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Chapter 6: The Magic Turmoil (2)

When I came to my senses, I was greeted by the sight of Astira who had revealed her true form.

“Awake now?”

“…Yeah.”

“You took quite a beating. How’s your body holding up?”

“No, feels like I’m dying.”

“Figured as much.”

With those words, Astira waved her hand, drawing a magic circle in the air. From it, a reddish stream flowed forth, burrowing into my body and beginning to heal all the wounds on my back.

“This is...”

“Can’t have you looking like that forever, can we?”

“That’s true. Thanks. I was planning to ask a priest, but you’ve saved me the trouble.”

“Speaking of which, your father is quite strict. It’s rare, even in high-ranking noble families, to see a son’s back turned into a rag like that.”

Indeed. I must be insane to have set it up like this. What’s with the honor? If I had just designed a parent weak to their son, I wouldn’t be suffering like this.

“Lucky that’s all it was. Especially since you healed me... Ah, but now that I think about it, I didn’t get a chance to bring you up.”

“Probably for the best you didn’t. Would’ve ended with more than just ten lashes if you had.”

“Exactly. Seems like making arrangements for you to stay in this mansion might take some doing. After all, I went to such lengths for Aris, it’d be troublesome to suddenly bring another girl here. It’d certainly start rumors about me being obsessed with women.”

“Right. So, how do we bring up my story?”

“Simple. I’m sponsoring a female student in a bit of a bind... That should be understandable to my father.”

“Ah, right. You’ve made quite a few donations after all.”

“But for that, we need an incident. Something to show you have nowhere else to live.”

“That makes sense.”

“So, I’ve been thinking...”

“Thinking what?”

“You can open a demonic gateway, right? High-level demons can open them at will?”

“A demonic gateway? How do you know about that? Most humans wouldn’t.”

“I have my ways. If I were an ordinary guy, would I know your true name?”

“…Fair point. But why bring up demonic gateways all of a sudden?”

“Why? Because the only event that would leave you with nowhere to live is if the dormitory were destroyed, right?”

“…”

Astira was at a loss for words.

“That makes sense, but... you’re saying to open a demonic gateway right in the middle of the dormitory?”

“Exactly.”

“Huh...”

“Don’t worry. With your abilities, you should be able to do it without getting caught.”

I was confident in this. In the original story, Astira took it upon herself to ‘take care’ of the dormitory without anyone asking her.

By opening a demonic gateway.

This would also put Aris Winslet in a difficult situation, since the dormitory building Astira was to live in was also the one Aris was residing in.

“It’s obvious I won’t get caught, but... I didn’t expect the words I was about to propose to come out of your mouth first.”

She looked at me with a slightly incredulous expression.

“Well, that works out even better. It’s what I was planning to do anyway, no need to make a big deal out of it.”

“What about the demons that emerge from the demonic gateway?”

“The academy folks will take care of them. You know better than anyone that there are plenty of capable people there. Weren’t you eyeing some decent contractors to take advantage of at the academy?”

“…But ended up getting caught in my own trap.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate, but what you were doing and what I’m doing isn’t all that different, is it? Who told you to take advantage of others?”

“Alright, I get it. But when do you want to open it?”

“Do it tomorrow.”

“Tomorrow?”

“Yes. This is an absolute order. You wanted a place to stay sorted out quickly anyway.”

“…Fine. But in return.”

“In return?”

“I want a spacious room. I hate cramped spaces; they suffocate me. That’s why I studied so hard.”

“So you can get assigned to the best dormitory building if your grades are good?”

“Exactly. The same building you were so desperate to get Aris into.”

“Don’t worry about that. My current room is about three times the size of the one I had in the dormitory.”

“I like the sound of that.”

She smiled contentedly.

* * *

As soon as I returned to the academy, it was all about me.

I had no idea when the news of my sentence to a flogging had spread, but that was all anyone talked about.

There were whispers about how the academy’s corporal punishment was too lenient and how they intended to punish me directly.

There were comments on how brazen I was for showing my face at the academy again.

And there were rumors that all my previous actions were hypocritical.

I simply kept quiet. Engaging in gossip was the last thing I wanted to do. Besides, this might actually be better for me. After all, similar rumors had circulated in the original story.

These rumors will soon die down anyway.

Especially since Astira is opening the demonic gateway today. There were no casualties or injuries in this chapter. Just a few not-so-strong demons popping out.

Honestly, I could just say I’m leaving the dormitory… but the problem is, that wouldn’t seem troublesome at all, making it impossible for us to be taken in at the Lancel mansion.

After all, the mansion’s owner isn’t me; it’s my father. And of course, I wouldn’t be staying there all day, and I’d pretty much be able to use it like my own mansion, but I still needed permission. All the more so since I, who had already caused trouble over a woman, was trying to bring a female student into the mansion.

In short, I just need to stay put. Astira will create the situation anyway.

However... there were still obstacles. As I opened the door to the classroom, what I saw were Ruslan and his friends glaring at me with murderous eyes.

Of course, Aris Winslet was there too. A palpable hostility emanated from them towards me. Ah, it’s terrifying.

I broke out in a slight sweat. It was somewhat sad yet frightening that the characters I had painstakingly created were now eager to kill me.

But the real harm would come to them. I had to become the perfect villain. The more I adhered to the role of the villain, the more difficult it would become for them.

This would also be quite difficult for me. Hypocrisy seems preferable.

Rather than committing a laughably absurd act of malice, it would be better to bring about a more positive influence, as is often the case in misunderstanding-based stories.

It’s an ironic situation, to say the least.

...Let’s just hold on until Chapter 3. If I make a timely exit then, I can hide somewhere they don’t know and help them. I’ve roughly planned it out.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the narrative will follow my plan. The situation has been slightly twisted. I might have inadvertently made a mistake in my conversations with my father, and gaining the upper hand over Astira could introduce a significant variable into the narrative.

But I can’t completely overturn my plan. What I can do is, yes, stick to the role of the villain, no matter what.

The starting point for that... will be the demonic gateway disturbance today. It’s a disturbance that follows the flow of the narrative, but there can still be variables within it. I just need to be as cautious as possible.

Anyway, since it will take some time for Astira to open the demonic gateway, I guess I have to attend class for now. Thanks to Prah’s diligent studies, I had no trouble keeping up with the lessons.

In a way, this could also be seen as my karma.

Creating such a diligent character, only to turn him into a fool who becomes a villain for the sake of love, might just be the universe’s way of paying me back.

Ignoring the hostile gazes around me, I adopted the attitude of a diligent student. To others, this might seem revolting.

* * *

Currently, Astira was subtly manipulating magical energy in her dormitory room, careful not to leave any trace of black magic that might alert the church. There was no way she would be caught by the church officials.

Originally, Astira was known for her carelessness, but after a harsh lesson from Prah, she resolved to be cautious in all matters.

Knowing how troublesome it could become if the church discovered her existence, she went to great lengths to ensure she wouldn’t be caught this time.

“This should do it.”

Astira, who usually acted out the role of a sincere yet gloomy character with poor health. For her, slipping out during class time was no problem at all.

Moreover, to humans ignorant about demons, a demonic gateway was perceived as a ‘natural disaster’ that appeared spontaneously... no one would suspect it was opened deliberately.

“Hmm~.”

Astira hummed to herself. The mere act of performing such a simple task and the prospect of residing in a comfortable place filled her with enthusiasm.

Though she resented being bound to Prah and it made her blood boil just to think about it... she was well aware that there was nothing she could do about the past.

Even when she fell from grace, transforming from an angel to a demon, she didn’t take the situation too seriously.

She just needed to play along for now, and once Prah’s life came to an end, she could easily extricate herself. After all, human lifespans were finite.

So for now, she just needed to faithfully follow his orders. In the end, she was the one who would have the last laugh.

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