For a while, silence prevailed in the other room.
Yi-han carefully opened his mouth, thinking he’d said something strange.
“Um, did I say something to offend you?”
I was just a little surprised.
You… seem very skilled for a freshman.”
“I got caught though?”
‘If you can avoid being captured in that situation, you should demand to be the principal…’ or so the senior thought.
Anything involving the anti-magic extremists was not a joke.
Numerous skilled professors would have to rush to the scene to repel them.
Wishing to remain hidden while fighting them was outright absurd.
“Senior, sir, what did you do to get locked up?”
“No need for the sir, and drop the honorifics.
Besides, we’ll all be fellow mages once we graduate.”
“Cool, so how’d you end up here?”
The person on the other side of the wall suddenly had the urge to see what Yi-han looked like.
Where did a weirdo like this appear from?
“I was brought here because I failed in an experiment.”
“Wait, you were brought to the Punishment Room simply because you failed in an experiment???”
Yi-han was horrified to hear this.
Weren’t the professors being way too strict?
However, the senior on the other side seemed used to this.
“It’s nothing to write home about.
You’ll see what I mean in the future.”
The fourth-year senior talked about what happened.
He had failed to gather the necessary ingredients for an experiment in the time allotted.
Hence, he robbed one of the principal’s secret storage rooms.
Unfortunately, he failed to see through all the traps that the principal had laid down and was dragged to the Punishment Room.
Yi-han paused for a moment.
‘That has nothing to do with failing an experiment though?’
He was simply caught in the act while trying to steal!
However, Yi-han didn’t point this out.
Common sense usually crumbled after a few years in graduate school.
It wasn’t the senior’s fault that his common sense was warped.
It was the magic academy’s.
“Considering how skilled you are, many professors would try to scout you.
Be careful, and don’t fail in your experiments.”
“I’ll take your advice to heart.
Having said that, I don’t intend to remain in the academy for long.”
“You’re quite humble.”
“No, I’m serious…”
“Sure you are.
You appear to be an honor student.
Are you from the Blue Dragons? No, that can’t be it.”
It didn’t seem like the senior would listen to anything he said, so Yi-han didn’t bother convincing him.
However, for reasons that couldn’t be explained, he felt a sense of unease.
“Senior, can I ask you a question?”
“It’s going to be a little difficult to escape through the underground passage again.
Is there another way out?”
The senior snickered hearing his question.
“Of course there is.
But junior, why should I give you such precious information? What’s in it for me?”
Instead of replying, Yi-han turned his head and screamed in the direction of the door.
The senior in the next room straightened his back in horror.
What was this brat up to!? A double-suicide!?
– What is it?
“Can you please deliver these to my neighbor?”
He wasn’t too sure whether this would work, so he was pleasantly surprised when the undead warden accepted his request.
Since the warden had been kind enough to bring him the gifts from the professor, he thought this might work, and it fortunately did.
A basket containing cookies, a warm cup of black tea, and sugar was delivered to the next room.
“N-nothing…how’d you bring these here?”
“I got them as a gift.”
The senior really wanted to know Yi-han’s identity now.
He had figured out the location of the underground passageway a week after entering the academy, almost succeeded in his escape (if it wasn’t for the unexpected disaster), and had his dormmates in the palms of his hands, to the point where they would send him offerings even while he was in the Punishment Room.
Not to mention his resourcefulness….
‘Is this bastard from a criminal guild??’
From time to time, students with criminal histories would weasel their way into the Black Tortoise, and the senior suspected Yi-han to be one of them.
And he was probably a big shot too! Otherwise, it was impossible to explain his achievements.
“Anyway, would these be enough?”
“…Yes, I’ll tell you the information you want in exchange.”
The senior lightly coughed.
He had received some unexpected gifts, and if Yi-han was truly from a criminal guild, it was better to not offend him.
Otherwise, he might come for revenge later on…
“But a disclaimer before I start explaining.
Not even the fourth-year students know all the ways to escape the academy.
In fact, many of us have never succeeded.”
After a year, students would be allowed to go on outings now and again, so the vast majority of seniors had never escaped.
Secretly escaping the academy was just too difficult.
‘…And yet a freshman had managed to pull it off.’
“The method that I know of is something that my seniors taught me.
I’ve never tried it myself, so I have no idea whether it works in the first place.”
According to the senior next door, there was a special stable in one of the spires located on the upper floors of the academy’s main building.
It was a stable for winged beasts, a place where mounts of professors and eagles of officials that delivered imperial edicts rested.
These beasts had a special blessing that allowed them to fly over the academy’s walls unhindered.
“However, there’s bound to be something that prevents random people from riding those beasts.”
The senior was right.
The stable probably had someone watching over it, just like the underground warehouse.
‘But it’s something at least.’
Yi-han had high hopes after learning about the new method of escape.
Since the method was being passed down, one of their seniors must have succeeded in the past.
In that case, there was hope for Yi-han as well.
“Thank you, senior.”
‘…D-did he…figure out a way already!? How!?’
The senior’s misunderstanding only grew.
– You’re free to go, Yi-han Wardanaz.
After a day, the undead warden opened the door to his cell.
Before walking down the corridor and leaving, Yi-han gave the person in the next room a few pieces of chocolate.
Though they hadn’t met face-to-face, the senior had told him about various things while he was there.
For some reason, however, the senior became gradually quieter as time passed.
Yi-han assumed it was because he was being bothersome.
Anyone would find it annoying if a stranger kept talking to them.
He was grateful the senior even bothered to reply.
‘I should thank him properly if I meet him later on.’
Yi-han returned to the surface world by backtracking through the complicated path he took to go down.
Outside the academy’s main building, the sun was about to go up.
It looks just like a kitchen.’
Yi-han observed his room after returning to the Blue Dragons’ dormitory and noticed it resembled a well-organized kitchen.
Various food items had been neatly stored, giving off the vibe of a grocery store.
On the shelves, there were seasonings and spices such as salt, sugar, and tea leaves.
Cans of apricots, peaches, and pineapples were also present, along with beans, salmon, and salted beef.
Yi-han could probably feast for several weeks if he kept them all to himself.
‘I should consider starting a real business.’
Putting that thought aside for now, he opened the door and left the room.
He had woken up early in the morning, so he was thinking of visiting the stables and trying out Professor Bungaegor’s assignment.
Just as he was about to leave the resting lounge, a girl with bright red hair came down from her room while yawning.
She seemed shocked to meet him there.
“Where were you yesterday!?”
“The Punishment Room.
Didn’t the professors tell you?”
Professor Garcia told us you were resting after getting injured while performing a great deed.”
Yi-han understood why the professor had lied for him.
For members of prestigious households, honor was something extremely important.
As a scion of the Wardanaz Family, it would be embarrassing if the story spread that he was sent to the Punishment Room after violating a rule.
It would also be unfair since he was caught while trying to save Professor Garcia.
“Nah, I got sent there because I got caught while attempting to leave the academy.”
Yi-han, however, didn’t care much about his honor, and the same went for Yonaire.
“Why’d you go alone?”
“I wasn’t sure if it would work, so I went to scout things out.”
“Bring me along next time.
Two brains are better than one, right?”
“Shall we invite Nilia as well then?”
“Sure, that’s a great idea.
Let’s have her come with us.”
That was how Nilia, who wasn’t even present, was forcefully added to the team.
Yi-han and Yonaire thought nothing of it.
“So, what exactly happened?” Yonaire asked with her head cocked.
Yi-han explained the events that transpired as they walked toward the stables.
He began with the discovery of an underground passageway and its method of entry.
Then, he brought up the story of the warehouse and its guardian.
Yonaire quietly listened, her eyes slowly becoming bigger and bigger.
“When I was finally out, there were some people lying in wait.”
“Was it the principal?”
“No, it was the anti-magic extremists.”
Yonaire was left speechless after hearing this.
Professor Garcia had told them the truth.
Still, she found it hard to believe that there were anti-magic extremists hiding near the academy.
“So you did perform a great deed.”
“Yeah, and I got sent to the Punishment Room for it.”
Yonaire failed to understand the principal’s decision.
‘Why on earth…’
There were several students already present at the stables, all of them from the Black Tortoise.
When they saw Yi-han and Yonaire approaching, they shuddered and slowly retreated from where they stood.
Yonaire didn’t seem to mind this, but Yi-han felt slightly hurt.
‘You shouldn’t judge a person by their appearance or family background!’
What Yi-han didn’t know was that the Black Tortoise feared him because of the rumors surrounding him.
His family’s reputation was just a cherry on top.
However, he soon brightened up when someone from the Black Tortoise approached him.
‘Is it Nilia?’
It was actually Ratford, the rat demihuman.
“Good morning, Mr.
Ratford performed a ninety-degree bow, as one would to their superior.
This made Yi-han panic.
‘Others would think I’m threatening you!’
“Hey, just speak to me casually.”
“It’s quite alright, sir.
I’m used to speaking this way.”
Ratford grew up in a thief guild where hierarchies were important.
He couldn’t bring himself to speak comfortably with someone of higher status.
A clear master-subordinate relationship.
That was what he desired and what put him most at ease.
Yi-han shook his head, noting that there was even greater fear in the other students’ eyes than before.
‘Guess this is it.’
“Well, if you say so.”
Giving up, Yi-han turned toward Ratford.
He had blacked out immediately after the fight, so he was curious as to what happened next.
“What happened after the battle?”
“I remained hidden during the course of the fight, just as Mr.
Wardanaz had ordered.
By the time everything was over, the principal had arrived with the other professors.”
You might’ve gotten hurt if you had come out.”
“Since all the workers were distracted, I thought it was a great opportunity to rummage around.
I picked some locks and took out things that seemed useful from the chests.
I had to hide everything on my body, so I was only able to bring back some small items, but I’d like to offer them to you, sir.”
Ratford took out a small box and gave it to him.
The box contained flasks that had liquid in them.
Amazed, Yi-han was rendered speechless.
‘A professional thief is different after all!’
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