24.2 The Man Named Tobias Gardner
“I, I was saved…”
The large male student sank into the ground while wiping the sweat off his forehead. At the same time, he was coughing.
“Are you okay? It’s nothing much, but at the very least, you can wipe your face using this.”
When the man’s breathing finally calmed down, Sharina gently offered her handkerchief.
“O, oh, thank you…”
Although his physique and face were quite distinctive, the fact that she didn’t recognize him was probably because he was a senior.
“What on earth were you doing in such a high place?”
It was one week after the end of summer break. She was delighted whenever she got to meet Riol, and lamented whenever she didn’t get the chance. She welcomed the first day of school dearly.
When they came to the backyard for lunch as usual, they noticed that during those few weeks, the trees had grown larger. Then, they saw a cat crying desperately while looking at the top of the tree—and at the tip of the tree’s branch, someone was hanging upside down.
The turn of events was so overwhelming, Sharina didn’t know where to start.
“Haha, the cat got stuck, so I thought I’d help. …How surprising, you were able to cast a difficult spell like water column. Fire spells easily spread everywhere, while all you need to do when casting earth magic is pile up the soil—as such, creating a pillar out of water is really hard.”
“Eh? Oh no, the magic earlier wasn’t exactly the result of my magical prowess, per see…”
Riol quickly grasped the situation and moved. Immediately taking out an amulet from his jacket, he instructed her to conjure up a water column.
“It didn’t exactly happen because of me.”
“No! The one who invented this amulet is you, Riol! I’m merely putting it into use…”
“As the caster, your presence is essential. The source of that magical power boost was those flowers—I have no intention of taking credit.”
“Then, how about this? Let’s chalk it up as our first time working together as a couple!”
“How did it come to that?”
The amulets he had been making so far, and also that new amulet, were very, very amazing—despite so, that boy kept underestimating his skill.
“During our bouquet tossing, let’s toss a bunch of blood-sucking flowers!”
“Said bouquet tossing will cause unmarried women to run away like baby spiders, then.”
By the way, as usual, her casual advance was being casually deflected. What a shame.
“Umm, what are the two of you talking about?”
“Oh, forgive me. Don’t pay any mind to it.”
When she turned around, the man who had been sitting on the ground was already standing up and staring at them.
It seemed that she had forgotten about him.
“You guys saved me. I’m Tobias Gardner. It’s been three years since I started my knighthood, however, as of now, I’m merely a transfer student. I’ve just returned from studying abroad during the summer of this year.”
Perhaps, Tobias Gardner realized how ill-mannered it was to try to shake their hands while he was still soaking wet.
“The two of you are my benefactors. Please, let me have your names. Also, feel free to refer to me as Tobias.”
Speaking of Gardner Family, it was a well-known duke house—even Sharina knew about that house. They were a family of knights who had been leading the knights of that kingdom for generations.
“My name is Sharina Clydea, a freshman at the Practical Magic Department.”
“I’m Riol Glen, a freshman at the Research of Written Magic Department.”
Even if they were told to be at ease, considering the man’s age and status, they had to remain mindful about their actions. The academy’s policy may be, ‘All students are the same, no matter their status’— but at the end of the day, it was merely a statement.
Did Tobias truly mean it when he said that? Or was he expecting, ‘No! As if I could address someone with as high a stature as you informally!’ as a reply? It was necessary to determine whether his personality was the former, or the latter.
“Then, may I call you Sharina and Riol? Thank you very much!”
Tobias himself confirmed that he was the former.
“That’s right, won’t you tell me the method you used to save me? What is this ‘working together as a couple’ you guys were talking about? Is it some kind of magical formation? However, during the chant, I only heard Sharina’s voice?”
“Actually, it’s this amulet that was made by Riol—such is his talent. Of course, his innate abilities aren’t merely limited to creating amulets—he also possessed an enormous amount of knowledge, is quick-witted, and has excellent judgment…”
“…Don’t derail from the topic.”
She decided it was okay to go off topic a little and boast about Riol’s awesomeness—but the person in question stopped her.
In the first place, she didn’t remember derailing from the topic—she was merely bringing up the main topic! Unmistakably so! Not to mention, she was getting to the good part!
“I used an amulet that absorbs magical power from non-human objects to amplify magic. Because it’s a prototype, it’s still unstable. There’s also a drawback—the resulting magic tends to move towards the source of magical power…”
“Such an amulet existed-?! Why, that’s amazing-!! Riol invented it-!? Awesome-!! Are you a genius?!”
On behalf of Sharina, Riol briefly explained the amulet.
“There is a field of blood-sucking flowers just below the branch of tree you were hanging from—that’s where I drew the magical power from.”
“Ah, those flowers that sting like crazy and cause insane swelling afterwards? They have grown to an extent that a flower field was created?!”
“It seems that they have all withered. This kind of magical plant dies when its magical power is lost.”
“I see, your amulet truly can absorb magical power …wow, that’s just, wow.”
Tobias Gardner praised and listened to Riol’s explanation with shining eyes. The man listened attentively to Riol’s explanation. Even after introducing themselves to each other, he didn’t make a fool out of Riol whom, was a student of Written Magic Department.
“Those blood-sucking flowers actually have a use, after all… it seems that I owe them my thanks.”
“Actually, the reason that tree became that huge in the first place was due to those flowers. The magic of those flowers nurtured the tree—thus, the blood-sucking flowers are the main cause.”
“You can even make sense of that, that’s really amazing of you, Riol!”
That big man deserved a praise. Indeed, Riol was amazing.
Sharina’s impression regarding Tobias was rising steadily.
“Hm…? Wait… Riol? Amulet…?”
However, Tobias, who had been listening to the story with brimming excitement until that point, seemed to have realized something. He immediately put his hand on his mouth.
“Black hair, I see, the length is also about to touch the shoulders…”
Tobias suddenly narrowed their distance. Then, he scraped Riol’s long bangs up, and peered into his face—
“—The eye color is also dark green—it matches!”
“U, uhm, what are you…?”
“Ah, forgive me!”
What was he confirming, exactly? Without receiving an answer to that question, Sharina found herself being stared by the man.
“Sharina, could it be, you’re from the family of a count?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
Without understanding the intent of his question, Sharina answered, a little baffled.
“You guys are that couple-! From that play-! Baron Lurio and Countess Rishana, a pair of lovers whom were about to be torn apart by Prince Leopold-!”
‘Everything makes sense, now!’—while exclaiming such, Tobias clenched his fist.
That time, rather than being a little baffled, Sharina tilted her head.
***T/N: In Tobias’ defense, he’s a cat person. A cat person can’t be a bad person.
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