Sometimes the Heroine Is Scarier Than the Villain
The day had dawned.
From the early morning, Ian sighed.
It was time to go to the Academy.
He was hesitant to go to the Academy.
Pongpong’s reputation had already hit rock bottom before, but after the s*icide incident, it had gone even lower, digging underground and disappearing.
It was an official development according to the scenario.
“In the game, I managed to forget about it.”
According to the original scenario, after the s*icide incident, Pongpong would disappear. It was only until he reappeared in a villainous state, wreaking havoc at the Academy in a glorious fashion.
“It was better when Pongpong was gone, though.”
He was originally known as the ‘Newbie Guillotine’.
Even players didn’t have a good opinion of Pongpong.
Come to think of it, after Pongpong disappeared, it did become harder to acquire growth buffs and items. The difficulty of raising characters suddenly increased.
I thought it was just a kind of pay-to-win mechanism.
But upon further reflection, it seemed like Pongpong’s foolishness had something to do with it.
Ian decided to cut ties with everything related to Pongpong, whether it was the growth buffs or the foolishness he had indulged in. There shouldn’t be any influence on the story due to the possession.
As Ian got up from his seat, he realized something.
“Oh right, lunchbox.”
Originally, Pongpong used to wake up early every morning and spend about two hours making lunchboxes. That was also one of the reasons Ian had woken up early from dawn.
Of course, he made lunchboxes to give to Lina.
“I have no intention of doing what Pongpong did, but…”
Lunchboxes had to be made.
The dining expenses at the Academy were quite expensive. So, in any case, he had to make a lunchbox to avoid starving.
He took out another lunchbox that had been prepared in advance and placed it on the kitchen shelf.
Ian contemplated the cooking method and boiled the ingredients appropriately. Then he packed them into the lunchbox as they were.
‘It’s just nutrition; it doesn’t matter.’
Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals.
What mattered was not the taste but the balance of nutrients.
… Come to think of it, do they have chicken b****t in this world?
Pongpong, that guy with no money, used unnecessarily expensive ingredients.
Let’s stick to a diet of chicken b****t and sweet potatoes from now on.
“I have a bit of time left.”
The cooking time was significantly reduced with modern cooking methods.
Ian stepped outside his lodging.
“Let’s train every morning.”
Regular training was essential to get stronger.
While Pongpong made lunchboxes, Ian decided to focus on training.
And he had some spells that he could use right away.
[Extraction], [Transformation], [Restoration].
Those were the three spells that Pongpong had mastered.
Of course, he would make an effort to learn new magic, but for now, it was important to refine what he already knew if he wanted to grow immediately.
It wasn’t difficult since he had already tried it yesterday.
A suit made of iron covered his arms.
“If I make this well, can I achieve Iron X?”
Cold metal encased his skin from his arms to his shoulders.
With this and a few auxiliary spells to increase destructive power, it seemed possible for Kim Ian to act like a hero in a superhero movie, just like he liked.
“Is it really right to use magic like this?”
Well, it wasn’t the game that was strange. It was Ian himself.
Pongpong, since he didn’t have any combat magic, was basically using these spells as a substitute.
It was possible because Kim Ian was a well-known player of Fanta X Aca.
“If I use it well, people will be shocked when I use it in a public.”
Is that guy performing sorcery? That’s magic!
The Archmage won’t acknowledge such things!
There would be various reactions, but it didn’t matter.
“As long as the performance is good.”
Right now, he was using iron, but with a little more effort, he wondered if he could extract a better metal like titanium.
His talent for [Extraction] and [Transformation], which Pongpong had honed to that extent, was overwhelming.
“If I had focused on myself during the time others were picking up the pieces, I might have easily reached 4 stars.”
He’s such a pitiful guy in many ways.
And Ian had no intention of becoming such a pitiable person.
Perhaps that was Pongpong’s sin.
‘Putting more effort into others than oneself.’
It’s a common mistake.
Being so concerned about how you appear to others that you paradoxically neglect yourself.
Ultimately, your self-worth diminishes, you lose interest from others, and you find yourself in a cycle of making foolish decisions to regain that lost attention.
The so-called Pongpong vicious cycle.
Pongpong had it, but Ian didn’t.
He would now focus on ‘himself’, not others.
The daily morning training was evidence of that.
There are various ways to get stronger, but Ian had no intention of slacking off on his training in the future.
After a quick shower and changing into fresh clothes, Ian left his dorm.
It was time to head to the Academy.
Located in the slightly off-kilter city-state of Lichten, which was at the heart of the continent, this was the backdrop for Fantasia X-Aca.
The grand scale of the Academy was evident, with each building being magnificent and beautiful.
The well-maintained gardens and the trees along the paths were beyond words, and even the students wandering within had a high standard in appearance and behavior.
However, as is customary wherever humans reside, living in a place that appears grand doesn’t necessarily mean people possess matching character.
In fact, there are cases where character seems to be inversely proportional to wealth. Lichten Academy, a prestigious institution, was no exception.
Around a corner of a path that circled the buildings…
With a classic sound effect, Ian collided with someone.
The books in their hands scattered.
‘I need to build some muscle.’
With that thought, Ian bowed his head slightly.
Even though he felt that the other party was responsible for the collision, manners came first.
Usually, in such a situation, when one person lowers their head like this, the other person responds with, “No, it’s my fault.”, or simply says, “I’m sorry.”, and they each go their own way as part of the unspoken rules.
Ian believed that this was common sense, whether it was in 21st-century South Korea or in an arcane, cyberpunk-style fantasy setting like Fanta X Aca.
However, this case was a bit different.
“What’s this, a pushover… No, isn’t this Ian?”
“Hey, did I bump into a trash can?”
The other party’s reaction wasn’t particularly friendly.
Ian realized that Pongpong’s reputation within the school was far from stellar. There were undoubtedly rumors about him being obsessed with girls.
But even with such rumors, the reactions were excessively hostile.
Green vines were drawn on the name tags hanging from their chests.
‘They must be from the Reconnaissance Department.’
Ian was part of the Magic Department, and there was no love lost between his department and the Reconnaissance Department.
From their appearances, the three brothers were probably the infamous Shichi trio.
“Ah, I think I dislocated my shoulder.”
“Is it okay? This is a real bummer. Hey, Ian has a lot of money, right?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. It’s fine. Ian has plenty of money.”
Ian roughly grasped the situation.
It seemed that because Pongpong had been running around trying to impress heroines, there were those who now saw him as a real pushover.
‘They’re not even funny.’
He had no intention of getting involved in this kind of childish fight. So, he chose the diplomatic route.
“Didn’t you guys bump into me first?”
Ian made a point of noting their wrongdoing, but the central member of the trio responded earnestly.
“You’re so welcome~”
The left and right members, as if acknowledging the impressive quip, laughed.
“Same old, same old!”
“Hey, wait, I’ll show you how alike we are.”
The left member, stretching their face like a monkey, opened their mouth wide
“Hahahahaha! It’s the same!”
They continued their exaggerated antics, seemingly trying to outdo each other.
Enough of this childishness, thought Ian as he picked up the books he had dropped.
‘I should definitely work on building some muscles.’
If Pongpong had spent just a fraction of the time he wasted on heroines working out, he would have become a macho man by now.
After letting out a sigh, he stood up. However, the Shichi Trio didn’t seem to want to let him go easily.
“Hey, this guy even shaved.”
“What’s going on?”
“And he even took a shower.”
“Can you guys give me a break? Don’t you have classes to attend?”
“Kya, our black sheep, my man!”
“Now he’s talking back to us.”
“Just because you’re good with the girls doesn’t mean you can mess with us.”
Ian decided to ignore them and walked on.
Even in a fantasy academy like this, there had to be consequences for bullying.
‘It’s a bad idea to mess with guys who know how to use magic.’
Ian continued walking, intending to leave them behind. But just as he turned to go, something unexpected happened.
“Hey, Ian’s ignoring us~!”
“I won’t hit him. I won’t. But, Ian being so clean and all, we’re not used to it.”
…What are they up to?
As he turned to look behind him, something unexpected happened.
“Oops, I dropped the dirt!”
The central Shichi brother tossed something in his hand, and Ian’s vision was suddenly filled with dirt.
‘I can’t avoid this.’
In that split second, Ian remembered the training he had done yesterday and today.
<Extraction> was of no use here.
‘Then <Transformation> it is.’
He pulled out the mana and quickly cast the spell.
Being an Earth elemental mage, Ian had control over earth magic.
The scattered dirt instantly gathered into a round shape.
He casually tilted his head, and the compacted dirt ball meekly rolled aside.
The Shichi brothers were left dumbfounded.
They were about to say something when a voice came from behind.
An angry voice echoed from behind.
As Ian turned to look, he immediately recognized her.
With her fiery red hair, she had a friendly and sociable personality, fitting for an elf-blooded character. She was a 3.5-star character in the early stages, with a 5-star potential rating. A Fire Elementalist and consistently the number one choice in the “Characters You Want to Get Closer To” poll on the Player’s Gate website.
She was also the heroine who had crushed Pongpong’s homemade lunch a few days before the s*icide.
— You brought another lunch box because there was leftover food? But why me? Why are you giving it to me?
Hence, she was one of the candidates for pushing Pongpong.
‘Let’s get out of here quickly.’
Ian immediately lowered his head.
To be honest, the heroine was scarier than the Shichi brothers.
The Shichi trio might pick on people, but the heroines aimed to kill.
‘I hope she didn’t see me.’
As he was about to slip away, something unexpected happened.
“They’re so mean, aren’t you hurt?”
With that kind voice, she grabbed Ian’s arm.
Was this kindness genuine or just an act?
Ian decided to stop hiding his face and looked at Lina.
“Huh? Ian? How did you…? Hup!”
As if she had made a mistake, Lina covered her mouth with her hand.
Of course, the smile that seemed infinitely kind to him also crumpled in an instant.
“You see, Ian… um…”
Lina stammered, clearly flustered.
Ian could guess why.
She was probably worried that Pongpong might misunderstand her kindness.
If Pongpong had such a misconception, he would probably start planning their wedding and naming their future children.
‘Since it’s so obvious that he might jump to that conclusion, she probably dislikes it.’
If Lina was the culprit, the moment she did something Pongpong disliked, the probability of him suddenly “committing s*icide” would skyrocket.
Ian had a clear rule for dealing with situations like this:
“Don’t worry about it. I won’t have any misunderstandings now. See you.”
Ignoring the bewildered Lina, Ian walked away.
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