The Distant Trail of Ciara Badvia - 1-7-7 A Four-Person Make-Up Class
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The Saria Magic Academy
Part 7: Professor Raknag’s Make-up Classes
A FOUR PERSON MAKE-UP CLASS
“Let’s start with as little a light as possible. Focus, hold up your finger, and summon a small and hot light at the tip.”
“Yes!” Tyril dropped her voice to a whisper and began the incantation unique to her. “Spirits, grant me light upon my fingertips.”
The light that appeared was about the size of a fist, warped, and—after reaching out to it with her left hand—only slightly warm.
“Light is one of the more difficult types to summon. It will require greater focus than usual.”
When Raknag directed her to concentrate even more, Tyril nodded obediently and became more conscious of her magic.
That said, nothing much changed regarding her approach; if dramatic results could be achieved just through sheer mental effort, then this would be easy to learn. Right now, just improving the shape of the light into something more spherical could be deemed a satisfactory progress.
“Impressive. Just what I’d expect, Professor Raknag. Zeeland improved dramatically with just a few words from you!”
The results earned a praise from the spectators, but it was clearly forced. Tyril’s concentration broke instantly. Just what is Alceste aiming for?
“I see you’re as bad at magic as ever, Zeeland,” said Lute. “With that level of skill, how can you stomach proudly bragging about being Badvia’s daughter? What a mystery.”
“Silence!” Raknag sharply scolded Lute for her taunting.
Don’t let them get to you, Tyril thought. Alceste and the others could do nothing as long as the professor was here. At most, they’d distract her with some disparaging comment to disrupt her focus. If I do, I lose. If I don’t, I win. As simple as that.
“Hmm… Good. Now, Zeeland, stop manifesting it on your fingertips. Make the light float in front of you this time.”
“Um, right in front of me…?”
“Yes, in front of both your eyes. Just close enough without you getting burned.”
Tyril replied with a yes even though she didn’t know the purpose of it. With both hands and fingers resting firmly on her knees this time, she repeated the same steps as before. It wasn’t particularly graceful, but she ignored it, instead concentrating and incanting again.
The sphere appeared at a spot where she would have to look at it cross-eyed. It was about the size of a thumbnail—much smaller and more compact than before, and—
“Argh! So hot!” Tyril instantly recoiled and distanced her face. The heat it was emitting was so intense that it was incomparable from the one earlier.
She was so taken aback that her focus broke. At that instant, the light popped.
The truth was, doing it this way didn’t help her progress one bit. Tyril had been in complete control of the fist-sized light she conjured earlier. She could maintain it for some time, even keep it steady or move it around her fingertips. Although the one just now was superior in size and heat, she doubted she could sustain it for more than ten seconds or manipulate it to a point that it didn’t feel hot.
From her perspective, Raknag’s directions didn’t make sense. Tyril certainly couldn’t tell what the point of it was other than, as she suspected, to instill confidence in her ability for managing it.
“Amazing! You were so precise the second time! You’re as impressive as we expected, professor!”
“I said be quiet.” Raknag sent the peanut gallery a sharp glare. “I will kick you out, mark my words.”
It didn’t hamper Alceste’s beaming smile.
“In any case, you can achieve that much just with minimal changes. The rest depends on practice.”
Tyril nodded quietly. “Ah… Yes!”
It was genuinely encouraging to hear Raknag say that. Whether his words would be ingrained in her for long was another matter, however.
The way Raknag taught was undeniably effective. By following his instructions, one’s magic would improve dramatically—but it also always highlighted how much potential Tyril had. In order to master this exercise, she needed to be able to call the light back to her fingertips. (1) But the professor didn’t show her how, and he of course concluded that she only needed more practice. It was a saddening statement, as it constantly reminded her of how long she still had to go.
“Are the lessons always like this?” Alceste interrupted.
“Indeed. They’re a necessity for Zeeland. Now do you realize there is nothing you can learn here?”
“No, not at all! It was interesting to me, at least. Stella, Sherla, how about you?”
At Alceste’s prompting, the two spoke in turns.
“Um… Stella found it kind of boring, I guess. (2) After all, just observing takes the fun out of it. It’s only interesting when you do it yourself.”
“Stella! Oh, I’m sorry, professor, Zeeland. Like Ravenna, I found the experience valuable. To witness this method in training magic is quite enlightening. It’s very helpful.”
Lute was as carefree as ever, while Eint was politely bowing her head. Unlike Alceste, their desire for more of these lessons was clear, causing Raknag’s expression to grow increasingly vexed.
Somehow, the blatant show of disapproval did not faze them one bit. Tyril was astonished—her normal reaction to that would have been to worry over her behavior or performance. More importantly, if their aim was just to harass Tyril, did they really have to go so far as to seek out extra lessons they didn’t need? Both Raknag and Tyril found them utterly baffling.
“That’s why, starting next week, we’d like to participate in the lesson rather than just observe. Is that acceptable, professor?”
Alceste smiled, her eyes akin to a snake stalking its prey—and the prey was, obviously, not the professor. She feared not even the faculty as long as she could attain her goal. That look in her eyes conveyed that much.
Reluctantly, Raknag sighed; even he seemed incapable of refusing Alceste and the others at this stage. And so Tyril would also have to ready herself. A heavy burden settled on her now that reality sunk in—Alceste, Lute, and Eint would be attending these make-up classes starting next week.
Heavy, but not unbearable.
I just have to turn a deaf ear to their insults, even as it piles up. At least the professor would scold them if they dared.*
Tyril decided to face the challenge head-on. After all, this setup was considerably better than being harassed by strangers.
It didn’t take long for her to realize how naive she was.
(1) Unsure about the translation.
(2) Yes, this is Stella speaking, referring to herself in the third person.