For someone as lazy as Isaac, the injury provided him with a great excuse to avoid his responsibilities and extend his free time, staying on his bed for as long as possible. By the time he got out of his bed, everything had already been resolved. Kaizen went into a hysterical outrage after learning that the Campus could do nothing for him and offered him the opportunity to drop out. To his disbelief, even his brother, who he desperately sought out for support and defence, had ulterior motives. Kainen had convinced the Campus to remove Kaizen from its premises through expulsion instead.
The news of this incident had yet to spread across the entire continent because of the isolated nature of the Campus, but once the holidays come and the students returned home, it would only be a matter of time before the entire continent realised what had happened. The Rondart Family’s reputation and integrity would be questioned by the public, which would jeopardise Kainen’s future.
The fight for inheritance was present within many noble families, but for such a disgusting act to transpire in public was universally frowned upon. Although Kaizen acted out of retaliation to Isaac’s “disciplinary action,” it could easily be misinterpreted by the public as their attempt at removing the heir for the title of Baron in plain sight. It was more than enough to cause public outrage. They had to demonstrate some form of apology before rumours could start, which would mitigate the damage and save what little honour they had left.
“Now they’ll really try to kill me,” Isaac said to himself.
When Isaac heard what had happened, his mind immediately thought of the baroness of the Rondart Family, who was the true ruler of the mansion. But even the status of becoming mortal enemies with the Rondart Family seemed to have little impact on Joon-young’s consciousness, who couldn’t care less.
He casually threw his fishing line into the calm sea, burying himself deep into his chair as he took out a cigarette. The inhalation of the refreshing smoke made its way into Isaac’s lungs just as quickly as the white puffs of smoke dissipating into the air upon exhaling.
“Ah, this is heaven.”
He had been smoking whenever he had any spare time, and his lungs had healed completely thanks to it. In fact, they were probably in better condition than before the incident.
He didn’t need its healing effects anymore, but Isaac could only fall further into addiction, unable to break this habit of his. To him, there was a difference between sitting around idling and having a calm and leisurely day. Cigarettes were the perfect way to spend his leisure time. Plus, it was bought in bulk thanks to Reisha.
He watched his surrounding and made sure no one was around before flicking the burnt-out cigarette into the sea. Once he was sure, he clicked his fingers. A small flame emerged on the tip of his finger.
“Is it because this body is special, or because I’m from a different world?”
Isaac had felt the refreshing essence that flowed within him whenever he smoked the Choyu leaves. At first, he believed it was the medicinal effect of the herb, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. Ironically, it was something he had given up a long time ago; it was the essence of mana.
Whenever he smoked, mana would begin to flow inside him and would linger around for 10 minutes before it would dissipate. There were no obvious withdrawal symptoms or side effects. The feeling of mana flowing in his veins felt like someone scrubbing the rust off his body; It was an addiction he could not fight against once he had experienced it. He could feel his body become light and he had total clarity in his mind. His physical prowess doubled, his field of vision wider, muscles more vigorous, and mind sharper.
“I’d be a billionaire if I could sell this back in my old world.”
He was sure that all the students in the old world would flock in mass to even get one of these to help their studies.
“But what’s the point when there are no customers to be had…”
Isaac remembered what had happened to his home, which was just a pile of rubble now. Even if he were to change nationalities now, there would still be a hint of discrimination no matter where he went.
Isaac shook his head, keeping away from the bitter regrets of his past. It was a place he could no longer visit. Remembering it would only hurt him in the long run, so forgetting it was the best thing to do.
“Well ain’t that nice? I can at least use magic now, but the problem of becoming strong is still an issue. Well, at the very least, it’ll be convenient for daily activities.”
The mana he’d gain was only enough to use a single, the simplest of all basic spells, once. He’d use it to light a fire for his next cigarette or to make a cube of ice to use in for his tea. But there were also other reasons Isaac didn’t give up and continued to train by buying more of these herbs. The use of magic in this new world piqued his interest greatly; he had thought that magic had some form of theory or catalyst as a requirement but had found that it could be cast and controlled by willpower alone.
“The scientists would go mad researching this. Creating fire and ice out of thin air like it ain’t anything.”
It was a power which completely contradicted the laws of physics.
Even he, the man who slept through every single physics class back in high school, found this fact amazing. There was no telling what any scientist would do to get their hands on this kind of power.
“Aaah, please let the day end like this.”
Exercising his usual lazy behaviour, Isaac muttered to the sky when Reisha’s voice echoed from afar.
Reisha and Kunette moved back to the port after Isaac’s stabbing incident. Isaac wondered if these two ever attended any classes in the first place, as he hardly saw them leave the port since then. Isaac kept the fact he could gain mana through smoking to himself. Calling it a secret was questionable at best since the amount of mana gained was miniscule, but having at least one trump card in his sleeve would go a long way in keeping his life especially when enemies are on the prowl.
In order to analyse the situation further, he tried to make more alone time for himself. He once again used his injury as an excuse to delegate his business to Reisha and Kunette. In return, they both would receive bulgogi and honey, respectively. There was nothing complicated about delegating this job, since all they had to do was make a list of orders and bring the goods to them from the port. On top of that,Isaac’s loyal customers preferred to interact with Reisha and Kunette rather than himself.
“You delivered the goods intact right?”
“Yep! And I even received more orders on the way back! I’m starting to think of moving into business in the future.”
“Go right ahead.”
While Reisha continued to chatter with excitement on how she was making the profit, Kunette stumbled her way next to Isaac and sat next to him. But there was one more person who had visited Isaac with Reisha and Kunette this time.
“Who are you?”
Isaac had never seen him before. He wore the College’s dark blue uniform emblazoned with an emblem depicting a stack of gold coins on his chest, complemented by a handsome and charming appearance.
“You must be the famous Isaac Sunbaenim! Nice to meet you.”
The man approached Isaac and grabbed onto Isaac’s hand for a firm handshake. Isaac looked back at him in confusion. Not only was he wondering why a student of College visited him, he also didn’t know anyone in the College who was friendly towards him in the first place. At best, they were partners in trade due to his business, but they were nothing more than that.
“And you are?”
“Ah! Sorry for the late introduction. My name is Krent Rivolden.”
“Rivolden? As in the Rivolden Merchant Guild, one of the Seven Grand Merchant Guilds in the Empire?”
“Wow! It is an honour for you to have heard my family’s name!”
“It would be stranger if I didn’t know it.”
The Rivolden Merchant Guild was a confederation consisting of many other merchants with the Rivolden Family as its pillar. While the other merchant guilds operated on the main roads of the Empire, they found their niche in delivering the goods to the smaller villages in the rural areas. This turned out to be their greatest strength, as it led them to having one of the largest numbers of merchants within their Union; at the same time, it gave them an upper hand in information gathering due to their wide trade network. They were one of the three strongest organizations within the entire continent when it came to intelligence.
“Your name will forever be recorded in history with the achievement of creating a market within the Campus, something no one had ever managed to do.”
“It wasn’t that big of a deal…”
“Not that big of a deal?! Do you have any idea how many merchants came into contact with me to send you their regards? Having a business with a 200% profit margin is every merchant’s dream!”
“Heeh, I didn’t know you had such reputation, Sunbaenim.”
“I wonder myself too…”
Reisha seemed to see Isaac in new light.
Just watching Krent’s respectful behaviour towards him caused Isaac to raise an eyebrow. He could instinctively sense that something bothersome was about to happen. Krent, on the other hand, continued to use his social skills to chat with Reisha. Their conversation went on forever before Isaac finally found an opening for his question.
“So…why are you here at the port?”
“Ah! In truth, I didn’t know.”
“That College students were free to enter the port. If I had known sooner I would have introduced myself to you much sooner! It is my biggest regret as of late!”
“So you came here to see me?”
“No. It was because someone had ordered me to.”
“Yes. Rivelia Sunbaenim asked me to deliver this to you.”
“Wow! Is that the legendary love letter I’ve only heard in rumours?”
There was a spark of light in Reisha’s eyes when Isaac took the letter in his hand.
“What do you mean love letter? I haven’t even spoken a word to her yet. Please don’t put me in trouble by spreading baseless rumours.”
Isaac warned Reisha in fear of her actions before opening the letter. Curious of its contents, Reisha peeked beyond Isaac’s shoulders to have a look while Kunette simply made her way onto Isaac’s lap and took the letter for herself.
“Ei, what the. It’s nothing.”
Isaac sighed at their disappointment. Just what were they expecting?
“So why does the famous lady of the College want to see me?”
Krent shook his head at Isaac’s question.
“I have no idea.”
The letter couldn’t have been more plain and straightforward. Isaac was told by Rivelia to come see her in the College as she has some tasks for him. Isaac snickered after reading the letter’s contents and passed the letter back to Krent.
“Tell her that if she has business with me, then she should come to me instead. I’m a busy man too.”
Krent couldn’t believe what he just heard. This was a message given to him by the Goddess of the College, Rivelia. To ignore her, who stood on a different league in comparison to those prideful students of the College! Krent’s respect toward Isaac was growing ever stronger.
“I respect you, Sunbaenim!”
“I’ll make sure to give her your message! ‘It is the thirsty that digs the well! If you have business with me, then come visit me yourself.’”
“Are you trying to kill me?”
Krent couldn’t hear Isaac’s last words. He was already far away, his excitement pushing him faster toward Rivelia.
For a second Isaac, considered running after him, but he quickly realised that his physical capabilities weren’t up to scratch to catch up to a student of a College. Reisha burst into laughter while Kunette began napping on Isaac’s lap. After watching the two for a moment, Isaac sighed.
“I want to give up on everything now.”
Krent fulfilled his mission splendidly. He blasted Isaac’s words in the cafeteria during lunch time for everyone to hear, reaffirming Isaac’s rejection of Rivelia’s call and demand that it should be her that visit him instead.
The aftermath could be felt within that day. He had earned the rage of all the male students in the College, and the rules exempting College students from visiting the port had been common news now. This resulted in one or two of them visiting Isaac everyday, declaring their discontent along with insults and threats in an oddly elegant manner.
Isaac was quite thankful of his injury, for it gave him a good excuse for him to escape from this situation relatively unharmed.
“Shit, my money. That damn Mazelan Sunbae.”
Isaac had sent a letter to Mazelan through Gonzales asking for his left over money after buying all of the Choyu leaves, but just as Isaac expected, all that returned was a letter containing three infuriating words.
Ha, ha, ha.
“How do I get my money back?”
As if losing his entire retirement fund wasn’t problem enough, but Krent had recently joined the troublemakers Reisha and Kunette in making Isaac’s life busier. Isaac could only survive each day thanks to the cigarettes. But there was one last unexpected guest who visited Isaac on one night, just when Isaac was about to sleep.
“Well… I didn’t think you’d actually come here yourself.”
Rivelia stood in the doorway, her silver hair illuminated by the moonlight. Her beauty was enough to make anyone’s heart pound.
“Well, you should come inside for now.”
“No, we’ll speak here.”
Isaac shrugged at her rejection to enter.
She was the all-important protagonist whose words carried absolute authority. Getting on her bad side was sure to invite trouble in the future.
“Do what you will.”
Isaac sat on one of the chairs in the living room. He was prepared to listen, with his arms and legs crossed and his back sunk deep into the cushions. Just when Rivelia was about to speak up against Isaac’s poor attitude, Kunette came down the stairs. Wearing her blue and green checkered patterned pajamas and a cone shaped nightcap on her head, she looked just like a giant teddy bear.
“… Isaac, is that a guest?”
“You haven’t gone to sleep yet?”
“… Give me honey.”
“You’ll get fat if you eat just before you sleep.”
Angered by Isaac’s words, Kunette proceeded to chomp on one of the legs of the table. It was a cute little threat from her. If Isaac were to refuse again, it’d be him in those jaws next time.
“Tsk tsk, you shouldn’t be eating that. There’s some honey on the kitchen table. You can take one. And make sure to clean yourself before you go to bed!”
Isaac quickly shouted at Kunette as she skittered into the kitchen, then looked back at Rivelia.
“So what was it that you wanted to tell me?”
“Ah! Ahem, you are to follow my orders from now on.”
Isaac was befuddled by Rivelia’s sudden demand for his obedience. Rivelia seemed to notice Isaac’s confusion, and she rephrased her declaration with more detail to make Isaac understand.
“I have been selected as the President and Administrator of the Student Council since Mazelan sunbaenim has graduated. I will be managing all goods which enter the port from now on.”
“I will stop any goods which has not been approved from entering the Campus.”
“Do what you will.”
Rivelia’s eyes narrowed, unsatisfied by Isaac’s indifference.
“Do you understand what this means?”
“Sure I do.”
Watching Isaac nod halfheartedly at her words tested Rivelia’s patience. Who else would have the courage to treat her like this in the world?
This time, Rivelia spoke back against Isaac’s sluggish acceptance with more strength behind her words.
“If we are to discover that banned goods have been sold within the Campus, the Student Council will take you to the Student Court.”
The judge of the Student Court, which determined the punishment for breaking the rules, was Rivelia herself, and with her authority as the President of the Student Council, she could hand out an expulsion as a form of punishment as well. But Isaac’s continued lack of interest was pushing Rivelia further into rage.
“And I tried to give you a last chance! The Campus doesn’t need someone like you! You will be expelled, mark my words!”
“Sure thing. But I don’t think that’s possible.”
“Hmph! Do you think I can’t? You’ve been breaking the rules for the past 3 years, I have more than enough power to give you an expulsion.”
Isaac unconvinced, refuted back at Rivelia with a snicker.
“Which school’s rules did I breach exactly?”
Rivelia confidence seemed to burst out as soon as Isaac said those words, as if she’d been expecting it.
“Hmph! Do you think I wasn’t aware of your special status? It is clearly stated within the Rules for all in the Campus to follow: the President has the authority to stop any student who would cause disorder within the Campus.”
Isaac pulled out a cigarette from his pocket and began muttering to himself.
“Oh man, an expulsion. Such dishonour for my family’s reputation. The youngest brother was expelled for stabbing his brother, and the brother who had been stabbed now lives with permanent damage to his lungs because the Campus refused to heal him, resulting in an inferior treatment done by the students themselves. And now the Campus is trying to kick me out by saying I broke their rules. I wonder what the students will think.”
It’s exactly as Isaac had said. The large incident Kaizen had caused already spread through the entire Campus, along with what had happened to Isaac afterwards. Isaac was pitied by the students when the infirmary refused to treat him. Groups of students even spoke out against them, claiming that the Campus valued their rules over a human life. And now they even want to kick him out. Rivelia, who proposed all this, would have the image of a tyrant that was only interested in carrying out her own justice.
“Well, I doubt any student would challenge your authority as the President, with the Duke Pendleton behind your back. I guess the weak suffer what they must.”
“Are you insulting my family’s name?”
“The public opinion will give you the answer. I wonder who they’ll badmouth more? Don’t worry. I don’t think there’s a single noble who’s brave enough to publicly denounce you. It’ll be just be talk behind your back at best.”
Rivelia grit her teeth as her glare focused on Isaac. There are many who hated and envied the Pendletons. Rivelia could only hold back her emotions, making sure that she showed no signs of weakness. Just talking with that man infuriated her to no end. She couldn’t stand his arrogant and shameless behaviour. Her urge to hit him on the back of his head only rose every second.
“I am Rivelia, daughter of the Duke Pendleton.”
“I’m sure you’re aware that Baron Rondart is a vassal to our family? That means you are my vassal.”
“Ah! So you think that I, a man who has no supporters or any power of my own, am now in a position that could possibly take the title of Baron because I’ve somehow won a fight against my brother for power, so I should now treat you as my master, as presumed of a vassal? You should know what position I’m in if you have any ears.”
Rivelia was speechless against Isaac’s passive aggressive reply. She could only stare at him. She was well aware of his situation since her cousin Mazelan had told her all about it.
“Even if you have no interest in such matters, I am still the daughter of the Duke Pendleton. You should be more respectful.”
Isaac smirked and began talking down to Rivelia with a tone as if she was a child.
“Oh dear, my little Hubaenim. I’ve heard a lot from Mazelan Sunbaenim you see. Our status do have effects in an official setting, but in private matters, the Campus still follows the sunbae-hubae relationship. And I don’t think this situation is an official matter right now.”
“Hmph! Do you really think you have the right to be my sunbae?”
“Thankfully, both the Campus and the College separates that distinction through which year we graduated. And I’m graduating in as little as 2 years. Hubaenim? I heard you’re a genius? But even a genius such as yourself would find it hard to graduate from the College before me right? Wow! Does that mean I’ll forever be the sunbae of the daughter of the Duke Pendleton? It is such an honour, my hubaenim.”
Rivelia was now at her breaking point, her lips firmly pressed and a deathly glare looking straight at Isaac. That arrogant face of his was begging for a strike from her.
“You should head off if that’s all you have to say. Ah! Are you mad that I’m not treating you like all the other boys? I’m so sorry about that.”
The followers of Rivelia would number in the thousands if the students of the Campus were included as well. Many coveted her, for marrying Rivelia meant that the Dukedom of Pendletons would be their wedding gift and their name would forever be carved into the royal bloodline. And with a beauty such as her as the icing on the cake, there were many who would do anything to gain her attention.
Isaac’s words cut deep in her pride, and the only thing left on her face was the deathly stare of a cobra.
“I have put much effort to carry the name that is Pendleton, and I have also proven my worth without its influence. If you are to treat me as a vain and ignorant girl, then I can’t help but take it as a personal insult.”
Isaac shrugged at Rivelia’s warning, passing it over as if had no value.
“Whatever. Should I give you a warning too? Don’t treat me like those boys who follow you around for your attention. I’m not interested in you. Well, don’t take that in a wrong way, because I’m not gay either. You and I live in a different world, so it’s best for both of us to stay away from each other.”
“Remember! If I were to see any goods which has not received permission to be sold within the Campus, I will punish you myself.”
“How could I even dare to go against your orders? But why do I get the feeling you’ll be coming back soon to take back what you’ve said?”
“Hmph! That will never happen.”
“Really? You can’t be so sure about everything that happens in this world. Shall we make a bet?”
Isaac’s disrespectful behaviour caused Rivelia to simply turn around and slam the door behind her as she left Isaac.
“… Is it fun to bully her?”
Kunette walked next to Isaac with patches of honey around her mouth. Isaac smiled at the little bear and started wiping her mouth.
“Bully her? Such dangerous words. I’m just playing along with her because she’s acting so cute. How could I ever treat the daughter of the Duke Pendleton like a fool?”
“….You’re not doing your business anymore?”
“Hm? But haven’t all my goods been approved?”
“… Isaac, you’re mean.”