I walked with one foot dragging the other, trying my best to ignore the stinging burn marks all over my body. I held my aching left hand with my right, both of which were extremely numb.

Even the lightest of breezes grinded against my burnt hands; Even the concrete pavement felt like quicksand. Standing straight was a bygone luxury. But I walked.

”Everyone here is my enemy, huh. ”

Those words lingered at the back of my mind, even though they might just be the meaningless ramblings of a spiteful delinquent.

The dark shade of the tree-line obscured me from stares. But those students who did notice leered at me with visible disdain. ”Such a filthy boy. ” They whispered among themselves.

Nobles. While I didn know much about them, it was clear they weren huge fans of commoners; Especially if those commoners were stepping into their sanctuary and sullying their land, exactly like what I was doing now. The Four Magic Academies didn have any rules that forbid commoners from attending, but that didn mean they were inclusive to us either.

I looked around the extravagant assembly hall, and there were nobles everywhere. Every student was noble, and every teacher was noble.

And then you had me, a farmer, mixed in.

Water is nice, and so is milk. But when you combine those two drinks together, you get a chalky, diluted mixture that doesn taste very pleasant. Of course, there were no laws forbidding you from doing so, but why would you? The two just didn go well with each other.

It was the same case here. Unless you liked chalky water, nobles and commoners shouldn mix together into one cup.

Right now, I was the single particle of milk in a cup of water, I was the impurity.

”The principal, Master Ordeus Ludenberg, will begin todays speech. ”

Sitting at the very back seat to remain inconspicuous, I watched the principal as he ascended the grand podium.

His presence radiated dignity and superiority. His stride was more confident, more heavy with pressure than any other nobles Ive ever seen.

The entire audience, which were filled with cacophonous chattering just moments ago, was now dead silent. The principals aura was overwhelming, even I couldn help but slightly tremble.

Our principle, Ordeus Ludenberg was clearly a relic of the ancient past. His face was plastered with wrinkles, his hair was silver-white, and a small but noticeable scar ran down his left eye; Despite being as old as he was, or perhaps because he was as old as he was, the sharp gleam in the principles gaze spoke at great lengths about the man.

”As of today, you all will represent East academy as the 131st generation of its students. ”

His voice didn betray his expression either; It was a deep, intimidating tone that tensed your nerves the longer you listened to it; Like you were in the presence of a supreme being, one who could slice your head off in a single motion if he wanted to.

”Before anything else, know that out of the four magic academies, East has always bore the highest student mortality rate for the last 40 years. That is because our regime is strict, and the combative exams you will undergo are harsher than anywhere else. And as such, only the strongest of mages are to graduate in one piece. ”

It wasn news to anyone; They were all aware of the very real possibility of death. As long as I attended school, Id have to somehow overcome the tall hurdle the Four Great Academies has set its students.

In addition to written exams, we also had to worry about practical tests. While I didn know much about the specifics of those test, apparently they were dangerous enough to kill off some students in the past. Maybe theyll lock us in a cage with some monsters or something.

Either way, it wasn good news.

”Attend the school prepared to face death at every angle, that is the best and only advice you will receive from me. ”

The principle ended with that brief speech. Staff and teachers bowed down to him on his way out.

Then some other person took the stage, she presented herself as the student council president, if I recall. But anything that happened after Ordeus left was fuzzy, I really didn pay much attention.

We didn have any lessons today since it was the first day of school. Instead, I was given a map of the district and the address to my new dormitory, where Ill be living for these next three years of school.

I limped towards the address.

Goddamn it aches. Like the season of harvest, but without the cabbages.

”What happened to him? ”

”So dirty… ”

”Whats this damn commoner doing here? ”

As I dragged myself across the pavement, the nobles started talking again.

Now it was getting pretty annoying.

I wasn going to make any retorts though, that should be obvious enough. Nobles were born with especially strong MAGIC stats, I couldn beat them in a fight even if I wanted to.

Everyone aims to become a mage in this world. Thats because MAGIC is considered the best out of the 7 stats ; you casts spells with magic, you can enhance your own body and weapons with magic, and even summon beasts to fight alongside you with magic. Magic is all-powerful, hence why nobles, who has the highest affinity for it, was placed at the highest position of the societal food chain.

If a swordsman was to engage in a fight with a mage, the mage would undoubtedly win. That was the general consensus, one that held true ever since the ancient times.

The railway towards my future remained uncertain. But as long as I didn die, it was fine.

My only objective at this school was to survive, then I could reap the free benefits it would provide me. I didn need good test scores, I didn need to pay any attention in class, and I didn even need to learn magic.

I was simply a freeloader, sucking away at East Academys funds. There weren any ambitions in my mind, I was content with just spending my time here peacefully.

”This should be it. ”

I arrived at the address. A verdant path at the end of the streets in an obscure corner opened up before me. In stark contrast to the metropolitan area it was in, this place was teeming with nature; Its like I wasn even in Eterna anymore.

My path led to an old, traditional-style building. The kanji Harukasou was etched upon the wooden sign placed at the front.

It was quaint and smelled of foliage, just like back at the village.

The sliding door was opened, so I just let myself in without asking. Force of habit, as if it really was my old home.

”-This morning in the Sinistral continent, a political dispute broke out between the Chakravarti Kingdoms leaders, following the missing report of… ”

An old lady was listening to the radio inside, sipping at a hot cup of tea all the while. Her brows furrowed when she noticed me.

”An intruder? Give it up, this hag ain got any money to give you. ” She said. Her voice was brittle, yet it carried at least some strength.

The lady was as small as a dwarf, and was slightly hunched over. She wore an old-fashioned, bland kimono; The same kind my mother used to wear.

”Jin Ryuunosuke -at your service. Ill be living here from now on. ” I bowed; I heard my spine crack.

”Who? ”

”Jin Ryuunosuke. ”

”Bin Fuunosuke? Never heard of you. ”

”Its Jin Ryuunosuke. ”

”Ah, Jin Ryuunosuke! I remember now, you were on the list. Why didn you say your name sooner? ”

Old people are strange, especially the senile ones. They weren dead, yet they weren completely alive either. They were capable of thinking, but the things that come out of their mouths weren always rational, like they weren thinking at all.

I wasn so fond of old people, yet I wasn an avid hater either. If anything, they were slightly amusing, yet a little disgusting.

The old lady stood up and promptly walked over to what I assumed was the short peoples equivalent of a reception desk. At the wall hung a keyholder, completely dusty except for the area around the master key.

She grabbed one of the keys, tossed it over to me and called it a day.

”Here ya go, just walk around and find your room by yourself. ”

”Thats it? No registrations or whatever? ” I asked incredulously.

”Thats a pain in the ass, well do it later. ”

She had a point.

I figured I could go explore the old building then, but was interrupted before I could take the second step.

”You look like a walking bag of trash, come here. ” The old woman said. I had no idea what she was referring to. Probably my injuries, right?

When I approached the lady, whom Ill be calling Landlord from now, she smacked me right in the back. My spine cracked again, this time with much greater intensity.

”What are you doing, you hag!? ” I said. As if it didn already hurt enough, she made it worse.

”Yup, hes injured for sure. ” The landlord muttered.

At the sight of me groaning and kneeling in pain, she lets out an exasperated sigh.

”Jeez, boys shouldn cry; Its unseemly. ”

She placed her small hand on my back again.

”God of nature, grant these fallen children the strength to fight and the will to stand. Heal. ”

[You are being affected by: Healing lv 2 (Effectiveness+43% due to LUCK)]

I was surrounded by a mystical green light. The pain from earlier died down into fractions of what it once were, as if it was all a fleeting dream. A gentle warmth radiated from her small palm. Even the burn marks all over my skin were gone.

So this is healing magic? Something like this was too good to be real.

Just as magic was capable of bringing me down to my knees, it was just as easily capable of restoring my vitality. Before I knew it, I became a puppet, dancing helplessly to the tune of magic. It irks me to a great degree.

The same thing that killed my mother was the same thing tossing me around as it pleases. Its like a disease, one so repugnant it affects the entire family.

”Stop squirming on the ground, you
e fine now. No need to thank me. ” The landlord said before shooing me away.

Upon closer inspection, the dorm was massive despite how old it is. Quaint and excessively large, It reminded me of the chiefs home back at the village.

There was a door at the back that lead to a garden that was quite massive. The landlord was planting rice, carrots and cabbage. I couldn help but wonder how she could harvest these plants with that frail body of hers, maybe Ill ask to help out one day.

The rooms in the dorm were completely empty, strangely enough. Was I perhaps the only inhabitant?

I found my own room, one that was enclosed by a sliding door. I took out the key the landlord gave me, and remembered that you can lock sliding doors. What was even the point to it then? Maybe one day Ill find the use of this mysterious key.

It was 1 in the afternoon, lunch time. I thought about digging graciously into the funds East Academy provided me as a reward for putting up with all the bullshit it had also thrown at me.

”Are there any good restaurants around here? ” I asked the Landlord, who was eating and listening to the radio in the lobby.

”None that serves commoners, as far as I know. Matsukais place might work, its pretty close to here, too. Tell him that Haruka sent you, hell cook something up. ”

I then set off to meet this Matsukai person.

According to the landlord, Matsukai runs another dormitory in this same area.

Apparently, the area I lived in was called Commoners den by the nobles, often abbreviated to just The den. The two dormitories in this area–Harukasou and Natsusou, were there to take in commoners, or in other words, those whove received the letter. If Hakurasou was empty, that meant I could be the only commoner among the first years.

I arrived at Natsusou. It looks like an old restaurant from the outside, but apparently it was another dorm.

The door was wide opened, so I just walked in nonchalantly again. As I did, a bulky man running the kitchen noticed. I assumed that was Matsukai.

”Are you a customer? ” He asked, very surprised. Maybe he didn get much customers since his restaurant was located at the end of some obscure backwater corner covered with foliage. But that was just my humble guess.

”Yeah, Im a customer. Make me some food. ”

”Understood, please look at our menu! ” He said excitedly.

When I sat down at the counter, Matsukai handed me a fading piece of paper.

-Snow-white noodles

-Thick, white and hot noodles

-Fideos blancos


The menu consisted of four items, which Im pretty sure were just four different ways to say the same thing.

”Ill take the Fideos blancos. ”

”Got it. ”

Matsukai went to work on the order. He pulled out some fresh udon noodles and placed them on a bowl, then poured in it a hot, yellow broth. For a restaurant with no customers, there was quite a clear procedure.

”Are you a student? We rarely get students as customers, or customers in general. ” He asked.

I recalled that thing the Landlord told me to say.

”Haruka sent me. ” I said, sounding more ominous than I needed to.

”Whats that? You sound like a spy or something. Oh, does that mean you
e staying at her dorm? ”

”Yeah. ”

He seems like a gentle person, especially when compared to my landlord.

Matsukai placed the the bowl on a tray and served it alongside some tea. The broth was glistened by the ceiling light. Simple white noodles topped with scallions, as well as a deep-fried shrimp known as a tempura.

”This is just udon. ” I said.

e all just udon, this is an udon store. ”

Damn, Ive been played.

”By the way, my name is Matsukai Natsu, but you can just call me Matsukai. ” He said.

”Im Jin Ryuunosuke. ”

It was simple udon. The broth wasn anything special, the noodles were ordinary at best, and the tempura you could find anywhere– but thats probably why it was all so nostalgic. The familiar scent of green tea wafted over me as I took a sip.

Matsukai-san watched me eat with great expectance, waiting for me to make a comment on the food.

”Its good. ”

That was enough to make him happy. He crossed his arms and grinned from ear to ear.

Unless I was a noble, Id have to eat here for the next two years, huh?

Udon everyday, for two years. The future makes me gag.

”Do you make anything other than udon? ”

I slurped some noodles as I spoke.

”Hmm… This is an udon store, so I only make udon. But if you have suggestions, I can make anything happen. ”


”Id like some crab tomorrow. ”

”Humph. ” He grunted. ”Is that it? Ill see to it done. ”

I heard footsteps from outside, people were entering the store.

There were three of them, a ragtag trio. One took a seat to my right, one to my left, and the last one would sit behind me if there was a chair there; Perhaps hell even threaten me with a knife.

”Yo Ryuunosuke, Long time no see! ” Manzaki said.

”Its been 4 hours. ”

”Aw cmon, don be so cold. ”

I noticed his two lackeys -Leo and Kanji, I think was what they
e called- weren mummified this time. Apparently theyve somehow made a speedy recovery.

Coincidental as it was, they had tanked the majority of the blow for me back then, so I guess I really owe them.

”Boss, We
e hungry! Ill take the snow-white noodles, extra large. ”

”Udon for me! ”

”Ill slurp up your thick, white and hot noodles! ”

The three ordered their respective meals. But alas, all was udon.

Something the last guy said was concerning me somehow, but I can quite put my fingers on what.

”Three bowls comin right up! ”

I inspected Kanji and Leo, there weren even a single scratch on their bodies. A recovery like this was impossible without healing magic, especially within the span of 4 hours.

”I thought they didn heal commoners. ” I said in an inquiring manner, narrowing my brows in disbelief.

”Ah, it wasn the doctors who healed us, it was Haruka-sama. ” Kanji said. Leo nodded.

Haruka? Who was that?

”Don you know her? Shes an old lady, about this small. ”

The height he described with his hand was like one of an average goblin. The landlord was the only person who would fit that image.

But she didn seem the type to heal people so charitably like that.

Healing costs MANA, and when you get low on that resource you feel a stinging pain in your chest, your head becomes light, and it wasn a pleasant sensation. Thats what mom said.

If Natsusou was ran by someone called Natsu, then it would make sense if Harukasou was run by someone called Haruka. So Haruka was the landlords name?

I couldn care less, I wasn gonna use it anyways. That sounded like the kind of name for young, nubile women; My landlord wasn anything like that.

The sensation of her strike was physically gone, but the pain was still vivid in my mind.

”See you guys. ”

When the bowl of udon was finished, I left without ado.

Matsukai, Kanzaki, Leo, Kanji, and Haruka. They seemed like a very tightly knit group of commoners in this sea of nobles.

I didn think I could become like that.

A memory within me was burning; I hesitated to open my mouth, I couldn search for the words I wanted to say; I didn want to make any more memories with any other person in this world.

No, maybe I just didn want to lose anyone else important to me.

Yes, thats why.

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