Chapter 9: Hoyle’s Defeat
Anastasia was taken aback by Regina’s invitation to become friends, but she quickly agreed.
Brandt is a friend, but more in the sense of a senpai.
In any case, she was unquestionably her first female friend.
Anastasia’s heart flutters.
Regina appears pleased as well, which makes Anastasia happy.
She stayed in Regina’s room and talked about magic spells, beauty, and a variety of other topics, and the time flew by.
“I had a fantastic day today—please refer to me as Gina.”
“And… May I address you as Tasha?”
They promised to call each other by their nicknames as they parted ways.
Anastasia, who had never been called that before, was perplexed, but a warm tingling sensation filled her chest.
The next morning, she had breakfast with Regina in the canteen. People around them cast a few curious glances their way, but no one approached them.
As they walked to the classroom together, Hoyle looked at Anastasia with a stunned face.
“What the hell…?”
Hoyle freezes, his mouth agape.
Anastasia ignored him and focused her attention on straightening her back.
—The hunchback has become so ingrained in my body that it seems to return whenever I relax a little.
But now that I know I can be beautiful even when I thought I was ugly, being self-conscious is actually nice.
The class has begun, and we must relocate because we have some practical lessons to complete today.
Hoyle was trailing Anastasia, looking as if he wanted to say something.
Anastasia is unconcerned and continues on her way with Regina.
When they are near the courtyard, she sees Brandt walking towards them.
He’s wearing a robe over his uniform, as he did yesterday, but there’s no one around to hang out with him today.
When her classmates see Brandt, they are ecstatic.
“That’s Brandt-senpai, the top of the third-year students—I can’t believe I’ll be able to see him up close, and—he’s coming this way.”
Regina speaks in hushed tones.
Brandt walks quickly and comes to a halt in front of Anastasia.
As they face each other, Anastasia finds that Brandt is so tall that she has to look up a little.
“You changed your hair, Anastasia—It suits you well.”
Brandt says this to her, smiling.
Anastasia is befuddled by a flurry of emotions, including happiness and shyness.
“T-Thank you very much…”
Anastasia feels her face heat up and somehow manages to respond.
Her classmates are all staring at her. They are perplexed as to why Brandt, who is at the top of his class in his third year, is so warm to Anastasia.
Regina is standing next to Anastasia, looking shocked.
“…Just because she changed her hair doesn’t mean she changed her ugly face.”
The voice of Hoyle echoes.
Brandt’s face becomes solemn.
“… Who are you?”
Brandt’s icy gaze shifts to Hoyle, who cowers for a split second.
But, as if to straighten up, Hoyle turned to face Brandt.
“My name is Hoyle! Don’t get too cocky if you believe you’re at the top of your third year! —I’m going to beat you!”
Hoyle screams loudly, but it looks like he’s bluffing to disguise his fear.
A cold smile appears on Brandt’s face.
“Yes. I like your spirit. However, if you are a member of the magician’s circle, I hope you will demonstrate your strength rather than your words. They say the weakest dogs bark the loudest. If you truly believe you can beat me, I am ready. What do you think? After school today? Or maybe tomorrow?”
Hoyle winces, perhaps surprised at how easily he was drawn into the fight.
Apparently, he wasn’t stupid enough to not realize that there was a difference in power.
Hoyle is only amazing for a first-year student, no matter how many magic spells he has or how good he is with intermediate magic spells. He’ll never be able to compete with Brandt, who is said to be more skilled in advanced magic than even the teachers.
Just standing here gives Brandt a sense of intimidation. Even from Anastasia’s vantage point, the disparity in class was obvious.
Hoyle stands frozen and pale, like a frog staring at a snake.
“You must accept responsibility for your words—you can’t take them back once they’re out of your mouth—and I have something else to tell you.”
Following the admonition, Brandt approaches Hoyle and whispers something into his ear.
“… That… That’s not true! That is not the case!”
Hoyle becomes terrified; his previously pale face turns red, and he screams.
Brandt sees this and chuckles.
“If you make a mistake, you should apologize—anyone who cannot say [thank you] and [I’m sorry] is a jerk.”
Hoyle clenches his fists in frustration and looks to the ground.
“Or perhaps you’d like to discuss it with me through a magical spell? —Don’t worry, I’m good at making sure you don’t get killed.”
“O-Okay, okay! I’m sorry! I’m sorry for cursing you! —Is that enough for you?!”
Hoyle succumbed in front of Brandt, who smiled brightly.
Hoyle shouted at Anastasia, bowed his head like a woodpecker before running away.
“…I guess that’s the best I can do—well, I’d better get going.”
Brandt smiled and walked away.
Anastasia remained stunned as she managed to respond.
Regina, who is standing next to her, and her classmates are all speechless.
“…We have to get moving.”
Someone mumbles something after a while in a muffled voice.
Finally, everyone began moving in a single file, but no one said anything, and the march to practical training became a silent one.