Here’s the final 2020 update (in my timezone), bet you didn’t see that coming. Anyway, hopefully next year schedule will be better (it won’t).
As always, please support the author/illustrator by buying the original book.
P.S: Go simp for vtubers (especially hololive) thanks.
Oh and new year is a thing I guess, happy new year.
Chapter 4: War in a Peaceful World
“It’s fine, Ruvik. I can handle the carriage by myself.”
“With all due respect, my lady, even if you say so, it’s not fine with me. As your butler, I can’t allow you to do something dangerous like driving a carriage.”
In the suburbs of the royal capital Nirvan, Leticiel and Ruvik were having a conversation before the front gate of a small mansion.
In front of the girl was an elegant olive-brown carriage, where Ruvik was making preparations on the coachman’s seat. This first-class carriage, along with the two white horses harnessed to it, were presents from Oswald.
For a short while after she had moved to her new home, Leticiel had only used Transference to commute. However, with the new route to the academy in mind, she had decided that relaxing and enjoying the new scenery and townscape wasn’t half bad.
The girl had wanted to drive the carriage herself as she didn’t want to bother Ruvik and Nicole when the two of them already had their hands full from managing the mansion by themselves. Unfortunately, she had been caught by Ruvik, which led to their current conversation.
I have experience with horses from my past life, so telling them where to go is a walk in the park, Leticiel grumbled as Ruvik descended from the coachman seat and opened the carriage’s door for her.
“The preparations are ready now, my lady. Please take a seat.”
“…Very well. Then, I’ll leave it to you.”
“Yes, please just enjoy the ride.”
Ruvik closed the door after Leticiel had entered the carriage and disappeared from her sight. Shortly after, a whip cracked, and with the horses’ neigh, the carriage began to move.
With the new home, the scenery she saw from the carriage during her commute had also changed. While the girl was gazing at the plain dotted with trees and forests, the carriage passed through the capital’s south gate.
…Now that I think about it, I’ve never checked out the capital before, Leticiel realized as the townscape entered her gaze, since I’ve finally been freed from that family, let’s try visiting when I have the chance.
Shortly after passing through the main street, Lucrezia Academy’ main gate came into view, and after passing through it, the carriage came to a stop at the front entrance. Ruvik then opened the door and escorted Leticiel out of the carriage.
“Please enjoy your day, my lady.”
“Okay, thank you, Ruvik.”
Ruvik returned to the coachman’s seat and headed off. After the carriage had left her view, Leticiel turned around and moved into the entrance hall. What awaited her was the sight of a blond man leaning against a pillar.
“Oh, you’re finally here, Drossel. Morning.” Lucas called out with a wave of his hand.
“Good morning. I didn’t expect to see you here, Dean.”
“Well, yeah. If I didn’t ambush you here, you’d have disappeared to who-knows-where.”
“But I’d still do that even if you did,” slightly annoyed by how Lucas was treating her like a problem child, Leticiel decided she would give him the slip.
“Stop right there, today’s the only day where you can’t do whatever you want,” Lucas quickly blocked her escape.
“…And why is that?”
“There’s a lecture that every Elementary student has to attend this morning.”
“…Is there any reason for me to be there?”
“Well, people who’d rarely make an appearance will be there, you see, so you might be able to hear some interesting topics.”
While Leticiel originally had no interest in the lecture or any expectation for its contents, she now couldn’t help but feel curious. The potential to learn something new was enough of a reason for her to attend.
“…I understand, then, where should I go?”
“The large auditorium. It’s above the cafeteria, so you should know where it is.”
Anyway, I just need to show up. If I can hear something interesting then that’s good, if not, I can just do something else to kill time, thought Leticiel as she assumed a defiant attitude.
“Putting that aside, what would you do if I didn’t come here?”
“You’ve been coming to the academy using a carriage lately, no? I couldn’t believe my eyes the day I saw your carriage among the other students’, with you in the driver’s seat.”
“Being a coachman is surprisingly fun.”
“That’s not the issue here!”
After taking the main building’s center stairs to the second floor, Leticiel arrived at her destination.
Compared to a normal classroom, the auditorium had a much higher ceiling along with three to four times more seats, which were arranged in a tiered fashion. Some of the seats along the gentle slope had already been filled here and there.
There was nobody in the front few rows, and so, Leticiel purposefully picked the first aisle seat on the frontmost row. She intended to leave the auditorium the moment the lecture was over and that seat was the closest to the exit.
“Ah! Good morning, Drossel.”
While she mindlessly gazed at the students entering and exiting the auditorium, Leticiel’s eyes met Mirandalette’s as the girl came through the door.
“Good morning to you too. You’re pretty early.”
“Not as early as you. Can I sit next to you?”
Mirandalette sat down next to Leticiel, however, perhaps due to being in the front row, she looked a bit restless.
“You really are brave, Drossel. I wouldn’t have chosen a table in the frontmost row like this…”
“Why not? It’s the closest to the door.”
“S-So you picked it for that reason…”
The area around the door stayed relatively empty up until twenty minutes before the first period when students began pouring into the auditorium. The amount of students quickly doubled, accompanied by an appropriate level of noise, and even quarrels for the seats could be heard.
“Good morning, you two.”
“Oh. Morning, Sieg.”
Sieg entered the auditorium among the waves of students. As Leticiel’s table had already filled, he took the seat on the opposite side of the aisle.
“Sieg, Mira, do you happen to know the topic of today’s lecture?” Leticiel raised a question as the only thing she had heard from Lucas was that there was a lecture.
“It’s the yearly lecture from the Secretary of the Navy, Duke Valentine, and the Secretary of the Ministry of Magic, Duke Blois.” Sieg answered.
At Lucrezia Academy, there was a tradition of inviting the incumbent Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Ministry of Magic for a yearly lecture prepared for the first year students. As a result the contents of the lecture were different every year, ranging from engaging topics to dull ones.
The Secretary of the Army was supposed to appear once again as per tradition; however, due to all the incidents happening around the kingdom that the Army had to deal with, it was decided that the Secretary of the Navy would come as a substitute.
“Duke… so they’re from the Five Houses.”
“Indeed, they were both originally Marquises. However due to their accomplishment during the Sphilia War eleven years ago, they were granted the peerage of Duke.”
If I recall, the Horacio household has been supporting the Kingdom since time immemorial. As she listened to Sieg’s explanation, Leticiel was suddenly reminded of Lucas along with what Hilmes had told her the other day. I’m not sure about Lucas’ accomplishments during the war, but it was at least enough to earn him the title of the ‘Azure Lion’. And yet, why is he still a Marquis?
“Phew! I was sure that I’d be late!”
Hilmes rushed into the auditoum when it was just a few minutes before the lecture. His complexion suggested that he had overslept.
“Hilmes, it’s about to start, so you should find a seat right away.” Leticiel was the first person to react to his grand entrance.
“Huh!? But the only seats that are open are so far away from you guys!”
“Well… It’s not like you can do anything about it, right?”
Without a response to those words, Hilmes simply tottered towards an empty seat like a puppy that had been abandoned. Even though she had just been stating the facts, Leticiel couldn’t help but feel sorry looking at him.
The bell signalling the start of class rang shortly afterwards, and two men entered the auditorium. One of them was a stern-looking man with a goatee, and the other was a man past his prime with a light-gray hair and beard.
”Norman Scott Valentine, Secretary of the Navy. I’ll be going first.”
The stern-looking man spoke calmly in a deep and serious voice. His introduction alone was enough to cause a stir as whispers spread all over the auditorium.
Duke Valentine’s lecture was about the structure of the armed forces as well as enlistment requirements. The Platina Kingdom’s armed forces consisted of the army and the navy led by their respective Secretaries, which were helmed by a Secretary of Defense who oversaw both branches. Enlistment was a meritocracy, with all applicants being required to pass a test before they could enlist.
This has nothing to do with me, thought Leticiel, as she shifted her focus away from the lecture.
Contrary to her attitude, a portion of the male students were listening very intently. And one of those male students was none other than Hilmes. Even when he was sitting four rows behind her, Leticiel could still feel the aura of pure excitement radiating from him without even needing to turn around. And by her side, Mirandalette was holding her forehead with one hand.
“And that’s all I have to say.”
After finishing his scripted talk, Duke Valentine immediately stepped down from the platform to hand over the stage to Duke Blois. From beginning to end, Duke Valentine’s speech had been told in a matter-of-fact manner just like a plain old lecture. However, some students seemed to have really enjoyed it.
“I’m Williams Silber Blois, the Secretary of the Ministry of Magic. The lecture will be over after my turn, so I hope everyone lends an ear to this old man’s talk.”
Chuckles filled the venue, but Leticiel showed no sign of interest as she continued to develop the Sorcery Formulas on the paper in front of her. She was only there for full attendance and thus had no obligation to follow along with the lecture.
“…and that is why, our daily jobs at the Ministry of Magic is to develop better Magic, and to increase their accessibility as well.”
Duke Blois’ lecture was moving along smoothly. And all the while, Leticiel continued to haphazardly add parts to the Formula; the paper was dotted with her handwriting.
“For example, this is the Levitation Magic I’ve developed. While it can’t lift heavy objects, it should be more than enough for smaller ones such as writing implements.”
The Duke grabbed a piece of chalk and it began levitating to the blackboard to write a Magic Formula. Leticiel took her eyes off the paper to look at the Formula and was somewhat impressed by it. The Magic Formula was certainly full of flaws; however, it was a simple and efficient Formula that showed the creator took the utmost effort to reduce the calculation load. It seemed that the title of the Secretary of the Ministry of Magic wasn’t just for show.
“Excuse me Sir! Is it possible for us to try that Magic?” The voice of a male student rang from the back of the large auditorium.
“Certainly.” Duke Blois nodded as he continued to write the chant.
The moment he gave permission, voices of students reciting the embarrassing chant filled the auditorium as various writing implements floated up into the air.
“…Is being able to use Magic something that special?”
Leticiel voiced her opinion as she scanned across the auditorium. The other students were in high spirits after invoking the Magic; however, using Magecraft was so deeply embedded as part of her everyday life that she couldn’t imagine why something so simple warranted such a commotion.
“It’s not that it’s special, it’s just that we rarely have a chance to use Magic in our daily lives so they simply feel happy about it.” Sieg answered Leticiel’s question after he had returned his pen case to its original position.
Now that he mentioned it, this age’s Magic is so inefficient that it simply doesn’t have the utility to be used for everything, thought the girl, as she reevaluated the circumstances of the present day.
“Commoners don’t really experience Magic in their daily lives, so many don’t even know much about its existence in the first place. That’s why Nobles use Magic as a form of status symbol,” Sieg continued.
“Yes. From what I’ve heard, there are people who use Magic to support their movements when they have to make embroidery. And there are also people who use it to be the center of evening parties, things like that…”
“I see, in other words, in high society, they value Magic that makes them look the best…”
Then that means Magic is nothing but a street performance with another name, Leticiel mused. She had considered how overwhelmingly impractical Magic was for combat. However, she never would have thought that it was truly just just for superficial displays.
“How is everything so far? Does anyone have any questions?” Williams, who had been walking around to answer student’s questions, passed by Leticiel and Sieg.
“Ah, I wanted to ask for your opinion regarding adding this expression into the Formula…”
Sieg immediately jumped at the opportunity and began asking Williams various questions. Leticiel had no intentions in joining the conversation, and, even if she were to join, she couldn’t use Magic in the first place. The girl simply laid down on the table, awaiting the end of the lecture. However, it was for that reason she didn’t notice that Williams had been staring at the Formulas she had scribbled at her table the entire time he was speaking to Sieg.
As Leticiel tried to kill time inside the noisy auditorium, time and time again, she heard mocking laughter echoing through the room. The girl straightened herself up and looked around. Some students awkwardly averted their gazes, while others kept on sneering as if to taunt her. Most of them seemed to find Leticiel’s situation amusing, but to the subject of their derision, their sneers were nothing short of foolishness.
However, Leticiel also felt that she wasn’t their only target this time. The other person subjected to their mockery was a blue-eyed, bespectacled girl with shoulder-length blonde hair arranged in a twintails style. This girl was seated a few rows behind Leticiel, next to Hilmes, and she had been trying to invoke the levitation Magic, but to no success.
Does she have low Magic Power or something? Leticiel thought to herself, before discarding the idea. She recalled that the only Magic Powerless in the Academy was Drossel, and if it really was because of low Magic Power, people like Mirandalette and Hilmes would have faced the same treatment. Then why are they laughing at her? The girl couldn’t think of a reason.
Once in a while, the blonde girl would look up. Confused by her behavior, Leticiel decided to follow her line of sight, which led her to the person who had finished his lecture earlier and was now seated to the side, the Secretary of the Navy.
Do they know each other? What’s going on here? Duke Valentine simply sat frozen in his chair with his gaze focused forward. He didn’t seem to notice the girl’s gaze or he was simply pretending not to.
Time passed by once again and it was now finally the end of the lengthy and drawn-out lecture. This wasn’t the case for Leticiel, however, as the girl had lost interest and had fallen asleep soon after the Magic demonstration session.
“It’s finally oveeer!” Screamed Hilmes as he flew towards Leticiel’s group after the two Secretaries had disappeared from the room, “Let’s go to the cafeteria right away! I’m starving!”
“Let’s go. We might not have any seats again if we don’t get there quickly.”
Leticiel stood up from her seat. Most of the seats inside the auditorium had already been emptied as the students swarmed towards the exit. It was the sign that she had to leave as well.
“Where… Where is it…”
From behind Leticiel came the exasperated murmur of someone at their wits’ end. She turned around to find the bespectacled girl on the verge of tears, frantically searching for something. The girl repeatedly checked the inside of the drawer, then the contents of her bags, and then the top of her table, over and over again.
“Excuse me, are you searching for something?” Leticiel called out. She knew that she could have just left, but couldn’t find it in herself to abandon the girl in that state.
“Eek!” However, the girl jumped and let out a small shriek.
“Um, if you’re searching for something then I can help you with it.”
“A-Ah, uh… no… uh….”
Oh my, she seems to be really shy, thought Leticiel as the girl’s face turned red while fumbling her words.
“…M-My, pen case. My mother’s, memento…”
Leticiel waited patiently for the girl to squeeze out a few words. With the information provided, she tried to recall from when she turned back to look at the girl. Oh, I remember seeing a beautiful wooden box on top of her desk.
“Is it made out of wood, by any chance?”
The bespectacled girl attempted to be as loud and clear as she could, but her efforts still fell short. Leticiel invoked Magecraft to search inside the large auditorium. Finding something was an easy task for her as long as she had an approximate idea of the item in question.
“There’s a wooden something inside the very last table in the very last row. Try checking to see if that’s what you’re looking for.”
“I-I’ll, go check!”
The girl immediately headed for the table that Leticiel had indicated. Her eyes lit up as she peeked into the drawer and then took out a light-colored round wooden box.
“It… It’s here!”
“That’s great to hear.”
The girl tightly grasped the pen case with both hands and let out a smile of relief from the bottom of her heart. It must have been very important to her.
“Then, I’ll be going now. Try not to lose it again, okay?”
While the reason why the pen case ended up so far away still remained a mystery, Leticiel was satisfied with helping the girl finding and began to leave the auditorium.
“U-Um, excuse me!”
The girl’s voice rang out once more from behind Leticiel. She was holding the pen case close to her chest as she took deep breaths to calm herself.
“Thank you, very march! A-Ah!?” The girl covered her face as she ducked down behind the table out of embarrassment.
“Um, well, you’re welcome.”
Leticiel replied even though she couldn’t see the girl anymore before catching up to her friends outside of the auditorium.
“Who was that girl?” She muttered, as the girl had left quite an impression on her.
“Oh, she’s Veronica.” Surprisingly, the person who answered was Hilmes.
“Is she your acquaintance?”
“Not at all, she’s just in my class. Ah, and she’s a Duke’s daughter like you!”
“Yup! The daughter of the Secretary of the Navy from earlier!”
In other words, that Veronica girl is the daughter of Duke Valentine, Leticiel recalled the scene that had piqued her curiosity during the lecture. However, judging from his attitude from earlier, things don’t seem to be going well between them.
“But more importantly, we need to hurry up! I’ll be going ahead!”
Hilmes ran down the hallway with Mirandalette chasing after him in a panic.
Leticiel was walking down the Academy’s hallways a few days after the lecture. It was still lunch break, and yet, her friends were nowhere to be found. Sieg had left early as he needed to assist a professor with something, while Mirandalette and Hilmes were busy and hadn’t come at all. As a result, she decided to just head straight to her laboratory alone.
Since there was still time before afternoon classes, the hallway was dotted with students enjoying themselves. And as soon as they noticed Leticiel approaching, they would immediately move out of the way. Any normal person would have been fazed by that treatment, however, in a typical Leticiel fashion, the girl was hoping they would move out of her way faster because it made her trip smoother.
After rounding a corner, the figure of Lucas talking to someone entered her eyes. The other person was a bespectacled female student with her dark blonde hair in twintails.
Hm? If I remember correctly, that girl…
It was Veronica, who Leticiel had helped after the lecture a few days ago. She was carrying her textbooks and notebooks in her arms; but they seemed to be soaked for some reason.
“Tell… did… happened.”
The silver haired girl was too far away to be able to catch what they were saying. However, Leticiel could tell Veronica was refuting what Lucas said as she shook her head and backed away.
Suddenly, Veronica broke into a run towards Leticiel’s direction in an attempt to forcefully end the conversation. Lucas held out his hand to stop her, but he didn’t react in time.
As she approached the corner, Veronica’s face was filled with surprise as Leticiel entered her sight. However, she quickly composed herself and gave a slight nod before continuing to run past the silver-haired girl. Leticiel was in a similar situation, as she could only watch Veronica’s back as she ran off.
Lucas was chasing after Veronica, but his feet came to a halt when he found Leticiel staring down the hallway.
“Good afternoon, Dean. If you’re looking for Veronica, then she went that way,” said Leticiel as she pointed towards the direction Veronica ran off to. Unexpectedly, Lucas simply stared for some reason.
“You, you know Veronica?” He was surprised that Leticiel knew Veronica’s name.
“I can’t really say we know each other, I just helped her find her pen case after the lecture the other day. But more importantly, what about you Dean? What were you two talking about? She was crying, you know?”
Leticiel was certain that tears were flowing down Veronica’s cheeks as she ran past her earlier.
After hearing her words, Lucas seemed to be convinced of something as he knitted his brows.
“…Just like I thought, people are bullying her.”
What in the world does that mean? It was a word that didn’t exist a thousand years ago, and no matter how hard Leticiel tried, she couldn’t come up with its meaning. Lucas seemed to notice her confusion, as he nodded and began explaining to her.
“That girl has the highest amount of Magic Power even in this whole Academy. But at the same time, she also suffers from a severe case of Magic Saturation and can’t use Magic at all. Just like you.”
“And in a high society where Magic reigns supreme, although her Magic Power’s on the opposite end of the spectrum from you, she was branded as an incompetent. Even within the Academy, we have students who believe in Magic supremacy that look down on her.”
An unknown disorder that piqued Leticiel’s interest was mentioned, but she couldn’t interrupt to ask, so she stored it in the back of her mind for later.
“You probably knew this already, but that girl is Norman’s daughter, yet, she’s exceedingly shy. Since she’s my old comrade’s daughter, I started talking to her, asking her how everything was going. But somehow bad rumors about us started spreading.”
“Bad rumors, you say?”
“Yeah. It ended up being that Veronica was sucking up to me.”
Lucas gritted his teeth and bit his lip, seemingly frustrated by his own inability, and then, with a disheartened look—as if he had to make a bitter choice—on his face, made a request to Leticiel.
“Hey, Drossel. Can you help Veronica? I want to do it myself, I really do. But when it’s like this, any action I take will only end poorly.”
Lucas’ brows furrowed even deeper, as his fists clenched to the point of almost hurting himself. With the rumor about him and Veronica going around, his goodwill would only serve to drive the girl further into a corner.
Leticiel glanced down the hallway Veronica had run off to before turning back to Lucas and nodded. She had already helped the girl once before, so sticking with it until the end wasn’t that much more work.
“I understand. I don’t know how much help I can be, but I’ll give it my all.”
“I see… Thank you.”
After parting ways with a relieved Lucas, Leticiel began invoking Magecraft to look for Veronica. However, before she could finish, a very faint piano melody suddenly entered her ears.
She was far away from the source, and yet, the very gentle and serene waves of sound would cross over the walls to reach her. The melody would go faster then slower, get stronger then weaker; all to calm down the listeners’ heart as it captivates them.
Since she had remembered the general layout of the Academy. Leticiel knew that the Music Room was nearby. She didn’t know if it was Veronica or not, but she made up her mind to check the Music Room just to see who was playing the piano.
After Leticiel made the final turn towards the Music Room, she happened to see three young noble ladies entering the room. And the moment they entered the room was also the moment the beautiful piano melody stopped.
“My oh my, so you are here, Veronica.”
Leticiel approached the slightly opened Music Room’s door to peek inside. She didn’t mind just barging in, but decided to ascertain the situation first. The girl with ringlet hair who was talking seemed to be the trio’s leader.
She could feel that Veronica’s voice was filled with fear.
“Hey, listen. There’s something I’d like to ask you again. You’ll do it for me right? We’re friends after all.”
Audrey used her hand to hide the grin on her face. She was speaking in such a high-handed tone that it was impossible to see them as friends. Veronica simply stood there as the girl continued.
“I want that golden brooch of yours. Give it to me.”
“Oh my, do you have a problem with that? Just give it to me, then go ask your beloved father for a new one. Simple, right?”
From the looks of the trio, they didn’t really care about the brooch. They simply reveled in the act of taking something important away from Veronica. The same selfish pleasure enjoyed by those who murder and plunder.
“B-But… it’s, my mother’s, memento…”
“Huh? You’re not trying to say you won’t hand it over, right?” Audrey and her friends folded their arms and glared at Veronica.
The girl couldn’t say anything back once again, as the group drew close to her. They seemed to be trying to intimidate her, however, Veronica refused to give in. Audrey made an unpleasant look and clicked her tongue, she then moved her eyes over to the piano Veronica had been playing.
“Oh well… Even though it’s something you don’t deserve. You can’t even use Magic despite that amount of Magic Power of yours. All you’re good for is something that’s almost worthless like music. And because you play around with it all day, you can’t even listen to a friend’s request. Isn’t that right?” Audrey dramatically held up her hand. “O Magical Wind that flows through my body, become the blade that tears everything to pieces, converge at this hand and slice my enemy! Windcutter!
In response to Audrey’s chant, wind began converging and formed a vortex by her hand.
While laughing at Veronica’s hobby, she slowly aimed her hand towards the sheet music placed on top of the piano.
However, to everyone’s surprise, Veronica snatched the sheet music before the Magic could reach them and held them in her chest. Taken aback by the girl’s action, Audrey rushed up to her and tried to grab them from her hands.
“Give that to me! You don’t deserve it!”
“N-No! I won’t do it!”
Audrey’s eyes were wide open as she didn’t expect Veronica to go so far. She canceled her Magic and immediately began shouting in a fury.
“You! How dare you disobey me!”
And just as anyone could have seen from her irritated state, Audrey raised her hand up in the air. Veronica immediately closed her eyes in anticipation of a slap. However, it never came.
“Excuse me, I couldn’t bear seeing someone abusing another person for such an absurd reason.”
Right before she could swing her arm down, Leticiel had firmly grabbed Audrey’s hand from behind.
“I-It hurts! Let go of me!”
Audrey twisted her body to try to free herself. However, a noble daughter like her had no chance to escape from a Magecraft-enhanced Leticiel.
“I was just walking by this room by chance, but I never would have expected to see three noble ladies extorting someone.”
“What!?” Seemingly shocked by Leticiel’s frank remarks, Audrey glared at the girl, “You, you take back those words right this moment! Apologize for treating me like a thief right no— Ouch!”
Leticiel put even more strength into her hand.
“Then why were you trying to take her mother’s brooch? It’s something you don’t even deserve, right?”
Audrey couldn’t say anything back when Leticiel twisted the words she had said earlier back at her. The other two girls didn’t join in either, as they had been frozen in fear from the very beginning by Leticiel’s menacing aura.
Leticiel suddenly let go of Audrey’s arm as she continued. Audrey began tearing up as she rubbed that arm. And while it had been quite late, the girls in her group rushed over to her.
“If you want to say something to her, isn’t it more logical to say it directly instead of going through such a roundabout way? And that should be all the more obvious if you really are friends.”
“You… You, I’ll remember this! I’ll make sure you regret this one day!”
Audrey howled as she ran out of the Music Room. With her face on the verge of tears, her threat was nothing more than the empty yelp of a sore loser. After she was gone from the room, her followers chased after her in a panic.
“U-Um! Thank you, very much…”
Veronica glanced up at Leticiel from her seat by the piano. The silver-haired girl shrugged slightly as she kept on gazing at the door.
“You don’t need to thank me. I hate people like that, so I simply can’t let them do whatever they please.”
While Leticiel did agree to help Veronica, it was merely an extra reason. She still would’ve reached out to her even without Lucas’ request.
Now that I think about it, nobles these days sure have a lot of free time, huh? Leticiel suddenly recalled the time she had helped Mirandalette. The girl had also been bullied by people picked on her for every little fault.
“Putting that aside, I have something I want to ask you.”
“Could you play the piano once more for me?”
Veronica was nervous about what Leticiel was going to ask of her, but it ended up being something very ordinary.
“Yes. To tell you the truth, I happened to hear you play while I was walking by. And even though I’m not that familiar with music, the melody you played felt very beautiful and calming.” Leticiel looked straight at Veronica. Her face showed no sign of making fun of the girl, it was a genuine compliment.
“Th-Thank you! If you really don’t mind it, then, I’ll play for you!” It had been a very long time since someone had praised Veronica’s piano skills.
True to her words, Veronica placed the sheet music back on the piano and began to play. Leticiel leaned against the grand piano and closed her eyes, letting the music flow through her body. By restricting one of her senses to focus on listening, Leticiel felt as if she was floating in the sea of melodies.
“You must really like the piano, Veronica.”
The performance finally came to an end, Leticiel opened her eyes once again and looked at Veronica. While she wasn’t knowledgeable about the piano, Letciel felt that Veronica’s skill was a level beyond just regular lessons. It must have taken the blonde girl a lot of time and effort to get where she was.
Veronica removed her fingers from the keyboard and casted her eyes downward.
“I’m, not sure. I’ve been playing the piano, always for my family. But I’ve never been praised, not even once…”
“Really? But I really like the way you play the piano. I hope you can let me hear you play again in the future.”
“O-Of course!” Veronica nodded vigorously, seemingly in bliss from Leticiel’s words. Her smile was a mix of joy as well as embarrassment.
Veronica began talking about her family little by little as she kept on playing the piano. Perhaps the girl had decided to open her heart to Leticiel.
While Veronica was indeed Duke Valentine’s daughter, she was what everyone would call an illegitimate child. Her mother passed away shortly after giving birth to her, and it was a good thing that her father’s side took her in. However, due to her status, there was an awkward air surrounding her inside the mansion so she took the opportunity to move into the dominitory after enrolling.
“I see… That must have been tough.”
“Moreover, I can’t use Magic. And, gardening is my hobby, too. So everyone, hates me, more and more…”
“Huh… You also do gardening?”
“Y-Yes. Even though I’m a noble. It’s disgusting, right? Playing in the dirt…”
“Not at all. I also enjoy looking at flowers, but I have never grown them myself. I think it’s amazing that you can do it.”
As someone who wasn’t used to compliments, Leticiel’s genuine praise made Veronica feel embarrassed and she began looking around avoiding eye contact.
“I’ll be heading to class, now. U-Um, thank you, very much!”
The clock finally pointed at five minutes before afternoon classes, Veronica quickly put away everything around her and stood up. She smiled and said her goodbye to Leticiel as they parted ways.
Once she was alone, Leticiel began thinking over all the information she’d gotten. Audrey and her group of nobles were onesidedly attacking Veronica using something named bullying. Lucas had tried to help Veronica, but due to Audrey’s subterfuge, he had to cut off his support.
I see… So this is how they wage war in this time and age? Everything made perfect sense to the girl once she viewed the situation through the lens of war. Inside an empty Music Room, Leticiel, in a completely serious manner, came to an utterly nonsensical definition for “bullying”.
Satisfied with her conclusion, Leticiel began walking to her laboratory once again.
“Say, Tsubaru. Could I ask you a question?”
Afternoon classes had started, and Leticiel was doing research in the archive with Tsubaru.
“Of course, what would you like to know?”
“Do you know anything about a disorder called Magic Saturation?”
It was the disorder she had never heard of a thousand years ago. She had put it aside while talking with Lucas, but there was no way someone with an inquisitive mind like her would let that question remain unanswered.
“Magic Saturation is a peculiar congenital disorder where a person has lowered Magic Power emission capacity. As a result, it affects said person’s ability to use Magic. Since the disorder is related to a person’s own constitution, there’s no way to cure it at the moment.”
“In other words, the symptoms only appear in those with high Magic Power?”
“Oh, no, not necessarily. The disorder itself has no relation to the amount of Magic Power. It’s just the more Magic Power you have, the more pronounced the symptoms are. But for nobles with low Magic Power and commoners, they can’t really use Magic in the first place.”
Tsubaru readily answered Leticiel’s questions. Unlike Leticiel, who specialized only in topics that interested her, as an experienced researcher, he instead must have had a wide breadth of knowledge from the amount of literature he’d read.
So Magic Saturation, while not on the level of Magic Powerless, was still a rather rare disorder that had more pronounced symptoms in people with higher Magic Power. And it looks they had put quite a focus on researching the cause and cure for it in this current era. Back in Leticiel’s time, the golden age of Magecraft, the amount of Magic Power one held was a topic of interest; however, the concept of emission capacity was entirely foreign, so naturally, the girl had no knowledge about this disorder.
“However, its severity is on a case by case basis. Some of the afflicted can still emit a small amount of Magic, some can’t do it at all, and some others manage to use Magic normally through a specialized medium.”
“I see. It’s complicated, huh…”
Leticiel gave a small nod and began sorting through the information at hand. Veronica was in a disadvantaged situation due to a wall called Magic Saturation Disorder, and the enemy force’s General, Audrey, was capitalizing on that to mount her attack. However, with that in mind, we can also use it to counterattack.
“U-Um… What is… going on?”
“You can’t fight on an empty stomach.”
“Huh? Fight? I brought her here with me like you asked me to, but what’s going on?”
The next day, Veronica found herself surrounded by Leticiel’s group at the lunch table. As Leticiel didn’t follow the school’s schedule, and they were in different classes, it was possible that they would miss each other entirely. To that end, she had enlisted the help of Hilmes, who belonged to the same class as Veronica.
While Hilmes and Veronica were just classmates, Leticiel placed her trust in his earnest nature. Even during their first meeting back then, she found it hard to keep her guard up around him. And just as she had expected, while slightly cautious, Veronica showed up to the cafeteria with him.
“Veronica, you have received Audrey’s declaration of war. So right now, you need as many allies as possible to break through this deadlock.”
“D-Declaration… of war?”
“Indeed, because of that, you need to show that you have allies.”
Leticiel surmised that Audrey had continued to target Veronica because she thought the girl had no reinforcements to stand against her. Even in real wars, countries or territories that were thought to be isolated were prime targets for conquest. In that situation, an effective strategy would be to light more torches and bonfires than needed, in order to deceive enemies into believing that you had a large allied force ready to back you up.
Of course, Leticiel didn’t expect all of her experiences to apply in a war during peaceful times. However, there was a high chance that the enemy forces would be hesitant when Veronica revealed that she has allies.
“Oh… I don’t really understand what’s going on, but it sounds impressive!” Hilmes showed his full support despite his lack of understanding.
On the other hand, Mirandalette seemed confused as she reached over across the table and whispered into Sieg’s ear. Leticiel had asked for their help earlier as she determined that she needed everyone’s help in order to win against this “bullying” tactic.
“Uh, is it just me or did she just say something really scary?”
“I wonder… I guess she must have some sort of plan.”
While it was confusing to others, Leticiel was being completely serious. War has changed. In a world without a battlefield, using an army and strength to slaughter your enemies had turned to using intimidation and words to slaughter the opponents’ spirit.
“Um, why? Why are you, helping me…”
“You don’t need any reason to help your friend, right?”
“Huh… Fr… Friend…”
Veronica placed her hands on her chest and murmured. Leticiel’s words must have been beyond her expectations.
“Veronica, would you like to have lunch with us from now on?”
“I… I can have lunch with everyone, from now on?”
“Yes, of course. Food tastes better when you enjoy it with other people.”
Well then, it’s time to get this over with. Leticiel could see Audrey staring daggers at the group from behind Veronica. But, since Leticiel and Veronica weren’t alone, and perhaps because of all the people in the cafeteria, Audrey showed no intention to approach them.
And with that, Leticiel’s Anti-Bully war began. Knowing that she couldn’t constantly be around Veronica, she had asked her friends for their cooperation.
Audrey and her group were all in different classes than Veronica. As such, she had Hilmes keep an eye on the girl during lectures, and Mirandalette would go to Class Three during breaks.
The only thing they had to be careful of was that Mirandalette had to initiate the conversation with Veronica first, before Hilmes could freely speak to the girl. As the pair were betrothed, Hilmes reaching out to Veronica by himself could call into question the status of his engagement.
As such, Mirandalette had to speak with Veronica first to clearly establish that the two were friends. And with that, Hilmes could join in without drawing any undue attention to themselves.
With Veronica spending less time alone, the only times Audrey’s group could act were in the morning and after school. However, for most nobles in the modern period, their after school schedule would always be full of evening parties.
Putting her attitude aside, being able to declare war on a Duke’s daughter—even on a spontaneous whim—meant that Audrey must have belonged to a high-ranking household. Thus, Leticiel was sure that she would have no free time after school and the only time she could strike would be in the morning.
”You sure are full of surprises. I would never have thought of going against bullying in such a logical manner.”
“Strategizing is the most important part of a battle after all. I simply came up with the most obvious course of action.”
Leticiel and Sieg were preparing various Formulas in Class Three early in the morning.
This had to be done at such an hour in order to avoid appearing directly before Audrey’s group. Unlike Mirandalette and Hilmes who showed up to class every day, Leticiel and Sieg were truants who never attended classes. Audrey and other students would easily notice they were up to something if the two suddenly began showing up to class.
As a result, Leticiel opted to use Magecraft from the shadows to protect Veronica. The reason she had tried to limit Audrey’s range of activities was for the sake of the precision of her own measures.
“This should surely be enough for the morning.”
“O-Okay! Thank you, again!”
The Magecraft Leticiel had set up was one that would make personal belongings such as textbooks or pen cases automatically return to their original spot once they entered the hands of another person. Veronica’s belongings were often hidden or thrown away, so this was a safeguard against that.
On the other hand, Sieg was making use of his unbalanced Magic Power by setting up Recording Magic on the ceiling and the walls. This Magic was the result of modifying the Sorcery Formula into a Magic Formula.
This Magic employed a reflective water surface to record everything before it. Once the duration was reached, the surface would fold itself into a water cube in order to store the recording.
Recording Magecraft had been frequently used a thousand years ago, especially by intelligence departments and spies alike. And with just some modifications to the Formula, it could record the audio as well. However, the biggest flaw to such a remarkable Magecraft was that it could only record for a short duration, and as such, they did not have much room for errors.
A few days passed without any incident, and Leticiel and Mirandalette were heading for the Magic Club after school.
“Audrey hasn’t been doing anything lately, huh?”
“You’re right. But, we can’t let our guard down just yet.”
While Sieg had continued to use Magic to record evidence of the bullying in secret, the battle between Leticiel’s and Audrey’s troops continued on for about a week. During that period, thanks to Mirandalette and Hilmes’ protection, as well as Leticiel and Sieg’s preparations, Audrey made no brazen moves.
However, whenever Leticiel caught sight of Audrey in the cafeteria, the hate in her eyes continued to grow, instead of receding. It was easy to see that Audrey had zero intentions of giving up.
“My oh my, you sure are horrible, Veronica. You went to the Dean just because we said you couldn’t do anything by yourself. And now you even went as far as buttering up to Drossel. Well, I guess the two of you are a good match, being hated by everyone, and all.”
And as if they had just spoken of the devil, they suddenly heard Audrey’s voice around the corner of the hallway, seemingly having cornered Veronica. They had assumed she would be too busy after school to do anything, but it seemed she had gone out of her way to look for the blonde girl.
“How do you do, Audrey? I seem to have overheard you mentioning my name, do you have any business with me?”
Audrey and her groupies stared in shock from Leticiel’s sudden appearance. Their gazes were filled with frustration as if they wanted to remark, ‘you again?’
“You’re unrelated to this, could you just go away? This is between just me and Veronica.”
“If you’re telling me that, then I have something to ask you in return. Veronica is my friend, so surely I’m not unrelated to this, yes?”
“Ooooh, friend, you said? In that case, she’s my friend too. Isn’t that right? Veronica.”
Audrey folded her arms and turned to Veronica. A faint smile appeared on her face as she seemed to be looking down on the girl.
Veronica tightly grasped the hem of her skirt and gazed downwards. Leticiel simply waited for her answer without saying anything.
If this was in the past, she would have simply followed Audrey’s lead, as she didn’t have the courage to go against the girl. However, Veronica’s face, now filled with determination, looked straight at Audrey and declared in a trembling voice.
“N-No! Audrey, Audrey isn’t my friend!”
Audrey blankly stared at Veronica after receiving her counterattack. Meanwhile, Mirandalette, who was standing behind Leticiel, stealthily struck a victory pose.
“I-I, have always been, bullied by you… You took my belongings, tore my textbooks, it’s… it’s a countless list.”
As Veronica confronted Audrey. Leticiel noticed her trembling shoulders. She then gently stroked the girl’s back to help her fight against her fear without letting Audrey’s group notice.
Veronica was surprised for a moment but quickly took a deep breath to calm herself down. Her shoulders stopped trembling considerably as if she had received courage from Leticiel’s action.
“Pl-Please stop this already! I’m, not a toy, for you to play with however, you please!
Well said, Leticiel gave Veronica’s wholehearted declaration a standing ovation in her mind.
”B-But, where is your evidence? Me? A bully? What an absurd accusation. You’re just saying whatever you want.”
Despite being surprised by a side of Veronica she had never seen before, Audrey quickly recovered and assumed her usual haughty attitude to dismiss Veronica’s claims.
Seeing that Audrey still assumed that she had the upper hand even after all she had done, Leticiel silently took out a palm-sized cube from her pocket. The water cube crackled as it unfolded itself and began projecting the scene that was recorded within.
There was no sound, but Audrey and her groupies could clearly be seen surrounding Veronica’s table. Audrey’s mouth moved as if giving some kind of instruction and the other girls began to remove Veronica’s belongings from her table and bag.
However, due to the Magecraft Leticiel had set up beforehand, everything flew out of their hands and returned to where they were before. In a panic, they began trying to use Magic to move them. But, once again, various Magic from different Elements reflected back to them.
Audrey seemed to get even angrier as her group fell into complete chaos. She then said something and everyone stopped trying to take Veronica’s belongings. Instead, they began writing insults on her table and chair before leaving the classroom.
Incidentally, the recording was from two days before. Leticiel, who was helping a teacher with Veronica, returned right after the incident and immediately erased their vandalism.
Audrey stared in shock as she staggered backwards. In the past, people would deliberately feed their enemies disinformation once they detected the Magecraft’s presence. However, it was impossible for this girl to have done that, as she lacked the capacity for it.
“N-N-Nonsense! That wasn’t me!”
“Then let’s watch some more. Your group shows up in each and every one of these recordings.You can’t just claim it’s just a coincidence, yes?”
Just as Leticiel said, Sieg’s recordings all featured Audrey’s group. If she was still going to insist it wasn’t them, then Leticiel planned to go to a third party for confirmation.
“….S-Such an underhanded method! If you have a problem with me, then say it straight to my face instead of sneaking around like that!” Audrey shrieked. It was hard to tell if her outburst was out of frustration or panic.
So now you talk about being underhanded and sneaking around? Leticiel thought.
“Excuse me for being rude, but I have to ask, are you in any position to claim that? Your group were the ones who spread false rumors about Veronica. And you were also the ones who took advantage of her personality to pressure her, were you not?”
Audrey could only grind her teeth out of frustration in response to Leticiel’s words. Even her groupies couldn’t display their usual haughtiness and simply endured the embarrassment and fear.
“And in the first place, bullying is just a war fought during this peacetime, right? And you should know that all is fair in war.”
“Huh!? You’re not making any sense! You, is there something wrong with your head!?”
“I’m perfectly fine, thank you. I’m just trying to follow what seems to be the common practice for nobles nowadays.”
“We don’t have anything like that!?”
Facing Audrey, who was staring at her as if she was a crazy person, Leticiel cluelessly tilted her head.
“In that case, can you explain to me what bullying means?”
“What!? Bullying is bullying! Nothing more, nothing less!”
“…Harassing a person through acts such as hiding their belongings. Or using snide comments to directly attack their heart. There’s also spreading false rumors to isolate said person. Instead of physical violence, you use psychological attacks to pressure someone, are we on the same page?”
“Y-Yes! That’s exactly what it is!”
“I see… So it’s just like everything you’ve done, right? Audrey.” Leticiel emotionlessly stared at the girl across from her.
As she finally realized that she had dug her own grave, Audrey’s face turned crimson and her shoulders began to tremble.
“I still have a lot of recordings of what you and your friends have done. And just to let you know, I have an audio recording of our talk right now too. There’s no escaping this.”
In reality, Leticiel wasn’t recording their conversation but Audrey’s group easily fell for the bluff. Their reddened faces now seemed to also be pale.
“If I were you, I would learn from this and stop bullying from now on. Because I’m prepared to chase you down wherever you go.”
“I… I can’t be bothered with your nonsense anymore!”
Audrey cried out and immediately ran away after the words left her mouth. The girls who were left behind all began chasing after her in a panic.
Once they had disappeared from sight, Veronica suddenly sunk down to the floor.
“Are you okay, Veronica?” Leticiel asked and held her hand out.
“I-I’m, fine. You helped me, after all.” Veronica took Leticiel’s hand and stood up.
“I see. I’m glad you’re okay.”
Veronica slightly shrugged and let out a smile. As she looked at the other two talked, Mirandalette began patting her own chest.
“I’m a bit scared when I think about what she will do next…”
“Don’t worry about it. Even she won’t pull anything else after that.”
From the way she ran away, Leticiel judged that Audrey wouldn’t have the courage to do anything else. She still had all of the evidence so even if the girl was to target someone else, she would have the means to go after her.
“U-Um… Will she… be back?”
“If she does then we can just fight her again. Just like how I stated earlier.”
”…You’re really reliable, as an ally, but really scary, as an enemy, Drossel.”
From that point on, Audrey’s bullying came to a complete stop. Leticiel decided to keep her guard up for a while just in case, but it proved unnecessary as Audrey would run away whenever she caught sight of Leticiel or Veronica.
After facing Leticiel, Audrey mellowed out considerably as she never bullied anyone else. The incident came to a close, with Leticiel’s only regret being that she never found out why Audrey was bullying Veronica in the first place.
“Um, where are we, going?”
“To the Magic Club.”
On a certain day after the bullying incident, Leticiel and Veronica were standing before the last booth in the Magic Training Field. Leticiel opened the familiar door, and the three other members of the club were already present. She then showed Veronica in before asking her.
“Would you like to join our club, Veronica?”
Veronica couldn’t believe her ears and stared blankly at Leticiel. She had learned about Leticiel’s club while they were forming the anti-bullying united front.
However, Veronica didn’t ask anything about it because of her inability to use Magic. She thought that someone like her would only hinder their club activities.
“Uh… I thought, I couldn’t join the club, because I’ll be a, burden.”
“Oh, but that’s not the case here.” Leticiel shook her head. If she really thought Veronica was a burden, then she would never have helped the girl in the first place, let alone asking her to join the club. “I would never think of you as a burden, Veronica. It’s just this club’s activities are a complete secret. I didn’t want to pressure you with this while you were still suffering with the bullying.”
Contrary to its name, the Magic Club was a club that dealt with Magecraft. Leticiel’s research was considered state secrets, and only Lucas, along with a few teachers, knew about Magecraft.
After learning about Veronica’s struggle against bullying from Lucas, Leticiel decided that she couldn’t let such a decision weigh on Veronica and add to her worries.
Additionally, while she was still being bullied, there was a non-zero chance that Audrey’s group would tail Veronica, so Leticiel’s decision was also influenced by the risk of an information leak.
“That’s why I couldn’t let you come near this place until after the bullying situation had been resolved. I didn’t mean to leave you out.”
Leticiel turned to face Veronica. But it seemed that the girl was still trying to process what was happening before her.
“Welcome to the Magic Club, Veronica. We’re glad to have you.”
With a small smile on her face, Leticiel held out her right hand. Veronica timidly grasped it with both her hands and a smile bloomed on her face.
“Y-Yes! I’ll do, my very best!”