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13 The Weakest Black Star [1]

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The campus was large. It took me about five minutes to get to the main building from the dorms.

[Dorset Hall]

That was where we were supposed to be.

It was one of the seven halls of the institute and where first-year cadets attended their lessons.

".....What class are we in?"

The Hall was large.

It was one big building with a pathway flanked by vibrant flowers and trees that guided toward the entrance, where a row of statues stood in solemn formation.

It overflowed with students.

Most troublesome were the gazes they looked at me with. Some avoided me, while others seemed to be openly hostile.

I was fine with that.

It came as a result of my actions on the first day.

"Our class should be there."

Leon pointed towards a certain door. At first glance, it didn't seem all that impressive.

But...

"Why is there nobody going there?"

Unlike the other classrooms, which were open and filled with cadets passing through, this one seemed rather isolated. As if people were avoiding it.

"....Did you not read the manual?"

"Manual...? Ah."

I took a small leaflet from my pocket. I remember receiving it yesterday, but because my focus had been on my training, I forgot all about it.

"This?"

"Yeah."

I scanned through the contents.

In short.

"We're late."

".....That's right."

"And you didn't tell me about it?"

"I thought you were aware."

"..."

There were times when I just really wanted to strangle this guy.

If not for the fact that he was helping me and that he was stronger, I'd already be at it.

That said,

'I wonder what his end goal is...'

I was still not sure why he was helping me. He said something about it benefiting him.

How so?

'As expected, I still can't trust him.'

lightsΝοvel

The same was true for him to me.

In a way, we weren't that much different.

Staring at the door to the classroom, I sighed.

I felt strangely nervous. It wasn't so much because I was scared of people challenging me. I was fine with that. What I was nervous about was my abilities.

They were not up to par at that moment.

I was probably the weakest cadet present.

"Huu."

After secretly collecting my breath, I slowly and carefully approached the door.

Creaaak--

The interior was sleek; long wooden desks lined up the sides, cascading up. They were all filled to the brim, with barely any empty spots.

Immediately, all eyes fell on me.

They were burdensome. But the most burdensome of them all was the one that belonged to the woman in front of me.

Most likely, our instructor.

"Cadets."

Her crystal blue eyes shifted between Leon and me. She had short brown hair and seemed to be in her mid-forties.

Alternating her gaze between the two of us she finally opened her mouth to say,

"....You're late."

I was already aware.

Things would've been easier if I just apologized, but I recalled Leon's description of the previous Julien and answered flatly,

"That seems to be the case."

"Seems to be the case...?"

My answer left her exasperated as she made a face. I felt a little sorry for her, but I didn't show it on the outside and kept my face stoic.

She opened her mouth but closed it right after.

"Just go. Take a seat."

".....Thank you."

I did just that.

Finding the nearest seat I could find, I sat down and took a breath.

That was easier than I expected.

She was probably a lenient teacher. Or so I thought.

"You're late! Get out of my class!"

Staring at the student who had just entered the class and got kicked out, I opened my mouth to say something when I realized I couldn't say anything.

Why....?

I looked to my left, where Leon sat. He looked at me and then shrugged.

"Probably our looks."

Oh.

The lecture resumed.

"Continuing from where I was... As you all are currently aware, magic is subdivided into three different categories. [Mind], [Elemental], and [Body]."

The classroom fell into silence.

The instructor's voice smoothly echoed throughout the classroom.

"Each category is further divided into subcategories. Take the [Mind] classification as an example. With the [Emotive], [Telekinesis], [Spirit], and [Telepathy] it contains a total of four sub-categories. Or some like to say, 'paths'."

I strained my ears to listen closely to the lecture. All information was vital. I needed to pay close attention to all that was being said.

"....As is known, everyone can practice magic. If you can manipulate mana, you have the qualifications to become a magician or knight. That of course, isn't a problem for all of you present."

She seemed to eye certain students; her gaze eventually falling on me.

"Talent is merely a factor that indicates the rate of your improvement. It does not limit you in the practice of other paths."

I took note of this piece of information in my mind.

My talents currently lie in the [Curse] and [Emotive] subcategories.

If it was possible for me to practice things outside of those two categories, then it was worth considering for the future.

"Now, time for a question."

The lecturer looked around the classroom. I felt her gaze linger in my direction for a brief moment.

What sort of...?

She smiled.

"Of all the categories, which do you deem to be the weakest?"

The weakest?

Murmurs filled the classroom as the students discussed among themselves.

Eventually, one of the cadets raised their hands. He stood out immediately with his tall height, blonde hair, and blue eyes.

The fact that his appearance garnered the attention of many of the people present told me all that I needed to know about him.

He was strong.

Probably amongst the higher-ranked cadets.

"Yes? Cadet Anders."

Oh?

I suddenly felt his gaze.

As his mouth parted open, he answered slowly. As if he wanted me to hear his answer.

"....Emotive."

A clear provocation.

Multiple eyes fell on me.lightsnovel

"Emotive?"

The instructor's gaze fell on me for a moment. She seemed to have been influenced by the others in the class.

"What makes you think that's the case?"

"It's the longest category to learn. Not only that, but you must be able to touch your opponent to influence their emotions. If they can't touch you, they're useless."

"That's not the case."

With a shake of her head, the instructor corrected,

"That's merely on the basis that they are on the first level of mastery. At a higher stage, they can influence someone with mere words. Further down the path, and they can read emotions."

I listened to her words carefully.

The [Emotive] sub-category was still an enigma to me. Unlike with my [Curse] sub-category, I couldn't practice it through repetition training.

The only way for me to further the [Emotive] path was through the understanding of emotions. The more I understood, the more I improved.

But that was easier said than done.

'Now that I think about it... She mentioned something about first-level mastery.'

I was reminded of the notifications I received almost daily.

The only regarding [Fear] and Exp.

'....So if I improve it, I'll be able to influence people with words?'

The thought excited me for some reason.

Was there more to it?

The Cadet continued,

"That is indeed true, but it's also true that it's not easy to achieve. It may take a lot of years to get to a level where one can influence another's emotions. To be able to influence them through words?"

He scoffed.

"...You will need to be as old as my father to be able to get there."

"That's not necessarily true."

The instructor shook her head.

"There are many cases where people achieve such a state at a young age. Keep in mind, that there are states above that. Being able to influence someone through words is still considered entry level."

Entry level...?

Influencing with words was just entry-level?

I thought back to my powers. Ever since the examination, I had hardly touched the other field.

It wasn't because I didn't like it.

That was the furthest thing from the truth.

The reality was that I was unsure whether I was capable of handling it. The after-effect from last time left a scar in my mind.

Like a mental block, it made me avoid it.

I was just not ready.

But...

'You're telling me I merely scratched the surface of what's possible?'

"Cadet Julien."

Feeling the instructor's gaze, I turned to face her.

"....As an Emotive Mage yourself, what do you think about Cadet Anders's answer?"

What did I think about it?

He's right.

All his words made sense. From what I experienced, he was right in absolutely every way.

The [Emotive] field was a path that would probably take someone ages to master.

It encompassed all the experiences of one's life and molded them in the form of emotions. Unless someone constantly experiences all those emotions, they won't be able to improve.

In that regard, it was the weakest of all the other paths.

But...

I turned my wrist slightly.

My eyes fell on the clover tattoo.

Was that the same for me?

"...."

The classroom fell silent.

They all were seemingly awaiting my answer. 'What's he going to say?', 'How will he answer with?'

Their faces all said the same thing.

And I looked back to face the cadet.

Anders was it?

I found the corner of my lips lifting slightly.

"....It's bullshit."

An answer flowed out of my mouth.

"Weakest? There's no such thing."

I wasn't just bullshitting at the moment.

These were my true thoughts.

"There's only a weak person. No weak path."

Just because the Emotive field was the hardest to progress in didn't mean it was the weakest class.

From the start, the question was wrong.

"You say that it takes a lot of time for an Emotive mage to be strong. On what basis do you say that?"

"What basis?"

The Cadet looked at me as if I were stupid.

"It's common sense. Take a look at all the strongest mages in the world. Our Empire has seven Monarchs. How many of them are from the Emotive field? None!"

He pointed his finger at me.

All of a sudden, he started talking about something different.

Most probably what he wanted to say from the start.

".....Do you think none of us see it? Your mana flow is weak. You don't even seem to be capable of properly controlling your mana. On good god, I don't know why you're ranked first."

His words seemed to echo the thoughts of many of the people present in the classroom, with many of them nodding along.

I took in the sight.

"My best guess is because of your achievements in the Emotive field. Even then, I doubt you'll be able to do anything to me."

When he finally said what he wanted to say, with a look of scorn, he added,

"Simply put, you're not fit for the role. You're weak."

Once again, the room fell into silence.

All eyes were trained on me.

"Haaa...."

With all attention on me, I leaned my head back and closed my eyes.

'....So they noticed.'

It wasn't as though I didn't expect it.

Everyone must've noticed it during the first day. The fact that I was weak. That I wasn't on the same level as them.

I understood this even more clearly than they did.

It was for this reason that I provoked everyone.

Trained to the point of insanity.

His words made sense, and there was nothing wrong with them.

Still,

"You're wrong."

My eyes were still closed, so I couldn't see.

All that I saw was darkness.

In that darkness, I could feel my hand move towards my forearm. Where the four-leaved clover rested.

I was a little hesitant at first, but then, I was reminded of my goal.

That was when my mind became firm.

Right.

To achieve my goal, I need to make full use of all the advantages I have.

Therefore...

My finger pressed down on my forearm.

'...Nobody but me can be the Black Star.'