Chapter 18 – An interesting Proposal (1)

I calmly sat in Professor Lee’s office and looked around curiously.

It was a large room with all the walls except for one covered in bookshelves. Instead of books, the shelves were covered with different weapons, gadgets, and knickknacks, many of which I had never seen before.

The professor sat at the large desk in the center of the room, her back to a large window that took up the whole wall. She stared at me in silence for a couple of moments before speaking.

“Asani Martin.”

“Professor?”

“What am I supposed to do with you.”

“Pardon?”

“Two fights in the two days you’ve been here and one of them was with the third-rank student from the Isolde clan. I’ve never seen somebody as low-ranked as you cause so much trouble in the short time you’ve been here. Do you have a death wish? Are you suicidal?” She asked me as her eyes flashed yellow.

“Not particularly?” I shrugged, “It doesn’t matter who they are, I don’t appreciate anyone attacking me out of the blue. Even if I lose, I’ll definitely do my best to fight back and when I’m stronger, I’ll soundly beat them up so they won’t mess with me again. Besides Evelyn attacked me first. anyone there can verify it.”

Professor Lee tiredly rubbed her eyes. “Somehow I doubt that. No student is going to testify against a top-ranked student from the 9 clans. The white-ranked ones won’t want to offend her and the black-ranked ones are too afraid. Especially for a black-ranked nobody like you. You’ve made a powerful enemy on your first day and I highly doubt that Evelynn will let it go. People who want to make a good impression on her and her clan might continually attack you.”

“Is that right?” I stared at her in an unsurprised manner. The influence of rank and the 9 clans was something I knew about, I just didn’t think it would be so prevalent at the academy which was supposed to be neutral ground. I just didn’t expect that a single incident would be blown out of proportion so much.

“It is. And it’s quite unfortunate because I like you. You seem to have a certain charm about you which is why I want you to be successful even though you seem to be sabotaging yourself at every opportunity. I would hate to see you get destroyed like this. Which is why I have a proposition for you.”

“Oh? Let’s hear it.”

Professor Lee thoughtfully examined the student calmly staring at her as he relaxed in the chair before her. Despite being dragged to her office and boldly confronting Evelynn Isolde, a known troublemaker, rather than being afraid, he looked bored and expectant.

“What rank are you? F? E?”

“…Why?”

“And from what I’ve seen, your gift allows you to summon weapons? They seem to have different effects. I saw an attack phase through you earlier and realistically no low-rank student should have been able to slice through Evelyn’s leg if she wasn’t paying attention. It looked to be made by a small knife which means it had an attribute or your mana is inherently sharp. Which is it? What’s the limit? The strength of the weapons you create? How often can you use it? Can you select the effects? What other gifts do you have?”

As the professor grilled me with remarkable insight after only seeing my gift twice, I could only hold a poker face and respond neutrally. “…what does that have to do with anything?”

“I’ve told you before. I’m the head of the discipline committee in charge of keeping the campus peaceful. I’m putting together a task force of strong students to help with the discipline and incidents that happen on campus. Putting a bunch of hormonal teenagers with newly gained powers and a sense of importance is a recipe for disaster and trouble. Adding in the arrogance that many of these students have due to their family or perceived greatness and you have a volatile bomb waiting to explode. Despite the rules in place, students continue causing trouble throughout the academy, from the top-ranked ones to the bottom-ranked ones. The professors are stretched thin enough trying to deal with the sheer number of students. Across the entire 5 years, we’re dealing with hundreds of incidents a day. We simply do not have enough hands to stop the troublemakers who go around fighting each other and destroying property and the academy refuses to hire extra outside help due to security concerns which puts me in between a rock and a hard place.”

“Oh. Sounds rough. What does that have to do with me?” I asked her with an indifferent smile.

“I admire your spirit even if you don’t make the best decisions. Regardless of whether it was a black-uniformed student or a third-ranked student, you weren’t afraid to fight back. I’d like to have you join the discipline committee.”

Hearing her words, I burst out laughing

“Why are you laughing?”

“I’m sorry professor, I just thought it was funny. I’m pretty sure your words were ‘strong’ students. The last time I checked, I was last ranked in my year. I don’t believe I would be considered strong under any circumstances.”

“I don’t believe rank is a good indicator of strength or character. And I don’t believe you’re weak, rather you’re simply untrained. But you have a good head on your shoulder, are not arrogant, haven’t picked a fight as far as I’ve seen and you’re not afraid to fight back. More importantly, you don’t seem to be tied to anyone’s side. A one-man island if you will.

If you’re concerned about strength, I can assure you that it’s currently not bad. I’ve trained Evelynn Isolde before and I know she outclassed you skill-wise, rank-wise, and talent-wise, and yet you still managed to injure her. If you accept my offer, I plan on offering you training until you are up to par before having you openly join the committee. And when you did join, you wouldn’t be responsible for white uniformed students until you were strong enough. As you know I’m one of the two professors in charge of teaching combat to the first years.”

“Hmm. And what would be in it for me? Honestly, it seems like a lot of work and a good way to garner hatred among students constantly getting them in trouble.”

“Well for one, apart from your required combat classes I would personally train you. I don’t mean to brag, but at this academy, I am the best at making students combat-ready.”

“I can become combat-ready by taking my classes and training throughout the year. I don’t think I need personal training.”

“It would be more efficient if I trained you. Analyze me. You did so before, right? I’ll allow you to take  a look at my status screen.”

At my surprised look, she laughed. 

“Anybody sensitive enough can notice those things, I just don’t care. I suggest you only do it to people you’re certain you’re stronger than and not to any professors. Some of them might not take it as well as I do. Go ahead, take a look.”

[

Rebecca Domare-Lee

Age: 35

Rank: A

Stats: 

[Strength – A] 

[Stamina – A] 

[Speed – S]

[Perception – S]

[Vitality – A] 

[Magic power – A] 

[Intelligence – A] 

[Enhanced senses: S]

Gifts: Trainer (S), ?, ?, 

Familiar: Flame Lycanthrope, Water Lycanthrope 

Mana attribute: Water, Fire

]

“Got a good look? Take a closer look at my trainer gift.”

Trainer (S): The ability to efficiently train any being that is considered ‘alive’.

Insight(Passive): Able to aptly gauge the potential of an individual.

Communication(Passive): Regardless of species and language, your instructions can be understood by any being that is considered ‘alive’.

Training Session(Active): The user can boost the efficiency of training by 25% on any being with a lower rank*

*Can only be used on a total of four targets once every 48 hours.

*Can be stacked on animal-like beasts twice.

*Affects all stats as well as gifts.

*Training session lasts for three hours.

Copy Cat (Active): When the other party is willing, the user can copy and utilize the gift at a level matching the user’s rank.

Heal Damage(Active): During a training session, can continually cancel the injuries and restore the used mana of the trained person as long as the users mana lasts*

*The trained individual will still feel the pain of any injuries sustained at a doubled rate

*Injuries can be taken on by the user instead of the trained individual.

*Training session lasts for three hours.

Seeing the impressive set of skills, I couldn’t help but whistle. This was a professor whose details weren’t expanded in the original novel apart from being mentioned as a combat instructor who occasionally personally trained students she thought had the aptitude to get stronger.

“You…are a monster. That is a seriously overpowered gift”

“Thank you but it’s nothing special.” Professor Lee said, but there was a proud smile on her face. 

“As you can see my gift is meant for training people and beasts. I can turn a rock into a diamond given enough time. I specifically apply my gift to certain students during classes but I’ll reserve a use for you until you reach D-rank which should take about a month if we train every other day. Then you can become a member of the committee.” 

“Hmm. I admit that getting trained personally by you would be amazing, but that’s not enough. What benefits would there be for me apart from personal training from you? Eventually, I would reach D-rank. I’m not in a rush. I don’t need to do something so troublesome” I asked her calmly. Rule 1 when negotiating was to ask for more when the other party needed something from you. Since the professor approached me, she definitely needed me more. I just needed to see how far I could push her.

“You should be in a rush. Do you think Evelyn Isolde will let the humiliation today slide? You forget who she is, who her friends are, and what power those people carry. Do you think Lionel Lionheart won’t ask the dean to do something if she asks? Or other students won’t attack and injure you at her behest.” At the professor’s candid answer, I could only stay silent.

Sighing, she continued, “A misconception people have is that rules are meant to protect them and are applied equally to everyone but that’s wrong. Rules are only for those with no money, no power, and no influence.  Otherwise, they don’t exist. And those from the 9 clans are used to living their lives as If rules don’t exist. The only people they respect are their clan heads and those that they believe are above them. That’s fine in the real world, but it’s something I refuse to allow to continue in the academy.”

“And you think this disciplinary committee can do that?”

“I do. A lot of incidents happen like the one today and things are not caught or reported in time due to a variety of reasons. Even if they’re caught witnesses recant their statements or aid with coverup along with some professors. With students on the committee actively handling incidents, I’m sure they will be cut down drastically.

Naturally, if you’re on the committee, I will prevent anything anything from being done to you. If students bother you, you can directly beat them up with no consequence and if staff members bother you including Helen Lionheart herself, I’ll handle it.” The professor finished confidently.

“…you sure are doing a lot for a student who you don’t know and has gotten in trouble with you twice. What’s the catch?” I narrowed my eyes at her coldly. Nobody would have this much free will for free. There must be something she wanted.

“Well for one, I have a feeling you will become strong and I happen to like nurturing strong students. Secondly, from what I’ve seen from you in the past two days, I have a feeling that you’ll be involved in a lot more incidents. And rather than lose sleep and gain more gray hairs, why I don’t I just use a troublemaker to tie up the other troublemakers and get some free labor out of it.”  The professor grinned happily, her blue eyes twinkling.

“And Finally,” the air around her immediately became heavy, as her eyes narrowed and her finger pointed at me, “I’ve told you this and it’s still true, you reek of blood. Despite all the smiling you do, your eyes are cold. I don’t know what you did before or what kind of life you’ve lived, but I have a feeling that if I hadn’t interrupted today, you would have found a way to kill Evelynn Isolde. I’ve warned you, none of that on my campus or I’ll kill you myself. Rather than have you run loose, I’d rather keep you under my watch.”

“I wouldn’t have killed her.” I smiled innocently. Just severely injured her so no potion would work.

“I don’t believe that.” The professor sighed once more. “Anyways, what do you say?”

“About joining? You make a tempting offer, but it’s not enough. It’s still more losses than gains for me. You get to spy on me. You send me around on errands. How tiring. You can’t force me to say yes so give me something more.” I asked slyly. If she said no, I would take her offer, but if I could get a little more out of her, my plan could move ahead further.

“…then what exactly will you want student Asani?”

“300,000 credits?”

“No.” Professor Lee immediately rejected me. “What else?”

I pretended to think for a moment, before speaking“I want four things apart from the training you will give me.  A pass to be able to leave the academy at will not just on weekends. A way to visit dungeons outside of class and visit the hero marketplace. A way to sell goods to students on campus. And a little flexibility in the way that I treat students if I join the discipline committee.”

“The first and second ones are easily done. I’ll have an access pass delivered to you and since I’m the professor in charge of the dungeon exploration club, all you have to do is join. The club takes trips to dungeons at least once a month to hone skills and students can sell goods they recover after completing the dungeon and visit the hero marketplace. Regarding the third, selling goods on campus is something outside of my jurisdiction. Why are you asking for that?” Her eyebrows arched.

“Lina Meraki and I are in a partnership and she plans on launching a little service to sell some tester goods to students at a discounted rate. I’m doing my part to ensure we can make it a successful venture.” I lied smoothly

“Meraki hmmm? As I said, it’s not in my jurisdiction but I can give you an introduction to Professor Art and a guarantee since you’ll be joining my committee. If you give me the goods, I can help promote it in my classes. As for your final request….?”

“I need details for being a committee member. Are you going to be policing me or do I have some freedom?”

“It’s pretty simple, we have sensors around most of the campus to detect unauthorized magic use and all disciplinary committee students will have a pager that will alert them of incidents close by. Your job is to break up the incident with whatever force necessary and bring in the culprits to the professor on duty.”

“What if the culprits get injured?”

 “As long as they don’t die or seriously cripple themselves,  anything can be fixed in the infirmary.”

“Will I be getting paid for this?”

“Of course not. Why would you get paid?”

“Isn’t the only consequence for breaking the rules a fine? I doubt people are engaging in acts that warrant expulsion.”

“Accurate. Most incidents involve students fighting in unauthorized locations with their gifts which results in a fine.”

“But the academy is getting paid while I’m laboring for free. Wasn’t this originally the professor’s job? You all get a salary as well but you’re utilizing students free labor. How is that fair? I can’t be the only one who has complained about it.”

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“You are. Just think of it as an unpaid internship. Guilds like to see that kind of initiative when looking for applicants.” Professor Rebecca Lee shrugged.

“How much do students get fined anyway?” I asked curiously

“20000 minimum per incident depending on the damage done. After every 5th incident, it doubles.”

I whistled.

“The academy is raking in the money I see. I want a cut.”

“What?”

“Look, professor. I’ll be honest. I’m broke. I need money. Doing this is going to cut into my money-making time even with all the other benefits. In fact, I’m not asking for much. Just look the other way as I collect some change before bringing them in. I won’t even take much. Don’t you think if there were extra consequences, repeat offenders would reduce and the school would be quieter?”

As the professor quietly thought my words over, I added my final carrot.

“I promise I’ll be discreet. And in fact. I’ll only extort the extra rich, extra bratty students. I won’t touch anyone else. And think of it this way, if I take extra money from them, won’t they have to think twice before causing a problem.”

“…I will pretend you never said such words to me. Since you seem agreeable, I’ll assume we have a deal. Training, protection, an introduction to Professor Art, and a school exit pass. Show up to the eastern training grounds at 5 a.m. tomorrow.”

“At what time?”

“I don’t have time to train you in the evenings so you have to come early. We’ll train each day for three hours before class except for weekends until you have reached D-rank. It will be tough so I recommend you buy some recovery potions otherwise you might be too injured  to move during combat classes.”

“Aren’t you supposed to provide that as my professor? You’re the one training me.” I stared at her incredulously. And what kind of training was she planning that would leave me too injured to move???

“Why would I do that? Do I provide your food and clothes as well?” Professor Lee blankly looked at me.

“Since you’re teaching me, you should give me a benefit.”

“Rejected. Get out of my office Asani. See you at 5 a.m. sharp on the eastern outdoor track. And please, try to keep your head down and out of Evelynns way. I don’t want to have to deal with any more incidents concerning you.”

“No promises. Can I at least look at the weapons on your shelf?”

“Is this for your gift or just curiosity?”

Asani: “….curiosity?”

Rebecca Lee: “….”

We both stared at each other in silence before she sighed and clutched her head. 

“Get the hell out and make sure you go to the infirmary to check that shoulder. And tell Miss Isolde to come in.”

“Alrighty. Can I at least have another potion before I go? Just in case I get attacked again.”

The professor stared at me in disgust before she removed a potion from her desk drawer and chucked it at me.

“Out!”

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“See you tomorrow!” I happily waved at her, placing the potion in my pocket, before leaving the room.

As I walked out, I locked gazes with Evelyn Isolde who was still wearing her bloody socks and shoes while holding her spear with her hand.

“You-”

“The professor said you should come in.” I interrupted before she could start spouting black rank like a broken record. Without waiting for a response, I walked out whistling as walked to the infirmary. It would be nice if the school nurse could give me another free potion to analyze. After all, I needed all the source material I could get for operation – School Convenience Store.

First, I needed to make sure I could successfully craft a potion with my ability. Once I had that settled, all I needed was for Lina Meraki to come back to me once she analyzed my brick, and then we could get started raking in the money.

Even without her though, it seemed like an amusing opportunity had fallen in my lap. A way to extort some money and beat people up with no consequences. I almost wanted to thank Evelynn Isolde for picking a fight with me. Almost.

— New chapter is coming soon —
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