When Erna, surprised, stared at the man he said to her with an embarrassed look on his face, “Do you have a problem with me?”
“N-no… It’s just you look like someone I know,” she replied.
The man’s eyes grew in shock, and he said back, “That can’t be. It’s not common to find someone as good-looking as me.”
“…come to think of it I think your personality is more like him than your looks. Have a seat.” Erna smiled and offered a seat to the man who dared to reply like that.
Meanwhile, Orpé was staring at the man, when she asked Erna in a low voice, “He looks like someone.”
“Doesn’t he resemble Kalion?” muttered Erna.
At those words, Orpé turned around to Erna with a face that said she couldn’t disagree more and asked, “Where do you see that?”
“His eyes, his lips when he smiles…”
“Well. I’ve never seen Lord Kalion smile so… heh-heh…”
Erna shut her mouth at the way Orpé smiled bashfully. Judging from Orpé’s expression now, it seemed that she was saying “I don’t think so.”
Orpé then whispered to Erna, “I shall go get some tea now. Spend some time chatting.”
After Orpé left, Erna offered the man a seat once again. When he sat down after she brought over the papers regarding him she stared at him sitting opposite her.
Erna asked, “Your name is… Abel Perding?”
“I have heard from Orpé that you temporarily took over the wizards’ class while I was away.”
“That is correct. I think I have to do something rather than sitting idly if I want to receive a better score.” Abel grinned as he replied in a quiet voice.
“Good choice. I can’t deny that that made me give you a better score.”
He would be quite busy teaching wizards in this place. If he was just looking for high pay and was going to come and play around, Erna would have given up on him first, but he was doing his job on his own accord, not merely waiting for instructions.
“On top of that, from what I heard from Orpé the students say your class is great. Frankly… you know it isn’t easy to find someone to instruct wizards. So, I’m thinking of hiring you, if I can. Before I do, can I give a few tests?” asked Erna.
“Of course, madam. Still, I’m a little nervous that Your Grace, who is said to have the skills of a genius, will test me directly.”
Abel did not show signs of panic or displeasure even though he said he was going to take the test out of the blue. This only meant that he was confident in his abilities or that he was good at hiding his feelings. It could even be both.
Erna summoned a magic orb in the air and made it float.
“Tell me what kind of magic this is.”
Erna’s test went on for quite a long time. She summoned over five types of magic orbs until the tea Orpé had brought in had turned cold. Abel calmly studied what she summoned, and he continued to admire her after she explained what kind of power she used.
“There is no wizard even in the tower who can arrange these orbs so efficiently. So, the rumor I heard wasn’t an exaggeration.” Abel repeatedly exclaimed, amazed at the magic that Erna had summoned.
And he wasn’t the only surprised one. Erna also was impressed by his knowledge. After erasing the last orb, she took one sip of cold tea, then asked him a question.
“Frankly, your knowledge of magic is perfect. Rather, thanks to you I’ve learned a lot. By the way, if your skills are to this degree, why did you come to Hessenguard? If you’re in the tower I think you’d earned more money and honor.”
Abel drew a bitter smile at her straightforward question. “My magic skills are weak.”
With that response, Erna was persuaded why he’d come to Hessenguard. She asked, “Is it hard staying in the Wizards’ Tower?”
“Yes, it is, but… I never intended to stay there in the first place. That place is dominated by power, so people like me, with only theoretical and academic knowledge, just keep rolling like cogwheels. However, when you leave the tower, everyone looks for wizards who can be put into the war right away. Those with weak skills like myself can’t earn a lot of money even when we complete our courses.”
That’s what Erna had expected. The only place where anyone could do academic research on magic was the Wizards’ tower. Most countries try to take the strongest magicians produced in the tower. As that happened, most of the kingdoms had to keep an eye on the Wizards’ Tower. This was because it was easy to obtain a strong wizard only when they watched well enough.
“But when they mentioned the high pay… To be honest, I would have gone to the island beyond the continent, not Hessenguard,” he continued.
“I see.” Erna put down the papers she’d been looking at. “I’ll say this since I don’t want to keep dragging you along. You’ve passed. I want you to officially become a member of Hessenguard and immediately take charge of the wizards’ basic education.”
“I am grateful for your quick decision. Then may I stand up now? In fact, I had expected to pass so I booked a class in the afternoon ahead of time.”
Erna laughed at his brazen reply and stood up from her chair.
“Good. Go on. By the way…”
Pausing for a moment, she looked at him again. She had been scolded by Orpé but couldn’t get rid of the thought that Abel looked like Kalion.
The problem was she hadn’t been able to explain when Orpe’d asked where exactly did the two men look alike.
Well, Kalion isn’t the type to normally go around smiling.
She didn’t know how he behaved around his knights, but from what she’d seen in the meantime she thought there’d rarely been times when he went around smiling outside the training grounds.
H seems to be smiling only when he’s with me.