Chapter 33 – The correct solution is usually the simplest one
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20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402

06:30, Elizabeth Magic Academy

 

“Going out through the window?”

“That... seems really silly… isn’t it?” Mary murmured, which she suddenly got interrupted by an icy stare from someone.

It was as if sage Khun also sensed the situation. He coughed once before continuing his explanation. “It seems like I was a little quick to explain there…”

“Yes, great sage.” Alice nodded. “Please explain more.”

“Fine.” sage Khun said. He closed his eyes for a few more seconds and said. “First, have you already known the liar in the story?”

“The liar?” Wilson exclaimed, and turned to look at Alice.

“Do you know?” Mary was also stunned. She also turned to look at Alice questioningly.

Alice’s face turned serious. She thought about something and then said, “It is probably Thomas Murey.”

“Him? How do you know that?”

“…Going back to the sage Khun’s explanation.” Alice said. “If there is really someone who is lying about the footstep then, there could only be one of the two persons.”

Mary and Wilson nodded. After looking at Alice’s notebook, it was very clear that there were only two people who heard it.

“But that is still only a fifty-fifty, right?” Wilson said. “How could you know for sure that it was Thomas Murey?”

“No, it could only be him.” Alice shook her head. “First, when we go to interview Tilea, she only told us that there are 4 more persons who experience this incident. That means she didn’t know about Thomas’s event.”

“After Thomas, we interviewed 4 more persons, right?” Mary thought back. “All that resulted in total 6 persons interviewed.”

“Um.”

“But what would that imply?”

“Let’s consider if Tilea had lied then,” Alice said. “First, Tilea knew all the fours person and probably knew all their stories. If she really wants to blend in with the victims then, why would she add the footstep part? Wouldn’t stay in the group of peoples who didn’t encounter the footstep be safer?”

“Hmm.”

“Hoh?”

“That means she has no reason to lie there.” Alice shook her head. “And that also means that the culprit probably didn’t know about others’ story. Only then would they lie about the footstep. A thing which only one person has experienced!”

“…!”

“That left us with only Thomas. He probably heard us in the classroom and decided to deceive us. Isn’t that right, great sage?” Alice conclude. She smiled confidently toward the tablet.

Sage Khun didn’t deny or affirmed her immediately. He just smiled mysteriously, as if he was waiting for her all along.

“...Very good. Exactly as I wanted to say.” sage Khun said after some time. “Now, do you know why I suggest the window then?”

“…”

The three kids became silent. They exchanged gaze quickly but none could come up with an immediate answer.

“Look at the clues you have gathered again.” sage Khun said. “This time, remove the lie from the culprit.”

“Yes!” Alice said and looked at her notebook once more. "I... Wait! This is...!" Alice suddenly exclaimed. She looked at her note in disbelief.

"Indeed. It is." sage Khun said. "After erasing the culprit’s testimony, a pattern will emerge among the other stories."

“So that is why…” Alice shook her head slightly. “Thank you very much, sage. To think that he has deceived us with such an obvious lie.”

“Yes.” sage Khun nodded. “All the incidents—other than the culprit’s one—only took place in the school building.”

"Wait, what!?"

"Let me see."

Mary and Wilson were surprised. They quickly got close to Alice and looked at her notebook too. And what appeared really shocked them.

"This...!"

“This is actually why I suspect this guy from the start.” sage Khun shook his head. "How could it be a never-ending corridor if it took place in a courtyard?"

"That makes so much sense!" Wilson exclaimed.

"Indeed." Alice nodded.

"It makes sense...?" Mary wasn't really sure if that was the case. But as her friends were accepting it as a fact, she suddenly started to doubt herself.

After all, if all but except one person agreed on something, that one person was surely the one in the wrong... right?

Even other followers in sage Khun's stream also agreed.

[Mizao: ???]

[Roboto_1291: Never-ending corridor could only take place in the corridor. He did have a point there.]

[EmperorOfYellowKingdom: Very true. Very real indeed.]

[DeifinetlyNotACat: Sage Khun's insight is really something else nya. This cat is really impressed by you nya.]

"..." sage Khun shook his head. But Mary could see that his face only turned dark at when he was reading some responses.

"...Anyway, you should leave now. You are on the ground floor, right? Be careful not to fall." sage Khun added after some consideration.

"Yes, sage." Alice nodded. She then put the tablet down and turned to face the others two.

The girl then signaled Wilson to open the window, which he could actually open easily.

"…"

“It… opens?”

Wilson didn't really doubt sage Khun's solution, but seeing it in action still stumped him slightly. He nodded to the two girls in the group and started climbing out of the opening.

It was like he was getting out to a completely different world. Like when he went from the snowy night into a well-insulated room, Wilson suddenly felt much more comfortable after stepping out of the building.

Outside, the birds were chirping. Wilson could even see some students walking along the pathway. The active sight made him felt as if the experience before was just but a dream.

Only when he turned back and saw the concerned looks from the two girls did he know it was all real.

"It is safe," he said to them. After that, Alice nodded and signaled Mary to go next. As a cleric archetype, her fighting power was the weakest. If she got caught alone, the situation would be truly dire.

But there was no mishap after that. Mary and Alice also got out safely.

"That… that really works…?"

“Of course,” Alice said proudly even if she wasn’t actually the real person who suggest it. After that, she took out the tablet and reported the progress. “Sage Khun, we have already gotten out of there.”

“Very good.” sage Khun said coolly. It was as if he didn’t doubt his solution at all. “The culprit is probably around the courtyard so be sure to avoid that part.”

“The courtyard? Alright, sage.” Alice said. Her face was full of some unknown determination.

Unlike her two friends, who became dumbfounded at the revelation, Alice noticed something else when reading her notebook as sage Khun pointed out.

The incident is increasing its intensity each time.

At first, it was just something like a simple prank but in Tilea’s case; it was so terrifying that she even blanked out.

This is probably why sage Khun wants us to move out. He wants to make sure we are safe.

If the trend was true then, there would be something huge happened today for sure.

And the one who could stop that was them.

“We will be sure to avoid that part.”

 

 


20, Month Fall-Amberine, Year Elizabeth 402

06:30, Elizabeth Magic Academy

 

In a dark corner of the 2nd year building's courtyard, there was a secret room there which actually connected to the school building. In there, a boy was working on something on the floor.

Behind him, a shadow could be seen. The shadow was flickering in the dark even when it was just standing there. It looked fragile, like a candle in the middle of the storm.

It was then that the boy suddenly lifted his head. “Why is it not working?” he murmured, comparing the drawing before him with a notebook in his hand.

The notebook was ancient and the writing in it was messy. There was simply no clear guideline in it. Some pages were filled with dozens of weird sentences, but on some, there were only but a few drawings.

Currently, the boy was looking at a drawing—a circle with a star in it—comparing it to the one before him. The drawing was perfect. Except for the size, everything was perfectly inline with the notebook, yet the boy was not satisfied. His face twisted, and he threw the notebook away, which then landed on the pile of dozens—if not hundreds—of similar notebooks.

“Even if you have already died, you are still useless as ever, father.” the boy, Thomas Murey, said. He looked at the notebooks as if it was just a pile of garbage, but he wouldn’t throw them away for real, of course.

His father, Malcolm Murey, was never the greatest father figure. He was the man who always chased after strength and power. Days after days, he always cooped in his own laboratory, researching god-know-what. That was why Thomas, the only child of him, never felt close to his father.

He could go on with his life for weeks or even months without speaking to his father even once. Thomas never was attached to his father. The boy didn’t even cry once when he died. He just continued his life as per usual.

It was only when Thomas returned home around 2 months ago that he found something. It was the research journal of his father.

The research of resurrection magic.

The notes were deep within a secret chamber that only the member of Murey’s family knew. That was why the attackers who killed his father never found them.

And the content of the research intrigued him.

It seemed like his father, Malcolm, was always researching this spell for at least a decade. He became obsessed with it. That was why Malcolm never took part in any of the family bonding time with Thomas.

He just researched it on and on until the last day of his life.

Pathetic…

In the end, Malcolm never completed his research. He only reached the 2nd strongest mage in the kingdom, and never became a good father.

He died as a failure of a researcher, a mage, and a father. A useless human being.

Thomas’s mouth twisted in a smile. But I am different, he thought. He will be the one who will overcome the last step that his father never could.

The boy looked at the shadow, the failed product of his father’s resurrection attempt, with the corner of his eyes. From Malcolm’s note, it was actually the shell of Elizabeth Sorcera—the founding queen of the kingdom.

According to the legend, Elizabeth was at the half-sage level mage who trained in the Law of Space.

But in the end, it was still a failed product from his father’s research. It was just a shell of the long-lost soul. It would never be counted as the true “resurrection”.

That was when Thomas thought of something.

What if I inject it with another soul?

Would it then become complete?

Despite being an incomplete one, the shell was already so strong. It could even bend space with its own will.

No. Not only that. If he could resurrect the queen of the kingdom and control her, what would his position be?

Thomas imagined the scene and smiled. He suddenly became very excited at the prospect of his future. From now on, there would be no one who would look down on him anymore.

The plan came into action a few days ago when he saw Tilea reading books on her own. He ordered the shell to trap her.

But alas, his plan somehow failed. Even with the help of the shell, the prey could escape at the last second for some reason.

Useless! Even the product of you is very useless like you, father! What could you even do in your life?

And now even Alice Claude, the genius of the school, became interested in the strange occurrence.

“...”

Thomas felt like there was some unknown force at play, something beyond his knowing.

“They have already fled, right?” he asked the shadow behind him while looking toward the building. It would never answer him, of course. It just stood there silently without ever respond. But at least, with his father's binding artifact, it would obey his command.

Thomas knew that Alice Claude and her friends would investigate the event tonight. That was why he ordered the shell to scare them away. Unlike others, he could never target Alice as she was one of the most famous people in school right now. Her disappearance would definitely spark a massive investigation.

He wouldn’t let anyone discover his plan. At least… not yet.

The boy smiled confidently. But he was too lost in his own thought that he failed to notice the action of the shadow behind him.

The shadow was looking at him.

It was smiling.

 

The next chapters are linked together so I want to perfect them first. That is why this chapter is later than usual.

 

 

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