In the dead of night, the academy students were resting in groups of tents they set up by the lakefront.
Separate from the rest, five students were kindling a bonfire and gathered around its vicinity.
It was for caution’s sake.
They took guard shifts in case of a possible night raid.
This area was considerably secure, even within the kingdom—Naturally, a night raid was nigh infeasible, which is why this was purely for training. The academy assigned this as homework to teach their students the fundamentals of working outside.
With that said—
The students’ morale were at their minimum.
Some were loudly yawning, some were nodding off, and some were amusing themselves in idle talk.
The surroundings were enveloped by a sense of listlessness.
Flin wasn’t particularly displeased, even when she saw how the students were acting.
You can’t really blame them in a situation like this.
She felt sympathy for them.
The day where they would need to get their act together—the day where a single mistake would cost lives—would come in due course.
However, today wasn’t that day.
It’d be fine if they took one firm step at a time towards then.
Flin wished that that day was in the far future.
However, it would come sooner than expected.
Her gaze fixed on the moonlight sinking into the lake, Flin noticed something strange.
The once calm lake surface was now trembling, with those tremors growing larger by the second.
What.. is that…?
Flin intently strained her eyes.
She saw the looming shadows of something emerging from the lake, causing a fissure in the lake’s surface.
Flin held her right hand out and yelled.
At the same time she spoke, innumerable sources of light materialized above the lake’s surface.
A half-person half-horse beauty was illuminated by the light. Following behind her were countless mud dolls.
Having already made their way to the lake’s surface, the dolls continued to walk as if the lake were solid ground.
“M-Ms. Flin… is that…”
The students in the back trembled after realizing the abnormal state of affairs.
“I don’t know! But consider them as enemies and prepare yourselves!”
Flin then continued and instructed the students to contact the water quality investigation team and wake up the other sleeping students.
After she finished speaking, Flin turned to the approaching centaurian woman.
“Stop right there! If you don’t, I’ll attack!”
“What strange things you say. It was you people who summoned me.”
The woman didn’t stop her advance.
“We… summoned you—?”
A student from behind answered Flin’s question.
“…Isn’t that the Water Spirit that was summoned this afternoon…?”
Flin reflexively turned her head to his astounding remark.
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
With the realization of their blunder written all over their face, the student told Flin everything once they resigned to themself that there was no going back.
“This happened when Ms. Flin wasn’t around, but… Misnia summoned a Water Spirit. Though in the end, it seemed like it was a failure…”
Flin looked at the approaching woman.
It was true that her body was made of water.
Flin clicked her tongue in her mind. The spiritual power of this lake was very chaotic; If an immature magician were to summon something from here, the end result would be a total mystery. Flin thought she should have warned them in advance, rather than assuming there were no students who could use Spirit Summoning.
This was the worst-case scenario, but at the very least, Flin understood the true form of her enemy.
The spirit was already mentally unstable from the start. It was probably under the undesirable influence of the remnants of a poorly done Spirit Summoning.
“O Water Spirit, this is not where thee ought to be! Release Spirit!”
Flin cast the spell Release Spirit, which was the opposite of Spirit Summoning.
The Water Spirit’s body shook violently—
but that was all.
“Pointless! Do you plan on getting in my way!?”
At the same time the woman waved her hands, a spear of water materialized and flew at Flin’s feet. She dodged it by a hair’s breadth.
The Water Spirit’s troops were already approaching the lakefront.
Panic spread like wildfire behind Flin. The students who woke up and exited their tents raised their voices after seeing what was happening.
“It’s an enemy! Shoot it with Magic Arrow!”
Right after she spoke, she yelled the words that acted as the trigger.
Her arrow flew in a straight line towards the Water Spirit and drilled a hole into the head of her lower-body horse.
That was all.
The water from the lake streamed into her flesh, healing her wound in the blink of an eye.
She has regenerative abilities…!
However, it wasn’t in vain. The quick-thinking students all followed Flin’s lead and fired at the spirit with Magic Arrow.
Many of their shots ended up missing, but several of them hit the mud dolls. The dolls continued walking, with their wound unchanging. At the very least, they didn’t seem to regenerate.
Flin hurled instructions at the students.
“Aim for the mud dolls! You all fall back while shooting Magic Arrows! Do not approach them under any circumstance!”
After she spoke, she returned her gaze to the frenzied spirit in front of her.
She said to retreat, but—
Flin herself had no intention to withdraw. This Water Spirit was far too dangerous; she couldn’t let her students face it.
The mud golems slipped past Flin’s flank and continued to advance in the direction of the students.
“If you get in my way, you’ll die, human.”
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t underestimate me. Despite how I look, I’m quite the skilled magician, you know?”
It was at that moment.
The left side of the Water Spirit’s body exploded in countless red flashes of light. Unable to withstand the excessive force, the Water Spirit’s body greatly staggered to the right.
“I’ll back you up, Ms. Flin.”
The person who appeared was—
The top student among the freshmen, a man named the genius of the next era.
“You can’t! You’re also a student! Retreat along with the other students!”
“Please don’t take more than you can handle. That Water Spirit is abnormal, and it doesn’t possess regular strength. It’ll be dangerous if you’re by yourself.”
Flin couldn’t immediately refute Blain, who accurately assessed the situation.
His judgement was correct, to the point where it was unbelievable he was an academy freshman.
This child would undoubtedly be valuable in battle.
“…I’d be happy if I were able to borrow your strength. You are the dear son of a marquis, as well as the hope of the academy—no, the kingdom. If I let such a promising child get hurt here, Ms. Flin would end up losing her job.”
Flin laughed jokingly.
However, Blain spoke without relaxing his expression in the slightest.
“It’s alright—I won’t die. I can’t afford to kick the bucket in a place like this… There’s no way I’m weak enough to die!”
The moment Blain raised his voice, Flin felt the mana dwelling in his body surge.
…The Tragedy of the Milhis Household, huh… If he still tries to fight despite the burden of his past, then I guess he shouldn’t lose his nerve in a trial of this level…
“I understand. But if I tell you to run, then run. Got it?”
Blain continued as if he was simply stating the facts.
“That’s never gonna happen, though.
Today’s second chapter. Only 4 more chapters left in this book, it’s pretty short. 2 more chapters tomorrow as usual, so see you then.