༺ Gift ༻

The wind grew increasingly chilly as I traversed the road adorned with colorful fallen leaves.

Lately, more and more students were wearing cape shawls over their school uniforms, me included.

With the incident on Elt Island coming to a close, discussions about demons had become commonplace between the students.

─ Is there a person among us who can control demons? Maybe someone like a hidden mastermind.

─ That’s a little much…

─ Yeah, let’s stop with the conspiracy theories.

─ If there was someone like that, wouldn’t their mana capacity be visibly massive?

─ Could it be Luce? She has an S rank mana capacity.

─ It can’t be. If it were her, there’s no way she would have been attacked by demons last semester.

─ It’s probably not the Star Witch either, since she fought against the demons.

─ Then it’s almost certain that the demons are after one of us?

─ Probably.

By now, most students at Märchen Academy had realized that the cause of the frequent demon appearances was highly likely to be one of the students.

Otherwise, there would be no explanation for their dormancy while the students were on vacation.

It was a logical conclusion.

From my perspective, the constant appearance of demons was like having a meal at lunch break.

It was simply the law of the academy genre.

The evening was filled with a calm atmosphere.

Within Josena Forest, located near the Academy’s entrance, there was a lake densely flowing with mana.

At night, it would become even more vibrant.

I was currently seated on a stump nearby.

On the day I walked to Orphin Hall, Kaya had given me a note.

There was nothing abnormal about her.

Inside, she had written that she would like to meet me ‘here’, to properly thank me.

In addition to the note, there was also a cute drawing of the destination, ‘Norhan Lake’.

I wasn’t seeking any sort of repayment, but I had agreed to meet, because we had a lot to talk about.

I had decided to fully explain myself to Kaya today.

‘Did I come too early?’

I hurried here immediately after classes had ended, but I probably could have taken my time.

While holding a mana meter, I continually circulated mana through my hand, using the spare time to train my [Elemental Efficiency].

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew behind me.

「Wind Generation (Wind Element, ★1)」


I could feel the flow of mana along with the wind spell.

Startled, I turned to see a female student approaching from a distance.

A calm smile accompanied her twin emerald braids and mysterious crimson eyes.

‘She’s changed personalities again.’

It was Kaya the Ravenous.

[Kaya Astrean] Lv: (140)

Race: Human

Elements: Wind, Ice, Plant, Blood

Danger: X

Psychology: [Happy to see you.]

“You’re already here. Sorry for being late, I thought I would get here quick enough.”

“It’s alright, but what’s that in your hand?”

Kaya was holding onto a long object wrapped in a bundle, making it difficult to discern what it was.

“Huhu, it’s a secret.”

[Kaya Astrean] Psychology: [Excited to see your reaction to her gift.]

She had mentioned wanting to thank me further, so it seemed she had brought along a gift.

Brushing it off, I casually made an affirmative noise before turning my attention to the lake.

Kaya sat next to me on the stump, tightening her grip on the gift.

“I testified as you instructed me to the Truth Investigation Committee. Nothing out of the ordinary happened.”

As she had gone through the same thing as Ian, it was easy for her to fabricate her statement.

She had her guard down and was knocked unconscious by a demon, before Lisetta healed her.

That was how she explained the situation to the Truth Investigation Committee.

If nothing significant occurred during the investigation, the Truth Investigation Committee would have no reason to look further than Kaya’s testimony.

“That’s a relief.”

“Did anything happen on your end? You rescued me, so I’m sure they asked you a few questions as well.”

“It wasn’t anything important, especially since they think I’m also a victim. By the way, how much do you remember?”

Squinting into the sky, Kaya started combing through her memories.

“When I was taken by the demon… I remember the blood in my body accelerating. My body felt really hot… the pressure made me feel as if my arteries would burst.”

Extending one of her arms, Kaya looked at the back of her hand before replying.

The sun was gradually setting.

“Then, I lost consciousness. It felt like I was drowning in a deep pool of blood…? I don’t remember anything else besides that.”

She seemed to be recalling her fight with me and her awakening as a blood wizard and demon. Those memories were likely lost when she returned to being human.

“When I came to, I was on your back.”

I already knew from the original story of ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱.

She would have lost consciousness soon after.

“I… was really happy that Sir Isaac came to save me.”

Kaya smiled brightly at me.

“The next time I woke up, I was lying on a bed when Sir Isaac lewdly stroked my cheek. To think that you’d take advantage of me like that, you had quite the evil intentions~”

“…I didn’t intend for anything like that.”

“What do you mean ‘like that’? I want you to be more specific.”

Kaya tilted her head playfully, flashing a mischievous smile that resembled Dorothy’s. However, her smile was a little bit more inappropriate.

‘She sure knows how to confuse me….’

I should hurry and change the subject.

“You know you’ve changed, right?”

“Yes… I can feel it quite often, including right now. It’s probably because I was being controlled by a demon, right?”

Kaya mentioned that she felt exhilarated whenever she transformed into Dark Kaya.

She would feel inexplicably confident, and there would be no trace of her usual embarrassment.

Her head would buzz constantly, as if she were traversing a detailed dream.

Afterwards, Kaya would ignore any logic or memories, acting solely on her emotions, and becoming a different version of herself.

As a result, she becomes overly honest with her feelings, unreservedly expressing her affection for me.

“Well, it’s not all that bad. I can wield new magic, and Sir Isaac is even cooler to me now.”

While blushing, Kaya stared at me intently. Her gaze was burdensome and filled with desire, something that should be aimed towards one’s beloved.

Intentionally avoiding her gaze, I silently stared at the lake. The sparkling blue light scattered across the water grew increasingly vivid as the forest turned darker.

“Today, I wanted to explain something.”

“Explain something…?”

When I lightly spoke in my usual manner, Kaya seemed to feel a sense of incongruity. I’ve been speaking like that since earlier.

I had tried to avoid speaking kindly to Kaya.

It was mainly because I didn’t know what would happen if my true identity was revealed.

By pretending to be strong, on top of acting like I had middle school syndrome, I had intended to keep my distance from her.

But I didn’t want to anymore.

I knew how Kaya felt, and her alternate self was expressing that affection without hesitation.

If I were to continue acting like this even while knowing how she felt, it would be like trampling on her feelings.

Since we had the opportunity to be alone, I wanted to be honest with her.

“I’ve been acting a bit mean to you, but to be honest, it was quite uncomfortable for me. Was it strange for you too?”

I was cringing inwardly.


Kaya didn’t seem to understand what I was saying.

“Sorry that I’ve been a bit guarded. From now on, I’ll be more relaxed with you, so please understand.”

It should be fine to loosen my grip on our relationship.

I wasn’t prepared to dismantle Kaya’s misconception that I was strong yet, as that would destroy our relationship. I didn’t have any idea how I would explain that, anyway.

“I have a goal I need to accomplish by our third year. Until then, I can’t think about anything else.”

Even if Dorothy, my favorite character, were to confess, I wouldn’t be able to accept her feelings right now.

Back when I was a student focusing on my exams, dating problems were an obvious enemy of exam-taking. It had the power to violently shake a person’s heart.

In particular, magical training required a great deal of concentration, as it was closely linked to the theory. Here, romance would be especially disruptive.

Hence, I decided to prevent and postpone any romantic developments in advance, until I defeated the Evil God.

By revealing a small part of my secret, I planned on making it clear to Kaya that I wouldn’t be returning her feelings.

‘You’re ridiculously beautiful, but my current situation won’t let me return your feelings.’

That was how I planned on handling the situation.

I continued to speak.

“So I hope you’ll understand—”

Suddenly, Kaya stood up.



I felt a moist sensation on my cheek, along with an adorable sound.

Recalling what happened during the summer vacation, I turned to face Kaya.

She had already made her way to me, leaning in my direction with a casual smile.

Even the enchanting blue light of the lake was unable to conceal the vivid crimson in her eyes.

“I’ve wondered about this before.”

While pressing down on my shoulders with both hands, Kaya placed her knee between my legs.

She stared at me.

There was no escape.

“Why would someone like Sir Isaac come to the Academy?”

I could smell a subtle yet alluring scent, accompanied by the feel of her warm breath on my forehead.

“It’s probably because of the demons. But why would someone like you have a ‘goal’? Is it a goal so ambitious that you can’t even ‘spare a moment to pay attention to someone else’?”

Kaya giggled.

“By any chance, Sir Isaac, will a powerful demon emerge during our third year? Have you been planning all this time to defeat that demon? That’s the reason you entered the academy… Or something like that?”

Kaya’s accurate deduction stopped me in my tracks.

“…You have quite the imagination.”

I calmly replied, making sure not to reveal even the slightest reaction.

“What kind of reason would that be? If a strong demon was going to appear in our third year, I would have told someone else about it.”

“You knew nobody else would believe it, and only you realized. Your abilities are far beyond my imagination.”

The resurrection of the Evil God.

It wasn’t entirely incorrect to say that only I knew.

However, my knowledge was limited to what was written in the ❰Magic Knight of Märchen❱.

There was no way a weakling like me could recognize that the Evil God would be resurrected.

As I tried to explain myself, Kaya giggled before interrupting me.

“What you’re saying is that you have no plans of ‘dating’ until you complete your ‘goal’, right?”

A sense of unease traveled down my spine.

It was the same feeling I had every time Luce acted suspiciously.

I hurriedly read Kaya’s current thoughts by using [Psychological Insight].

[Kaya Astrean] Psychology: [Attempting to seduce you without holding back.]


Her thoughts were very different from what I expected…?

I had anticipated her acting like she was in a drama, asking, ‘If I still feel the same way during our third year, will you accept my feelings then?’

I had even expected her to exclaim angrily, asking me, ‘Do you just not have feelings for me? I’d rather you be honest, I hate this…!’ Or something along those lines.

‘Did I just loosen Kaya’s restraints…?’

Regardless, Isaac was not in a position to date anyone.

So, she could continually seduce him until he liked her.

Ultimately, when he decided to pursue a relationship, she would make him hers.

This was likely how Kaya had arrived at her current conclusion.

“…I hope you don’t misunderstand me.”

“Don’t worry. I understood completely.”

After Kaya giggled to herself, she grabbed the long object that had been left at the base of the stump.

“Sir Isaac, did you know about this?”

Kaya began gently caressing the wrapped object as she spoke.

“In the Masop Forest, the Rompa tribe has a tradition of offering choices when giving gifts to their tribemates, allowing them to choose the gift they prefer. Whether it’s a rock or the skin of an animal…”

After staring in my direction, Kaya smiled brightly.

“Thank you for saving me. If Sir Isaac wasn’t there, I probably wouldn’t be alive. Huhu, I prepared two gifts, so please choose one.”

It was a wooden staff.

The gemstone at its tip had a blend of deep blue and sunset hues. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

Kaya passed the object to me with both hands.

“‘Zhonya’s Staff’ is a magical weapon that we’ve kept in our safe. You don’t have to worry about it being valuable, since I use it myself. I brought it because I was planning on using a staff…but I think it suits Sir Isaac much better.

My mouth started watering, but I quickly suppressed my urges.

A magical weapon was quite tempting.

A suitable magical weapon would require a significant amount of gel to purchase, and the Frostscythe I currently had in my possession couldn’t even be used properly…So a magical weapon was perfect.

Not to mention, it was Zhonya’s Staff…! I couldn’t remember if it was a tier 2 or 3 weapon, but it was definitely a rare item worthy of being guarded in the Astrean family’s coffers.

‘I wasn’t planning on receiving a gift in return…’

At this point, my thoughts shifted. Her sincerity was impossible to ignore, leaving me no choice but to accept the gift.

My hand naturally moved towards the staff that Kaya was offering.

Suddenly, she withdrew it behind her.

“There is another choice.”

Kaya held onto the staff with one hand, while simultaneously lifting her skirt slightly with the other.

Her flawless skin shone, showcasing her beautiful features as she smiled mischievously.

“The second choice is me.”

I stopped.

“Which do you want more, Sir Isaac?”

With a voice full of charm, Kaya mischievously asked.

[Kaya Astrean] Psychology: [Hopes that you will return her feelings.]

The humid air of Norhan Lake filled my lungs as the cool night air started sneaking underneath my clothes.

For a long time, we stared into each other’s eyes.


Letting out a sigh, I approached Kaya.

As I was seemingly about to embrace her,


I took Zhonya’s Staff from her arms and moved away.

“I’ll use it well. Thanks.”


Shadows covered Kaya’s eyes as she glared at me for the first time today, her face contorted in disappointment.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t desperate enough for romance to succumb to her pitiful advances.