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Chapter 73

– First… Do not mourn those who left first.
– Your Majesty.
– Jim as well, and someday you too will stand in the same ranks as them.
– Your Majesty, please.
– Just as Jim lived a lifetime as a hypocrite, you too will live as a hypocrite. Perhaps gathering falsehoods will eventually lead you to the truth. Live. Live to continue the hypocrisy of Jim. Will you promise?
– Yes, Your Majesty. I will surely do so.
– That will be enough.

Ivan took a moment to catch his breath, then opened his eyes. Sunlight streamed in. Rising from the sofa, he sorted through the tumult of emotions with a brisk face wash.

It was the usual nightmare. It was the usual day. Contrary to expectations, the familiar ceiling was also the same as usual.

Ivan calmly organized his surroundings, tidied up his belongings, got dressed, and then left the director’s office.

It was the morning of the festival.

***

The main entrance to the St. Jan’s University was packed with a massive crowd – street vendors, curious citizens, foreign tourists, excited students, and their acquaintances.

Only four years since the end of the war, it was a rare international festival in this country with no shortage of festivities. The enthusiasm of the citizens was not surprising.

Ivan scanned his surroundings as he moved through the crowd. Even amidst this dense gathering, he navigated without brushing against a single garment, displaying a skillful agility.

It was a basic form of movement that posed no particular difficulty. Before he knew it, Ivan arrived at the square in front of the statue of the Great King, where the festival was in full swing.

Three people were either checking the time, strolling the streets, or standing idly. The appointment time was undoubtedly 20 minutes away.

Ivan smirked briefly. He had left early to detect any potential risks, but he hadn’t expected the escort targets to arrive so swiftly.

The troublemakers, typically tardy even for their weekly punctual classes, displayed unusual diligence. They were maturing.

Regardless, it wasn’t a bad thing. He already felt that the escort mission would be more manageable.

“Oh, uncle! You came?”

Isabelle suddenly ran towards him, waving her hand. With a cheerful smile, she swiftly reached him and naturally grabbed his arm.

Her tightly fitting attire looked uncomfortable for unnecessary movements. As a knight undergraduate, it was an outfit that would be difficult to score points in. It was suitable for the temperate climate of Tilles, and even then, it was a garment for very special occasions.

“No way, are you coming in your work clothes again today? Ugh, even if you’re a secret agent, don’t they grant government officials a day off? Making you work on a day like this?”

“A day off?”

“Yes! Seriously, this country is insane. Not only government officials, but do they even prevent them from getting married?”

“That’s not true.”

Krasilov had consistently implemented policies encouraging marriage and childbirth, a response to the significant damage to the nation’s structure since the last war.

Although Ivan couldn’t fathom why the topic of marriage suddenly came up, he saw no reason to instill such misconceptions in foreigners. He briefly nodded.

“Uncle, is there anything you’d like to do? I took a quick look around while coming here, and there’s a place that suits you perfectly…”

“Isabelle?” (Ecdysis)

As Isabelle was about to continue, Ecdysis, who had been absentmindedly observing the crowd in front of the statue, walked over quietly.

“What are you doing with Ivan?”

“Huh?”

“Excuse me, I apologize for the interruption. I understand you’ve been learning various things from him. Whenever it’s convenient, may I have a moment with Uncle Ivan?”

“…Huh?”

“Huh?”

As the two stared blankly at each other once again, an elf who had finally recognized them approached.

“Mr. Petrovich, you came early. That divine dedication that is so unhuman should truly be a lesson for all of mankind. I haven’t been waiting too long, so don’t worry too much.”

“Huh?”

“Uh-huh…?”

Two humans and one elf. The three of them once again looked at each other in silence.

“Sorry, kids. I made plans with Uncle Ivan for today.”

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Uncle said he doesn’t have any special plans today. Ah, I see what this is. Tylesse-style rhetoric, right? Trying to bluff, that kind of thing.”

“Humans are always amazing. Racism is so ingrained that I can’t even talk about it anymore. Mr. Ivan, come over here.”

“Isn’t Uncle human too?”

“Isn’t it only humans who mistake chickens and phoenixes for the same bird? They have different scientific names.”

“Do they have different scientific names?”

In the meantime, Ivan looked around. Many people were glancing in their direction, but the crowd’s state of armament seemed secure.

Due to the hot weather, his lighter attire made it impossible to conceal any hidden weapons. At best, there might be a dagger or a pistol, but even that could be easily noticed by observing his walking posture.

Even if there were a more covert ambush, the less concealable the weapon, the weaker its effectiveness. Ivan felt relieved that this mission seemed easier than he initially thought.

“This time, quite competent.”

He heard that the Contraintelligence Headquarters were stationed nearby, controlling personnel. Fortunately, it seemed they were acting competently this time.

However, it was too early to feel secure. An academy festival was an event that showcased murder, terrorism, ambushes, massacres, and large-scale demonic invasions.

Therefore, with the hidden whip at his sleeve and the pistol tucked behind his waist, Ivan remained conscious and fully prepared.

In most cases, acting sensibly prevents trouble. That’s why common sense is crucial for humans.

Sadly, the three remaining people, unable to grasp Ivan’s thoughts, exclaimed in disbelief at this unconventional situation.

***

“Uncle, are you really out of your mind? Tell me. What on earth are you thinking… No, don’t say it. I feel like I might explode if you do.”

“Hmm.”

“Aaaah!!”

Isabelle screamed, pounding her chest. After a while of quacking, she took a deep breath, sighed heavily, and mumbled.

“Yeah, it’s my fault for expecting in the first place. My mistake. Yeah, I’m a really bad girl. I’d rather teach love to a golem. At least there’s a chance.”

Isabelle looked at Ivan with sad eyes, then shook her head nervously and turned her gaze away.

“So, does anyone know what the ‘first come, first served’ method is? Normally, in cases like this, um, the concept of first-come, first-served should apply, I think.”

“In Tylesse, right? Uh-huh, in Drovian, we usually solve it with strength. Foreign cultures are really difficult. How about we exchange some cultural knowledge during this opportunity?”

“If it’s solved with strength… confident in yourself?”

“Oh, Isabelle, it’s not that I failed to enter the Knight’s Department due to incapability. Unlike you, I possess a skill for playing musical instruments. I was advised to cultivate this talent.”

Ecdysis said this with a warm gaze on Ivan.

Being a rational person, Ivan had no intention of intervening in the university students’ trivial disputes. His mission was to protect the warrior party members from external threats, not to mediate inexplicable emotional conflicts.

Normally, students of that age become friends through fighting with each other.

“Such human-like language. It’s very cute. Now, Mr. Petrovich, shall we go over there to see what’s happening?”

“Wow, this elf continues to exhibit such elf-like behavior. Are you up for a fight? Dad, I apologize; today, I inadvertently stained my sword with human blood instead of battling demons!”

“Oh my, did you bring a sword to the festival? No wonder people say Tylesse folks are ominous.”

“Look who’s talking! Your instrument—I heard you’ve been going around hitting our kids on the head with that violin!”

“Uh-huh, Ecdysis of sincerity doesn’t know about that. My tough sweetheart isn’t a weapon.”

A bit confusing, isn’t it?

Ivan contemplated whether to block out the sound. Since the current correction was already noisy with the festival crowd, enhancing his hearing wasn’t particularly helpful.

“Hey, let’s establish an order. I’ll go first, Ecdysis in the afternoon. Before evening, it’s the elf’s turn. And at night, it’s me. How about that?”

“Why don’t we make it a clean duel?”

“This is where government officials do their thing. Do you reckon they’d let something risky for civilians slide?”

This seems hard to pass over.

Ivan briefly nodded. Why go through the effort of dispersing the carefully gathered security targets again? People in this world are so irrational.

“Everyone moves together.”

“…Uncle, are you really crazy?”

“Uh… Uncle, that’s a bit…”

Organizing squabbling kids was as familiar as it gets. It wasn’t much different from dealing with students during class time.

Ivan asserted with the firm and dignified demeanor of a headmaster.

“Line up, all of you. Now, we’ll handle each opinion one by one fairly, and there won’t be any need for fights. Isabelle, you go first.”

“No way…”

Isabelle looked at Ivan with a confused expression, then glanced up at the sky, lowered her head deeply, and splashed some water on her face.

“Hurry up.”

“This is crazy. How can someone be so audacious? Trying to flirt with three young girls simultaneously? This, this is so shameless…”

Grumbling, Isabelle stepped forward.

***

When people think of university festivals, it’s only natural to associate them with pubs, but that’s due to the narrow culture of 21st-century South Korea.

In the case where this event started as a university festival but evolved into a local festival, it was different. In this peculiar mix of apartment bazaars and local small business activation festivals under the guise of a university festival, all sorts of things that one would expect from a “festival” were abundant, including the place Isabelle brought them to.

– Taang! –

“Oh, too bad, it missed! Well, since you hit four, here, I’ll give you a doll!”

It was a shooting booth where participants aimed at small targets with a pistol.

Surprisingly, they used real bullets, but it wasn’t strange. In a world where the concept of air guns didn’t exist, and guns were overlooked due to the societal atmosphere that deemed them ineffective against superhumans.

Moreover, even if someone dared to point the gun at civilians, the moment they turned the barrel, the shopkeeper could intervene. The shopkeeper was also a superhuman.

Superhumans who were beyond the level that the shopkeeper could intervene could prevent mass slaughter without even resorting to guns. There was no need to raise a noisy and attention-drawing weapon like a gun.

Therefore, despite using real bullets, this booth could be considered safer than any other street stall. While there was a prevalence of food poisoning due to the absence of food safety management in this world, there were agents from the reconnaissance headquarters responsible for firearm safety management in the event venue.

“Give it a try, us.”

Isabelle ran cheerfully towards the shooting booth. She knew Ivan was skilled with pistols, but she wanted to showcase her own practice on this occasion.

Demonstrating ‘diligent effort’ to a shooting expert was already a significant scoring factor. As for Ecdysis and Elpheira, they could never dream of such a thing. Did those two ever even try holding a pistol?

Seizing the opportunity to lead once again, using the excuse of exploring the festival, was a subtle display of political prowess. This was the terrifying political monster with a decade of experience in the labyrinth of Tylesse politics.

“Hey, senior?”

“Hmm?”

“Why is the senior… um, doing this?”

At that moment, the shopkeeper of the shooting booth was looking at Ivan with a bewildered expression.

“What are you doing here?”

“As you can see… um. Undercover duty…?”

“Excellent.”

Dmitri hesitated as he handed Ivan a pistol.

Indeed, undercover duty. With loaded pistols scattered everywhere, it’s easy to respond to emergencies. Carrying a pistol around would seem normal in the surroundings, where people would simply perceive it as an ordinary festival stall.

Competent indeed.

Ivan nodded approvingly.

Perhaps the festival could end without any issues, surprisingly for an Academy festival.

Well, this world isn’t devoid of bizarre events like inter-faculty dueling contests. There are no unacceptable friendly events that force elementary students into a first-come, first-served race to steal a dragon’s egg.

Maybe festival terrorism, a ‘common sense’ among academies, serves as a warning against such dangerous events. It might be aimed at widely spreading the lesson that educational institutions should not involve students’ lives in gambling.

If that’s the case, then good. Such wholesome festivals should also exist.

Ivan could somewhat relax.

But that wouldn’t do. Academy events always end up exploding because that is the ‘common sense’ of those occasions.


30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

30 Years Have Passed Since the Prologue

프롤로그에서 30년이 흘렀다
Score 7.8
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Released: 2023 Native Language: Korean
I got transmigrated into a game I’ve never seen before. I thought it was a top-notch RPG and spent 30 years on it. I retired as a war hero and planned to spend my remaining time leisurely. But it turns out, it was an academy story?

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