Chapter 175 – Concerns
One week passed after the seven new recruits joined us.
After spending time with them, I had a sense of their character and personality.
Alan was serious.
Ilis was confident.
Carlos was sometimes careless.
Selty was a hard worker.
Solberia would always apologize profusely.
Hugo was always cleaning.
Miles looked like he hated the world.
Muna was an alcoholic who probably suffered from gout.
Of course, they had all passed a strict exam, and were brilliant.
Though, because of that, they would have also been quite anxious, as this was a new experience for them. Perhaps that was why they looked up to me and liked me so much.
(I’m a commoner and the youngest vice-captain. That should have given them enough reason to doubt me.)
I had been worried about how I would be received. And so I was thankful that they all listened to me without complaint.
(They are good kids.)
And so I had a smile during those days.
However, there were two things that I was concerned about.
The first was Captain Luke.
As he was a cold, heartless person who demanded the highest of standards from the new recruits, they looked at him as someone who was to be feared.
I did understand that part of it was deliberate, so that I could come in and help them. But as someone who knew he had a kinder side, I was a little annoyed by the misunderstanding.
(He’s actually careful to assign duties so we won’t have to work overtime.)
But what worried me the most, was that he was working when no one else could see him.
He would take the work home with him so that no one saw. And I had a feeling that he was working on some important matter.
And the work that Luke assigned to us had to be related to it.
(The organizing of the grand library archive and translation of the ancient magic books. This was because lost magic techniques from the ancient civilization had been used in the assassination attempt on the prince. The reason that we were gathering records of the last 30 years, was to find traces of people within the palace who would wrongly use the magic technology. Organizing information on the 27 cases and incidents was to gather information on powerful nobles. Clearly, he was searching for something.)
The 7th unit had only just started.
Amidst the financial issues and matter of the tax exemptions, he would make the 7th unit succeed against the odds. Such an achievement would greatly aid him in his goal of becoming the youngest Magus-Rank Magician in history.
(He really is so ambitious…)
While he was a reliable friend to have, I also felt a little sad.
I was supposed to be his best friend and Vice-captain. And yet it was like he didn’t tell me anything.
He had higher expectations for me than anyone. And so it must be because he feels that his plans will have a higher success rate without talking to me.
(He won’t even tell me why he wants to become Magus-Rank.)
It was something he was able to risk everything else for.
He didn’t care about fame and fortune.
In fact, I was sometimes worried that he would go and do just that. Abandon everything.
It was probably like how magic was for me. Something he could not compromise.
However, he was so blessed that he could acquire most things quite easily. So what was this thing that he wanted so desperately?
(While I’m curious, I suppose it will reveal itself as I continue to work. What I should be focusing on is the other thing. The two newcomers who don’t seem to fit in as much as the others.)
Thinking this, I looked back at their profiles.
Name: Miles Nox
Background: Graduated from Ramsdale Magic Academy. Joined Slaine Magic Artificer Guild. Later, successfully passed the entrance exam and transitioned to the Royal Magicians Order.
Written Exam Results: Achieved 39th position out of 857 candidates (14th among graduates from higher magic academies).
Practical Exam Results: Achieved 27th position out of 857 candidates (11th among graduates from higher magic academies).
Personality Assessment: Demonstrates a composed demeanor and the ability to make informed judgments while prioritizing practical choices over ideal pursuits.
Interviewer’s Impressions: Although somewhat reserved and with an odd personality, they exhibit a knack for grasping key points, and have great potential. I highly recommend their hiring with optimism for their future contributions.
He had the lowest ranking out of the new recruits.
Apparently, since we had the Magic Artificer Guild in common, it was thought that I would be a good fit to lead him.
(But he has shockingly low enthusiasm and cooperativeness.)
While the others were all so polite, he was different. He would ignore people and keep to himself.
He had the kind of eyes that made it seem like he hated everything.
Even in terms of work, he only cared to do what he considered to be the bare minimum. And yet it was often not enough. I was more confused than angry.
(How did he pass such a difficult exam and get into the Royal Magicians Order?)
It made me wonder if something illegal had happened behind the scenes.
“You should not ignore people when they greet you. You might upset someone if you ignore them.”
Even when I warned him, he would just look annoyed and say, ‘…Fine.’
But there was no improvement, and he continued to stick out amongst the group.
“Well, he’s the one who will suffer from that.”
Luke did not care. And only gave him work that was unimportant.
“But I want to do something… What do you think, Misha?”
“To be honest, I am quite surprised. Normally, someone like that should not have been able to get in.”
“But the interviewer said that he was quite likable.”
“Well, perhaps he was smart enough to lie and pretend to be different at the time.”
“Yes, when I asked about it, they said the same thing. That there was something odd about the way he answered questions.”
“It is difficult to see through people. Though, I wish we didn’t have to suffer because of it.”
Misha let out a deep sigh.
“In any case, we cannot leave things like this. It will affect the others as well.”
“Yes, we’ll have to make him change his attitude somehow.”
However, nothing we did changed the situation.
You could tell that he was always trying to take things easy and cutting corners. He was the opposite of a magic lover like me.
(That being said, I saw people like that back at the guild, so it’s not too surprising.)
Everyone had their own way of working.
There was no right way, and it was wrong to force your personal ideals onto others.
I was free to work with my own stance, and he had freedom as well.
(But there’s a limit to that when you’re being paid to do a job.)
Royal Magicans were the highest paid magicians in the kingdom.
And only a small few were able to get in.
So many people had their dreams crushed when they failed the exams. And so I wanted him to take this seriously for their sake as well.
On the other hand, there was one other newcomer who had a little too much confidence. And she seemed to clash with the others a lot.
Name: Ilis Reed
Background: Graduated from Rizetek Magic Academy.
Written Exam Results: Achieved the top position among 857 candidates.
Practical Exam Results: Achieved the highest ranking among 857 candidates.
Personality Assessment: Possesses a strong-willed nature, unafraid to assert themselves and handle conflicts confidently. Shows a deep passion for magic, although there’s a tendency to appear indifferent towards individuals they deem less worthy.
Interviewer’s Observations: Exudes great confidence and pride in their abilities. While there may be some areas of immaturity in their character, their exceptional talent more than makes up for it. Highly recommend them for the position.
She had the best results out of all the new recruits.
Her appearance also drew attention, and she had a sophisticated air about her. Her parents were from Rysvania and Ardenfeld respectively and she been living in the former until graduating.
‘As I was born and raised in the country of magic, I thought I might come down here to challenge myself in Ardenfeld. After all, the magic exams were too easy back home.’
She clearly thought she was the best person in the world.
She had been called a genius at a young age, and broke numerous records at her school.
No obstacle was too high for her to overcome.
‘I really wanted to join this unit, and so I volunteered. After all, they say that Ms. Noelle and Captain Luke are the most promising young magicians in this country. Clearly, this will be a great chance to show that I am, in fact, far superior to them.’
She said this to my face with a pleasant smile.
‘Of course, it would be awfully boring if I surpassed you too quickly. So please put up a fight and do not lose immediately. I am counting on you, Ms. Noelle.’
(What confidence and high self-esteem…)
A true genius that did not know defeat.
However, she was also incredibly cold to those around her, once she judged them as being lesser.
‘How can you not do something so easy?’
‘I am shocked that someone as hopeless as you can even do magic.’
‘You should quit immediately and find a new occupation. You have no talent at all.’
Her words were so sharp that sometimes the room seemed to freeze.
“Hey, hey, hey! Please do not be so negative towards my little golden eggs! Everyone is talented! You are all amazing for having been able to get in!”
Misha and I would have to intervene. So far, there had not been any real trouble, but it seemed like it was only a matter of time before there was a great fight.
What left the biggest impression on me was her answer when I said, ‘Magic is important, but so is being a decent human being.’
‘Well, I have my own thoughts on that.’
Ilis said with a tilt of her head.
‘Don’t you think that people who have no magical talent have no reason to exist?’
She said this with a straight face.
As if it were the most obvious truth.
She was so confident that she was right.
The incident happened a few days later. The day of our first magic combat training.
Working as a Royal Magician meant you were in danger often.
You might have to face wild monsters or vicious enemies that could kill you. And so combat training was important.
I wanted all of them to be able to protect themselves.
And so Misha and I instructed them, just as we had been instructed when in the 3rd unit.
“That is why it would be best to use a simplified magic formula. Even if it is not as powerful, the activation speed is more important. Also, when activating support magic, there are some unnecessary movements that…”
Just as I was teaching Selty, I heard Misha’s voice.
“Stop! Hey! What are you doing!”
I frantically turned around.
It was a magic duel that Misha was monitoring.
Ilis was ruthlessly attacking Miles, who was clearly already defeated.
But even though the fight should have ended, she would not stop.
She ignored Misha’s order and continued to attack.
This was no training. She deliberately wanted to hurt him.
“What are you doing?”
I moved in and grabbed Ilis by the arm.
“He was laughably weak. And so I thought I would do him a favor, by really hammering it in. For his own good, of course.”
She answered with a shrug.
“Ms. Noelle, you have to duel with me. Otherwise, this training is a joke.”
She did not even think that she had done anything wrong.
I felt myself going cold.
“Fine. I’ll fight you.”
“And don’t hold back. Oh, I know. Let us make a bet. The loser has to agree to do whatever the winner requests.”
“So, if I wine, I want you to recommend me as Vice-captain. It’s only natural for the stronger person to hold that position.”
“Fine. But you will have to do what I want if I win.”
“Yes. And what do you want?”
“For you to never use magic like that again.”
This one needed to lose to someone.
Thoroughly. So that no excuses could be made.