Winter was coming to an end, and it was almost time for spring.
That day, I went to school to return some books, but Fabian-sensei wasn’t there.
I came during the break, but he usually played with the kids during break, so it was rare for him not to be here. Did he have to do something?
The students are still here even if the teacher wasn’t. It was a good place to rest, especially for kids who didn’t have a home, and there was always someone here keeping themselves warm by the fireplace in winter.
The kids’ eyes lit up all at once when they saw me.
“It’s the witch!”
Yeah, you know, isn’t it mean to call me that?
“Use magic again!”
They gave me the nickname ‘witch’ after I showed them a few experiments including the alcohol rocket and the soap making.
It sounded more evil than ‘magician’. I guess they started using it because it appears in the tales in their textbooks, but is it my imagination that it sounds a little malicious?
Well, I’ll let them off the hook since they’re looking at me with such pure eyes. I’m mentally an adult after all. I’ve already got something prepared since they always pester me every time they see me.
Today I prepared a handmade firework made of iron powder obtained from sanding nails (it was a lot of work), wrapped in medicine wrap, twisted at both ends and tied to the end of a stick.
I went outside and lit it with a candle while keeping the kids away from it.
First, a small spark popped out, then a strong light popped out.
There was no gunpowder in the candle, so it went out after a short time, but the kids were thrilled. I don’t even know how many grimoires I’ve written at this rate. I’m glad they’re happy though.
“Show us more magic!”
“No can do. The limit is once a day.”
I don’t have that many experiments. It was easy for them to ask, but I couldn’t get a lot of the materials I needed, and it was quite difficult to prepare an experiment.
I gave the grimoire to the babbling kids and chased them away, then someone called out to me. I turned around and saw two white people: Fabian-sensei, and surprisingly the principal… I mean, the Chancellor Leonard.
“Hey, Aime. You’ve gotten bigger.”
The Chancellor was as cheerful and friendly as ever.
But he remembered my name even though we’ve only met once two years ago? I was surprised.
Did he come to see how the school was going?
I guess Fabian-sensei went out to greet his employer.
Anyway, I put into practice the etiquette to greet superiors that I had joked about with Rille-nee about before.
I straightened my back, tucked my chin, put one leg forward slightly, looked down and slightly bent my knees.
“It has been a while, Feudal Lord-sama. It is a pleasure to see you again.”
“Oh my. You’ve become a fine lady.”
I acted naivete after his compliment. I don’t need to humble myself that much, do I?
“Is magic being taught here as well?”
Chancellor Leonard had seen the experiment I had done earlier.
He asked in a joking tone, so I smiled and handed him the grimoire.
I don’t need to explain it to him. He probably knows that burning iron causes sparks to fly if he’s a good adult. This world has the technology to process iron.
“Eh… Did you come up with this? Or did you read it from a book?”
“Leonard-sama, all of Aime’s experiments come from her mind.”
No, they’re not original ideas even though I have made some adjustments to them. I feel bad for stealing the ideas of pioneers in my previous life since I couldn’t explain this to them.
Fabian-sensei continued to compliment me without being aware of my thoughts.
“Aime has probably read all the books published in this nation. She recently started studying other languages on her own, so I do not have anything to teach her anymore. In fact, I have learnt a lot from her on how to be a teacher. She is a really smart girl, and she has been helping out by gathering students and sharing her wisdom.”
Hmmm, I have a pretty high self-esteem, but it was creepy being praised so openly.
This is fishy. What is he up to?
Chancellor Leonard bent down to look at me and I had a bad feeling.
“Aime, I have a proposal for you.”
The words that followed were so surprising that I accidentally dropped my book on top of the burning candle.
Chancellor Leonard came to the apothecary. It was still daytime, but the store was temporarily closed for lunch. The Chancellor and Gis-nee were sitting across from each other at the table in the back while Rille-nee and I stood behind Gis-nee.
It was like a home visit, but this was a four-person meeting instead of a three-person meeting to discuss my future schooling in the capital and at a magic school of all places.
“The current Aime is capable of passing the exam.”
Chancellor Leonard looked like an experienced head teacher.
Why would the Chancellor of this nation invite a mere street girl to a magic school?
First, there are currently 50 magicians in this nation, and they all live in the capital.
It was a vague term, but you need the right aptitude to become a magician and not everyone can become one just because they tried hard.
This nation wanted more useful and powerful magicians, but unfortunately, there wasn’t a way to measure the aptitudes of a magician beforehand.
It would be nice if they had a machine to measure mana, but magic in this world comes from magic stones, so it wasn’t like people had special powers.
Still, to find out what kind of people can become magicians, researchers studied the common characteristics of magicians from the past to the present including their appearance, gender, age, place of birth, lineage, behaviour and habits.
And the answer they came up with was ‘intelligence’.
… That’s too vague!
Perhaps they couldn’t find anything in common, but using that as reference, they defined that intelligence meant someone who could study, so they built a magic school with an exam system.
This was another reason why Chancellor Leonard wanted to raise the education level of the masses.
He said, “Why don’t we let the people study to improve their intelligence and then scoop out the best of the best and educate them as magicians?”
Up until now, only nobles who were able to study were admitted into the magic school, but if they can select magicians from commoners, then they can increase the number of magicians.
If I enter magic school and become a magician, then it would show the usefulness of Chancellor Leonard’s plan for educating the masses.
That was why he was seriously trying to persuade me because I was just a small girl with no status.
He was waiting for his school to produce an outstanding student.
“You can unconditionally get a job at the palace if you become a magician. Even if you don’t become a magician, you can use the knowledge you learn to work at the Royal Institute.”
So, a national civil servant. A dazzling elite life awaited me just by me attending that school.
“I don’t think it sounds like a bad deal.”
Even so! I can get the high salary I’ve always wanted if things work out! And even if it doesn’t, I’ll be on the same level as in my previous life.
It was a great way to learn about magic which I’ve been curious about for a long time, and it was a great way for me to make life easier for Rille-nee and Gis-nee in the future.
It was such a great career path that I wanted to rub my head on the floor and beg him to let me go. From being a street kid to working in the palace, it was a hyper success story.
“I don’t have any say in this. It’s up to Aime to decide for herself.”
That was all Gis-nee said after listening to Chancellor Leonard’s explanation.
She was no longer my employer; she was more like a guardian, and she respected my decision.
“So, Aime, how do you feel about it?”
Of course, I want to go, but…
“I can’t come back here if I go to the capital, can I?”
I couldn’t answer immediately in the face of my good fortune. Perhaps Chancellor Leonard knew what I had meant, and he nodded mysteriously.
“I would like to study magic, and I want a lot of money, but if the price is living apart from my family, then I honestly cannot say that I want to go right now.”
I was surprised at this feeling.
In my previous life, I had thought that my family would eventually go our separate ways. So, I didn’t mind leaving home and flying abroad.
Looking back, I realise that it was probably because I believed I wouldn’t lose them even if everyone has their own lives.
Experiencing misfortune has made me a little cowardly.
There is no absolute protection for us here.
We don’t have social security here and people have different morals. It seems to me that life and rights are taken lightly here.
There are many kind people here, but I know that there are just as many scary people as there are kind.
I was worried that by being away from them, they wouldn’t be able to help me if something happens to me or I’ll be left alone in this world without knowing it.
It was hard for me to make up my mind since I should do what would leave me with no regrets instead of doing what I want to do.