Volume 5 Chapter 3

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[Elmer]

It was a week after I started to attend the academy that the afterschool became different.

I also started to get used to school life, and the friends who converse with me increased little by little.

“El, let’s go home together!”

“Alright.”

I return home with Rent just as usual.

Even if I say we return together, the routes to our homes are different so we just separate at the school gates.

“El-kun, I have something to say. Will you stay for a while?”

Just as I am leaving the cla.s.sroom, Saleel-sensei stopped me.

“Yes. I understand. Rent, sorry. Will you go on ahead? If I take too long, you can go home before me.”

After answering my teacher, I apologized to Rent.

After looking at me and the teacher in turn, Rent placed his things on a random desk near the door and said…

“No, I’m going to wait here.”

“Thanks.”

My friends in the cla.s.s increased but my usual companion whom I do things with is Rent.

Our tempo match.

I can express it only like that, but I am very comfortable when we’re together.

“I was shown the result of El-kun’s entrance exam. You did wonderfully in your test and had fantastic marks, but I don’t know your score in the magic exam. I have to write something in the doc.u.ment I will submit so will you tell me you’re attribute? Your address and points are also left out blank.”

“Err… I’m earth, probably.”

As expected, I didn’t have a score…

Even though saying earth is alright since I already pa.s.sed, I feel complicated feelings when I remembered what happened back then.

Teacher looked doubtful at the new attribute I answered.

“Probably…? Is that so, I understand. I won’t mind writing it even if you’re unsure. And one more thing. Recently, there are many students saying that they wnat you to be in charge of taking care of the animals. They didn’t say any reason but they all think you’re suited for it. What do you think? If you don’t dislike it, would you like to give it a try?”

“Taking care of the animals, was it… I want to do it by all means.”

It doesn’t have any difference at all, but I wonder how is it if there’s many of us?

Did I have a face that seems to like animals so much? It’s embarra.s.sing when I think about it. I certainly like fluffy animals. I also worked as a keeper before. But in reality, what I took care of were goldfish, crayfish, mantis, frog, guppy of a dragonfly larva, silkworm. I resigned from being a keeper when the white insect, which wriggled and winded a coc.o.o.n around itself, came out.

It was my limit. I made use of that reflection and intend to challenge it once again. I can see neither a water tank nor an insect cage in this cla.s.sroom, so those kind of the insects wouldn’t be pushed on me.

“Then I’ll be troubling you. There’s immediately an activity today…”

“It’s alright but…”

I feel guilty about Rent who’s waiting for me. Teacher seems to have understood the circ.u.mstances when I glanced repeatedly at Rent who’s scribbling on somebody’s desk.

“If it’s about Rent-kun then it’s fine. He’s also a keeper.”

“Tsk! I got exposed…”

Rent sighed, slightly sitting away from us. It appears like he completely heard our conversation.

No way, could this guy be trying to go home without doing his job?

“The cla.s.s period isn’t long and I do not have any plans so I will it,” I told Teacher. When I said that I don’t mind it, Teacher praised me.

“I’m so happy a child like you came here. I have a staff meeting today so El along with you, alright? Animal Keeper Rent-kun.”

Teacher said that reminder while smiling as he left the cla.s.sroom, while Rent cursed in a low voice nearby.

“Ah, they’re here! They’re here!”

Students from the same cla.s.s already gathered in the courtyard, they saw us and waved.

They look like an ordinary keepers, but there’s something weird about that scene.

I’m sure it’s because there are a lot of boxes placed around them. The boxes that were a.s.sembled from brand new trees are piled up like a mountain.

And at the other side, Chabo-kun is dozing off.

“Sorry for making you wait. What should I do?”

Because I do not know what I should do, I talked to one of my cla.s.smates surrounding Chabo-kun from a distance.

“That’s right! Rent and El is here! Let’s remove the core!”

“Core?”

“That guy’s meal are fruits.”

That kid said so and placed a hand on the lid of the box. When the lid is opened, fruits are packed tightly inside. He rolled up his sleeves, and the scattered students started gathering.

It appears like they’re starting the preparations for the work. I followed everyone and rolled my sleeves a few times so I won’t stain it either. I took the knife that was handed down to me and picked up a fruit.

Rather than being keepers, the appearance of everyone silently grappling with the fruit appears more like a cooking self-study.

“It’s done~!”

Someone exclaimed. A too sweet smell pemeated the air. We laughed at the fruit juice that stuck on both our faces and hands.

Many hollowed cores are scattered on our feet and even some exhausted kids are mixed in.

Even if the large amount of fruits were divided between all members, it’s still a considerable work. At the beginning, t ‘If we get it wrong there won’t be left for tomorrow anymore!’ exclaimed the voices.

A teacher came over to us while we stagger, as if he’s waiting for the moment when the work is over.

“I was late for the work. I see, you’re over? Good job, everyone.”

It was the man who gave me the magic test during my entrance exam. Because I remembered that time, I got irritated.

However, there’s no use complaining here so I distracted myself by talking to the kid beside me.

“The other teachers always work with us, but that man always make excuses and get here late. He does his job on purpose because he doesn’t want to become dirty.”

They must hate him if those words of dislike is any indication, the kids nearby also have expressions as if saying ‘Again?’ while looking at the teacher. As if the person in question doesn’t notice those glances, he showed a pleased expression since the task is over.

“Will the chains be taken off now?”

I let out my voice louder than I expected it to be, and I attracted attention even though I only intended the question for the kid next to me. When the teacher saw me, he laughed in derision.

“It’s impossible for you to do something like that.”

‘The royal palace dispatched a specialized Knight for this chains,’ the teacher said and then snorted, ‘Impossible, impossible.’

It must be a complex key for them to call a specialist.

“Then, how about a walk? ”

“Ah, right. If you throw the food from a distance, it will eat as it please. There is a direct order from the royal family to take care of that beast so you have to do something as troublesome as especially hollowing out the core.”

The idle talk gradually ceased, everyone’s attention gathered on the my conversation with the teacher.

“Throwing from a distance…?”

“Who will approach that animal!? When the chains broke the other day, it acted violently—”

“I understand! That much is good enough.”

I puffed up my chest in pride as if to say ‘Naturally!’ and interrupted the teachers words.

“Is that so? Then if that is the case…”

Just as he was trying to give out the next instructions, a voice called ou the teacher’s name from a long distance.

“What?! Listen, wait here for a while.” (Teacher)

“Yeees~” (Student)

Is it an urgent business? The call was repeated several times. The teacher clicks his tongue, and reluctantly leaves.

Only the students remained in the place.

“That guy, doesn’t he want him to walk in a wider area…? Without the chain, that is…”

In the middle of that awkward, heavy atmosphere, I muttered as I saw Chabo-kun. Ahead us, it was clear that the length of the chain had shortened. Isn’t it possible for him to move at all?

“It’s just as everyone thought, it’s not possible to approach because it’s dangerous. It acts violently very much.”

“But can’t El do it? You saw it before, and everyone recommended El because we thought of the same thing. The point is, it’s fine as long as no one gets injured.”

“But how will we–!”

“Even if the teacher is not present, the key is here.”

Rent let out an indifferent voice, then I and the kids who cast our eyes downwards, raised our heads at the same time.

“Rent, that…”

‘Could that be…’ I thought as I pointed at the thing Rent raised with his hand.

“Ta~daaah! I took it from the teacher’s pocket! That guy is totally defenseless!”

Rent rotated the keys on his index finger as he happily laughed *ahaha~* The keys knock against each other and made a metallic sound.

“Amazing~! As expected of Rent!”

“Can El really do it?”

“But isn’t it dangerous after all? If he gets injured…”

“Up until now, n.o.body… there’s nothing like that, on our behalf…”

Everybody began to unanimously give their opinions.

They agreed and opposed and the discussion doesn’t appear like it will be sttled anytime soon.

Rent can’t stand it any longer and raised his voice.

“Alright! I get it! Let’s leave the decision to El. What if we remove the chains without it raging? In that case, we can give it food and water and we can clean it, too. Or should we wait for the teacher to come back and throw the food? When he’s the supervisor, that is always the case. That teacher is scared and takes along the students to have the food roll from a distance.”

Everyone’s attention is focused on me. I feel like being burned with just their glances.

“Uhmm..”

When I opened my mouth, my sight of Rent flickered several times due to nervousness. For some reason, even my heart is pounding rapidly.

“That key, should I just insert and then turn it?”

When I saw the shape of the key that Rent is holding, I thought of that. Even someone from the Knight Order was called, so isn’t it a complex key?

“Haaa? That’s what you’re worrying about?”

All voices excluding me completely overlapped, returning that reply. Everyone…

Did I say something amusing?

There is a sound of metal turning, and the key comes off.

I can hear the sound of my cla.s.smates swallowing their saliva while watching from a distance.

I was amazed when it was explained to me that the key really don’t have any tricks at all.

When the shackles were taken off, I knew everyone jumped in happiness.

“Alright, let’s move to the other side.”

Our time is limited until the teacher comes back so I left Chabo-kun in his place at once, according to plan.

At the same time, everyone holding brushes and fruits runs all at once to the place where Chabo-kun is.

“He’s free~”

I told Chabo-kun to behave himself and remain at the same place, I also wanted to help but they declined with all their efforts.

When I approached, ‘Why is El here?! Go away as far as possible,’ is what they said.

I reluctantly looked at everybody working happily and energetically from a distance.

“I wonder if they’ll let me feed him just once? Will you wait here alone?”

I asked Chabo-kun which sat down right there instead of nodding, and so I went towards the box.

“There it is.”

I chose the one that looks beautiful from the fruits left in the box.

“So…sorry!”

I heard someone exclaim, and then water fell to my head.

It’s not rain, but water from the hose.

It’s seems like they sprinkled on me by mistake while watering around.

“I’m sorry! I’m really sorry! I didn’t notice you!”

The kid threw away the hose and run up to me while apologizing, so it wasn’t possible for me to blame them.

“It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.”

The child apologized again and returned to work. Is my presence really that thin? Sora told me about it before.

Is the reason this time because I was wandering about without aim?

… Let’s return to the place where Chabo-kun is.

I held the fruit in both my hands and began to walk.

“Uuuu…”

However, I just took several steps when a problem occurred. Water entered both of my ears. By the way, it only entered in one ear just a while ago but now, it seems like it entered the other side, too. The feeling of sloshing water inside my ears is unpleasant. It’s especially worse since water entered in both ears.

Then I saw a boy coming rapidly towards my direction. I don’t recognize him, but this kid might also be a keeper. I stepped one foot forward and pa.s.sed by the boy.

“Oi!”

Abruptly, my shoulder was violently grasped. It seems like he has some business with me.

“You! Are you that b.a.s.t.a.r.d El who was c.o.c.ky just now!”

Hmmm…

What are you saying?

There’s a sloshing sound of water in my ear so I can’t hear him at all.

I heard the word El, so I’ll just nod my head for the time being. It’s embarra.s.sing to tell someone I met for the first time that there’s water inside my ear, and I think that I can finish the conversation even when I vaguely hear the words. In addition, it’s natural for human beings to greet someone they met for the first time.

“Yes. Nice to meet you.”

I won’t make a mistake if I say it this way.

“A mere commoner like you shouldn’t get caught up in the moment. You must have tamed that strange bird by fluke!”

The boy in front of me said that while looking at Chabo-kun, who’s sitting down away from us. Condition… bird… get along with…

I have to make these words match my next sentence. I felt more impatient, feeling like I should hurry this up.

I get it.

‘I feel worried about him from time to time, how is the condition of Chabo-kun, whom you’re getting along with recently?’ is what he asked. Perhaps, he wants to play with Chabo-kun. However, it appears like I got lost in my thoughts too much. He couldn’t wait for my reply and began to talk first.

“You have some nerve to ignore me! Do you not know who I am?! I am a high-ranking aristocrat from the Vuelshina House!”

It’s useless.

I can’t understand what he’s saying at all. I want to get the water out of my ears soon, I will just bear the shame and say it honestly. “Sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Now I…”

“Wha…”

The boy trembled slightly when he heard my words. He trembled and showed ann intense reaction even more than what I imagined. This is bad.

Even though I can’t hear with these ears, I can understand this much.

He is quite angry. So angry that I think he will cry. It’s exactly that kind of feeling.

I forgot about it, but he’s from the primary department – a grade school kid.

In contrast, I am actually at an age where I should’ve graduated from high school already. It’s bad to make a kid, who is mentally different in age, cry.

I thought about what I should do. Right then, I was struck with a good idea.

It seems like he wants to play with Chabo-kun, maybe I can still manage this one way or another.

I held out my hand holding the fruit.

A delicious-looking fruit appeared between him and me.

I intended to invite him and give the food together.

However, he didn’t accept it at all.

When I held out the fruit and prompted him, his face flushed and then he looked at me.

I thought he was embarra.s.sed, but somehow his expression doesn’t match.

Did I made a mistake in my response?

I frantically worked out an idea on what I should do, that’s when Chabo-kun came into my sight.

Let’s call out Chabo-kun here.

I secretly sent a signal to Chabo-kun using a hand I lowered, so the boy wouldn’t see it.

(Please! Come here.)

As if my desperate wish was communicated, Chabo-kun immediately noticed and came this way.

The boy is facing me so he didn’t notice that the animal he likes is trying to poke his back using his beak.

“Gyaaa–!”

The instant he noticed Chabo-kun behind, he opened his mouth greatly to let out a shout and then ran away.

“Whatever happens to your family, prepare for it!”

I can’t hear it if you say it in that distance. I thought about talking to him again when the water from my ears are removed, and waved my hand lightly to his departing figure with a smile.

However, it seems like it wasn’t transmitted. Maybe he declined my invitation to play because he was offended. The moment he saw my face, he immediately ran away.

During the conversation, I decided to leave to remove the water in my ears.

To begin with, it’s because of this that the conversation with him is not going very well.

“Let me hold on to you for a bit.”

Chabo-kun came after being called and I held on to his body, then tilted my head left and right and jumped several times.

A short time later, my ears gradually became hot.

“Ah, so refreshing~”

“El~”

When I turned to the direction of the voice, it was Shuu who’s running to me, it seems like his work is finished.

“What did you and Carl talk about? You don’t know each other, right?”

“Yeah. It’s the first time we talked.”

Shuu informed me that his name is Carl and he’s of the same grade. He is from a different cla.s.s, so I did not get acquainted with him.

“That guy’s incredibly selfish. He made a lot of kids quit the academy. El, you’re not going to say anything?”

“I just thought he looks like he wanted to play together.”

I wonder if I’m going to be kicked out from the academy if I get involved with that kid?

“Huh? I think he doesn’t have that kind of personality. Well, if it’s alright with you then it’s all good. Quitting even though you just entered is not a laughing matter. Ah, the teacher is coming soon so let’s hurry up and return it.”

“Right. We have to return the key secretly so it won’t be found out.”

School is fun. I never thought of quitting in the least. While I muttered that in my mind, I run after Shuu who had began to walk quickly.

Night of that day, in a room in one of the mansions of the Vuelshina main family.

“Father!”

“What is it, Carl?”

“Do something about that El! He made a fool out of the Vuelshina House!”

“El… it’s the first time I heard that name. Which child is it?”

“I don’t know. Investigate that, too. I will never forgive that boy!”

The father asked what happened, and the boy’s face reddened as he began to get angry.

“Even though my food for the animal is suitable! After that, the animal ran after me!”

Although he promised to his son, the father pondered whether there’s an animal at the academy. It didn’t occur to him that the animal his son is referring to is the gigantic bird that the Royal Family entrusted to the academy.

Maybe that’s inevitable, too. Long ago, Because the Knight Order had difficulty dealing with the bird named a creature of “Golden Era”, it was isolated in the academy. It isn’t possible that it will listen to a mere student.

“Alright, alright. I’ll investigate it at once so go to sleep for now.”

“Make sure you do.”

The young boy who regained some presence of mind became satisfied and went home. The man called ‘Father’ narrowed his eyes and after making sure his son – who will be his heir – left the room, he snapped his fingers and gave out orders.

—- Crush the family members of the child named El, and drive him out of the academy.

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