Holy Institution: Chapter 48

Chapter 48: Junior make-up exam (9)

Simple and easy magic that could be used straight away…

Creating magic exclusive to him…

A tug of war was taking place in Di Lin’s heart.

Hydin crossed his arms across his chest. “Is it a very difficult choice?”

Di Lin raised his hand.

<Crash Course on Water Magic I> suddenly shifted half a meter back. Hydin raised his right brow up high.

“Didn’t Tutor say that it was up to me to choose?” Di Lin asked without any change in his expression.

Hydin replied, “You can choose, but only according to my methods.”

“…” Sure enough, it was still a method of selection that only Hydin could come up with. Di Lin used wind magic to send himself to the book and swiftly grabbed it.

Hydin didn’t block him this time. All he did was look disparagingly at him with narrowed, azure eyes.

“Not every mage likes to study meticulously,” Di Lin took the book and muttered in a low voice.

Hydin didn’t speak.

“Some mages will only treat it as a necessary tool for life. The threshold for entry into the magic guild is not high, yet the material benefits are very high. Others will do it for the sake of defending their nation, just like how knights learn swordplay,” Di Lin lowered his head and gazed at the book in his hands.

Under his stare, the two words on the book, ‘crash course’, seemed particularly severe and distinct.

“But,” Di Lin let out a breath. “To me, creating magic exclusive to me and carving my name into the illustrious history of Saint Padeus is truly a temptation that cannot be rejected.”

“Carving your name into the illustrious history of Saint Padeus?” Hydin’s brows knitted lightly, though the corner of his eyes was tinged with a smile. “Why do I not recall having such unrealistic expectations for you?”

Di Lin said with a smile, “Because that is my dream.”

“Your dream?” Hydin slowly straightened his body. “Are you sharing it with your tutor, or with your beloved?”

Di Lin’s face turned red again the next instant.

After returning from the library, Di Lin sat on the bed in a daze. He didn’t react even when Rui Meng came back.

“What is it now?” Rui Meng widened his eyes and shifted close to him.

Di Lin blinked. “Are you thinking of kissing me?”

Rui Meng jumped off his bed as if he was fleeing for his life and asked with a face full of fear and doubt, “What happened?” Surely he couldn’t have set his sights on him? Rui Meng had this thought and felt a chill run through his heart. He declared hurriedly, “Hydin’s perfection as a beloved can’t be surpassed, you must not waver! If not, the princess will see through it very easily.”

Di Lin stroked his chin as he looked at him doubtfully. “What feelings did you have when you heard what I said just now?”

“What feelings?” Rui Meng rubbed his arms in an exaggerated manner. “The hair all over my body stood on end of course!”

Di Lin looked pensive.

Rui Meng suddenly cried out, “The princess couldn’t have said that to you, right?”

“Of course not.”

“Then was it Hydin?” Rui Meng’s voice became even more resounding. The moment he imagined Hydin uttering that statement with Di Lin’s expression just now, he felt the goosebumps rise on his body as if they were weeds caressed by the spring wind.

“Not him either,” Di Lin felt helpless. He made matters worse by continuing, “I just had a sudden urge to say that to you.”

“…” The expression on Rui Meng’s face could not be described as alarm any longer.

Di Lin fell into a daze for two seconds before realizing the ambiguity of his words. He elaborated very quickly, “I meant that I suddenly wanted to give it a try.”

“Give it a try?” The tone of Rui Meng’s voice changed.

Di Lin was silent.

His silence evidently caused Rui Meng to think that he had hit the nail on the head, his heart growing even more uneasy. He did indeed like Di Lin. It could be said that the person he most admired among all the students of Saint Padeus was Di Lin. However, that did not mean that he wanted to give his heart to him. The Continent was not against homosexuality, but he was very sure that he had no inclinations in that direction.

He stole a few peeks at Di Lin and inwardly organized his speech to tactfully turn him down.

Di Lin was silent not because he had nothing to say, but because he realized that his thoughts had been thrown into disarray time and time again by Hydin’s words, to the extent that he experienced the aftermath even after separating from him.

Once again, his line of sight coincided with the glance Rui Meng shot over. Di Lin sighed. “It isn’t what you’re thinking.”

Distrust flickered clearly in Rui Meng’s eyes.

“I swear,” Di Lin lifted up his right hand.

Rui Meng half-believed him. “What happened?”

Di Lin fumbled to find an excuse. “The princess isn’t leaving. I’m a bit moody.”

Rui Meng finally believed him. He heaved a huge sigh of relief and said, “Relax. Princess Qiaoni probably won’t stay for much longer.”

“Why?”

“Princess Qiaoni has always been secretly directing the secondary school’s students to bribe the senior school’s students. Several tutors have even been persuaded by her and are preparing to leave Saint Padeus to rely on Shamanril,” Rui Meng said.

Di Lin was stunned. He had always assumed that he was the reason why Princess Qiaoni hadn’t left. But now it seemed like it was him who had overestimated himself and underestimated Qiaoni.

Rui Meng added, “But this matter has already come under the intense scrutiny of the school chairman and parliament. This time, I think she might need to reflect under closed doors for an eternity.” No matter how magnanimous Saint Padeus was, it would not allow someone who poached from them to remain within the school.

Di Lin pondered over this, unable to stop himself from admiring Princess Qiaoni’s courage and decisiveness. Sacrificing oneself in exchange for so many top-notch mages was quite a good deal. Moreover, she had been ordered by the institution to return home; the possibility of her return to Saint Padeus was remote. Rather than wait for the resolution of a punishment that would last for an unknown length of time, why not take the initiative to fish for greater benefits?

“All those people are willing to leave?” Admiration was admiration, but he still dared not believe it. Looking solely at the Institution, whether it was the atmosphere, material benefit, or financial and physical resources, Saint Padeus was second to none in the Dream Continent. Although Shamanril was a strong country, the positions of the country’s nobility were akin to clouds. No matter how majestic the mage, the mage would not be able to contend with them.

Rui Meng looked at him curiously. “Why not?”

Di Lin looked at him.

Rui Meng found it laughable. “Don’t tell me you’re willing to remain at Saint Padeus? And give up your position and noble status in Shamanril?”

Di Lin didn’t utter a word.

The smile on Rui Meng’s face vanished and he asked dully, “That can’t be true, right?”

Di Lin stated, “I like the Institution.”

“But your home, Shamanril, and your father…” Rui Meng babbled on for quite a while before scratching his head and saying, “I don’t know whether I should admire or envy you.” The position of heir to the Basco clan was something that countless people yearned for even in their dreams! Yet, Di Lin disdained it!

Di Lin said, “Every individual has their own ambitions.”

Rui Meng’s sigh was drawn out. “If that happens, won’t you be entangled with Hydin for a lifetime?”

The person who spoke had not meant anything by it, but to the listener, the words possessed meaning.

Di Lin’s face looked like it was on the road towards being suffused with a crimson shade.

He was just considering whether he should find an excuse to slip out so as to avoid being teased by Rui Meng when Suo Suo pushed the door open and entered.

“Aren’t you guys preparing?” Suo Suo looked at them in surprise.

Di Lin asked blankly, “Prepare for what?”

Rui Meng leapt off the bed in a flash. “I nearly forgot. The party!”

Suo Suo explained to Di Lin, “We’re going to Senriga in a few days to participate in the make-up exam. Head Instructor Macreis can’t go along since he needs to set up the barrier around the Nightmare Forest, so a bonfire party was organized to send us off.”

“Send off?” I hate that term,” Rui Meng muttered while searching for suitable clothes.

Di Lin thought about how he had been left behind on his own the previous time. This time, he had to participate in it no matter what. “What do we need to prepare?”

“A disguise!” Rui Meng found a gold-colored mask.

“A masquerade ball?” Di Lin stared blankly. In Shamanril, only friends who were familiar with one another would organize a private masquerade party. It was even less common among the nobility.

Suo Suo said, “It’s a bonfire party and masquerade ball.”

“…” Actually, being left behind wasn’t anything terrible.

Thinking of a group of people wearing masks and walking around, Di Lin’s excitement dwindled.

Like before, it was held at the empty plot of land in the woods.

The junior school’s students all remembered how they had stayed in tents and went through the exam at that time. This time, they were extremely excited visiting their old haunt.

Di Lin donned an ordinary black-colored formal attire. Suo Suo dressed even more simply; he came out in just his pajamas – this was a new stroke of creativity on Rui Meng’s part. In the end, Rui Meng gave up on the garish mask and dressed up as an unkempt bard. He held on to a small harp the size of a palm. It was unknown if the harp could produce any sound.

Di Lin noticed that Rui Meng wasn’t in a very good mood; he seemed like a different person from when he had just stepped out the door. Di Lin couldn’t help asking out of curiosity, “What’s wrong?”

Rui Meng gazed at the moon that was slowly rising in the sky and let out a faint sigh. “I thought of Ning Ya.”

Di Lin paused slightly.

Rui Meng said, “Up till now, I still don’t understand why he had to leave.”

Di Lin patted his shoulder. “I believe he has his own reasons for doing that.”

“Haha!” Jeffery seemed to have said something, causing Aridi to laugh till he clutched his stomach. Despite the fact that he had a large cumbersome, pumpkin-like hat on his head, his figure still mercilessly exposed his identity.

Rui Meng was not delighted in his heart, so it was unsightly for him to see others in such a delighted state. He stealthily walked up to Aridi from behind him and patted him on the shoulder.

Aridi turned around. Seeing that it was him, he immediately put his guard up. “What?”

Ever since moving into the dormitory, Aridi’s interactions with them had dwindled increasingly. The original tiny alliance of nobles existed in name but had already dispersed in reality. On the contrary, it was Kevin who frequently visited Rui Meng and Di Lin’s dormitory. So, when Rui Meng suddenly stood behind him with a smile full of malicious intent, Aridi naturally stood at alert.

“Nothing much. I just wanted to ask you – could it be that you don’t miss Xi Luo at all?” Rui Meng commented maliciously, “At that time, a certain someone was loyal and devoted to Xi Luo and was at Xi Luo’s beck and call. That person was just short of devoting their life to him.”

Rui Meng’s sarcasm caused Aridi’s face to turn green and then white. Only a long while later did Aridi spit out a statement, “Who said I don’t miss him?”

“I have eyes. I can tell.”

Aridi snorted coldly. “His Highness Xi Luo is very well. There isn’t any need to be concerned about him.”

“How do you know that?”

Although there was still a knot in Aridi’s heart regarding Xi Luo, he could not crumble at this time, so he thickened his skin and said, “He’s about to become the crown prince, of course he’s well!”

“Crown prince?” Although Rui Meng had already known prior to Xi Luo’s departure that he had gone back to snatch the position of crown prince, he couldn’t help feeling startled upon hearing this news for real.

Di Lin and Suo Suo, who were standing behind him, were also stunned.

Seeing the dumbstruck looks on their faces, Aridi instantly became arrogant. “Hah! If you guys are scared, it’s still not too late to write a letter and beg for mercy.”

Rui Meng returned to his senses and pushed Di Lin to the front. “Brother, see, someone’s provoking you.”

Aridi realized that he had let slip a secret and his expression instantly turned unnatural.

Di Lin didn’t want to create a huge fuss and smiled casually. “Forget about begging for mercy, why not write a letter of congratulations? At the end of the day, we’re schoolmates.”

“You’re really…” Rui Meng wanted to say more, but the other half of his words was covered up by the sudden sound of music.

Di Lin turned to look at the source of the sound.

All he saw was a stand from which hung many small pieces of iron. A music mage was using wind magic to direct the pieces of iron, producing beautiful music.

Macreis was standing at the side of the stand with a group of magic tutors dressed bizarrely. However, they weren’t appreciating the music but instead inspecting the instruments each of them held in their hands.

Rui Meng asked in astonishment, “Head Instructor knows how to play the trumpet? No, I should be asking, he’s actually going to play the trumpet?”

Di Lin’s gaze swiftly searched the crowd.

Hydin wasn’t present.

Within two minutes, he realized with amazement that he was actually slightly disappointed. He couldn’t even muster much interest in the party anymore.

The music generated by the pieces of iron ended very quickly. The sound of applause was like thunder; it was unknown if it was for the performing mage or for Macreis’ group, who was about to take the stage.

Toot toot toot…

Macreis started to play the trumpet.

The rest of the instruments joined in one after another.

The imposing and majestic symphony resounded through the entire forest.

The students danced along with the music.

Di Lin originally didn’t want to join in, but with Suo Suo and Rui Meng both dragging him along, he had no choice but to dance as well.

Looking at it as a whole, this dance was definitely an extremely terrible one. The students from different nations casually danced their respective country’s dance. Every person danced on their own, and from time to time, would even learn a little from the people beside them. By the end, nobody knew what exactly they themselves were dancing.

But this did not dampen their mood.

The sound of laughter and music melded together without pause, lingering in the sky.

Barriers between people faded away.

Regardless of whether they were strangers, acquaintances, enemies, or friends, everyone embraced one another.

The disappointment in Di Lin’s heart was also very quickly washed away by smiles brimming with warmth.

……

This night was a very long one, because every person was reluctant to part.

This night was also a very brief one, because it only left behind a hazy and distant imprint in every person’s memory.

A very, very long time later, Di Lin could still clearly recall that feeling of cheerfulness and relaxation. Yet, he could never recall who he had danced with at that time, nor the song that was performed.


T/N: I’ve been translating faster than expected, so the release rate will be bumped up to three chapters per week from next week onwards. Chapters will be posted on Mon, Tues, and Fri~


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