Chrome Shelled Regios:Volume11 Impact of Childhood 03
Impact of Childhood 03
How was she going to resolve this situation...... Felli thought deeply.
Felli truly felt that it was very unexpected that she would act without thinking. But since she couldn't realize her desires if she didn't do that, then it was all she could do.
It was obvious that the outcome wasn't decided.
An extremely fearsome 'enemy' had arrived.
She was an even tougher opponent than a demon queen - her cooking skills were excellent, her grades were very good, her speaking skills were very strong and she didn't show off. Compared to that unmistakable brilliance, the most worrisome area was that she had known Layfon since they were small.
Assuming for now that her superiority wouldn't immediately dominate, she had still tirelessly made the journey to Zuellni for that person, and that was her declaration. That person wasn't someone who held the fate of the world, nor was he someone in a high position of any city, but rather some orphan who didn't even know his family name, a stupid man who had lost the only glory he had obtained.
She had come for that man.
Layfon's childhood friend.
Yes, she had come to Zuellni, and surprisingly she had rode the roaming bus from Grendan. Moreover, Karian who was her own brother had planned to let her stay in Zuellni indefinitely, and her brother had arranged for her to stay as a short-term student using the reason that the number of roaming buses had decreased due to the Military Arts competition.
This was all to use Layfon, to increase the reasons that he had to protect this city.
What a hateful plan. But it had results, she could understand just by seeing Layfon's expression.
The evidence was that everyone felt that Layfon's slowness had gotten quite a bit worse than normal, and actually that might be quite bad. Though, he hadn't had any failures in his Military Arts performance, so no one had said anything.
Plainly speaking, Leerin's presence made him feel comfortable.
So she had to do something! But, in the end, what could she do?
Anyway, it wouldn't do if she couldn't win against her, right? The fact that she possessed excellent Military Artist and Psychokinesist abilities didn't mean that she was better than Leerin.
Then where should she start? Should she first start from studies?
What annoyed her was, she knew Leerin's studying abilities just from the special treatment she received as a short-term student. She was clearly the same age as Layfon, but she was already studying in her third year. How could she be defeated? There was only the scholastic ability test! Fortunately, the scholastic ability test was approaching soon, and even if there was a 'Military Arts competition' or a 'Inter-city battle', an Academy City was an Academy City, and none of the classes would be cancelled, and tests would be carried out as normal.
First place! Felli made her oath seriously. Actually, there were many Psychokinesists with strong studying ability. If they took tests normally, they could easily get in the top twenty in their grade. Because when they used Psychokinesis, they had to gather and analyze a sea of information that would be difficult for a normal person to imagine, and simultaneously busy themselves with sending the information to the designated people. For this, Psychokinesists possessed a mind stronger than normal people and Military Artists, and it could be said that Psychokinesists had genius talent from the time they were born.
In the past twenty years, Felli never had any trouble as long as she silently listened in class. Actually, getting first place wasn't very difficult, and she still had faith in that.
Of course, Felli was also clear that it wasn't sure whether getting first place could get Layfon's attention, and she didn't have any proof that his view of her would improve, since various people's likes and dislikes were manifold. Though Felli couldn't understand it, it was definitely a fact that there were quite a few girls who admired her brother Karian......
More relevantly, had Layfon ever thought about what types of girls he liked? Actually, what did that guy usually think about?
So it would probably be better to just think about what most people liked.
So, Felli began working hard towards the target she had set.
If she didn't know what criteria to work towards, then she should first work hard towards a normal criterion! Academic achievement was the best criterion in an Academy City, which was why she decided.
In order to take back the gap between her and other Psychokinesists, and in order to shorten the difference in effort she put towards studying...... Felli worked hard day in and day out towards studying, thinking that it was ridiculous that she was troubled by excellence as a Psychokinesist while she tried to achieve excellence in studying......
The day of the exam results came.
Because there were many second year students, there were several school buildings, but the scores were only posted in the school building that Felli was currently at. Felli confirmed the reality from the results list posted on the walls of the hallway, and stood in shock.
Even if her voice was very quite, even if she was expressionless, Felli was indeed very shocked. Right now there only people looking at the list other than those who had hopes to be ranked highly were all looking for fun, and there weren't many people. Zuellni had sixty thousand students, and the average number of students in the six grades was about ten thousand. The results list only enumerated the fifty most excellent scores, and because of this it didn't have anything to do with most of the students, and all they cared about was increasing their rank.
With an incredulous mood, Felli looked up and down for her name, Felli Loss. Even if she knew that she wouldn't miss the name she had used since she had been literate, she still wanted to confirm.
Confirming that she definitely hadn't seen wrongly, Felli made a sound again.
The bell sounding the start of class rang.
The people gradually dispersed.
Felli's name wasn't there.
Afterwards, Felli learned of her scores from the computer placed in the classroom...... she was even more stunned.
A failing mark, with a makeup one week later.
...What was going on??
Felli's appearance was a bit queer.
After a long absence, the members of the seventeenth platoon once again gathered in the training hall.
Recently, the Military Arts classes here had been group exercises, and the platoon members' joint training had not happened. Of course, if they rigidly adhered to training every day, then it would result in them being unable to perform in a crucial moment. In order to avoid that, frequent vacations were mixed in with the daily practice.
During the vacation, Nina had still passed along the message to everyone that she wanted them to gather in the training hall. But participation was voluntary.
A platoon member wasn't necessarily sturdier than others. One would obvious have to rest when it was time to rest, and Nina was the most clear herself on the importance of rest. After all, she had memories of suffering from overusing Kei while training.
So, the only people who came to the training hall were the leader Nina, Naruki, and Layfon. Felli and Dalshena would come when they had time, and Sharnid basically didn't show his face. Only Sharnid would use his full strength to rest when it was time to rest.
But, today was a bit different. For the regular exams, training had become rest for several days. Today was the second day after the exams finished, and the scores would be given out. Because the tests answers were filled out on a scannable sheet, it was very fast to grade using machines.
Of course, the older students still submitted papers and research reports. Reports and things like that couldn't be graded that simply, so they wouldn't be done during the regular exams. In the end, it was just to confirm how much the students in the school had learned.
Exams had ended, and training would resume starting from tomorrow.
Before that, they would have to move their somewhat dulled body, so that was the plan for today's practice.
"Uwah - Hard to believe it's the last day of vacation."
Sharnid, the last one to arrive, said this as soon as he entered the door.
"You're too late!"
Seeing Sharnid's leisurely attitude, Dalshena's shout was even faster than Nina's.
"Could it be, that you failed your exams?"
Sharnid laughed, laughing while waving his hand - You're joking, right!
"How could that be, do you think that I would do something stupid to endanger my resting time?"
"Ah~ I guess that's the only way you'd study."
Facing Dalshena's gaze that was scornful from every angle, Sharnid shrugged.
"I hope you know that things may not be as they seem."
But that sentence was ignored, and Sharnid could only cast a pitying gaze towards her who didn't make any response. Afterwards, his gaze flew to a place that felt interesting.
Naruki showed a helpless face, and her vision had also overlapped in the same area.
He spontaneously smiled.
"It couldn’t be, Layfon?"
Nina also noticed the atmosphere.
"Hahaha, uh, well......"
As she sighed, Naruki spoke for him.
"I told you many times to decrease your work shifts, and focus on studying!"
She had indeed said that.
Knowing his normal class attitude and his quiz scores, Naruki's words were very convincing, but Layfon hadn't decreased his work shifts.
"Really, you're the same as our resident idiot!"
Mifi who had also failed seemingly couldn't put her strength into taking tests either.
"Is she alright for the next week's makeup exams?"
Nina asked, raising her brow.
"Ah, that should be fine. She already found an excellent teacher."
An excellent teacher...... After hearing that, Layfon's mood began falling.
"Eh? Is that teacher really so good?"
"Yes. I want to see Layton......Layfon's face when he realizes."
Just as she spoke the nickname that her circle of friends used, Naruki changed her words.
Nina looked at Layfon. He didn't seem to understand the meaning yet.
When her meaning was revealed, it was practice was temporarily ended for them to rest. They had taken Layfon's advice and carrying out Psyharden basic training, and there were many things that seemed simple but were very hard to do. It wasn't so for Layfon who had trained like this since he was small, but his companions who weren't yet used to it were almost spent.
Nina notified everyone. Just when everyone had sat down, they heard a doorknock.
An almost impolite knock sounded, seeming as if it hadn't been knocked with a fist. Actually, if training were going on then a normal doorknock would have been drowned out. This was a very loud knock.
Nina said to enter, and the door was cautiously opened.
It was very quiet inside, and the owner of that voice seemed a bit surprised. She was a bit flustered that everyone was watching her, but she quickly changed the atmosphere, and naturally walked inside. She held a very thick FileBook in her hand, and had probably used it to knock the door before.
At the time, Layfon had been standing on a pile of hard balls on a wire. The hard balls were positioned on the wire, layered on top of each other. A pyramid of hard balls. Kei flowed from his Dite, and the spreading Kei held the hard balls on top of the wire. This was a use of steel thread techniques, and with a few changes it could be used as training for the Luckens Wind Serpent.
Once Leerin appeared, the pyramid crumbled. The hard balls slipped from under Layfon's feet, bounding around, and spreading everywhere.
Nina and the others jumped, as Layfon had never once failed like this before. He was unable to hide his embarrassing appearance.
One of the flying hard balls stopped at Leerin's feet.
After greeting everyone, Leerin first walked to Naruki.
"Thanks for your exam."
While she said that, she took several sheets out of her FileBook.
"Oh no, of course I would do that if Mifi asked. But rather, will you be okay?"
"Nn, I looked at the textbooks, and I already know the scope of the exam."
Leerin, who spoke while knocking the Filebook, looked extremely reliable. If Naruki's guess wasn't wrong, inside it were the sections of the textbook she had printed out that corresponded to the scope of the test.
"I already completely understand how to teach it."
Seeing the look that emerged on Leerin after she said that sentence, Layfon's heart shook. It also showed on his expression.
It was terror.
Definitely, something that was terrifying awaited him.
Though he had thought of defensive measures, Leerin interrupted him. What a perfect opportunity, this was a strike after she had observed that he was attempting to escape. He even felt killing intent.
Since the decision about Leerin's temporary student status, Nina had been in the same dorm as her, as classmates not of the same age. Leerin got along with Nina even better than Layfon did, and no one could blame her for it. Of course, Nina was also the same. She understood this situation, and was somewhat confused about how to view Leerin.
"What is it?"
"Starting now, we have to make Layfon study when we're idle. Please cancel Layfon's training after school. Afterwards, please explain that to the people who come by wanting Layfon's Military Arts teaching. That won't happen until the makeups end."
"Ah, ahh...... then, the teacher is?"
"Yes, it's me."
Leerin smiled slightly, walking straight towards Layfon.
She maintained her smile.
But, her eyes weren't smiling.
"I'll drill the knowledge into you completely."
She gave off the impression that her cold gaze had already pierced through Layfon.
She had been dumbstruck for a while, but in the end the time for training passed.
Layfon had been taken away.
Felli was at a loss. She gritted her teeth. 'How could this be!'
If she had gotten a high position in the test this time, then she could naturally tutor Layfon. No, even if Naruki still relied on Leerin, she could have shown her scores in order to get an opportunity to become Layfon's teacher.
(How could this be!)
She whispered countless times. Moreover, this kind of outcome had happened at the worst time.
Returning to her own bedroom, Felli was still dismayed as she changed clothes. She had stared at the exams on the table, redone the questions, and then checked the answers......
More than ninety percent of it had been correct, almost all of it. Never mind the top twenty positions, it wouldn't be strange to be first place based on Felli's calculations.
Then what had happened?
Had the machine erred? Had it mixed her answers up with someone else's?
In that case, it wouldn't be strange for that person to have mistakenly become first place. But, the first place person in this test had been a consistent performer in the rankings. If her answers and someone else's answers were exchanged, that person couldn't have gotten first place, which was strange. Moreover, that person should have felt confused that he had unexpectedly gotten first place.
But, that hadn't happened.
She hadn't heard of anything like that, nor had she noticed any suspicious area of the rankings.
Felli had to rule it out.
Alone in the room, Felli held her head. She hadn't been wrong, so why?
If the graders were wrong, then she could appeal. Wait, wasn't there someone around who could cooperate with her?
Right, her brother.
If she directly appealed to her brother, the Student Council president, then the reason could be discovered quickly.
But, in that case wouldn't Felli's failing be exposed?
No, hadn't it already been exposed? She felt that it had been exposed, as her brother wouldn't ignore this. Regardless of how busy he was, he would always confirm his sister's test scores.
What would her brother say?
Suddenly, the things that Felli hadn't considered yet unfurled like an umbrella.
It was very simple for a Psychokinesist to just get a decent score. Their brain tissue had been strengthened, and their memorization abilities were also increased. But, a true Psychokinesist wouldn't strain himself to get good scores. Memorization was important for them in the first place, but it was meaningless to have only memories but be unable to act in a crucial situation. Due to this, Psychokinesists put more mindpower into essays, rather than quizzes. What Felli had done this time was an unfamiliar action in this regard. It wouldn't be strange for her to be glared at by other Psychokinesists.
......Though it was now after the fact.
But to obtain a failing mark, that was really......
"I'm coming in!"
At the same time as a perfunctory doorknock sounded along with the door opening, Felli raised her head from the table.
In her thinking, she hadn't even noticed the sound of her brother coming back.
Karian walked in with a bitter face. The only thing that could put that kind of expression on him, whether in Zuellni or at home, was probably only Felli.
But, she never thought that he would make that kind of expression now.
She hadn't thought that it would be the same outcome as her premonition.
"You already know your test results, right?"
Karian glanced at the opened test papers on the table.
"I can't accept it!"
Felli immediately replied.
"I definitely can't accept it!"
Her brother sighed, a confirmation that the situation was real. In other words, those test results were accurate.
Felli stood up all of a sudden, and right away her feet were unstable. It was almost as if the ground beneath her feet had disappeared. More accurately, it felt as if she had been deceived by something that she had believed in.
She was stopped right before she fell over.
The brother looked at the sister with a pitiful gaze.
"Your makeup exams cannot be avoided, that's all I can say."
After saying that, Karian walked out of the room.
Felli was still dazed.
Of course, she couldn't just stay dazed. Separating emotions and actions was the first training a Psychokinesist had to complete. If one wavered, they could send information that was not fully accurate to the Military Artists on the battlefield.
Felli walked to the table, confused.
As for the matter that had just been solved, she had wanted her brother to grade and score her test again, but Karian was no longer there. In any case, Felli hadn't returned home just for that.
Felli thought that she couldn't just do nothing.
Anyway, she had to find someone else to confirm that her answers hadn't been wrong. In other words, she had to go confirm that fatal errors had not developed in her cognition and understanding. Simply, she had to find someone to confirm whether she had gone crazy or not.
Then who should she look for?
Nina? Though she was a senpai, Felli didn't think her grades were that good.
Sharnid? Same as above.
Dalshena? Her grades weren't bad, but their relationship wasn't very good.
Harley? His brain wasn't bad, but it was difficult to talk to him about any topics other than Dites.
Eri? They could talk comfortably, but her grades weren't very good.
She had counted off all of the people she knew, but she hadn't found a single one that she could ask for help.
Layfon? Even worse, he had failed in the first place.
But, just when she thought of Layfon. Felli also thought of someone else.
Leerin Marfes - The current imaginary enemy other than Meishen Trinden. No, not an imaginary enemy, a true enemy.
Sometimes, she had asked 'why must I be like this......'. Why couldn't she be a bit more frank with her emotions? Honestly, she had never done anything clearly, but she particularly disliked situations when he was surrounded by girls.
That was the thing called jealousy. Of course, she would know about those things even without anyone to teach her.
Felli Loss, 17 years old, and though she wasn't used to love, she wasn't deficient in her basic knowledge or slow enough to anger someone.
"I can't do anything even if it's annoying."
She had to analyze this from a new angle. But, this wasn't a problem that she could resolve herself, no matter how she looked. Maybe it would be better to try talking with Eri.
"......This is all I can do."
Felli sat down by the table, facing the textbook. The other thing she had to do was confirm the scope of the exam again.
But, the only outcome of this was to further bog down Felli's mind.
Regardless of what she did, she didn't understand where she had gone wrong. After rereading the textbook, she noticed that she had forgotten almost nothing. She had highlighted before this test particularly to make memorization easier. That way, it might even be possible for her to dictate what had been written inside the notebook without even looking at it.
Had she really not messed up? No, it was a possibility that she had messed up while taking the test.
She had done all she can, but Felli's confusion had become even deeper. Had her Psychokinesis ability become defective? She thought randomly. If abnormalities had appeared in her brain, then the brain's organization ability that was even more important than the Kei vein for Psychokinesists should have become abnormal. Regardless of how much information was gathered with Psychokinesis, if the brain couldn't make the correct judgment, then it was impossible to send accurate information.
Thinking of that, Felli felt enough terror to almost make her scream in fear.
She was necessary because she was a Psychokinesist. Though she had come here to give up on her identity as a Psychokinesist, she now felt an inexplicable fear when that time might actually be coming...... She no longer knew what her own heart was thinking.
"Yes, that's how it is." She had told herself that many times.
Yes, originally she had come here to find new possibilities. She had originally been that way, though Karian had forced her into a situation where she had to use her abilities.
She said that to herself time and time again.
"Isn't this an opportunity? This is definitely an opportunity to give up on Military Arts! Finally, I can return to my original path."
She spoke to herself.
If...... If she were no longer a Psychokinesist, what would she do if she didn't have any other skills?
She thought over and over, and then trembled slightly. What would she do if she wasn't good at anything other than Psychokinesis? Could she already only become a Psychokinesist? Did her life have no significance other than the skills she had been born with? If that were so, what was the difference between her and a machine?
And, what if she also lost her Psychokinesis skills?
"What will be left of me?"
Throwing the textbook, Felli slumped on the bed. Fighting back the urge to pound the bedsheets, she buried her face into the bed.
Her body began shaking uncontrollably.
She couldn't sleep.
'What a terrible face......'
As she looked in the mirror, Felli thought this. Bags had appeared under her eyes, and her entire body seemed somewhat swollen. After washing many times with cold water, her skin seemed to have tightened back up.
But, she couldn't do much about her constant headache. Was it only a lack of sleep, or was it produced by an abnormality in her brain?
"It's obviously a lack of sleep."
But her voice didn't have much strength.
She would usually be able to assert that easily, but today she didn't have confidence. This was unchangeable for Psychokinesists and Military Artists; how could they be totally fine after one or two whole days without sleep?
Actually, when she and Layfon had confronted many attacking filth monsters, it had been necessary for them to stay up like that quite a few times regardless.
Then why was she weary this time after a night without sleep?
(Don't think about it anymore......)
She could only say this to herself.
Felli changed clothes and went to school.
But, however she listened to the class going on at school, it wouldn't enter her brain. During break time, Eri also asked worriedly, but Felli replied vaguely.
She wasn't in the mood to exchange words. Eri was a normal person. That was true in the field of exams, and she wasn't any use for Psychokinesis.
Maybe that way of thinking was a kind of arrogance. But, she wouldn't say that. Military Artists truly had certain things that others did not. Though there was no controversy over normal things, there was a divide between the two sides when it was time to make decisions. They both lived in the same city, but the people who didn't know battle and who couldn't fight were difference from those who understood battle and lived for it.
Morning classes had already ended. In the afternoon, Military Artist exercises would begin. Though, it wasn't a large-scale combined exercise involving the entire Military Artist department.
Felli skipped the exercise of her seventeenth platoon.
She decided to put aside the exercise for now. Maybe today's exercise would cause her to make a worried decision, so she didn't want to go if possible.
Nina had said the day before that they would gather in the training hall today, but this was ignored.
Leaving the school building, she deliberately walked in a place where there were few people.
The devastated Felli felt like her body was heavy. Why would she be this exhausted? She finally understood why she had been unable to focus.
Her body originally hadn't had any problems.
So then, what was the issue?
She only understood her body's situation.
Before she noticed, she was alone in a pavilion of a park.
She looked blankly at the scene of the park.
Lunchtime had passed, and right now was time for afternoon classes for sure. There weren't any other people in the park.
A surprised voice sounded from behind her.
After turning around, a surprised Layfon stood there with his mouth hanging open.
"What are you doing?"
"......I'm not doing anything."
She had already thought of an excuse, but Felli still replied like that.
Layfon entered the pavilion, sitting down on the other side from Felli.
The backpack he placed on the table bulged from the many things placed inside it.
"The material that Leerin gave to me to read."
Layfon put his hand on the bag with a wry smile.
"Speaking of which, you didn't go to the training hall, Felli?"
"My body isn't well today."
Felli said this, and Layfon replied vaguely. Maybe he was thinking about what was wrong with her?
"But, Layfon didn't go to the training hall either."
As he was waiting for the reply, Layfon had put on an intrigued expression. That kind of attitude left an impression. Had he been thinking of saying that she was strange?
But, Layfon hadn't noticed anything.
"Leerin doesn't want me to continue training until the makeup exam, didn't she say that yesterday?"
"Really? How incredible!"
Maybe that had been so! Felli couldn't remember.
"Really. In the end, Captain was convinced."
Nina liked rigorous training. Wasn't it very incredible to have convinced Nina? Felli thought so in her heart, but she didn't say so.
"Then, are you going to Leerin's study session?"
Layfon's face lost its vitality for a moment, and it could be described as an incredibly tired expression. Layfon, who basically possessed the strongest Military Arts power, had this kind of expression after just one night.
Felli's eyes widened.
"It seems very strict!"
"It's not a problem of being strict or not. She's a devil, once it comes to studying! Aah......"
Layfon held his head and moaned.
"Reading till I've memorized it completely, and writing as well...... Isn't it just about a one hour exam! It's hell! She thinks that if she can remember it then other people can remember it too, and even if I say I can't do it she still makes me work till the end.
Then, what did Layfon want to say?
Of course, he didn't say it.
Layfon's complaints continued.
"Aah, that hell's about to begin again now. Have mercy on me! I discussed how to escape yesterday with Mifi, but Naruki and Mei both encouraged me, and didn't want me to escape......"
Hearing the names that appeared one after another, Felli felt her eyebrows quiver.
It wasn't funny.
It wasn't funny at all.
Hearing those complaints, Felli forgot about her own matters, coldly looking at Layfon.
"That's how things were for the admissions test to the Academy City. At the time, I already thought I had already learned everything that I would learn in life......"
"I changed my mind."
Felli's voice interrupted Layfon's words.
"Can I also participate in that kind of tutoring session?"
"At this time, most teaching staff are in class, and Naruki's also in the training hall, right? What would people thing if they saw someone alone here?"
A mournful expression crept up on Layfon's face, and Felli felt slightly happier.
Layfon who didn't really consent brought Felli to the library that acted as the meeting location. This store had many self-study rooms, and the round tables could be used for meetings if they were somewhat tidied up a little. Of course, this was a library, and they couldn't hold festivities or anything.
The space in the self-study room that Leerin had temporarily borrowed was just right for about five people. There wasn't anything in the room other than tables and chairs, in order to keep from impairing mental focus. In order to give a quiet environment to other people who came to study, sound-canceling equipment was also installed, and they couldn't hear any sound from next door.
Leerin who had already arrived was a bit surprised when she saw Felli who had come over as well.
"Sorry to disturb."
"Ah, it's alright. Come in."
Leerin who seemed a bit scared lowered her head, and Felli let Layfon into the room.
"Then, Felli-san is also......?"
"I've come to help."
"Th, thank you."
Leerin's expression was confused, like she didn't know how to deal with things. Felli didn't know why she was being treated with that kind of attitude. Why, was it only because she was soft-spoken?
"Uh -- well......"
Leerin grabbed the collar of Layfon who was seen as the opposition.
Her displeased expression was as if he were trying to resist. Leerin forced Layfon into a chair, and smiled lightly towards him.
"First, let's review yesterday!"
"Lighten your hand a bit."
His request was immediately refused, and Layfon's expression quickly twitched. But, Leerin ignored all of this, continuously asking questions.
She didn't look at the textbook, nor did she have problem booklets. Even so, she could continuously dictate problems as if she were looking at a problem booklet.
Soon after, Layfon's forehead began sweating, and he replied while holding his head, depressed.
They were mostly correct, though there were still mistakes.
"No, well, I worked hard, for sure."
At Leerin's cold words, Layfon explained in a panic.
"Wait, wait, it's true! I definitely read all the materials following Leerin's instructions."
"Did you remember them all properly? Did you quiz yourself?"
"......Ah? No, well...... Of course."
His bold words were interrupted.
"If you quizzed yourself, you wouldn't have these kinds of results!"
If soundproofing measures weren't in place, that voice would already have made the librarian come over.
"No, I really did...... It's just-"
"What? You couldn't be trying to pretend, right? Knowing what I'm going to do if you do that kind of thing, are you still going to try?"
Leerin's anger filled the entire room.
Then, the hell began.
It was already strict enough to seem like torture. No one who had seen Layfon fighting before could have imagined Layfon's current appearance.
"Uhh, can I rest a bit......"
"There are still ten problems to answer, that should be simple."
"Hey, your hand stopped. If you can't think of it, then take notes. Both your head and your body need to remember this information."
"If you can't get a hundred percent on this quiz, then you have to copy the book as many times as you miss points."
Quiz problems flowed from Leerin's mouth. Felli watched from the side with complex feelings. Though she had said she wanted to help, Felli still hadn't done anything. But, right now she lacked confidence, and actually she would be a bit hesitant about helping, but......
It was still her first time seeing Layfon backed this far into a corner.
No, she had seen Layfon backed into a corner before. But, this time was different. The Military Artist Layfon would fight back with all of his might if he were being taught like this, wouldn't he? No, maybe that wasn't the case, but he didn't have to comply this obediently.
Of course, Felli and Nina couldn't do that kind of thing. They would be a bit concerned. It wasn't the kind of concern of being hated by a person they liked. Rather, Felli couldn't do anything if she was truly hated, and she did indeed feel that some hated her.
Of course, after all, Felli didn't know what the people who hated her thought.
However, Leerin had done this. But maybe Layfon didn’t hate her.
She had wanted to let Leerin look over her own exam situation, and for this had taken out her exam paper from her bag. But that opportunity never appeared.
The quiz ended.
Facing that kind of result, Leerin wrinkled her face, and Layfon's face went green.
"Copy the section that was just quizzed fifty times. ......Understood?"
"Uhh...... I don't want to----!"
Suddenly, Layfon exploded. Knocking over the chair, Layfon stood up. The pressure pushed Felli back.
"What are you doing?"
Leerin didn't move. She confronted him with her chest out, scorning on Layfon's attitude.
But Layfon didn't truly confront Leerin. He rushed past Felli behind him, opened the door, and walked out. They could hear the angry voice of the librarian saying 'Quiet down!'.
A strong wind blew through the room, even messing up her hair.
After being taken aback, Leerin quickly returned to her senses and pressed down on her messed-up hair. Righting the fallen chair, she sorted the fallen materials on the table.
The fatigue on that face seemed like a reflection.
Come to think of it, she had prepared these materials for Layfon, and been with him while he studied. When had these materials been made? The examination results had been released yesterday morning, and the materials had been completed when they were in the Military Arts hall in the afternoon. She had her own classes, so she must have ignored her classes to make these materials.
The girl who had come to Zuellni for Layfon. That was Leerin Marfes.
Thinking that, the words in Felli's mouth spilled out. Leerin noticed those small fragments of speech, turning towards her.
Felli was currently facing her back.
"I'll go bring him back."
Saying that, Felli walked out of the library.
She definitely couldn't lose! Felli had said that.
Layfon hadn't come to Zuellni to be a Military Artist. He had come here to find a way of living other than as a Military Artist. But his Military Arts ability had been shown, and things had become like this, become this outcome where he had to accept the regular makeup exams.
Layfon's personality was probably like that. He preferred using his body, compared to using his brain. Did he have the nature of a Military Artist? It couldn't be said, but it couldn't be denied.
Wasn't it a bit discouraging to be a Military Artist every day? But Layfon had stood out as a Military Artist when Zuellni was in a crisis, and the pain accompanying that kind of thing had gradually become unnoticeable.
That was definitely not a good omen.
And also, didn't Leerin also think that? Wasn't she trying to make sure Layfon passed his makeups and worked hard for it?
Maybe she would be hated by Layfon using that kind of method.
"I should just be a bystander!"
Felli who walked out of the library took out a Dite from her weapon belt. The Light Dite was quickly restored. The flower petal-like Psychokinesis flakes that flew from the staff separated, dancing through the air.
In order to find Layfon, the flakes flew off.
She acted without hesitation, and by this time the things she had worried about had already completely disappeared from her mind.
The Psychokinesis flakes quickly discovered Layfon's location. The distance wasn't very far, and it was still in the region belonging to the library. Layfon sat in the backyard where there were no other people.
The entire backyard was covered by the library's shadow, and it was very cool.
Just as she let out a sound, a tremor went through Layfon's spine in surprise, and he turned his body.
"It, it's not like this! Actually I was kind of just...... coming outside for some fresh air. Uh, I'll go study properly now, don't worry."
At the same time as Layfon hastily made excuses, Felli sighed.
"First, you should go apologize properly to her."
Felli held down Layfon who had tried to stand up immediately. Then, she sent a flake to where Leerin was, sending the information that she had found the slightly calmed-down Layfon.
Layfon hurriedly corrected himself as he was being glared at. Then, Felli showed a tiny smile.
"What is it?"
"Nothing, it's just that, could we talk normally like in the park before coming here? That's all I was thinking."
She thought of Layfon's strange expression at that time.
"Do you have anything else to say?"
Felli spoke while sitting next to Layfon.
From then on, Layfon continuously gazed at the scenery of the backyard, though there weren't any particularly interesting places. The backyard had a lawn along with trees that blocked the vision, and also other buildings in the distance. What were those buildings for?
"Leerin doesn't have any bad intentions!"
Thinking of that, Layfon spoke.
"Before I came to Zuellni, things were like this when I was studying for entrance exams."
"Though it's very terrifying and very toilsome, it's not like that for only me."
Then, he had understood Leerin's point of view as a teacher? Thinking this, Felli was about to get upset again.
"It's just so harsh!"
Saying that, Layfon put his head between his knees.
"But, I can't do anything about Leerin getting mad, right? I clearly worked so hard in Grendan studying, but right now I've become like this......"
"Then, you're not upset?"
Layfon made a wry smile.
"But, what's troublesome is that I have no interest towards studying. I don't know what methods I can use......"
If he liked it, then maybe there would be something that could promote his progress, right? Maybe that were true. But if he had never thought that way, his life...... No, it would be the worst to compare it to the life of a normal person.
For a Military Artist, it was enough to just walk the road of a Military Artist from the time of birth. But normal people weren't the same. They had to accumulate a lot of experience, and find something that could support their own city life. Had everyone truly found that kind of thing? That definitely wasn't true, and it was very clear to her that it wasn't such an easy thing to do.
"......What would you do, if you don't find anything that you're good at?"
"If there's nothing interesting other than Military Artists. What would you do, Fon Fon? Continue being a Military Artist?"
How would Layfon reply? When she had considered this yesterday night, it had been extremely frightening. Then, how would Layfon reply?
"......You're asking what I would do?"
"Please answer me."
"Yes, it would be very troublesome. It's true that I'm very good at Military Artists, and I've felt that a bit recently. But I've already begun thinking 'isn't that terrible?'. Well, uh, it's troublesome."
"Then, what does that mean?"
"Uh, but, thinking probably won't do anything about things ten or twenty years later! I'm not even clear on how things will be in a few years. That probably won't change, I have that kind of feeling even before thinking!"
Saying that, Layfon laid down on the grass.
"In that case, I'll have various experiences in these six years, and if I'm lucky then I'll notice something, and even if I don't notice something then at the worst I'll do some program and have a normal life."
"Is that enough?"
"For now. Of course, only for now. My target right now is to erase my failing mark!"
"You're so easygoing!"
He had really changed. When they had just met, she had been able to feel a much more urgent feeling. Dissatisfaction at being used as a Military Artist, and the feeling of being unable to escape from its shadow.
But, right now his expression was different.
What had happened?
Actually, she knew. The answer was before her.
He had come to Zuellni in order to find change. Though it wasn't easy to say he had been affected by something, the things here had caused Layfon to become like this. Perhaps, everything here had made Layfon like this.
Then, had Layfon begun to adapt to Zuellni? Had he begun to adapt to the normal life of Felli and the others?
"You're too easygoing."
Even saying that, Felli and Layfon were still lying on the same grass lawn.
"But, maybe that way is best."
Something that she excelled at, that wouldn't lose to her Psychokinesis ability.
Even if there wasn't such a thing, she could still live on.
Maybe she wouldn't excel, she wouldn't attract people's attention, and maybe she could have money problems. But, she also wouldn't frequently face danger where her life was at risk.
A meager, but stable life.
Maybe that kind of thing wouldn't be bad.
It definitely wouldn't be bad at all.
"......What are you doing lying down so leisurely?"
At the voice that seemed to come from underground, Layfon and Felli reflexively crawled back up.
When had she lied down? She thought of her sleepless night and fatigue as reasons, but she truly wasn't tired at all.
Leerin was mad.
Oh? When had she been staying at such a close distance to Layfon?
Meishen and the others were also behind Leerin's back. Mifi smiled soundlessly, Naruki made a speechless expression, and Meishen was confused.
"Uh, um, Leerin. I was resting a bit, and I don't know why I laid down."
Layfon knew his circumstances, and began explaining about his lying down.
At that time, he made a rare mistake.
Layfon's foot slipped as he was standing up, and he came in contact with Felli's leg in panic.
It was evidence that he completely hadn't noticed how close he was to Felli.
Felli was transfixed at Layfon's approaching face. Though Layfon was surprised, he reflexively extended his hands to the ground and avoided a collision. But in order to stand up, Layfon supported himself with his arms. But it resulted in his arms that were placed on the lawn buckling for a moment, and Layfon's face came even closer.
A momentary contact. It had truly only been a moment, nothing else at all.
"What are you doing?" Leerin's surprised voice.
Had she not noticed?
"N-n-no......nothing." Layfon hurriedly replied.
Unlike the normal Layfon, his physical senses seemed a bit slow, and it seemed that he hadn't noticed what he had done.
Just now, had that truly been...?
"Oh? You've rested completely already. Then, this time I won't hold back."
Right when Leerin finished speaking, Layfon began moaning. But Leerin didn't mind him, instead looking at Felli.
In that gaze, she could feel a pressure that didn't need to be explained.
"Felli-san too, come help this time. Everyone's come and you have such good scores."
She naturally began a different topic, so had Leerin really not noticed? Knowing this, Felli tilted her head.
"This, isn't it quite amazing?"
Leerin had an answer sheet in her hand. That was the exam that Felli had taken out of her bag, the backup answer sheet that Felli had put her preliminary answers on. Felli had messed up, so she had taken out the paper she had written answers on.
"Isn't this full points? With such good scores, you definitely have to help properly!"
Leerin's voice was very loud, since there was no longer any concerns like inside the library.
But, right now, Felli didn't have that kind of thing in her mind.
When she saw the exam, the troublesome feelings from before had all emerged.
And then, full points.
Leerin had assured her.
That meant, Felli's brain didn't have any problems.
Felli lowered her head in relief, Ah, it's not a problem with me.
For now, it was enough to realize this.
Also, not one had noticed. No one, Leerin or the three people behind her, had noticed.
Then, this was very good. Because no one would hold any malice.
"In that case, I can."
Felli stood up. Her mood was joyous. Though she was a bit tired, she felt extremely joyous.
Of course, it wasn't just that.
Isn't shock therapy the best?
A simple fact.
But it was indeed a fact full of impact.
It had blown away all of her troubles.
(Ah, people are such simple beings.)
Layfon looked over with an unstable expression. What kind of meaning was contained in that confused gaze?
"Nn, I'll come help. I really think that it's bad to fail."
"You can't have a failing mark, right?"
Felli said this. Layfon lowered his head without saying anything else.
Felli felt extremely sorry for him.
Then, she decided it was unnecessary to be concerned.
Afterwards, the day of makeups came. Layfon was ecstatic that he had survived the week of hell in order to erase his failing mark -- tears even came out. He and Mifi celebrated with hands clasped.
Of course, Felli had easily completed the makeups.
Incidentally, the reason behind her failing was that she had shifted the answers. 
She hadn't had enough rest, and in her lack of focus she had erred in filling out the answer sheet.
Translator's Notes and References
- Some type of binder with a hard cover.
- As in, all answers were shifted forwards or back by one position. A relatively common mistake in standardized tests with bubble-in answers.