[Translator – Anwen]
The other students who were stimulated by Yiruki’s action started busying themselves by talking.
“Isn’t that punk amazing? Though the explosive power is the same, the detonation reaction seems to have gotten faster.”
“It’s probably just the Savant Syndrome doing its work. He can calculate the reaction equation at an astonishing speed.”
Shirone cut in.
“You mean the equation that causes the explosion?”
“Yeah. I don’t know much about detonation magic, but I heard that the explosive power changes depending on how you set up the reaction equation. You could say it’s a similar concept to that of the combustion equation for fire magic.”
“I see. With that level of explosive power, I guess he doesn’t even need to learn fire magic.”
“No. Denotation magic is used differently from fire magic. First of all, fire magic activates immediately. Even for Yiruki, if his firepower is that strong, it will take that much longer to detonate. Well, reducing that reaction time is up to the detonator.”
If Shirone’s insight specialized in teleportation, then Yiruki’s superhuman computational power was specialized for detonation magic.
The biggest advantage of detonation magic was that it could create an enormous explosion from a tiny dot.
The further away from the center the Deviate form got, the smaller it got. It was a magic that was optimized for the Deviate form in that respect.
Yiruki’s talent, spirit zone’s propensity, and his main specialty were all specialized for explosions…
‘Why is Nade close to someone like that?’
Shirone did enjoy reading history that involved wars with mages, but he didn’t think that magic had to be so destructive.
‘I’ve never learned magic with the intention of hurting someone.’
He was curious about Yiruki, but it was Shirone who thought that getting along with him was out of the question.
As if he really put himself under probation, Yiruki did not come to class.
Although he felt a little bad, Shirone was relieved by this.
‘I wouldn’t know what to say if we ran into each other again.’
After an ordinary day, Shirone took his first formal Class 5 evaluation.
His average score was 41 points.
It was still in the lower range, but it wasn’t an easy feat to raise all subjects by 10 points in one month.
After checking the test results, the students tidied up their desks and stretched.
“Phew, I guess I can lay back for a while. Shall we buy something and go to our research group?”
“Let’s. With all the stress off my shoulders, I’m feeling hungry.”
Students started leaving in pairs or more, but not Shirone, for he was not part of a research group yet.
‘I should go to the library and study some more. My average score is still 40 points…’
He was not satisfied with the results, but the process of enhancing his Core of Knowledge was going smoothly.
Shirone was pleasantly surprised when he noticed that all the knowledge was connecting much faster than he expected.
‘It’s proof that my network of knowledge is evolving. Let’s not waver and stick to it until the end.’
The fact that he had already finished the 20 books he had borrowed a week ago kept his spirits up.
“Yes? What is it?”
A female student approached him as he was packing his backpack.
From a corner of the classroom, her friends were eyeing them with excitement.
“I’ve talked with my friends about this, but would you like to join our research group? We’re researching object-moving magic. We thought that if you were in our group, we could maybe make more achievements. It’s also a field that has a lot to do with photon magic.”
Shirone thought carefully.
He had received offers from several groups after being promoted, but this was the first research group that suited his aptitude.
Whether students wanted to join or not was 100% up to them, but there was no case where joining one would be a waste of time.
The academy’s evaluation methods were largely divided into three parts. Practical exams, theory exams, and performance evaluations.
Among them, the performance evaluation required one research paper on whatever topic to be submitted between semesters. That’s why many students joined a research group, to save time and effort.
Most of the students did it this way, as during vacation time, they would be able to visit their hometowns or stay at the academy to focus on fixing their weak points.
Of course, Shirone also checked the qualifications to join a research group, but eventually changed his mind.
Since he did not complete his work of enhancing his Core of Knowledge, his clumsy participation would only cause them harm.
They gave their proposal based on his previous achievements, but Shirone wasn’t sure if he could match their level once all the work and activity started.
“Um… I’m sorry. There’s a field I’m studying right now, and I haven’t been able to make much progress on it yet. I’m planning on focusing on that for the time being.”
“Oh, I see. That’s a bummer.”
“Sorry to turn you down even though you personally made the offer.”
She gave a light laugh.
“No, you don’t have to be sorry for anything. Let me know if you change your mind.”
The girl went back to her group after leaving behind kind words. In fact, there were not many students in Class 5 who acted upon their emotions. Though there were eccentrics and exceptions like Yiruki.
‘I’m jealous. It looks fun.’
A corner of Shirone’s heart ached. He had friends like Rian and Amy, but Rian was studying a different field, and Amy was in the Advanced class, so she was busy.
They say that life is a lonely battlefield, but he felt that he couldn’t get any lonelier considering he had no comrades in Class 5.
“Eh? Shirone, you leaving now? Wait for me.”
Nade ran towards him and put his arm around Shirone’s shoulder. This was a regular occurrence already.
The two walked to their dormitory while talking about random things. Most of their talks were about topics Shirone liked.
“The library is fine, but there are quite a few specialized books exclusive to research groups. Come to think of it, why did you refuse earlier? They’re a pretty decent research group.”
“I just feel like I don’t have enough time.”
“Well, I get you. You should busy yourself with raising your theory grades first. I’m still envious. I don’t even have that kind of desire.”
“You have so many friends. I think it would be okay for you to join any research group.”
“What are you talking about? I already have something like a research group. I’m even the president.”
“What? Really? I didn’t know that.”
[Translator – Anwen]
Shirone assumed that Nade would hate belonging to a certain group, so he didn’t even ask. But for him to be the president?
“What kind of research group is it?”
“Haha! I’m actually embarrassed to brag about it. There are only two people. Myself included.”
“Huh? Isn’t that below the minimum? Your subsidy should have been long cut off.”
The academy required at least three or more members in a research group. It was because two was company, while three was a crowd.
“Our upperclassmen graduated last semester. That’s why I became the president. But yeah, I’ve been really worried about that.”
“Oh, so that’s what happened.”
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There were numerous research groups in the academy, but having one with Advanced-class members was rare. Moreover, the fact that they graduated meant that they were cream of the crop upperclassmen.
“If it’s okay, can I take a look?”
“Really? I thought you weren’t interested in research groups.”
“I have always been interested, but I felt that if I joined one, I’d just be a nuisance. I was just being careful.”
“Hahaha! What are you saying? Even though it’s called a research group, it’s just kids grouping up to study and play together. There is no need to feel any pressure.”
“Hmm… Is that so?”
“ Actually, to be honest with you, you have a side that makes it difficult for people to approach you. You know, kids our age hit on each other, play around, tease, and do all that. And although Class 5 does have its share of vulgar fellows as well, I’ve chatted with most of ’em, and there aren’t any bad guys. So open up a little more.”
Realizing that both Rian and Amy reached out first, Shirone took note of those words.
Noticing Shirone’s attitude change, Nade shouted as if he had made up his mind.
“Great! I’m feeling good. I don’t normally do this, but this is a special case. Let me introduce you to my research group. In exchange, don’t tease me and say that it was boring or lame.”
“Really? Thanks a lot. I swear I won’t tease you or anything like that.”
“There you go again. Why so serious? Loosen up. Now, come on, let’s get going!”
The place Nade took Shirone to was a remote place northwest of the central park of the Magic Academy.
In front of them was a building formed out of 100 tetrahedron-shaped structures that were all connected together to create one building.
The material of the building was iron, and if one looked closely, one could see magic patterns engraved on the surface.
Shirone was surprised by the shape and structure of the building since it defied common sense.
“Where is this?”
“It’s a warehouse we use to keep the magic equipment. Almost all teaching materials are kept in there. Of course, our lab’s there too.”
The laboratories were not specifically assigned. When the president of a research group submitted their application documents, the academy would simply give an empty room to them.
‘Even so, a warehouse?’
Shirone couldn’t understand why the academy, considering the vast land in its possession, would place a lab in such a remote place.
“This place is something akin to a hideout. Upperclassmen have been protecting it for generations. Actually, our research group has quite a long history. You don’t know how many fights there were to occupy this place.”
“But this is a bit…”
“Haha! It’s okay. The coolest thing is the countless materials in the warehouse. You can make anything. Oh, that’s supposed to be a secret. I’m only telling you this because it’s you.”
He was quite surprised. Nade, the king of normalcy at the academy, breaking rules?
“Come, I’ll show you.”
Nade led Shirone into the building. As the building was complex, there were multiple entrances and exits. It was like wandering around in a maze.
“How is it? Cool, right? You don’t have to study it so closely though. We change the structure of the building whenever.”
“Change the structure? Is that possible?”
“The official name of this building is Estas, the magic warehouse. The building itself is a magic device. It was made with the concept of allowing the building to bring us the items we need… Or bring a section of the building we need. It’s quicker than having to manually go somewhere to get something and then go back. That’s why there are times when the structure changes on days when students are training. The point is, no matter what you do, if we don’t want you to find us, you won’t find us.”
Nade ended with a cackle.
‘A hideout no one can find…’
Shirone’s heart thumped loudly. In the end, when in the face of cool things, he acted the same as any other boy his age.
“To be honest, finding the path is simple. But you’re not a member yet, so I can’t tell you that. Let me know if you have any thoughts. You’re always welcome.”
Nade quickly led Shirone through a complex path that made them pass through 20 warehouses. Finally, the two arrived at a building with blue-painted walls.
There were about 10 large warehouses and 10 small warehouses located in the building. Nade’s research group stayed in the largest one.
“Tada! Here we are!”
Shirone approached with a nervous face.
‘What kind of research group hides in a place like this?’
At that moment, Shirone’s eyes landed on a signboard that was hanging crookedly above the iron door.
Supernatural Psychic Science Research Group
Shirone murmured in bewilderment.
He had thought about many different fields while on his way here, but he hadn’t even thought of psychic science.
An excited Nade suddenly spoke quickly.
“How is it? Our research group is awesome, right? We literally do research on the supernatural. Ghosts, spirits, the afterlife, aliens, hell, gods. It encompasses all that.”
At first, Shirone thought it was absurd, but after hearing a bit more, Shirone was not totally uninterested.
The topic that caught his attention was…
Some mages denied the existence of god/s.
Of course, each country had its own state religion, and there were priests who performed miracles. However, their abilities were also considered just another form of magic.
On the other hand, some religious people regarded magic as just a type of miracle, while some labeled magic as heresy.
‘Who is right?’
‘Does a god really exist?’
“Yeah, sounds interesting. I don’t know if it has anything to do with magic, but it might be worth studying.”
“Right? I knew you would understand. Come in. Make yourself at home.”
Nade opened the door.
Shirone imagined a neat research area filled with books that covered their research topics… But instead, a thick cloud of dust welcomed him.
Seeing as how a thick cloud of dust welcomed him the moment he opened the door, Shirone frowned and was not looking forward to seeing the rest of the space.
The room was about 534 square feet. The desk had a broken leg and was filled with bread and crumpled papers.
‘And he told me they renovated the warehouse…’
As a matter of fact, it seemed that only the sign had been renovated.
“Hahaha! A little dirty, isn’t it? You’ll get used to it after a while. Don’t just stand there, come in, come in.”
Shirone did not understand why he had to get used to it.
‘…Why not just clean the place up.’
However, even those questionable things disappeared the moment he saw the board hanging in front of him.
There was a boy who was writing mathematical formulas at an insane speed.
As Shirone approached, he noticed it was a familiar figure. Shirone’s eyes widened as he made a noise of recognition.
The boy was Yiruki, who was under probation for a week.