Infinite Mage (Novel) Chapter 52



C52


“You know Yiruki's a member, right? All three of them are students that the academy keeps an eye on in one way or another. Although we can't interfere with who hangs out with who, the research group is not a club. Many students are absorbed in the performance evaluation, but if Shirone, at this time, joins a research group simply because he is close with them, he will fall behind.”


Thadd enjoyed the idea of a school life romance, but Siena thought differently.


'What year is he living in? Students are so bright these days. Times have changed.'


Ethella covered her mouth to hide her laugh.


“You haven't changed. Well, it's true that the three of them are promising prospects in the eyes of the academy. If his grades fall, the academy will be at a loss too.”


Siena didn't deny it.


“I do not think there's anything wrong with trying to get talented students to grow and advance forward. That's what I think education is for, after all.”


“Yes, I fully understand.”


Ethella smiled and nodded her head, making Siena regret her earlier remarks.


'She's such a good-natured person.'


She could see why students liked her.


Ethella's view of education was the complete opposite. Never favor or force someone. Siena felt that such an approach would only make the students fall behind. However, looking at the results, the kids under her care were by no means inferior to Siena's.


'Am I being selfish? I have no intention of ruining the fun of their school life… But what will be the future of the students if they end up wasting their talent?'


Siena let out a sigh.


“I don't know. I'm not sure why children who have such great potential are going down a different path. I also don't know why Shirone applied for such a place.”


Ethella silently looked down at her cup as she was lost in thought.


She was the only one who knew about Shirone's Nirvana.


The reason why she didn't report such a matter to the academy was because doing so recklessly could flip Shirone's life 180 degrees.


'It is Shirone's realm. It's his… Sigh, I had hoped that he would be able to make his own decisions for as long as possible, but it seems like…' 


Siena was his instructor, and she seemed to genuinely care about Shirone, so Ethella felt like talking about it would not be a bad idea.


“By any chance, has Shirone been acting strange lately?”


Siena blinked.


“I'm not sure, but I suppose every now and then, yes. Though, I imagine it's all because he's hanging out with them. He probably even only applied to join the research group because Nade and Yiruki persuaded him to.”


“Perhaps, there is another reason.”


“What does that…”


“I'm sorry for not telling you this before, but the reason for Shirone's strangeness has something to do with the Speed Gun exam.”


Ethella told her the story of Shirone entering Nirvana during the exam.


Siena's face turned pale.


“Are you sure? That's an Immortal Function.”


Siena was shocked. After all, it was a peak state. 


Though, that didn't mean Shirone had reached the highest peak of that state. 


In terms of the state alone, there were recorded cases of street beggars realizing deeper degrees than mages. It was too dangerous of a concept for Shirone, who was only a student, to control.


“Why did you not notify me of this sooner? This is an extremely serious problem.”


Ethella believed there was no such thing as big problems or small problems. That's why she handed the reins over to Shirone, as she believed the difficulty of a problem was dependent on who was undertaking it.


“Shirone already knows. Nirvana is the highest quality of realization that even I have never experienced. When it comes to Nirvana, I thought there was no room for anyone to intervene.”


“I understand how you feel. We can't force others to do something we don't know about. But what if there is an Overflow? Then there will be no turning back.”


Overflows occurred when a certain talent was awakened at a mentally underdeveloped age. 


In fact, some even say that the younger you experience it, the more of a genius you are. But Siena felt that those sayings were nothing more than irresponsible remarks made by gossipers.


Siena experienced Overflow at the young age of 9.


At the time, the world reflected in her eyes was not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, she was filled with even more curiosity, as the more she knew, the bigger her 'Why?' got.


Eventually, her mind bore a mysterious monster that ate at her psyche.


It was unbearably frightening, so she locked all her doors and dwelled in darkness.


Despite the continuous attention given by the Olifer Academy, her condition showed no signs of improving.


Siena remembered the darkness she had resided in for a year… Though she also remembered very clearly the single ray of light that cracked through the darkness like a miracle.


A voice that sounded like it came from a boy rang out.


 


–Siena, let's get out of here.


 


Siena could even see the gleam of the boy's golden hair from a crack in the doorway.


If that mysterious man had not reached out his hand at that time, Siena would not be here.


“Ms. Ethella.”


Siena said as she came back from her flashback.


“I suffered from Overflow as a child. I'm sure you did as well?”


It must've sounded like a silly question.


The average age at which mages reached Certified Grade 6 was 28 years old.


Siena and Ethella were both 26 years old, and they both reached certified Grade 6 six years ago.


Considering it took an average of 10 years to rise from Grade 6 to Grade 5, they ranked near the top among Grade 6 mages.


“Yes, I experienced it when I was seven years old. That's why I entered the Karsis Order. But I was lucky to meet nice people. Thanks to them, I was able to get out of it with no problem.”


Two years earlier than Siena. But it was nothing to be jealous about.


“It must have been hard.


The younger you were, the bigger the fear Overflow generated.


“It was scary. If I hadn't entered the Order, I probably wouldn't have been able to live normally.”


It was only possible because the Karsis Order was where the world's best truth-seekers gathered.


“But why are you leaving Shirone alone? I know he's a smart kid, but we're talking about the Immortal Function. His mind must have been affected. In fact, he's probably still experiencing problems.”


“There is nobody who can help Shirone. Only those who have experienced the Immortal Function can understand it. It would be different if he asked for help, but if we do things carelessly and too hastily, we might negatively affect his mind. We have no choice but to watch for now.”


Siena was frustrated.


“Then what if something irreversible happens? If there's a sudden change in Shirone's mind, then that means it's too late. No one can be responsible.”


Ethella placed down her cup and spoke.


“I don't teach students just to be responsible. I believe that Shirone will overcome it well.”


“But…”


“But.”


Ethella's eyes hardened.


“If worst comes to worst, I'm prepared to atone for the rest of my life.”


Siena closed her mouth.


Thinking that maybe what she lacked was resolution, Siena clasped her hands together.


“I understand what you mean.”


 


The Supernatural Psychic Science Research Group's H.Q.


As the iron door opened, Nade and Shirone walked through the thick clouds of dust.


“Pooh, Pooh!”


Shirone fanned his hand in front of his face to fight against the dust while Nade did not care and plopped down on the sofa.


Yiruki was playing chess.


He was alternating between white and black. His hand moved with no hesitation.


When the game ended, he lined up the horses again to start the next round.


“You're here? How was today?”


“Eh, so-so. Nothing interesting happened.”


Shirone sighed at the sight of his friends.


Yiruki skipped classes every day and played chess while the only thing Nade did after coming to the research group was sleep.


“Yiruki, you skipped today's afternoon classes, right? What are you going to do if you get suspended?”


“It's fine. I just need to raise my exam scores enough to offset my attendance.”


It was a cheeky answer, but Shirone couldn't refute because ultimately, Yiruki was right.


Currently, Yiruki was holding out in Class 5 with only his scores from STEM, as his grades in all the humanities subjects was zero. This meant that Yiruki was throwing away an easy 20-point increase to his final grade.


'Even so, isn't this too much? This is my first time seeing kids in Class 5 who don't study.'


Anyways, they knew how they were doing, so Shirone didn't do anything about it. 


In fact, Shirone felt stupid as he was ranked below them. 


“I guess I joined this research group pointlessly.”


“Yo, what're you saying? What did we do?”


“You call it a research group, but we don't do any academic activities, we just play and hang out… And yet, your grades are still better than mine. I feel more anxious because I'm hanging out with geniuses like you guys.”


Yiruki swerved his head and stared at Shirone with a blank face


' –__–'


 


“Look who's talking. Is that supposed to be a funny joke? Cause if so, I'm sorry, but it didn't do its job. I don't know if you've forgotten already, but you were the one who dumped a bucket full of humiliation on me.”


“I know, right? He's so modest to the extent that I smell a whiff of arrogance. I want to wring his neck right now.”


“No, I'm serious. Starting today, I'm going to decrease the time I spend in the research group. You guys aren't going to do the performance evaluation anyway, right? I'd rather use that time to study than sit here and watch you guys roll around in all this… dust.”


'My…'


Nade smacked his lips.


Shirone was such a model student that if he didn't get to study at least a bit every hour, he would have an uneasy expression as if he had stepped on dog poop.


“Then why don't you study here instead?”


“Huh? Here?”


“Yeah. We feel a bit bad for you, too. We want to play with you, but we feel like we're disturbing you. Not a bad idea, is it? Maybe we'll be motivated and do something, too.”


“Hmm…”


He didn't think the studying would go well, but if it could stimulate his friends, why not?


Nade, who proposed all these ideas, laid down yet again on the sofa limply and yawned.


“What now? I'm really bored.”


Shirone was taking out a book when he heard that, and a vein popped out from his temple. However, he tried to punch down that anger knowing that today wasn't the end of it. This was nothing compared to the difficulties he knew he would face in the near future while studying here, so Shirone took no heed and began studying.


Yiruki, who was now on his 34th round of chess, spoke while busily moving his pawn and bishop.


“If you have nothing to do, just read a picture book. I got one for this month. It's inside the safe.”


“Oho, really?”


Nade quickly rose up and dug through the trash pile under the table as if to dig a tunnel.


'Picture book? Is it some kind of famous painting collection?'


Nade was kind of bothering Shirone as he was wiggling around under him. But since Shirone was also interested in art, he let Nade off the hook. For now.


After slipping out from the garbage pile, Nade crawled out from under the table and waved a book in the air.


“HAHAHA! The latest release of the picture book!”


“Eh?”


Shirone's eyes grew into two circles.


The cover was far from being a book related to famous paintings. Actually, it was not at all what he imagined it to be. The background color was red, and on top of that, there was a picture of a vulgar woman on the cover. The title of the book was 'Female Body Research Group'. It was written along the sewing line.


“What on earth is that strange book?”


“Oh right, you don't know about this, do you? This right here is a picture book. A secret magazine circulated by the Shadow Research Group. It is popular among male students because it mainly has female illustrations, but it is also a source of gossip. In fact, a few months ago, some of the academy's confidential files were published.”


“Confidential? How is that possible?”


“It either means there is an infiltrator on the teacher's side, or that the research group's ability to gain information is beyond imagination… Though, it's probably the latter. The Shadow Research Group has an extreme dislike for instructor interference.”


Yiruki added.


“Should I say it's unproductive amusement for humans that have nothing to do? The academy periodically confiscates publications, but it's a branch organization, so they can't capture the main figure. I don't even know who the president is. However, the common opinion is that the leader of the Shadow Research Group is in the Advanced class.”


“Advanced Class… How does this even make sense…?”


Indeed, that person was on a completely different level compared to Yiruki and Nade's effort to kill time.


---

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