“Is that so?”
Yi-han didn't let his emotion show.
After all, he was a hardened veteran when it came to dealing with crazy professors.
“Perhaps it is as you say, and I'll be able to get a good grade in alchemy as long as I'm passionate about it.”
'But I'm not coming back to this class ever again after today.'
The professor seemed smug when he heard this.
“Then you should just take this course.”
“…But there are other classes that I want to check out…”
“There's no need for that.
None of them will be better than mine.”
“Still, I'd like to…”
“No! You must take this course!”
Yi-han was starting to feel uneasy as he noticed that the other students were staring at him with expressions of jealousy.
– As expected of a Wardanaz…
– His talent must be impressive…
'This is pissing me off.'
Professor Uregor looked around their surrounding before making an announcement.
“Class ends here today.
Unfortunately, none of the other groups appear to have clashed with the boars.”
“…Professor, were the boars your doing?” A student asked in disbelief.
What they encountered were only boars in-name as they were essentially monsters.
If they had been unlucky, they might have died after having their bones crushed and their innards gutted out.
“You thought I'd have you guys explore the forest just to collect some herbs? I wanted you to also experience the dangers that accompany it,” Uregor said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“I see how it is.
Think about it.
The professor must have prepared some safety measures in advance.
I bet he was secretly following us.”
One student tried to make sense of what happened.
When the others heard his theory, they began nodding.
'That would explain it,' they thought.
“Huh? Why would I secretly follow you?”
Professor Dwarf stared at them, confused as to what they were talking about.
“I rushed over because one of you managed to take down the boar.”
“W-what if something bad had happened?”
“That would just mean you have no talent for alchemy.”
Yi-han could almost hear the students cussing in their heads.
'This son of a…!'
“As alchemists, you must learn to handle unexpected situations, be it through capturing, hiding, fleeing, or dodging.
“Then…were the Grass of Cleansing unnecessary?” Yonaire cautiously asked while raising her hand.
Uregor seemed surprised.
“You found them?”
Didn't think you'd actually get your hands on them.
You pass as well! Now, come over here.
You must also take this course.”
Yonaire, who was puzzled, also got dragged to his side.
“Um…I didn't find them by myself.
Nilia over there also helped.”
“Is that so? You pass! Come over here!”
Nilia fell victim next.
She had no idea whether she was supposed to be happy or sad.
“And Wardanaz helped as well…”
“Then you really must join our class!”
Yi-han had half given up at this point.
Running away was now impossible.
Even if he refused to take the class, nothing good would come of offending the professor.
If he turned him down now, this dwarf might even show up in a different lecture to drag him back.
“…I'll try my best to excel in this class.
Learning alchemy has always been my dream after all!”
Uregor grinned, knowing what Yi-han was up to.
He seemed the most mature out of all the freshmen present at the scene.
He was clearly uninterested in alchemy, yet the moment he realized he couldn't escape, he changed his tune.
Children of nobility were usually terrible at hiding emotions because they never had to.
Hence, it was interesting to see someone like Yi-han who knew how to endure and be patient.
“Now, don't be too sad about it.
There are perks to learning alchemy,” Uregor said as if to console him.
Getting a disciple was never easy.
Much like how students evaluated their professors based on the quality of their lessons, the professors did the same with their students, and when a student they liked appeared, they would tightly hold on to them, just like what Uregor was doing.
Nevertheless, if they were too forceful about it, the student might flee, which was why it was important to entice them with treats.
“You see, my hut is near the forest.
Normally, I wouldn't let anyone near, but since you were able to take down the boar and find the herb, I'll bestow upon you the privilege to visit whenever you want.”
'What sort of bs is this?'
The right to visit the professor's house.
'Is he talking about the right to clean, the right to throw away his trash, and the right to work as his slave?'
“…Ah, I should probably explain more in-depth,” Uregor hurriedly said, knowing what Yi-han was thinking based on the glint in his eyes.
“Do you know what Ironheads desire most?”
“A class that gives easy grades?”
“…You sure you're a Wardanaz? I mean, that would be nice too, but the answer is food.
You guys look terrible enough now, but a week later, some of you will be ready to feast upon your fellow classmates.”
Uregor's words made some sense.
80% of the students here were used to leading comfortable lives without needing to worry about food.
They would obviously have trouble adapting if they were suddenly thrown into an environment that only served hard bread and cold riceballs.
“But if you visit my hut, you'll have access to the meat and fish I catch, as well as the spices and vegetables I harvest from a secret location inside the forest.
You catch my drift?”
It was then that Yi-han understood what he meant.
It was essentially a free buffet!
“Lad, I'm starting to like you even more now.”
The professor-student duo firmly shook hands as they strengthened their bonds.
The class soon ended, and the students left for their next lesson, some murmuring that they were never going to return.
However, Yi-han remained seated, making Yonaire and Nilia curious.
“Aren't you going to leave?”
“I'll be dissecting the boar.”
Uregor was genuinely impressed.
He had never seen a freshman adapt this quickly to the new environment.
“Professor, are you sure this is edible?”
“It may look fierce, but the meat should be fine.”
May I borrow some equipment so that I can dismantle and smoke it?”
“Lad, you like alchemy that much?”
“Yes, I really love alchemy.”
Yi-han had decided to face reality and embrace alchemy.
'If what the professor said is true, I can't just sit back and wait.'
They had been given various hints up until now.
From the moment they were admitted, the principal had told them to seek answers within the academy, and that they would not be given anything, nor would they be allowed to leave the academy.
In other words, the freshmen had to come up with their own way to gather food!
'To think an academy like this exists…you know what, I'm not even surprised anymore.'
This was an academy where people sometimes died without anyone knowing.
Getting your own food wasn't too shocking compared to that.
Yi-han carried the boars one by one to a nearby river as flowing water was preferable when draining blood and butchering meat.
“I'll help you.”
Yonaire pulled up her sleeves as she said so.
“We'll have to deal with grosser materials in the future.
This is nothing.
But you'll give me some meat in exchange, right?”
Yi-han thought he heard a growl from Yonaire's stomach.
Nilia, who was watching them from behind, was still reluctant.
“Are you really going to butcher them!?”
“But why…we're in the academy…”
“Aren't you hungry?”
“…Fine! I'll help as well!”
Yi-han had gone on hunts before with Arlong and had learned how to catch and butcher animals.
Nilia, on the other hand, was a professional, and even Yonaire wasn't an amateur as she had experience handling various materials.
“Here are the equipment.
These should suffice.”
Uregor brought them the necessary equipment.
He was staring at them with curious eyes, wondering what they'll do next.
Yi-han grabbed a knife and began to skin the boars.
'He's quite good.'
Nilia was honestly surprised.
She didn't think a noble would be as proficient as her.
The trio worked hard to skin the boars before moving on to butchering the meat and drying them on branches.
Since the boars were huge, there was a lot of meat, and Yi-han wasn't planning on throwing away the innards either.
'I'll turn them into sausages.'
Who knew how long this hellish freshmen experience would continue.
It was better to stock up on food when they could.
“Planning on smoke-drying the meat?”
“Not bad…!” Uregor exclaimed.
It wasn't a good idea to leave the meat unattended.
Though it was chilly outside, they would rot after some time.
By smoke-drying the meat, they would last much longer, a piece of welcoming news to the freshmen.
“Professor, we'll be using this firewood.”
“H-hold on a second…”
Uregor panicked when he saw Yi-han grab some of the firewood near the hut.
Being what it was, the quality of the firewood was important when it came to smoke-drying.
'Those are firewood made from precious apple trees…'
Yi-han could tell if something was good from one look and had decided to use them.
Though it felt like a waste, Uregor smacked his lips.
Will this suffice?”
“Yes, it's more than enough.”
Thick smoke began to rise up as the smell of meat permeated the air.
There was sweat on the foreheads of the three students that had worked hard for the food.
Yi-han turned toward the source of the sound.
It hadn't been from Yonaire, neither had it been from Nilia.
It had been from Professor Dwarf.
“A little bit.”
Yi-han stood up from his seat.
If a professor was feeling peckish, it was a graduate student's duty to take care of his needs.
'Since there's so much meat, cooking some should be fine.'
“Professor, can we have some bread and butter?”
“…Just don't take too much…”
Though he grumbled, there wasn't much he could say as he would be sharing the meal as well.
Yi-han took out a frying pan and a piece of meat.
First, he seasoned the meat with salt and pepper before kneading it with his hands.
“What are you doing?”
“Just some basic prep work.”
Uregor found Yi-han's so-called “prep work” fascinating.
'What's wrong with just cooking it…'
Yi-han didn't stop there.
Using his knife, he made some cuts on the meat, wrapped oil around the surface of the frying pan, and finally placed the meat on top of it.
The sound of meat being grilled was accompanied by a wonderful smell.
Yi-han also placed the vegetables he took from the hut on top of the meat.
“Why are you stopping?”
The meat hadn't fully been cooked yet.
Seeing Yi-han stop in his track for some reason, the professor panicked.
“Now I'm going to add some butter.”
“You aren't doing this to show me that you have no talent in alchemy, right?” The professor asked suspiciously.
No matter what Yi-han did, he had no intention of letting him go.
“Just wait and see.”
The meat was gradually cooked, and the meal was soon prepared.
It consisted of pork steak, grilled vegetables, as well as bread and butter taken from the hut.
The bread wasn't fresh out of the oven, but it was much better than the black bread provided to the freshmen.
Everyone suddenly became quiet as they gobbled down the meal, with Uregor eating the most ravenously.
The dwarven professor took a slice of meat and placed it between some bread before taking a big bite.
Afterward, he headed for his hut by himself and returned with a jar of jam.
“…I'll share it with you, so don't stare at me like that.”
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