“I Cannot Look Directly at Magic Power Without Laughing……”
Ortensia groaned a little after tasting the coffee that had been prepared for her, and after putting the glass down on her desk, she set her gaze on Lucy.
Meanwhile, Lucy couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had brewed the coffee just as she had been told last night. Pouring a cup of milk into what she was told was Ortensia’s favorite cup, sweetened it with some sugar, and then added a teaspoon of coffee from what she had brewed for herself……it’d be better to say some had dribbled in rather than any was added.
Anyway, Lucy had tried taste-testing it with a spoon when she was finished, and as she figured it would, it tasted just like lukewarm sweetened coffee with no trace of any kind of coffee taste to be found. She was actually afraid that she had screwed it up and added too much sugar making it too sweet.
Even so, Ortensia was showing frustration and disappointment now and was wiping off her mouth with a handkerchief while complaining.
“It was bitter, did you brew it exactly as I told you to? A teaspoon of coffee added together with a cup of milk and some sugar.”
“How much sugar did you put into that coffee?”
Lucy was stunned that Ortensia was completely unable to see the point she was trying to make. Ortensia was staring at her with her coffee and sandwich in hand. It was like someone had dropped a cup onto the floor and nobody knew what to do.
But even though it was only acting as a mere substitute for milk, who could predict that even one teaspoon of coffee would require sugar?”
“Would it not be better for you to just drink hot milk instead?”
“Hot milk is a child’s drink. Adult women drink coffee.”
“Right right, I’ll try to be more careful next time.”
“And since we have magical power measurements today, I need to keep a clear head.”
“……..magical power measurements?”
‘What is that?’ Lucy’s tilted head and curious look were trying to convey, and Ortensia produced a large smile with flared nostrils making a particularly proud expression. —…….Although after she found hot milk mixed with sugar and a dab of coffee to be too bitter to drink, Lucy wasn’t feeling any dignity from her at all.—
“No, you really don’t need to pretend to not know it. When talking about Liztena Magic Academy, the magical power measurements are famous.”
“No, I really don’t know anything about them and don’t remember anyone mentioning them before.”
“But they’re famous! Anyway you can find out about them in the auditorium, so hurry up and get ready.”
Lucy responded to Ortensia trying to rush her with a wave of her hand, and after throwing the last bite of her sandwich into her mouth and downing the last bit of her actual coffee, she picked up two bags into her hands. Of course one of the bags were Ortensia’s, and carrying it was the natural obligation of Lucy who was her roommate.
Lucy then took her empty dishes to the kitchen sink……..but as she turned to leave, Ortensia cried out in frustration and discontent.
“By the way, why are you eating while standing over there? Are you eating with your things?”
Ortensia was looking at Lucy with cold eyes as if she were looking at some uncultured vagabond, but Lucy responded with a shrug of her shoulders as she threw on her uniform cape.
“The Lady of the Rosedot house asked me to have breakfast prepared in the living room,”
And then continuing further,
“But unfortunately, there are no chairs in the area where I am allowed to move.”
Hearing that, Ortensia responded with a loud, “Mi~!”—responded?¹
Perhaps it was meant to mean, “If you have time to be sarcastic then you have time to get ready!” Although it was just a simple sound, it had so much meaning packed into it. Lucy found herself lowering her head and unscrupulously apologizing before the mysterious word this early morning.
Ortensia turned away in a fuss and barged out of the room with her wavy golden hair fluttering behind her. Lucy followed after, but just as she was about to leave the room, in the corner of her eye she caught the sight of the line on the floor shining brightly as it slowly moved to include one corner of the table.
Over 50 students had already gathered in the school’s auditorium, and each one had taken a seat on prepared chairs and were talking amongst each other.
From aristocrats who radiated haughtiness at a glance to those whose births were suspect, the students were as different as the many houses scattered across the country. Distinctive accents could be heard coming from the room’s clamor, and even hair and eye color greatly varied.
But for all their differences, every student was wearing a uniform dark blue cape or robe. The school crest for Liztena Magic Academy was embroidered on the front like a normal school uniform, so it was required that all students wear them to class no matter how gaudy or unfit it looked. Moreover, the color of the button sewn on the front was to identify what year the student belonged to. As a freshman, Lucy’s button was blue.
Whether you wear a cape over your shoulder or a long robe that extends down to your knees is up to each student, but Lucy and Ortensia had both chosen to wear the cape because it was warm that day.
“When I saw it hanging in my closet I thought it was quite the plain uniform, but it is quite showy when you put it all together.”
“Liztena Magic Academy is an honored institution. That uniform is not something that a commoner lady like yourself would originally have worn. Please be sure to wear it properly from now on.”
“When you say that sort of thing, it makes me not want to tell you that the size notation sticker is still sticking to the back of your cape.”
Ortensia raised a mysterious scream and turned her head around in a panic as her hands began to fruitlessly run up her back. Lucy who was the reason for the outburst tried to calm her down, “I’ll get it in a minute,” as the already loud auditorium started to become even more lively.
The students who were still standing began to move, rushing towards the vacant seats. Following along with the sudden hustle, Lucy followed Ortensia to a table slightly separated from the rest of the audience and turned her eyes towards the auditorium’s entrance.
From there appeared two male students wearing the dark capes along with several men and women who appeared to be teachers. The buttons holding their capes in place were red which meant they were senior students.
One of them had red hair, and the other gold……..
Seeing a person she knew, Lucy unconsciously called out his name.
But then in the next moment she overheard the nearby students talking among themselves saying, “It’s His Highness Claudio,” and “He’s so handsome today too,” and she hurriedly shut her mouth.
“First years, good morning. Did you all sleep well this morning?”
Claudio climbed up onto the auditorium’s front stage and slowly looked out at each of the freshman as if to memorize the face of every single one.
He was dignified, and as one would expect he was able to stand up before well over fifty other people without looking even a little nervous.
“There was an introduction yesterday, but once again I am Claudio Barek, the student council president for Liztena Magic Academy. I think everyone knows this already, but while we are at the academy, I would like all of you to either refer to me as ‘senior’ or ‘president’.”
Or so Claudio said.
But he is not just a member of the royal family of this country, he is the second prince. Even when the person himself asks that you refer to him in an informal manner–something that would be terrifying for even higher ranked nobles let alone commoner citizens–everyone in the auditorium just stared at him with misty eyes.
Most likely guessing the reason for the freshman’s puzzlement, Claudio tried to ease any worries with a broad grin. Seeing that smile, the puzzled look on each student’s face disappeared, replaced by one of amazement instead.
“Today I have been tasked with administering your magical power measurements, so the students’ whose names are called are to come up here without delay. If you want to catch your classes tomorrow, then the time for hesitation has already longed passed.”
Claudio spoke with a mischievous smile spread across his face, and all of the freshman’s eyes went round as saucers. But gradually the students noticed the kindness in his expression, and they all let out a breath of relief while the prince looked upon them all with a wry smile.
If you had been watching behind Claudio as he spoke, you would have seen the teachers carry over some boxes they had been holding and prepared a pedestal behind the podium. Slowly pulling off the lid of the box and taking out……..a transparent round orb.
Laying it atop the podium with the utmost care, the teachers had prepared a silk cloth for it to rest upon and a small enclosure to ensure it did not roll off, and a wave of whispers spread through the freshman.
Meanwhile, Lucy alone was tilting her head to the side in confusion. She heard multiple voices going, “Ah,” and “That is,” but it was only a transparent sphere on top of a platform no matter how you look at it.
“Well it’s certainly round, but isn’t it a little weird to find something round so amazing?”
“The fact that it is round is completely unrelated. That is the magical tool that Liztena Magic Academy is most proud of.”
“……Is that round ball a magic tool?”
“By the way, Lucy?”
“So they will use that thing to measure our magical power? I’d like to avoid doing to much. I haven’t written in my notebook yet this morning.”
“It’s alright. The sticker isn’t there anymore.”
Lucy turned her eyes back towards as the stage as Ortensia furiously groaned out one of her “Mi~!” and as the rest of the audience started to quiet down when Claudio began speaking over them once again.
“Everyone should……..no, most of the students should already know, but this is a tool used to measure a person’s magic power that we will be using many times today. But you don’t have to think too hard about it. It’s easy to use, just put your hand on it.”
Claudio extended one of his hands on the sphere as he said so.
Beginning with his palm and slowly moving to the tips of his fingers, a small mist began to emerge from the sphere. It gradually got bigger, and a dim light trembled underneath…..and after a few seconds, a bright golden light began to shine. The students all made a gleeful voice watching the change. Above all, upon seeing the golden light, all of the men in the crowd watched in silent admiration while the girls started chatting, “as expected of Prin- No, President Claudio.”
However, only Lucy loudly shouted, “Gold……!” and jumped up to her feet when seeing the light, but she quickly shut her mouth and retook her seat as the surroundings started a round of applause.
Claudio received the applause with a small bow of his head before removing his hand from the sphere. The bright golden light slowly began to fade away before returning to a complete transparent sphere once again. It took only a few seconds for it to return to normal even though Claudio had his hand on it for a few minutes.
As might be expected of a magical tool belonging to Liztena Magic Academy it brought out a buzz of amazement from the students, and the rising volume of their voices continued to praise Claudio.
“It is only possible for a superior person inside royalty to bring out such a brilliant golden color! As expected of Claudio.”
“That red-haired student is crouched over and trembling before that absolute gold!”
“Excuse me. In other words, all I have to do is put my hand on it and it measures my magic power right?”
“That’s right. The more magic power you have, the brighter the light shines, and the color changes depending on our personality and character.”
“Hoh, what an interesting thing.”
Lucy gazed at the sphere that had now gone back to being completely transparent and muttered out a few words of amazement while Claudio stepped forward again and tried to regain the attention of the freshmen.
He took a deep breath when everyone quieted down and refocused on him, and then Claudio motioned for the red-haired student from before to stand next to him.
“Everything will be fine as long as you do it as I just did now. This is simply to confirm your current situation, and your class and correspondence will not change no matter what the results of your measurement is. Whatever your color is or how dim the light is isn’t a problem……Conrad.”
Claudio turned his gaze squarely on the red-haired student standing next to him now. His height was about the same as Claudio’s, but he was a little better built with a fearless, masculine face.
Both of them were handsome with a certain charm to them, and they both looked like they had jumped straight from a picture book. A prince and a knight who would have each other’s backs as they defended their kingdom.
However, the boy called Conrad had a tired expression on his face when Claudio turned the audience’s attention onto him, and his scrunched eyebrows and sour look in his eye were clearly conveying, “…….I don’t want to do this,” as he passively refused Claudio’s words.
“It’s no good, do it.”
“We’ll have to measure either tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. You can’t just do it on your own with nobody watching.”
Now, Claudio clapped Conrad’s back to get him moving. He put his hand on the sphere just as Claudio had done before him, but a large part of the enthusiasm Claudio had had was vacant in Conrad.
The mists once again started churning…..but the haze did not spread like when Claudio did it and just continued to swirl in the center of the sphere. Still the light did eventually turn a color, a small bluish light that looked like it was floating in the middle of a haze.
A vivid and clear blue, but also very small. When he confirmed that it had in fact lit up, Conrad quickly released his hand, and the murky sphere quickly turned transparent once again. Next, he turned his gaze on Claudio as if to silently complain, “Are you satisfied with this!?”
“Now as all of you can see, even if you have extremely little magic power, you can still make it to the second year, so everyone can take their measurements with no worries.”
“Did you have me do it just so you could say that!?”
“You just gave hope to all the freshmen who have low magic power. You should be more proud of yourself here Conrad.”
“I’m going to remember this Claudio!”
An unforeseen reaction between the two seniors–who were yelling at each other as if there were no difference in their social status–caused all of the freshmen to smile and laugh.
Indeed this was all in order to relieve some anxiety the incoming students might have, and upon seeing the slackened expressions of his juniors before him, Claudio gave a satisfied nod and called the name of the first student.
1. It doesn’t translate well in English, but essentially what the narrator is doing is questioning whether or not Ortensia say ‘Mi’ is a word that she is saying or just a noise she involuntarily makes.