Chapter 28: Yennekar Palerover (1)

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A gust of warm wind blew by.

The warm sunlight tickled her skin as it came through the hidden flower garden deep in the lush forest.

Yennekar sat there, picking flowers as she made a wreath.
She had taken off her damaged academy uniform and had instead put on a comfortable beige skirt she used to wear back in her hometown.
She carefully weaved the wreath together as she sang a beautiful tune.

Suddenly, a boy arrived from the forest, riding a majestic white horse.
He slowly dismounted from the saddle as the sounds of the horse's hooves clapping subsided. 

That boy was Ed Rothstaylor. 

Yennekar stood up with a big smile on her face as she welcomed Ed to the flower garden.
Ed wore the flower wreath she had made and held her hand as they smiled at each other.
Then the two of them began to dance.

Hahaha–

Flower petals flew around them as the butterflies danced in the air.
And as if the forest had blessed them, the trees moved out of their way to give them room as they moved.

Hahahahaha–

Their steps were exactly in sync, as if they perfectly understood each other.
The sound of an unknown lute and a harp resonated throughout the garden. 

It was truly a scene from a fairytale. 

Hahahaha–

Haha–

Ha–

.

.

.

.

Chirp–

Chirp–

The chirps of the sparrows outside the Ophelis Hall windows tickled her ears.
It was the sound of a new morning.

Yennekar sat up.

Her hair was a mess and her skin was a little bloated from last night's deep sleep.
Yennekar buried her face into her pillow as she hugged it.

“What’s wrong with me… I’m already this old but I’m still having these types of dreams…”

Waves of embarrassment and humiliation kept on crashing onto her as time passed by.

 

* * *

 

It was afternoon two days after when the disaster took place.

“Clara, you know, why is the weight between liking someone and loving someone so different?”

Clara was eating the tomatoes in her salad when Yennekar asked her the question.
And Clara’s expression, upon hearing it, grew serious.
The same was true of their other friend, Anise.
The two of them were Yennekar’s best friends.
They stopped playing with their forks and began to listen intently.

It was lunchtime at the student cafeteria.

Yennekar was the same as usual.
She was out eating with her two best friends, having left the high-quality food of Ophelis Hall behind.

 

Ten days have passed since Yennekar’s Disciplinary Committee Hearing had been over.

Not only did the three deans of each department attend, but Headmaster Obel was also in attendance.
Their presence created a dreadful atmosphere as the hearing proceeded like a complete battlefield. 

Skipping the major events of the hearing would still take way too long to cover all that had happened.

Yennekar had admitted to her wrongdoings and willingly accepted any punishment the committee would bestow her.
She completely surrendered, white flag and all. 

However, the second-years and the professors in charge of them stood up for her, taking Yennekar’s side during the first round of hearing.
They attacked the student council and academic affairs’ main office with petitions.
A total of 1,417 copies were submitted, completely filling the academic proposal box that a separate collection box solely for petitions had to be brought in.

During the second round of hearing, despite what Head Escort Claire had been telling her, Princess Penia declared that she would not charge Yennekar for the attempted murder of a member of the royal family.
This was because she was deeply impressed by the students’ petitions.
And this particular decision by Princes Penia would be the fundamental cause of why she would receive overwhelming support from the second-years, helping her get elected as the student body president in the future. 

But that was a separate story from this one.

The Academic Affairs Office also recognized the fact that Yennekar had not intended to do such actions as she was then taken over by Velosper.
This had made the expulsion charges become invalid.
However, that didn’t mean that all of Yennekar’s wrongdoings would simply disappear since her actions still left a lot of financial damages and injuries. 

This was where Lortel came in.

Lortel would provide the funds to rebuild Nail Hall and Glockt Gall at a low interest rate.
She would also subsidize all the sustained injuries completely free of charge.
In exchange, she was able to negotiate half the customs fees on school supplies the Elte Company distributes to the business district.
The leniency clause for Yennekar was just a bonus.

Because of this, the Elte Company’s products gained an absolute competitive edge in school supplies.
This also earned them the status of proper creditors to the academy, rather than a simple sponsor.
They even went as far as getting rid of the debt the promising elementalist, Yennekar Palerover, had.

Lortel was someone who would never miss an opportunity.
Head Dean McDowell couldn’t help but front in front of Lortel on the day of the negotiation signing.
But it was in Lortel’s nature to answer him with a smile.

While Penia and Lortel were adding chaos to the situation, the students were constantly running around and campaigning for a favorable hearing for Ynenekar. 

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The final result ended up being a splendid feat.

10 days of probation.
20 days of suspension.
Removed from the Glockt Scholarship Foundation beneficiaries.
Banned from entering Ophelis Hall starting next semester.
Forfeit the benefits of being a top student.
Return all academic honorary awards.
And she won’t be held back another year.

The second-years jumped for joy and cheered.
It was way more than they had hoped for.
It felt like they were filming some type of emotional youth drama.

However, behind the crowd of cheering students was Yennekar, still with her shoulders down.
And none of them knew the reason why.
Not a single one.

 

“Wh-What… what are you saying all of a sudden?”

Either way, it was all in the past.
It was meaningless to argue about it now.
Clara was trying to help Yennekar not feel so down now that her probation period was over.

The night before, Clara and Anise practiced what they would say and talk about with Yennekar after a long time of not seeing each other.

They made sure to never mention the Glasskan incident.
They also made sure to pretend they didn't care and to never mention how they felt about it.
And since it had been a while since they met up together, they decided to get lunch and catch up on each other's personal matters.

But they had already discussed everything they could talk about.
Assistant Professor Cleoh tripped over while distributing test papers.
The morning glory that had begun to bloom in a corner of the Defense Magic Training Center had now begun to wrap itself around the outer wall.
The egg tarts from the bakery downtown that were so delicious everyone was fussing about them.
Clara and Anise had prepared these sorts of topics.

“What… what does love really mean? It's a lot heavier than just the feeling of liking someone, right? That's what the dictionary says as well.
And that's how I've been using it too.
But… that difference in weight comes from our emotions… and the weight of our emotions depends on the person…”

“Yennekar, wait a sec.
Here, just eat this.”

“Hm? Hahaha, sorry.”

Clara smiled as she took a bite of her tomato.
She kept watching Yennekar with a smile on her face.

But a cold sweat had already begun to run down the edge of her neck.
And looking at Anise, the same looked to be true for her as well.
They were maintaining a poker face with superhuman mental strength, but this conversation had already become a catastrophic ordeal. 

Yennekar had begun to sound like some philosopher.
And out of all the topics she could be discussing… it turned out to be love.
She was seriously contemplating the difference between actually loving someone and just liking someone. 

Clara and Anise had been really worried about how Yennekar was feeling.
The image of her sitting in her room in Ophelis Hall, looking out the window, kept lingering in their minds.
They didn’t know what she could be thinking all alone in such a lonely place, extremely worried that she could be suffering from the guilt and taking on that burden all by herself.
Fortunately, it seemed that Yennekar was free of such guilt. 

Ten days was not a short time.
For the first two to three days, maybe even up to a week, they were worried that her heart would be aching and bruised but she seemed to have recovered to some extent, which was a relief. 

However, what they weren’t expecting was this.

For Yennekar to suddenly be troubled by love… suddenly discussing the word felt like a precursor to a greater event that could have an unbelievable ripple effect.

Slam!

Claire unconsciously slammed her fork down the table.
Yennekar, who was biting her sandwich, flinched in surprise.

Clara got up from her chair and looked around, her expression serious.
There weren’t many students left in the cafeteria because lunchtime was nearly over.
That was a relief, at least.
This meant nobody nearby was listening.
And since Yennekar didn’t have anyone to properly talk to during her probation period, then she hadn’t been able to talk to anyone about this topic apart from them.

Clara sat down again, her mindset.
She made eye contact with her reliable friend Anise next to her.
Clara swallowed and nodded.
In that brief glance, it felt like they’d exchanged a whole conversation between them.

“So…?”

The innocence of this girl needed to be protected.
Clara and Anise had been putting enough effort this far and had overcome every single crisis without failure.
Whenever Yennekar was about to get hurt or have a difficult time, they would always jump in and shield her from all the hardships that the world had to offer.

They had protected Yennekar from the upperclassmen who were jealous of her

They had also protected her from an assistant professor who didn’t like her because she was always favored and protected by her classmates. 

They even protected her from Ed Rothstaylor who was clearly one of the worst people in the entire world.

And even though there had been some groundless rumors about the first-years about how Ed was just ‘a rude punk that was actually more competent than one would think’, they didn’t want to be too quick to trust.
His personality was definitely arrogant and wrong in the first place, and that was a fact.

Clara and Anise couldn’t let such risk factors approach Yennekar.

 

“Why are you suddenly talking about that, Yennekar…?”

Clara was in control of the conversation.
She brought up the topic with a strong heart.
Anise, who was still struggling to manage her expressions, needed a bit more time to calm down.

They need to carefully uncover this topic so as not to hurt Yennekar who had an extremely sensitive heart.

The love story of Yennekar Palerover.
Bad news would travel fast.
If such a bomb of a rumor went off among the students, it would spread quickly.
Every student would probably already know by tomorrow morning’s assembly.  

Just how much damage would that bring to Yennekar’s weak heart?

Clara clenched her teeth and shook her head, wholeheartedly of the belief that she needed to stop it.

Yennekar slowly began to talk.

“Actually, about that… I heard this from a friend not too long ago…”

No! Yennekar!

You had been stuck in your room for the past ten days so you definitely didn’t meet anyone! Who in their right mind would believe that…?!

Clara barely held herself back from screaming.

“O-Oh.
So… what did that friend of yours say?”

“While she was mindlessly staring off into space in her room, suddenly, someone’s face came to mind…”

“Oh my! Would you look at that? I must have lost my mind! I promised to help Assistant Professor Cleoh this afternoon! I had completely forgotten! Sorry! I’ll go first! Bye, see you next time!”

Anise had already decided that this was the best decision for her to make as she could barely keep her straight face for much longer.

Clara looked at Anise, remembering their promise together, but when she saw Anise’s entire face had gone red, even up to her ears, Clara had no choice but to let her friend go.
Anise was no longer in a state where she was able to fight.

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A comrade had died.

Everything was left to Clara now.

 

The usually innocent Yennekar.
That Yennekar was now a deadly poison to Clara’s heart.

She was already at her limit.
She bit her tongue, holding back on asking all the questions she was dying to know: Who was the other person? Where did they meet? Why did her heart change towards him? When was there an opportunity for this? What will actually happen in the future?

Clara’s spirit and tenacity were that of a mighty general running through a field of arrows alone.

Yennekar’s innocence must be maintained.
The faint memories of her first love should be a beautiful memory, not a shameful dark history.

“And… that person kept appearing in her dreams…”

“Is-Is that so?”

“Yeah.
I heard there were even dreams where they were dancing together– or were they playing? In a flower garden.
So… uh, what do you think…?”

The corners of Yennekar’s lips were trying to form a smile.
Clara seriously thought about grabbing a fork and jamming it into her thigh.

“So that’s what I– no, I mean that’s what she said… about… uh, yeah…”

“Oh, I see… That’s quite interesting… I don’t think there is a reason, you know? When someone likes or hates someone else, there is always some type of reason.”

“Y-Yeah…”

Clara ended up saying some heartfelt words that were stuck in the back of her throat.

In an instant, she felt like a parent sending her daughter off to get married and her imagination played a reel of some third-rate novel unfolding.
But Clara knew all too well that that was a waste of time.

Yennekar wanted to hide her love story.
If Clara rushed her to uncover it, Yennekar would only end up getting hurt.

Clara’s heart as Yennekar’s best friend was currently in a head-to-head fight with her heart as a girl curious about a friend’s love story.

This was more painful than running around on two legs to get favorable results for the disciplinary committee hearing.

However, what was the most important thing in all of this? Yennekar herself, that’s who.

As she had been saying all this time, she needed to protect her purity and innocence.
Clara took a deep breath and regained her composure.

Plaster on a refreshing smile and–

“Yennekar, don’t you think you’re worried about this too much? Whether you like or hate someone, it’s not as straight-cut as you might think.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.
Sometimes, you might hate someone simply because of their attitude, and sometimes you may really like them because they were by your side when you were having a hard time or when you were happy.
That’s just how humans work.
I don’t think you need to worry about this too much.”

Finding the reason why we like or hate someone should be left to scholars in fields such as psychology and philosophy.

“It’s okay to put those complicated feelings aside and just be honest with your current feelings– No, I mean your friend’s feelings.
Wouldn’t that be better for her?”

“Uhm… yeah.
I think you’re right.
Ha… as expected of you, Clara.”

Seeing Yennekar smiling like so, it felt like a knife was stuck in Clara’s heart.

“Although… Yennekar.
Thinking from your friend’s point of view, I don’t think they would like it very much if their sensitive concerns were circling among their friends, don’t you think? I think it’s better that you thought about it on your own rather than getting advice from others.”

Clara had just blocked the possibility of rumors spreading in advance.
She was the type of person to say such things straight to the point.

“Should I not? But that friend… she… I don’t think she cares about that sort of thing…”

“No, Yennekar.
Even if that was the case, talking about such sensitive concerns to friends… it wouldn’t be good for your reputation.”

“Oh..
oh! You’re right! You’re not disappointed in me, are you, Clara?”

Yennekar was such a lovely girl.
Clara had to swipe her hand over her face before regaining her composure.

“It's fine, Yennekar…”

“Great.
Anyways, thanks for giving me such meaningful advice.
I should go back to Ophelis Hall and report on my suspension period.”

“Alright, I’ll sit here for a bit more before I go.
I have something to think about…”

“Okay! It’s been so long.
It’s a relief to see that you’re doing well.
See you again after the disciplinary period is over, Clara!

Yennekar left the cafeteria after saying goodbye.

Clara put her face on the table after a while.

I did it, Anise.

She had lost every bit of strength throughout her entire body.

Clara ended up staying still for a while, recovering her energy.

 

* * *
 

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Translator – Plumper

Proofreader – kianianian

* * * 

 

 

[Name: Ed Rothstaylor]

Gender: Male

Age: 17

School Year: 2nd

Species: Human

Achievements: None

 

Vitality: 7

Intelligence: 7

Dexterity: 9

Willpower: 8

Luck: 6

 

Combat Skills Details ≫

Magic Skills Details ≫

Life Skills Details ≫

Alchemy Skills Details ≫

 

 

I was heading back to the northern forest with my shiny new chainsaw, hammer, and a bunch of nails.
I used some of the gold I had and bought some new tools to build my cabin.
Now that I’m done with the groundwork and all the preparations were complete, it was time to come into actually building the main body.

 

My Intelligence had gone up by two levels the night the Glasskan subjugation took place.

It was a stat that hadn’t gone up for months no matter how much I studied magic and whine about it.
The fact that it progressed as much was enough to make me emotional.

In addition, my Spirit Understanding and Spirit Resonance jumped all the way to level 10 and opened up spirit slots.
I was now able to use spirit skills and could even sign a contract with a high-ranking wind spirit.

Of course, it would be too much to sign a contract with a high-ranking spirit right now given my stats, but Merilda wasn’t going anywhere.
Once I was able to raise my magic skills a bit more, I would call on Merilda and sign one.

 

“What is this?”

“Your recommendation letter from Princess Penia had been confirmed.
The Glockt Foundation provides many benefits.
We’ll do our best to be considerate of the student’s opinion-”

“A scholarship.”

“Financial support may be important for you, but first, why don’t you listen to our explanation of the other benefits that-”

“A scholarship.”

“Our foundation provides academic support, preferential benefits when using living facilities, additional points for academic service scores, and most importantly, qualification to move to a better dormitory.”

“Ha… fair kingdom my ass… never mind, just give me the scholarship.”

 

Whatever the benefits might be, they would all be meaningless if my name was not on the school register.

Princess Penia had recognized my contribution during the subjugation and had given me a recommendation letter to the academic council and the Glockt Scholarship Foundation, just as she had promised. 

There wasn’t any reason to reject this windfall so I clenched my teeth and received by exemption from next semester’s full tuition payment.

It had earned me some time to focus on training.
It was such a relief.

After such a disastrous night, the second act of the game had begun. 

I held the woodworking tools in my arm as I walked back to the northern forest.

The flow of Act 2 was already playing out in my head.

A battle of nerves between the Elte Company and the Academic Affairs over a purchase ware.

What was interesting about Act 2 was that ‘Golden King Elte’, who had exuded the aura of being the act’s final boss, was, in fact, just a fake boss.
Elte would be kicked out of the story after his adopted daughter Lortel would stab him in the back at about the mid-to-late part of the act, and then the spotlight would move to the true hidden boss – ‘Inquirer Glast’. 

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Glast was the senior professor in charge of the first-year students.
He was not an easy opponent.
Taylee still had quite a long way to go before he could even defeat the mid-boss to reach Glast.
In Act 2, unlike in the first act, there were three mid-bosses.

‘The Decoy Totte,’ ‘Maid Elris’ and ‘Golden Daughter Lortel.’

As the act progressed and each chapter and event happened, the three of them were given different roles.
But among them, Lortel’s arc was the one that stood out the most.

She would later become the hidden heroine, but for Act 2, she was nothing but an overwhelming evil villain that made you hate her. 

Lortel had lived her life understanding and calculating profit while taking every opportunity that came her way.
She used every single thing that she could get her hands on.
She was a terrible villain who controlled the market, a merchant full of greed who did nothing but weigh her profits.
In the end, she even ended up using her stepfather who had adopted her and had used her as well.
She was someone who had truly lived a life of dark reality, her actions showing that she had been walking down a thorny road.

Anyway, I learned a lesson during the Glasskan Subjugation chapter.
I needed to carefully and consistently judge to make sure that the story was following the original timeline well or not.

I wouldn’t know how certain variables would change things, so, at the very least, I needed to do my utmost best to make sure I was not involved in any way so as not to ruin things.

I mean, I was already busy taking care of my own life as it was.

“Oh?”

I saw Yennekar in the distance as I passed by Ophelis Hall.

Come to think of it, it was about time her probation period came to an end.
All that was left was the suspension period.
She must have wanted to get some fresh air.

Now that I thought about it, I didn’t have much of an opinion on Yennekar after Act 1.

“Hmm…”

It would be a bit awkward to pretend that we were close all of a sudden when I was openly trying to distance myself from her.

But Yennekar had already completed her role and exited the main stage.
She no longer had a significant impact on the main story.
Right now, her importance didn’t differ much from that of a senior maid.

In order to live well in this world, there were many things I needed to do and accomplish such as train myself, obtain a good degree, and create a better living environment for myself.

However, among the many types of assets there were, there was a unique power that could never be replaced.
And that was personal connections.

If I thought about it, Yennekar was such a promising figure that Elte Company had taken action and cleared all her debts.
After she graduates from Silvenia with her degree, she could very well become quite an amazing individual.

Furthermore, since she was already off the main story anyway, wouldn’t it be okay for me to try and connect with her at this point?

If there was anything I was nervous about right now, it was Ed Rothstaylor’s changed evaluation.
Among the main characters, there seemed to be some people who were highly evaluating me unnecessarily.
The rumors circulating among the first-years had now upgraded me to a rude punk but with something else going on for me.

But it was a completely separate matter what the second-years thought. 

Yennekar must have heard quite a bit of gossip about me today.
And I was in an environment where my reputation could be flipped over at any time.

Although Yennekar wasn’t the type of person to be swayed by rumors like that.
She usually treated me well.

Wouldn’t it be alright to say hello and try to become close? I didn’t think it would be easy to have a chance to connect with someone like Yennekar. 

“Alright…”

I nodded as I walked towards Yennekar, who was slowly walking towards Ophelis Hall.

“Hey, Yennekar.
I guess your probation just finished?”

I casually greeted her.

It would be normal for her to receive such a sudden greeting.
After all, she was an idol loved by everyone in our year.

Once she receives my greeting cheerfully, we could probably make some small talk about our personal stories superficially, then maybe say goodbye in just as cheerful a manner.
Then I could return to going about my own business.

I waited for her response as I drew out the plan in my head.

“Uhm, yeah! Hm!”

But as soon as our eyes met, Yennekar took a step back, tightly gripping her oak wand.

“Yeah, Ed! Hmmm!”

She looked like she had a hard time processing something.
I couldn’t even maintain eye contact with her as she kept looking everywhere else, rolling her eyes about, as if she had overloaded.

“I’m..! I’m going to Ophelis Hall! Something to do! See you next time! Bye!”

Then she ran away, as if she was afraid to talk to me any longer.

Uh….?

Now even Yennekar, who was such a rare saint, was cutting me off.
Quite the amazing achievement, I must say.

Rumors were seriously scary.
But I could understand.

No matter how strong her willpower was, she was bound to be swayed by these rumors, as they get repeated over such a long period of time.
The power of a royal was indeed powerful.

It felt terrible to lose the chance to establish a connection with such a great person.
Although, I wasn’t that badly insulted or depressed over it.
I just couldn’t help but feel disappointed.
But hey, what could I do?

I nodded my head in resignation and silently mourned my first-class human connection flying away from me.

I won’t be too clingy.
Eat well and live long, Yennekar…

 

I gathered the materials I needed for the construction of my cabin and went on my way.
Since the basic design work was completed, this was now a good opportunity to train my production skills.

Now that I had more time on my hands… it was time to train some more.

 

____

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