Noon on the third day.
In the exit point of floor 65's shafts, Lecan, Jiza Arios, Eda and Julius are standing by. They're waiting for Ui to leave her allotted shaft. It's been quite some time and yet she's still nowhere to be seen.
Lecan can cast <Graph Make> but it cannot be used to search the insides of a shaft from outside. It doesn't work despite being on the same floor. The layout created by <Graph Make> before entering a shaft even disappears once you're inside. It's as if he's moved to another floor.
(The small rooms situated before those shafts are probably treated like stairways in other dungeons.)
"Oh dear, letting her grab Lecan-chan's Stamina and Mana Restoratives was the right choice it seems."
Jiza seems to think Ui is having a difficult time inside. Grace Gear that speed up stamina recovery exist, but they don't work as drastic as Stamina Restoratives. Getting your stamina back in the midst of a battle can only be helped by such restoratives.
"Is Ui your student, Obaba."
"Hyo, hyo. What makes you think so?"
"Just feels like it hearing you two talk to one another."
"Hyo, hyo. That's correct. Ui was a magic student of mine."
"She's one talented girl. She and her little brother lost their parents when they were of tender age and so they were made to live with an uncle from their mother's side, that uncle went to me asking to teach Ui in magic."
"Hm? Aren't you a Guide. Can't anyone study under you?"
"I am prohibited from taking a pupil on my own volition. Moreso taking a child who hasn't even awakened to magic. However, her uncle was one of the institute's board of directors, see. He got the permission to let me take her under my wings."
"I see. And then?"
"Ui has outstanding talents. Her mana pool is uncommonly large as well. She learned magic like sands siphoning water. Then once she turned 15, I had her take the entrance exam to Magic Research Institute. Ui had the aptitude to become a researcher there. Once she is one, I could formally accept her as my pupil."
"And that didn't come to pass?"
"Her uncle made her take the exam for Magic Knights. Then it was found out that she had an unusually high aptitude as one. Magic Knights have seen a sharp decline as of late, you see. Recruiting promising new members was one if the board's longstanding issues. Her uncle ordered her to become a Magic Knight. That would be counted as his achievement."
"And Ui-san agreed to that?"
"She did, Eda-chan."
"Because she's indebted to her uncle?"
"No, that's not it. Ui's little brother was afflicted by an illness that gradually immobilize him, I was in the dark about that matter then. One condition to get a <Purification> user heal him was for Ui to agree on entering the Magic Knights."
"So that's how it went. That means her little brother is fine now right?"
"He has left this world."
"They didn't make it in time. Later on, I found out that her uncle deliberately postponed calling a <Purification> user. He was likely afraid that Ui would change her mind on entering the Magic Knights if her little brother got cured too soon. As identities of <Purification> users are not made public, it took Ui quite some time until she could get one to check on her brother. Ui would be assigned a post in Magic Knights the day she passed the exam to the institute. And just as they finally decided on the day for the <Purification> user's check up after the exam was over, her brother passed away before the end of that day."
That explains it.
The gentle looks Ui directed at Julius were curious.
She must have seen her late brother in Julius. And since she thought Lecan was trying to use and throw away Julius like a disposable, her harsh treatment was understandable.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"What is it, Arios-dono."
"Can't one resign from Magic Knights?"
"You cannot take back an oath under gods names, it's troublesome and frowned upon. However, it is possible to resign."
"And Ui-san did not choose that path."
"That she did not. I cannot understand why myself."
The expression Arios showed here bothered Lecan, so he threw a question.
"Arios. You got an idea huh."
"I feel like I do."
"Hou. So why didn't Ui resign."
"I believe it's a matter of pride. It feels to me that Ui-san's disposition is more that of a martial artist than a mage."
"Pride, is it?"
Jiza got lost in thought with her eyes closed.
"I see now. Perhaps that is the truth. But to think Arios-dono would see through that right away when I failed to figure it out the past 14 years of knowing her."
Julius sounded that surprise.
"Guide-sama. That is to say, how old is Ui-neesan now?"
"It should be around 26."
"Eh, no way. I thought Ui-san's only 20."
"Eda-neesan. And here I was sure she was 18 or so."
"That kid's always looked younger than she really is since a long time ago, mysteriously enough."
Arios made an unusual expression here. He was laughing yet not, nodding yet not, a really weird kind of expression. That came up on his face only for a split second.
"Couldn't Ui-san, like, still learn from Guide Jiza-sama once she got in Magic Knights?"
"So long as the Magic Knights' side doesn't formally request for a teaching from me, my hands are tied, Eda-chan. And besides, Ui herself stated that she had enough magic training and immersed herself in swordsmanship and stamina training."
That was when Ui left the shaft exit.
With injuries all over her body.