Chapter 21:

Volume 2, Chapter 1, Study Session

Don't Worry, We Have the Best Supporter in Our Team

Three months had passed ever since Alice’s party began their first class in Adventurer Academy. Everyone, except Jayce, was surprised by the fact that they were selected to attend a particular class where well-known adventurers came to provide tutelage. Bookmark here

Compared to regular classes, according to Jayce, their class emphasize versatility. They had more subjects to cover, such as Archery, Swordsmanship, Magic, History, Geopolitics, Geography, Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Herbalism, Craftsmanship, Cooking, Bestiary, Foraging, Mining and Summoning.Bookmark here

They were able to grasp the concepts of their worst subjects thanks to Jayce’s private tutelage back at their accommodation. From theories to practical, he guided them every step of the way. He provided his explanation in a way that each of them would understand. Bookmark here

Of course, that went without saying that they also had to venture out for quests occasionally. Completing quests as adventurers while handing in reports to their lecturers was initially tedious. Still, they soon got used to it by adopting time management after a few weeks. Bookmark here

They took in quests to establish teamwork and obtaining items that were required for their assignments for subjects such as Blacksmithing, Alchemy, Herbalism, Craftsmanship, Cooking, Foraging, and Mining. Bookmark here

Thinking back at their first quest at the Moon Village, Jayce’s strategy was too risky. If it weren’t for Alice’s quick decision, Jayce would have been knocked down and killed by the bandit leader.Bookmark here

“Hey, Alice, do you know any alternatives to increase the potency of an antidote against paralysis?”Bookmark here

Irene, who was sitting behind Alice, asked Alice a question as she leaned forward to her side. She wouldn’t mind answering her as they just finished a history lesson. Bookmark here

She sorted out the notes she had taken during the class. Whenever there was a question that came across their minds, they always tried their utmost best to research the books they borrowed from Jayce’s magic library. If they reached a dead-end, that was the time they asked each other whether they knew the answer to their questions. Bookmark here

They had made an unspoken policy to not ask for help until they attempted to find a solution. That way, they will gain more insights regarding other information they find.Bookmark here

Alice named five alternatives to Irene and their preparations.Bookmark here

Irene listened intently and wrote them down in her notebook, including how to utilize them as well. Bookmark here

“Got it. Thanks.” Bookmark here

She deposited her notebook into her magic gloves.Bookmark here

“I’m guessing this is for your alchemy report?”Bookmark here

“Yeah. Nora knows which topics to give us.”Bookmark here

“Yeah…” Bookmark here

Although they found the topics assigned to them proved difficult, they knew their lecturers, including Nora, had good intentions behind their choices. It couldn’t be helped; everyone had at least had one worst subject. Even though everyone attended the same class and had the same lecturers, the lecturers gave unique assignments to everyone, tailored to improve their knowledge on specific topics.Bookmark here

“Any progress from you, Aiden?” asked Jayce, who was sitting next to Alice.Bookmark here

The real concern among their group was Aiden.Bookmark here

During this semester, Jayce had taken some of his spare time to create a rune that may help Aiden to study. He couldn’t complete it due to assignments and weapon maintenances he had. Another issue was that he had never created runes for this purpose, so he had to go through trials and errors, and he was still in that stage.Bookmark here

Aiden knew they were trying to help, and he told them not to rush it. He wanted them to prioritize their studies. All he could do was listen and memorize their lecturers during class and during one-on-one discussions with the lecturers. Outside class, he received private tutelage from Alice, Jayce, and Irene. Bookmark here

That was all he could do. Instead of writing, he had to answer lecturers’ questions verbally in a room where others won’t be interrupting them.Bookmark here

If only I could see. Aiden sighed. Bookmark here

“Aiden?” Bookmark here

He brought his attention to Irene. Her voice and body language were evident enough for him to tell she was concern about him. Despite Irene’s humorous nature, he could tell whether Irene was joking or serious. Bookmark here

“Don’t worry about me. I can handle it.”Bookmark here

By it, he meant the upcoming final exams. The forthcoming final exam began in the next three weeks, covering fifteen subjects in four days. Bookmark here

His education was slightly above average, and he was okay with that. On some occasions, lecturers even stayed back to ensure Aiden fully understood their lessons. He was thankful for the lecturers and his friends who went that far to help him. Bookmark here

All that was left was to, at least, pass the final exams.Bookmark here

“If you need anything for the final exam, you know where to find us.”Bookmark here

Jayce had the same concern, just like everyone else. He felt it was his responsibility as a guild leader to help his subordinates whenever he could. The rune he was creating was close to completion. He just needed to find the right runic that wouldn’t disrupt others that he had crafted. Bookmark here

At best, Alice could only assist Aiden with magic, herbalism and alchemy. She helped him learn ways to identify the ingredients through a sense of smell and touch.Bookmark here

“I know. Thank you.”Bookmark here

Today was the last day for this semester, and lecturers would answer any of their students’ questions related to their subjects. They could also ask their lecturers questions with communication scrolls during the three weeks of self-study before the final exams.Bookmark here

Everything that was written in the communication scrolls could only be seen and read by the sender and recipients, so they shouldn’t be concerned with the writing capacity as there was a Memory rune crafted into it. Bookmark here

Memory rune could only function on objects; it stored written messages from both parties and displayed them if the reader needs them. Then again, Aiden can’t read. All that was left for him was to make use of the time he had with their lecturers.Bookmark here

“In any case, shall we hold group study sessions at our guild room? Jayce, is it possible to have a sleepover at the guild room as well?” Bookmark here

Alice proposed an idea to the group. The reason behind it was because that was where Jayce’s magic library built. However, she needed Jayce’s input about the Academy’s policies.Bookmark here

“It would be best to gather everything we need from our library and stored them in our apartment.” Bookmark here

Jayce knew she was trying to avoid relying too much on Jayce’s library, but they needed his books for the final exam, and he was okay with it. Besides, he preferred tutoring them in their apartment instead of going to their guild room every day to study, and it would raise suspicions to other students.Bookmark here

“But…”Bookmark here

“No buts.”Bookmark here

He didn’t want to hear any rebuke from Alice and anyone in their guild. He wanted them to make full use of his collection of books and documents to further their studies and skills. This was one of the perks of being a member of his guild. If anyone knew about his magic library before requesting to join his guild, he would graciously decline them. Bookmark here

During their three months of studies, they found out the prices of the books they had been reading. Alice sort of knew about them from the beginning. Irene and Aiden were shocked by it and became more self-conscious about it.Bookmark here

“Classes are over, and we need to get ready for tomorrow. Let’s head to the guild room and grab everything we needed for now. We will grab the remaining books other time.”Bookmark here

Prompted by Jayce, they stood up from their seats and made their way to the guild room.Bookmark here

As they made their way to their guild room, students and lecturers passed by and sometimes they glanced back, thinking, “Are they students of this academy?” Bookmark here

Alice’s party didn’t equip the class badges because they were enrolled in a particular class to learn everything the Academy had to offer. Most of the students weren’t aware of their course's existence, so it was natural for them to sense their gazes converging at them.Bookmark here

Everyone, except Jayce, didn’t know about this, but if one of the students did attempt to follow them to their class, the Academy would change its layout and led them back to their respective classroom. Bookmark here

Jayce kept his eyes forward while being cautious of their surroundings and pretended not to notice their gazes. Alice, too, was acting naturally as she followed Jayce with Irene and Aiden in tow, but deep down, she wasn’t feeling uncomfortable being stared at. Inwardly, she did her best to ignore them and moved on with her life.Bookmark here

When they arrived at the guild room, Jayce didn’t sense anyone in the vicinity other than Alice’s group. He produced a key from his magic gloves and unlocked the door, and gave way to others to enter the room. Bookmark here

The room was always organized as Jayce lay out the ground rules ever since they joined the Liberators, the name of Jayce’s guild. He wanted to make the guild room a comfortable place for everyone while respecting each other. Bookmark here

Alice walked over to the centre of the room and began her incantation, activating the magic circle hidden below the coffee table. Jayce also gave the group access to the Magic Library a few weeks after joining his guild. Bookmark here

On the coffee table, hidden in plain sight, was a tiny magic circle that shone dimly, and a wide pillar of light, covering the entire coffee table, appeared before them. Books and documents appeared and disappeared at some occasion within the pillar of light, hovering around here and there. Bookmark here

They began taking out the books from the magic library. Alice focused on Magic, Alchemy, and Herbalism; Irene focused on Archery, Foraging, Craftsmanship and Geography; and Jayce followed up the rest of the subjects. All the books they took out were organized in their respective categories to get a better idea of other books they needed.Bookmark here

Aiden, who stood by one of the bookshelves, mentally cursed himself for being incompetent to his friends. It couldn’t be helped. Aiden didn’t possess a sense of sight to read. He was glad to meet people like Alice and Jayce, who treated him equally, just like how Irene treated him. Bookmark here

Aiden had gone through constant bullying during his childhood back in the Thief Village, where he was born and raised. When he reached the age of seven, his parents decided to move out to the Moon Village for the sake of Aiden.Bookmark here

That was where he met Irene when his parents visited Irene’s parents, meeting his parents’ old colleagues and best friends, who went out for adventures together. It was difficult for Irene to converse with Aiden as he had trust issues. Aiden and Irene’s parents believed that she could help Aiden overcome it. Bookmark here

He shook his head. Bookmark here

This wasn’t the time to look back at the past. Bookmark here

He reminded himself and resumed listening to their conversation, crossing his arms and adjusting himself and lean back to the wall.Bookmark here

“What do you guys think? Did we miss anything on these topics?” asked Alice.Bookmark here

“Hmm. I don’t see any issues. We pretty much got everything we need. Jayce?”Bookmark here

“No issues here.”Bookmark here

They checked the titles once more before they stored them in their magic gloves. Bookmark here

“Anything else you guys want to do?” asked Jayce.Bookmark here

Everyone in the room shook their heads, confirming they concluded their business here. With that, they exited the room and headed back to their accommodation. Jayce looked around, making sure they didn’t miss anything they needed, before closing the door and lock it. Bookmark here

On the first day of their group study session, the group battled against each other in one of their training rooms located in their apartment's basement. The practical exam involved both swordsmanship and magic, so they practised as an actual battle during quests or Coliseum tournaments. At the same time, they could learn and understand spells implemented during their struggle for their Magic exams.Bookmark here

“Snarling Chain!” shouted Alice as she waved her staff at her target.Bookmark here

The figure heard a slight audible noise from his right. A magic circle appeared on the ground. He kicked the ground with his right foot with all his might, leaping and getting out of range from the barrage of chains rising from the magic circle.Bookmark here

Just before his feet landed on the ground, he heard an arrow travel towards his back. He swung his leg to twist his body and slashed the projectile in half. He landed on the ground in all four. His opponents weren’t the kind of people who would let this opportunity pass. Bookmark here

“Rend my enemies to cinders—Fireball!” Bookmark here

“Arrow Barrage!”Bookmark here

Alice and Irene cast their skills at Aiden relentlessly. Compared to Jayce, Aiden was superior in terms of agility. That was why they had focused their offensive on him while keeping Jayce busy. Bookmark here

Alice coordinated Irene and herself when to switch targets as they were distancing themselves away from the boys. Their strategy was to take them down with long-range spells and attacks while restricting their movements. They could easily switch roles between Attackers and Saboteurs.Bookmark here

“Mirage Step.”Bookmark here

Just before the spells and arrows landed on Aiden. Jayce appeared out of thin air, right next to Aiden and pushed him out of the way. He then recast the same skill to save himself as well. Bookmark here

Mirage Step was similar to Side Step, the skill he had used as a Thief class, but it possessed an illusion spell where the caster’s opponents could not pinpoint his actual position. Bookmark here

The push wasn’t too hard so that Aiden could regain his posture. They both nodded to each other and made their way towards their opponents. Weapons readied in their hands for their next attack.Bookmark here

As for Jayce and Aiden, they didn’t have much choice of weaponry for long-range purposes. Instead of his usual twin obsidian blades, Jayce equipped himself with a glass longsword.Bookmark here

Jayce didn’t want to reveal his obsidian bow yet as this was only training, but his longsword wasn’t suitable to slice down arrows and spells in quick succession as it required more time, compared to his obsidian blades, to assume a stance. Bookmark here

Aiden equipped his usual blade gauntlet and didn’t apply any poisons on them. He wouldn’t want to waste his toxins for this occasion. The only approach to this was to rely on Aiden to cut down anything that flew towards them, and Jayce destroyed Alice’s barrier with his longsword’s hardening rune, buying time and opening a path for Aiden to close the distance.Bookmark here

“Armour break!”Bookmark here

“Barrier!”Bookmark here

Just as Aiden’s skill was about to land on Irene’s abdomen, Alice cast a barrier spell just by a hairbreadth away from Irene’s stomach. Her barrier shattered by his attack, but it was enough to deflect his attack. Irene jumped back away from Aiden and fired two arrows in quick succession.Bookmark here

Jayce intercepted Irene’s arrows with a swing of his longsword, but one of the arrows managed to land a hit on his shoulder. From his perspective, parts of the mana shield from his left shoulder were chipped off and gradually disappeared in the air. A fraction of a second later, they recovered.Bookmark here

Aiden recovered from the recoil and went around Jayce, and dashed forward towards Irene, who had just landed from her jump. Bookmark here

“Assassin’s skill: Flash Step.”Bookmark here

When Aiden took a step forward, he disappeared. Bookmark here

“Irene, Shockwave arrows!” Bookmark here

Irene immediately fired Shockwave arrows in the air, angled so that they could land around their surroundings. Before they hit the ground, Alice summoned multiple magical shields around them, protecting Irene from the blast.Bookmark here

“Over here.”Bookmark here

Jayce took down Irene’s barriers with a single swing of his sword, and Aiden reappeared next to her, ready to unleash Armour Break. Bookmark here

However, Alice had already predicted this would happen. She called forth Snarling Chains, wrapping around the boys’ legs.Bookmark here

Reflexively, the boys swung their weapons at the binds, but—Bookmark here

“What?” Bookmark here

Aiden was the first to react to this development, while Jayce examined the chains’ surroundings. Parts of Snarling Chains, where they had struck, began to shine. The boys soon found out that there were barriers coated on the bindings. Jayce couldn’t even detect the barrier’s presence earlier due to its molecular size.Bookmark here

Alice had learnt a trick to strengthen the barrier spells from Nora, and it involved size. It would be more reliable and durable if it were small or well defined when summoned to specific locations or objects of interest. This held the same concept for blacksmithing. The thinner the armour plate, the stronger it gets as a whole.Bookmark here

It wasn’t something any adventurer could do. Sure, it didn’t require much mana compared to the typical approach, but it required concentration and image to specify the exact location for each barrier. Bookmark here

“Frost Spear!”Bookmark here

With that moment of surprise, Alice launched a few Frost Spears at them to give Irene enough time to distance herself away from them. Bookmark here

Irene fired off arrows at them. She then reached for three Shockwave arrows from her quiver behind her waist and launched them up in the air at a certain angle, with Aiden and Jayce’s position as the destination.Bookmark here

Aiden and Jayce couldn’t dodge Alice’s spell with their movements restrained, but they could deflect Irene’s arrows. However, they soon realized that the projectiles weren’t regular arrows; instead, they were Ice Arrows created from Alice’s magic gloves.Bookmark here

“Burst!” shouted Irene as the bow she held was the one she had lent to Alice during their first battle together. The Burst Rune on her bow and the Ice Arrows she had fired earlier glowed bright green.Bookmark here

Seeing through their plan, Jayce lowered his swords, getting ready for an upward swing. Mana began to flow from his mana circuit to his weapon, bringing his weapons’ runes to life. Bookmark here

“Resonate!”Bookmark here

His blades flowed upward, crushing the first wave of Ice Arrows before they detonate and, with his manipulation to the Weight Runes to make them lighter, he steered them and brought them down to the last wave of Ice Arrows and the chains that bound his movements. Along with the Weight Enchantment, he manipulated his mana to counteract the nature of the Burst Rune’s effect.Bookmark here

The binds and magical barriers shattered into pieces and disappeared along with the wind. With the dilemmas settled, the boys made run for it, away from the area where the Shockwave Arrows would land from above and toward Alice and Irene with Mirage Step and raw agility. Just in time, they got out safely from the rain of Shockwave Arrows.Bookmark here

With fifty metre distance between them and everyone was still able to fight, they raised their weapons once more. Everyone’s breathing became ragged, gasping for air while keeping their eyes on each other.Bookmark here

Just as they were about to move, a bell suddenly rang. Bookmark here

They all looked at the timer, floating in the air at the centre of the room. After its signal, the timer then morphed into texts, declaring the winner of their training.Bookmark here

Winner: Alice and Irene!Bookmark here

Before they began their training, they had set the win conditions: either all opposing team members were knocked unconscious within the time limit or whoever lost the most mana shields by the end of the said time. As a result, Alice and Irene won the match as they chipped off Aiden and Jayce’s mana shield the most.Bookmark here

Despite Alice and Irene had the advantage in this battle in terms of strategy and range, it was difficult to land a hit on the boys. The match ended without anyone triggered their magic gloves’ final defence mechanism. Magic gloves could extract every last bit of mana from the bearer to rebound the last decisive attack, keeping the bearer safe from fatal hits in exchange for falling unconscious due to mana deficiency.Bookmark here

The battle took only an hour. Bookmark here

After taking some time to rest, they headed out of the training room and thanked Ashe, the dormitory’s pet cat and the one who operated the training rooms. Ashe responded with a nod and went back to its bed, resuming its nap. Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.