Nathan was anxious that Matilda, who had observed him longer than expected, might notice something amiss, so he strived to escape the situation. However, thanks to Matilda’s surprise at Nathan’s suddenly changed constitution while using holy power for treatment, he managed to evade the issue that day.

    “Nathan” originally had a body that responded well to holy power, but for some reason, he had become resistant to it. It was unclear whether it was because he had entered “Nathan’s” body. There were so few similar precedents that not only were there no solutions, but there were also very few cases of people’s constitutions changing later in life.

    “…While relying too much on holy power isn’t good for the body, I’m just sorry that it can’t help you when you’re in so much pain.”

    “Ah, no! I’ve gotten much better thanks to you, Professor!”

    Nathan wasn’t sure if he had really improved, but he said so anyway. Afterward, Matilda briefly explained Nathan’s condition and rose from her seat.

    “It’s best for you to stay in bed for a few more days. When you feel well enough to move around, you can return to the dormitory.”

    “Yes, I will. Thank you.”

    “I have some business to attend to, so I’ll be stepping out for a bit. Rest comfortably.”

    Nathan forced a smile and bade her farewell until Matilda left. As the infirmary door closed, silence descended. Nathan practically collapsed onto the bed. A faint herbal scent tickled his nostrils. Nathan thought that the Second Magic Lab would likely have an even stronger herbal scent than here.

    As he rested his head on the soft pillow, his eyes naturally closed, but he wasn’t sleepy enough to fall asleep. Nathan mulled over what Matilda had said and finally burst into laughter.

    Pushing his fragile body too hard had left permanent damage.

    It wasn’t even funny. He couldn’t understand what he had done so wrong to deserve this. The pain around his heart was mild but bothersome. However, this was the pain Nathan would have to bear from now on. Matilda had called it a sort of aftereffect.

    If he didn’t overexert himself, it would end at this level, and medication would dull the pain. Nathan collapsed in despair. It was like reaching the finish line in a race, only to trip over his own feet and be unable to get up.

    “Damn this body…!”

    Now, even a little overexertion would make his body bleed, and the mana constricting his heart would put pressure on it. If it were someone else, they probably wouldn’t have been this damaged even with this much overexertion, but Nathan had been hit with one misfortune after another, leading to this situation.

    His usually frail body was creaking, both externally and internally, as well as mentally. Pushing himself, pushing himself, and pushing himself in such a state, this was a predestined tragedy.

    So, from the moment he learned of this fact, Nathan decided to live half-heartedly, feeling resigned. As long as he didn’t overdo it, he was average. His efforts so far had been somewhat helpful. Nathan, who had been below average, was now around the middle. While that fact made him happy, he felt even more despondent.

    If he had been more careful, his future could have been even more different, considering his current state.

    At some point, his initial plan to become close to Azar was erased from his mind. What could he do with this body? With only mediocre abilities, he would be nothing but a burden to the protagonist, let alone be of help. Even if he somehow became friends with Azar, it would likely end with just exchanging greetings. They probably wouldn’t even see each other after graduation. So, he should just give up.

    However, that didn’t mean Nathan gave up right away. It was because of his lingering hope. For a while, Nathan practically scoured the academy to meet Azar, searching for places he might be and trying to get acquainted with his colleagues, but his efforts ultimately bore no fruit.

    Even Nathan himself was gradually realizing that the more he tried, the more everything seemed to go awry. So he slowly began to give up. The fact that he hadn’t met Azar even once since their first encounter also fueled his resignation. Time passed arbitrarily without Nathan himself properly understanding his own feelings.

    Until graduation was just around the corner when Nathan turned 19, he couldn’t even catch a glimpse of Azar’s hair.

    ♦️♦️♦️

    Story 3: If it’s a dream, I hope to wake up.

    Crunch.

    “What? Why is there sand…?”

    Nathan lowered his feet from the bed, only to slightly frown at the sand that pressed against his soles. As a Korean, Nathan didn’t wear shoes and walk around his room like the other people at the academy. It was a matter of pride for him as a Korean. Who would wear shoes and walk around inside a room? Nathan’s shoes were always neatly placed next to the door, and his room floor was usually clean. So there was no way there could be sand on the floor.

    “Strange… Where did this sand come from?”

    It was odd, but it wasn’t such an important matter. So Nathan let the ominous sign flow away with the cold water.

    It had been nearly two years since he became “Nathan Nover”. Time had flown by, and graduation was just a few months away. As a result, Nathan had been having various worries lately. The immediate concerns were the accident that would occur on graduation day and the natural disasters that would follow… None of those were things Nathan could resolve. What good was knowing the future? Even if a powerless human knew the future, nothing would change.

    He lightly shook his wet hair as he emerged from the bathroom. In two years, Nathan’s height had grown considerably, easily surpassing 180cm. Even so, his body was still skinny, and he had only grown tall like a pine tree. The uniform that had been loose on him at first was still loose, but the length of the sleeves and pants fit perfectly. It would be nice if he could gain some weight here…

    “My appetite has decreased, so I don’t even think about it these days…”

    He roughly wiped his lean stomach and got dressed. Today, Nathan had woken up late, so he arrived at the cafeteria just before breakfast time ended. The cafeteria, which should have been quiet at this late hour, was particularly noisy today. He fairly picked what he wanted to eat from the buffet-style spread of food, found a seat, and sat down. Just as he was about to mechanically move his hands, the students gathered at the table right next to him erupted with a new topic.

    “Did you hear? Even Peli from the Magic Department saw it yesterday!”

    “What, really?”

    “I’m telling you, it’s true! My friend is Peli’s roommate! Yesterday, she was working on an assignment in the lab late into the night, and when she got up to take a break, she saw something swish by outside the window!”

    “Aaaah!”

    “Scary!”

    Playful screams that didn’t sound scared at all echoed through the cafeteria. They probably weren’t thinking about it too seriously either. It was just that as summer approached, these kinds of ghost stories circulated within the academy. The students, tired of studying, just wanted something fun to happen and were piecing together the stories they heard from here and there.

    ‘A ghost… Come to think of it, there were similar rumors last year and the year before’

    At least, that’s how it seemed to Nathan. Similar rumors circulated every year, adding to the mystique, but from Nathan’s perspective, it was just a rumor that could be found anywhere. It was the kind of ghost story that every school had. He felt that this academy was no different from where he used to live.

    “The students in that department sometimes work late into the night, you know? But yesterday, they saw it right at the entrance to the dormitory as they were heading back! The ghost in the rumored shroud!”

    Nathan stopped paying attention to the nonsensical story and focused on eating his breakfast. Nathan’s meal was simple. A small salad, eggs and sausage, and a soft butter roll. He would have preferred to eat rice if possible. He craved white rice and army stew. It wasn’t that he disliked Western food. On the contrary, it suited his taste. But even that became tiresome when it continued for years. If he could eat something else, he thought he might be able to eat more… He suppressed a sigh that threatened to escape by stuffing the last bite of bread into his mouth.

    Today, he had theory and history classes in the morning and practical classes in the afternoon. Nathan arrived at the classroom last.

    “Nathan!”

    “Hey, Nover!”

    “Hello.”

    “You’re late again today!”

    “I know, I keep telling you to go to bed early at night.”

    “I did go to bed early… I think I’ve been sleeping more lately.”

    As he entered the classroom, students greeted Nathan from all over. It was a small change, if you could call it that, over the past two years. The number of students who struck up conversations with Nathan had increased, and he had come to somewhat blend into groups. The ones who had just greeted him were children named Eton, Robert, and Barry. You could say they were the group Nathan hung out with as needed. However, Nathan still felt awkward around them. But he was too lonely to be completely isolated.

    “I thought you might be late, so I saved you a seat!”

    “Oh, thanks. Eton.”

    “Don’t mention it! You can teach me the formulas later!”

    Nathan obediently went and sat in the seat Eton pointed to. In fact, there were plenty of seats available, but he had no intention of ignoring their kindness.

    “Yawn…”

    As soon as he sat down, a yawn escaped his mouth. It had been like this lately. No matter how much he slept, drowsiness washed over him. His body felt more listless than usual. He would listen to lectures in a daze that he would normally have paid attention to, and dozing off during class had become commonplace. Sometimes, he couldn’t even open his eyes in bed and missed morning classes. When he opened a book, the words wouldn’t register. He couldn’t remember what had happened just yesterday. Nathan gradually became more and more lethargic without even noticing it himself. He was just drifting through each day aimlessly.

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