The Distant Trail of Ciara Badvia - 1-7-2 Small Joys
This is EDITED MTL. Please adjust your expectations. Updates will be sporadic. Thank you for reading, and please support the author. Join the Luminary Novels Discord!
The Saria Magic Academy
Part 7: Professor Raknag’s Make-up Classes
Tyril eventually broke the silence. “Is your piece going well?”
“Yeah, it’s coming along, I guess. Sorry for doing this while you’re eating. I got a flash of inspiration and I just couldn’t wait.”
“Don’t worry. I’m the one bothering you here, after all. But…” She paused, then slowly stood up. “Can I see?”
Tyril was genuinely quite interested and her anticipation was swelling. The painting that Vanilla showed her before was already so enchanting that it captured her instantly. Now she was wondering what further touches had been added.
“Huh? Really? Well, I don’t mind, but it’s not all that interesting, is it?”
“That’s not true. I love your painting, Vanilla.”
Vanilla held back a smile at the flattery, and it emboldened Tyril to step behind her. Tyril didn’t pay much mind to her friend’s embarrassed smile as she directed her gaze to the painting.
For a moment, she couldn’t really see what had changed. It looked like the same painting as before: a girl and spirits inside a forest, their figures delicately portrayed. Now that she thought about it, while she and Vanilla were having lunch just yesterday, this painting had been covered with a cloth. Perhaps the changes weren’t yet finished.
As she mulled over it, Tyril suddenly noticed something. It was the girl—her once crimson, moderately long hair was now brown.
“Did you change the hair…?”
“Er, yeah… I didn’t just alter the hairstyle, but also her overall image. Or rather, I expanded on it. I’m planning on giving her finer details than before. Before, she looked vague and hazy, but now I’m aiming to make her look more real.”
“Wow…” Tyril couldn’t help sighing. She would wonder later if that was what it meant to admire something.
“Anyway, while I was thinking about this girl’s image, I also started coming up with changes to the spirits. I’ve been thinking of giving it a try.”
“You still have a lot more to add to it?”
“Yeah, I do. This piece is far from finished, but ideally, I’ll have it all done by summer. I’ll keep on adding to it until then.”
“That much, hm?”
It was a rather thoughtless remark to make for someone who couldn’t understand the hardships of an artist. Tyril to imagine but to no avail, sighed, , and reverted to being mesmerized by the canvas before her again.
Meanwhile, Vanilla was watching Tyril. Perhaps the embarrassment about having her work observed was too much for her, as she stopped her brush mid-stroke and turned her full attention to her friend instead.
“Ah. I’m sorry.” Thinking Vanilla couldn’t work while someone was watching, Tyril apologized before moving away and returning to her chair. But Vanilla didn’t drop her gaze; she watched Tyril intently, even as she moved away.
“Hm? What is it?” Tyril asked.
“Ah. Um, no. Nothing. Yeah, it’s nothing.” Flustered, Vanilla frantically waved her hands to try and hide it.
It didn’t sit right with Tyril, she didn’t press further and instead tried for a rare joke. “If this piece sells really well, please treat me to a lot of delicious food.”
“Huh? Where did that come from?!”
Tyril stuck her tongue out and laughed at Vanilla’s shock. Eventually, it dawned on her friend that she was just messing around, and it drew out a smile from her.
“No one’s going to pay a high price for this kind of painting, so once it’s finished, I’ll give it to you. Five, six… You can line it up with as many zeroes as you want.”
“Huh? No, no, no! I don’t want to line it up with anything! Don’t be ridiculous!”
As they laughed their time together, before they knew it, lunchtime had passed.
The time spent talking with Vanilla during lunch break was soothing, though it didn’t affect Tyril’s daily life.
At the moment, she was perceiving everyone around her as an enemy. Her experiences for now were limited to making her feel awful and being laughed at, but what if things escalated into something more direct? For example, tripping her with condensed air only for her to fall on top of a prepared blade. With her concerns ramping up, Tyril started second-guessing her decision to reject Vanilla’s offer earlier.
Fortunately, after the string of incidents that left her depressed, several minor things happened that gave her a bit of joy. It was almost funny how such small things could lift her spirits.
The first was Misty’s ever-present consideration of her. The day she spent talking with Vanilla, Tyril could no longer bear it and confided in Misty as well that night. After her roommate heard everything, she clenched her fist, slammed the desk and let out a roar.
“Gaaah! What the hell?! That’s unforgivable! What are those people even coming to school for?!”
It led to Misty accompanying Tyril to her next practical class, during the prep time just before it would begin, which deterred the other students. She sat next to Tyril and met the gazes sent her way with a nod and a smile, then snorted when none of them approached.
“They ought to bark a little more. Always sneaking around and hiding behind their friends in front of you… Pathetic losers.” (1)
Misty made sure her voice was heard throughout the classroom. And despite the buzz that started, she left the classroom once the bell rang. Sneaking into a lecture with a large number of students was easy, but not for a practical class with a small group.
With the lion and her cloak gone, Tyril steeled herself for things to escalate, but it seemed no one had the courage to attempt anything in front of Raknag. But after class ended, business continued as usual—Misty’s presence earlier had no impact. Yet it comforted Tyril greatly, and that was more than enough for her.
There was one more event that cheered her up as well: a letter from Rosa, her foster mother. The sight of her elegant handwriting almost brought tears to Tyril’s eyes.
Tyril had written a letter to Rosa a while back, when her life in the academy had settled down a bit. It looked like Rosa wrote back promptly, but perhaps correspondences took quite a while between the capital and Lily. At last, her reply arrived.
“With both you and Well away, managing daily life has become quite the challenge. I’ve gotten used to it somehow and found some time to relax. How are you doing? Have you been catching colds and such? Or crying because of being lonely?”
Rosa’s words, as kind and unreserved as ever, seeped into Tyril’s shriveled heart.
“The letter from your father Yuis still hasn’t arrived—I stop by the post office to check everytime I go to town—but I’ll forward it immediately once it does. Come to think of it, Well hasn’t sent a letter either. Men can be so heartless.”
Tyril agreed, nodding and smiling wryly at the joke.
Later, she tucked away the letter under the ribbon-wrapped bundle inside her desk’s drawer. As her precious things accumulated, Tyril suddenly felt a sense of this place truly becoming hers, and found comfort in it.
I do wonder if Tyril is being used as a subject for the painting. Vanilla had better savor Tyril’s looks before she goes full Final Destination 1.
(1) MTL was super awkward, so I took some liberty with it, though I still wasn’t satisfied with it.
Original text: 「少しは吠えて見せればいいのに。陰でこそこそしてばっかりで、本人やその友達を前にしたら何にもできないなんて、負け犬にも劣る小動物よね」