Have You Grown Up? I Can’t Admit It
— Everyone, gather around!
The resonant echoes filled the second training ground after lunch was over.
Magic, Reconnaissance, Priest, and Knight departments.
One class was gathered from each department, so the training ground was quite lively. Since there are usually about 30 students in each class, there were approximately 120 people gathered.
Among the many children, Ian was alone.
‘I’m used to this by now.’
Where’s Danya? He looked around, but she was so small that she couldn’t be seen.
In many ways, it was a familiar solitude.
It was even comforting in a way.
Recently, he learned a fact through wandering the streets often. If you don’t approach and talk to girls, they seem to be quite happy.
It seemed that Pongpong’s notoriety was higher than expected.
By embracing his solitude, he felt like he was making them happy by not caring about their reactions.
But now, the instructor in charge of combat training arrived just in time.
“I believe you all have sufficient knowledge of combat training. We are already more than halfway through the semester, and during this time, you have acquired the basics through various theoretical and practical classes.”
‘…But not me.’
Suddenly, he found himself in this situation.
But he had learned magic and skills, and he possessed knowledge about the monsters they would soon be facing.
He was actually quite eager to put it all into practice.
A slightly older instructor began speaking.
“Thus, I won’t go into too much detail. The reason we have gathered all of you today is to form teams. Teaming up is an important step before engaging in combat.”
Tank, melee dealer, ranged dealer, priest (healer), mage, support, scout.
This was the typical structure.
However, with a 4-member team, it got condensed.
Knight (tank + melee DPS), Paladin (tank + healer), Mage (main DPS), Scout (+ ranged DPS).
Since each area was clearly divided, this composition seemed to be the more theoretically conventional choice.
However, Ian’s role was somewhat ambiguous.
He lacked the explosive elemental damage typically associated with mages.
Until now, Pongpong had been learning medium-armor skills rather than the basic skills of a mage. The Earth Mage (physical) he developed to utilize these skills aggressively… as the name suggested, it focused on physical damage. Magic was only used to maximize physical power.
Of course, even though he had physical power, if the focus was on long-range damage, it was possible to avoid position duplication as much as possible. However, in reality, he would have to fight in close combat.
“To avoid confusion, we divided you into six groups, so go ahead and form a 4-member team within your respective group. That’s it.”
[Group 5: Mages — Lina Rosewell, Aine Gran, Gustav Yan, Danya atsnesia, Ian Blackangers]
Naturally, he was categorized as a mage and found himself in a position where he had to team up with 20 other kids.
It could have been a tricky situation, but the solution was simple.
‘I can manipulate emotions.’
Just watching from behind with mental victory.
Settling Pongpong’s affairs would still require some time. Moreover, now that he had decided to focus on his own growth, he didn’t really care about the reactions of those around him.
‘Anyway, Lina… ‘
This time, Lina Rosewell wasn’t looking in this direction as actively.
Their eyes, his blue and her green, briefly met. Her delicate brow furrowed for a moment, but soon, her gaze moved to the others
It seemed that she was diligently searching for students from other departments to form a conventional team. From Ian’s perspective, he was greatly appreciative.
As he observed the children forming their teams, someone quietly approached him.
“Ian, if you want, we could be on the same team.”
It was Danya.
“Do you know the official team composition? One knight, one priest, one mage, and one scout, right?”
“Oh, I know that! Having two mages on the same team doesn’t make sense! I didn’t come here just because you looked so pitiful being all alone, okay!? Hmph!”
With these words, Danya’s ears and tail drooped.
Her tail, which normally sparkled in the sunlight, had an unusual glow.
“Isn’t your tail different from usual today?”
“Uh… well. Heh?”
Danya made a strange noise and hid her tail.
In fact, she had woken up early in the morning and put a lot of effort into grooming her tail. The reason was…
“I-It’s not like I did it to show you or anything!”
“Of course not.”
Ian pondered for a moment.
Danya, as a mage, had some shortcomings. Due to her weak mana sensitivity, she was more like a ranged attacker using a bow, so she was closer to a long-range attacker.
‘Wait a minute.’
This team composition seemed strangely familiar.
In games like Fanta X Aca, you can’t always go with the standard team composition.
Sometimes the good combinations emerge unexpectedly.
Ian opened his mouth towards Danya, who blushed somewhat.
“Let’s team up.”
“…Huh? Huh? You want to team up with me?”
“You said we’re teammates, remember? During the last practical training.”
Danya froze in her tracks.
The word ‘teammate’ was something she hadn’t heard since entering the Academy. It felt strange, unlike her clan’s ways, which is why the term ‘teammate’ caught her off guard.
“Is something wrong with this idea?”
In response to Ian’s question, she stammered.
“No, it’s not that I don’t want to team up with you! No, it’s not that I want to, either!”
“Just tell me calmly.”
“Uh… Well… You see! I thought having two mages on the same team might be bothersome! It feels like it’s messing with the team composition…”
True, team composition for monster hunting, especially against tough opponents, often followed a standardized pattern.
But Ian shook his head.
“That’s just textbook team composition.”
Textbooks typically don’t contain the best tips and tricks.
Ian’s lips curled upward.
“… Ah! Hello. It’s been a while, Raphael.”
While talking with other kids, Lina occasionally cast sidelong glances at Ian.
She was concerned, but she didn’t plan on teaming up with him this time.
‘I need to make up for my grades during the training sessions.’
Her grades were currently a matter of concern.
Lina’s current situation was difficult.
She needed to assemble the best team possible.
Of course, it was true that Ian showed a different side for a while. Teamwork with Danya in the last search practice… It probably wasn’t bad.
‘… It’s most likely a coincidence.’
Forest scouting was like that.
If you were lucky, you could sweep up a lot of mana beads in one go.
But combat training was different.
It involved facing life-sized, mana-infused golems that mimicked real monsters. It required knowledge of the creatures, experience against them, quick decision-making, and more. It wasn’t a class where good grades just happened by chance.
— Will you team up with me…?
— Of course. We’re teammates.
Therefore, while observing Danya and Ian, who were acting like characters from a boy’s comic, Lina subtly raised her spirits. She wasn’t feeling upset but rather confident.
‘I’m going to do better than those kids this time. No, I’ll definitely outperform them.’
Lina knew Ian’s past actions well. He didn’t care about classes or his personal growth. He would simply hang out with girls and play around. He hadn’t put in any effort before, so there’s no way he could suddenly improve his skills.
Lina had no faith in Ian’s growth.
“Miss Lina, if you’re okay with it, would you like to team up with me?”
“Get lost, Elise. Lina Rosewell has already chosen our elite group.”
Several students from different departments crowded around her.
Lina would carefully select the members for her team.
One warrior, one support priest, one mage, and one scout-sniper.
‘It’s a shame that there aren’t many knights in good shape.’
It was the most classic team composition.
For Lina Rosewell, the top performer in Mezai class, it wasn’t a challenging task.
“… But we’re both mages. How are we going to fill the other roles?”
Lina looked at Ian with concern, and he shrugged.
“We’ll find others to fill those roles.”
Ian had excellent self-awareness.
That was his strength.
In reality, both Ian and Danya were among the lowest-performing students in their class.
Who would want to join this team?
There was no chance that someone would.
‘On the contrary, it would be suspicious if someone joined us.’
For example, a secret group planning to disrupt the training session, like the Bloodstone Cult.
The Bloodstone Cult was one of the Thirteen Villains, the representative evil organizations in Fanta X Aca.
It was a secret religious cult responsible for corrupting Pongpong.
As they gradually transitioned into the full-scale combat training episodes, it became crucial to keep an eye out for any unusual groups…
“Brother, this team has an unusual composition, doesn’t it?”
Ian was taken by surprise.
The sudden voice caught him off guard.
When he turned to look, he saw a well-dressed blond young man standing there.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Haha. I spoke too suddenly. May I join this team since I couldn’t find one?”
Judging by his attire, it appeared that he belonged to the Priest Department.
He had a bright smile that seemed to encompass everything.
Ian furrowed his brow.
“As you can see, we are both mages. What’s the reason for wanting to join a team like ours?”
“Challenges are an integral part of the path that those on the journey of priesthood must overcome.”
“I am Ian Blackangers. You must be quite familiar with my reputation, right?”
Despite Ian’s words, the priest continued to smile.
“It seems that Brother Ian here may have some difficulties managing his desires. But don’t worry too much. It’s not uncommon for people in the secular world to face such temptations.”
As he was speaking, the instructor announced:
— Group 5! All teams have been formed except for one! Whoever remains is automatically a team!
an let out a sigh upon hearing this.
The priest was still talking and attracting attention. When he examined the face closely, it seemed quite familiar, and he thought he might know the name.
Never did he expect there would be such a bomb among the remaining candidates…
“Don’t be too hard on yourself. When the opportunity arises, consider visiting the clergy. Even the fact that our team has formed is a blessing from the gods. You must see it as a chance for Brother Ian to engage in meaningful conversations.”
“Thank you, Priest.”
Ian smiled back, bowing his head.
But deep down, he felt differently.
‘What a pain.’
Because he was a villain.
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