“Sigh, the peace and quiet I had…”
The Empire’s Navy had completely overrun the Campus port, showing off their might and grandeur. Their presence was intimidating enough to bring out a deep sigh. Reisha, the culprit of the situation, was hopping across the dock to look at the ships more closely with Kunette. All of it was starting to give Isaac a headache.
“How is that the College’s fault?!”
“Entering the Campus without permission is a great offence to the Empire’s law, and being a student of the College does not make anyone an exception! Hand over the student immediately!”
“Isn’t it the Navy’s fault that a neglected defence line was infiltrated?”
On the other side of the dock, Mazelan was arguing with an aggressive-looking old man wearing a grand uniform. He was the admiral of the Empire’s 7th fleet, tasked with defending the borders of Gabelin. Behind him, a small group of sailors lined up with their heads planted on the ground – they were the ship captains under his leadership.
“How are we expected to find a single person on the sea when spotting a whole ship is difficult enough as it is!”
“Oh is that so? Can I send that exact phrase back to the Empire’s Special Forces? The Navy rules the waves but can’t find a single person that’s floating on the ocean?”
“Why you! What year are you?! I’ll see you when you graduate!”
“I’m sorry but I’m enrolled in logistics and don’t have any plans on joining the Navy. Shall I give you the experience of horrible logistics and supply chain management?”
“Wow! You used to follow me around calling me uncle when you were a kid and now you’re coming back to bite the hand that raised you?”
“Are you playing the family card now? Handing over a student of the College is nonsense, not to mention she’s an elf. An elf! What are you going to say to the Elven Reservation? ‘The eldest daughter of the Mist family had been arrested for entering the Campus without permission. She will be punished according to the Navy’s laws.’ You know their entire race will not take this lightly when things get sour! Do you really want to make this bigger than it needs to be?”
“Let’s just go over it with a warning for now, uncle.”
The admiral finally seemed convinced by Mazelan, and he began walking back toward his ship. On his way back, he made sure each captain tasted his burning anger with a kick to their ass. Mazelan approached Isaac, drained from the long exchange of words, to now complain to him.
“I’m really having a hard time with my thesis right now. Please just help me out here.”
“I believe you’re talking to the wrong man. Why don’t you tell that to them instead?”
Mazelan sighed deeply as he glimpsed at Reisha. The moment the fleet left the dock, Reisha immediately dragged Kunette towards the edge of the docks and began to fish.
“What do you think an elf’s main strength is?”
“Archery and spirits?”
“Right? Do you know what that girl is majoring in the College? Hand to hand combat.”
“Hand to hand? Like fist-fighting?”
“Yes. There was a noble who was invited to the Elven Reservation, but one of the guard knights that noble brought kept harassing Reisha, so she challenged him to a duel. The confused knight who expected archery or spirits, was beaten like a bloody pancake. The duel itself brought no complications; however, the children of the Reservation saw the disaster that had happened at first hand. They started having seizures after watching Reisha paint her hands bloody with a face as innocent as a baby. That’s why she was sent here to the College.”
“That really is a special personality.”
“Right? That’s why I’m too scared to even get close to her.”
“What about Kunette?”
Mazelan quickly looked around his surroundings and then began to whisper back to Isaac.
“This isn’t confirmed, but there’s a rumour that Kunette can see the true nature of what she sees.”
“The true nature?”
When Isaac responded back with a confused look, Mazelan nodded as if he understood how Isaac felt.
“It’s as I said. She can create and see an image of the personality and thoughts of the individual she’s looking at.”
“Now that’s a special power.”
“The problem is that this is the perfect power if you want to be isolated in a community. Plus, the Northbear Tribe never had an individual like this in their long history, so the word is that they exiled her to College because they found her existence disturbing.”
“I guess even the guilty and the innocent will find that power bothersome.”
“So please, I’m leaving it to you.”
“Are you running away after dumping all of your responsibilities on me?”
“What! It’s not running! It’s called begging, and I’m begging you here. Just keep them from any incidents until enrollment day. That’s all I’m asking, please.”
As he finished making his plea, Mazelan quickly dashed away. The moment he disappeared, Reisha and Kunette were next to Isaac.
‘So that’s why he ran away.’
Reisha proudly held a fish the size of her arm and handed it to Isaac. Another fish he’d never seen before.
“It seems ideal for sashimi.”
“Sashimi? What’s that? Is that food?”
Isaac took the fish to the kitchen, and soon, Reisha tasted an entirely new world.
“Sunbaenim, let’s go fishing!”
“Sunbaenim, make me some sashimi!”
“Sunbaenim, make me a spicy fish stew!”
Isaac was at the edge of a mental breakdown. It’s true that it’s difficult to refuse a request from a beautiful woman, especially when she’s using all her charms. But that’s only if it happens once in a while. When it happens all day every day, it quickly becomes annoying. His only hope was the coming enrollment day.
That day Isaac dreamed of coming had finally arrived. Just like the start of the holidays, the Empire carried out its massive transport mission to move all the students in a single day, and the seasonally empty dock was filled with people once more.
Before Isaac was here, students would head straight toward the Campus after leaving the ship. But things had changed with the start of Isaac’s business. They would hand over all of their baggage in a warehouse situated in Gabelin and pay a fee to Isaac. Isaac would then use Gonzales to move the goods from Gabelin and keep it safe in the Campus dock until the student who stashed the goods ask for their return.
It was supposed to be a side business at the start, but it had become so profitable that from that year onwards, they would only use the warehouses Gonzales had bought and the rental fees that they collected from it became very lucrative.
Until now, it was the students who were doing business with Isaac that stayed in the port, but this time, the existence of Kunette and Reisha were also holding the students from moving on to Campus.
“Kyaa! So cute!”
“Ah! I want to hug her!”
Kunette’s popularity among the girls was explosive. Her attitude was extremely hostile, baring both her fangs and claws out to intimidate anyone from approaching her. Because of that, no one was foolish enough to actually get close, but even her guarded look was so adorable that any form of conversation were made impossible by the screams of the female students.
Meanwhile, the male students were so captured by Reisha’s beauty that they were at a standstill. Sitting on the rooftop of the lodge with a short skirt, her fair thighs were in plain view to those underneath. Instinctively, all the male students began staring at her legs, but Reisha seemed oblivious to their actions and was busy watching the waves of people enter the port en masse.
The students were eventually pushed into the Campus as more and more students entered the port. They would, however, try to stand their ground for as long as possible to watch that view for a second longer, delaying the movement as a whole.
As a result, Admiral Raymond, the commander of the 7th Fleet and Uncle of Mazelan, glared at Isaac for giving him the honour of the deplorable transport mission in history. While Isaac wondered how he could bribe him to pacify his rage, Mazelan came to see Isaac after confirming all of the students had successfully returned to the Campus.
“Thank you for making my last assignment in my College life so memorable. I’ll never forget this.”
“Kuuk! I’d honestly eat her up if I could.”
“You want to eat what, Sunbaenim?”
Reisha quickly approached him as soon as she heard the word eating. Surprised and embarrassed, Mazelan slowly backed off.
“Ahaha. It’s nothing. Why don’t you get ready to head to College now?”
Reisha seemed to suspect something was off about Mazelan, but soon dropped her interest and began to pack her things. She was last seen heading to the College while dragging Kunette behind her, who was throwing a tantrum out of a reluctance to leave. After witnessing her departure, Mazelan sighed out of relief and went to Isaac, who was sorting out documents for the goods he’s tasked with stashing.
“Honestly, you’ve done well until now.”
Those words from Mazelan brought back memories for Isaac. All the incidents and problems he had faced because of the duo.
“Sigh. Kunette wasn’t much of a problem, but Reisha is like a wild donkey. I can just imagine what colorful lives they’ll have in the College.”
“That’s none of my business now.”
“Aren’t you being too irresponsible just because you’ve graduated?”
“Huhuhu. If Reisha came even a year earlier, I would not be graduating at this point.”
The College had their own symbols for each subjects. For swordsmanship, it was a sword and shield; for magic, it was a hand with a spiral representing the mana; for sailing, it was a mast within a circle representing the sea; and for Mazelan, who was in supplies and management, it was a carriage.
It also represents how many years it took them to graduate. For Mazelan, on top of the carriage symbol were 8 stars, showing that he’d graduated from his major of supply management within 8 years.
Considering that it takes an average of 10 to 13 years to graduate from the College, Mazelan’s graduation at 8 years meant that he was one of the most talented individuals. Rumours had already spread that he was a candidate to become the Empire’s future Director of Supplies.
Unlike the College, the Campus used a similar system where it shared the emblems but would have the year of graduation and a single silver star instead. However both the Campus and the College determined who were the Sunbaes and Hubaes by looking at the year they graduated, so it was a common courtesy to show deference to the Sunbaes even if there was a significant gap in their abilities.
“What’ll you do now that you’ve graduated?”
“I’ll take a break then get myself a place in the Capital’s Department of Supplies.”
“Will they accept you right away? Don’t you usually require experience from rural departments before you’re allowed in?”
“Huhuhu, that’s why I’ve sweat blood and tears to get these 8 stars here. They won’t let you in unless you graduated at most in 8 years.”
“I guess there is fierce competition for it.”
The Department of Supplies controls the flow of all goods within the Empire, from its production to distribution and restrictions. They could make a village starve to death while its neighbours were drowning with overabundance of food if they wanted to.
The Department of Supplies held great power within the political scene. It was a giant establishment with more than 100,000 employees hired under their name, and each employee held great pride in their position, not to mention that the number of talented individuals in their department was like counting how much sand there was at a beach.
“Well, I’ll be in your care once I graduate.”
“Hahaha, do you finally see the true value in me?”
Mazelan could only watch as Isaac coldly responded. He was well aware of Isaac’s personality after knowing him for so long. He could ignore things completely if it wasn’t related to him. Even if it does affect him in some way, he would draw a line preventing him from becoming closer than he needed to be.
“Che! I am quite wanted in the world you know. Just one word from me would set you up for… Shit, you don’t care about that at all. Damn it! I feel cheated.”
As Isaac teased Mazelan who was muttering to himself, the ship which Mazelan was waiting for finally arrived.
“Oh! There it is.”
“I guess the College students do get special treatment.”
“It’s one of the few factors that actually make attending the College worthwhile.”
“But that’s odd. I only saw a few College students last year. Why would you need an entire ship to transport them? How many of you are there?”
“Hm? Didn’t you see last year?”
“Ah, of course. The College students moved during the night for both last year and this year’s holidays.”
“What are you on about?”
“There was a new student that enrolled in the College last year. And all the males in the College immediately fell in love the moment she stepped foot in this place.”
“Heh? There was another student that entered the College directly last year as well? And it was a girl too? What was she?”
“Must be a genius.”
“Genius doesn’t even begin to describe it. She is the greatest of all geniuses. And she’s got one hell of a family name behind her.”
“Just how amazing is it for all the College students to follow her around like this?”
“Rivelia El Pendleton. She’s the eldest daughter of the Duke Pendleton and a genius swordswoman. The professors within the College expect her to graduate from swordsmanship in no more than 5 years. She is the best of the best.”
“Graduate the College in 5 years?”
“Don’t forget, that’s the most skeptical prediction. One of the professors of swordsmanship is one of the 7 Sword Masters in the Em… Crap! Details about the professors in the College are classified, so let’s just skip over that part. Anyway, the task he set for her graduation is for her to ascend to a Sword Master. That’s how talented she is. And even Reisha will have to fold against her when it comes to beauty.”
“So she’s a genius swordswoman with the beauty of a goddess and is the daughter of one of the three Dukes in the Empire?”
“Hm, so she’s a protagonist. I can see why so many men chase her around.”
“She’s a what?”
“Ah, didn’t you know? Have you ever heard the phrase ‘you are the protagonist of your life’?”
“What about it?”
“I mean, everyone would consider themselves to be the main character but that fact suddenly changes when you’re put in the stage called the world. There’s the protagonists: side characters, extras, villager 1 and 2, tree 1, and rock 1.”
“What theory is this?”
“This world is so unfair that lives are determined on how much talent each individual holds. And that talent could be measured up to the size of an ant for some while others may have that of the ocean. Talentless fools could never catch up to those brimming with talent, no matter how much they try.”
“And through their talent their roles are decided in the stage called the world?”
“Why? You don’t think so?”
“I feel like it’s an insult to those who put in the effort to climb their way through.”
Isaac laughed at Mazelan’s irritated look.
“Wow, such an innocent answer from someone who just graduated from the College.”
Mazelan couldn’t say anything back. The Campus and the College were establishments which clearly demonstrated the difference talent made.
“I didn’t mean to insult the hard workers. They’ve put that much determination and the pain that comes with it. But did you know? Hard work is talent too.”
“Ugh, stop. I’m done. Why’s a child like you talking like an old pessimist who had lived out his life?”
“Let’s just say I’ve experienced the cold realities of the world a little earlier than others.”
Mazelan shook his head, his mouth closed firm. His conversations with Isaac always ended up this way. That pessimistic attitude of his was enough to make one wonder why he’s even trying to live at this point. The most annoying part is that his fallacy sounds somewhat believable. There have been many times where Mazelan would cut a conversation short in fear of ending up like Isaac if he listened to him a little longer.
*Whistle! “As expected of a protagonist, I feel like there’s an aura about her.”
Isaac spoke out his impression as he watched a girl exit the ship with a group of men trailing behind her. She was indeed a beautiful woman. Her stiff expression seemed cold, but it seemed to suit her well. With the sunlight reflecting her long silver hair that flowed all the way to down to her waist, one could easily feel the aura of intimidation that naturally tailed her.
Considering that they lived in two different worlds, Isaac decided to enjoy the eye candy while he could and leaned back on the chair with both his legs on the table.
Their eyes met for a brief moment when Rivelia passed Isaac, but she moved on without saying anything. Amongst the many men who followed Rivelia like baby ducklings, there was a familiar face.
Isaac contemplated on what to do and decided to at least notice him. He was his brother after all. When their eyes met, Isaac waved at him, but Kainen’s face crumbled and he violently turned away as if he’d seen something he shouldn’t have. Isaac simply shrugged at his reaction.
“Don’t you feel anything after seeing Rivelia?”
“She’s pretty for sure. I may have ogled at her if I wasn’t so used to beautiful girls thanks to Reisha.”
“You don’t sound very serious.”
“I follow the motto ‘just admire which you can’t have.’”
“You really are a weird one.”
“I could say the same thing to you. You didn’t seem that interested in her either.”
Mazelan seemed surprised at what Isaac had said, then laughed.
“I guess I’ve only told you my name but not the family I’m from.”
“Huh? Hm, don’t tell me you’re that Lady Rivelia’s brother or something.”
“No, not her brother but her cousin. I guess I can tell you now that I’m graduating. My official name is Marvelia Zelion Lankast Hugh Gabelin. My father is the youngest brother of the previous Emperor, and my mother is the sister of the current Duke Pendleton.”
Isaac could only stare at Mazelan. It meant he was of royal blood. Satisfied at Isaac’s reaction, a beaming smile came on Mazelan’s face, when Isaac suddenly snatched his hands and began to speak.
“I’ll be in your care, Hyoungnim.”
TL Note: “Hyungnim” is the formal way of saying older brother in a respectful manner. The equivalent to Aniki in Japanese. For reference, the other two forms of respective reference mentioned have been Sunbaenim (upperclassmen, senior, respected individual) and Hubaenim/Hubae (underclassmen, junior, respected youth).
“I thought you weren’t interested in a successful career?”
“It’s always nice to have a strong help in these tough times.”
“That’s different from what you said before.”
“It’s better to have it and not need it than vice versa. Once again, I’m in your care.”
Mazelan felt like he’d made a mistake when he revealed his identity to Isaac. Already a crude and sinister smile was starting to show.
“Shameless bastard. By the way, what do you think I’ll become on the world’s stage?”
“Ah! Shouldn’t you take Reisha and Kunette with you now?”
“So what am I on the stage?!”
Isaac refused to answer him till the end, which only irritated Mazelan even more.