Chapter 9:

CHAPTER 5: THE RESULTS OF THE SPECIAL SCHOLAR'S OBSERVATION

The Demon Saint is Missing, so I Ran Away to Another World Vol. 12


***Gaius’ garden…***

With his laptop closed and his other gadgets kept away, Gaius was just sitting at the middle of his garden, burning his time staring unto the sky—which, in one of the palaces there, he dwelt once. Aside from the empty beer cans that littered the grass, there was also a can of beer in his hand. His face was flustered, as he stretched out his other free arm towards the heavens, as if trying to reach it with his mortal body.

“…”

Nevertheless, Gaius knew it was a futile effort…at least, until that moment. No matter how he tried his best to ‘grab’ his heavenly prize, unless he was accepted to the circle of the gods once again, everything was in vain. So, he stopped, and withdrew his hand. With one gulp, he emptied the beer can, crushed it and threw the mangled aluminum on the grass. Then Gaius asked the new arrival…

“What are you doing here, dirtying my garden with your foul presence?”

“What, am I forbidden to?” the woman behind him, the Seductress, finally made her physical form appear. “Even the High King of the Gods allows the enemy before his presence, so why shouldn’t you, my dear husband? Besides, you’ve been drinking ’till you’re drunk, and your garden is full of trash! What’s the misplaced anger for?”

“I believe we have nothing to talk about, Arame!” Gaius answered.

Oh, but we do,” she replied. “Not only did I intend to drop by for a visit; I wanted to see you wallow in despair about your lost godhood.”

Ah, I’m getting by nicely, if you are so concerned…” the former god chuckled. “And, just so you know, though you tricked everyone, your return won’t last long.”

“Is it? And what are you holding on to, Gaius Julius? Your courage? Your saints’ powers? The peoples’ hope? You all are nothing but mere mortals before me!”

“Indeed, we are mortals…but you haven’t seen the last of us.”

“I like how you try to bluff me,” the Seductress laughed. “It reeks of desperation.”

“I’m not bluffing,” Gaius reiterated. “I haven’t put out all my aces against you yet.”

“That’s true…you still haven’t controlled that otherworlder, so your aces aren’t complete.”

At that point, the former god fell silent. For sure, the ‘Seductress’ was talking about Kuro, the human who wielded the god-powers of the Human and Beastman Saints. Her laughs echoed throughout the place, as she mocked the former god, whom she had cornered.

“What do you want?” Gaius asked, trying to reach carefully for his dagger.

“I won’t try it if I were you, Gaius Julius,” the ‘Seductress’ told him. “You and I know that this body of mine before you is corporeal; your sharp, pointy metals won’t work against me this time. In fact, I’m not yet complete…I still have to gather more strength to physically manifest in your beloved Chersea.”

“This is no ordinary dagger, fool!” the former god never waited for his enemy to make a move. He dashed towards her, intending to hit at least the miasma surrounding the creature of the void.

However, sensing his intent, the ‘Seductress’ stepped back, narrowly evading the blade tip. Then, before Gaius could recover, she countered using one of her miasmas, hardening it like a spear and aiming for his neck. The former god was quick to chant a shield barrier, which deflected her counter-attack. Gaius retreated to recover.

The alcohol isn’t helping his movements…

“Still a great warrior, eh, Gaius Julius? Even when drunk, you never lost your edge!” the ‘Seductress’ quipped. “That’s good; for I don’t enjoy an unresponsive prey while I toy with them.”

“I’m asking you,” the former god could barely keep his balance. However, he tried his best to bluff his enemy, “What do you want?”

“Hmm…” she smiled sweetly at him, “I’m here to thank you, my dear husband.”

“…”

“You’re aware of the reasons, right?” the Seductress floated around Gaius, riding on her miasma tentacles. “Your dog, that Saint of the Flame, Seirna, is working hard to prevent negative events from happening. Yet, here you are, moving in the shadows to create an even bigger conflict. And for that, I’d like to thank you for helping me gain strength.”

“The pleasure is all mine, cretin!” the former god smirked.

“I’m just curious though, what are your plans? What’s making you work so hard for me to regain my powers?”

Gaius was silent.

“Do you really want me to return that bad, my beloved husband? Do you really want me to come back, that you’re willing to fool everyone—including your faithful servant, that idiot, Seirna—and sacrifice them for your goals?”

“You won’t understand my actions.”

The creature from the void suddenly drew near Gaius’ face and whispered, “Am I mistaken, dear Gaius Julius? We were a couple once, so deep inside, we both know your reasons for playing double-faces. Deep inside, Gaius Julius Caesar, you wanted the admiration and renown of everyone. Deep inside…you wanted to return to godhood by being popular and worshipped.”

“…”

“Deep inside…you’re going to sacrifice and murder those people worshipping you in order for me to gain powers. Then, you’ll rise up, and defeat me. And you’ll gain the godhood you longed for…am I right, my dear Gaius Julius Caesar?

“Quiet!” the former god tried to slash her, but the ‘Seductress’ was quick to detect him. Her laughs echoed throughout the garden, much to Gaius’ chagrin.

“Dream on, Roman! Just like how your friend Brutus caused your downfall, I—your former wife—shall be your end!”

A flurry of scenes from his traumatic past bombarded Gaius’ mind, though, he tried his best to fight back the ugly memories. “Enjoy your freedom now,” was all that he could tell to his enemy. “Soon, you won’t be enjoying where I would cast you, Arame.”

“I’d say the same for you, Gaius Julius. The otherworlder is his own man; you failed in your plans. And with his help and yours, I shall claim this world, as well as the others. Who is powerful enough to stop me?”

Gaius had enough. He suddenly jerked and threw the ‘sealing dagger’ towards the ‘Seductress’, as she mocked and laughed at him. However, the dagger did no damage, as her apparition grew weak and disintegrated just before his weapon hit her.

“…”

Now the former god was all alone in his garden. And he knew, he was running out of time.

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**Greg**

The next day, I took the time to look at the how the quizzes and test were administered in the Conclave. Princess Noir did explain to me the basics; however, I’d like to understand it by practical means. Based from what I learned before, the Conclave’s test and quizzes were a bit complicated matter, for it could mean the food supply of our students for the day.

“Every end of the week, we conduct mock examinations to know if the students learned something,” the scholar-teacher assigned to guide me, Lady Scholar Irene Capaldi, explained. She also showed me the test questionnaires she prepared. “Lady Scholar Noir Usarved mentioned to me before that you founded a human school in Chersea with a similar system; you can look so you’ll have your ideas on giving examinations.”

“Yes,” I looked at the questions and skimmed through them. While there were some words that were unfamiliar to me, I could still read it enough to understand the concept behind the question being asked.

“Those are for the juniors,” Scholar Irene claimed. “As you can see, the items are really tough questions. Only about 20-25% of our students are expected to pass in the upcoming mock exams. Last week, I think it hung around 22%?”

I could tell from the demon scholar’s voice that she was bragging, right from when she showed me the test questionnaires, up to her dismal statistics. Honestly, I don’t know what she’s proud about. A 20-25% passing rate for a student’s test would land me into the principal’s office back on Earth; it meant that hardly anyone learned from my lessons.

“So, uh, what will happen to the…let’s say, the 75-80% of the students who did not pass?”

“Supplementary lessons. Fewer privileges in the cafeteria, like smaller food portions, and their leaves are cancelled.”

I couldn’t help my surprise when I heard that, “Leaves?”

“Our hero, Lady Cassandra, said that a student that is always studying is not good for the mind. So, she told us that there should be two days of break for everyone in each week.”

“Oh…” It’s kind of familiar to the Saturday-Sunday school break in my own world. Anyway, I wanted to confirm something, “So going by your rules, is it possible for the students to end up eating nothing because of successive failures in their tests?”

“Yes, it’s possible,” the teacher nodded. “In fact, we have several students who are not given their food portions at the cafeteria as punishment for their failed scores.”

Now Lady Srexe, the orc Tama’lee and the werewolf Nari’s situation, finally made sense. I thought they are just playing around with me; I never dreamed of the time I would encounter an extreme educational system like this.

“…”

No wonder why they are performing below standards. This school is way too punishing…

“If you’d ask me, Special Scholar, we demons can take every day and every week studying,” Lady Scholar Irene reiterated. “However, since Lady Cassandra said it, then we’ll have no choice but to obey.”

“…” I’m having suspicions that Alexa meant to force these demon folks to ‘take a break’ instead of merely ‘telling them to’. These guys had no idea about the word ‘chill’.

“Anyway, each week, a scholar may have two days of ‘leave’. During that time, they may return to their homes,” she added. “This is one of the reasons why the Conclave is so esteemed; we punish the underperformers while reward the achievers. If you wanted your school to be on the same level as ours, Special Scholar Greg, then you need to step up with your policies.”

“Hoh…” While I agree with the ‘reward the achievers’ part, punishment for the underperformers was stupid. I mean, they’re already struggling to learn; the last thing that they needed was for someone to punish them for something they couldn’t help with. It’s counter-productive!

Of course, I’m referring to the students who are having a hard time studying, not the ones who always slack off.

“Lady Scholar?”

“Yes?”

“How do you conduct your exams here?”

“What do you mean? I just explained it a while ago.”

“No, I mean, is it timed?”

“Yes, why?”

“Would you like me to answer these questions while you count the time for me?”

Ah, is that so? You want to test your knowledge, Special Scholar Greg?” Out of nowhere, she fished out a candle with marks on regular intervals. “You know how this works, right? I light this candle, and once this is exhausted, the test is over.”

I nodded, “Yes, I’m aware. What’s the average time for the teachers to answer this type of Math test?”

Hoo…I can feel you’re brimming with confidence, Special Scholar, eh?” the Lady Scholar chuckled. “Well, our smartest teacher here, Lord Scholar Gracchio, can finish that by the second mark.”

“Then second mark it is. I aim to finish your test by first mark.”

“H-Ha?” she couldn’t believe what she just heard. “Aren’t you way too overconfident with that goal?”

“It’s fine, for I want to show you something…” I took the candle from her hand and cut it into two equal halves. Then I gave her the upper half, much to her confusion.

“What are you doing?”

“You got a writing instrument with you?”

“Don’t tell me you’re going to break it as well…”

“No, but just give them to me.”

So, the demon scholar did what I requested. Then, I sat down on a nearby chair and took one questionnaire to answer. “Lady Scholar, would you please light the candle?”

“Y-You mean this?” she was referring to the half-candle I gave her.

I only nodded.

“But your time…”

“Don’t worry,” I chuckled, “as I said before, I wanted to show you something.”

Lady Scholar Irene stared in disbelief as she chanted a spell to light the candle-timer. From a regular of five marks, it went down to two and a half when I cut it. Once the candle was lit, I immediately got down to answering the questionnaire.

A moment later, I heard the demon scholar mutter, “I don’t know what’s your intention, Special Scholar Greg, but this is—”

“I’m done.”

Lady Scholar Irene was even more shocked, she could not speak.

“I said, I’m done, Lady Scholar,” I handed her my questionnaire, and extinguished the candle flame. “Would you care to check the answers if those are correct?”

My companion—though she was still in surprise—got a checking machine, and put in the correct answers. After a short while, marks appeared on the questionnaire, and the demon scholar—her eyes wide in utter disbelief and shock—kept on glancing at the candle, which was barely consumed while I took the test.

“S-Special Scholar…tell me honestly, you cheated.”

“You saw how I answered the test. You also know that it is my first time to see these questionnaires. And if you are still not satisfied, you can use every lie detector you have on me,” I challenged her. “Or, you can give me a different test questionnaire if you want to.”

“May I?”

“Sure!”

And the demon scholar did just that. She brought out another test questionnaire from one of her drawers in the faculty and handed it to me. Then, we used the other half of the candle for time. A few minutes passed, and I gave her my test.

“I-Impossible!” Lady Scholar Irene kept on muttering as she double-checked on my answers. “And you answered it all correctly!”

“Want to give me another test?”

The demon scholar shook her head; it seemed that she had seen enough. “B-But this is…a junior-level test!” she exclaimed. “I mean, I get it that we’re both scholars, but to perfectly answer it in an extremely short amount of time…and this is Mathematics! How did you…?”

I was amused at Lady Scholar Irene’s reactions. I did say before that Mathematics was my waterloo, right? However, the Math I was talking about was the one where you had to find the x and y, along with the cosine, sine, and tangent. Or the ones where I’d have to find the circumference, or radius, or the angles.

This test, however, is the Math even a third-grader in my world can answer! It’s just a two-digit arithmetic…

Haha…who am I kidding?” she was in denial. “Of course, you’re Lady Cassandra’s former teacher. No student can be greater than her teacher!”

“Lady Scholar, again, not to scare you even further, but from where I and Lady Cassandra came from, even the lowest level student can answer your questionnaire. In fact, those are being taught to them at an early stage in school, and they can pass those with flying colors!”

“You’re not playing pranks on me, Special Scholar Greg? I got lie detectors all around, see? You won’t fool me!”

“Of course, I won’t fool you,” I don’t know if she’s bluffing or not (I had seen none of it), but in any case, I’m not afraid to tell her the truth. “Have you ever heard your detectors ring?”

The demon scholar shivered, “S-Such one scary world, indeed!”

I winked at her, “I’d rather say that we’re the products of an education system that gives discipline to low performers, not meting out punishments.”

----------

While I was waiting for the next set of students to come to my classroom, Lady Scholar Irene allowed me to watch her conduct classes, at my own request. This was because, connecting Lady Noir’s strange ‘request’ to me the other day, as well as Lady Srexe, Tama’lee and Nari’s situation and the low passing rate of the quizzes, I couldn’t help but suspect that something’s amiss with the Conclave’s system.

What I couldn’t understand is that, while the demons hold female rulers in contempt, they were pretty fine with them studying together with the males. I mean, back on Earth, if one society preferred one gender over the other, the less-favored one gets the short end of the stick…like a segregated education.

In contrast, here in Cherflammen, their society complexly combined modern and traditional philosophies. For a common demon, the ladies could teach them, yet they shouldn’t be allowed to rule.

Pretty weird, but I guess traditions are traditions.

“…”

Anyway, back to the observation. After that issue with the test questionnaires earlier, Lady Scholar Irene had a noticeable change in how she treated me. Before, the demon educators of the Conclave had a ‘nice’ and ‘helpful’ attitude towards me, almost bordering a ‘condescending’ behavior. For them, I was like a lesser creature—a ‘barbarian’, trying to learn their ways. And as the ‘civilized’ ones, they ought to show me the ropes…even though a lot of their education system was based on our own in Earth, thanks to Alexa.

However, Lady Scholar Irene Capaldi’s belief was shattered after that ‘mock’ test. From a ‘patronizing’ conduct towards me, she was now silent—a proof that her ideas about the differences between the human and demon mental capacity was in tatters.

The Lady Scholar’s subject was Mathematics, and the topic for her class was all about problem solving. The writing board at the front of her classroom was filled with simple arithmetic equations and statements, which was a far-cry from the confusing mathematical formulas typical of advanced Math such as algebra, geometry, and trigonometry…

Ugh…remembering those always gives me the shivers. I abhor those classes.

Listening to her lectures was a tedious one, just like how the normal teachers from my own world would conduct their class. However, compared to the human students, the demons listened to her with uncanny silence. They sat upright, as if they were statues, and their eyes were all glued on her, like they lives depended on the Lady Scholar.

I can’t help but to admire their dedication, though I’m freaked out by their silence.

And then, the time came when Lady Scholar Irene started to ask questions.

“So based on the problem, Pietro got 300 lightflower wine bottles and sold 200 of them. How many bottles are left with him?”

The demons raised their hands, similar to how my students call for my attention. The only difference was, theirs was a sea of raised hands, while mine would be…well, I think I’m lucky if I got around four or five students wanting to recite.

These demon students are an admirable, hardworking bunch…

“Scholar Vittorio?”

“Lady Scholar, I have a question rather than an answer.”

“Yes, what is it?”

“Why did Pietro have 300 lightflower wine bottles? I mean, lightflower wine is good, but it is also a rare commodity. There can’t be no more than 100 bottles sold at any given time!”

What? Seriously? Why does this guy have to ask about that? Do I even have to give a fuck about that useless information?

“Well, let’s say Pietro acquired it through several weeks of buying from the merchants,” the Lady Scholar replied. “Nevertheless, lightflower wine is truly rare indeed…”

Ha? Why do you have to give a thought about it, Lady Scholar? Isn’t your lesson about subtraction and problem solving?

“Not to mention,” another student raised a different point, “lightflower wine is so expensive, it’s impossible to sell 200 bottles of it in one go! Not even the Usarveds can shell out money large enough to buy such numbers!”

“Another valid point,” the Lady Scholar confirmed. “How did Pietro sell those large numbers?”

Oi, aren’t you the one who made that problem about Pietro in the first place? Why did you put it in there if you don’t know how he managed to do it? And besides, that isn’t the main problem, for goodness’ sake!

The students kept on raising issues surrounding Pietro and his 500 wine bottles, it snowballed and covered the original problem. Soon, the entire room was in a heated debate about various matters: ’How much a ‘lightflower’ wine bottle should cost to sell it without bankrupting the seller?’, or ’What are the conditions for Pietro to make him sell his precious ‘lightflower’ wines?’, or even the ‘What is the color of the wine bottle Pietro used to sell his liquor to be that effective?’

I, for the meantime, was horrified on what I was witnessing. Aside from most of the questions were plain stupid, the Lady Scholar Irene was lost as to the true purpose of her lesson. And I asked her about it…

“Why did you have to entertain all the students’ questions? A lot of those had no connection to your subject!”

“Special Scholar Greg, this is how we do classes here in the Conclave. We take into consideration all the questions the students are asking, for it is important to their education!”

“What?!” I couldn’t help but raise my voice. I was getting triggered by what I witnessed. “Can I see what’s written on your lesson plan?”

“Huh?” the smile on the demon teacher’s face vanished and it was replaced by a confused expression. “What lesson plan?”

I could only stare at her in utter disbelief. A lesson plan—though it was one of the teachers’ most hated piece of document, was also one of the most important things when teaching. It was where the educator could refer to once he/she was lost in the lesson.

Good lord, this is chaotic,” I muttered under my breath. “No one is following the curriculum at all!”

“Curriculum? What is that?”

“You don’t even know what a curriculum is? How did your school survive for such a long time without those important documents?”

“Beats me,” Lady Scholar Capaldi shrugged. “We just teach what we think should be taught for the day!”

“Good lord…no wonder there’s a great number of failures in the tests,” I whispered that to myself. Then I told her, “This is a ‘free-for-all’ school, if one can call it a school! This should be fixed!”

“Fixed? What do you mean, Special Scholar Sir?” the Lady Scholar countered. “This is why our school is the greatest! Everyone is free to discuss what they want to talk about!”

For fuck’s sake, that’s not how a ‘modern’ education works! No wonder why most of the students would fail. Aside from a punishing education system, the teachers had no idea of how to actually teach an academic lesson!

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***On the other side of the Conclave…***

The demon lord of Cherflammen, Prince Hurion Devras IV, was going around the school and checking on his subjects as was his routine, trying to learn of any problems the student-scholars were having. Because of the Conclave’s policy of ‘equal stature’ once inside its premises, here he was being treated officially as a ‘regular’ scholar…though in practice, it was impossible to prevent the crowd from admiring their esteemed historian and overlord.

“Your Highness, I love you!”

“Please smile at me, milord!”

“Kyaaa! His shadow passed through mine!”

Of course, the prince would oblige from the demands of his subjects from time to time, since he Following his every footstep was his chamberlain—and bodyguard, Shevaun Ilkes. Together, they would ask the student-scholars on what else should be done to improve the quality of education in the Conclave.

It’s part of the prince’s advocacy, not only to preserve Lady Cassandra David’s legacy, but also, to promote his rule among his people.

Ah! Your Highness, welcome to our humble class!” the teacher of one of the classrooms Prince Hurion Devras decided to enter greeted him.

“Thank you!” the demon lord replied to him, and followed it with, “How are things going here?”

“Pretty much fine, Your Highness,” the teacher moved aside, in an unspoken permit for the prince to come and enter the classroom.

The demon lord did oblige, observing the student-scholars, whose eyes were all plastered in their books, or notebooks. Everything was normal, the prince said to himself, and he was about to leave when…

“This is really boring…”

“I hate this class! I wanted to attend the Special Scholar’s lecture instead!”

“Quiet, you two! Or His Highness might hear you!”

Prince Hurion Devras and Shevaun exchanged glances, as they surely heard the students utter those words. The demon lord then went over to where he thought the conversation came from.

“Excuse me, guys?” the prince smiled to dispel their fears, “Did I just hear you talk about the Special Scholar?”

“O-Our apologies, Y-Your H-Highness,” one of the demon students told him. “It’s my seatmates who kept on talking about the Special Scholar!”

The other two students sitting beside the first one was averting their gazes. They were the ‘guilty’ ones.

“No, it’s fine,” Prince Hurion Devras reassured them. “I’m interested in what you think about the Special Scholar. Please don’t be afraid to speak your mind.”

Ah, Your Highness!” the first of the students avoiding the prince finally spoke, “We’re talking about how we like the Special Scholar in conducting his lectures better; it’s not only entertaining, we’re learning much from him!”

“Indeed! And he’s a joker, too…though well, some of his jokes are a bit, err…stale. But there’s never a dull moment!”

“Yes! Yes!” This time, almost all the students were in unison. They agreed that they love how the Special Scholar teaches his class, much to Prince Hurion Devras’ delight.

“Can’t the other teachers be like him?” the first demon student whispered to the prince. “I’m sure it’ll be a big help to our studies, Your Highness.”

The demon lord winked at him and said, “I’ll see what I can do about that.”