Chapter 6: Entrance Ceremony
One day, a week after the entrance exam, an envelope was sent to Luna.
The sender was Saint Academy, and what was inside was, of course, the pass/fail letter.
Holding the envelope close to her chest, Luna took a deep breath and calmed herself down.
Carlo, Trebas, and Rho were also gathered in the dining room, supporting meek expressions as they waited with bated breath.
“Now then, I’m going to open it?”
“Oh, oh, do your best!”
“You’ll pass, I’m sure you’ll pass!”
After Luna made up her mind and opened the seal, what came out was―.
Affixed with the Saint Academy seal, it was a genuine pass certificate.
Immediately, shouts of joy welled up.
“Congratulations, Luna! It’s amazing that you got accepted to that Saint Academy!”
“Perhaps you are truly the reincarnation of the Saint!”
Carlo and Trebas smiled broadly, praising the hard work of their beloved daughter.
“Congratulations on passing, Luna-sama.”
Rho conveyed and applauded quietly.
“Th-thank you very much!”
After thanking everyone, Luna was happily looking at the certificate of passing… when she noticed something that caught her attention.
Looking closely, she noticed that the certificate said ‘Pass (Support Department)’.
“Ah, erm… what does this mean…?”
“Eh, ehh, how should I put it… it’s that?”
Carlo and Trebas were having some trouble and Rho, seeing that, couldn’t help but cough and clear her throat.
“The Saint Academy has adopted a two-faculty system of the Saint Department and the Support Department. The division is simple and straightforward. The top 100 candidates show promise as the Saint and will enter the Saint Department whereas the next 100 candidates who show no promise as the Saint will enter the Support Department.”
“In other words… I’m a support candidate with no hope of becoming the Saint?”
“In short, yes.”
“… Huh, I see…”
Luna muttered and clutched her certificate tightly.
Carlo and Trebas, seeing their beloved daughter sad.
“Th-there’s no need to be depressed at all!? Entering the Saint Academy is really, really amazing…!”
“Yeah, that’s right! You should be proud of yourself and go to school proudly!”
They desperately followed up so that Luna wouldn’t feel depressed, but…
“―I did it!”
Far from feeling depressed, she gave a satisfied fist pump.
(No hope of being the Saint ― how lucky am I that there is such a good department and I even got accepted into it by chance, I’m so lucky!)
A position where she could enjoy a life with a new status as a student, broaden her experience in this era, and was judged to have no chance of becoming the Saint.
For Luna, the Support Department was literally the ‘best place’.
“We-well, if Luna is happy, we’re happy too.”
“Luna, I hope you have a fun student life.”
“Yes, thank you!”
After that, a big celebration party was held at the Spedio family estate, and many people from the territory congratulated Luna on passing the exam.
A week later, it was finally the entrance ceremony for Saint Academy.
Luna, wearing the uniform of the Saint Academy, was in her room checking herself with a full-length mirror.
The top was a pure white shirt and a red blazer, and the bottom was a simple black skirt.
Incidentally… the uniforms of the Saint Department and the Support Department basically have the same design. The only difference was their chest pocket, which has the symbol of the Holy Cross.
(The clothes of this era are cuter than they were 300 years ago.)
With a new outfit, Luna went to the living room where Carlo and Trebas were and found a sobbing Carlo being soothed by Trebas.
“Uuu… Luna, Luna… please don’t leave me…”
“You… today is a happy day, so please don’t cry so much. Luna will feel troubled, okay?”
“Yo-you’re right… Okay, I will stop crying!”
“Yes, well done.”
Since Saint Academy has a boarding system, Luna will live in the dormitory from now on and will return to the Spedio family on occasional holidays and long vacations.
“―Then, I’m going!”
“Please be careful!”
“Please come back once in a while.”
“Have a safe journey, Luna-sama.”
Luna, sent off by Carlo, Trebas, and Rho, got on a carriage loaded with the bare minimum of daily necessities and headed for the Saint Academy.
Arriving at Saint Academy, Luna went to the dormitory where she would live and brought over the wooden boxes containing daily necessities.
“Heave-ho… I guess that’s the last?”
Dormitories were shared rooms and students lived together with students of the same grade.
(My roommate hasn’t arrived yet… I wonder what kind of person she is? I hope we get along well enough to travel somewhere together.)
With that thought in mind, she unpacked disinterestedly – when she discovered something strange among the wooden boxes.
“… Huh? Did I bring something like this…?”
In front of her was a basket covered with white cloth.
“I wonder, did Rho secretly slip it in?”
When she pulled aside the cloth and checked the contents, there was…
Tama curled up inside asleep.
“Eh, hey, Tama!?”
“Shhh, be quiet!”
“How did you manage to sneak in…? No, before that, is it okay to keep pets here?”
She hurriedly checked the dormitory rules.
“… Ah, it’s okay.”
Unexpectedly, it was written that ‘pets are allowed’.
By the way, that was the result of the information that ‘Saint-sama loves animals’ was passed down to the present day.
“For now, wait here! Stay! Okay?”
“All right, all right, good boy, good boy. Be well-behaved until I come back, okay?”
After saying that, Luna left for the entrance ceremony venue.
Saint Academy 300th entrance ceremony.
Most of the recent entrance ceremonies held in the Kingdom of Elgia were simple and the relatives of the new students were not invited.
The reason behind that was to take into account the unique problem of this era, ‘to show consideration to students who would have to attend the entrance ceremony alone because their parents were killed by demons’.
Opening ceremony speech, the Dean’s formal address, words of congratulations from the new student representatives, and singing of the school song, the entrance ceremony progressed smoothly and was over in no time.
After leaving the auditorium, the first-year students checked the class announcements posted on the bulletin board and moved to their respective classrooms.
(Umm, Luna Spedio, Luna Spedio, Luna Spedio… there I am.)
Luna found her name in first-year class C and followed the flow of people to the classroom.
When she opened the shaky wooden door – she saw someone she didn’t expect.
(I-is that really… Ms. Monkey!?)
Sarles co Layton, nicknamed Ms. Monkey by Luna, was the one who built the Mt. Monkey Alliance at the evening party the other day. (TLN: The Japanese raw for her nickname is Saruko, lit. Saru = monkey; ko = little or kid, so lit. translation would be lil monkey. I will be translating her name/nickname as Sarco from now on since she’s going to be a recurring character.)
Furthermore, she already had several students around her as entourage.
She demonstrated tremendous leadership, amassing such following from the very start of school.
She must have a natural boss monkey temperament.
(I can’t believe she would be in the same school and even the same class…)
Luna was extremely wary of Sarco.
The two of them were kidnapped by Howard at a party the other day, and they met face-to-face at that time.
Luna’s [Flame] used to traumatize Howard happened after Sarco fainted. Therefore, the possibility of her finding out she’s the Saint was low… but it was by no means ‘zero’.
She may have heard about it from Alicia after the incident or maybe at that time, she may have been vaguely conscious.
And most of all— for a normal human like Luna, she won’t be able to survive the harsh Mt Mounted Battle environment where they suck the lifeblood out of you.
(Let’s not get too close to Sarco-san…)
Keeping her profile small and inconspicuous, she moved smoothly around the corner of the room, trying to avoid the Mt. Monkey Alliance.
Then, the next moment, a sharp gaze from far away turned toward her.
“Eh…? That plain-looking kid, where did I…”
She got caught in Sarco’s vast surveillance net.
(A-as expected of Sarco-san, what a strongly territorial person…)
Luna pretended not to notice and quickly took her seat.
She managed to escape to a safe zone and breathed a sigh of relief.
(Now then… among all the classmates I will be together with for the next year, is there anyone who looks like they would be willing to become my friend?)
When she looked around the classroom, she felt something was out of place.
Somehow, some groups had already formed.
(Eh, that’s strange… Today is the entrance ceremony, isn’t it? Everyone should be meeting for the first time…?)
Contrary to Luna’s hopeful expectations, almost everyone here was an acquaintance.
Students who can enroll in the Saint Academy have the time to study Saint Studies, have the financial resources to trace the ancient sites of the Saint, and have an environment where they can work hard to improve their magical abilities – the number of people who meet these difficult conditions is inevitably limited.
Specifically, the daughters of wealthy aristocrats, or to be more precise, the daughters of great aristocrats based on their proximity with the royal capital.
And the world of nobility is connected thinly, shallowly, and widely.
Connections between parents, business connections, school connections, everyone has a conflict of interest in some way.
In fact, all the students around Luna were daughters of great nobles, and they knew each other to some extent.
(Wh-what should I do? I hear that the starting dash is the key in this kind of thing, but it seems like everyone is already friendly…)
A familiar voice echoed in Luna’s ears as she was feeling anxious.
“–Luna, your collar is in disarray.”
“Ah, sorry, thank you… Rho!?”
When she turned around, she saw her maid, Rho Steinclaw.
She was wearing the uniform of the Saint Academy, her hair was bundled up, and she did away with honorifics.
“Wait, what’s the meaning of this!? Why is Rho here!? And that uniform… the Saint Department!?”
Luna blinked in surprise and rushed to ask questions as Rho lowered the volume of her voice so that the surroundings could not hear them.
“I have been ordered by Carlo-sama and Trebas-sama to protect Luna-sama. Of course, I passed the entrance exam to the Saint Academy through the regular method, so don’t worry.”
Carlo and Trebas were fiercely protective parents, and Rho had a brilliant mind.
By the way… the Saint Academy has about 200 students per grade, with 5 classes from A to E, with 40 students per class.
Twenty students from the Saint Department and the Support Department are assigned to each class.
“But I’m glad. I wouldn’t feel so helpless if Rho is in the same class as me.”
“It’s an honor. By the way, we’re in the same room for the dormitory too.”
“Really? Great! What a great coincidence!”
“Yes. However… I took a slightly unconventional method for that.”
“Unconventional method… what did you do!?”
While the two were talking, the door in front of the classroom opened and a male teacher from the Saint Academy entered.
Standing at the podium, he cleared his throat and briefly introduced himself.
“- Nice to meet you, I’m Jural Serpent. The homeroom teacher of Class C, and a full-time lecturer at Saint Academy mainly in charge of medical studies. Pleased to meet your acquaintance.”
Jural Serpent, 40 years old.
He’s 190cm tall and a slim man.
His jet black hair that reaches down to his shoulders, his serious, sharp eyes, and his white, untanned skin gave others the impression of a snake.
Dressed in a jet-black robe, he is one of the leading frightening-looking teachers in the Saint Academy.
“Hmm… we have a little time until the start of the second period.”
The annual curriculum of Saint Academy is extremely detailed, and even today, when the entrance ceremony was held, classes were scheduled for the second period and beyond.
“Let’s take this opportunity to introduce ourselves. Please start in order, starting from number 1 of the attendance number.”
Following Jural’s instructions, the students of first-year Class C introduced themselves.
They announced their name and hobby, bowed lightly, and then passed the turn to the next person.
Since they were all noble daughters, they all introduced themselves very well, and Luna was able to do it just fine too.
“For the next year, you will all be competing in this small classroom. I want you to give each other appropriate stimuli and work hard to get as close to the Saint as possible. I hope that one of you will be the Saint. ―Now then, let’s move on to class.”
Jural said and gave instructions to the students.
“The next class will be divided into the Saint Department and the Support Department. Students from the Saint Department will go to the practice area, and students from the Support Department will move with me to the third laboratory.”
With a small clap of his hands, the students began to move one by one.
“Okay, Rho, I’m in the Support Department, so see you later.”
And so, Luna from the Support Department moved to the third laboratory, and Rho from the Saint Department moved to the practice field.
The Support Department students who moved to the third laboratory took their seats in the order of their attendance numbers.
A little while later, the chime rang for the start of the second period, and Jural took the podium.
“We will now start the medical studies class. As described in the syllabus, in this class, you will learn how to create a wide range of medicines, including potions, paralytics, antidotes, hemostats, and more. And what I’m going to have you make right away today is ‘Lesser Potion’.’’
He took a breath and continued.
“The outstanding students among you probably already know how to make lesser potions. However, you must not be negligent of the basics. Today is the first class, so I would first like to teach you how important the basics are in medical studies.”
Jural said, picked up the materials that were prepared on the podium in advance, and started making a lesser potion.
“First, pour pure water into a test tube, add an appropriate amount of medicinal herbs, and steep it. When the effective ingredients of the medicinal herbs seep out, slowly and carefully pour in your magical power. Needless to say, naturally you must pour in holy attribute magical power.”
He proceeded with the work with experienced motions and completed the lesser potion in no time.
“- Now then, students, what do you think of this?”
The potion placed on the podium boasted a frightening degree of perfection.
“A-amazing… There’s no turbidity or sediments. That is a perfect lesser potion…’’
“And that work speed! Each step was unbelievably fast and meticulous!”
“As expected of a full-time lecturer at Saint Academy…”
The students of the Support Department overflowed with words of surprise and admiration, and Jural nodded in satisfaction.
“The medicinal herbs and pure water needed to create the lesser potion are prepared on the table in the front row, so just bring the necessary amount with you. –Then, each of you move to an appropriate spot and start working.”
The students, given a task by Jural, picked up the medicinal herbs and pure water, moved to their own spot, and began working on creating lesser potions.
Not to be left out, Luna picked up the necessary materials and moved to an empty spot.
(Well… here’s the problem.)
Luna was good at making potions— no, too good at it.
The Saint’s magical power purifies all things and maximizes their performance.
Even the muddy water of the Dobu River can be turned into a legendary elixir if the Saint’s magical power passes through it.
Once upon a time, Luna thought it was a good thing, mass-produced Elixir, and distributed it free of charge to people in need.
However, that was the trigger for tragedy.
Information that a panacea called elixir could be obtained for free quickly spread around the world.
As a result, the supply and demand balance was completely destroyed, and the selling price of potions plummeted.
That major incident threw the medicine manufacturing market into a vortex of chaos, leading to the ‘Saint Medicine War’ recorded in history.
(I must never reveal that I can make elixirs… to avoid the same mistake, I have to be very careful here and make the lesser potion properly…)
Adjusting her breathing, she started making the potion.
Pour pure water into a test tube and add an appropriate amount of medicinal herbs. Once the medicinal ingredients had oozed out, slowly pour magical power into it.
As a result―a faint light emitted from the test tube and the lesser potion was completed.
(Hmmmm… it doesn’t look bad.)
The slightly greenish liquid looked cheap no matter how you look at it.
(For now, let’s drink it)
She held the test tube to her mouth and poured the prototype into her mouth.
Then the next moment――
Fatigue, stiff shoulders, eye strain, all kinds of bad statuses were blown away in an instant.
Unfortunately, it was an elixir.
She didn’t want to imagine what kind of fuss would happen if she submitted something like that.
Luna’s failed product (elixir) was placed on the wooden test tube stand and she immediately started working on the next potion.
After that, after repeated trial and error, the time finally came.
A muddy green liquid, the bitterness of the grass that spreads in your mouth, and a slight fatigue recovery effect, it was a quintessential lesser potion.
The cheap item commonly sold in apothecaries.
(Yes, yes! It was quite a challenge at the beginning, but since it turned out like this, I’m sure I’ll be fine…!)
While suppressing the feeling of jumping around on the spot, she clenched her fist tightly.
(All I have to do is put a label with my name on it… and I’m done!)
She put a label with her name on the lesser potion to be submitted and placed it in the test tube rack so that it wouldn’t get mixed up with the other failed creations.
Jural’s assistant would collect it at the predetermined time.
(I was able to finish a little early, so I’ll go to the restroom.)
Immediately after Luna left temporarily, a suspicious shadow crept up to her seat.
“Fufu… she’s gone, right?”
“Do it quick. It will be serious trouble if we’re found out.”
“Please stand there, right, block Professor Jural’s view.”
Five minutes later― when Luna returned from the restroom, all her other classmates had taken their seats.
On the podium where Jural was standing, test tubes filled with potions were lined up in rows, and his evaluation was about to take place.
(Mine… all right, it looks like it was collected.)
The test tubes lined up on the podium, one of which had a label that read ‘Luna Spedio’.
“Hmm… It’s almost time. Now, let’s sample your potions. The evaluation criteria are liquid purity, recovery effect, and shelf-life, and based on these three criteria, they will be judged comprehensively and ranked from F to S.”
Having clarified the evaluation criteria, Jural took a test tube and checked the label on it.
“This potion… Elaine Nostario’s?”
When her name was called, the blue-haired student stood up politely.
“Hmm… there is a slight cloudiness, but the purity is at a fairly good level. -Hoh, the recovery effect and shelf-life are not bad either. B.”
“Th-thank you very much!”
As an authority on medical studies, a ‘B’ from Jural was quite an achievement.
After that, the evaluation of potions progressed…
“This… Hmm, it’s cloudy. Not only does it have a weak recovery effect, but it also doesn’t last long… I’d say about E.”
“This one… Hmm, the purity is poor. However, the recovery effect and shelf-life are good… Something like D+.”
“This potion― it’s fairly transparent, but its healing effect and durability are poor. I’ll give it a C-.”
Finally, it was Luna’s turn.
“Next… this is Luna Spedio’s potion.”
Luna answered the same way as the other students and quickly stood up――and she couldn’t believe her eyes.
(Eh, wait a minute… no way!?)
The color of the potion in the test tube in Jural’s hand was different.
That clear and beautiful green color was unmistakably her failed product (elixir).
(Why, how…!? I’m certain I pasted my name for submission on the test tube I had confidence in – that green murky potion…)
While Luna went to the restroom, the students who looked down on her swapped her completed product with her failed product (elixir) but… of course, she didn’t know that.
During that time, Jural’s evaluation progressed.
“Hou… this is wonderful purity.”
As he exclaimed with wide-eyed eyes and a breath of admiration, Luna called out “Wait” loudly.
“S-Sensei! Please wait a minute!”
“What’s wrong, Luna Spedio?”
“Actually, that potion is… um, that… that…”
She naturally couldn’t say “Please don’t drink it because it’s an elixir”… and she couldn’t come up with the right words at the spur of the moment.
While she was incoherent and flustered, deliberate mocking giggles could be heard directed at her.
“Oh my… what a disgraceful display, so embarrassing.”
“You shouldn’t be so mean. She couldn’t even make a lesser potion properly, so it’s no wonder she’s flustered.”
“Fufu, it’s a wonder how she passed the entrance exam to Saint Academy.”
It was clear that they were the culprits who replaced Luna’s potion.
On the other hand, Jural, who was suddenly stopped by Luna, directed a puzzled look at her.
“What’s the matter, Luna Spedio? If you have something to say, say it clearly.”
“Actually, I made a slight mistake with that potion, and should I say I accidentally made an ‘eli or something’ or that ‘some kind of mutation occurred’… umm…’’
Luna muttered incomprehensible words while being flustered.
Jural, who saw that, nodded as if he understood everything.
“I see, you don’t have confidence, do you?”
“Huh? Oh no, it’s not that I don’t have confidence, it’s that I have too much of it, which is the problem…”
While Luna was hesitant, Jural smiled awkwardly with that scary look on his face.
“Hmph, don’t worry. Not everyone will do well at first. Even in the legends extolled of the Saint, she made a terrible mistake when she was young.”
“…Yes, I’m sorry…”
Many big failures crossed her mind.
That gentle voice that cared for her caused great damage to her spirit.
“This is a perfect opportunity. You all should remember this. From a long time ago, there has been a saying that ‘failure is the mother of success.’ Failure is a learning experience, and without failure, there can be no success. Using experience as nourishment to grow and eat the fruits of success, that is the correct way to learn.”
Jural said encouragingly and turned his eyes full of affection to Luna.
“So Luna Spedio, there’s no need to be afraid of failure. Treat this as nourishment and move forward.”
“Y-Yes… Thank you… Ah!? Sensei, please wait!”
Luna’s desperate pleas were in vain, and Jural gulped down the failed product in one gulp.
The next moment, something strange happened to his body.
“Fuoooooooooooo…! Overflowing, it’s overflowingggggg…!”
An enormous amount of magical power overflowed from Jural’s entire body.
“A-amazing! What a recovery effect, what unbelievable shelf-life! This is the highest-ranked potion… No, it’s so good that it can be mistaken for an elixir!”
“Th-thank you very much…”
Of course, she couldn’t just say, ‘That’s actually an elixir’, so she expressed her gratitude.
“Luna Spedio! Come to my laboratory later! I definitely want to discuss potions with you…!”
“Ah, ah, sorry, I have some plans today…”
“Hmm, I see. I was too hasty. I’ll coordinate the schedule and time with you later.’’
“I-I’ll consider it.”
Luna answered while looking far into the distance.
It looked like she wanted to postpone it for three or four days and hopefully erase the plans to discuss potions.
“No, but… it is a really, really great potion! I’ve never seen anything like this in my life as an apothecary! Luna Spedio, I’ll give you an A+ —no, an S rating!”
Luna, who received a ridiculously high evaluation from Jural, was directed many malicious gazes.
“Damn, why is this happening!? I threw away the contents of her submission and poured in something that looked like her failed work…”
“No way… did she realize our sabotage plans, and exchanged the contents of the submitted work and the failed work…!?”
“That woman has such a bad personality…”
The three students, who failed in their sinister designs, glared at Luna with jealous eyes…
(Uwaa, I can’t do it anymore… I’ve gained attention again… Who did such a terrible thing as to exchange the potions…)
The person in question was so preoccupied that she didn’t even notice the gazes.