Chapter 2 – The Academy Before the Fall (1)
However, there are people who realize that self-evident fact only belatedly. Because it’s stupid Or maybe you’re too drunk on the academy’s power.
Erica was both.
“The dragons are coming? It can’t be. You’re lying? All of a sudden, this… There’s no way this could happen.”
“But it’s true, Miss Erika. It’s a fact that has already been observed at the magic field. In the meantime, I thought it was a simple error because it was observed from a distance, but… Actually, it wasn’t that. I found out too late.”
“It must be an error this time too! Wouldn’t it be? How could the world be ruined so suddenly…”
“But the elves came to the same conclusion, saying that the dragons’ movements were very hostile. A year ago, all the remaining elves in the empire returned to their lands. Only now did I tell them why.”
The professor cut off her words in a desperate voice. Even in his eyes she was about to shed tears.
“It’s already been confirmed. The dragons are coming. Really… Humanity’s greatest crisis is coming.”
It is humanity’s greatest crisis. It was a very refined expression compared to the situation. Perhaps I could add one more word.
It is said to be the harbinger of the extinction of mankind.
Erica was silent for a while as she belatedly accepted all the facts. Then she opened her mouth in a very melancholy voice.
“So what’s the countermeasure?”
Still, Erica was quick to accept the situation because she wasn’t completely stupid. But just because she was, that didn’t mean she regained her composure.
“Do you have an evacuation plan? Hiding in an underground shelter… Or moving to another land where dragons won’t come. You must have such a plan, right?”
“I was going to tell you about it, anyway.”
At her words, the professor nodded his head convolutedly. Seeing that her expression wasn’t very clear, it didn’t seem like a very promising solution.
“As the spokesperson said earlier, the Empire is working hard to resolve this situation. But it will take a while. So…”
“So you can safely wait at the academy until a countermeasure is prepared.”
“I beg your pardon?”
This time, she stood up against not only Erica, but several other students as well. The word countermeasure was too vague a word to be accepted simply as an idiot.
“When will the countermeasures be prepared? Is there a promise?”
“No promises, but still…”
“Is this the official position of the Academy? Is it really so?”
“It’s still like that. So, everyone…”
“And this is an island! If something happens, you have to stay here and die! But wait!”
“You have no right to do this. I must leave. Go to the capital right now!”
Amidst the roar, the professor shouted with all his might. Then he spoke with trembling lips.
“Everyone, please calm down! Do you think it will be safe if we get out of here? No. Rather, it will become more dangerous. “Maybe something bigger happened!”
“But you don’t know…”
“Please wake up, Miss Erica! You don’t know much about society yet. You can’t imagine what those good people of the Empire would do if they were in danger. Are you leaving this island now and going to the capital? Even if it’s by boat. Even if you get to the mainland, it’s a long way to get to the capital, the trains are already saturated, and all other means of transportation have long since been paralyzed, and you might be kidnapped and raped by the coachman who gave up everything after reluctantly getting a carriage. !”
The professor’s last words were enough to silence the entire class. He looked around at us with a guilty look.
“But at least here at the academy, order is still alive. There are adults to protect you. So trust us and wait inside. Yes?”
“Please everyone. Trust the academy. Please.”
No clear answer was forthcoming. The classroom was still as quiet as a rat. After a long time, Erica asked again.
“…Then how do you manage to eat in the meantime? Is there enough food?”
It was a bit of a condescending tone. The professor wiped his chest as if he had been saved by her words.
“Thank you, Miss Erica. I think you understand. I already have enough food. But I did ask for some relief supplies just in case. They’ll probably arrive this way within a month.”
“Then, when a countermeasure is in place, what do we move on? The ship is too small for everyone to move.”
“I received a confirmation from the Empire that they would provide that as well. You can rest assured.”
“What about other necessities besides food? I’m running out of what I got last time…”
“Hey… Slow down a little…”
“Can you tell me exactly how things are going? Are you constantly sharing information with the land?”
“What about my family? When can I see you?”
Again, questions rained down here and there. The students raised their voices to the professor with their own questions, and the professor somehow gave hopeful answers to all of them. Hearing his words made it seem like it was nothing to get through this crisis.
But I didn’t have any questions about him, so I was staring blankly at the window. Therefore, only I witnessed the scene in the classroom.
Over the window. A few people were busy moving in the shadows of the academy. Although their faces were not visible, they were never in school uniforms, and most of them were carrying heavy backpacks on their backs. And beside them, those with weapons followed.
I didn’t know where he was going, but I could tell he was full of anxiety. One of them kept looking back as if he couldn’t stand the anxiety. Soon, when his face caught my eye, I couldn’t help but laugh.
Even at a distance, his face was clearly recognizable. No, rather it was a long distance, so I was more certain. Because he was a high-ranking professor who always gave long speeches in the seat next to the president, far away from the students. That he was there meant one thing.
Professors were abandoning this academy.
Of course not everyone is like that. Because there must be people full of a sense of mission like that person standing in front of us. But some of the professors lacked that sense of mission, and that’s why they left.
Or it’s possible that those people leaving now may have received more specific information from the Empire. So if you stay here, you might decide that there is no hope and leave. In preparation for an unexpected situation, I went along with the guards.
Either way, the conclusion was clear. Contrary to what the professor said, the academy’s order was already collapsing. And the adults who will protect us will gradually disappear.
How will students react when they find out?
This time I turned my gaze toward the students. Many people were still asking questions eagerly to hold on to hope. Some, however, smiled liberated without asking any questions or looked like cornered mice. People with such expressions usually show madness that others could not even imagine.
When that moment comes, it will already be too late.
When I looked back one last time, Saya’s face caught my eye. She, like me, was watching the people around her. She somehow had a vague idea that she had come to the same conclusion as me.
I blankly met her eyes with Saya for no reason. It didn’t mean much. I just wanted to look. Saya also looked at me like that.
Then, for the first time today, he nodded slowly.
To me, it felt like a sign of some sort.
“Now, everyone listen to me. As the student president, the academy has already prepared all the measures and is doing everything possible for us. So we have to believe in it and follow it. Now is the time to come together. If you believe in and follow…”
Before I knew it, Erica had stepped forward and was giving a speech. But I didn’t even listen to the end and got up and headed toward the locker with great strides.
“…Lope? What are you doing?”
I heard a nervous voice, but I didn’t care. Without stopping, I approached the dresser next to the locker. Inside the empty glass, only a hand-stained sword stood.
“Lope! What are you doing!”
I wish I could take it as it is, but unfortunately it was locked. And the key is with the professor in charge. It seemed better to force it open.
At that moment, Erica grabbed my shoulder and turned it around. She then gave her a terrifying look.
“Where are you going? I’m talking.”
“You’re all right… Take a seat. Unexpected behavior is unacceptable from this time on.”
Erica didn’t even ask her circumstances, and as if it was annoying, she pointed her finger at my seat. But I didn’t even flinch.
“Don’t worry, Erica. I’ll go my own way.”
“What? Such a cheeky…”
“I’ll just pack my things and go.”
“I told you to stop!”
At that moment, Erica impatiently raised her hand. Judging by the buzzing noises around them, it seemed that they were about to chant magic.
However, casting magic at such a distance was too lethal.
Before she could finish her chant, I grabbed her hand and snapped her fingers behind her. I just lightly put on the pod and slightly misaligned it, but in an instant, a scream burst out.
At that moment, I unknowingly loosened her hand. The sensation of the flesh that had been crushed in her hand for a moment gave her bizarre goosebumps.
“Ah… Ugh… Black…”
“Sorry, but it seems like you’re trying to use magic.”
“Go… How dare you do this…”
Erica seemed to be shocked by the little pain, and even shed tears as she sighed. But she was shocked, too, on this side.
The student president of the academy was crying in front of me. Until this morning, the person I prayed for with my head bowed was rather shaking his shoulders. He even flinched back when I raised his hand.
It was a truly surreal sight. Honestly, I felt like the academy guards would catch me and take me to the disciplinary room right now. But the fact that this would never happen came crashing into my head. It gave me a kind of liberating feeling.
And even a little bit of euphoria.
But I couldn’t just be intoxicated with that feeling.
“Then I’ll go home first.”
With those words, I raised my elbow and hit the edge of the glass with all my might.
As the windows were shattered with a cool pain, fragments of everyday life scattered in all directions. I put my hand inside the shattered reality as I heard Erica’s screams.
As soon as the familiar sensation wrapped around my hand, my mind calmed down for a moment. In this situation, the heavy weight of the sword supported his unstable mind.
I looked around the classroom in that state. Erica was still staring at me with great enthusiasm, and Roselia was looking a little impressed. Saya disappeared from her seat at some point and was nowhere to be seen.
Lena had a look she had never seen before. Even when I first got angry with her when I was young, her face wasn’t like that. That face at that time was so shocking that I once swore to myself never to scream at Lena again.
What is Lena thinking right now? I wonder if she was shocked by my actions. Or is she vaguely guessing the reason? Lena thought she was a smart kid so she was more likely the latter. So I sent her an unspoken message to her.
But this time, her reaction was the same as before.
Lena turned away from me as if she were facing a complete stranger.
In that moment, her fate and mine were sealed.
I turned around and left the classroom. No one caught me this time. As I wished, I also did not look back. Maybe a month. After that, this academy will be distorted miserably.
But my expectations were miserably wrong.
It took less than a month for this narrow society to deteriorate.