When they stopped a nearby staff member and asked for guidance, they were told that the other successful applicants were already waiting in the classroom. Reid and Elria were then led to their assigned classroom.
And the moment they opened the classroom door ――
“―― It’s Elria-sama!”
Someone spoke her name, and all the successful applicants in the classroom began to stir.
As soon as she entered the classroom, a crowd gathered around Elria.
“We saw your magic in the examination hall!”
“I’ve always heard a lot about Elria-sama, but I never thought that you could already cast tenth tier magic, you are truly worthy of succeeding in the name of the ‘Sage’!!”
“I was also watching from afar! The crimson-red hellfire rising to the heavens! I was truly amazed by your power that has already surpassed many other mages!”
Everyone praised Elria.
In response to that, Elria ――
She was in a pinch.
Even if Elria tried to speak, she could only move her head left and right as they flooded her with questions.
And as a result of that ――
“R-Reid is… better than me…!”
Out of desperation, Elria nervously pointed at Reid.
At that moment, the students gathered around her turned their heads.
“Oh! We also saw your amazing feat! To have dispelled Elria-sama’s tenth tier magic, you must be quite skilled, too!!”
“I apologize for being impolite… but I have never seen you before and I don’t even know your name. So, could you tell me your name and which family you hail from…?”
“If you were accompanying Elria-sama, does that mean you have a connection to the Caldwen family!? And are you also avoiding public appearances like Elria-sama in order to conceal your abilities!?”
The students bombarded Reid with questions.
In response, Reid greeted them with a smile.
“First of all, I am deeply honoured by your words. My name is Reid Frieden and I will become a member of the Caldwen family.”
“Frieden… This is the first time I’ve heard of the family name. Are you from another country…?”
“Unlike all of you who are nobles, I am just a commoner. Because of this, I am often prejudiced as a student of magic… However, I am deeply impressed by everyone’s straightforwardness in praising me, regardless of their biases.”
“N-No… It’s only natural to evaluate someone based on their abilities!”
“…Yeah. Just like how the great ‘Sage’ was evaluated regardless of her elven origin. We, as students of magic, must have the generosity to accept those with abilities, regardless of their background.”
Upon hearing that Reid was a commoner, some people around him showed complicated expressions, but he maintained his courteous attitude towards everyone and avoided causing any antipathy.
In any era, there will always be differences in social status.
Even when he was a ‘Hero’, he had been given the position of ‘General’ based on his various military achievements, but there were many who called Reid a lowborn and despised him for it.
That’s why he is accustomed to dealing with such people.
However, some of them can be rather troublesome to deal with ――
“―― Ha! I doubt he really has any ability.”
With that kind of remark, the crowd around Reid gradually dispersed to reveal the perpetrator.
It was a young man with curly red hair.
He appeared to be around Reid’s age, and he had a group of similarly aged boys following him like attendants.
“Are you saying that a mere commoner has dispelled a tenth tier magic? I’m sorry, but I’m not stupid enough to believe that, and you don’t look like you’re that strong.”
The red-haired young man then casts his contemptuous gaze on Reid.
Seeing this, Reid lowered his head with a forced smile.
“Faregh-sama, son of the Welminan family. It is only natural that someone as talented as you would have harsh criticism and opinions about me.”
In the month leading up to his enrollment, Reid had been told by Alicia about not only the Caldwen family, but also the royal family of Vegalta and other influential families in the country.
One of those families was the Welminan family.
Like the royal family and the Caldwen family, the Welminan family is one of the oldest families in Vegalta and is regarded as a venerable family that has produced excellent mages for generations.
They have made exceptionally distinguished achievements in magic combat and subjugation of magical beasts, and because of their unwavering loyalty to the country, they have been granted the personal title of ‘Magic Knight’ by the king.
In particular, Faregh is blessed with a remarkable aptitude and magic power. It is said that he is a genius who would have received a lot of attention if it had not been for the presence of Elria.
However, being born into a family with status and honor, possessing exceptional talent beyond others, and being elevated by the people around him, can cause a person to become distorted.
As Alicia severely criticized, “He became a helpless, egoistic bastard who lives to screw with others.”.
“In the first place, how can a commoner like you have any connection to the Caldwen family? That is an insult to the distinguished families that have long protected Vegalta!”
“If you find my background unclear and suspicious, please be rest assured that you can ask the head of the family, Alicia, for confirmation. She will be able to verify me.”
“That’s not the point!! I don’t know what the Caldwen family is up to, but I’m saying it’s unthinkable that someone of low birth like you would be able to enroll into this academy!!”
“However, I have been judged to have exceeded the standards in the written and practical examinations required by the academy, and have also received approval from the headmaster, Elise. Besides, the academy’s principles is that those talented in magic should pursue the magic created by the Sage regardless of social status ――”
“Tch… don’t go around sounding like those detestable old geezers!”
Showing signs of exasperation, Faregh raised his voice.
However, it can be said that the outcome has been decided by this point.
Those who responded in an attempt to have a dialogue and those who ranted and raved with their emotions. It is clear how the people around them will perceive the scene.
“Faregh-sama… let’s just stop here…”
“If you stir things up with the Caldwens, it will also affect the main family of Welminan ――”
“Be quiet! Are you going to give me your opinion, too!?”
He lashes out at his attendants, who admonished him, in a rage that bordered on abomination. It is no wonder that Alicia criticized him for his arrogance.
“Anyway! Even if he is related to Caldwen, he must be a servant sent to take care of the Caldwen family’s lady!! So, why should I speak properly to him ――”
“I apologize for the late introduction, but I am Elria Caldwen’s fiancé.”
“―― I’m sure he can’t… say anything… anyway…”
As Faregh’s words gradually faded, so did the surrounding chatter.
Taking advantage of this, Reid turned towards Elria with a smile.
“Shall we sit down and listen to the teacher’s explanation, Elria?”
Reid showed off by taking Elria’s hand and heading towards empty seats.
Needless to say, screams came from behind them afterward.
“Elria-sama is engaged!?”
“The Elria-sama, who was rumored to show no interest in anything other than magic!?”
“I even heard that she only spoke to people outside her family a few times a year!!”
The main focus now lies on Elria.
Ignoring the commotion in the classroom, Reid makes his way to the seats with fewer people.
“Oh my, I’m happy to see that look of bewilderment on his face.”
“…I had forgotten that Reid had a bad personality since it’s been a while.”
“Don’t say such scandalous things. Those who become conceited and get carried away can cause situations where they even kill their allies. So isn’t it better to make the first move?”
“…I feel like I understand why the soldiers in Reid’s country were so obedient to your orders.”
Elria stares at Reid, who is in a good mood.
However, Alicia also told Reid, “As a member of the same distinguished families, I feel ashamed. So when you get the chance, you should beat his guts back into shape.”.
Just then, Elria’s gaze suddenly turned downwards.
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh… I’m sorry, did it hurt because I grabbed it too hard?”
“Mm… it doesn’t hurt. I’m okay.”
While Elria smiled a little, she exerted a little strength in the hand she held.
As Reid tilted his head in confusion ―― a voice called out to them suddenly from the side.
“―― Um, if you’re looking for seats, how about here?”
It was a young man with light brown hair and a pair of glasses.
The young man adjusted his glasses as he looked at Reid and Elria.
In response, Reid took his seat.
“Oh, thank you for the invitation.”
“I don’t mind. I was bored anyway because there was nobody around me.”
With a self-deprecating laugh, the young man looked around at the empty surroundings.
Perhaps because of the peculiar atmosphere the young man gives off, there was nobody around. He then extended his hand toward Reid.
“I’m Wiesel Blanche. Nice to meet you.”
As soon as Elria hears the name, she tilts her head slightly.
“…I’ve heard of that name before.”
“You might remember my family name. My family are magic equipment engineers and the magic equipment that Lady Caldwen uses is made by my sister.”
Upon hearing his words, Elria quickly bowed her head with a flustered look.
“P-Please tell your sister that I’m using it with great care…”
“She will be very happy to hear that. I remember my sister was overjoyed when she was commissioned to make the magic equipment for Lady Caldwen, who is often referred to as the reincarnation of the Sage.”
After nodding, Wiesel turned his almond eyes towards Reid.
“By the way… should I call you Sir Frieden?”
“Oh, just call me whatever you want. Even though I’m associated the Caldwen family, I’m originally a commoner from the countryside, so I don’t feel comfortable with honorifics.”
“In that case, please do the same for me, too. I grew up surrounded by crude people with a craftsman’s temperament, so I’m not good at using formal language.”
“U-Um… y-you can use my name, too…!”
“I see. I’ll call you Lady Elria then.”
Perhaps catching the conversation’s path, Elria nodded and decided to join in on the conversation, for she is very active when it comes to magic-related topics.
“But… why did a magic equipment engineer take the examination to become a mage?”
The Vegalta Royal Magic Academy has classes not only for mages but also for other magic-related professions.
The classes are divided so that the students can learn specialized knowledge in each field, such as ‘magic equipment engineer’ who makes and adjusts the magic equipment used by mages, and ‘magic craftsman’ who engraves magic circuits on parts and ornaments used in the magic equipment.
In other words, Wiesel would normally belong to the magic equipment engineer’s class.
To Elria’s question, Wiesel nodded and answered,
“I am a pragmatist. My goal is to understand what mages must have and don’t need in their magic equipment in their activities… and by observing not only myself but also those who actually use the magic equipment and make magic equipment that is much more practical.”
“In other words… even though you are a magic equipment engineer, you become a mage for the sake of research?”
“That’s right. It’s a motive that some people find objectionable.”
The ability to become a mage depends on the magic power and talent one is born with.
Many people give up the path of a mage and become a magic equipment engineer or a magic craftsman because they do not have enough magic power to meet the standard criteria.
From their perspective, what Wiesel is doing may seem like an indulgence.
“It doesn’t matter. Making good magic equipment is also in line with the academy’s philosophy of ‘pursuing and developing magic’. Anyone who complains just doesn’t understand.”
“Yes. I think what’s important is having a proper learning attitude.”
“…I’m supposed to be older, but your words sound strangely meaningful.”
said Wiesel with a wry smile.
“Speaking of which, I heard that Reid dispelled the tenth tier magic that Lady Elria casted…”
In general, the strength of magic is rated on a scale of one to ten.
They are established not by the type of magic but by the scale, speed, mass, strength, power, and so on. The magic that Elria cast was tenth tier magic, which is the highest of them all.
However, since the evaluation is only based on an established framework, it would be difficult to even evaluate the magic that Elria used in her previous life.
“I’m interested in tenth tier magic, but I’m more interested in Reid who dispelled it. If you don’t mind, could you show me your magic equipment?”
“Well, I don’t have any magic equipment.”
“…What do you mean?”
“I can’t use any magic equipment because it breaks when I use it.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Magic equipment is designed to withstand all kinds of magic, with physical resistance and magic power load reduction through the craftsman’s engravings. It’s not something that easily breaks.”
“Reid’s magic power is special, which causes all the magic circuits and engravings to break.”
As Elria added a commentary, Wiesel rubbed his chin curiously. He then repositioned his glasses and took out a rod-shaped object from his waist.
“Then, try breaking this.”
“Are you sure about that…?”
“I have spare magic equipment. If the magic equipment can be destroyed by some factor or under certain conditions, it is something that I, as a magic equipment engineer, should know about.”
Wiesel presents the magic equipment to Reid with a serious look on his face. Although his appearance and tone of voice give the impression of him being cool-headed, he seems to have a tendency to get a little passionate when it comes to magic equipment.
“By the way, this magic equipment is custom-made by me. It was designed not only for versatility, but also for continuous use and durability, so that it can be tested on a variety of people ――”
While Wiesel was explaining, Reid casually bent and broke the magic equipment.
In the aftermath, Wiesel’s glasses cracked.
“It was supposed… to be a masterpiece…!!”
“I warned you!!”
“Oh… I’m just a little upset that you broke it so easily…!!”
Wiesel fixed his cracked glasses and took the broken magic equipment with trembling hands.
After observing it for a while, he turned to Elria.
“As someone knowledgeable about magic itself, how do you see it, Lady Elria?”
“Mm… roughly speaking, I think Reid’s magic power doesn’t meet the standards of magic.”
“I see, from the perspective of magic formula and magic circuit, that would be the case.”
“…How do you think about it?”
“To be honest, I don’t know. Lady Elria’s theory seems to be correct in terms of breaking the protection that was applied to the magic equipment, but it doesn’t necessarily connect to physically breaking the magic equipment itself.”
Saying that, Wiesel looked at the magic equipment that had been crushed in his hand.
“Without analyzing it and observing how it is destroyed multiple times, it is impossible to speculate, let alone draw a conclusion. To be honest, it’s a complete unknown.”
After expressing his thoughts, Wiesel asked Reid a question.
“Reid… how did you get this magic power?”
Hearing that, Reid gave a troubled smile ――
“―― Well, I have no idea. It was so long ago that I’ve forgotten.”
In fact, he does not know why or how it came to be. He has had this body ever since he can remember. So that was the only answer Reid could give.
More importantly ――
“So, why are you listening to our conversation from behind?”
Reid turned around and asked. At that moment, a painful banging sound was heard from behind.
“―― Ouch!! Why is this desk so hard!?”
Reid took a peek and saw a little girl rolling around on the floor, holding her head.
As she swept the floor with her fluffy golden hair, she noticed Reid’s gaze and widened her eyes in surprise.
“Ah! I-I-I… I’m not someone weird, o-okay?”
“We will turn you over to security if you don’t speak properly.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry! My name is Millis Lambat, and I am seventeen years old! I come from a small village in Noaberg, and my only friends were sheep because there were no other people my age around! I’ve been admitted as a scholarship student, but I’m struggling to make human friends!!”
“I’ll leave the judgement to Elria.”
“I like her enthusiasm.”
“She’s been promoted from suspicious person to classmate due to her positive attitude.”
“Yayyy!! Thank you so much! I stayed up all night thinking about my self-introduction!”
Thanks to the kindness of Elria, the little girl who called herself Millis, was pumping her fist up to the ceiling with tears in her eyes. Reid felt like crying, thinking she had spent all night thinking about that self-introduction.
“So, why were you eavesdropping on our conversation?”
“Uh, hehe… I thought the other people here might be hard to approach for conversation, so I was quietly listening in to see if there was anyone that I could easily talk to…”
“Well, instead of hiding and listening in on us, you could have just approached us normally…”
“It’s impossible, isn’t it!? Everyone in the class is talking about things like, ‘Thank you very much for the social party the other day~’, or ‘Did you have a good harvest this year in your territory~’, you know!? How am I supposed to join in on that conversation!?”
“Just say something like, ‘There were so many sheep this year to the point that many shearing shears were broken~’.”
“You are thinking like it’s someone else’s problem, so you said that! Is that what you’re saying!?”
Millis was banging on the desk, on the verge of tears.
But in fact, it was understandable that Millis felt that way.
Even though mages are based on merit, there are still differences in social class and background.
Those who aspired to become a mage were often from wealthy families that could afford it, families that had inherited magic power for generations, or those who had grown up in environments where they could learn about magic in detail and had access to mentors.
That’s why the academy has introduced a scholarship student program to avoid overlooking talented people. Still, it is undeniable that they tend to be isolated from the people around them because they live in a different world.
Moreover, some people do not take kindly to those who aspire to become a mage just because they have ‘talent’, without having a particularly good family background.
This was evident in Faregh’s attitude earlier and in the other students’ reactions, so it was easy to imagine how they would respond to Millis.
“By the way, I heard that Reid is also from the countryside!”
“Don’t put me in the middle of nowhere like Noaberg.”
“Eh!? So where is Reid-san from?”
“Oh? I’m from Arlieth.”
“Yes, the middle of nowhere too, then! There’s nothing but forests, mountains and rivers!!”
“If you are going to say that, then Noaberg has nothing but mountains.”
“Hehehe! We have a specialty called alpine snowmelt!!”
“We have fine lumber and orange groves.”
“No, no! We also have like… um, sheeps, you know…!?”
“You only got sheep and water as the specialties…”
“I’m sorry, I’m just a girl from the countryside where the only things I can offer are wool and delicious water. But I’ll definitely end up being alone at this rate, so please be my friend as a fellow countryman…!!”
Perhaps she was feeling lonely, or maybe she did not want to miss out on someone she had finally found and could talk to, Millis threw away her pride and prostrated on the ground. It was a pathetic sight to behold.
However, seeing her like that, Elria slowly leaves her seat. She then reaches out her hand to Millis.
“Then, I will be your friend.”
“T-That’s not it! I’m incredibly grateful and overjoyed! It’s like winning the Triple Crowns!!”
Taking Elria’s hand, Millis shakes it happily.
Seeing those two, Reid and Wiesel exchange a wry smile.
“I’m Wiesel. Please treat me as a friend would, Lady Millis.”
“I’m Reid, as you already know. Nice to meet you as fellow countrymen.”
“Yes! Wiesel, Reid-san, thank you very much for becoming my friends!!”
With a cheerful smile, she also shook hands with Reid and Wiesel.
At that moment, Reid suddenly noticed that Elria was smiling.
“Still, it’s unusual for you to be the one to reach out first.”
“Mm… I just remembered something from the past.”
“…Something from the past?”
“Yes. I told you before. When the child who inherited the name of Caldwen wanted to become my apprentice, she begged like that, too.”
Elria looks at Millis with gentle eyes as if nostalgic for the past.
“So I thought this might be a chance encounter, too.”
“Well, why not. There’s no doubt she’s fascinating, that’s for sure.”
“Yes, fascinating. I especially like her introduction.”
“You really like it, huh…”
“And her unique choice of words is also highly appreciated.”
Something must have hit the spot for Elria, who was praising Millis with a delighted expression. So it seems that her ‘all-night’ efforts were not in vain.
“I also thought they looked very much alike.”
“Hm? Are you talking about your apprentice?”
“Err… the dog she had.”
“Ohh… I see what you’re saying.”
Once again, Reid and Elria looked at Millis.
“Yay, I did it!! I now have three human friends! This is a historic achievement in my personal history of making friends with humans!!”
Millis was overjoyed to have made some friends, and her joyous behavior was just like that of a puppy playing in the yard on a sunny day.
“Well then, everyone! Once again, nice to meet you all ―― Wait, eh? Why are you all looking at me like that? And why is Elria-sama patting my head!?”
“Because your hair looked so fluffy and comfortable.”
“Yes, it is! I’m proud of my hair, which has survived the battle where my grandfather almost mistakenly sheared me along with the sheep while I was napping with them!!”
“Yes, it feels really good.”
To Millis, who held out her head with a strangely enthusiastic and confident expression, Elria stroked it as if she was enjoying the feel of it.
If Millis had a tail, it would surely be wagging vigorously from side to side.