The Distant Trail of Ciara Badvia - 1-6-6 Spirit of Defiance
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The Saria Magic Academy
Part 6: A Disquieting Shadow
SPIRIT OF DEFIANCE
After finishing their meals, Misty and Tyril parted ways.
Tyril had two afternoon classes that day. The first was Introduction to Spiritology, followed by Application of the Four Major Magic Disciplines. While the class was theoretical, it provided practical knowledge for mages, such as achieving the proper mindset when using magic. More importantly, this class was taught by Master Forster and with Dyne in attendance, so she wasn’t feeling so anxious when Misty left.
Until she found herself ambushed, that is.
When the class on spiritology ended and Tyril started packing up to move to another classroom, it happened.
“Could I have a moment of your time?”
Tyril flinched. The voice she was afraid of hearing came from behind.
Her shoulders tensed, and she stood frozen. She didn’t need to turn around to know the owner of that voice—it was from one of the three girls whose names she didn’t know, the very same who cornered her yesterday. They had an unpleasant way of speaking and gazes as sharp as knives. Tyril saw no sign of them when class started, so did they suddenly enter the classroom after it was over? Or had they been sitting in seats she couldn’t spot right from the start?
Tyril turned around and gave them a slight nod. Her gaze wouldn’t meet theirs. She couldn’t make it.
“Um, uh, I have another class after this, so—”
“We won’t take too much of your time,” the black-haired, narrow-eyed girl said. “It’ll be over soon. Now, what’s your answer about what I said yesterday?”
She was behaving exactly as she did before. The only difference was that they were in a classroom full of people.
Yesterday, Ruth had come to the rescue, and so the girls seemingly made a quick getaway. Tyril thought they wouldn’t want to approach her in a place where other people could see, but it seemed that wasn’t the case.
Heads turned in their direction. The other students were giving them the occasional quick peek, but none of them approached or attempted to speak as if in silent agreement.
“Hey, Tyril. You’re going to confess, right? That it’s a complete lie that you’re Badvia’s daughter?”
Tyril couldn’t move and was shuddering, like a rabbit being stared down by a tiger. If only they’d come in the morning, then she might’ve been able to rely on Misty. She felt miserable and frustrated at the thought, though.
Was she just not able to overcome this level of bullying? Was she simply going to bend quietly to mere taunts?
No… No. I can take a stand, even alone!
“I won’t admit anything—because it’s not a lie,” Tyril declared clearly. Deep inside, she was shaking terribly, but she didn’t let it bleed into her voice. “I am Ciara Badvia’s daughter. I may not remember her myself, but His Majesty the King confirmed it.”
The air froze. One could practically hear the sharp, deep sound of a fissure cracking between Tyril and the girls.
“… Doubling down on your lie isn’t enough, so now you’re sullying the name of His Majesty, too,” the black-haired girl replied.
That tone of hers and her expression were still the same, yet her words were heavier and carried much more hostility than ever. Tyril wasn’t sure what was different—maybe it was from the girl’s choice of words or the intensity in her voice—but that was how she saw it. Reading into it further was difficult, what with her heart in such turmoil.
“That’s not… I did speak to His Ma—”
“Enough already.” The girl crossed her arms and looked down at Tyril, her back straight. As for the two behind her…
At the mention of the king earlier, the smile of the smaller, twin-tailed girl faded and her eyes widened, but she recovered quickly with a smirk. The taller one with short hair, on the other hand, gazed at Tyril with her right hand on her cheek, shaking her head slightly.
None of the three were intent on listening to Tyril. She knew that much, but she still tried to defend herself despite it.
“What a shame. I thought we could have become friends, but I don’t think I’ll get along with a rotten liar.”
“I don’t think it’s just us, either. I’m sure no one else wants to be friends with someone like you.”
The insults left Tyril speechless. Even someone as timid as her felt a surge of anger at their abuse and she desperately wanted to retort, but words failed her. Her mouth opened and closed pointlessly.
Meanwhile, the three turned on their heels and left Tyril behind. Black hair went first, followed by the twin tails. Bringing up the rear, the short-haired girl briefly looked over her shoulder with furrowed brows, looking sad.
They briskly made their exit. However, the impression they left was still firmly in the classroom.
The other students continued watching Tyril and kept their distance. No one dared to approach her. Gradually, some returned to what they were originally doing and pretended to have seen nothing.
She could sense that she was being treated like an outcast—understandably so. In their position, she wouldn’t know how to offer words of encouragement to a stranger who had been bullied by herself. Still, it felt lonely.
I should go to my next class now. The following class was taught by Master Forster, and Dyne would be there as well. With someone she could talk to without hesitation, she could at least distract herself a bit.
It felt as if the spirits of earth and water in the classroom were converging densely around her. Burdened with the heavy atmosphere, Tyril managed to stand up and move.
A day passed. Yesterday, she was informed by Master Forster that her second period History of Theology was canceled, which meant Tyril had free time this Wind Day morning.
She’d thoroughly told Misty about yesterday’s events, which they stayed up all night for.* Venting to her roommate had been well worth it. Just talking about it made Tyril’s heart lighter.
“What on earth?!” Misty had exclaimed. “If I had been there, I would have smacked them all!”
Misty was just as outraged, or possibly even more. Forster and Dyne’s reaction, meanwhile, was more subdued. Dyne’s response was, “Wow, so there are people like that?” while Forster’s expression seemed to say And? What am I supposed to do about it? He didn’t even say a word!
Certainly, the time she spent in the lab wasn’t best used in sharing the day’s events, but surely a bit of conversation wouldn’t hurt?
Using magic, Tyril filled a washbasin on the balcony with water and did laundry as she grumbled to herself. Misty headed to a professor’s lab first thing in the morning, so Tyril, who had unexpected free time, decided to work on today’s household chore after checking today’s weather.
Three sets of her own blouses and underwear, and one each of Misty’s blouse and loungewear. Filling the basin up with water was something she could do with magic, so it took much less effort if Misty were to do it. Still, Tyril needed to wash and wring them by hand, so it was quite a bit of work either way.
In the end, Tyril spent the entire morning washing and hanging them on the balcony. She no longer had time to go and greet Forster, but today, it didn’t bother her that much. Not because she had nothing to do there, but because she just didn’t want to go.
MTL/N: “Just didn’t want to go,” lmao. Actually realistic for the average student.
Also, if you’re wondering why it’s much more effort for Misty to do laundry, it’s because she can’t use magic. I think that was sort of implied in P2 (when she was happy that Tyril could light up the stove with magic) and mentioned in her character profile.