Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
VOLUME 2 CHAPTER 7: The Boy, The Genius, and the Problematic Child’s Anticipation
Iori took the toolbox with him and together with Elvie they went to the Cooking Club’s clubroom.
「Now I get it. So it’s like that, huh?」
He said that while they stopped at an empty classroom that was rearranged to act like a small storage room. Since their club was too small, they couldn’t have a storage room of their own.
「What’s ‘like that’?」
「The reason why you let little Aru join our club. I would also like to hear more about your ‘Little Sister’ –– Elvie Slaggart.」
「Oh, shut up. And don’t forget that I go by Manton now.」
Elvie listened to Iori’s words in silence, not answering to his provocations, all the while looking around the storage for the things that they might need.
However, since he wasn’t able to find what he was looking for, he eventually sat on a small wooden box and looked back at Iori.
「And besides, you’ve got one thing wrong. I wanted to see who that ‘Aru’ guy was, since he was mentioned in one of Marca’s letters.」
「So it’s jealousy, is it not? If it is, it’s rather amusing, if I can say so myself. I didn’t know that you are that much of a Siscon, Elvie. Yet, not even once did you go and see her since you entered the Academy.」
「…… I’m going back home for summer vacations. Otherwise my mother threatens me that she’s going to stop paying my tuition fee.」
It was one of the conditions that his mother gave him when she finally let him apply to Signos, after being adamant on not letting him do so.
It was also thanks to his mother that Elvie could use her maternal surname ‘Manton’, and that she didn’t tell Marca so she won’t get worried.
「Besides, when I first started to not go home, I stayed in the club building for an entire week. It was more convenient for me that way, since I could tinker with my stuff and adjust it without any interruptions.」
Elvie leaned against the wall and grinned sadly, and then he finally decided to give up and come clean to his friend.
「Marca, she’s a good girl. She even sends me letters once a month, saying that she’s worried for her Big Brother. But, what kind of Big Brother am I? That’s why I can’t muster enough courage to say it to her. Not when she adores her Big Brother so much.」
「No way, please don’t tell me that you haven’t told your Little Sister that you can’t use magic?!」
Elvie avoided any eye contact with his friend, which caused his eyes to widen in surprise.
「I asked Mom to handle it somehow. And it looks like Mom did not tell her either……」
「…… Aaah, I see how it is. So that’s the reason why you are so obsessed with magical guns.」
Iori for the first time during this conversation showed signs of irritation, glaring at his friend in a way that would make all of your hair stand on end.
「Even if you become a master at using the magic gun, it will not bring you back your ability to use magic. Even if you don’t tell your Little Sister now, she’s going to find it out on her own eventually.」
「I know that, Iori. I know, but could you play along for a little while longer?」
For a second there Iori was looking into Elvie’s eyes as if he was looking for an answer in them, but that did not prove helpful at all, only getting him to feel lost.
「Aah, sure, why not? After all, I am using your goal to test my own skills and craft. Same as for Mikoto, for she wouldn’t be able to practice her magecraft otherwise.」
「You could at least have put it in a nicer way.」
Hearing Iori’s somehow twisted words, Elvie finally bounced off the wall he was leaning against.
「Well, it’s good either way. Just remember that it is usually you who starts to panic first when things tend to go south. I’ll be the one laughing last, as usual.」
Saying that, Iori left the storage room.
Elvie also stood up, wanting to try again to search for things he needed to find, but then he looked at his own hand.
If he could use magic, he could have used a simple search spell to get the job done in a flash.
Elvie tried to utilize a technique that was mainly designed for children, imagining the flow of his mana inside of his body, focusing it all in one single point. He tried that hundreds if not thousands of times already.
No matter how much he tried, no matter for how long he trained, his magical power was not responding to his calling, the only result he would get was that his hands were all sweaty.
Realizing that this simply wasn’t going to work, Elvie began to look for the things he needed on his own.
When Elvie finally returned to the clubroom, Mikoto was nowhere to be seen. Only Aru was still sitting at his desk.
「Ah, if you’re looking for Mi-san, she said that she finished what she had to do and now she must go to ‘purify’ herself.」
「I, I see.」
It seems that in Mikoto’s country, magic is something thought of as ‘Godly interventions’ or ‘miracles’, so after using it certain rituals had to be performed for the caster to be able to come back to his or her ‘ordinary self’.
They even went as far as to try to teach Mikoto the concepts of Western magecraft once, but even then Mikoto was unable to utilize it properly, much like Elvie.
「And I even told her that we could grab something to eat while she was at it.」
「Guess she must be full from that skewer from earlier.」
It is a common thing among magicians of great power to have a big appetite, but thinking that even among them Mikoto was probably the biggest glutton he has ever seen, Elvie couldn’t help it but to smile bitterly.
As Elvie approached the desk with the materials he found, he saw that Aru was gazing at the magical diagram that he left at his desk.
「Senpai, this is?」
「Aah, it’s the schematic for a new technique I want to try placing in my bullets next time. Although I need to simplify it so that it can fit into a small space, but so far I’ve had no luck with that.」
Unusually for him, Aru replied in a vague manner like that while frowning his eyebrows and cocking his innocent face. Elvie smiled bitterly while looking at the paper.
「I use the simplified terms of ancient language, so maybe that’s why you can’t understand them.」
「…… Senpai, here, and also there, I think that you just repeated the same words.」
Although Aru pointed exactly at what he was talking about with his finger, Elvie still had to see it for himself to actually believe it.
And indeed, certain expressions tended to overlap with each other at certain points.
「Also, is that really okay to place that formula here?」
「Wait, wait, wait, if you erase it here, then the connection to here is going to disappear.」
「But if you placed it here, then it would probably be okay, for it’s going to be defined together with this thing here.」
Elvie looked over the paper as his brain started to work at full throttle.
Certainly, if they connect it here it could work. As the two of them racked their brains over the diagram, Elvie was getting more and more excited by the second.
Since they had a very limited amount of space to work with –– since only the schematic on the diagram would be put into the object of their desire –– they needed to work the formula to be as simple as possible, lest it prove to be ineffective.
That was also the part of the reason why magical bullets were so expensive.
With Mikoto’s invaluable help, Elvie was able to cut the cost significantly by designing and applying the formula onto the bullets by himself. Without all of the above, it would take him more than a year to be able to afford at least one bullet.
Although pointing out the contradictions and overlapping part was fairly easy, this kid was able to do that on the spot merely a month after he learned about it during class.
It is something that many people would be jealous over, but since the day he met Aru for the first time, Elvie learned to get used to it.
「…… I see, it can work like that. Now I think I understand, Aru.」
「In the meantime, you could also add this formula here. I learned it in class, but I think it might be pretty useful.」
「You, there is no subject that you couldn’t handle, isn’t there? I know some of them can be taken by regular students, but some of them are taken exclusively by the members of the Magic course. Not that I would know the feeling, but isn’t that boring? To learn about magic while not being able to use it yourself?」
While being amazed, Elvie began to rewrite the new diagram onto the separate piece of paper.
Magical aptitude, the measure that determines what kind of magician one can be, is determined mostly by the amount of magic one can use aside from sustaining one’s life. It is also influenced by such factors as power of one’s magic or the ability to manipulate one’s magic freely.
This boy here, much like Elvie himself, has a magical power management value to be much less than that of his overall magical aptitude –– that is, even if he has a tremendous amounts of magical energy, he would never be able to use it correctly, which was necessary in casting spells and performing various rituals.
Aru and Elvie were similar in that matter, and so they were at the center of attention from both the students and the teachers since the very first day of their admission.
Aru’s golden eyes lit for a short while, but then he answered with a troubled voice.
「I can learn about the world, letters and figures, so I think it is interesting. Also, that there are only certain ways in which you can approach certain problems. Besides, you take those classes as well, Senpai.」
「Well, that’s because we have to take those classes.」
He flicked the bullet with his finger, and it started to roll around the desk.
He attended those classes for he had an obligation to do so, but otherwise it would be a total pain in the ass to try and fit in.
Aside from that, he had no personal use for it and that’s why it seemed strange to him.
Especially since he knew that Aru was exactly like himself.
However, he had no courage to speak openly about it with him.
「In any case, thanks a lot, Aru.」
「Ehehe. I’m glad. I’m happy that I could be useful for something.」
Seeing Aru’s bashfulness, Elvie first looked surprised, but then he frowned his eyebrows.
「This, who told you that?」
Puzzled but Elvie’s sudden tone change, Aru looked to be troubled by the sudden change of atmosphere and his Senpai’s sharp gaze.
「Umm, this is. I heard that during practical lesson on designing the magical incantations. We were doing it in groups, but I was told that I don’t have to do anything. I just wanted them to tell me if I have done something wrong……」
Hearing something that surpassed his grimiest expectations, Elvie’s frown got even sharper.
He knew from the very first moment they met that Aru’s thirst for knowledge was innocent and genuine, and that there was nothing wrong or bad behind it.
However, not everyone in the Academy knew that, or were willing to understand it. They treated him like an eyesore and tried to pick on him because of that.
No, even if there was someone who understood that, they were just not willing to accept it, which was already quite bad in and of itself.
Elvie knew it quite well, that the students of Magic course were an exceptionally prideful bunch. Shame that their other feelings couldn’t be like that.
Mikoto came to study here all the way from the East thanks to the Cultural Exchange program, but since she was an expert in her field of magic, you could still say that there was fair amount of distance between her and the other club members.
Teachers were also keeping their eyes on her, so even if she was going through some kind of ostracism, it was sure to be a minor one.
Still, Elvie walked towards Aru and said to him:
「Your parents are here in Hibernia as well, right? What do they think about your skipping grades?」
「My parents? Mother says that she wants me to do what I want to do. She also told me that I should stop doing something the moment I deem it too hard or impossible.」
Hearing him say that made Elvie think that he understood the kind of circumstances that Aru was in.
「Father also told me that while learning things I like is important, I should also go and find friends with whom I could spend my time, since there are limits to what you can learn on your own. He also said that there are going to be people who will envy me because of that, but to not pay them any mind, since they are going to achieve nothing with a mindset like that.」
Although this explanation was rather abstract, Elvie thought that he could understand the true meaning behind Aru’s father’s harsh words.
「Umm, that is why, it’s okay since I have Marca, Elv-senpai, Io-senpai and Mi-san!」
To those words, Elvie put his hand on Aru’s head and patted his head in a friendly fashion.
「If you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, you can talk to us about it, or even to the teachers. Mikoto is at the Magic course as well, so it will be fine.」
「Sure thing, Elv-senpai!」
The corners of Elvie’s lips raised a little bit in a smile.
Honestly, at times like this he wondered why did he decided to invite this kid into these extracurricular activities in the first place.
He knew that Aru had a true and insatiable thirst for knowledge of any kind, was on good terms with Marca and thanks to that he could get to know how she is doing. Those were part of his reason for inviting him. But.
It was certainly a kind of curiosity to see what this boy, the one who soaked up knowledge like a dry earth on a rainy day, was going to come up with next.
「Right then, when I finish writing this, you can apply it to the bullet just like I showed you last time. Go ahead and tell me if there is anything that you might not understand.」
After he said that, Elvie looked at Aru who walked to the desk on which the practice tools were placed and began to work with a hammer in a rather awkward fashion.
Having finished all of their activities for today, Mikoto returned from the Cooking Club as they finished working on the magic gun. She held cups of tea in her hands, as well as some cookies she received from the members of the Cooking Club.
Elvie stretched his back behind his desk while Iori was sitting in his usual chair.
「The only thing that’s left is to tune it and give it a go. So, what are you guys going to do now?」
「That, I want to see that!」
While looking at the work of his own two hands Aru shook his head, but hearing Elvie’s words his eyes lit as he raised his hands.
「Let’s stop here for today.」
「Why, the day is still young!」
「If we don’t return to the dormitory by the appointed time there will be no end to our scolding by the teacher in charge. Aru, you’re lucky that you don’t have to live in the dorms.」
「You’d better show it to us properly, or else we’re going to worry.」
As Elvie smiled to Aru apologetically, Iori inquired about something interesting.
「Hey, are you really going to write that letter? The one to the Rank 5 Hunter?」
「Well, yeah. I am going to. After all, I made a promise to Noct-san.」
「Rank 5? What’s that about?」
「Hunters are the people who slay monsters and demons, and also collect various materials from dangerous places. They are supervised by the Hunters Guild and in that Guild, Rank 5 represents the strongest Hunters out there.」
Mikoto cocked her head hearing the unknown word, and Iori explained to her in detail. By the movement of her ears you could see that she was interested.
「You’re going to meet with that person?」
「Nah, for now we are only going to talk about what to do in the future……」
「So when you receive a reply please bring it here for the whole club to see.」
「Hey, not so long ago you didn’t even believe me, and now you’re saying something like this?」
Said Elvie while looking at Iori with disgust, while Iori seemed to be genuinely curious.
「I mean, it’s the highest rank Hunter we’re talking about here! And you say that someone like him wants to see you!? Besides, we are all involved in the production of this gun, so I say we have every right to go and see him as well! Or maybe you don’t want us to!?」
「I want to see him, too!」
Seeing just how desperately his friends were begging him, Elvie had no other choice but to let it go and nod in agreement.
「I can’t be helped, huh. But you can only write something. It might turn out that he’s going to be busy and won’t be able to meet with us.」
Iori smiles and gives him a thumbs up, and Elvie lets out a sigh while turning towards Aru.
「Which reminds me, Aru, you live in the city’s West District, right? Do you know where the ‘Dryad’ drug store is? It seems to be somewhere around there.」
「Yes, that’s my house.」
Elvie let out a strange sound like that, being unable to fully understand the meaning of the words he just heard.
「‘Dryad’ is my father’s drug store.」
「No way, so that means that you know Noct-san……」
「Sure do. He’s a friend of my Mom’s. He sometimes comes to visit……」
It was as if he understood, but his brain was adamant on not wanting to understand, but this revelation was so shocking that Elvie basically didn’t know what to say.
「By any chance, did you talk with Noct-san about me during the winter break?」
「Yes, that is why when he told us that he met you at the Hunters Guild I was so surprised!」
Aru nodded his head at Elvie in an innocent manner.
「You could have told me sooner about something like this…… I, you didn’t say anything weird about me, right?」
「You know what? Forget about it.」
He now saw how it is. Aru’s parents must have been acquainted with Noct-san, and that’s how Aru himself come to know him.
With that, he understood that there were no special circumstances surrounding Aru and the Rank 5 Hunter.
「Noct-san seemed interested in the club that I entered, so I think that he will be pleased if we were to invite him in here.」
「Hooray! Did you hear that, Elvie!!」
「I heard that, I heard. But is that really okay, for us to meet with a Rank 5 Hunter? Isn’t he, like, terribly busy?」
「Umm, he also said that right now he is taking a break from his Hunter job, so that would mean it is fine?」
「But the question still remains that ––––––」
Elvie still wanted to ask Aru some things, but before he could do that, Iori put his arms around his shoulders and turned him around.
「Isn’t that great, Elvie! Let’s do what Aru says right now!」
「I want to see him, too.」
「Wait just a minute, it is extremely rude to say that so suddenly like that!」
「It’s alright. My Dad told me that it is also important for me to interact with my Senpais as well.」
「See? Aru says that it’s alright as well.」
「…… Guess it cannot be helped.」
As soon as Elvie showed that he also consented to the idea, the clubroom filled with cheers, and all of its members got to write the said letter.