Chapter 5: Meeting With Senpai
The door opens slightly, and Anastasia is sucked inside. The door closes automatically after that.
But Anastasia was so engrossed in the scene inside that she didn’t notice the door was shut.
It was a small room filled with books, similar to a library. On both sides of the room, bookshelves were installed. A transparent sphere with wing-like designs growing out of it was set into the back wall.
Beneath the wing was a small table and chair, at which sat a young man.
Anastasia wondered for a moment if it was just decoration because the young man blended into the room as if it were a part of it.
But then his silver hair swung, and his slitted violet eyes, fixed on a book, shifted to Anastasia. His expression, like that of a carefully chiseled statue, is tinged with wonder, as if breathing life into a lifeless image.
“…I’m surprised—this is the first time that anyone has visited this room.”
In the quiet room, a small voice that appears to be talking to her echoes clearly.
Anastasia, who thought she was in a fantasy world, is jolted awake by the sound of that voice.
“I-I sorry for entering here without permission…”
Anastasia, stunned, manages to mumble an apology.
When you think about it that way, it’s as if you’ve entered a locked room. It’s not a dungeon. So Anastasia is sorry for being so impolite.
“Please do not apologize because this is also not my room—I stay here by myself. It’s just that this location was obscured, and it has a unique magic formula. From the looks of it, you’re a student here, but I’m surprised you managed to get in.”
His shapely, unrealistic face contorts into a gentle smile.
His words relieve Anastasia, and she notices that he is dressed in a boy’s school uniform. Because of the three lines on his collar, he must be a third-year student.
“Oh, by the way, I’m Brandt, a third-year student. You’re a freshman student? You’re a freshman and yet you’ve found this place? Could you be the new student rumored to have used advanced magic as her first practical skill?”
He appears to have noticed Anastasia’s expression. In confusion, he says his name and looks at Anastasia’s uniform.
“Y-Yes, I believe… No, I don’t know. My name is Anastasia, and I’m a first-year student. And Brandt-senpai is a third-year student…?”
She wasn’t sure if she was the new student he was talking about, but she’d used advanced magic in her practical skills, so she probably was.
—More importantly, the name Brandt rang a bell from my previous life.
He was said to be the most gifted genius since the academy’s inception, at the top of his third year, with enormous magical power. He was also said to be the most attractive boy in school, and I recall there was even a fan club for him.
Seeing him up close like this, I’m convinced he’s as attractive as everyone says. I feel like I’ve seen him somewhere before, but I’m pretty sure it was the last time I saw him.
I didn’t talk to him at the time, and the only time I saw him was when he was surrounded by girls.
“Anastasia-san, I understand. I’m currently in my third year. I discovered this place in my second year and have been coming here ever since; people who follow me don’t come this far, so I can remain calm.”
“It’s true, the formula is from the de…, No, it’s an ancient formula that should be difficult to break.
She almost says ‘demon tribe’s formula,’ but Anastasia quickly corrects herself.
Despite their immense magical powers, demons have a bad reputation among the general public. It’s best to keep the fact that you know the formula to yourself.
It’s also true that the ancient and demon tribe’s formulas are very similar.
“Do you know the ancient formula, Anastasia-san? No, I’m sure you do, because you can see right through them. I’m relieved I’m not alone—come on, sit down, sit down.”
Brandt pulls another chair from the corner and places it in front of the table, offering it to Anastasia.
Anastasia takes a seat in the chair.
—He was a colleague in my previous life who could be described as “above the clouds” in the academy. I’m assuming his position in the academy hasn’t changed, so he must be a distant individual.
When I see him smiling at me this close, I wonder what’s going on.
“When I came in here and broke through, I used the [Erase] spell; how did Anastasia-san do it?”
[Erase] is a magical spell that temporarily suspends its effects.
“I sensed a strange presence, so I used [Detect] to locate the door.”
“Only with the [Detect] spell? How much magic did you put into it?”
“There isn’t much magic. I just needed to work on the formula… Uhm, something like this.”
Anastasia activates the [Detect] spell on the spot, and Brandt’s expression fades. A sigh of admiration escapes after a brief moment.
“…This is a very delicate formula. I’m embarrassed by my use of brute force.”
“No, even if you call it brute force, breaking through with the [Erase] spell is something that ordinary people cannot do.”
From Anastasia’s point of view, using your own magic to break through that cover is even more impressive.
For example, if Anastasia used her skill to open an iron door by inserting something like a wire into the keyhole, Brandt might as well have beaten the door itself open with his bare hands.
Even Anastasia in her prime could not have done it on her own magical power. It’s not so bad if you use the formula for absorbing magical elements, but it’s not a widely known formula.
“Brandt-senpai, did you use the magic formula for capturing magical elements?”
Brandt looks confused when she asks him.
He appears to only use his own magical power, as I suspected.
“…It seems you know some interesting tricks. What do I have to pay you for this?”
“I could give you a rundown of the formulas I’m familiar with and the magical tools I own. If you want, you can use me as a test subject, and then…”
“Wait… Wait a second!”
Anastasia cuts him off, perplexed by Brandt’s excited string of words.
Then Brandt’s face darkens.
“I see… I doubt you could teach me this kind of magic…”
“No… It’s not that, it’s the price…”
“Of course, you’re going to teach me something, so it’s only natural that I should compensate you, right?”
When Anastasia asked in disbelief, Brandt tilted his head.
Anastasia had previously been willing to give her life for the hero and her fellow party members. They took it for granted that she would use magic or teach them something despite being chastised for being slow.
She had never received a single word of thanks.
—In my past life, I had paid for things but never received them.
Brandt, on the other hand, is willing to pay the price and does so routinely.
He treats her as an equal and does not try to take anything away from her.
It’s the one thing that makes Anastasia’s dry heart feel moistened.
“Um… I mean… If you could learn something from me, that would be great, I..
Anastasia tried to tell him that she was willing to teach, but the words didn’t come out right.
Her voice was muffled, but Brandt appeared to understand what she was saying. His face brightened visibly.
“Thank you very much! So we’ll have to teach each other—ask me anything about magic formulas, the Academy’s dungeon strategy, or the exam’s question pattern!”
Anastasia is pleased to hear Brandt’s voice, which is tinged with a wide smile, and she thinks he is a man of many expressions.
—I had never had a study partner in my previous life. It warms my heart to know that I have achieved the normal student life that I yearned for but couldn’t get.
“… Then…I, Huh? It’s shining…”
Anastasia was about to open her mouth to tell him something when she noticed the transparent sphere embedded in the wall was glowing faintly.
“Hmm? …what is it?”
Brandt also looked in Anastasia’s direction.
Under their gaze, the transparent sphere emitted a bright light, shrouding the entire room in white darkness.