sinner who deserved to die.
He was a typical delinquent and a demi-human racist, but he was not a massive bully and he was just in the rough and unstoppable moments of his youth.

 

  He was just a young and immature kid compared to the actually terrible delinquents whose lives were a series of sexual assaults and robberies. 

 

  He had some skill and was a Grade 3 Knight.
Looking down on peers who had a lower Grade and feeling superior was quite common in his age. 

 

  Those are the days, you know.

 

– Look.
They are Grade 5.

 

– Wow, how do you get that?

 

– So some people do lose to short hounds and ghosts, huh.

 

  Jaeger wasn’t the only one with such an attitude and most of the students were the same. 

 

  There was always at the very bottom.
Grade 4 students, which was the majority of students, sent condescending gazes at the Grade 5 students, whereas the Grade 5 students who were at the very bottom dropped their heads in embarrassment and frustration.

 

  They would at least hit Grade 4 before graduation and that was already considered quite good outside.
Even though they might be treated like trash here, they were still superhumans outside.

 

  None of them would be starving to death no matter what they did anyway, but as expected of kids who had yet to suffer from the unemployment crisis, their perception of their future was very optimistic. 

 

  But well… that’s what kids should be like.
It would be great if their embarrassment and frustration would act as a positive catalyst for their growth but…

 

  ‘Lark’s also here.’

 

  Typical nerd glasses and freckles… up to there it was normal, but the skull spellbook in his hands was definitely a tell-tale sign that he was a severe chuunibyou patient.

 

  The reason he died was because he framed me and Sihu after giving in to his inferiority complex. 

 

  I was wondering whether I should kindly let him participate in the enlightening method of ‘Soviet Russia’ when the mic started to go off at the stage.

 

– Kuhum!

 

  There was a man testing the mic and the voice amplification magic.

 

  “Good morning, freshmen.
I am the chairman, Eriu Casarr.
Let me make this brief.”

 

  There was no sign of him showing off his authority in his composed voice and the expressionless look on his face.
He was respectful and dignified.
He looked young but there was an underlying layer of composure which made it difficult to discern his age. 

 

  Chairman of Merkarva Academy, Eriu Casarr.
The strongest helper and bystander of the main quest.

 

  It had truly been a very long time. 

 

  “In this academy, you will be learning the most intense and the most dangerous techniques of the world.
Some of you might already be strong, and some of you might not be as strong.
I cannot guarantee you that everyone will achieve their goals.”

 

  The students created a fuss in response to the chairman’s words.

 

  “However, I do wish that everyone here may discover the correct direction of their lives.
Our job is to help you take that first step.
Starting from the second step, it will be up to you.
That’s it from me.
Hope you have a wonderful day.”

 

  With that, the chairman left the stage.
There was a short break after the chairman’s speech, which the freshmen used to get to know each other.

 

 “I am a Grade 3 Knight, Jaeger Hinzpeter! You see—”

 

  Among the freshmen was a guy who showed off his Grade and bragged about himself…

 

  “…”

 

  As well as a gloomy nerd flipping the pages of a spell book in the corner.

 

  In the previous iteration, I had close to zero friends because of that damned Park, because I was forced to stay next to him the whole day.

 

  Gosh… Thinking of how there was a hidden desire concealed behind all that gave me goosebumps.

 

  I was glancing around to check whether the kids that died to Park were doing okay or not, and saw Jaeger striking up a conversation with Lark.

 

  “Oi, what Grade are you?”

 

  “Hu, huh?”

 

  Lark was flustered from the sudden chat and slowly closed the spell book.
Thinking back, I remembered how Jaeger picked a fight with Grade 5 students on the first day.

 

  “G, Grade 5.”

 

  “Grade 5? So you’re a weakling.”

 

  Jaeger condescendingly gave a remark while Lark was shivering in front of the tattooed delinquent. 

 

  Ohh… It felt like I was back to being a teenager.
Such immaturity… was refreshing.

 

  “Did you fail at killing the ghost? I suppose you could have been scared because some of them do look like a Grade 3.
I wasn’t though.”

 

  “Uhh…”

 

  “Huh? Wait, did you die to the short hounds and not the ghost? For real? Uhahaha!”

 

  I was watching with an intrigued expression but Lark tightened his fist and looked fairly upset. 

 

  He wasn’t the only one.
The small group of students that received Grade 5 in the test were embarrassed about their ranks which were easier counted from the bottom. 

 

  “You know what, I killed those weak-ass short hounds in like 3 minutes…”

 

  “Hello, friends!”

 

  I suddenly wrapped my arms around them.
Neither of them noticed me until I touched them.

 

  “Uht?”

 

  “W, what?”

 

  The two of them rolled their eyes in surprise from my sudden approach.
What was I supposed to do with these young teenage boys?

 

  “Y, you, who are you?”

 

  Lark took a step back after seeing my face.
It wasn’t clear whether he was surprised by my jump-scare or my appearance. 

 

  “That tattoo looks pretty sick.”

 

  “Hu, huh?”

 

  “Looks neat.
The one who did it must be very good at it.”

 

  “Huh? Yeah? R, right?”

 

  I praised the tattoo and gave a compliment to the one who did it, which was highly likely to be his mother.
He wouldn’t have expected me to know about the tattooist, so it must have sounded like a genuine compliment to him.

 

  Plus, his tattoo was not just there for show.

 

  “That thing on the back of your neck is the symbol for your blood type right? To get a blood transfusion as quickly as possible when you get hurt, yeah? Damn, you’re prepared.”

 

  “Yeah, right!”

 

  The reason I knew this was because I had talked to Jaeger’s parents before.
Because Park and I were the last ones to see Jaeger, we were summoned a few times. 

 

  Jaeger’s tattoo was proof of his parent’s concern for their son who was entering the guardian academy.

 

  Park Sihu that fucking psychopath… Acting like nothing happened in front of Jaeger’s parents…

 

  “Actually, this is what my mom did for me.
She’s more of a line work specialist, but she did it old school for me.”

 

  “That looks excellent.
Do you have more?”

 

  “Yeah.
I did one on my arm.
It’s the symbol of Merkarva Academy, and has a chariot flying through the sky.”

 

  Pulling his sleeves, Jaeger bragged about his tattoo.
As he said, there was a chariot and a sky behind it, which was the symbol of Merkarva Academy, imprinted on his right arm. 

 

  After that,

 

  I just listened to Jaeger excitedly talk about himself.
Although I didn’t really know the technical terms like ‘line work’ and ‘old school’, what I knew was that you only needed to give energetic nods to be a great listener.

 

  “I’m Korin Lork.”

 

  “Jaeger Hinzpeter.”

 

  He found out what my Grade was during the conversation, but unlike what he did with Lark, he didn’t even mention it.
People generally did not bother bad-mouthing someone who they had a good impression of. 

 

  Because of that, he didn’t continue picking a fight against Lark, who was in the same Grade as me.

 

  That should have left a positive first impression. 

 

  This guy – Lark; if I remember correctly… His specialty was Memorize.
He would be of great help. 

 

  He… was the way for me to access the grimoire, the free skill book.

 

****

 

  Alicia had a low self-esteem and was bad at expressing her opinion.

 

  That was why despite her strength, she became timid in front of her impressive peers and couldn’t speak up to them. 

 

  She had been worn out and harassed by the people of her household that supported her older sister.

 

— How can someone like you be at the same position as Lady Lunia?

 

  Due to being the illegitimate child of the current head of the family, Gerard Arden, and the child of a concubine, she had been faint-hearted from a young age.

 

  She was always compared to her smart sibling, harassed and mocked.
She was the ‘young lady’ of the household, but there was no weight behind that title.

 

  “Grade 5? So you’re a weakling.”

 

  Ahh, he looks like a delinquent.
He even has a tattoo…

 

  Feeling like her PTSD was coming back up, Alicia forced herself to turn her head away from him.
It was because there used to be a lot of people in the household who had tattoos. 

 

  She thought there would be no-one saving that poor boy, like what happened to her.

 

  “That tattoo looks pretty sick.”

 

  “Hu, huh?”

 

  That was when another boy showed up.
The peer called Korin Lork, who was assigned as a mere Grade 5 Knight, approached the delinquent-looking Jaeger without any hesitation.
He complimented his tattoos, gave deep nods and skilfully led the conversation with Jaeger.

 

  Everyone watching knew that Korin had stepped in to help his peer from being harassed.

 

  ‘…Incredible.’

 

  He didn’t rely on strength nor did he try to talk down or criticize the opponent.
The boy had gotten rid of the seed of harassment in a very adept manner. 

 

  Even though he was also a Grade 5 himself, and even though he should’ve known that he could have become the next target, he still stepped up for his peers. 

 

  Today must have been the first day they met.

 

  He had never even talked to Lark before.

 

  Although he would be getting nothing in return, he took a step forward nonetheless.

 

  That boy called Korin even gave off a sense of dignity and experience.

 

  ‘What a nice person.’

 

  Showing non-calculative kindness that gives a good impression… Was it just a coincidence that he reminded her of the benefactor she met in the forest?

 

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