Chapter 178 – Stirring
Ilis had become a little softer.
This fact had a great effect on the newcomers of the 7th unit.
They could not hide their surprise, and would say things like, ‘Is she ill?’ or ‘Perhaps she should get tested?’
“Don’t you think that is too rude!? It wouldn’t be strange for me to lose my temper right now!”
Ilis would say.
“The old me would have beaten you for that. In more ways than one. Though, I would not have head-butted you.”
I pretended to be cool and calm.
(Does she think that a head-butt was worse than the rest?)
I had a past that was filled with beating up bullies in the countryside, and knew that it was an effective attack with high precision.
Though, now that I thought about it, I had never seen any other girl doing it before.
(As someone who is supposed to be a mature and composed woman, perhaps I should refrain from doing that from now on.)
I thought quietly. And then Ilis said,
“By the way, you were head-butting people during the World Trophy, weren’t you?”
“Not at all.”
“Huh? No, I’m quite sure you did, and everyone was talking about it.”
“You are confused. It must be someone else.”
“Really? I don’t know about that.”
Ilis tilted her head.
(Phew. That was close.)
I sighed with relief after I had managed to fool her.
If I wished to maintain Ilis’s trust in me, I had to keep up appearances.
Ms. Leticia was the cool and wonderful superior that I aspired to be like. And in order for me to be that to these people, I had to work hard.
“Still, people are so bothersome, aren’t they? I already repented and apologized, and yet now they are even more afraid of me. I do not understand it at all.”
Ilis shrugged her shoulders with a look of exasperation.
“Well, you were pretty horrible up until now. It will be difficult to gain their trust.”
“It is almost not even worth it. Every ten seconds, I think of just giving up on that.”
“No, you must do your best. If you continue, many things will change. You’ll see.”
She pondered on this for a moment and then answered.
“Is it really that simple? Well, I shall try then. Perhaps it will be good for me, getting involved with other people for a change.”
“Is that so unusual for you?”
“Well, you won’t find a genius like me anywhere else, be it heaven or hell. The most wonderful, beautiful and greatest genius of all magicians.”
“You sure hold yourself in high-esteem.”
“Oh, you are not terrible yourself. Of course, I am still superior. But maybe you can be a distant second.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
She was very strange, but I felt that she had a genuine fondness for me now.
And when it came to her issues with communicating with those around her, she tackled them with a surprising seriousness.
And so for now, I was relieved, and was able to just watch her.
But there was still the other problem child… Miles. He had shown no signs of improving at all.
(Even though I am doing my best over here.)
Though, I felt like the actual results showed that things were getting worse.
The human heart was a complex thing.
Perhaps making this person enthusiastic about their work was a challenge more difficult than magic.
“He really aggravates me. If you ever want to pound him into the ground, call me. I will help you.”
“You just want to let off some steam by unleashing your magic.”
“You know me too well.”
I shrugged and then decided that I would confide in Luke about Miles.
There was a mountain of documents.
He was probably working on something that would help him reach his goal of getting a Magus-rank promotion.
As he was busy, he did not raise his head as he spoke.
“If it’s too hard, just leave him be.”
“But then he will not change. It will have a negative effect on the whole group.”
“It is difficult for a person to change. Sometimes, it is impossible. In the end, it is he who has to realize and change on his own.”
“So then I just have to make him realize.”
“But that is the hard part.”
Luke raised his head.
“People tend to see what they want to see. Instead of accepting they have flaws and working on them, they blame others. As that is easier to do. You cannot change someone if they do not want to change. Well, that has been my experience.”
“Yes, you are probably right, but…”
“Of course, we have to tell him when he is not doing the minimum. But everyone is different. And so we have to accept that not everyone will work how you want them to.”
“We have limited time. And I think we have better things to do than water flowers that do not wish to bloom.”
It was a pragmatic and mature view.
This was the first time I had people working under me in the Royal Magicians Order. And so I wanted to look after them as best as I could. But Luke had experienced a lot more already.
And this way of thinking was the result of that.
However, I did not want to give up on Miles just yet.
Because as I saw him work, there was something that troubled me.
It was like he was not used to this sort of corner-cutting. He was doing something that wasn’t really part of his nature.
“No, perhaps I am just seeing things. After all, he has such a bad attitude.”
When I talked to Misha about it, she had an exasperated expression.
“I guess you haven’t realized it yet, Noelle. But sometimes you just have to give up on people.”
“I understand that. But I’ve worked with many people at the Magic Artificer Guild.”
“And just look at the second supporting formula over here. This is not the kind of skill that can be acquired by someone who is always doing the bare minimum.”
“No, this isn’t that impressive…”
Misha looked at the formula with a puzzled expression.
But after a moment, she narrowed her eyebrows.
“Oh, that is a good catch.”
“There was something that bothered me about the way he worked. And so I started to pay more attention to him.”
“How did someone who can draw like this end up like that?”
“I think that I will look into it.”
And so I did some research on the Ramsdale Magic Academy and the Slaine Magic Artificer Guild.
There was someone in the 5th unit of the Royal Magicians order who was a student at the same time as him, and I was able to talk to her.
“So it was him. I thought it might be.”
“Yes, I remember Miles quite well. He was quite famous in our year.”
“What was he like?”
“Oh, a model student who everyone looked up to. He was quite driven and a good leader. We thought he would grow into one of the kingdom’s finest magicians.”
“Are we really talking about the same person?”
However, as there was a lot of noise in the hallway, she did not hear me.
“He was a lot more enthusiastic about his studies than I was. Yes, a shining example. Is he still like that?”
“…Well…you could say that.”
“That’s good to hear. I was a little worried. There were some strange rumors about him.”
“That he had changed. Become wild. That he was banned from a tavern after fighting. Things like that.”
“And so I’m relieved to hear that he is still doing well.”
She smiled, and I felt bad.
Perhaps I should not have lied about it.
However, as his superior, it seemed wrong to tell others about his current state.
Human relationships were difficult.
(In any case, I know about his student days now. And it was something that is difficult to imagine, considering how he is now.)
However, she did not look like she was lying.
In that case, it suggested that something had happened during his time at the Magic Artificer Guild.
(Magic Artificer Guild…)
It was then that something stirred deep within my heart.