014 – Form a group with your close friends #3
Enio finished signing the club application form.
It was a light handwriting without any hesitation or doubt.
“With this, I’ve become a member of this cooking club. Of course, that doesn’t mean I plan to participate in club activities or anything like that.”
“It’s not just a Cooking Club; it’s the Victory’s Cook Club.”
“Victor is quite sharp when it comes to these things.”
“And Enio, you don’t have to do anything in particular. There’s no rule in the club constitution that says you have to be loyal to the club. You can do whatever you want.”
I was very grateful that Enio had set the minimum number of club members to three.
Enio, a Delegate, was a tough opponent to control, even for me and Nike.
Even the Student Council, including Victoria, had to put in their best effort when dealing with her.
And yet, that person consistently attended club activities?
Then, he would truly receive attention from the Student Council.
So, I actually welcomed the fact that Enio acted like a ghost member, only providing her name. If she were too intrusive, I wouldn’t mind finding a way to deal with it, but it would be a hassle.
Enio seemed somewhat concerned, saying, “You could be more proactive in recruiting.”
But she didn’t elaborate further.
Then, she seemed to be bothered by something and began fiddling with a piece of paper.
“That’s the name of our club’s president. Make sure to remember it.”
“Have you heard that name before?”
This was just a question I asked out of curiosity as a D&A character.
Why have Victoria and Enio been tied by fate since their childhood?
They’re the only two members of the noble ducal families.
Leading candidates for the empty throne.
Black and white.
Light and shadow.
So, amidst these perfectly sculpted heroines, a new character named Nike is added? I subtly speculated before the game’s release that there might be some connection with both Victoria and Enio.
However, Enio shook her head.
“No, it’s Mokemoke. It’s a unique name. I’ve never heard of that surname; maybe commoner background. It’s an interesting name.”
“Don’t say that in front of the person. They don’t like being teased about their name.”
“Lady Enio, there you are! We were just discussing our group project, and you suddenly disappeared. I don’t know how long I’ve been searching for you!”
A girl with short red hair was running towards us from a distance.
“You’re Enio’s loyal servant, Megaira.”
“Who are you calling a servant?”
She seemed out of breath but still managed to retort. Despite her panting, Megaira defended herself with vigor.
Megaira took a deep breath and spoke to Enio.
“Lady Enio, something urgent has come up, and you need to go quickly…”
“I… I can’t talk about it here, why, there’s a guy here who’s not even a member of the Student Council anymore, not even a minion of Arkwright?”
“In that case, speak into my ear.”
“Then excuse me…”
Megaira obediently whispered in Enio’s ear.
“Is it true that the sealing facility…?”
“Yes, it is. All the delegates have been called, so you should go quickly.”
Enio cleared her throat for a moment.
“Victor, I have some urgent business to attend to, so I must go.”
“Understood. The higher your position, the busier you become.”
After exchanging a brief greeting, Enio and Megaira walked away to another location.
It seemed they were keeping things secret from me, but I was well aware of what was happening.
“It appears that the sealing facility has been destroyed.”
This was an event that occurred regularly in all routes.
On the day of the school opening ceremony, the sealing facility protecting the residential area from monster invasions would be damaged.
The protagonist, Luke, would jump in and experience his ‘First Battle with Monsters’.
However, it was an exaggeration to call these creatures monsters; they were only weak ones like “Weakened Rugaru” or “Starving Spider.”
“I don’t need to worry; things will run smoothly.”
Normally, neither I nor Victor would be present there.
They would handle things just fine.
…But what about the group project? With everyone busy restoring the sealing facility and dealing with the monsters, there would be no time for the group project, right?
It felt like I was the only one responsible for it.
The problem was that the strict teacher, Berzurak, wouldn’t make any considerations for the situation.
Enio, on the other hand, was a Delegate respected even by the teachers.
Megaira, Enio’s favorite servant, would ensure she received at least a B grade without submitting any assignments.
As the fallen Victor, I was no different from an ordinary student.
“I had a feeling it would turn out like this.”
* * *
“They say the sealing facility has been destroyed. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Is it necessary to summon all the Delegates and make a big fuss? Arkwright should be able to handle it.”
Enio, slightly irritated at having her conversation with Victor cut short.
It was a surprise to her that the stern person before her was part of a cooking club.
She had been busy over the weekend and had not heard about it.
Other than teasing the Princess of Arkwright, she wondered if there would be something a little more interesting about the boring life at the Prison Academy.
She never thought such an unexpected interruption would come.
“Well, this time, it seems like they’re saying that the sealing facility wasn’t broken due to old age, but rather artificial damage, so maybe that’s why they’re calling Lady Enio…”
“Are they trying to trace the culprit through my shadows? Well, I can rewind shadows, so I might help.”
“It seems likely. Those student council brats. They usually just swagger around, but when it comes to something important, nothing seems to work without Lady Enio.”
Megaira was laughing and Enio chuckled and agreed, “You’re right.”
“It’s not a big deal. These things always happen.”
Thinking in that way, Megaira asked when Enio had been casually considering it.
“Rather than that, Lady Enio, were you really joining the club? Why of all people, Victor? That guy, even the strings of Arkwright were loose, and he doesn’t seem worth using, to be honest.”
“Do you see it that way? But I saw it differently. I thought he didn’t lose the strings accidentally. And when it came to worth, it was more than enough.”
“Why was that? The way I saw Victor now, somehow he looked shaky, and there were more gaps than usual.”
That was a valid point.
The usual Victor had exuded a sharp sense of caution in all directions.
He had been like a well-forged sword, easily cutting down anyone who touched him the wrong way.
In contrast, now he had been weaker.
He had been an entirely different person.
“With the current Victor, Megaira, you could put up a good fight against him.”
“It’s not a fight, it’s a guaranteed win!”
“Yes, but what if Victor wields a sword?”
Megaira did not answer.
She hadn’t wanted to lower herself as a loyal follower of Enio, or rather, a friend and sister.
There hadn’t been anyone foolish enough to challenge Victor when he had a sword, except for clueless new students or transfer students.
That’s it, transfer student!
A brilliant idea had flashed through Megaira’s mind.
“But still, he lost, right? To a transfer student, who knows where he came from.”
Megaira, who had wanted to earn Enio’s approval, had decided to maintain some of her remaining pride.
“He got expelled from the Student Council for losing to a transfer student. Not only carrying a weapon on campus was prohibited, but even carrying a wooden sword was impossible, wasn’t it? I won’t lose to such a guy.”
“That’s true. Except for a few student council executives and those with special permits, carrying weapons on campus is prohibited.”
“He didn’t carry a wooden sword around. The Arkwright family probably took it back, right? Haha, it’s amusing. Boasting about carrying a famous sword as a commoner.”
“He never boasted, though.”
A tiger without teeth or claws, a wounded eagle.
Victor, who couldn’t wield a sword, was worse than that.
But was that really all?
As Enio got lost in thought, Megaira inflated her cheeks and spoke with a hint of determination.
“Lady Enio, it seems like you’re defending Victor more than you used to, even though he used to be a plaything of Arkwright not too long ago. Is it this how you feel.”
“…It’s because of my feelings.”
“Yes, if that’s the case with you, Lady Enio, then I suppose it’s true. But there’s a scent to it. I’m just hoping that my nose is wrong this time.”
Because Megaira had spent a long time with Enio, she had an uncanny ability to peer into Enio’s mind, despite Enio’s being as enigmatic as a shadow.
So, Enio decided to change the subject to steer the conversation.
“By the way, Megaira, the name Nike Mokemoke. Have you ever heard of it? You three sisters should know, right? I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere, but I can’t remember.”
* * *
I had given up on my studies.
I didn’t have the money for it.
Besides, I wasn’t good at studying anyway.
So, I had no regrets.
There was more I wanted to learn about the world than from books.
But things were different now.
“Balancing both of them is quite challenging.”
Refining my studies at Ludens while repaying my debts?
Even for someone who had played through most of D&A’s scenarios, it wouldn’t be an easy task.
“But it wasn’t impossible. And education and debt repayment, they may seem opposites, but in reality, they are one path. At least here in Ludens.”
“Nike, aim for admission to Class A before the year ends.”
“Me? Into Class A?!”
“Yeah, if you rank within the top 10 in Class A, you’ll receive a scholarship. That alone is a way to make money. There must be a reason you’ve endured this academy even while sleeping in the forest. So, go for it with determination.”
Nike seemed to lack confidence for some reason.
“I’m not good at studying…”
That seemed to be the case even from my perspective. Nike probably used the money for study materials as funds to pay off interest.
But I was in the same boat.
Memorizing complex formulas and regulations had never been my strong suit.
Victor was the type to spend time understanding, not someone with a naturally sharp mind.
But when it came to physical tasks, both Victor and I, Ha Seung-ri, excelled in our own ways. It suited our aptitudes. In that sense, Victor and I had more in common than one might think.
And Nike, who had spent three months in the forest without anyone’s help, was the type to excel in hands-on activities rather than sitting at a desk.
“Don’t worry. It’s not just about memorizing difficult formulas and regulations in front of a desk. Fortunately, there are rules here that have been created for students like us.”
“Have you heard of the ‘Subjugation Board’? You can take on quests there.”
It’s like subjugation quests in a game, such as “Hunt 30 wolves for a reward”.
“The Subjugation Board…!?”
Was it really that surprising?
It was quite common in the game.
“That’s… Rene coming in.”
In D&A, subjugation quests were taken upon payment of money – Rene. You paid Rene to request a subjugation mission.
By the way, the subjugation target was random with each Rene investment.
“But we have 5 million Rene. That should be more than enough.”
With 5 million Rene, it was sufficient to reset and select the desired subjugation mission.
Besides, there was the 「Luxury Fragrance Soup」. If we got it now, even someone as inexperienced in fighting as Nike and I could manage it.
Finishing a quest would yield cooking ingredients, which would be helpful for developing new menu items.
“As a bonus, it’s quite generous in terms of grades. In the first place, this method is the proper way to study at Ludens – subduing monsters and exploring labyrinths. That’s what this Prison Academy is all about.”
Which Dungeon Academy game focused on memorization subjects to raise stats anyway?
Of course, we should venture into dungeons.
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