“Are you really going to sign up?”

I nodded at his words.
It was hard to believe that I came here to sign up after seeing this flyer.
However, even if I tried to join a different study group, the seats were already full.
It also wouldn’t be easy to get a seat that wasn’t occupied due to their strict requirements.

“Really?”

Hey, didn’t you make me fill out the entire form just now?

“There are a lot of study groups besides this one.
I heard the Pansy Study is popular because they are very disciplined and meticulous.
Are your grades too low?”

“I was just informed about this place by Professor Hartz.”

“You’re that guy’s victim, too.”

That guy…Suddenly, I liked this person named Jimbo.

“Well, my grades are also low……”

His face darkened when I mentioned that my grades were low.

“How low? What’s your rank?”

“……249th out of 250th.”

Since I was technically not the last, I spoke confidently but his face became even stiffer.
He had a look of disbelief.
I simply laughed from embarrassment. 

“Did you not study before entering the school?”

“I did.”

“You have to work harder.”

“……?”

This person must have came from a different world from me.
How could I study harder? In fact, it was a little unfair.
It reminded me of the days I had spent studying alone without an actual tutor.
Since I had no one to teach me, I simply memorised the contents of the books ignorantly.
In my own way, I did work hard……It’s just that, at the Lexley Academy, where only the talented can enter, that ignorant method didn’t work at all. 

Once he noticed I was upset, Jimbo didn’t utter a single word.

“After today’s lectures, come to Room X-1 on the 5th floor of the library.”

He stood still and yawned.

“What?”

“Aren’t you going to study?”

“Y-Yes!”

“I’ll see you then.
I’m going to sleep now.”

As soon as he finished his sentence, he abruptly collapsed and fell asleep in seconds.
While I was stunned, the girl beside me just smiled as if it was a normal scenario.
Can I really depend on that person as my mentor? After the conversation was over, I belatedly became nervous.

“I never imagined that Jimbo would make a study group.”

The girl beside me said.

“Really?”

“If everyone knew about this, they’d all come flocking to join.
That’s probably why he made it in secret.”

“Flock?”

When I asked, the girl laughed.

“Why wouldn’t they? Jimbo never missed first place.”

……Life was so unfair. 

*  *  *

After joining the study group, my motivation was on fire.
Next to me, Leto glanced at me strangely.
I carried the books I borrowed and planned to study all day long.
I had also gone to the store to buy a few items and cleaned my desk.
After all those preparations, I concentrated on the class so hard that I did not lose my focus throughout the lecture.

However, the issue was the high level education and the professor’s fast talking speed.
Every student appeared used to the speed, but only I was falling behind.

Please do not repost.
Read only at Dropped Inks.

“Leah, how do you concentrate? Don’t you think the lesson is too fast?”

When I word out my complaint, Leto shrugged nonchalantly.
It’s to be expected of the top student in our grade.
He had also been studying hard before, so he was bound to be different from me.
I reflected on the time I was too distracted with  that I neglected my studies.
But thinking about it now, it couldn’t be helped.
I didn’t want to die. 

“What about the study group? Did you fill up the application form?”

Leto asked, paying full attention towards me.

“Why? Do you want to join too?”

“No.”

“I don’t know.
I don’t think the mentor is passionate.”

Although the senior is a genius who never missed first place, it was still uncertain whether he would teach me properly.
I would still head to the library later, but I couldn’t help but worry.

“Is it a guy or a girl?”

“A guy.”

Leto seemed strangely relieved by my answer.
Wasn’t it usually the opposite?

“Do well.
You have to avoid being in last place.”

“But I wasn’t in last place, last time.”

“What rank were you?”

“249th out of 250th.”

“Isn’t that the last place?”

“……?”

No, wasn’t there still one person behind me? When I blinked, Leto shook his head.

“Right, I guess you really have to be in the last to be considered last.
Anyway, you could lose to that one person, so do well.”

“That won’t happen!”

Leto smiled as I clenched my fist.
He patted my head and wished me luck before focusing on the book again.
It felt kind of strange.
The renowned Leto patted my head and even smiled! When I stared intently at Leto, only then did he realise his actions.
He pushed my cheeks to the side and opened his mouth.

“Go study.”

At that exact moment, the professor came in.
With Leto’s support, I began to focus properly during all the classes that day.
When the classes were over, it became dark outside.
The hallways were quiet, I thought it was probably because the students were already done with their classes and had returned to the dormitory. 

In truth, the students were all determined to study.
To the extent that all the lights in the library were turned on.
Leto and I also headed to the library.
The library was so packed with students that there wasn’t a single seat available.
It was also extremely silent that if you dropped a pencil, everyone would raise their heads. 

In the end, Leto couldn’t find a seat and went back to the dormitory, while I went up towards the fifth floor.
If the first four floors were your typical library filled with books, the fifth was where multipurpose rooms could be found.
Each room was full of students studying in groups, ranging from a small number of people to a room full of students as if it was a classroom. 

Among them, I headed to Room X-1 where Senior Jimbo was located.
There, I saw a man with curly hair sleeping on his back.
It was undoubtedly Senior Jimbo.
When I opened the door, the senior stood up with his eyes wide open, stretched his arms in the air before relaxing.

“Go ahead and take a seat.”

When he said that, I nodded and sat down in an empty seat.
To my surprise, there was only Senior Jimbo and I in this spacious room.
Maybe there were more members, but they have yet to arrive? As if he could read my mind, Senior Jimbo shook his head.

“No one’s coming.”

“Huh?”

“This study group only consists of you and me.”

“……Huh?”

Wait, so it’s basically private tutoring?

“I only created it two days ago.”

What was even more surprising was that he had just made it.

I think I made a mistake.
I was wondering if I might be able to withdraw my application form at the last minute, but Senior Jimbo opened the book that I brought with me and looked through it.

“Which part do you not understand?”

“……From the beginning.”

Frankly, Senior Jimbo looked at me in disbelief.
His eyes were asking if I was joking.

“I-It’s the truth.”

I studied all day, but I could barely interpret the ciphertext on the first page.
Believe it or not, I studied hard on my own.
The numerous notes in the book were evidence of that.

Fan translation by Dropped Inks.

Senior Jimbo frowned and flipped the book slowly.

“It’s a difficult subject.
Wasn’t it tough?”

It was really tough.

However, in order to get close to Leto, I had no choice but to take those subjects.
If there was an easy subject, it would be the  class, where we had to raise Polmions.
That subject was relatively easy compared to the other subjects, but it wasn’t the easiest.

“Luckily, I haven taken some of the liberal arts classes you took, so I can guide you.”

Not only was he a top student, but he also took liberal arts! Senior Jimbo, who initially felt distrustful at first, now looked anew.

“First, let’s make a schedule.
We’ll study for five hours daily until the exam day.”

“What? Five hours?”

When I was surprised, Senior Jimbo looked at me as if asking if there was a problem.

“N-No.
I just thought it would be a hassle for you.”

“During that time, I would also be studying.”

“I see……”

I don’t think I could slack off in the future.
Then, the senior passed the book back to me and said he would teach me from the beginning.

“Why did you create this study group? Why are you even helping me? Even if Professor Hartz had forced you to do it, I don’t think it would benefit you in any way.”

No matter how much I study, his role was to teach and guide me for five hours.
Moreover, it would be a bit wasteful to invest that time in other students during the exam period.
Even if it was Senior Jimbo, who had never missed first place.

“What else would it be if it wasn’t the L.R?”

“L.R?”

L.R was like an overall report card.
It is made once you graduate from the academy, so it acts like a report that records your entire academy life.
I’ve heard of it before, but was it that important that even Senior Jimbo is concerned about it?

“Interviewers will refer to the interviewee’s L.R later when they are awarded a noble title or when they are selected as a public official or a member of the imperial family.
To put it simply, it’s an important report that proves whether you actively participated in the academy.”

“…….”

“And Professor Hartz, who’s infamous for being a picky professor, said he would be the one to write it.
So, isn’t it obvious?”

“Is it that important?”

“Of course.
It leads to titles and employment in the future.
It’s just as important as our grades.
Well, of course cheating is easy.
Sometimes, there are cases where professors get paid to write good things about them.”

Was it that terrifying? In any case, this man was a person who thoroughly prioritised his studies while not being interested in anything else.

In short, he was like a ghost.
Someone who will achieve their goal no matter what.
I was curious to get to know this senior, but at the same time, I wanted to distance myself a little.
He looked at me with an expression that asked if he had answered all my questions.
When I nodded, the senior immediately lifted the quill and explained the problems to me.

“Now, solve this problem in an hour.”

It was a difficult problem that would take me quite a while to solve in just an hour.
I swallowed my saliva.
This was just the beginning.
Glancing at Senior Jimbo, his eyes had turned fierce as though he was about to study earnestly right at that second.
I will have to work hard too!

……Was what I thought, but the problem was just too difficult.
I choked on my breath and my hands trembled.
I couldn’t even solve a single question.

How did I get into Lexley Academy? I started to doubt myself.
I also felt embarrassed as I thought of that.
In the first place, it took me a while to interpret the problem.
There were a total of three questions, and the length of those questions occupied half of the page.

I couldn’t even work out the answer.
The space allocated for the answer of a solution process was a whole page.
An hour passed by just like that.
I tried coming up with an answer, but it was a total disaster.
The senior glanced at my solution and only gave one comment.

“Terrible.”

Yeah, I’m an idiot.

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