The Distant Trail of Ciara Badvia - 1-7-3 Drawing Strength from their Kindness
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The Saria Magic Academy
Part 7: Professor Raknag’s Make-up Classes
DRAWING STRENGTH FROM THEIR KINDNESS
Another day came that significantly put her down..
Tyril’s notebook, filled with notes from all of her previous lectures, had been scribbled on and torn apart by someone while she was away from her seat. It was now unreadable.
Her once broken pen and now ruined notebook were given to her by the royal family and their scholarship, alongside an amount to buy new ones with. They were, though she didn’t like to think of it that way, replaceable.
But her lecture notes were not.
The act itself and the actual damage it caused left her more frustrated than ever. She stood hunched, shoulders trembling, pale-faced, and gazing at the ground, at a loss on what to do for her upcoming class.
Helpless, Tyril ended up shakily confessing to Professor Forster—despite being frightened of his reaction—back in his research lab that everything she’d studied up to now might have been in vain.
She had no idea what Forster might say. Perhaps he might not even give her a passing glance, like he usually did. I wonder if he has any interest in me at all…
Forster slowly raised his head. He gazed at Tyril with a dull expression, as if he found her so uninteresting or was watching a pigeon envying a sparrow. (1) Then, he pulled something from a stack of books on the table—A new notebook?—and began writing.
“Um, um… What are you writing?” Tyril asked hesitantly but was ignored. She thought she should just wait quietly until he was finished, but her curiosity won out, so she snuck a peek from behind him.
Forster was reproducing an almost exact copy of the detailed notes Tyril had written during her classes.
“Oh… This is—”
“I’ve been checking your learning progress every day, and so I’ve also been checking your notes. It may not be word-for-word, but I have a general idea of what you’ve written down.”
That came as a shock to her. To think that her mentor who ostensibly held no interest in her was, in fact, paying so much attention… Suddenly, all the bullying and her ruined notes didn’t matter. She pressed both her fists against her chest so hard that she could hardly breathe. That was how happy she was.
“What are you grinning about?”
Forster wasn’t even looking, yet he accurately guessed her expression, surprising her even more.
“Something like this should be in your head to begin with,” he continued, “and saying that all your efforts were wasted merely because your notes are gone is a stretch. You ought to focus more on your classes—each one of them is meant to supplement your magical abilities.”
“Y-yes, sir!” Tyril nodded repeatedly, teary-eyed.
Of course, owing to their large volume, she didn’t receive the finished copy of her notes until the next day, but that didn’t really matter. As few as they were, there were people supporting and watching over her. That bit of inconvenience was nothing in comparison to the joy she felt.
Without warning, Alceste called out to Tyril in the hallway while they were transferring classrooms.
Tyril tightly clutched the notebook she received from her mentor against her chest, then turned around and faced the voice’s owner. She was greeted by the usual trio, standing in their usual positions, and wearing their usual smiles as they looked at her.
“I understand that some unpleasant things have been happening around you recently?”
Now what does that mean…? Tyril furrowed her brows, at a loss.
“I happened to overhear it from some people chatting. Apparently, some unpleasant individuals have been bothering you. Are you okay?”
“Um, yes, well…”
She’s pretending to know nothing… I wonder what they’re planning now.
Tyril still had no idea what they wanted to do. Being passive was starting to get tiresome, however, so she met Alceste’s gaze and decided to play along.
“That’s right,” she said. “Someone ripped my notes apart, and I’m being tripped up all the time nowadays.”
“Is that right? So that’s what’s happening.”
A barefaced lie, which Tyril knew was coming.
Whenever Alceste and the others were in the same classroom, they would simply smirk and watch as Tyril suffered. She wanted to tell them to stop so many times already, but she couldn’t, because they never actually did anything openly.
It was far too late for Alceste to say that now after the string of incidents aimed at Tyril. “How deplorable, for you to be bullied in a prestigious institution such as this. I didn’t want to believe it, but if you’re saying it yourself, then it must be true…”
“But, well, Zeeland’s also at fault here,” the twin-tailed girl—This one is Eint, wasn’t it?—chimed in in response to Alceste’s monologue. “It can’t be helped when she boldly lied and made such a big deal about it, then acted like it never happened.”
“Come now, Stella—”
Oh, I was wrong. The girl with twintails, that’s Stella Lute.
“—even if we assume that Zeeland’s at fault, I cannot condone bullying.”
Tyril realized that Alceste was painting her as the villain. She started feeling a tightness in her chest and desperately wanted to leave now, but they just kept on going. Their words flowed seamlessly, grounding her to a halt.
“Besides,” Alceste continued, “no matter who they are, resorting to bullying to make themselves feel better is just shameful, really. I will not tolerate people like that, and I absolutely will not let it stand!”
“That’s wonderful. As expected of Ravenna,” Sherla chimed in. “I certainly wouldn’t accept being bullied by such mean individuals, either. I’d want to do something about them, even more than Zeeland does.”
Stella giggled. “Ravie and Sherly are so earnest. But, well, I feel the same way too.”
Working together, they expertly bounced off one another, almost like they were reading from a script. There wasn’t one, of course, but this still must be part of some plan they prepared. That only made Tyril more uneasy.
“That’s why, we really want to protect you, Tyril. We’re going to teach the ones who harmed you a lesson. What do you think?”
“Don’t worry. As long as I declare that I’m on your side—even just once—there won’t be anyone left who’d want to harm you.”
“That’s right,” Stella said. “After all, she’s the only daughter of the esteemed Alceste family. There aren’t many who would go against her.”
“It doesn’t matter which family I’m from. In the academy, I’m just Ravenna!”
So she said, yet she was nodding approvingly at Stella, the expression on her face unmistakably filled with pride. Stella looked as if she was expecting a pat on the head for her part in this.
Tyril stood stock still in the middle of the busy hallway, bemused and with her mouth agape.
What are they thinking? What do they want?
Faced with their outlandish proposal, she was full of doubts, but trying to sort them out was currently difficult with their words leaving her mind frozen.
Honestly, I can’t tell Stella and Sherla apart. Hell, even Tyril can’t.
… Okay, that might be my own failing, but regardless, they may as well be random faceless people to me.
(1) Unsure of translation. I don’t know if it’s a figure of speech or the author finds bird-watching boring, so I kept it as is.
Original text: まるで鳩がスズメを羨んでいるのを見るかのような、つまらないものを見るような憮然とした表情で、Tyrilを見ていた。