The Rotsgard Academy was in a festive mood from the visit of two Heroes back to back.
Even when they have already left, the excitement hasn’t cooled down, and the surroundings of the temporary teacher that was judged as a related party was growing noisier.
“This is unbelievably unpleasant.”
“I agree with you from the bottom of my heart.”
That’s right, it is us!
Being called the Hero Teacher or stuff like that!
Damn it, the student that spread lies as if you were a connoisseur of the situation.
We are…from the same homeland…so I won’t say I have no connection at all with them, but…
We are not close friends and we are not in a relationship where we would make promises with each other!
“Even though our standing at the Academy should be completely unrelated to politics…” (Makoto)
“They have completely dug it back up. It is the epitome of pain as a parting souvenir of the Heroes.” (Shiki)
“Could it be that Senpai lengthened her stay because she wanted to strengthen their impression of a relationship between us? No, no way, huh. There’s not much point in that.” (Makoto)
“If you are referring to Hibiki, I would say her objective was mainly to assess the strength of Jin and the others. They are without doubt the strongest among the student body after all.” (Shiki)
It is rare to see Shiki not hiding his displeasure.
“Not scouting?” (Makoto)
“No, I would say it is assessing. I would say she was trying to see the difference between here and the Limia Academy, and bring that information back.” (Shiki)
“So to elevate Limia, she was confirming the level of Rotsgard, huh. Senpai has her work cut out for her. Fighting the demons should be plenty strenuous already.” (Makoto)
On top of that, she is touching on the national power of Limia, the domestic affairs, and even diplomacy.
…It is so nice to be able to think of several different things at the same time.
“That said, that isn’t the only effect Hibiki had by moving around… The eyes of Amelia changed, seeking to work even harder to get stronger, and that’s resulting in her overworking herself slightly.” (Shiki)
“That’s how the surroundings of Senpai end up like. The one with the most talent is working harder than everyone else, and bringing results on top of that. It is overpowering.” (Makoto)
Of course Jin and the others would get desperate when their ages aren’t that far apart.
The light of Hibiki-senpai is truly intense.
To the point that it might even be able to change a big nation like Limia.
She has helpers and believers from the royal family, and her relationship with the Priestess of the Lorel Union is favorable.
It makes one think…
“And those traces are clinging onto us and making it hard to move. Having the eyes of people being directed at us the whole time at every corner of the academy is troubling.” (Shiki)
“Is it affecting your investigation too, Shiki?” (Makoto)
“The librarian of the academy is skilled, but…yeah, I do feel undesirable gazes.” (Shiki)
“Even in the divisions of the library where it is hard to enter? Good grief.” (Makoto)
Asora has a decent amount of books, but the collection of books in Rotsgard Academy really is on a level of its own.
Even though we finally got permission to read any book in the library of the academy as long as we don’t take it out from there, this is happening. It must be quite the pain for Shiki.
It is because the standing of Shiki in the academy is that of my assistant that he would try to always stay gentle.
The unpleasant gazes, questions and chatting you can only think they did in the passing; he would have to respond to all of those with a smile on his face.
It is far from being an environment where his research would progress favorably.
Shiki is on the strong side when it comes to researching and knowledge, so it goes without saying that he loves books.
“It seems like you have been getting pretty serious love confessions too, Waka-sama.” (Shiki)
“Love, huh. I don’t need such greed driven love…” (Makoto)
It is too adult. No thank you.
“We can’t bring Mio-dono to the current academy even by mistake.” (Shiki)
“I definitely wouldn’t want to bring her here -that goes for Tomoe too.” (Makoto)
Tomoe’s way of seeing it may be different, but she still does get decently jealous.
What the two share in common is that they don’t unleash their anger on me, but onto other people.
It is already pretty nerve wracking to stop them at those moments, but there’s also no knowing where the sparks will fly off to.
Conclusion: prevention reigns supreme.
“I will do my best to not say anything unnecessary.” (Shiki)
“Sorry about that. So, is your investigation going well, Shiki? Leaving aside recent happenings.” (Makoto)
Shiki showed a vague reaction to my question.
Not good but not bad, maybe?
“It is not progressing as I want. There would be times when I would find things that would stimulate my memories though…” (Shiki)
Shiki was a Lich before he was my follower.
He abandoned his flesh and became an undead, but Shiki was originally hyuman.
Just that…the time he lost his sanity as an undead was also long.
There are a lot of missing parts in his hyuman memories due to taboo practices.
Of course, the things regarding Graunt that he went as far as becoming an undead to seek, he remembers them clearly.
His objectives and methods were insane, and were on the verge of reversing, but…well, let’s leave that aside.
It seems like he also remembers a decent degree of things regarding magic and the research and its results even after becoming an undead.
On the other hand, his relationship with people, his environment, affiliations, school, and nation at the time when he was a hyuman are almost in a catastrophic state.
According to Shiki, his parents and friends look like shadows with no clear height.
I think that’s quite the saddening situation, but the person himself acts as if he doesn’t care much about it.
Seeing how Tomoe and Mio are growing stronger, he finally began to dig through his roots and the researches of those times which might serve to be the key to his growth.
I also think that a researcher on the level of Shiki should have left some sort of papers in Rotsgard, and there should be something regarding Shiki in the Rotsgard Academy.
It does seem like he has met with things that have stimulated his memories after all.
“It seems like I wasn’t doing much research that would put me at the front of the academy, and it doesn’t look like I was someone that would build a new era… If I was a buried talent, then who knows when I will be able to meet my beginnings.” (Shiki)
“I doubt you were the average person, Shiki.” (Makoto)
“Not even my memories as a lich were clear. I might have unexpectedly been a klutz.” (Shiki)
Shiki falls into self-deprecation.
But I am sure he was someone with a name for himself.
Even if you are famous and have the ability, there’s cases like the Adventurers of Origin.
If he is being treated as an untouchable being that’s not written even in history, it would be pretty difficult.
“Even though I was a bit optimistic, hoping that everything would be resolved if Tomoe-dono checked my past…” (Shiki)
“She couldn’t see the past of Mio either, so the past memory reading of Tomoe isn’t all-powerful.” (Makoto)
“I investigated the Graunts, reached the Graunts…chasing after a friend that jumped to a parallel world… What did I want to do after that? It seems like there’s a hole cleanly open there… It is pathetic. In the first place, I threw away my humanity, so what would it achieve to reunite with them…?” (Shiki)
Shiki mutters this while looking faraway, towards nowhere in particular.
“Even though there’s certainly something remaining in this body about having taught students… ” (Shiki)
“Your aptitudes when you were alive, the style you specialized in, elements; I am sure that once your memories come back, you will become an even more reliable Shiki than you are now, so I have to do my best too.” (Makoto)
“I would like you to keep your own pace and wait without overworking yourself, Waka-sama. I am happy that you are putting spirit into the path of the merchant.” (Shiki)
“I was told that by Tomoe too.” (Makoto)
“Once the battle between hyumans and demons reaches closure, we are going to end up being caught up in the chaos of society. I want to be the support of Waka-sama at that time. I will definitely remember everything and obtain new power.” (Shiki)
New power, huh.
“In your case, you have to train your 13 Steps, right?” (Makoto)
“It is true that there are a few numbers that don’t have a stable activation…” (Shiki)
“Not that. That’s quite the powerful skill, right? You have to properly master it. You are still in the introductory phase after all.” (Makoto)
My rings entered Shiki, were transformed, and became his special ability: the 13 Steps.
They are really versatile.
“Introductory phase? I do know all the abilities of the rings…” (Shiki)
“I can use them now though.” (Shiki)
“That’s all you can manage, right?” (Makoto)
Could it be that Shiki himself wasn’t aware of it?
He is asking back seriously as if he doesn’t get it.
Now that I think about it, I haven’t told Shiki directly…?
I just assumed he knew about it.
It is his own special ability after all.
“You would call your rings and activate your abilities, right?” (Makoto)
“You have 13 stages, right?” (Makoto)
“On top of that, there’s 13 phases to that. Were you aware of that?” (Makoto)
He is making a face as if this is the first he has heard of this.
At the time when he managed to activate the 13th Step, he was strangely filled with a sense of accomplishment because that was his goal at that moment, huh.
So that’s the reason why there was such a difference in the excitement between me and him since, for me, I considered that simply as a checkpoint in a single division before being able to use the whole skill.
The 13th Skill: [Archer of the Heavens, Golgotha] has quite the picky capabilities, but it is not like I was directing lukewarm eyes at that.
So the misunderstanding went on for this long, huh.
“There’s an experimental agricultural ground in Asora, right?” (Makoto)
“The one with round shaped terraced rice-fields.” (Shiki)
An important facility that is suitable for growth, with calculated sunlight and temperature, running parallel with magic and is being put to practical use a whole ton.
“Terraced…yeah, your 13 Steps are exactly that. You are in the center, and there are 13 stairs in 13 different directions.” (Makoto)
“The 4th Step that enhances your base capabilities, was it? To put it simply, there’s a 2nd phase and 3rd phase to that like with Daena, you know?” (Makoto) <The 4th is supposed to be equipment enhancement. I really hope the author shows a full list of the Steps eventually to make it more clear.>
“Wa, eh?” (Shiki)
“Well, Daena has learned the cloning technique and is running into the ninja route though.” (Makoto)
“Uhm, Waka-sama…wa?” (Shiki)
“The magic power consumed and the control of it gets several levels more difficult, so I thought that being able to activate them all first was one option, but…I see, so you weren’t aware of it.” (Makoto)
“I thought for sure that you were searching for your memories so that you could decide which ring number you would challenge first… You know…sorry. I forgot to tell you.” (Makoto)
“It is not only Tamaki who has latent power that can line up with Tomoe and Mio; you do too, Shiki. You must not forget to study your 13 Steps too.” (Makoto)
There was a time when Tamaki and Shiki were seriously consulting with each other about the difference in power between them and Tomoe and Mio.
But, in my eyes, Tamaki and Shiki are on the same level when it comes to their basic elements, and their growth potential.
It seems like my followers, leaving aside their beginning stats, will end up getting around the same level of strength depending on their effort, is how I lightly thought of it.
It was so natural for me that I didn’t share it with them.
At that time, I told them if they do their best, they will eventually line up with them, but they might have taken it in a completely different light from what I thought.
“…M-My 13 Steps… No way… Eh? Completely mastering it would finally allow me to be on the same level as Tomoe-dono and Mio-dono… That means, those two, just how monstrou—” (Shiki)
“Shiki, you must not say any further than that.” (Makoto)
“M-My apologies!! I am sorry, Waka-sama, there’s no work in the academy anymore, so is it okay if I return first?!” (Shiki)
“Yeah, go ahead.” (Makoto)
Shiki ran off like a gale.
He is so diligent. He is not going straight to Asora, but heading to the company first to give instructions before returning.
Right, maybe I should tag along in digging through the books of the library as an apology to Shiki.
He won’t be able to use the 13 Steps properly until he polishes his foundation anyways, so it isn’t something he will be able to resolve in one or two days.
Even so, if Shiki can find a path, he will run at full power to that direction.
Yeah, this enlightenment that got delayed to 1-2 months wasn’t wasted.