|Author: Shizuku||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3731 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: – words|
My suspicion that Marize fainted after running out of mana gets confirmed once I get her checked out in the infirmary.
They have medicine to help her recover mana, but pouring liquid down an unconscious person’s throat can be dangerous, so we’ll have to wait until she wakes up.
Around half an hour passes and Marize’s body finally twitches a little and she opens her eyes.
“Ah, are you awake?” As soon as I say that, Marize turns around in the bed and curls up, looking away from me.
Hmm…I guess she does hate me a lot.
“Is she awake?” The infirmary’s nurse opens the curtain and peeks in. She looks like a child, but she’s an elf and way older than me, and is also one of the best teachers. “Just drink this now. You’re suffering from mana deficiency, but as long as you’re careful you should recover soon enough.”
As the nurse brings out a glass of water and the medicine, Marize grumbles something and reluctantly gets up, then downs the medicine in one go.
“If you can walk, you’re free to go home. Or would you like us to walk you home?”
“No, I can go back on my own.”
Marize gives a curt reply to the nurse’s playful suggestion and gets up from the bed. Then she thanks the nurse and heads out of the infirmary like nothing happened, so I chase after her.
Out in the corridor, she starts walking faster, so I also have to go faster.
She keeps walking silently. Even after we’re out of the school she keeps to herself. Maybe I should try talking to her first.
“Say, Mariza, I know I might be prying, but if you want I’ll listen to your sto-!”
As if interrupting me, she throws a swift backfist which I catch and block.
“I appreciate that you carried me to the infirmary! But that doesn’t mean I think of you any differently!”
I can feel electricity flowing through her fist. She’s probably trying to use Thunder Spark again, but she can only muster a low current. Why would she try doing this so soon after passing out from running out of mana…
She soon gets dizzy again and loses her balance. I kneel down and try to offer her my shoulder, but Marize pushes me away. At this point I feel like I should just forcibly pick her up and carry her to her home, but I don’t know where she lives, and I doubt she’ll tell me.
While I try to think of something to do, I hear an unexpected voice from behind me.
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“What are you even doing now?”
I look back and see Mathias looking down at us, his arms crossed and with a confused expression. Then he sighs and holds Marize’s hand, lifting her. Since she collapsed and doesn’t have any strength left, she doesn’t resist.
“You can go home, I’ll take her back. It’s already late, and I’m sure Instructor Natalia is worried about you.”
“You trying to help won’t necessarily make her feel better. Sometimes keeping distance is a form of kindness as well.”
With that, Mathias walked away, with Marize on his shoulder.
I hold my hand out, feeling like I should still do something for her, but I don’t follow after them. I don’t even know what I should say to her, or what I could do.
‘Any generosity you show others won’t always be repaid in kind.’ Maybe this is what Natalia meant when she said that. And in the end I couldn’t do anything.
After carrying Marize into his own carriage, Mathias instructed the driver to take them to her home. He had looked into Marize after Olivia told him about their first encounter, and so he knew the circumstances she was in, as well as where she was staying.
The carriage began to rock as they departed. Mathias looked at Marize, who was laying down on the seat in front of him.
“I’m Mathias Feullade, a third year student. As the son of a marquis, I vow to deliver you home safely.”
He introduced himself respectfully, but his voice was cold, without a smidgen of compassion. After the incident where he doubted Olivia’s honor in their first year, he had learned to control his emotions better, though his eyes were still as severe as back then.
“That was quite the sorry sight though, I must say. Having your own grievances is fine, but using them as a weapon to lash out at Olivia? Do you really want to blame someone else for your misfortune that badly? Did her current life really overshadow yours that much?”
Then came a flurry of reprimands, spoken with an almost scornful tone.
“Shut up..! You don’t know anything!”
“I don’t, it’s not like I’m you, but Olivia isn’t you either. Somehow you’re acting like she’s supposed to know though?”
Hearing that, Marize stammered and could not respond. Olivia had actually asked Marize to tell her more, but it was also Marize who interrupted and shot down that attempt.
“I already…know that…”
Marize raised her arms to conceal her face, slowly replying.
“I lashed out at her…and that wasn’t enough so I got carried away and hit her with everything I had. But even when I did that, after I did all I could…it didn’t even seem to tickle her…”
Mathias did not mention it, as it was obvious enough.
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As bad as Olivia’s basic spells were, her combat abilities were unmatched in the academy. If the Rufus had not attacked during the festival the previous year, she would have undoubtedly finished in first place during the tournament as well. Marize’s ability to use spells without chanting and in quick succession was commendable, but it was nowhere near enough to break Olivia’s guard.
“I can’t win against her, neither with my mind or my power… It feels like she’s just rubbing my own weakness on my face. Or I guess I’m exaggerating, I just always pretended not to notice them until now, and I hate being so weak.”
“Being strong doesn’t inherently make you right, and being weak doesn’t mean you’re wrong. But if all you wanted was to be stronger, then that already gives you a path forward.”
Marize spoke through sobs, forced to face reality, but Mathias’ voice remained stone cold, simply stating his thoughts.
“You just have to become stronger.” His frank and stoic reply had no kindness or care in it, but nothing he said was wrong.
Marize could only sigh, wishing it was as easy as it sounded. But she was not uncomfortable either, in a way, Mathias’ stern attitude was exactly what she needed at that time.
She had been uneasy, jealous, and envious.
It was not like all of that had just vanished, they still made her chest ache. But she felt like she could finally keep them under control, as she rubbed her reddened eyes with the sleeves of her uniform.
The next day after class, a slightly familiar scene unfolded in Ingralowe’s Magic Academy’s training grounds. Marize kept unleashing her magic at Olivia. Unlike the prior day where people had been cleared from the area, there were a lot of onlookers, and more importantly…
“That’s still not strong enough, that won’t do anything to me.” Olivia was far more engaged with the fight.
“Kuh… But that’s only for now! I’ll definitely defeat you eventually!” Marize grumbled after her attack of five Thunder Sparks in succession were blocked, but she prepared her next attack without yielding.
Her main distinctive trait was the ability to cast spells one after another rapidly, but that seemed to do nothing to bridge the gap in skill between her and the best combatant of the entire academy.
“Seriously…how did things end like this…” One of the onlookers, Mathias, softly massaged his temples and sighed as he watched the two girls.
“I was wondering why you weren’t coming home… What’s happening here?”
Then came Olivia’s Servants, a magic automaton maid, and the werewolf Clarissa.
“Ah, Instructor Natlalia. As you can see, they’re just training.” Mathias had learned mana materialization from Natalia the year before, and he had insisted on calling her instructor since then.
“It seems Marize has made it her goal to beat Olivia. I guarantee that this is a mutually agreed-on training match, unlike the emotional outburst from yesterday.”
“I see, that’s alright then. At least it seems like the Young Lady is enjoying herself as well.”
Olivia constantly blocked or dodged the lightning discharges in the training area, smiling happily the entire time.
While she disliked resentment and other negative emotions, Olivia loved fighting more than anything, so it was impossible for her not to enjoy having a freshman attempt breaking her defense.
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“Still, that freshman…Marize was it? She’s quite capable with basic spells, being able to use them so rapidly and without chanting.”
“Yes, her score on the general studies exam wasn’t the best so she was relegated to classroom C, but her magic abilities are some of the best from her batch of freshmen.”
Being able to cast spells without any chant required a lot of skill. Paired with high speed, that was a combination that far exceeded what was expected from freshmen. And it was something Natalia could not even dream of accomplishing, as she was limited to basic spells, always needed full chants, and her spells only had a range of about two meters.
Olivia had also noticed that untapped potential, so while she carefully dodged everything, also made sure to give back some advice.
“Hm? Well, I guess you could call it a type of game.”
“Only boss playing, not fair. Clair join too.”
“Huh? Wait, stop!”
Clarissa ignored Natalia’s order to stop, pushing her way through the other onlookers and plunging into the training area while she unleashed her usual light beam magic and raised a cloud of dust.
Olivia and Marize stopped for a second, unsure of how to respond, but soon enough it devolved into a three sided fight.
“Oh gosh, what should we do?”
“Well, I don’t think there’s anything we can really do here. It’s not like we can step in and drag Clarissa out.”
Natalia’s face twitched a little seeing that, but Mathias just raised his hands and gave up. Both of them decided to just turn away and let the issue solve itself.
At the time, both of them had no idea that there would be a large commotion once Clarissa transformed into a Comet Wolf.