We were incredibly busy for a while.
In between class and assignments, we often discussed and assembled the raft and spells while arguing, and of course, the juniors and dorm caretakers found out about our project, so we either made them keep quiet about it or made them help with the project.
Some of them agreed easily while others didn’t, but the latter was silenced with a word from Alec.
We practiced magic during this time.
Mary’s control was getting better by the time summer passed. She was more conscious of her breathing and seemed to have gotten the hang of casting magic.
Even so, there were times when things didn’t go well and we felt like giving up, but each time this happened, we all encouraged each other to keep going.
I also practiced magic and could channel more power. It felt gross, but I couldn’t let Mary do all the hard work and slack off.
It was late autumn when we finally carried out our plan after repeated trial and error and experimentation.
We took the raft out of the garden and unfurled the sail made of sheets on a day off.
The top of the mast was decorated with a bird feather (which we picked up from the area) to pray for a safe flight. Each member of the crew tied a rope around their waist and fastened the other end to the mast. None of us would be thrown overboard this way.
The juniors who helped us were standing around and observing our project. They were the ones who helped us carry the raft.
Let me introduce the crew before we set out.
First, Alec and Mary are responsible for the important engine that keeps the raft afloat. The raft was quite heavy, so I assigned two people to the engine; both of whom have more mana than the others.
The two in charge of steering the raft are Rock and I. I will magically make the wind blow and Rock will control the direction of the sail.
We learnt how to operate the sails and set up the mast from a shipwright in the capital introduced to us by Tosh. We did a lot of inspections and operational checks.
Cliff was in charge of the safety. He could activate his magic quickly and had perfect control, so we asked him to quickly deal with any malfunctions, and to rescue anyone who fell.
And Matty was tied to the mast and wasn’t able to move.
“H-hey, why am I the only one who’s tied up like this?”
“Because we’ll be sad if you fall.”
I feel like Matty is going to fall off the raft no matter how tightly we tie him up.
He was clumsy and unlucky. He didn’t have any role, but he worked hard to get this project to this point.
“Now, are we ready? You know the spell for when someone falls right?”
“It’ll be alright,” Alec said on Cliff’s behalf.
I nodded in agreement and so, allow me to take the lead with your permission.
“Then, let’s set sail!”
Mary and Alec responded to my words and cast their spells.
The raft was pushed up to the sky in an instant and the juniors screamed and cheered.
I also let out a funny scream and got down onto my hands and knees.
The raft continued to float in the air, swaying a little as it soared above the roof of the school.
The first stage was a success!
“Can you see it, Alec?! The capital is below us!”
“Yeah, I can see it.”
Alec gazed at the colourful cityscape below with a flushed face while maintaining his magic.
Everyone else was gawking at the sight too.
“Rock, hold onto the sails tightly! Let’s take to the skies!”
I prepared my magic too and chanted the spell to depart.
“Ze, yui, touille.”
The wind blew from behind the sail, gliding the raft through the air.
The wind magic that was pushing us up from below was fixed under the board, so that the raft wouldn’t be unbalanced by the wind and fall. The spell was completed with the help of everyone’s wisdom.
We left the grounds of the magic school and the raft moved forward under the blue sky.
How do we look to the people down below? Imagining how the people in the capital felt made this more fun.
The wind, which felt different from when I was on the ground, brushed against my cheeks.
A small bird overtook us.
I want to fly faster.
I want to fly as fast as them.
“I’m picking up the speed! Rock, just keep controlling the sail as you are.”
I’ve also grown in the past six months.
I was able to use more powerful magic than before even though I wasn’t anywhere close to Alec and Mary’s level. When I increased the power output, the raft moved much faster and shook a lot.
“Stop it! We won’t be able to control the raft anymore!”
“Do your best! Let’s go beyond the castle walls.”
We’ve already crossed the first gate.
I want us to go beyond the second gate, where the horizon meets the blue sky.
“We can go anywhere like this!”
“That’s not a good idea!”
Cliff panicked and casted a spell to change the direction of the wind and Rock quickly tilted the sail to reverse our direction.
But I saw the harbour just as we were turning around.
“It’s the sea.”
Alec leaned forward and gazed ahead.
“You want to go there? On top of the sea!”
“Yeah, let’s go.”
“Just for a little while!”
Alec insisted and Rock reluctantly steered the sail towards the sea.
“Alec and Mary, lower the altitude!”
I requested as we crossed the harbour.
As we dropped just above the sea level, the wind splashed the sea water up, sending glistening droplets around us.
This is so much fun!
I laughed with my mouth wide open, so some sea water got into my mouth.
“Should we go to the other side of the sea?!”
Rock, Cliff, and Mary all got mad at me.
Ahahaha, ah, this is fun.
I never knew that flying could be so much fun. It’s so much better than flying in an aeroplane. It was so nice that I could even forget about the gross feeling I get when I use magic.
This feeling wasn’t just because of the wonderful scenery but also because I’m with like-minded people.
“It’s fun, isn’t it Alec?”
I peeked at him from the side and saw that he was smiling, then I continued.
“Do you know the difference between saying one’s true feelings and just saying something to save face?”
Alec glanced at me this time and I looked onto the scene below us.
“I won’t be able to call you Alec anymore in six months. I will look at you from afar and call you Your Highness the Prince and speak to you using honorifics, no matter how strange it feels. But we’ll still be friends.”
That was how I really felt. That lord and retainer relationship will just be a pretext.
“Today we flew together as equals even though we will no longer talk casually or stand next to each other in the future. The days we’ve spent here happily will never disappear. Even though our position may change, our unchanging past will be proof that we are friends.”
So, please, don’t look lonely. I want to tell you that.
I said it loudly so Cliff, Mary, Matty and Rock could hear me.
Friends from school are friends for life.
I smiled at Alec, and he laughed back in surprise.
Alec looked around at all of us.
“I was able to make my dreams come true thanks to you all. I’m glad that I came to this school. I consider you all my friends too, always.”
No one said that those words were too much for someone like them. This was a conversation for here and now.
We all became friends before we knew it.
After flying around the capital to our heart’s content, we returned to the ground and shook hands with each other to celebrate our success.
People may scoff and say that royals, nobles and commoners can’t be friends, but we are all people even if we are divided by status. We can connect as people.
Later, the teachers returned from the palace while we were giving the curious juniors a ride. They must have seen us flying in the sky.
We didn’t regret a thing even though the raft was taken from us and we were banned from going out on our days off for a while as punishment for our dangerous behaviour.
We had done what no one else had ever done before.
I was filled with pride.