The Demon Prince goes to the Academy Chapter 146

That Dragon role-player I heard Mrs. Rollendria talking about…

They were closer to me than I had thought.

Even though she did nothing wrong, Redina, who had become my prisoner, went back to the Royal Class Dormitory, stuck between Charlotte and me.

Redina didn’t say a single thing, and her face was as pale as a ghost’s. She didn’t even ask me how I had found out.

Her expression seemed to convey that she had no other choice but to die. Charlotte looked at Redina, whose soul seemed to have been sucked out when she heard my words, and then she directed her eyes at me.

Why did you have to say something like that to her!?

Charlotte seemed to admonish me with her eyes.

“…Well, that’s just what kids your age do.”

“…”

“I was like that too when I was younger! Yeah!”

“…”

No matter how much I comforted her, Redina, who was completely crushed, didn’t return to her former self.

“I mean, just Charlotte and I know about this. I’ll keep it a secret, I swear, okay?”

Redina was moving like a broken doll. My words didn’t seem to reach her ears.

That kid who was smart enough to skip grades actually went to a middle-school club for people with 8th-grade syndrome and did some role-playing. Just imagining that scene made me burst into laughter.

“P-pfft! Ah, no… Sorry. I-I just laughed because I suddenly felt something tickle me, not because I find this whole thing hilarious…”

“…”

So, even while I was trying to comfort her, a stupid grin kept returning to my face—which had the exact opposite effect on Redina. Charlotte didn’t understand why people would role-play such bizarre things, so she didn’t know how to comfort her either. Hence, she just stood there, frozen.

Upon arriving at Royal Class’ Dormitory entrance, Redina turned her head towards me.

Her face was red, and I could see some tears around her eyes.

“D-don’t… Don’t tell anyone…”

The expression on her face looked so desperate that Charlotte and I had no other choice but to nod our heads. After that, Redina went into the dormitory as if she was running away from us. That was when Charlotte and I made eye contact.

“…I’m tired.”

“Yeah…”

While investigating the rumors about the Demon Gods’ Church’s believers, I came across some completely useless information that one of my seniors had a serious case of 8th-grade syndrome.

* * *

My early morning workout with Adriana was still going on.

However, that day was a bit different from usual.

“Huff… Huff… Huff.”

“…Why are you having such a hard time with this?”

Redina was taking part in Adriana’s early morning training with me. Just as all the students with magic talents had a hard time working out, that girl was no different.

However, for some reason, she had decided to go exercise with Adriana.

“Let’s take a break. I was surprised when Redina asked me to train with her so suddenly.”

We took a short break, sitting on a nearby bench because of Redina, who couldn’t keep up with us at all because her physical strength was severely lacking.

Redina stared at me, completely exhausted.

Don’t tell her! Don’t tell her!

Her eyes kept signaling this at me.

Since she knew that I was doing my morning workout with Adriana, she got worried that I would tell Adriana about the thing I had found out.

I didn’t really mean to tell her, but would she still continue to follow us during the workout? Could she even survive that?

“Drink some water, Redina.”

“Huff… O-okay… Huff…”

It was clear that none of Redina’s classmates knew about her club. So she joined my morning workout to keep an eye on me.

But wasn’t she more or less Year 2 Class A’s mascot to begin with?

Even if her classmates found out, they probably wouldn’t look at her strangely; rather, they would say this trait made her even cuter.

Of course, she herself kept on putting pressure on me with her eyes so that I wouldn’t even think about spilling it.

After all, having 8th-grade syndrome wasn’t so bad as long as it wasn’t so serious.

Most of them knew to some extent that they were just role-playing.

Redina wasn’t so deep into her role-play that she needed intervention.

It was only a temporary condition, after all. She would be healed after some time passed.

* * *

There was a problem.

“…”

“Why do you keep following me?!”

Even though I finished my morning training, that kid didn’t even think about stopping there. As soon as breakfast was over, she came down to the first floor to monitor me closely.

As it was Sunday, there were no classes, so she watched while I sparred with Ellen and Cliffman in the training room.

“J-just do whatever you usually do. I-I’m just here to watch.”

She was sweating so obviously.

If she was going to be that embarrassed by it, why did she join that kind of club?

If she followed me around all Sunday like that, what did she plan on doing the next day?

Eventually, I put down my training sword, grabbed Redina, and dragged her out by her arms. After confirming that no one was in the hallway, I looked down at Redina.

“I’m not the only one who knows your secret. Charlotte also knows, so why are you only chasing after me?”

“I-I don’t think the Princess would tell anyone…”

“So you think I’m a cheap bastard that would just blab around, huh?”

“Ththat’s…! That’s not it…”

It looked like she didn’t believe my words because of what I had done.

It was me, after all, who started teasing her about it. I regret it now. If I knew what a hassle it would be afterwards, I would have just ignored her.

It was all my fault, after all.

“I won’t tell a soul. You get it? I won’t tell anyone, okay? What would I get out of spreading weird rumors about you?”

Redina flinched when she saw me glaring at her.

“And do you actually think it’s such a big deal for others to find out about that? Those kids over there would just say something like, “I see”, and go on with their life if they found out, you know?”

She wasn’t as amazing as she thought she was! My classmates, who bore much greater secrets, wouldn’t be interested in that at all!

Even if they found out that their second-year senior was a role-playing junkie who believed herself to be a dragon, anyone would have a period in their lives where they thought something like that.

There wasn’t much to it.

…Except for that, it was incredibly weird. Ah.

“Re-really… You won’t tell anyone?”

Redina looked up at me with a desperate expression on her face. Usually, I’d say it was cute, but it seemed more annoying than cute at that moment.

‘Just get lost, kid!’

“I won’t tell anyone, okay?”

Redina stared at me for a long while before she nodded and put on a warmer expression.

“W-well then… L-let’s talk for a bit…”

After promising to keep a secret, that should be the end of it, so what was there to talk about?

* * *

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Eventually, after my training was over, Redina and I headed towards the park near the dormitory.

“The only ones who know about this are… You and the Princess, right?”

Exodium was an anonymous club, so the members didn’t know each other’s identities; they only knew their settings.

“Doesn’t your club president know?”

Didn’t the club’s president know every Exodium member’s identity? At my question, Redina turned red.

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“…I’m the president.”

“Ah…”

So she wasn’t just a regular member but had made that den herself. That little Redina, who skipped some classes, seemed to do a lot of strange things. Her face was completely red.

“A… Actually. I know this is nonsense. I also know that the members are exaggerating a bit when we gather… But everyone knows that we all gather together for fun…”

Redina also acknowledged that her club was a place where a bunch of role-players gathered, but why was she telling me this?

Redina was fidgeting with her fingers as if she was trying to tell me something that she found pretty difficult to say.

“W-well, see… I’ve been seriously thinking things like… Aren’t I really a dragon?… things like that.”

“…?”

What was she saying?

My mind went pure static at her sudden words.

Had she already surpassed the stage of role-playing? Of course, she seemed to be aware that her thoughts were a little strange. She wasn’t proclaiming it proudly, after all.

She didn’t seriously think that she was a dragon but still seriously questioned whether she actually was one. Wasn’t that an incredibly strange thought to have? Did she have a severe case as well as a minor one?

Was it even 8th-grade syndrome that she was afflicted with?

Redina’s face was so red that it seemed like even her tears would turn red if this went on. She seemed to know that what she was saying was ridiculous and nonsensical. 

Of course, I could also see that she was pretty serious about it in her own way.

She seemed to be really struggling with that idea. She wasn’t just joking around or role-playing.

At her gatherings, she would probably say something along the lines of, “I’m a dragon lol”, but she seemed to seriously want to consult with me about it.

Of course, the topic of the consultation was, “I think I’m a dragon.” Any normal counseling wouldn’t be possible at such a point.

“What the hell made you think like that?”

“…This.”

Redina stretched out her hand and summoned sparks, lightning, and some wind. The ability to realize magic spells without casting.

No casting.

That was Redina’s talent.

“They say… Dragons can use magic without casting.”

Dragons could skip the casting phase and immediately use magic, so she was wondering if she was a dragon as well.

“…That’s a supernatural power.”

“N-no. I was told it was unclear whether this was a magic-related talent or a supernatural power.”

That was what Redina had explained to me before. It was a magic-related talent, but at the same time, it was also a supernatural power, an ability not even Temple knew about.

It did seem that calling it a supernatural power related to magic seemed a bit vague—it was a supernatural power that wouldn’t manifest unless one learned magic.

“also, it’s said that one awakens supernatural powers when one is put in a difficult situation. It wasn’t like that for me. Just… as soon as I learned magic, I could just use it without casting.”

In most cases, supernatural powers awakened in extreme situations, but there were exceptions to that rule. In Liana’s case, she could naturally use her supernatural powers. Did Redina also make up such an exception?

Redina seemed to doubt that her no-casting ability was a supernatural power but was instead a racial characteristic of a dragon.

However, just because of a single thing, she suddenly started to believe that she was a dragon?

“Is that it? You don’t have a lot of mana, right, senior? Dragons should have a really large magic pool, right?”

Putting no-casting aside, ff she was a dragon, she would have a lot of magical power, but she seemed to be worried about her low amount of it.

“Ththat’s… Maybe my power got sealed away… or something…”

Redina crawled to a whisper, knowing that what she was saying didn’t have much persuasive power behind it.

She seriously seemed to wonder whether she was a dragon who lost all her memories. 

If one started to believe in things just for the sake of believing, then there was no limit. Once she thought that she was a dragon and started to put some things together, everything would just end up making sense to her.

She should have gotten this self-suggestion power, not me. With that kind of thinking, she might even be able to change her race into an actual dragon if she had it.

“What about your parents?”

If the parents who gave birth to Redina were around, then there was no possibility that she was a dragon.

Both of her parents would have to be dragons, then.

“…I came from an orphanage.”

Redina spoke in a slightly gloomy voice.

“Uhm, sorry…”

“No, you said you were the same, right? Anyway, I don’t really remember who my parents were.”

Redina’s birth was unclear.

It was also unclear whether her power was a supernatural power or not.

Only these very weak hints made Redina think that she was a dragon. She seemed to explain her lack of magical power with a type of seal put on her body. 

It was utter nonsense.

“I know you must think that this is ridiculous. But…”

“Ah, then you might be a dragon.”

“!”

Her pieces of evidence were poor, and her logic was insufficient.

“Y-you believe me?”

“Who said that? I only said that it might be possible that you are.”

However, I kind of thought that her bizarre delusions might be true.

Was she really a dragon?

Redina seemed to be happy when I said that she might be right, rather than making fun of her or ridiculing her. 

“I-I thought… You would make fun of me…”

Redina muttered with her face slightly red. She certainly held quite baseless beliefs, but she seemed to have prepared quite a bit and plucked up all her courage and determination to confess those things to me.

“Thank you, junior…”

Whether she actually was a dragon or not wasn’t important.

“No, I didn’t acknowledge you’re a dragon, okay? I just heard what you said and thought that maybe there was a tiny possibility that you’re right.”

“Yes…”

Simply because I seriously listened to Redina, she seemed to have been moved.

Later, I heard from Eleris that it was impossible to find out whether Redina was a dragon or not if she really had lost all her memories.

Of course, Eleris affirmed that dragons were monsters that only existed in legends.

____

Chapter end

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