The Expedition Starts
The next morning.
Louise and I arrived at the entrance of the city in a carriage. This was the meeting place arranged by the academy for the expedition.
But when we arrived and were about to go down the carriage, Louise suddenly stopped in her tracks and held my shirt.
“Claus… Are you truly going?”
“Why, are you concerned about me?” I asked with a smile on my face.
Louise bit her lips. Looking at the ground, she showed a concerned expression.
“Claus, you heard my father… They are planning to kill you during the expedition.”
“Well, I’m not so easy to kill.”
“Even so, it’s too dangerous! With the rumor about your teacher, I’m sure father will not be confident in killing you without a thirteenth-layer practitioner at least! Claus, stop smiling! This is serious!”
I chuckled amusedly and held Louise’s hand with a gentle smile. “Stop worrying, Louise. Everything is under control. In fact, I already knew about the plan to kill me since long before. I have already made the necessary preparations.”
“… Are you sure?”
“Of course. Would I risk my life without reason?” I said and stroke Louise’s head. “I don’t want to make you a widow so early.”
Louise punched my chest. “Idiot… Claus, don’t dare to die… If you die, I swear I’ll kill you.”
I smiled and kissed Louise softly. Then, we walked towards the meeting place.
The meeting place was already filled with people. Students from the first to the fifth year of the institute were gathered with eager and anticipating expressions.
In front of them, the teachers led by headmistress Evelyn were standing with serious expressions. The members of the student council, the students’ guard, and the club committee, led by Dina, Katherine, and the crown prince Alan respectively, were behind them.
I was a member of the student council, so I reluctantly separated from Louise and walked towards them.
During the way, I saw several acquaintances. First was my fiancée, Clara, who greeted me with a happy smile and a wave of her hand, then it was Alver, the guy who lives beside my bedroom, and Hannah, Alice’s knight. I also saw my brother, Bryan, who had a gloating smile and a smirk on his face.
I returned the smile, of course.
On the other hand, I was surprised when I saw Hannah. Since when was she studying in the institute?
She didn’t seem very happy and scowled when she felt my gaze, so she is probably here against her will.
Surely it was Alice’s idea.
When I arrived where the members of the student council were gathered, the first one to receive me was my loyal and lovable maid.
“Your highness, you are here.” Daisy greeted me with a brilliant smile.
“Sorry for making you wait. Is everything ready?”
“Don’t worry, your highness. I took care of everything.”
“Great.” I smiled gently to Daisy and then turned around to greet my beloved sister, my cousin Andrea, and Iris, the three other members of the student council.
Dina and Andrea returned my greeting sweetly. As for Iris, her expression was slightly complicated.
Fifteen minutes after I arrived, Evelyn coughed loudly, and all the students focused their attention on her.
“Welcome, students at the Imperial Institute.” Evelyn started her speech with a smile. “As you know, we are here today to start the first expedition of the year.
“As is tradition, this expedition will transpire in the Forest of Wolves, located close to the capital. In a few minutes, I will teleport everybody to the location of the expedition, so teachers, get your students in order.”
The teachers behind Evelyn nodded and started to work.
Five minutes later when all the students were in place. Evelyn nodded and raised her hand to cast a spell.
I felt Evelyn’s mana fluctuations and smiled. Such a nice surprise, it looks like she managed to breakthrough to the fourteenth layer and consolidated her cultivation sooner than I thought. The trip to the other world was probably more beneficial for her than I thought.
Soon, a giant magic circle appeared and the teleportation spell surrounded every teacher and student. After a flash, we disappeared from the city.
When we opened our eyes again, we were in front of a never-ending and foggy forest.
Amidst the gasp of admiration of the students witnessing the headmistress’s strength for the first time, and the looks of surprise of the students finally seeing the forest of wolves, Evelyn opened her mouth again.
“Very well, now, I’ll explain the rules of this expedition.
“The expedition will last five days, until the next Friday. Each student will be teleported to a random part of the forest and must try to survive until the end of the expedition.
“However, surviving is not the true goal of this event. After all, what we in the institute want is not only to nurture your survival instincts but also to increase your combat experience.
“The true goal is to hunt monsters. During the five days of the expedition, each student will be graded according to the number and strength of the monsters they hunt. Besides, for each day you survive, your score will increase by ten percent. In other words, if you survive the five days, your score will increase by fifty percent.
“Also, fighting between students is allowed. If any of you beat another student, you will get thirty percent of the points he accumulated until then. However, killing and maiming other students is forbidden.
“Of course, we know the dangers of a chaotic battle like this, so each student will receive a charm that can activate a barrier able to stop one ninth-layer attack. This barrier will activate automatically if the student is in danger, but you can also activate it if you wish to give up the competition.
“Students, I assure you don’t need to worry about your safety. This forest has been used by the academy for many years, and there is an array covering it completely. Thus, we will able to monitor your situation at every moment. If we find that any of you is in danger, a teacher will go to rescue you as quickly as possible.
“No student has died during an expedition in the last twenty years, and no student will die this time. Thus, go all out and try to get a higher score. The fifty best students will be rewarded with one hundred gold coins, the ten best students will receive an opportunity to choose a secret technique from the academy repository; as for the three best students and the winner of the expedition, I assure you the reward you will get is beyond anything you can imagine.
“Now, get ready. You will be transported to your respective locations in twenty minutes.”
As soon as these words sounded, each student started their last-minute preparations.
Meanwhile, I walked towards Evelyn and called at her. Evelyn was surprised, but she walked with me towards a secluded place.
“Boy, what happened?”
I smiled. “Well, I wanted to know if you missed me.”
Evelyn frowned briefly. “Get serious, this is not the place to get flirty.”
I shrugged. “Okay okay.” Then, I tell her some important information.
“The Empress and Earl Riea are planning something in this expedition.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“They are going to kill me.”
Evelyn was stunned.
“… Do you need my help?”
I shook my head. “It’s not necessary. Just help me to keep an eye on my friends and be careful. If I’m not wrong, their goal is probably not limited to me.”
Evelyn nodded. “You are right. If a prince dies under my watch, the consequences will be disastrous… Mm, I better get ready to cancel the expedition in case they go overboard.”
“You probably will have to. With the lineup they brought this time, they are planning something big.”
Evelin scowled. “These damn nobles, They dare to mess with my students! Claus, be careful.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.” I said with a smile. “You are clear that they will need more than a few powerhouses if they want to catch me.”
Evelyn nodded. “Anyway, it’s better to be cautious. I’ll keep an eye in your situation in case you need help.”
I agreed with a smile. Before leaving Evelyn reminded me several times to be careful as a nagging wife. I felt tempted to shut her up with a kiss, but there were so many eyes around us.
After that, I walked towards each one of my women and acquaintances and left a bit of my consciousness on them. It was to keep them safe in case the empress, crown prince Alan, Bryan, or Earl Riea, attempt something against them.
When everything was ready, I looked towards the forest.
A few minutes later, the expedition started.
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