? Ed must think I’m weird…”
Ed’s reputation may have improved, but it still wasn’t all that great.
Ed was well aware of that fact, so he didn’t think it was strange that Yennekar was avoiding him but… it was a completely different story for Yennekar.
Objectively speaking, it would be rude to avoid someone so blatantly.
Regardless of her feelings, it was basic human courtesy. She could no longer keep acting like this.
Yennekar nodded her head as she began heading towards where Ed was.
[Name: Ed Rothstaylor]
School Year: 2nd
Combat Skills Details ≫
Magic Skills Details ≫
Life Skills Details ≫
Alchemy Skills Details ≫
Finally. My Dexterity stat had reached level 10.
From here on out, I could even be considered specialized in Handicraft-making.
Moreover, my proficiency in production increased the moment it reached level 10. This meant that with the conditions met, I was able to acquire advanced production skills.
Spiritual Infusion allowed me to inject the power of a spirit into a product I crafted.
Magical Engineering allowed me to make different types of magic items.
Magic Implementation allowed me to give various effects to ordinary products.
Craftsman’s Spirit allowed me to exert greater power in combat using the products I produced.
And lastly, Pharmacist’s Eyes allowed me to skillfully mix together various reagents and herbs to create something new.
Advanced skills allowed the use of different special skills in their various forms, skills only obtained if the conditions were met and through combining Combat, Magic, and Alchemy skills together.
The only advanced Production skill I could realistically obtain right now was Spiritual Infusion. But I knew I would eventually be able to try out the other advanced skills if I worked hard enough.
I felt a sense of accomplishment at the increase in growth I experienced as a result of working on my cabin. It gave me strength and encouraged me to work even harder,
It was like a great and advantageous cycle. Meanwhile, I started to think of what I could fill my cabin up with, already thinking of different things I could build.
The most urgent thing right now was a door. I already bought a hinge and attached it to a wooden board but it wasn’t that durable. Another thing was that the size of the board I used didn’t fit the threshold so a draft had come in.
I continued to think of ways I could solve this problem while I cut some wood in front of my cabin.
Somebody greeted me off-key.
I turned my head around to see that it was Yennekar. It looked like she came to the camp for some reason.
Unlike her usual neat uniform, Yennekar was wearing a dark blue skirt and a large white blouse instead. She had a hat and shawl on, making her look quite warm. It seemed she may have worn them to avoid getting sunburnt. A smart decision, in my opinion. Yennekar had pale skin that seemed weak to sunlight. The sun wasn’t that strong now as it had already begun to set, but hey, nothing good came out of being careless.
On the other hand, I was holding a saw as I cut wood on my workbench, the sleeves of my shirt and the legs of my pants all rolled up. My raw and unfiltered appearance had quite a gap compared to hers.
“Hey, Yennekar. What brings you all the way here?”
I naturally responded.
In actuality, I was a little confused. Yennekar had been avoiding me for the last few days. I wondered if she had some business to do around these parts since she appeared to have come all the way here to my camp on her own.
“Oh, it’s totally nothing!”
Yennekar started explaining herself.
“I was just passing by! Was on my way to see Merilda! Then I saw this cabin! And now I’m here!”
She talked as if she was in a rush.
“I saw the cabin so I became curious. Who built it? How did they build it? What does the inside look like? It’s only natural to be curious, right? Hm, Ed?”
“I… guess so?”
“Yeah! I saw your cabin and had a completely natural and obvious thought which led me to do the natural and obvious thing. And here I am! By the way, this cabin is so cool, Ed.”
I threw my saw by my workbench and wiped off my hands.
“Yeah, I recently built it. Did the spirits not tell you?”
Yennekar let out a hiccup as if stabbed by those words. She shook her head.
“Did I already tell you I just happened to be walking by? Ah.. yeah, there may have been something like the spirits telling me… but just a little? Like, a really tiny amount? Information so little it was practically useless? I don’t talk to spirits that much anyway. Yeah, that’s right! I only talk to them from time to time. Just like getting updates, you know? That’s why I really didn’t know how you were doing. I’m serious.”
“Well… alright, then. You can go in, if you want. It’s pretty sturdy so it shouldn’t be that bad at all. I’m quite proud of it, in fact.”
I nodded my head and pointed toward my cabin. Yennekar was strangely hesitant as she entered, touching and staring at every little thing.
Yeah, it was just a log cabin.
But I’m quite proud of the fact that I built it myself.
Night came and with it, its usual fanfare.
The buzzing of cicadas was pleasant to listen to as always. The moon had started to show itself just as the stars slowly began to map themselves across the sky.
I made tea in a mug I bought from downtown using the herbs Bell had given me. Yennekar held the mug with both hands as she sat down, staring blankly at the flickering flame.
I hadn’t built a proper fireplace in my cabin yet so I dare not make a fire inside. I would be too upset to sleep if I ended up burning down my own cabin which I worked so hard on.
This was why I decided that I would continue camping outside until I could properly finish its internal construction. But even still, just looking at my nearly completed house felt like my dreams had finally been realized.
“You’re quite amazing, Ed. Most people would have given up in your situation.”
“I don’t think I did anything that deserves praise.”
“No, this is already quite amazing.”
The strange hesitation she had before had already disappeared. The mysterious atmosphere of the forest at night brought about peaceful feelings that helped people calm down. Coupled with a cup of herbal tea, things were just perfect.
“I don’t think I could’ve done anything if I were to end up in your place, Ed.”
“Uh, aren’t you… going to have to move out of Ophelis Hall soon?”
“Yeah. I’ll probably end up going to Dex Hall.”
The three dormitories of Silvenia: Ophelis Hall, Lorail Hall, and Dex Hall
Dex Hall had the worst facilities among them. It was also home to the majority of regular students.
Depending on how much you’ve paid, they had rooms for four, eight, or even ten students. It would be difficult to get used to for someone who came from Ophelis Hall.
Well, Yennekar wasn’t from a wealthy family so it shouldn’t be as difficult.
“What about your tuition fees? Can your folks back home afford it?”
Yennekar shook her head.
“Febri said she’d lend it to me. I can slowly pay her back once I graduate.”
Febri was the second daughter of the Kroel family.
That’s fair. After all, Yennekar was someone who could do anything once she had graduated and gotten her diploma. It wasn’t a risky investment. Even they had been trying to clear up their debts, it seemed.
Even with that amount of support, Yennekar was stubborn about moving to Dex Hall. Lorail Hall would have been a better dorm for her but she didn’t want to rely on her friends to live in a better dormitory after the huge incident she had created.
“I’ve gained quite a bit of debt. I didn’t know that everyone would help me so much during the hearing. Especially Princess Penia and Lortel. Even though I made such a huge mistake, for some reason, everyone was trying to comfort me… I’m so thankful. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am.”
Yennekar still didn’t understand that the problem stemmed from the weight of her sincerity. In the end, none of the underlying problems were solved.
The vicious cycle was yet to be broken.
“How should I… pay everyone back?”
“Then don’t pay them back if you can’t.”
Despite everyone’s expectations and support, Yennekar ended up failing.
The shock of it hadn’t disappeared and yet, new debts just kept on piling up.
“Isn’t that just a stereotype? That you’re supposed to pay off what you owe? Do you really need to pay someone back just because they lent you something?”
“Oh. Wow. I’ve never thought of that.”
There were so many ways to not pay back what they owed. In the same way there were so many people who lived their lives never paying back theirs.
However, this concept was completely unimaginable for Yennekar. That was just the kind of person she was.
“You’ve gone through a lot, either way. You’ll have to move dorms soon.”
“I’m sure the facilities won’t be that great once I move to Dex Hall, but I think it will still be a lot more enjoyable. I can spend the whole day with my friends once there. From early morning, to late at night. We can joke around with each other in the same room, we can hug our pillows at night before falling asleep, we can snack late into the night talking about this and that… yeah.”
Ophelis Hall only housed one student per room.
You could quietly rest in your own space after coming back from a hard and difficult day. It was a place to find one’s peace of mind.
In that one room, there were no classmates or underclassmen who stared at Yennekar with envy. Quietly sitting on her bed alone as she stared at the moon out her window every night was enough to take some of the burdens off her shoulders.
Therefore, Dex Hall was a place that evoked a fundamental fear in Yennekar.
It was no different from a prison. Yennekar would live every day chained up.
Yennekar lifted her gaze from the campfire and raised her head back to look up at the sky.
It was a clear night sky over Acken Island. The breeze was quiet. The darkness and bleakness of the early evening had turned cozy and warm.
Yennekar looked strangely on edge. I was uncomfortable just letting her be.
“When you want to be alone, you can come and stay here anytime. I won’t care.”
I casually said. If I unnecessarily sound too sincere and considerate towards her, it would only become poison.
“Hm? Really, Ed? Yay… I’m so happy. Hehe.”
It was only then that Yennekar, who had been acting distant towards me these past few days, finally put on that stupid smile of hers after such a long time.
“Hey, Ed. If you’re having a really hard time or there was something that you’re struggling with on your own, it would be really great if you would tell me.”
Yennekar softly said as she looked up at the blue sky above us.
“I’ll definitely help you then.”
* * *
“Ophelis Hall is quite a mess these days.”
The mug of herbal tea was now empty. Yennekar had grabbed her shawl and was straightening her clothes as she prepared to leave.
“It’s because there are rumors that the head maid will quit soon. I heard the head maid, Elris, had been under a lot of stress lately.”
Yennekar told me while patting off her clothes.
“Isn’t it strange? I haven’t seen her that much but she definitely seemed quite bright and hardworking. Well, I’m going to leave Ophelis Hall soon anyway, so it doesn’t matter to me too much but… I’m worried, for some reason.”
She smiled innocently.
“Anyways, thanks for showing me around your cabin, Ed. I’ll come and see you often. Can I come every day? Uhm… No, maybe that would be too much?”
“Do what you want.”
“Hehe! It was such a good choice to come and see you here today, Ed. Then, I’ll see you tomorrow! No, I mean–uhm, next time. See you next time!”
As I said goodbye to Yennekar, I made sure to act as if the information she just told me wasn’t anything special.
Come to think of it, the second semester was almost here.
The mark that announced the start of Act 2.
‘The Occupation of Ophelis Hall’
It was just an event where struggling students who were unhappy with their unfair treatment took a day to properly express their dissatisfaction. Though didn’t have much influence as no one really cared about them.
However, the scale of the incident increased exponentially with the participation of the head maid bought by Lortel. It later developed into a main event in Act 2.
This escalated the fight between the Elte Company and the Academic Affairs over the ‘Sage’s Seal’. It ended up becoming an event worthy of being called ‘the beginning of all events.’
Ah, pretty soon, you’ll be having quite a hard time, Taylee.
I waved my hand at Yennekar as she disappeared into the forest.
I offered Taylee a silent prayer with all my heart.
Really… it’s really going to be a pain in the ass, Taylee.