8th Class Mage Side Story 7 – The Connecting Link (2)
The boy, while Ian knew that he should not think such things…
‘Isn’t he ugl…’
Ian pushed down the thought since judging others by their face was the wrong thing to do. Ian had not been surprised because of the boy’s face, but because of the color of the boy’s hair, his shoddy appearance, and the fact he was a mage reminded him of someone except for his age and weak mana heart.
‘It’s a coincidence.’
Ian had the power to read the essence of a person now and was certain that the boy was an ordinary child. While he was still a mage, in Ian’s eyes, he was plain as vanilla.
“I know that it’s time for you to sleep, and it should be impossible for you to come out of your bed.”
Ian’s question was sensible, as living as a student in this academy was quite a severe experience, and the hours for sleep were strict. However, this student was crying outside, which was quite unexpected.
The boy hesitated like he had a burden in his mind.
“You can speak. If you were treated badly, I could fix it for you. I’m quite powerful, you know.”
“Higher than professors?”
“I appointed him.”
Ian was not lying, as no one in the academy or the Tower was in a higher position than Ian.
“Then, are you…”
“The Ivory Tower.”
“I’m at the top there.”
Ian revealed his identity as the Lord of the Ivory Tower, and the boy’s eyes widened in surprise. Why was the Lord here in this garden at this time?
“It’s a lie…”
“Look at me. You learned about me in a class and have seen my portrait. The greatest Lord who has the same hair color as you and always wears a blue robe. He’s younger than one would expect and has countless achievements under him.”
Ian was praising himself, but the problem was that he was speaking the truth.
“What do you think?”
“It’s quite something, right?”
The boy shut his lips, as he had learned about Ian in class. Ian Page’s name came up quite often, but he had expected Ian to be a more stoic person.
If this man was really the Lord of the Ivory Tower, the boy would need to rethink the image he had of Ian Page beforehand.
Ian cleared his thoughts at the boy’s quiet response. Had he gone too far? Ian found it necessary to move on to another subject.
“Well, since I introduced myself, I want to know who you are.”
The boy opened his mouth with some difficulty, and it seemed that he had a habit of covering his mouth with one hand when speaking from some sort of a complex or trauma.
“…My name is Narf, and I passed my mana response test two years ago. I entered the academy last year and am now on my second year.”
Narf’s name was rare in the Greenriver Empire.
“Narf, that’s a nice name.”
Ian found the name easy to pronounce, which was a plus.
“Narf, I will not question how you came out of your room, but I am curious why you were crying.”
Ian spoke in a dignified manner that fit his position as the Lord.
“…I did not come out.”
“I…was sleeping here.”
Ian concentrated on the boy’s unexpected answer.
“They would not let me in…”
“They, do you mean your friends?”
Narf nodded carefully. He did not think of them friends but did not want to explain in length who they were.
“They said that I smell…”
Ian’s brow furrowed, as he could not smell anything, and even if there was a smell, it was no reason to chase another student out of the dormitory.
“They… don’t like me.”
“They say that I’m ugly, smelly, and stupid…I don’t know how to move mana in practice…”
The boy was being bullied. How could students in this academy, who would be the greatest elites of humanity, do something like this?
‘What is the world coming to?’
Ian shook his head and observed Narf’s face at the same time. He could tell that the boy spent his life in fear, and his swollen eyes were probably the result of crying all night long.
‘His natural talent lacks something…’
The boy’s mana heart and mana brain were below average and had little room for development.
‘However, even if so…’
Ian could not let this slide by, and the boy spoke on, having someone hear him.
“I can bear them teasing me, even if it annoys me. However…!”
Narf stopped talking to fist his hands, as their teasing was not the thing that angered him.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t.”
“You can’t what?”
“What we learn here in this academy. I try my best to listen to classes, review, and practice…!’
Magic required talent, and hard work had its limits. Therefore, Narf had tasted failure, as he could not achieve anything despite working harder than anyone else. Could a thirteen-year-old kid bear such frustration?
However, Ian was surprised by the boy placing weight on his failure rather than teasing.
“So, you’re saying that while you understand what you learn here, you’re angry because you cannot apply it. Is that right?”
Narf nodded as an answer to Ian’s question.
“Is that so…”
Ian thought things over, as even being the Lord, he could not really fix such problems before students. While he could scare those who bullied Narf, he could not solve a fundamental level.
‘One good thing is this boy’s personality.’
If he was angrier at his meager talent rather than teasing, it meant that if he gained the power to fulfill his understanding, the boy would be able to beat the bullying.
‘Even I can’t change his inborn talent…’
Ian thought it impossible until a memory flew into his mind.
‘Come to think of it…’
Ian remembered the gift he had received from the dragons when he had allied with them. Reseesee Radenju had given him an orb made of her mana, which had been useless for Ian.
‘It would be in my pocket.’
He had completely forgotten about it, but a student would be able to reap great effects by digesting the orb.
‘Eating this won’t instantly make someone a great mage.’
The orb would not increase magical powers but enhance the boy’s potential in his mana heart and mana brain.
‘Should I give it to him?’
The problem was whether Ian could give such a gift to this strange boy. Ian could think of more than six who would receive this gift with the utmost gratitude. So, was there value in giving this kid the orb?
Ian would not have even considered the matter, as he was not benevolent enough to give such a gift to a stranger.
However, the boy was too similar to Fran Page, who Ian both loved and hated.
‘I feel strange.’
However, Ian was not wary of the boy and instead found himself looking at him.
“I really am the Lord, you know.”
Ian answered briskly at the boy’s careful question, which was heavier than lead for a boy who just began his path as a mage.
“Lord! I am sorry…”
“I did not say that to make you apologize.”
Ian waved his hand, and he had decided to give the orb to the boy. It was simple. Reseesee Radenju would give him another orb if he asked for it, so Ian decided to follow his heart.
Ian called the boy and put his hand to his other-dimension pocket to bring out the orb he had completely forgotten about. He took out a small red orb and checked if it was still effective, which of course, it was.
“While it won’t be tasty, swallow it to find a miracle.”
Narf received the orb and pressed it with his finger and the tip of his tongue. There was no flavor.
“What is this?”
“A dragon’s orb.”
Narf’s eyes widened at the situation.
“Are you really the Lord of THE Ivory Tower?”
“You said that you studied hard. Then you’ll know who I am.”
“Then, that’s enough.”
Ian added a word at Narf’s hesitation.
“Kid, while I am giving you a huge gift, I will take it back if you don’t want it. That may be your fate.”
While Ian had handed out the orb in an unexpected moment, he also had no intention of forcing it on someone who did not want it.
“If you don’t want it…”
“I’ll eat it!”
Narf opened his mouth in a determined manner to swallow the red orb. He closed his eyes, and every inch of his body tensed. If it was part of a dragon, the boy thought he would need to be prepared for whatever dramatic change that would come.
However, the strange thing was that nothing happened.
Narf remained in the same pose for a while and then opened his eyes to look at Ian. The man was laughing playfully.
There was no change and the guy who called himself the Lord was laughing.
“Of course, I was lying.”
“It was just pig’s liver rolled into a ball.”
Narf was confused, and Ian added on to that with his words.
“Kid. How can you expect such a windfall in your second year when you need to push yourself further!”
Narf blinked since Ian’s voice was not threatening. He actually smirked.
“Since I cannot ignore such a student, I will come once a month to check on you unexpectedly. If I find you had not been faithful to your studies, I will remove you from this school!”
“Then, I have to go since I’m busy!”
Ian did not let Narf question him, as he disappeared with a teleport spell right after his speech.
Narf was left alone, and he now tilted his head.
Narf was certain now that he was the Lord of the Ivory Tower, as the man’s face, attire, and his teleport spell were all evidence to that claim.
“What was that…?”
Narf asked himself the question again, as he felt like he had been hoodwinked.
“…I don’t know what happened.”
The sun had risen completely, and the students would be called to check morning attendance. Narf went out of the garden and decided that he would think about what had happened today when there was time.
‘But…I feel good.’
Was this because he had met that man? He was feeling relieved, and his steps were light as he headed back to the hellish dorm. He thought that things would become better if he managed to feel like this today and tomorrow.
“Yes, that man was right. I should just work twice as hard each day. Then, I would be able to succeed. I’m a student that had entered here after passing that test. I can do it!”
Did Narf know that the orb he had swallowed was actually from a dragon? A long time from now, he would be the succeeding Lord of the Ivory Tower as a new eighth-class mage and overcome many obstacles.