Arum from the countryside
“Hmm,” a black-haired boy stared at a map as he tilted his head to the side.
It took him a while to realize that he had held the map upside down as he walked through the streets of Beralt.
The city of Beralt.
It was the place where Manalil’s leading magic school was located. And that itself was enough to make it the second most important city after the royal capital.
Many noble people have walked down these streets in their youngster years.
But today, for the first time ever the streets were humiliated by the footsteps of a peasant.
“I thought everything would go smooth after I get inside… but it’s still a puzzle.”
The black-haired boy found it hard to find his way.
The wizards who would be bearing the future circle of nobility would be gathering in this city as students. Due to which the security was specifically very strict.
When viewed from the outside the city is surrounded by a castle wall. The people who enter and exit the city are recorded in detail and the guards are very thorough with it. Not to mention that the process took a lot of time especially for the black-haired boy creating a heavy atmosphere between the guards and the boy.
Their lack of trust on a peasant was clearly indicated by their sharp gazes.
But inside, the craftsmen were proud to support the food. The clothing and shelter of the students were unexpectedly lively. Serving the nobility was like a great honor for them!
Had they known that the black-haired boy was not nobility but a peasant, they too might have eyed him with suspicious gazes.
It was only thanks to the good security that the residents of the city were lively and thriving. The air had a blossoming atmosphere. Not to mention that the landscape around the city had left room for nature to thrive making the place an untapped tourist resource!
But even in such a comfy city, the peasant in the academy’s uniform was at a loss for being unable to find the way to the academy.
“Which way should I go? This… this city has too many roads!”
The high-class uniform didn’t look good on him, not to mention that he was a boy with a mediocre appearance except for his black hair. How could a uniform made for those glittering nobles ever be fit for a peasant like him? It could only be considered a disgrace.
Beralt city itself was not too urbanized despite being the second most important city in the country. The reason? Not many people were allowed to live in the vicinity of the nobles. There were a lot of conditions to be fulfilled. Not to mention that lot of nature was allowed to thrive around the city to aid in the development of the wizards.
But, a country bumpkin like the peasant got lost even in such a simplistic city as this.
‘As expected of a peasant’ was what most people would have claimed.
The boy glared at the map he had received, but it doesn’t make any sense to him because he didn’t know his current location in the first place! He had wandered off into the city without paying any attention.
The boy knew about the mountains of the countryside he used to live in. But he knew nothing about Beralt city.
The boy’s shifted from the map to a narrow road he was traversing.
“Let’s follow this trail for the time being…”
The boy had a mysterious conviction that if he moved along the road for the time being, he would reach his destination which caused him to move his legs.
In other words, it was just a hunch.
The road he was traversing isn’t exactly the opposite direction to the Academy. But it was a narrow road that the people who lived there would never advice to take. But what could he do? The map in his hand had become a useless tool.
“Where are you going?”
A feminine voice objected to his actions knowing that something was wrong.
The boy turned around to face the young girl of the same age who stood behind his back.
The girl had the same uniform as his with the exception of trousers which were replaced by her skirt.
But unlike the boy who looked completely out of place in the high-class uniform, the girl was wearing the uniform with the perfect fitting and her appearance and atmosphere gave her an elegant touch.
“Good morning,” the boy tried to do a curtsy bow but miserably failed.
“Good morning… Fu Fu”
From the girl’s point of view, it was immediately apparent that the boy was not accustomed to being courteous and it was funny seeing him try to be courteous while not accustomed to it.
But the boy tilted his head in confusion as he did not understand what the girl was laughing at.
The girl continued.
“So what happened? Judging by that uniform you are a classmate right? Why are you heading there when you should enter the academy? The academy should be straight…”
As the girl spoke she mysteriously stole a glance at the direction the boy was going.
‘Is there something special there?’ That was what she thought.
But the boy’s thoughts ran in a completely different direction.
‘With this, it is proved that I don’t have much of an intuition. But thankfully, I was lucky.’
He was grateful to have met a gentle woman before he made a grave mistake on his first day in the city.
“Thank you. You saved me. I was lost…”
“That’s right. If so. I’m glad to hear from you. We would be competing with each other from now on.”
“Compete?” the boy had a stupefied expression.
‘Not to learn?’ That was what he wanted to say. But before he could voice it out, the girl already guessed his thoughts.
“Of course we will learn. But it’s more accurate to say that we compete to understand about where we are going.”
The wizards that come to study at the Beralt academy were all from prosperous families. If learning was their only goal why would they even bother to join the academy?
Knowledge? They can buy as many books as they want.
Practical Skills? They can hire private tutors for those kinds of things.
The only reason why they come to the academy was thus to ‘compete’.
But the black-haired who was told at his village that the academy was a place to learn to become a wizard had no idea what was going on. He didn’t understand the meaning behind her words.
In fact, this wasn’t the only thing he was told. There was something else as well, that he was told firmly.
“Oh, sorry! I’m late to introduce myself! I’m Arum from Carrera. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
The abrupt timing of the introduction stupefied the girl.
[When you meet a classmate, say hello and give your name. Because, unlike our village, no one there knows about you.]
The advice ringed in Arum’s ears as he recalled his village, so he just put it into practice.
But his abrupt introduction seemed to have broken the waist of the stupefied girl who stumbled upon hearing his words.
The girl straightened up as she tried to get back her composure.
“So why is it right to compete? Isn’t the academy all about learning?” the boy asked to clear off the awkward silence.
The girl was even more concerned when Arum asked her this.
‘Why doesn’t he doesn’t know even such simple things?’
The weird atmosphere around Arum caused her to be on her guard.
But as she took a glance at the guy she realized that Arum had no malicious intentions. He just wanted to hear the continuation of where they left. His eyes had no evil making his efforts sincere.
That was when the girl remembered the name Carrera.
Carrera was one of the countryside villages of the country.
Surrounded by nature, this small village made a living from hunting and farming, and only the tax colletors visited this remote village.
Perhaps the only person other than them who had visited the village was the messenger of the academy who had dropped by to deliver the school uniform to Arum.
The girl’s eyes widened in realization.
It was only then that she was able to come on tabs with his unusual self-introduction and his own effort to firmly identify himself as the person she had met for the first time.
“No, it’s fine… No need to be sorry.”
The girl claimed finally snapping back to reality.
“I was late to introduce myself too. My name is Misty Tren Caesius”
A bewildered expression dawned on Arum’s face.
The girl replied without even letting him complete thinking that she had guessed his thoughts.
After all, the family of Caesius was famous.
They are a family of wizards who are good at water-based magic, and is active in various fields, including researchers and military arts, as well as artists who also work on ice sculptures with their delicate control.
The family has produced excellent wizards for generations and is a well-known family. There was hardly anyone who aimed to be a wizard and didn’t know of their name.
Misty believed that Arum’s stupified expression was a cause of learning that she belonged to that family.
She was the second daughter of the family and although she does not have the qualifications to become the owner, she is a talented woman who has scored top class ranks in both mana reserves and practical skills.
Not to mention that even her writing was a little above average.
One must note, most people in this world could not write. As such being average in writing could be considered a great feat!
‘Even he knows?’
Misty was surprised for a moment that her family name was known was even in the countryside, which seems to have nothing to do with magic.
‘He wants to be a wizard. So it’s only natural that he knows about it,’ Misty thought.
But what happened next made her think if she was a fool!
“Are you… an aristocrat?”
“What?” Misty cried in surprise.
This wasn’t certainly the kind of response she was expecting.
Her assumptions and reality seemed to be incoherent to each other.
Meanwhile, Misty’s shocked expression caused Arum to be confused.
“Well, are you not?” he asked.
“Yes? Yes… that’s right… I belong to an aristocrat lineage.”
She wasn’t sure why she was even asked such a question in such a place. But she seemed to have given up.
“Oh, I had my guesses when I realized that you have quite a long name. It’s my first time meeting a noble. I think I will brag about it once I get home.”
Family names were something reserved only for the nobles as such it wasn’t a surprise that Misty had a long name.
Misty held onto her forehead.
‘I guess I had got used to people changing their attitude towards me when they learn of my family name.’
Misty was worried that Arun’s frank attitude would change after she gave out her name from her childhood experiences. But she was worried for naught.
Arum might be impressed by her knowing that she was an aristocrat, but his attitude remained the same.
“Well then, I want you to see if my uniform is okay. These kinds of uniforms are only worn by aristocrat people so I didn’t know if there was something wrong with the way I wore it. You are a nobility, right? So you should know if there is something wrong?”
“Yes? Yeah… There is nothing wrong about it.”
Misty was amazed yet again. She wasn’t expecting such kind of casual behavior.
“That’s good to know. I was a little unsure but I am saved. I tried to wear it as I was told but no one in the village knew the right way to wear it. They were all equally confused.”
Arum stroked his chest as if he was relieved.
Misty just stared at him, clueless as to what she was supposed to make out of the previous exchange.
But seeing her stare at him made the boy conscious.
“What? Is it strange?”
“Oh no, it’s really okay! It suits you well.”
“Please, that must be a lie…”
Whether it was a lie or not? Misty didn’t know. She said so without even thinking. A nobility like her was taught to respect the dressing sense of her company no matter what they wore. Opinions don’t matter, it was basic courtesy. And before she knew it, she had unconsciously stopped to even check out the outfits before complimenting on them.
But Arum’s sudden remark as if brought her back to the world. A ‘lie’ that was seen through caused her to be plagued by guilt.
“Well, that’s not the case!”
She denied it in a last-ditch effort.
“No, don’t worry … I already know. The villagers have already told me.” Arum said as his shoulders drooped.
‘What did they tell you?’ was what she wanted to ask. But she swallowed her own words in guilt. Melty was a little worried as to what it was that they had told him that caused him to react in such a way.
She chose to change the topic instead.
“Let’s go, let’s go. If you’re lenient, you’ll be late.”
When she urged him to make haste, Arum walked next to Misty without any concern.
On the way, Misty glanced at Arum, and at the same time Arum also stared at Misty.
“What?” Misty asked a little flustered.
“No, I thought Misty looks good in her uniform… I wonder what’s the difference…”
Arum compared the uniform on him with Misty’s. Even if he did that there was no difference other than his trousers and her skirt.
“You don’t read the air do you…”
Misty was troubled. She felt that it was rude to stare at someone with such a serious expression.
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