The flower vase hit the wall and shattered to pieces.
Amy, who had thrown the vase, was against the opposite wall.
“Wh-What the hell?”
The moment the midnight bell rang, a real ghost appeared.
Was this what Nade called the ‘resonance effect’?
At first, she thought she was hallucinating, but whatever was reflecting on the window was real.
Hearing the gravelly voice, Amy turned on her heels and slammed open the door.
Numerous girls were screaming at the top of their lungs, running through the hallway.
Amy was appalled. Dozens of ghosts were chasing them from behind while their jaws clattered with each step.
“Amy! Save me! I’m seeing ghosts! What should I do?!”
Sharelle came running with a pale face, and a sense of reality rushed into Amy.
She had never believed in ghosts. However, it was the nature of humans to refuse to enter a cemetery alone even if they didn’t believe in them.
Amid the wave of crowds, Amy also began running out of the building.
* * *
In a quiet training ground at the entrance of a mountain, a strange noise broke the silence.
Ethella came out from her meditation.
When she stood up and turned around, a hideous, transparent figure was walking towards her.
The word ‘ghost’ quickly entered her mind, but she didn’t feel any particular emotion from the ghost. She could tell because she was a truth-seeker fighting against the evils of the world.
When the ghost came to stand right in front of her face, Ethella squinted her eyes and leaned forward to have a better look.
Then, the ghost stared at her as well and tilted its head.
It was a moment of truth to prove how well Yiruki’s equation predicted the opponent.
The ghost threatened again.
Out of innocent curiosity, Ethella raised her hand and tried to press the soldier’s nose.
However, the result was expected. Her hand penetrated and came out the back of the soldier’s head.
* * *
Inside the ice domain where even steam froze solid, Siena breathed heavily, covering herself.
The moment she opened the bathroom door, what stood in front of her was a white-as-a-sheet face that was looking at her through a window.
The first thing that came to her mind was ‘pervert,’ so Siena flew back a little and froze the steam coming out from the bathroom.
After she created the ice curtain to hide from the assumed ‘pervert,’ she took a moment to gather her thoughts.
She peeked through the long rope-like frozen steam and what she clearly saw was a corpse with a decomposed face.
“What in the world?”
Of course, she remembered the frequency of souls she had heard in the presentation.
‘Was what Nade said true…? No, that can’t be.’
However, she couldn’t deny it with confidence because she couldn’t explain what she was seeing.
As soon as the ghost opened its mouth, Siena instinctively froze the window.
Siena regained her composure when she confirmed that it was still moving behind the frost.
“How dare you…”
She covered herself with a gown from inside the bathroom and walked to the window to open it.
As expected, no harm was done to the soldier, and it continued making uncanny expressions.
She went outside to inspect the building. She found a spherical device that was emitting a dim light.
She let out a sigh and returned to her room to take off her gown.
The remaining water droplets on her body froze with a crackling sound, and ice particles that glistened like diamonds spread all around her.
Before she knew it, no water was left on her body.
“These good-for-nothing kids…!”
Cold energy escaped Siena’s eyes.
* * *
As of midnight, the Alpheas Magic Academy was in a state of terror.
Lights could be seen turning on through the countless windows of the dormitory as students rushed out of their rooms.
It was the same kind of situation everywhere else.
The program was designed to predict human reactions with its dozens of patterns. Rhe students ran recklessly along the road without even knowing that they had been deceived.
“Ghost! Ghosts appeared!”
The mob mentality from the crowd affected the students psychologically.
But even then, it would be difficult to predict all human behaviors, so what Yiruki wanted was not a detailed response, but something that would induce the crowd as a whole.
The holograms seemed to be chasing people without purpose, but if one observed from a bird’s-eye point-of-view, it was actually used to rally the crowd into one place.
Eventually, almost all of the 400 students gathered in front of the central building where the lights were turned off.
Students trapped between people and buildings realized that there was no place to escape anymore.
Children from the lower-leveled classes wailed and cried out for their mothers, while students from Intermediate class prepared to fight.
“Here they come! Do something!”
“AAAHHHHH! Come at us! Bring it on, you beasts!”
Everyone’s faces turned pale as the army of corpses charged at them with swords.
* * *
* * *
Both the crying students and those trying to stand guard had no choice but to feel chills rush through their blood.
The students’ chins wobbled, but then a light spread through the soldiers’ bodies. The bodies soared into the sky as hundreds of light rays.
Perhaps, they were ascending to the afterlife?
The young children were praying when the sound of applause was heard from the central building behind them.
Clap. Clap. Clap.
All 400 people stared up at the rooftop at the same time to see Shirone, Yiruki, and Nade standing over them.
“Thank you to all those who have attended our presentation.”
While the students still had difficulty grasping the situation, the instructors finally arrived.
All faculty members in charge of the Beginner classes, Intermediate classes, and Advanced classes were gathered.
Siena stomped her way through the crowd.
“You guys! Come down here, right now! What in the world are you doing?! You turned the academy into a mess!”
Nade winked and said.
“Ah, Ms. Siena. What a beautiful evening we have today, don’t you think?”
“What ‘beautiful evening,’ huh?! Hurry up and come down! If I personally go up there, I might ‘accidentally’ kill you, so come down here! Now!”
“But first things first, it’s still our presentation. I’ll put an end to it first and then go.”
Presentation? What kind of presentation occurred in the middle of the night?
Students understood what was happening.
“What? So all this was their doing? That means it was all fake!”
“We were fooled! Damn it!”
There were still many who were puzzled, but the students who grasped the situation criticized Shirone’s group by pointing fingers.
“You crooks! How dare you Class 5 kids fool us? This is not a presentation!”
“Those guys should get zeros on the performance evaluation. You guys are done for! There are no ghosts in the world, yet they dare go scamming us with such things.”
Despite all the cursing and criticisms, Shirone’s group had a relaxed smile.
Eventually, Nade raised his hand and calmed them down.
“The Supernatural Psychic Science Research Group has proven to you the existence of ghosts through our presentation. Yet, you guys still don’t believe in the existence of the soul.”
“Of course not! You created these nonexistent ghosts and thought you could get recognized? You guys are going to fail!”
“That’s right! This was just a bad prank! Anyone can deceive people this way! Even I—”
The students of Class 4 stopped talking.
Soon, students from other classes turned to their side and murmured as if they had just realized it too.
“By the way, how did they do it? Do you know?”
“No, I don’t have a clue. They really looked like ghosts. Besides, they fooled the entire academy.”
This wasn’t just a bad prank.
Another thing that was surprising was the hundreds of holograms. How they moved all of those around the academy was still a mystery.
“Those bastards, what the hell did they do?”
Siena closed her eyes and frowned as the crowd broke out into confusion.
To be honest, she also didn’t know the exact way they pulled this through.
‘They could have made the holograms. Sure, they could also program it to move. However, to cover the whole academy, they had to operate each one flawlessly. But to also lure 400 people into one place in such a situation… That’s impossible. No, what’s more impossible than that is…?’
Even if luck was on their side, how did Shirone’s group transmit the information?
“Hohoho, I think we lost this time around.”
When the instructors turned around to look, they saw Alpheas, who was looking at the rooftop with a laugh.
Siena shook her head.
“Headmaster, this isn’t something to be taken lightly. I don’t know what those children did, but unauthorized installation of devices in the academy facility…”
“Ho? You mean even you don’t know Ms. Siena?”
Currently, Alpheas was interested not in the fact that an academy rule had been broken, but in the technological prowess of Shirone’s group.
Alpheas himself would not have been able to guess that an information communication skill was involved in this strategy if he wasn’t also a major in Light magic.
Was it possible at a student’s level?
It was probably a huge gamble for the three as well.
He wanted to applaud them for their wonderful success.
Siena admitted frankly.
“Yes. Although it’s embarrassing to admit, I don’t really know how they did it. But just because we don’t know the mechanism doesn’t mean they’ve convinced the instructors.”
“Hoho, you’ve mistaken. That’s not what I meant by ‘we lost.’”
Alpheas looked up and saved his breath.
“Let’s just watch for now. I don’t think the presentation is over yet.”
The students were also burning with curiosity to find out the tricks Shirone’s group used.
The front of the building turned into a large-scale forum, but the more they shared their opinion, the more mysterious it got.
The students from Class 4 found this whole situation especially unpleasant.
Not only were they fooled by tricks created by their lowerclassmen, but they also couldn’t even grasp how they did the whole thing. Their pride took a hit.
“Hmph! Whatever method they used, it must be something absurd and laughable. The point is your presentation is rubbish! You’re saying you will prove ghosts exist? Don’t make me laugh!”
At someone’s angry voice, Class 4 students agreed.
“Yeah! We can’t accept such a method! That wasn’t psychic science, it was just a show!”
Nade heard that and stepped in.
“Do none of you still believe in the soul?”
“Of course not! Soul? That was just a kind of Phantom magic. I’m saying it’s not real.”
“Then I will ask you this. If you really thought so, then why are you here?”
Silence enveloped the area.
Among the hundreds of students, not one could go against what Nade said.
If they didn’t believe in the existence of souls, why did they run away?
The answer was simple. Somewhere deep in their mind, there was a belief in the soul.
“What you are feeling right now is the essence of Supernatural Psychic Science. Humans live their whole lives with questions about the unknown. They are curious. If you simply don’t need to know just because it hasn’t been verified, then why should intelligence exist? I think this is why the Supernatural Psychic Science Research Group should be in Alpheas Magic Academy, the birthplace of intelligence.”
The students said no words.
It wasn’t real ghosts that appeared today, but so what?
The important thing was that everyone here thought the things they saw were ghosts. Reals ones.
If one went about it that way, then that meant someone had to try and uncover the truth.
The students approached this presentation seriously for the first time.
The reason for learning was to find out what you didn’t know yet. In the end, intelligence was an unknown, and psychic and magic were not so different from one another.
“That marks the end of the presentation of the Supernatural Psychic Science Research Group. Once again, I would like to thank you for participating until late at night.”
Shirone’s group bowed.
The crowd was quiet, and no one spoke.