and it was also announced that she would enter a special dormitory under the personal supervision of Senior Professor Josephine.

 

  Because of that, Marie had naturally been at the center of every conversation in the campus for the past few days, and that was no different for one of the related personnel, Jaeger.

 

  “Oi.
That demon senior… I mean, Senior Marie is coming out today right?”

 

  “I think so? And don’t even think about calling her a ‘demon’ and whatever in front of the 2nd year seniors.
You’ll be actually bashed to death.”

 

  “H, hmm…”

 

  Jaeger didn’t seem confident in containing his chattery mouth.

 

  “All done.”

 

  “Ohh~ Korin.
You’re pretty good at cooking aren’t you?”

 

  “That mashed potato looks nice.
Looks like you have a lot, so do you mind me trying a little?”

 

  “Just wait.
Let me pack some of it up first.”

 

  The mashed potato that was made with the remainder from the potato sheets was quite decent.
After packing some of it up, I ate the rest with the other guys which marked a successful end to the domestic lesson.

 

  ****

 

  “Sorry, Isabelle.
I… I’m so sorry…”

 

  “No! I, I’m telling you it’s okay.”

 

  At the back door of the central lecture building, Isabelle was starting to feel tired from the constant over-the-top apology of her friend.
On the first day of Marie awakening into a vampire, Isabelle had been attacked and had been unconscious for a long time.

 

  Having her blood sucked out was by no means a good experience, but Isabelle had her own share of combat experience as a 2nd year student of the Magic Department.
She was rather used to being exposed to fights and blood losses.

 

  Marie was more important than that.
When Isabelle ran to her after hearing the news and called her name while gasping for breath, what she had gotten in response was Marie taking a step back in fear.

 

  ‘Marie was crying back then, wasn’t she?’

 

  How scary would it have been for her? How confusing would everything have been?

 

  Isabelle was as empathetic as a person could be when it came to things related to Marie, who had been her roommate ever since their 1st year at the Academy.

 

  She heard how vampires would usually be swept away by their intense impulse to suck blood when first awakening into one.
Isabelle was very proud of how Marie had been able to stop herself in the middle and come to her senses.

 

  “I’m sorry… I thought about how I should apologize but there’s nothing I can do… this is the only thing I can do to ask for your apology…”

 

  “It’s okay, it’s okay! It’s normal for things like this to sometimes happen in life!”

 

  As expected of Marie’s friend, she had a bright and optimistic perspective. 

 

  That was why she had readily accepted the offer of Chairman Eriu and Lady Josephine who requested her to refrain from mentioning the fact that her blood had been sucked by Marie for Marie’s sake. 

 

  Even though they promised to give her a significant present as compensation, Isabelle adamantly turned them down.

 

  Her belief was that compensation was unnecessary when protecting a friend. 

 

  Now that Marie had regained her sense of self and had more than enough verifications from the professors of the Magic Department, there should be no need to mention this topic again.

 

  “You’ll be going into the special dormitory soon, right?”

 

  “N, nn… Just in case.”

 

  “Marie.
Everyone will still be your friends, and that’s the same with me.
Do you still consider me your friend?”

 

  “Of course.
But…”

 

  Isabelle patted Marie who was immersed in her sense of guilt.

 

  “Thank you, Isabelle.”

 

  Marie leaned her small and adorable body on Isabelle’s chest.
In Isabelle’s eyes, Marie still looked adorable and cute even when she was gloomy from guilt.

 

  Feeling like the characters of a youth drama, Isabelle was very content with the satisfying turn of events.
She was open-minded enough to disregard the experience of her blood being sucked out. 

 

  “Oh, there you are.”

 

  It was when she was savoring Marie’s hug that a seemingly insolent and arrogant… yet cheerful voice echoed across.

 

  “Korin?”

 

  Marie’s voice was directed beyond her shoulders.
When Isabelle stiffly turned her gaze to the back, she saw a boy who gave off a wild impression.

 

  She had seen him before.
He was the freshman student who that stupid Kane picked a fight with for no reason – he was a subject of caution who Marie had been greatly interested in these days. 

 

  “W, why are you here?!”

 

  Marie asked as her golden pupils glistened and blinked cheerfully, in contrast with the gloomy look from before.
During her question, she jumped out of Isabelle’s hug and hopped her way towards him.

 

  Uhh…

 

  The only thing Isabelle could do was watch the girl run forward in a hurry.

 

  “You’re looking healthy.”

 

  “Nn! It’s been a while!”

 

  “Has it? We saw each other two days ago, didn’t we?”

 

  What? What was going on?

 

  Why was Marie talking cheerfully with that freshman who she met two days ago, instead of me, her friend whom she hadn’t met for a week?

 

  More importantly, were normal students even allowed to visit her two days ago?

 

  They seemed quite close as well, didn’t they? Why was that freshman talking casually to Marie, whom every 2nd year student was dying to talk to?

 

  “Here.
Congrats on your discharge.”

 

  “Wow! Mashed potatoes! It’s my favorite!”

 

  “Have that when you’re hungry, and this one here is also for you.”

 

  “Tofu?”

 

  “It’s given to people that come out of prison in hopes they live a pure life from now on1.
Well, it’s just an Eastern culture.”

  

 

  “Wow~.
Korin you’re so smart!”

 

  Marie unhesitatingly dug into the white and unseasoned tofu.

 

  Then, she gave a bright smile with bulging cheeks without even swallowing the tofu inside her mouth.
Gazing down at her with a facial expression that wasn’t too different from Isabelle’s was the freshman boy.

 

  “Why don’t you take your time? Slow down.”

 

  “Uht, uuhht! Mhmm! Ahht?!”

 

  As if those words overlapped with something from the past, Marie reacted like a broken doll.
Her cheeks were deeply flushed in red as she took several steps back and immediately hid herself behind Isabelle’s back. 

 

  “Nn?”

 

  “I, it’s… nothin… I mean, thanks for the tofu! It’s great! Ah, actually, I need to go somewhere with Isabelle!”

 

  Marie blabbered gibberish while making up things that they hadn’t even decided on.

 

  It was good that Marie had returned to her, but Isabelle couldn’t help but notice the meaning behind Marie’s gaze.

 

  ‘See you later, thank you.
I’m a bit busy!’ saying that, Marie looked keen on sending Korin away and yet was constantly sneaking a glance at his face.

 

  “Are you busy? Well, that’s unfortunate.
Take care of yourself and see you next time.”

 

  “Aht.
Nn? Umm… okay…”

 

  Isabelle did not miss the look of regret that flashed past her eyes.

 

  This can’t be!

 

  Isabelle’s instincts warned her that this was that thing.

 

  She had no idea how that freshman was able to deceive this lovely and adorable highest-achieving student of the 2nd year Magic Department, but the animosity that rose inside her from the sense of betrayal that she received from Marie was instead pointed at the man.

 

  He looked like a wolf and a bad guy who would have made countless girls sad.

 

  In her eyes, his wild appearance suddenly appeared to be that of a delinquent; his muscular body looked like that of a savage bully of the Knight Department; and his easy-going and considerate actions as that of a fully-experienced playboy.

 

  Isabelle pitifully gazed at her friend but without understanding the message implied by her gaze, Marie simply lamented in regret.

 

  “S, see you later…”

 

  There were so many things Isabelle wanted to say after seeing Marie shyly force out her words of farewell after the boy was pretty much gone, but swallowed most of them back.

 

  “Marie.”

 

  “N, nn? Why?”

 

  “Men… are all wolves.
Be careful.”

 

  “Umm? Is Korin also a wolf then?”

 

  Geez.
Is that who you immediately thought of? Are you not even going to try to hide it?

 

  “Wolf… wolf… Nn.
That’s a cool animal.”

 

  The advice that Isabelle gave in fear that this innocent and unaware girl might make a mistake ended up bringing about a reaction that was completely different from her intention.

 

  ****

 

  I heard that the special dormitory where Marie would be going into would be a building that had a mixed appearance of the western and the eastern continents.
It was probably going to be the same dormitory as the one Hua Ran was in.

 

  I could only hope that Marie would be fine at the special dormitory away from her friends, and be on good terms with the one and only other person that would be living there with her.

 

  “Hmm~”

 

  My stats had an explosive increase after resolving Marie’s incident.
100 points… that was the same as leveling up 20 times.
I also earned 15 points through several missions on the weekend, and that summed up to 115 points.

 

  Besides, both the Aura Rank and the Mana Rank went up by one level.

 

  Even though the equal distribution of stats meant that my stats wouldn’t be distributed efficiently, the sheer amount of stat gain was enough to make my body incomparably different from before. 

 

  Now with this, my physique was at an okay level.

 

  As long as I raised my Aura Rank and consumed the Mandrakes that were growing up nicely… I should be able to use the Sixth Style before the final boss fight of the 2nd Arc.

 

  Considering how I could only use the Sixth Style near the end of the previous iteration, it was a ridiculous growth speed.

 

  In the upcoming 2nd Arc, my individual strength would also become extremely important, so I had to reach the sufficient level as soon as possible.

 

  ‘Huhu.
I have Mandrakes.’

 

  Just thinking of the three Mandrake brothers that should be growing nicely at the dormitory made my heart race!

 

  ‘That much should be enough.
The concerns are the Murderer of the City of Fog and the King of Iron Mountain… as well as dealing with that traitor.’

 

  The Murderer, John Doe, was a key that would link me to Lunia Arden.
It will be through this event that Alicia will grow into the True Alicia mode.

 

  Alicia Arden was the key character of the 2nd Arc’s storyline.
She needed to learn Domain Severance and defeat the final boss of the 2nd Arc, ‘King of Iron Mountain’ with the help of Sword Master Lunia Arden.

 

  And because I had to deal with that bothersome guy by myself, I had to save my strength as much as possible during the fight against the King of Iron Mountain. 

 

  Well, there was still some time until this would happen.
The ‘Murderer of the City of Fog’ incident which had acted as the catalyst that awakened Marie in the original storyline hadn’t even occurred yet. 

 

  However, there was the chance that the events would happen earlier than scheduled like what happened recently, so I had to prepare as much as possible ahead of time.

  

  “What is Alicia even doing these days?”

 

  She used to come to the training rooms a few times on the first few days but I couldn’t even see her shadow these days. 

 

  That talented yet weak-minded and untraining genius – when exactly would she start wielding her sword properly? 

 

  Because I knew of her talents and her circumstances, I simply waited for the time being.

Footnotes:

1

TLN: When people get discharged from prison, their friends or family would bring tofu.
It’s white and it symbolizes purity.
The common rule is to eat it raw without any condiments or sauces, because adding spices or other ingredients ruins the symbolic meaning of having a white tofu.

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