Of course, he knew about ‘Nathan’s situation. He had lost his family, and his hometown, Nover barony, was poor. It must have been a life too arduous for a young boy to bear alone due to the disaster caused by magical beasts. That was probably the reason he couldn’t eat properly. It was also said that his health was originally not good, and to make matters worse, the situation had deteriorated.

    Nathan shook his head vigorously and carefully immersed his body in the bathtub. The warm water enveloping his entire body felt pleasant. Nathan’s face naturally relaxed with the drowsy feeling. Leaning against the backrest of the bathtub, Nathan enjoyed that drowsiness for a while. How long had he been blankly staring at the ceiling like that? He raised his hand and ran it down his face. Water droplets gathered on his chin, dripping down with a sound that echoed in the quiet bathroom. Suddenly lowering his gaze, he saw his face reflected on the water’s surface like a mirror.

    No matter how many times he looked at it, ‘Nathan’s face remained utterly unfamiliar.

    Each time the water droplets gathered at the tip of his chin fell, ripples formed, distorting his appearance before returning to normal.

    “How long will I be here with your appearance?”

    He stared blankly at the face reflected on the water’s surface. Even this gloomy-looking boy’s face would become familiar someday. No, if he wanted to live here, he had no choice but to get used to it.

    Splash!

    Nathan struck the water’s surface with his hand. It was because he suddenly didn’t want to see this face. Drawing his long, outstretched legs together and hugging them, Nathan rested his cheek on them and closed his eyes. The water’s surface tickling his cheek felt quite pleasant.

    Would the day come when he returned to the place where he originally lived? Would ‘Nathan Nover’ himself know anything about it? If he couldn’t go back… Actually, he thought it didn’t matter even if that were the case.

    “This place isn’t bad either. There were surprisingly good adults around ‘Nathan’…”

    Moreover, the place where he originally lived was a place where sunlight hardly entered and warm water didn’t flow well. He had to run cold water for a long time just to get lukewarm water, making washing a chore in the winter. But what about this place? When morning came, the room became bright with sunlight without even having to turn on the lights. He could use warm water to his heart’s content without waiting. Nathan had never used a bathtub in his entire life. That’s why he envied houses with bathtubs. He had dreamed of having a bathtub like this in his house someday…

    ‘Now that I have one like this, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.’

    If the reality he had lived in had been even slightly better than this place, he would have definitely given up settling here and sought a way to escape. He would have hoped to return, using whatever means necessary. But he wouldn’t do that. Both places were nothing special, but if he had to choose, this place was better.

    So he decided to think positively. Come to think of it, although he hadn’t tried it yet, he would be given food on time, a place to sleep, warm water, and the school would provide him with the necessary items, so there was no better place than here for now. Wasn’t his situation better than the place where he originally lived? A place where his basic needs were met without worries, even if there was a grace period, was somewhat better, so he decided to think as positively as possible.

    However, Nathan’s positive thinking didn’t last even three days before shattering.

    ***

    Nathan, who had washed with warm water and gone to bed in a slightly chilly but cozy bed, left the dormitory as soon as he woke up to have breakfast. Finding the cafeteria wasn’t difficult. He arrived there naturally by following students who appeared to be around ‘Nathan’s age. This body didn’t seem to know hunger, as it hardly felt hungry even though he had barely eaten for almost two days. Nathan moistened his mouth with soup and ate toast topped with bacon and fried eggs. The food was delicious. It was tastier than the foreign cuisine he had eaten during his trip.

    After eating, Nathan wandered around the academy. Since he had to start taking classes tomorrow and stay here for a while, he started walking wherever his feet took him, intending to memorize the geography. He also thought it would be nice if he could be lucky enough to meet the protagonist.

    Nathan knew the future of this world. However, Nathan had already done a round of self-reflection after yesterday’s incident. At this rate, Nathan might die within a few years. The day the world would be turned upside down was only about 3 years away.

    Nathan didn’t think he had much talent for magic. His magic skills were in this state, and there was no point in even talking about swordsmanship. It wasn’t like he had any other talents either. For now, there was no other way but to learn magic. But even if he diligently learned magic, would he be able to use it properly in real combat? Yes, this was the biggest problem. Just imagining having to face monsters was a painful thought.

    Then what should he do? Even if he ran away, there was no safe zone. The capital might be relatively safe, but… That wouldn’t last long either. Then a sudden thought occurred to him.

    Wouldn’t it be better to follow the protagonist instead?

    In <Azar>, the protagonist gets involved in all sorts of incidents and faces hardships, but he doesn’t die! Of course, the same went for his companions. So if he became one of his companions, a way to survive would open up. With that thought, Nathan’s goal became to get close to Azar. Just getting close wasn’t enough. He had to become one of his companions.

    At this point, there was still a possibility. Azar’s departure on an adventure happens after he is swallowed by a dungeon on graduation day, clears the dungeon, and then a divine prophecy is delivered from the temple. There was still time until then. Nathan wandered around the dormitory, occasionally looking for Azar. He had read in the original novel that Azar had a secret hideout, but he couldn’t remember exactly where it was.

    After wandering for a long time, the vast academy was too large, so Nathan often collapsed on benches to rest before continuing to walk. He wanted to meet Azar and build a friendship, but he couldn’t find Azar until he had dinner and returned to the dormitory. Nathan found it regrettable, but he didn’t pay much attention to it, thinking that not being able to meet for just one day wasn’t a big deal.

    The next day, Nathan put on his school uniform and tucked his wand into the inside pocket of his outer garment. The items Nathan had purchased in Lupelham had arrived yesterday afternoon and filled one side of his dormitory room. Nathan had no idea what to bring among them, but not wanting to go empty-handed, he took a book titled “Understanding Magic,” a writing quill, ink, and a notebook, and left the room.

    The magic department building had many classrooms, but thanks to memorizing the way while wandering around the academy all day yesterday, he was able to find the classroom without difficulty. It was early, but the classroom was bustling with students. When Nathan entered, the classroom fell silent for a moment, but soon everyone was too busy chatting among themselves to pay attention to Nathan. It was fortunate for Nathan.

    Since no one readily approached him first, Nathan sat alone in the very back seat. He could feel the glances directed at him as if he were an outsider, even though they were busy chatting among themselves. Nathan found the atmosphere in the classroom suffocating. Feeling at a loss, he fiddled with his cravat aimlessly. In the end, Nathan decided to pretend to be asleep.

    Nathan felt like he had become a stranger. It felt very strange to be among young children, and their hair colors, facial features, and other aspects that were far from those of Asians, which he had seen countless times during his trip, still made him feel like an outsider.

    Clatter.

    “Is everyone here?”

    After a while, the sound of the door opening and a familiar voice were heard. At that voice, Nathan slightly raised his head and looked at the podium. There stood Melchiel, his long lemon-colored hair braided and hanging down. Some children even had an ecstatic expression upon seeing Melchiel. That’s how beautiful Melchiel was today as well. Then Nathan’s eyes met Melchiel’s as he scanned the classroom, and he hastily straightened his slumped body.

    “Everyone is here. I see many familiar faces. I’m Melchiel, who will be in charge of you.”

    “Who doesn’t know you, Professor~!”

    “That’s right!”

    At Melchiel’s words, the students laughed and chattered. There would be few people who didn’t know Melchiel, not only in this academy but in the entire world. Nathan rested his chin on his hand and thought so. As the children became noisy again, Melchiel tapped the floor with the wand in his hand.

    “Well, since it’s the first day, before starting the class, I thought I’d talk about something you’ve heard to the point of being sick of it. Listen and think of it as reviewing once again.”

    Saying that, Melchiel glanced at Nathan. The children groaned as if they were tired of those words. Seeing that, Nathan felt awkwardly embarrassed, thinking that Melchiel might have brought up the subject because of him, who knew nothing.

    “The origin of all magic begins with the great sage ‘Belganus’.”

    Melchiel continued, flipping through the book he had brought.

    “[Give form to the stories recorded]”

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