Yi-han, having learned swordsmanship extensively under the family knight Arlong, was well-versed in fighting.
As such, he knew that Yonaire was preparing to beat the living lights out of Gainando.
“Hold it right there.”
Knowing what was to come if he didn't intervene, he positioned himself between the two.
“Gainando, you shouldn't look down on alchemy.”
“But it's lame!”
Just as always, Gainando was oblivious to the situation he was in.
“What's there to like about alchemy anyway? I can't feel a shred of intelligence from it.”
Magic was a field of endless study, and there were many branches of magic, including but not limited to illusion magic, summoning magic, transformation magic, and elemental magic.
Even within elemental magic, there was fire magic, water magic, light magic, dark magic, etc.
Studying even one such field in depth would take an entire lifetime.
Such was the profoundness of magic.
And in this world of magic, alchemy was often looked down upon.
Especially to fledgling mages, alchemy seemed rather…dull.
While others waved their wands and summoned forth angels or split the earth, alchemists remained in their labs, adding herbs to potions…
“Well, you know, that's…”
“Move aside Wardanaz.
I'll take it from here,” Yonaire said to Yi-han.
“I promise I won't go overboard.”
“If you say so.”
Yi-han quickly moved away, allowing Yonaire to stand before Gainando.
Gainando cocked his head.
“Don't you dare ask for a healing potion after this.
They're made through alchemy after all!”
Along with a thud, Gainando tumbled backward.
It was truly an impressive blow.
“You sure that was alright?”
“I'll just apologize to him after a day.”
It didn't seem like this was the first time Gainando had suffered under Yonaire's beatings.
Yi-han was aware that cousins often fought, but he didn't expect Yonaire to beat up Gainando to that extent.
'Shouldn't have bothered trying to intervene.'
Yi-han decided to be a silent spectator from then on.
“…Oh, and just in case you misunderstand.
I'm not the type of person that goes around beating everyone I see, got it?”
Yonaire explained so as to not be misconstrued as a brute.
Nobles, especially the more powerful ones, valued etiquette and elegance, and it went without saying that throwing punches over minor arguments wasn’t deemed as such.
“What's wrong with getting into a brawl when you're angry?”
For a second, Yonaire wondered if she had heard wrongly.
'Is this how the Wardanaz Family teach their children?'
If the Wardanaz Family was a family of knights, she wouldn't have found what Yi-han said weird.
However, it blew her mind that a descendant of one of the empire's most distinguished families was saying this to her.
'He's clearly different from the others,' Yonaire reasoned.
There was an air of authority around Yi-han which the other freshmen didn't possess.
Though the other students from the Blue Dragons were also part of the nobility, they had just become adults, and Yi-han stood out from the crowd.
From the way he moved to the way he conducted himself, there was something different about him.
'As expected of a Wardanaz.'
Yonaire decided to move on to a different topic.
Since Yi-han was willing to turn a blind eye to her actions, she had no reason to linger on it either.
“But are you really fine with taking alchemy classes with me? If you're doing it for me, you don't have to.”
“I'm actually interested in alchemy myself.”
“Then…what about my proposal to work together in the future?”
“I'm considering it.”
Yonaire was surprised as she hadn't expected this.
Yi-han's attitude toward alchemy had done a one-eighty in such a short amount of time!
“Did something happen?”
“Well, you see…”
Yi-han wondered how he should phrase it.
– I'm not as magically talented as I thought I was, which is why I'm seriously considering alchemy as a potential career choice.
…wasn't exactly what a dignified noble would say.
“Actually, you don't have to say it out loud.
You must've realized alchemy's true potential and come to appreciate it.”
“It's a really interesting field, isn't it?”
Yonaire seemed ecstatic to have found a companion, so Yi-han decided to go along with it for now.
“Many people think alchemists stay cooped up in their labs located deep underground, but there's so much more to it than that.”
Though unexpected, Yi-han didn't panic.
During his time as a graduate student, he had already mastered the art of listening to topics he had absolutely no interest in.
– What do you think of mountain climbing?
– Exactly, mountain climbing is great.
Did I tell you about how I climbed Mt.
Seolak last year? The fogs of the early morning…
– I see.
– I didn't think you'd be so interested.
I'm sure you'll enjoy it as well.
Say, why don't we climb a mountain together when we have time?
Compared to that, Yonaire's story was relatively more interesting to listen to.
“Did you study alchemy beforehand while you were in your family estate?”
Yonaire looked around her carefully before answering Yi-han's question.
“…Yeah, but you must keep this a secret.
We weren't allowed to practice magic, but they weren't as strict when it came to studying alchemy.”
“What's wrong with studying something beforehand?”
Yonaire once again stared at Yi-han as if she was looking at a foreign creature.
He was okay with beating others up, and he was also okay with ignoring the rules regarding magic…
To put it nicely, he was really unique.
'It's good that she studied ahead of time.'
He knew full well how helpful people like her could be.
With her help, he would be able to get good grades in alchemy classes.
“If it's alright with you, can you teach me as well?”
Yonaire smiled delightedly and smacked Yi-han's shoulder as she agreed to his request.
Now that he'd met Professor Troll in
, Yi-han was confident that he wouldn't be surprised by anything, and he was right.
'He's more…normal than I thought.'
The professor was a dwarf, and he was sitting on a chair.
Dressed like a hunter and a ranger, he had a crossbow hanging on his waist.
“Ugh, students from the Black Tortoise,” Yonaire muttered.
Though she didn't despise commoners, it was true that she was uncomfortable with them.
She might have been able to hit it off with the others if they were from the Blue Dragons, but…
Many thoughts went through her mind as she stared at the students from the other tower.
There were a lot more students from the Black Tortoise present than them.
'The stares are kinda annoying.'
When people of common birth met a member of the nobility, they displayed one of two reactions.
They either feared them and didn't get involved, or they openly expressed hostility.
Outside the academy, hardly anyone would show open hostility, but it was different in Einroguard which preached for equality.
They had bottled up frustrations from their time outside the academy, and yet even after arriving at Einroguard, they were scorned by students from the Blue Dragons.
It was no wonder they were wary of the two.
“Dude, stop staring at them.
That one over there's a young master of the Wardanaz Family.”
“So what if he is? He can't do anything inside the academy.”
“It's not like we're going to study here forever.
What if he takes his revenge after we graduate?”
“I'll cross that bridge when the time comes.”
Yi-han clicked his tongue.
Being hated for something he didn't contribute to was unpleasant.
'Seems like trying to get close to them backfired.'
For a while, he'd have to stick to his friends from the Blue Dragons.
“Quiet down everyone.”
The short dwarven professor opened his mouth to speak.
Though his figure was small, his voice carried weight.
“I'm Uregor Gumdal.
You may call me Professor Uregor.
Now, I'm sure many of you are wondering why we're gathered here at the field when we have such splendid classrooms in the back.”
Indeed, they weren't gathered in a classroom.
Instead, they were on a mound.
Adenart, the royal princess, raised her hand, to which Uregor shrugged.
“Wasn't looking for an answer, but have a go at it.”
“It's so that we can feel the mana in nature.”
Alchemy required magic as well, and simply mixing in various herbs wasn't all there was to it.
It was important for alchemists to feel the mana in their surroundings and understand what kind of forces existed in nature.
…Professor Dwarf stared at Adenart as if he'd just heard something stupid, making her blush in embarrassment.
Yi-han, who didn't think much of it, asked Yonaire who was next to him.
“Is it because it's easier for us to gather materials here?”
“Don't you think that's too simple of a reason?”
“Oh, we have a winner!”
Both Yi-han and Yonaire were at a loss for words.
Uregor, on the other hand, seemed impressed by Yi-han.
“It's rare for an Ironhead to get it right.”
“We're freshmen, not Ironheads…”
Anyways, good job.
You've got talent as an alchemist.”
Yonaire looked at Yi-han enviously upon hearing him get praised by the professor.
Adenart also stared at him as if she was looking at a rival.
'…Why the hell is she staring at me? Is she seriously getting jealous because I was praised over something like this?' Yi-han wondered.
“The reason why we're gathered here is because I wanted to teach you Ironheads about the essential skills of alchemists.
Many of you might be thinking that 'to become an alchemist, you just need exceptional intelligence and excellent mana control'.”
'Pause right there.
We need to have excellent control over our mana?'
“But the reality is different.
The most important skill of alchemists is the ability to gather materials.”
The students were stunned to hear this as they never expected such a skill to be so highly valued.
Adenart raised her hand, unwilling to accept this.
“Professor, when it comes to materials, we can grow them or have adventurers get them for us.
I hardly see why we need to be able to acquire them ourselves.”
“Lass, what would a greenhorn Ironhead like you know?” Professor Dwarf retaliated in disdain.
An even darker shade of red covered Adenart's face.
“Out of all the materials and reagents we require, do you know how much of them could be artificially grown? Not even 10%! The rest we must buy with our money.
And you think everything will be fine if we have the money? Why do you think we mages employ adventurers and follow along? Do you think we have so much spare time? It's because adventurers suck at harvesting herbs! Instead of treating them with care, they just pull them out!” Uregor said all this angrily, as if to vent the frustration that had been building up.
“For these reasons, it's important that alchemists learn how to acquire the materials and reagents that they need.
An alchemist that relies on others can never become first-rate.
You think someone would baby you later on if you complain about not having enough materials?”
The students gathered at the mound nodded in understanding (one nodded while looking dejected).
“That's it for the explanation.
Now go and find them.”
“What's up with those confused faces? Go search for materials!”
Uregor waved his wand, and several pieces of paper appeared in the air before being distributed to the students.
On the papers were lists of drawings of herbs.
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