[Translator – Anwen]
The class became noisy. Class 5? It wasn’t just an early promotion, it was a ticket to the 2nd-highest floor. This was an unconventional decision not only for students but for the school as well.
“Teacher, I object! How can Shirone jump two classes? He can’t even use any magic.”
This was the first time Siena heard of such a thing. Ethella had also never mentioned it, but maybe she didn’t know either. After all, one never really used magic in the lower-level classes.
“Is that true, Shirone?”
His classmates looked back at Shirone. Their eyes seemed to be saying:
‘Please just say you can’t. Say you can’t.’
“Yes, there’s no magic I can use yet.”
Even so, there was no problem with early promotion. Magic was taught in earnest starting from class 5, and the curriculum of the lower class focused on strengthening the Spirit Zone.
Shirone had mastered the basics of the Four Way Formation, and the size and durability of his Spirit Zone were not inferior to those of the upper-leveled class. Therefore, in determining the exact class, five was quite appropriate.
But it was indeed quite unusual that he still couldn’t use magic. If you were a student, you were bound to try and use magic secretly. After all, the only reason one would ever come to the academy would be to learn magic.
“I, too, find it a bit questionable. However, there is no magic evaluation until Class 6. Shirone’s early promotion will progress as originally planned.”
“I can’t allow this!”
Mark, the implicit leader of Class 7, jumped to his feet. He was a student with a large square jaw to match his big size.
“How can you show such favoritism? Please, provide us a reason why. You said omniscience is just as important as omnipotence! I do not and cannot understand the special treatment given to Shirone!”
“That’s right! To be honest, even if I compete with him in terms of grades and achievements right at this moment, I’m confident that I’ll win! He can’t even keep up with the theory class!”
“If you promote Shirone early, I will present this situation to the student council and hold a hearing!”
The students’ protest was much stronger than expected. Even though they were young, they were all children who pushed through competition from Class 10. Siena had expected them to be spurred on by this happening, but they were burning with hostility as if facing an arch-nemesis.
‘There’s something I don’t know.’
Siena realized that the situation had turned pretty serious considering the look of the students’ faces who were set on fighting as if this was a war. If their resistance was this strong, it could adversely affect the class atmosphere, opposite to how she had originally hoped it would.
“This hasn’t been officially decided yet. Accurate notices will be announced after an instructor meeting. I will wrap up today’s class here.”
Siena, who returned to the instructor’s office, placed her chin on her hand and fell deep in thought.
Competition was inevitable due to the nature of this specialized academy. Also, the students were aware of this fact and voluntarily enrolled in the academy.
‘What was it? Those strange looks in the students’ eyes?’
It wasn’t simple jealousy. Early promotion had been around for a long time, but it was the first time that there was such a strong backlash to someone receiving it.
“Excuse me, Ms. Siena.”
A female student named Maria came to see Siena.
She was the oldest in Class 7, at 19 years of age. She has not been promoted for four years and has been drifting in place.
She was not lacking in talent at all, but because she had a timid and fearful personality, the academy pitied her, as they knew the atmosphere in the academy was not one that welcomed someone like her.
“Yes? What’s the matter, Maria?”
“Um… I have something to tell you.”
Maria, who was hesitant for a long time, confessed everything. What kind of treatment Shirone was currently facing in class, and why the children were so angry at the announcement a while ago.
As the story progressed further, Siena’s frown deepened more and more. They were tormenting Shirone with a method that was too foul to be considered a simple emotional quarrel.
As if they planned to do so, whenever they encountered Shirone, they would pretend to vomit, and there were many cases where they intentionally flocked around Shirone and talked among themselves.
Maria ended the story in tears.
“I’m not really affected by it now now, but looking back, I was treated like that once too, at least to a degree. At that time, I didn’t care about studying or anything. Honestly, I think Shirone is amazing. How can he be calm in such a situation?”
Siena grasped the full extent of the situation. One student was being ostracized by a group. Without fair competition, There was no reason for this academy to exist.
“Alright, thank you for telling me. I’ll take care of it from here.”
Shirone arrived at the dormitory around midnight. The bullying got worse ever since the early promotion was mentioned, so he found it better to just return early and read a book.
Someone knocked on the door. When he checked the time, it was already past 1 a.m.
‘Who is it at this hour?’
It was a time when students were unable to go out and for employees to leave work. Could it be that the kids came all this way to bully him?
He couldn’t easily approach the door because anxiety left him stunned, but he heard a familiar voice from the other side of the door.
[Translator – Anwen]
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“Shirone, are you sleeping?”
Shirone hurriedly opened the door. It was really Ms. Siena.
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“Can I come in?”
“Oh, yes. Come in.”
Was Ms. Siena on watch today? Her hair was still a bit wet as if she had recently come out from the shower.
The Intermediate class dormitory was not a place for female instructors to come and go at night, as students in their early 20s also resided here. However, Siena chose this time to interview him secretly away from his classmates.
Unlike the rooms of other male students, Shirone’s was very tidy and organized. Guessing from Shirone’s personality, she checked each book on the desk. There were textbooks as well as books on subjects that he had yet to learn.
‘So it’s true. His thought process is extraordinary.’
Without observing closely, one would think the books were spread open with no relation whatsoever, but if someone knowledgeable saw this, they would notice that all of them were very closely related fields.
Siena could roughly assume the reason why Shirone could not use magic yet. It was not because he couldn’t, but because he didn’t want to start yet.
‘He was weak in omniscience from the moment he entered the academy. He is desperately looking for ways to make up for his shortcomings. This kid doesn’t want to just learn magic… He wants to become a mage.’
Siena supported Shirone’s decision. The process of linking and finding the relationship between different fields was difficult, but it was a worthwhile one. This was because linked knowledge was never forgotten.
“Excuse me, teacher. Would you like a cup of tea?”
“No, it’s all right. I came here because I wanted to ask you something.”
As Siena sat on the bed, Shirone dragged over a desk chair. It was his first time seeing her face up so close. She looked much younger than during academy hours, perhaps because she had her hair down and was in plain clothes now. He lowered his head gently, feeling embarrassed for some reason.
Siena looked at him calmly.
‘He’s quite the shy boy. Is this his usual personality?’
His reaction was very unfamiliar to her because in class, Shirone would stare and focus so intensely at either the board or her that it seemed like he was trying to burn a hole with just his eyes.
“Isn’t academy life difficult?”
“Yes, but it’s fun. And I find it enjoyable to study.”
“…Why didn’t you tell me that the kids were bothering you?”
Shirone had already anticipated she’d ask that. In fact, it would have been stranger not to know. Due to recent events, the kids started to bully Shirone quite openly.
“It’s okay, you don’t have to worry about it.”
Siena, who heard of the student’s abusive actions from Maria, didn’t believe what Shirone said.
“You can be honest about this. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.”
“It’s really okay. It’s a pity that I can’t make friends, but if they find me unlikeable, I can’t really do anything about it.”
“The bullying is what’s wrong.”
“Well, how people think of me and the emotions that come with it isn’t something I can just change on a whim. Of course, it was hard at first, but now I’m okay. I can’t help it if the kids of Class 7 don’t like me. But that doesn’t mean I’m hated by everyone in the world.”
Siena could understand. For some, the group they belonged to was everything to them, but to those looking up, such a group was no more than a stopover.
“I want to meet more people. And I believe there is someone out there who will listen to me more seriously.”
Shirone had an apparent attitude towards early promotion. If Ethella thought that he should be placed in Class 5 at the very least, then there was already someone who accepted Shirone without feeling inferior.
“Shirone, I certainly sense your determination. I’ll make mention of this at the instructors’ meeting.”
“And with this, we conclude the presentation of our discovery regarding Shirone’s early promotion.”
With headmaster Alpheas and the Intermediate class instructors in attendance, Siena submitted the documents relating to the case of Class 7 bullying and sat down.
The teachers who read the contents frowned. The circumstances in which Shirone was being persistently ostracized under the pretext of not being able to use magic were being revealed one after another, in detail.
“Does this even make sense? This is why they would bully a kid in their class? How… Disappointing.”
“It’s quite possible in the lower-level classes. There are many young children, and there are also students who have thick hair, but stay behind because they have no talent. After all, they’re only kids, and kids often lack the wisdom to make the right choices.”
“Then we’d better promote Shirone quickly. That child will be able to graduate in at least 4 years. Now that nearby academies are challenging the Alpheas Magic Academy, the more early graduates, the better.”
The age of graduates was also part of the data that proved the excellence of a specific academy. If an academy didn’t perform well enough to help students graduate in a timely manner, their credibility, along with the students’, would decrease.
“There are rumors flying around that the other academies are now stepping up in order to produce early graduates…”
It was a standard method used to elevate a normal academy to a prestigious one. After all, once that prestige was won, outstanding talents would gather, and then the quality of the class would also improve naturally.
In the face of severe checks from other academies, the solution the Alpheas Magic Academy came up with was to educate and focus on students with excellent quality in order to help them graduate earlier through the early promotion system. In that sense, the instructors had high expectations for Shirone.
“I, on the other hand, disapprove of this.”
Thadd raised his hand and voted against it. And automatically, Siena’s face wrinkled. At this time, considering the fact that early promotion had become a standardized reality, she was annoyed to death at seeing Thadd, once again, picking a fight. However, Alhpeas expressed interest in the first different opinion.
“Against it? Why is that?”
“I know that Shirone is talented, extremely talented, but the whole point of this case is focused on Shirone’s inability to use magic. That’s where the resistance of the children comes from. Shouldn’t we be talking about that?”
“I’ve already mentioned this, but sure, I’ll say it again. He’s not in a position where he can devote himself to one discipline. Instead, he’s focused on mastering all aspects of knowledge. Personally, I also think that this is the optimal way for Shirone to grow.”
“I’m not questioning that choice, the problem is that Ms. Siena favors him too much.”
” …What did you just say?”
“Anyway, the Class 7 children also attend the academy and they also study hard. I mean, the problem of Shirone not having enough time to acquire knowledge is not something we have control over. Most of the students who come to this academy prepare extensively beforehand because they know it’s gonna be hard. That’s why I don’t think it’s fair that Shirone gets a special pass in regards to the assessment because “he didn’t have enough time”. If not, why can’t other students be promoted early? Even if their Spirit Zone is weaker than Shirone’s, in theory, they have the upper hand.”
“Stop pettifogging! I’m not judging this case emotionally. It’s a conclusion based on pure academy regulations. The main thing that is truly evaluated in the lower-leveled classes is the Spirit Zone.”
“The problem is the students’ opposition. This incident may motivate them less. Are we instructors supposed to just bet everything on one genius, forgoing the other less genius students?”
“Well, it’s also not our job to just neglect those who are talented because of the misguided jealousy of other students!”
The two stood up, slamming their hands on the table at the same time. This was a common sight to see every time there was a meeting held.
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