Chapter 88: But I have a guilty conscience!
Han Shuo had been worried that he would be found out by Duke, but had thoroughly dispelled these worries a few minutes after arriving at the necromancy major
The reason was because when Han Shuo arrived, he naturally greeted Borg and Carey when he saw them cleaning off the stone sculptures along the path. However, the two didn’t recognize Han Shuo and were at a loss of what to do with their profound respect and humility.
When Han Shuo identified himself and Borg and Carey cautiously recognized him, they spoke to him with an even more fearful attitude.
Han Shuo was no longer an errand slave of the necromancy major now. He’d turned into a student and his status was naturally higher than these two errand boys. Add to that the fact that the necromancy students had purposefully exaggerated Han Shuo’s aid when they returned from the Dark Forest, this made the two previous enemies, Carey and Borg, even more afraid that Han Shuo would come looking for them.
However, Han Shuo didn’t pay attention to the two and rather took out a bronze mirror and admired himself in it, full of bliss. He’d suddenly discovered that his features had indeed gone through tumultuous changes compared to a few months ago. His originally frail and thin frame had become much stronger and taller. His weak facial features had become much more resolute after a series of life threatening experiences. His features had become much more pronounced, and had changed from those of an old child half a year ago to that of a dashing and charming young man.
If even Borg and Carey, two errand boys, who were well acquainted with Han Shuo, couldn’t recognize him easily, then Han Shuo wouldn’t need to worry about Duke and Erick, particularly after Candide had promised to take care of the overhanging cloud known as “Shadow Ghost”. Han Shuo suddenly felt completely relaxed and didn’t continue to conceal his traces. He returned to the Academy openly in public.
“Eh, it’s Bryan! You haven’t come back to the Academy in so long, I thought something happened to you!” Amy, from the necromancy major, had been on her way to the classroom building when she suddenly exclaimed upon seeing Han Shuo.
“Hello Amy.” Han Shuo smiled as he greeted her and walked towards the dark major’s classroom building with her.
When Han Shuo arrived at the necromancy major’s classroom, he lost himself in thought for a little while. Just two short months ago, he could only hold his broom and make use of the time that he had while cleaning to stand outside and listen to Gene’s lectures. Who would’ve thought that in just a short period of time, he’d turn into a necromancy major student and had the right to enter the classroom to sit down and listen to lessons with the other students.
“Don’t just stand there, the second class is about to begin, come on in!” Amy suddenly spoke up to rush him when she walked up to the door and saw that Han Shuo was standing dumbly outside the window.
Han Shuo immediately came to his senses and smiled kindly at Amy, nodding as he walked into the classroom. As soon as Han Shuo walked in, the gazes of several students inside suddenly all focused on Han Shuo, particularly Lisa in the back row. She had been lazily shutting her eyes when her eyes suddenly gleamed as she stood up and waved at Han Shuo, “Here, over here!”
Bach and Bella’s gazes l; upon Han Shuo, as well as those from some other majors, were exceedingly odd as they murmured something lowly.
“Bryan’s back, heh heh. Amy, do you believe the rumors?” Athena suddenly asked Amy in a low voice after she greeted Amy.
“I don’t really believe it. It doesn’t look like anything would ever happen between Master Fanny and Bryan. Camilla, that old witch, loves to carry tall tales, you believe stuff that she says?” Amy pouted and shook her head.
It wasn’t just Amy and Athena, when Han Shuo walked towards Lisa, he heard all the students talk about him and Fanny. They talked vividly about Camilla finding Han Shuo on Fanny’s bed, as if they’d personally been there. In their mouths, he and Fanny became a couple caught in the act.
Han Shuo felt quite speechless, he hadn’t thought that Camilla would be such a busybody and make it so that all the necromancy students knew of this matter. This probably meant the other teachers, including Fanny herself, had gotten the news even earlier.
Lisa’s originally excited expression turned into one of interrogation after Han Shuo sat down with a wry smile. Her gaze first made a surprised circuit over Han Shuo, as if marveling over his changes. She then said coldly, “Huh, the things they’re talking about, are they true or not? Is there really something between you and Master Fanny?”
“Lisa, how could even you not believe me when they don’t believe me?! If I were someone like that, Master Fanny would never be someone like that! I can’t believe someone would actually believe such ridiculous things, this is too outrageous!” Han Shuo explained softly to Lisa with a wry expression.
Lisa breathed a small sigh of relief after Han Shuo’s words and her expression also eased off, but she still asked suspiciously, “Rumors don’t come from nothing, it should be true that you went to Master Fanny’s room in the middle of the night right? Although that old witch Camilla has a fat mouth, she wouldn’t implicate you with no evidence at all?”
Shrugging, Han Shuo said, “I only went over to ask Master Fanny a few questions. The old witch made a mountain out of a molehill and I can’t stop her from speaking. She can say whatever she likes, it doesn’t affect me at all.”
“But, this has a large effect on Master Fanny’s reputation. Everyone will surely think that Master Fanny’s life is a bit unclean, particularly since you’re her student. Perhaps the school authorities will keep an eye on her or something like that.” Lisa frowned as she reminded Han Shuo.
Han Shuo was suddenly enlightened after Lisa’s words. He suddenly felt that he really was very selfish in only thinking of himself and never considering Fanny’s position.
Just as Han Shuo was inwardly berating himself, Gene walked into the classroom with a thick stack of magic books. He swept his gaze around the room when he entered and saw Han Shuo sitting in the back row. His face suddenly chilled.
The class had just begun when Gene suddenly stopped and looked at Han Shuo in the back with an evil smile. “Bryan, you’ve never attended class since you became a necromancy major student. Is the knowledge I’m going over too advanced for you? Do you understand what I’m talking about?”
After the trials of the Dark Forest, Han Shuo understood that Gene wasn’t a bad person. He just made things a bit difficult for Han Shuo because of Fanny, but Gene was still a refined, cultured person. He didn’t make life too obviously difficult for Han Shuo, and thus Han Shuo didn’t bear a grudge difficult to resolve against Gene.
This time, because of those ugly rumors about him and Fanny, Gene must have been eaten alive by the green-eyed monster. This was why he was seizing upon this pretext to embarrass him.
“Master Gene, I’ve learned the knowledge that you’re going over when I read books, and have mostly grasped a proper understanding. Therefore, I think I can understand the class lessons, please don’t worry about me.” Han Shuo leaned back and said with a slight smile to Gene.
“Oh, if you could grasp magic through self study of books, then why would our Babylon Academy of Magic and Force still exist. Heh heh, since this is the case, I’ll ask you this: how many ways can magic be cast?”
“They can be divided into the four ways…incantations, magical items, hand seals, and magical matrixes. Incantations use words to communicate with the magical elements in order to reach the purpose of release magic. Magical items include scrolls…”
Han Shuo retained his lazy posture and smoothly reeled off a bunch of definitions, including some of his own reflections. Gene was noticeably surprised by his words. He started slightly at first and then nodded. “Very good, it looks like you already know all the basic knowledge within the books. Then I’ll ask you some more questions.”
Gene frowned and then asked Han Shuo a series of questions. He started with the most foundational magical knowledge, and then started asking points that only novice mages would be able to grasp. Han Shuo spoke fluidly, explaining the answers to all of these questions.
Gene and the other students within the classroom all looked at Han Shuo with faces full of surprise throughout this process. It seemed that they hadn’t thought that Han Shuo could fully grasp so much knowledge this deeply in such a short amount of time. Traces of sweat shone on Gene’s forehead as he appeared a bit agitated. He then snorted lightly and asked another question.
“I don’t know how to answer this!” Han Shuo blanked and answered honestly. This question had surpassed the knowledge that a journeyman mage would know, and he truly didn’t know understand it.
Gene finally smiled and was about to say a few words to regain face when Lisa said impatiently, “Master Gene, if he knew the answers to everything, then what would be the point of coming to your lectures?”
Lisa’s words stopped him in his tracks when he heard them. Gene obviously felt a bit awkward and slapped the table with a dry laugh. “Alright then, I won’t keep asking. Let’s continue with class.”
“How come you suddenly know so much?” Lisa retracted her head as she asked Han Shuo in a low voice.
“Didn’t I tell you earlier? I asked Master Fanny about all this. Otherwise, how would that old witch Camilla have material to spread rumors with?” Han Shuo responded and started listening to class seriously. Some of the material that Gene was currently going over included some of the journeyman mage knowledge, which was something that Han Shuo still needed to grasp. This was why Han Shuo didn’t harbor ill feelings towards Gene’s jealousy.
Lisa seemed to still want to chat with Han Shuo after class, but Han Shuo didn’t give her the chance to as he immediately headed over to Fanny’s lab after class.
“Fitch, I’ve already explained this magic many times. I think with your powers of comprehension you should’ve understood this long ago. Why can you still not successfully cast it?” Han Shuo’s sensitive ears allowed him to clearly hear the conversation inside as he stood outside the laboratory doors.
“Master Fanny, I think you’re well aware of my feelings, but why don’t you give me any chances and would rather be with that lowly errand slave? Why?” Fitch’s strong complaints traveled out from inside. Han Shuo pulled the door open slightly and could clearly see Fitch’s furious face.
Master Fanny wore black rimmed glasses and a demure, regulation style magic robe. A look of resignation appeared on her face as she sighed, “Fitch, I’ve become more and more disappointed in you. First of all, Bryan is the same as you now, one of my students. You shouldn’t treat him as an errand slave anymore. In addition, I’ve noticed that you’ve never focused your concentration whenever you come to me with a question. You’re always distracted and I have no idea what you’re thinking of. Bryan is much better than you when it comes to stuff like this.”
“Bryan again, in what way is that damned errand slave better than me? Why are you willing to be with him, but unwilling to give me any chances? Is the witch Camilla really speaking the truth, and you really did sleep with him with no sense of shame?” The fury on Fitch’s face grew as he suppressed his voice, almost roaring as he spoke.
Fanny flung a slap at Fitch, she was truly incensed, an uncommon occurrence. She looked at Fitch with cold eyes and said, “I think I have nothing further to say to you. I told you before that we could only talk about matters of the heart once you’d advanced to the level of adept mage in order to encourage you, but now I see that not everything is alright with you. I can tell you clearly that there is no possibility of anything developing between us. I hope you can let go of all illusions. If you still have questions regarding magic in the future, please come find me within the training fields or the classroom. You are no longer welcome in my laboratory. Please leave immediately!”
“So you’ve been lying to me all along. Haha. Good. Very good. You wanted me to reach the level of adept mage first before discussing matters of the heart, but that errand slave Bryan has already become an exception for you. Hypocritical shameless woman, I’ll never believe you again.” Fitch held his face as he laughed ghastly, walking outside of the laboratory.
Han Shuo backed up a few steps and hid himself in the corner until Fitch had left. He looked coldly at Fitch’s passing figure, paused for a moment, and then walked into Fanny’s laboratory with a natural expression.
Han Shuo saw that Fanny was a bit lost in thought as he walked towards her. She propped herself up listlessly on the round table with her two hands, sighing lightly with a lowered head. She murmured to herself with an exceedingly weak voice. “Perhaps Fitch is right, I really am a hypocritical, shameless woman. I seem to have truly violated some principles…”
Han Shuo clearly heard all of Fanny’s low murmurs, but he didn’t understand the meaning behind her words and didn’t know who her words were intended for. After thinking for a while, Han Shuo cocked a finger and rapped on the surface of the round table.
“Get out of here!” Fanny suddenly lifted her hand and glared at Han Shuo. When she saw that the person in front of her had turned into Han Shuo, her expression became very odd. She first blanked and then started in shock, her eyes seemed like they wanted to hide something. Her expression finally went back to normal and she rolled her eyes, obviously in a bad temper, at Han Shuo. “What are you doing here?”
“Nothing much, I just have a few questions to ask you.” Han Shuo looked oddly at Fanny and responded.
“What did you hear? Did you see everything just now?” Fanny’s charming features changed as she suddenly glared at Han Shuo. “Your ears are so perverse that you must’ve heard everything! Don’t you know that eavesdropping is very rude?”
“Eh… I didn’t want to listen in, but they all landed in my ears. I didn’t have any choice either?” Han Shuo spread out his hands like a rascal, indicating that he really hadn’t meant to. His expression then turned grave as he turned to Fanny and said seriously, “That Camilla really is very evil. I don’t mind, but she’s slandered you and negatively impacted your reputation. Do you intend to let her off the hook like this?”
“Forgot it, the old witch is just like that. There’s nothing between us anyways, what other people say have nothing to do with us. The more we explain, the more they’ll think we have a guilty conscience. Let’s just ignore them since people of moral integrity do not fear slanderous attacks.” Fanny sighed lowly as she too seemed a bit worried, but spoke peace making words.
“But I have a guilty conscience!” Han Shuo said with a wry expression.
“Damn it, what do you feel guilty about?” Fanny’s charming face blushed hotly all of a sudden, but her expression was infuriated as she lowered her head and cursed lowly at Han Shuo.
“It’s because of my mistake that’s caused other people to misunderstand you so. I feel that I have wronged you and so, of course I feel guilty.” Han Shuo explained with a poker face.
Fanny started slightly and then reacted afterwards, saying huffily, “So this is what you meant by guilty conscience. I thought you meant something else!”
“What other meaning is there?” Han Shuo asked.
“No, nothing.” Fanny hastily responded like she wanted to cover something up, and then immediately changed the topic and asked Han Shuo. “What questions do you have for me this time?”
Han Shuo had been about to open his mouth to answer when he suddenly felt someone approaching. He didn’t respond and looked to the door instead. After a while, Han Shuo saw the wind archmage Duke walk into Fanny’s room with a benevolent smile.
“Master Fanny, are you free today? I’d like to ask you a few more questions?” Duke smiled and greeted Fanny after entering the room.
His brow then furrowed as he turned to look at Han Shuo. Han Shuo was startled, but kept a very normal expression on his face, looking at Duke with an expression of surprise and confusion, like it was the first time he’d seen Duke and wanted to know about his origins and background.