Chapter 25 – If There Are Downs
“Well, that just now was amazing!”
I looked back when I heard a voice behind me.
Although I was addressed by a student who wore a hooded robe that covered his eyes, he somehow managed to look excited as he approached.
His stature was similar to mine. He was the only person in my group that could maintain Life Magic from the start.
It was uncertain as to whether he was a Noble. Although it was good that his gestures and attitude were refined, I couldn’t tell whether he was a noble or a merchant, since his plain robe concealed his appearance. For now:
“…Why thank you.”
I stopped to reply to him.
Whether or not I had relayed to him that I thought he was shady, he laughed and took off his hood. What appeared was a boy with reddish brown hair.
“That was impolite of me all of a sudden. I’m called Alfred.”
…Hmm? Did he say Alfred?
I looked at him again unintentionally.
It couldn’t be, Alfred Brightwelt…?
Alfred Brightwelt, the Magic Engineer. Regarding NPCs, he was one of the starting NPCs.
Although he introduced himself as Alfred, a self-proclaimed Magic Engineer…His true identity was that of the fourth Prince, Albert, of the Royal Family.
Umm, thinking back to the Game’s information…it was said that the elder brother of Marlen, a shrine maiden of the Moon Goddess, was the fiance of Miss Ophelia, who belonged to the house of Marquiss Fobreister.
Although his relations could be guessed up to this point from the things that were narrated in the game, it was said that Alfred himself was involved with players, from handing out requests at the Adventurer’s Guild to making an appearance as the fourth Prince, Albert, for other events.
He was wearing a Transformation Magic Ring. No doubt about it, he was quite confident to introduce himself as Alfred at this age.
Although it seemed that Ophelia, who would marry him later on, interacted with him since childhood…as expected, it appeared that they weren’t accompanying each other.
If I had to say whether he was an enemy or an ally…then I thought Albert would be more of an ally.
After all, I could understand it at this point in time and wouldn’t let my guard down, even if I knew about it one-sidedly.
Albert’s influence within the Palace was weak, so he had a tendency to try to strengthen his connection with the Adventurer’s Guild. I could imagine that this was the reason he took the trouble to reach out to me.
“…I’m Theodore Gartner.”
“Aah. It’s a pleasure.”
Although I gave my full name, he only gave me his first name. Without a doubt, it would be Brightwelt if he gave it though.
He put his hand out for a handshake, so I’ll give him one. It would be troublesome to deal with the situation if he realized that I knew that he was Albert, since I shouldn’t know that information…Well, it should be fine? Perhaps he wasn’t seeking such polite treatment while in disguise.
Talcott shook his head and got up.
He looked at his surroundings and then looked up at me, before he muttered dumbfoundedly.
“I…lost? To such a child?”
He just received a normal shock, huh? Will he keep the promise or not? It was hard to tell at this point. By introducing it as a match, we were careful to prevent any injuries from occurring, even if it became a shootout.
With that done, I hit myself, returning to a mature attitude, and looked at Talcott.
“At least you will listen to me now. Do you have what it takes to fulfill the promise?”
“I, who lost…have no intention to complain about the victor’s decision. You’re stronger than me. Probably in everything.”
I wanted to stop such a brutish way of ruling in our human society. That was why he had received such a nickname. Well…that was fine. As long as he agreed with my words.
“Now then, please do so. As for myself, I don’t think it’s useless to train in Life Magic, receive a noble’s education, and learn in classrooms.”
I don’t think Talcott would hold a grudge against me if I said this.
“…I-Is that so?”
It would be quite easy for Talcott, who lifted up his head to listen to my lecture about magic training, to understand the principles of behavior.
Although he was called a “Fierce Dog”, I understood that he was a scapegoat, so that there wouldn’t be a grudge against the eldest son, who would become the heir while exploiting his populace.
“Will Training, which tempers one’s perseverance, is connected to the improvement of one’s Control, while my different ideas and the way I think are connected to the ability to read battles, as well as the amount of knowledge that I have.”
“…Then, with the extent of your skills, should you be learning Life Magic now…?”
“It’s to decrease the amount of chore-like work that must be completed after descending into the Labyrinth. I want to get stronger, and there’s also a point to descending the Labyrinth.”
Although I had also considered things like how we would receive income and our future prospects…there was nothing better than getting stronger.
“I-is that so?”
Travis took Talcott to the School’s Dean to report this. It appeared that his family, which was managed by Count Cardiff, was called.
I was on standby in one of the vacant rooms, since I wanted my instructions to remain with him. Although it was natural that Grace was with me, Ashley was also with us.
As for Alfred…he went somewhere else quite easily.
“Does Ashley-sama have any other lectures?”
“I received permission to be absent, so it’s fine. I think being a witness to this is better.”
A witness, huh? Perhaps he wouldn’t be able to step forward at will if members from the Cardiff family were there.
Although Ashley didn’t really say much, it appeared that she was worried.
“…Understood. I have some spare time, so shall we wrap up the situation with the Circulation Refining?”
After talking about many things, I thought we should try to leave now. Ashley nodded at my proposal, and smiled.
“…How is it?”
“It feels similar to taking a bath, then having the center of my body become warmer.”
Ashley responded to my question about her body’s condition after the Circulation Refining was completed.
I had also acquired Stamina Healing Magic, so it appeared that Ashley was spending her time more comfortably than before. The effect of Circulation Refining continued for a longer period of time, unlike Beginner Healing Magic.
However, even if that was the case, she still had to state whether her condition was good or bad. Rossetta, who was a specialist in this, was also with us now, so should I ask her opinion?
Grace was continuing with her embroidery while bathing in the sun at a nearby window. Our time passed quietly, as if the earlier disturbance had not happened.
“I want to hear about the story of your descent into the Labyrinth.”
“At the moment, we’ve reached the 12th floor. It is still one of the upper floors, so it doesn’t amount to much of a tale, you know? More interesting places will appear if we progress a bit further.”
Even though I had taken enough precautions, like preserving Mana, it was still impossible to do it all in one go. Well, let’s just call it practice.
“Theodore-sama said that there were no problems up to the 20th floor.”
“That’s because there haven’t been any Guardians.”
“Yeah, speaking of Guardians–”
It was fine to think of them as the so-called ‘Boss Characters’. However, no matter what floor you said you were on, I felt that they were wandering somewhere on the 21st and above floors. I would say that they were more like Rare Characters than Bosses.
Rossetta entered the vacant classroom after she saw Grace embroidering and the two of us on standby.
“Hello, so Ashley was with you as well.”
She grinned broadly after noticing Ashley.
“Yeah, well, what about Talcott’s situation?”
“…Let’s see. I’ve come to relay the situation to you since his punishment has been decided.”
“Personally, I’ve wondered about his story. He was unfortunately stripped of his inheritance and was disowned by the Cardiff House.”
…Well, it was a situation that would generate behavioral issues to that extent.
Although he had controlled it, it was still a concern to actually use magic. If I had to give an example, then it was more serious than…swinging a knife around in a place where you had no need to take one out. Maybe it was similar to the sensation of shooting a gun and trying not to hit someone.
Although he would likely receive light disciplinary action as well as a heavy punishment…If he had been abandoned by the Count, then at the very least, he wouldn’t be able to avoid being expelled from the School.
“Well, he ended up being allowed to remain in the School though.”
Which was what I had expected. Rossetta commented with a wry smile.
“There are people, like the two of you, who have gained popularity from bets. This place is a school, so I’m opposed to expelling young people with promising futures like this. However, if another problem occurs, then it looks like it has been decided that it will result in…immediate expulsion.”
“Well, it was certain…that if we were to talk about limiting the use of his Magic, then he wouldn’t be that excellent. I understand that if this is doable, then it would even be beneficial for the country. Speaking of the promise with me, as an excuse, maybe it was good for him to be cut off from the Cardiff House.”
“I wonder who exactly let the spawn of that superior Magician from the Military make decisions unhindered. Nonetheless…it’s roughly as you said. He might have been expelled if he hadn’t been cut off by the Count.”
It was because the influence of Count Morris could be removed. Later, as long as he kept the promise, it might reach the point where he would study and reflect on various things.
“The one who protected him was the Dean…and another splendid person, even though their name wasn’t mentioned, due to circumstances.”
“Fumu, does that mean that person is the one who has custody over Talcott?”
“Ara, you understood it well.”
“He wouldn’t be commuting to school if he were cut off from his home after all.”
Perhaps he was like me and had to think about saving money.
Aside from that, a splendid person that didn’t mention their name…right.
Well, nine cases out of ten, it would be Prince Albert. As expected, he had a reason for slipping into the school incognito.
It appeared that he would create a connection with me while gaining Talcott’s gratitude by extending his hand to this place, expecting future prospects since Talcott was disinherited by the Count.
Perhaps Prince Albert wanted talented people like Talcott because the base of his power was weak, and even though Talcott was a person whose connections were severed in every direction and isolated from his surroundings, he wouldn’t be regarded as a problem. In short…he could only be seen as a talented person suited to be a Debauchee Prince, huh?
“Talcott said that he wanted to give you his thanks. It’s thanks to you that he still has a slim connection.”
“Is that so?”
Usually, I minded my own business, but even I have no right to say that. Let’s consider it a favor to Albert.