Chapter 360 – Past memories

“Rust, forward.”

“Yes…”

A young child’s voice quietly echoes through an auditorium.

Is this the magic element measurement exam I took in the orphanage? Wasn’t I trying to get a dragon spring stone? Ah, these are memories from when I was a kid…

There’s a magic item on the table, and I’m pushed by the hand on my back as I fearfully walk in front of the table.

“Place the palm of your hand here.”

“All right.”

A magic circuit.
Looking at it now, it seems pretty simple.
It really wouldn’t give anything more than a rough measure.
And the person that came here to perform the examination was younger than I remember.
This person was probably a newbie alchemist at the time.

The newbie alchemist begins to measure via pendulum dowsing above my young hand.
I remember this person being a lot more authoritative, but through my adult eyes I see I was probably dealing with a newly graduated alchemist.


The newbie alchemist keeps talking while preparing to start measuring.

I couldn’t really hear it, but at the time it sounded frightening somehow.
But apparently it was just taking longer than expected.

And then, the pendulum starts swinging violently.

“This is incredible!”

The newbie alchemist sounds surprised, and young me flinches and turns around.

Young me looks at the surprised face of an old teacher in the orphanage, who was accompanying the alchemist.
But I remember feeling relieved that his expression didn’t seem negative.

Then the setting changes.

I see the academy.
I think it’s around the time when I was graduating.

I’m looking bigger, and my point of view isn’t that different from now.


…Am I seeing my life flash before my eyes, like people say happens right before someone dies? Eh? I skipped all the way here after the orphanage? I guess I spent most of my time studying, so there wasn’t much to remember, but still…

“Hey rust.”

“Ah, Kalin.”

It’s Kalin, looking a little younger.

“So you really made it to the alchemist association, uh?”

“Yes, and president Halhammer is a great alchemist.
It really is the greatest institution in the country.
The facilities are all brand new too.
I’m sure I can do all the research I want there.”

“Hm.
『The difference in how magic elements affect humans and other living beings』, right?”

“Yes.
I’m surprised you remember it.”

“Fufu.
Information is important when you want to win over someone.”


“Sorry, but the answer is no, no matter how many times you ask.”

“No no, it’s fine.
I’m the one who keeps inviting you because I like you.
I think the two of us could take over this country.”

Said Kalin, filled with confidence.

“Hahaha.
Well I’m very sorry then.”

“Still, that’s a shame.
I really wanted you to come along.
I’m sure the ‘genius of the academy’ who is already a licensed alchemist due to his affiliation with the academy would do great in the army.”

“Stop it with that nickname.
Are you trying to make a name for yourself there and become a knight?”

“Yes.
You’ve been hearing the rumors that we might be going to war, right? The army is the biggest shortcut to making your way up in the world.”

“I see.
Be careful out there.
Not that saying that means anything.”

“That’s not true.
Thank you for worrying.
But that means our paths are going to diverge, Rust.”


“Yes.
Take care of yourself in the army.”

“You got it.
But I’m still going to keep inviting you at any opportunity.”

“Got it.”

That’s right, Kalin said that.
And so…

Then I feel a sharp pain in my chest, and an impact brings back my consciousness.

Before I know it, I’m on a shore.

My shoulder hurts a little, and my chest a lot, and I’m facing up.

I start coughing violently, and see Hipopo is right next to me.
Apparently it’s moving its foot, after using it to put pressure on my chest.

 

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