Home Post 322-chapter-22


“…… Well then, Miss Estelle. Would you demonstrate for us?”

Without hesitation, I summoned the spirit at the instructor’s request.



In an instant, a lesser water spirit, Undine, filled the classroom.

The Undines chattered happily in voices only they and I could hear, soaring joyfully through the air. Their number easily exceeded thirty.


One student couldn’t help but exclaim in admiration.

The girl sitting next to him shot a disapproving glance and lightly tapped his hand.

The student who first exclaimed wrapped his hand around the one receiving the tap and fell silent.

However, the alternating expressions of awe and curiosity as they looked at the spirits filling the ceiling were stained with reverence and interest.

“How many lesser spirits can you summon?”

“Well, I haven’t really thought about it, but… maybe around fifty.”


Another student couldn’t contain their surprise this time. I quickly covered my mouth, startled even though it was my own announcement.

“…Truly remarkable.”

The instructor didn’t overtly express amazement like the students, but it unavoidably crept into his voice.

“Well, um. If you learn to efficiently handle your powers, you might be able to summon even more spirits.”

The alarm signaling the end of the class rang. The instructor, organizing the podium, spoke.

“We’ll conclude today’s lesson here.”

After dismissing the spirits, he stood up from his seat. As he was about to leave the classroom, a commotion erupted behind him.

“But… I’m curious! How did you suddenly learn to summon spirits, and so proficiently at that!”

“Yeah, aren’t you curious? You’ve even contracted intermediate spirits.”


Despite trying to lower their voices, their conversation was audible.

“Hush,” the student who had spoken last said loudly, looking up as she made her final remark.

When our eyes met, she twisted her expression. I gazed at her unaffectedly.

‘Wasn’t she Helena’s friend?’

The two on either side of her, their throats gripped by her hand, grumbled discontentedly. However, they merely glanced at me and did not advance any further.

Leaving them behind, I exited the room. Similar incidents occurred in the hallway.

Passing students, professors, and staff alike couldn’t take their eyes off me.

While I was used to being the focus of attention in the past, the nature of it had changed.

If it used to be filled with disgust, disdain, and contempt, now it was mostly curiosity and caution.

“Just a week, and it changed like this.”

Since revealing the ability to summon spirits, only a short time had passed.

Yet, in that time, so much had changed.

I wasn’t sure how the royal family or other nobles viewed me, but at least within the academy, open disregard and harassment had decreased.

Winning against Lady Hayden in our magical duel and summoning an intermediate spirit had sparked this transformation.

Some who had previously tormented me now either pretended not to see me or made an effort to avoid crossing paths, perhaps out of fear of retaliation.

Seeing this, a bitter laugh escaped me.

Kicking away a licking dog is amusing, but is it human nature to avoid the snarling fangs of a rabid one?

Whenever such thoughts crossed my mind, I couldn’t help but think of Claude Valentine.

“Act weak. Be amusing. People are lenient toward the weak.”

How absurd his words were.

Lost in these thoughts, I found myself outside the building.

Today’s schedule was over. I headed toward the back of the building to reach the Valentina Forest.

I planned to practice manipulating spirits at the pond.

Training directly by feeling the water in a place teeming with life seemed more effective.

The path behind the building was quiet. It was rarely traversed, considering the danger and restricted access to the forest.

As someone specially permitted to enter for spirit training, I believed I was the only one passing through here right now.

… Or so I thought.


A familiar voice echoed from a bit behind. I involuntarily stopped walking.

“… Can we talk for a moment?”

When she used to bother me, her attitude was always sulky.

I paused for a moment.

‘Why should I listen to that bastard?’

I had no reason.

Without hesitation, I lifted my foot.

“Hey! Can’t you hear me?”

The one who had been standing still and calling out to me shouted in a bewildered tone as I ignored him and walked away.

“Khalia Estelle!”

I heard the sound of footsteps approaching. Finally, I sighed and turned around.

“What do you want, Reedmore?”

When did he get so close? Reedmore, with an awkward expression, took a step back and extended his palm.

“Don’t come any closer than this.”

“Got it.”

Always eager to provoke my anger and torment me with genuine effort, I expected Reedmore to ignore my caution this time as well, but surprisingly, he obediently stood his ground.

Without letting down my guard, I said, “If you have something to say, say it.”

Despite calling me out, Reedmore struggled to speak.

The derogatory terms he used to call me, such as ‘monster’ and ‘unlucky witch,’ seemed to have vanished into thin air. His approach to initiating a ‘conversation’ was already unusual, but now it was even more absurd.

“Well, uh…,” he sighed, glancing at the ground, then licked his lips while looking at the sky, kicking dirt with his shoe– a rather awkward display. Irritatingly disdainful.

“Have I become such a pathetic wretch who can’t even speak properly in the meantime?”

“What do you mean by that…,” he stammered, and finally, as if provoked, he lifted his face to meet my gaze.

However, this time, his gaze quickly wavered, and his head lowered again.

At this point, I genuinely felt puzzled.

‘What went wrong? Did he eat something bad?’ He, the favored heir of a duke, wouldn’t have eaten spoiled food.

Considering the recent changes, the only notable events were the revelation of my spirit-summoning ability and his visit to the mansion last weekend, where he had a long conversation with the duke, as Aila informed me.

“The Duke called Master Reedmore into his study and had a lengthy private conversation. I purposely passed by while they were still talking, and when Master Reedmore finally came out, his expression was extremely dark.”

What could the Duke have said to him?

Curious, Reedmore, seemingly determined this time, took a deep breath and asked, “Why did you expel Miss Helena?”

Regardless of his intention, it was a terribly wrong question. Instantly, my mood hit rock bottom.

“You’re still asking such questions?”

“No, I mean…”

“Stupid and making no progress. Don’t even think about fitting yourself into my incomplete affection. Just the thought of it makes me sick.”

“Wait, listen. I misspoke. I didn’t mean it that way, in the way you’re thinking.”

“Come to think of it, you owe me.”

With all that had happened, a memory tucked away in the recesses of my mind resurfaced. The scattered belongings on the floor, Lady Hayden’s mocking face as she looked at me.

Reedmore’s complexion darkened. Taking a step closer, he extended his hand.

“The reason I called you is because…”

“Don’t come any closer!”

I pushed his hand away and stepped back.


A massive force gathered. The spirit appeared behind me, ready for action. Reedmore, gripping his stinging hand, stared at the spirit with a hardened expression.

The oppressive aura unique to intermediate spirits, coupled with my aggressive stance, made the air heavy.

Clenching his teeth, he shouted, “I didn’t expect it to come to this. I just wanted to talk!”

“What kind of talk could there be between us?”

“I, well…”

His eyes shook anxiously. He covered his forehead with his hand, pacing back and forth in place.

“Damn, I’m confused, too!”

“Since a while ago, I can’t understand what you’re saying. If you’re going to talk nonsense, don’t waste other people’s time. Mutter to yourself.”

His low voice echoed like the growl of a beast.

My body tensed as if entering combat mode. Despite the heightened excitement in my body, my mind remained chillingly calm.

It was a mistake to give him a chance to speak. I should have just ignored him and walked away.

Either way, he would have accused me of mistreating Helena and blamed me.

“You didn’t give me a chance to speak!”

“I gave you plenty! What more do you want?”

By now, any pretense of him being a pitiable victim disappeared from his attitude.

The hostility I had seen countless times in August at the Duke’s Estate briefly surfaced.

“Even if people want to talk, is it impossible for you to listen? You’re too aggressive!”


As Undine lowered its tail, a massive stream of water cascaded onto Reedmore’s head.

His thick black hair and expensive clothes were instantly soaked. Between the strands of wet hair, only his eyes glowed with a reddish light.

He wiped his face with a curse under his breath.

“Damn it…”

Staring at him sternly, I declared firmly, “I have no intention of listening to whatever you wanted to say. So go somewhere else and blabber to a rock or whisper to your loyal servant. Figure it out on your own.”

I didn’t even want to look at his face any longer. I turned and headed straight down the path.

Despite keeping a vigilant eye on what he might do to me from behind, I didn’t sense any movement.

It was only when the path leading into the forest came into view that I felt some tension release.

The stiffness in my shoulders subsided.

“Undine, you can go back now.”

She playfully waved her tail and disappeared.

Even though I had just faced Reedmore, my energy didn’t recover.

Taking it slowly and steadily, I walked toward the only clear path into the forest.

But at the entrance to the forest, behind a thick tree, it felt like someone was standing there. Some strands of hair and parts of arms and legs were protruding from the tree trunk.

‘Who could it be?’

Approaching with curiosity, but as the figure came into clearer view, the pounding of my heart intensified with each step. Before my mind could comprehend, instinctively, I knew who it was.

I stopped. The one behind the tree turned to face me.

Red hair swayed along with the movement of the head. She spoke.

“Let’s talk.”

My lips involuntarily formed her name.