Most of the students at the academy considered magic to be a means to an end.
They didn’t think to themselves “I’ll learn fire magic to start campfires and water magic to quench my thirst”.
Instead, they had the ambition of polishing their foundation and diving deep into a field of magic, eventually becoming a pioneer in that field and obtaining enlightenment.


For that reason, Nilia didn’t think highly of her fire magic.
Even without her wand and her magic, she could easily start a fire just with some stones and twigs.


On the other hand, she had been interested in water magic for a long time, so she would’ve been much happier if her affinity with water had been high instead…


“Nilia, be grateful for the magic you have.”


“I-I guess you’re right…”


Nilia nodded without thinking, overwhelmed by the serious air around Yi-han.


‘Is he praising my magic??’


As a member of the Wardanaz Family famed for its magic, he might have found her attitude towards her own magic unacceptable.


She looked away in embarrassment.


Yi-han, however, was thinking about something completely different.


‘If I could reign in my mana, fire magic would’ve been the first thing I learned.
How envious.’



With their hands and feet warmed up, their thirst quenched, and their hunger satiated with bread and cheese, their fatigue slowly went away.


‘It’s about time we check if the undeads are still there.’


Yi-han decided to check up on the principal’s spawns.
Based on that crazy personality of his, there was a good chance they were still around.




“Right, let’s go take a look.”


Taking the hint, Nilia stood up from where she was sitting.


Darkness enveloped the two as they stepped out of the cave, and the result of their investigation was apparent after just a few minutes.




“Damn it.”


The foot of the mountain was still brightly lit, as if a belt of fire was surrounding the mountain.
The undead’s encirclement was as strong as ever.


“I swear, that bastard is completely insane.”


“I-I agree with what you say, but are you sure it’s okay to say it out loud?”


Nilia seemed afraid of possible retribution by the principal for speaking badly of him.


“It’s fine.
No one’s listening, so all’s well.”


“I-Is that how it works?”


“Nilia, to learn magic, you must learn to think freely.
I bet the principal would gladly accept the curses thrown his way if it means we can free up our thought.”


Yi-han was truly talented in coming up with absolute gibberish on the spot.
Coupled with his sculpture-like expression, his serious manner of speech managed to convince Nilia, who only had a rudimentary understanding of magic.


‘It kind of makes sense…’


“That darn principal! He’s like a grizzly bear! I hope the wolves take him aw-”




“Uaaaaang! Please forgive me! I was wrong!”


Nilia clinged onto Yi-han with tears in her eyes the moment she heard the rustling of leaves from ahead.


Yi-han carefully peeled her off from his chest as one would a leech, staring intently at the direction where the sound came from.


“Careful, Nilia.
Someone’s here.”


The other party seemed to have also noticed their presence.


“Who’s there?”


“That’s our question.”


“We’re members of the White Tigers.”


So not all of them were caught.”


Yi-han clicked his tongue.


He was wondering why the undeads had not left yet.
Turned out some students of the White Tigers managed to flee amidst the chaos.


After a few more rustling of leaves and tree branches, the White Tigers appeared before Yi-han and Nilia, looking like an absolute mess.
In fact, they looked no different from beggars on the street.




“As I said, we’re from the White Tigers.”




– Punishment to the students that went against the esteemed principal.


– Punishment to the students that went against the esteemed principal.


Unlike Yi-han and his friends, the students of the White Tigers initially planned to break through the encirclement.
However, what greeted them was an innumerable number of skeletons.


They had to fight their pursuers while listening to the rattling of bones and the chill-inducing chants.


The skeletons used bones as clubs, and though getting hit wasn’t fatal, the first hit would slow them down, the second would stop them in their tracks, and the third would knock them down.




“To attack us in numbers.
How cowardly of them…Ahhhh!”


Though they did their best to take down the skeletons and the bone hounds that came after them using the swordsmanship they were proud of, the members of the White Tigers eventually began to fall one after another.


– Suppression complete.


– Suppression complete.


“…Flee upward! Upward, I say!”


Jijel was the quickest to analyze the situation and gave orders to her fellow dormmates.


‘This encirclement wasn’t designed to be broken through!’


Unlike Yi-han who didn’t trust the principal one bit, she mistakenly believed that they had a chance of escaping because of what he said earlier.


If they stubbornly tried to flee downward, what awaited them was capture.
Knowing this, she brought the remaining students up the mountain.


Fortunately, their pursuers did not follow them.




“Moradi, are you sure…haaa…going up is the right choice? There aren’t any paths.”


“Summons can’t last a long time.
They’ll soon disappear.”


If Yi-han was beside them, he would’ve pointed out the flaw in her argument, saying something along the lines of “That’s only the case for lousy mages.
You think the principal’s in the same league as them?”


Unfortunately, the White Tigers’ understanding of magic wasn’t that deep.
They simply nodded after hearing what Jijel said.


“What should we do in the meantime?”


“We wait and recover our stamina.
We need to start a fire…no, I guess finding shelter comes first.
Somewhere that can block the cold wind.”


Hearing her instructions, the students of the White Tigers started looking around.
Though they weren’t as adept as Nilia in navigating the mountains, they were confident in their stamina.


Their muscles were screaming in pain, and their throats were like the Sahara desert, but they kept searching.




“I heard a sound just now.”


“Is it a beast?”


“Let’s kill it if it’s a beast.
We’re starving here.”


However, what they heard wasn’t the roaring of a beast, but rather the sound of someone talking.


The White Tigers were shocked when they realized this.
Who could be out and about at this hour?


“…Who’s there?”


“That’s our question.”


“We’re members of the White Tigers.”


So not all of them were caught.”


Surprisingly, they were met with students from the Blue Dragons.



“This way.”


The White Tigers awkwardly entered the cave.


They felt extremely uncomfortable being treated so nicely by someone they had picked a fight with earlier.


“Take a seat and grab something to eat,” Yi-han said without changing his expression.


Gainando quietly protested beside him.


“We don’t have enough rations ourselves.
Why should we…”




Dolgyu hit Gainando on his side.


The remaining students of the White Tigers had suddenly appeared looking like beggars, which went to show what a tough experience they had this night.


Yi-han had every right to chase them away.
No one would’ve blamed him considering how the White Tigers treated him.


However, Yi-han had invited them into the cave after seeing the predicament they were in, providing them with food and drink.


It was honestly moving.


‘Yi-han is the true embodiment of honor!’


Showing kindness to allies was a given.
What was really difficult was showing kindness to enemies.


Dolgyu hoped the White Tigers would reflect on their actions and reconcile with Yi-han through this opportunity.




For a while, there was only the sound of munching inside the cave.


Jijel carefully observed her surroundings to make sense of what was going on.


‘How did the Blue Dragons make their way here?’


She never thought for a moment that Yi-han had followed them to the mountain.


After all, they were the Blue Dragons, not the lowly Black Tortoise.
Resorting to such lowly means felt unimaginable.


Hence, she came to a different conclusion.


‘…They must have found a map as well.’


Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in such a place at night.


They must have come earlier and hid in the cave after hearing the commotion that they made.


Jijel contemplated their next course of action while eating some food.


Yi-han of the Wardanaz Family had shown them kindness, but she had no intention of reciprocating the favor.


That was how she was brought up in the Moradi Family.


– Jijel.
As you know, the Moradi Family does not forget its hatred.
But there’s something more to that saying.
And it’s that they repay favors only if they remember one.


The Moradi Family disdained those that had their hearts swayed by others’ kindness.


A Moradi would coldly reject a request even if someone that saved their lives in the past came begging for help.


‘What should I do to make the most out of this situation? Hmm, yes.
I should first have them see us in a good light.’


While she was thinking, one of the White Tigers hesitantly opened his mouth and asked a question to Dolgyu, who he was the most familiar with inside Yi-han’s group.


“Choi, how…”






The student fell over before he could finish his sentence.


Dolgyu was shocked to see this.


‘What’s happening!?’


At first, he thought the student passed out because of exhaustion.
But soon it was apparent that that wasn’t the case.


Thump! Thump!


The others also slumped to the ground as if they’d taken some medication.


“…Shit!” Jijel shouted in a sharp voice.


Realizing what had happened, she spat out the water that was inside her mouth.
Unfortunately, she had already drunk some and was starting to feel dizzy.


‘Was it spiked…!?’


“You were too late in figuring it out,” Yi-han said coldly.


As she was about to pass out, Jijel glared at Yi-han with open hostility.
Her cold and ruthless expression was the antithesis of the kind and soft one she showed on their first meeting.
It was something not even the White Tigers had seen.


“This…won’t be the end…Wardanaz…!”


The last thing she saw was the figure of Wardanaz staring down at her with his usual deadpan face.
Leaving behind those words, she fell asleep.




‘Did I make an enemy out of them for no reason?’


Contrary to Jijel’s belief, Yi-han was slightly regretting his decision.


Now that things had progressed this far, the hatred between him and the White Tigers was irrevocable.


However, there was nothing he could do about it.
The White Tigers had targeted him without a reason.
Since they didn’t have a reason, he decided to give them one!


“W-w-w-what’s this about, Yi-han?!”


“Is the water poisonous!? But I drank it as well!?”


Dolgyu was so surprised that he kept stuttering.
Gainando wasn’t much better either.


Yi-han had purposely not told these two about the plan as they were terrible at keeping a poker face.
Their plan might have failed otherwise.


“Worry not, Gainando.
It’s not poison, and the water you drank was safe.
We’re simply going to take them to where the skeletons are and leave them there.”


He hadn’t spiked the White Tigers’ drinks out of petty hatred.


Instead, it was because they were most likely the skeletons’ target, so they had to offer them up if they wished to be saved!


“But…! Using such a despicable method…”


“Dolgyu, think about it.
If we fought head-on, we would’ve caused a commotion, drawing the skeletons’ attention.
Also, even if we won, do you think Moradi would’ve given up? He would’ve dragged us down with him.”


Dolgyu was no match against Yi-han when it came to a battle of words, and he was easily convinced.


“Still…in the first place, where did you get the medicine?”


Yonaire raised her hand sheepishly.


“We found a somniferous plant on our way up.”


She could tell most plants apart and was able to discover a somniferous plant with white stem along the way.


– Oh, look over here.


– What is it?


– It’s a somniferous plant.
Its powder can be mixed in with water, and drinking it would cause you to fall asleep.


– Let’s collect it.
You never know when it will come in handy.

– Will we ever need it though?


She had collected the plant while tilting her head, wondering if they would ever need to use it.


Surprisingly, they did.


…though she didn’t think it would be used in this way.

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