Spring of C.E. 1276.
It has been 2 years since Ernesti and the others enroled in Laihiala Pilot Academy. Their lifestyle remained the same. First of all, Ernesti Echevarria…
“Alright, this year we will be working on ‘Silhouette Knight Design and Application’… Ah, you are here…”
During this period, when the school welcomes new students and the new academic year begins, the teacher who came into the classroom glanced at the short student occupying the center seat in the front row. As a third year primary school student, Eru has gained fame for attending the craftsmen faculty’s courses despite being from the Knighthood Faculty.
“The Knighthood faculty’s teachers have surrendered.”
“Yes, I am happy to meet teachers who are so understanding.”
He slightly tilted his head and smiled. He may have looked really cute, but with his background in bullying the teachers to accommodate his schedule, the scene was not warming at all. After promoting to the next academic grade, Eru used his abilities to destroy all of the classes that got in the way of the courses he wanted to attend. The Knighthood teachers were deeply depressed over this, and the craftsmen faculty had given in. The teacher sighed deeply, and focused on his lesson. If you ignore his shenanigans, Eru is a bright and passionate student, so the teachers gave him more leeway.
Next are the twins Archid and Adeltrud.
This is the training grounds of the Knighthood faculty. Class was in session, so no one should be here. The boy and girl practicing on the field were Archid and Adeltrud. They followed Eru’s lead to go beyond the scope of the lessons given by the school, and had been conducting personal training. For the past two years, instead of taking magic classes, they had been conducting this special training. Eru was not present because he had to attend some other class.
“Okay, I will be going all out next.”
“What’s up? Your hits are harder than usual.”
Chid waved his hands at the suspicious Ady, gesturing that nothing was wrong as he tightened his grip on his weapon. His build was excellent for his age, and the sword in his hand was one size bigger than the standards. Even though it was a wooden sword used for training, it was still imposing.
In contrast, Ady held two thin swords, and her battling style was similar to Eru’s, focusing more on agility than strength.
Apart from that, their weapons had something strange attached to it. Made from the wood of the white mist tree, a gun staff based on the normal magic staves… the latest ‘Gandiva’ model. Driven by his interest, Eru used the knowledge from his previous life to design the ‘Winchester’, but there was no need for the twins to use the same weapon. Instead, their Gandivas were more polished, evolving to the state where it could be attached to any sword. It was designed by Eru and made by their wonderful neighbour… Termonen Workshop.
The two of them adopted a stance and faced each other, activating their magic before raising their swords. They switched smoothly between sword attacks and magic, displaying the power of their weapon, which merges the sword and the staff… the ability of the gun staff. They were using limited physical boost. After Ernesti tweaked with its script, the spell was easier to use than the previous version, and more importantly, it improved the sustainability of the spell. They held true to Eru’s teachings, training their body and magic at the same time, efficiently improving their mana pools. The crystallisation of their hard work was clear for all to see.
With the start of the battle training, Chid took a strong step forward. His strengthened muscles propelled him forward, placing his opponent within his sword’s range. This was Chid’s preferred fighting style… practical usage of the length of his oversized sword. Thanks to Mathias’s training, his style, which places emphasis on the gauging of distance and skill, was a real threat.
Ady used the agility of her swords to counter this. Because of her limited physical boost, her slashes turned into a whirlwind, bypassing Chid’s sword and going straight for his body. Even though his weapon was large, Chid still managed to shorten the attack range of his sword, to ward off Ady’s attack. But Ady didn’t back down, shifting positions constantly as she waited for an opening. The fierce exchange made others question if this was really a mock battle. The two continued to spar until their mana and endurance were sapped.
Because these two learned magic from Eru, who thought about things differently, this sort of training was normal for them. But simple things for them… using magic and swords simultaneously in training, were not taught in primary school. If a third party was around, they would probably question their common sense.
“Really… I can’t stand you guys, what did Eru teach you…”
That’s how Stefania, who was watching felt.
“Hmm… it was magic and sword right?”
Watching the twins tilt their heads and answer at the same time, Stefania could only smile bitterly. This was not a style you could learn just by ‘learning magic’.
“With your standards, I’m not sure if I can win.”
“Really? Winning against the top student of Knighthood Faculty, who is also the Student Council President can’t be that easy, right?”
Stefania had reasons to be concerned. Normal students will learn using magic during sword battles in secondary school. If someone started doing so from primary school, how far could they grow? The answer was right before her.
She was the top in her faculty in results, the daughter of a Marquis, and with her distinquished personality, she was elected as the student council president. But after seeing the capabilities of her half-siblings, Stefania was still shocked. The twins were too used to Eru’s standards, so their benchmark was different from normal people. Stefania thought about correcting their mindset, in order to avoid trouble in the future.
There were only the three of them in the training ground. They were focused on training, and distracting themselves with chit chat, not paying attention to their surroundings, so they failed to notice the shadow lurking behind the thin wall near the training grounds entrance.
While class was in session, the sound of footsteps echoed in the empty dormitory, the students were all absent.
The person walking was agitated, his pace fast as he reached his desired room shortly, his dorm room. He unlocked the door with trembling hands and rushed in as if chased. For a dormitory, this personal room was spacious, and was arranged by the school with consideration of safety in mind. Aristocrats staying in dorms are all assigned personal rooms.
The male student stood by the door listlessly for a while. He couldn’t hold in his agitation anymore and kicked the furniture in the room, the sound reverberating loudly.
“What is… that… how could it be… damn, damn damn!”
The male student, Baltsar Serrati, cursed, feeling extremely frustrated. He was upset because he had witnessed the training session of his sister and half-siblings.
Baltsar was a first year student in middle school of the Knighthood Faculty, and has just started using magic and sword simultaneously. He was troubled by the difficult training, but his siblings were doing what he couldn’t with ease. It was clear that their abilities were far ahead of him. For the proud Baltsar, he couldn’t stand bastard children who were stronger than him. This thought filled him with rage, and he realised the existence of Chid and Ady was a threat to his goal.
Baltsar’s goal was related to his ‘family’.
His family… The ‘Marquis Serrati family’, is one of the most notable aristocratic families in the Fremmevira Kingdom. Their territory isn’t large, and it occupies a place that is flat and filled with farmland. It is situated to the east of the Kingdom, near the Bocuse Sea of Forest and suffers from frequent attacks by Demon beasts. In order to fend them off, the Marquis commands one of the top bands of knights within the country… the ‘Red Rhino Knights’. It is a critical place that borders the frontlines, and as a result, the land has prospered economically, with merchants passing through the main economic artery constantly.
Marquis Serrati, the ruler of this land had three children. The eldest, Artos, was the heir of the Marquis, receiving an education befitting a noble, and was starting to help his father manage their territory. The eldest daughter, Stefania, was studying in her second year of middle school at Laihiala Pilot Academy, while the second son, Baltsar, was in his first year.
“If this carries on… If that brat shows up at the main family…”
The titles of nobility are basically inherited by the eldest son, where the other children do not get any land or property. They need to forge their own path forward, most of them became knights or bureaucrats. Baltsar chose to become a knight without hesitation, since the Serrati Marquis clan was in command of the famous Red Rhino Knights. In the Kingdom of Knights, protecting the people from Demon beast attacks was the noblesse oblige of the aristocrats. It was natural for him to set this as his goal.
“If those bastards come into contact with the Red Rhino Knights… maybe…”
The entire Kingdom, including the Serrati counties, has no competition amongst its knights. The knights are expected to be ready to fight the Demon beasts at a moment’s notice, and it is very demanding in terms of ability for those aspiring to be commanders. Being strong in combat skills doesn’t guarantee the right to be the leader of the knights, but the stronger someone is, the more respect they will garner in a military organisation.
Baltsar imagined himself leading the order of knights with his brother. He had never doubted that until the twins showed up. This casted a shadow in his heart. Even though they are children of a mistress, with their strong capabilities, and ties to the Marquis by blood, they might seize the advantage and realise their dream before Baltsar. His entitled position being stripped by his bastard younger siblings was a nightmare.
“That’s right… I have to get rid of them.”
He reflected upon why he had let the situation deteriorate so much, and the conclusion was that he was too careless, thinking of them only as bastards who could never match him. Because of his foolish overconfidence, he ignored that incident during the first day of school. He realised he was wrong, the situation was very pressing and every second counts. He needed to work fast to dispose of them, but the twins were too strong, it would be unwise to challenge them head on. He needed to suppress their strength, in a safe and efficient way.
Baltsar raised his head, his worries had disappeared.
He was not dumb. His willingness to sacrifice others allowed him to come up with despicable and effective methods. The usual cold smile widened, and his ugly feelings became stronger than before.
One day after class, Batson Termonen walked along the corridor with heavy steps, preparing to head to his next class. He looked around and discovered a familiar figure. He noticed that person because she was a childhood friend.
“Is that Ady? Who is she… with?”
As he wondered about what Ady was doing, Batson became suspicious. Not because Ady was with someone, but because she was with a student he didn’t know. From afar, her face looked stiff.
“Should I alert them?”
Batson was not overreacting because Ady was with a stranger, but her expression looked weird, and that worried Batson. She might be in trouble, so Batson decided to show his considerate spirit.
After making up his mind, Batson turned around and searched for his petite friend, who was probably in a classroom nearby.
“Baltsar Onii-sama, what’s wrong?”
Adeltrud clenched her fists, her eyes searching her surroundings and her slightly fierce demeanor growing stronger.
Baltsar stood before her with his usual smile. That was still bearable. Although it upsets the people who look at him, Ady had gotten used to it. The problem was with the people around them. There were three of them behind Baltsar and four behind Ady. Male students who she did not know, blocked her way after Baltsar gave a signal. They were probably his lackeys.
Ady was stopped by Baltsar in the corridor and brought to a deserted area. Although she was not close with Baltsar, they were still family, so she let her guard down. Ady thought she was being brought to a quiet place, so others wouldn’t hear him picking on her. She was surrounded before she realised. From the atmosphere and from their unfriendly gazes, Ady guessed that this was probably not a ‘happy chat’.
“These are my friends. Nothing much, they are here to help me teach disobedient brats their manners, eh?”
Baltsar’s companions smiled quietly.
“I learned about manners in class, there is no need to trouble everyone.”
“The teacher is not enough to teach the brats of a mistress. Your brother is teaching you personally, shouldn’t you be lowering your head, and begging for your lesson?”
A hand stuck out from behind Baltsar.
“That’s right, be a good girl and…”
The nameless lackey was careless… he thought they had the overwhelming advantage with their numbers, and the target was a girl younger than them. Ady judged that there was no need to argue anymore, pulling out her gun staff before he finished. She immediately used limited physical boost and elbowed the lackey in the stomach before he could react.
“You are too noisy!”
She needed to break through the encirclement to get away. She dropped one opponent, and took the chance to run with her enhanced leg power. Because of her sudden retaliation, the encirclement was full of holes, but just as she was about to get away…
An arrow of lightning landed on Ady’s back, at the command of this calm voice. She couldn’t even scream, a hoarse sound escaped from her mouth as the air was pushed out of her lungs. It was not lethal, but the direct lightning numbed her body, so she tripped and fell.
Uguu! I screwed up… can’t, conscious… fading…
Incredibly, she remembered the smug expression on Baltsar’s face as she blacked out. He was not haughty like usual, but was wearing a foreboding smile.
Some time after Ady blacked out.
Chid had no idea what happened, and he was just a bit concerned that Ady hadn’t returned when class had begun. When he was thinking about ditching class to search for her, he met an unexpected person.
“Oh? You were in class… that saves me the trouble.”
Baltsar appeared before him. Chid was shocked, he had maintained his distance from Baltsar during his time with the main family, and Baltsar always chose inconspicuous places to talk to him. But they were conversing in a public place right now, and Chid was unsure of how to address him.
“Senpai, do you have anything for me?”
Chid couldn’t hide his confusion and asked. Baltsar was smiling as usual, as he announced in a loud voice:
“I challenge you to a duel!”
The rowdy classroom was silenced, followed by an eruption of sounds. Students in the classroom chatted excitedly with each other, discussing the current exciting topic, ‘duel!’.
“What are you saying…”
“You can’t understand? Ha, I expected as much. I have let an eye sore like you fool around for too long, I can’t forgive such insolence anymore. That’s right, I have to set you straight.”
Chid was baffled, because everything had been set in motion without his knowledge. Baltsar’s actions confounded him. But he was sure of one thing.
“I don’t get what you are thinking… Duel? Alright, it’s on!”
He also hated Baltsar. His fighting spirit overcame the question in his heart, and he accepted it readily. Chid would let it go if Baltsar had picked on him verbally as usual. But if Baltsar issues a challenge head on, Chid had no intention of hiding his displeasure.
“How uncouth… your manners are lacking. Let’s see how long you can stay arrogant.”
Class was abandoned, and the whole group tagged along with them out of the campus.
Laihiala Pilot Academy restricts fights between students. It is ridiculous for knights protecting citizens to fight amongst themselves. Those who break the rule will face all sorts of punishment. However, the only exception is a fight known as a ‘duel’.
Duels have their own set of rules: they must be one on one; the duel requires both parties to agree… a third party has to act as the referee… the referee has absolute authority; the match will be decided when one party loses consciousness or surrenders; they have to use wooden training swords, and spells that release projectiles are banned to avoid collateral damage to others. In the end, the main point is ‘settle it yourself’.
By its nature, the Knighthood faculty has a lot of hot headed students, so settling disputes by duels is common. There is even a fixed place within the academy known as the ‘duel arena’.
News of Baltsar and Chid’s duel spread through the academy instantly. They had been anticipating this, and the challenge became issued prominently, resulting in a large crowd gathering to witness the battle.
A student who was unrelated to either of them volunteered to be the referee. He read out the rules of the duel in a loud voice, and confirmed the acceptance by the two participants. When they faced each other, Baltsar took out something from his shirt pocket. Chid turned stiff when he saw it.
Isn’t that… The hair pin Ady was wearing this morning!? Why… Did he…!?
The shocked Chid looked at Baltsar, and their eyes met. Baltsar was smiling more intensely today, and Chid understood his goal, why Baltsar had proposed a duel and why it was being done in public.
“You… What did you do to Ady…”
“Hmmm? I don’t know what you mean.”
Baltsar’s expression twisted as if he was trying to control his laughter, confirming Chid’s suspicion.
“That’s right, I heard a rumor the other day. You can use advanced spells as a primary school student, an amazing achievement! Can you show them to me?”
Chid made a spiteful groan. It was obvious why Baltsar raised this issue, he wanted everyone present to hear Chid say that he couldn’t to humiliate him. The way he flashed the hair pin made Baltsar’s intentions clear.
“… I can’t use it anyway…”
Chid answered, as if he was squeezing the air out of his lungs, baffling the audience. Chid was one of the famous trio in primary school that was exempted from class by the teachers. The crowd was chattering, wondering why someone so far ahead in magic was saying something like this. Were the rumours false?
“Huh? What a joke! Ha! The rumours are fake? Really, to be exposed so easily! Where did that attitude of yours go? Hah!”
If eyes could kill, Chid would have murdered Baltsar with his gaze by now. Baltsar didn’t mind and continued with a laugh:
“Hey, hey, hey, wanting to stand out even if you have to lie, what a naughty boy. Correcting the error of juniors is the senior’s job, right? Okay, it’s about time to begin.”
Baltsar lifted his sword and staff while Chid quietly attached his Gandiva to his wooden sword. What followed was not a duel anymore, but an execution.
“What’s with you? Such a spoilsport. You can’t use magic, and you’re subpar with swordsmanship!?”
Baltsar taunted as they sparred. Chid was enraged and wanted to counter attack, but Baltsar was flashing the hair pin from time to time to warn him.
About 30 minutes into the fight, everyone could see that the battle was one sided. Chid was slow and was the only one taking hits. He tried countering a few times, but his strength was lacking. The pitiful state of the rumoured student disappointed the crowd. “Rumours are just rumours”, “When did the misunderstanding start?”. “The ending will be the arrogant junior facing reality”, “Such a boring fight”… There were even some who left impatiently.
But some of the students felt uneasy. Chid was hit directly a lot of time, but he kept up his stance. He didn’t take damage? Baltsar, who was enjoying the overwhelming advantage noticed and took pleasure in tormenting Chid.
Since he can’t defeat Baltsar, Chid had to tank the attacks. He was unsure how long he could endure it. Even so, he was still waiting for the chance to counter attack. He didn’t know if he still had a chance, but he clanged on desperately to this hope. Chid’s most trustworthy friend was not here, but he definitely knows about this commotion after such a big uproar, so his absence means he is on the move.
I’ll leave it to you my, friend… You are my only hope!
Chid gritted his teeth and took the hit from Baltsar with a staggering stance.
At the same time, Ernesti was walking quietly along the corridor. After listening to his childhood friend Batson’s explanation, Eru had begun searching for Ady. But he was troubled by the fact that there were no clues. Suddenly, someone hugged him from behind. Eru was startled, and looked up to see Stefania caressing his hair with a blissful face.
“Ah, so soft and smooth, that you won’t ever want to let go.”
“It’s the fault of these silky smooth locks… You. Impish. Devil.”
Stefania rubbed her face against Eru’s hair, as she poked his cheek. Eru was baffled by her reaction as usual, but inspiration struck. Maybe Stefania has some clues.
“Stefania-senpai, you came just the right time. Do you know where Ady is?”
Stefania who was all smiles became sullen and worried. She looked at the confused Eru straight in the eye.
“I think Baltsar was meeting Ady.”
“Balt… Your brother? He, Chid, and Ady…”
Eru hesitated uncharacteristically. He had heard about Baltsar… and things about him. If Ady was taken by him, there was no telling what could happen. But Eru still hesitated, since this was a family affair after all. Eru couldn’t judge how deeply he could interfere, but Stefania blew all of his worries away with one sentence.
“… Also, Balt brought a lot of lackeys with him.”
“I don’t like commenting on another family’s affairs, but that sounds ominous.”
Eru’s heart was not as calm as his voice. It would be fine, if it was in the realms of ‘sibling fights’. But this is different if he brought a gang with him, which means Ady is in danger.
“I can’t really ask you for help for this… but I hope you can look for Ady.”
“… Will that be fine? Let me say this first, if he harms Ady, I won’t forgive him even if he is your brother.”
Eru’s eyes are usually mature, but a dangerous gleam shined in them. Chid and Ady are his best friends in this world, if someone brought a group to harm them, he didn’t plan on holding back. Stefania watched him seethe in anger, and dropped her beautiful eyebrows.
“… Please restrain from killing him.”
“You are pretty cool about this.”
“It’s fine if Baltsar moves alone. Well, that’s not really good… I can stop him, but it’s not the same this time. I can’t overlook this as the Student Council President, or as his sister.”
Stefania said softly, as she tightened her hug slowly. Eru couldn’t imagine her expression and simply asked:
“Can you tell me where Ady has been brought to?”
Laihiala Pilot Academy has a large campus, and most of them weren’t used. Ady and Baltsar’s lackeys are most likely in one of the empty classrooms.
The group sat Ady on a chair, tied up her legs with her hands behind her. It had been about an hour since Ady was knocked out by Baltsar, and she still hadn’t woken up. The four lackeys who surrounded her were arguing about something.
“Cheh! Little brat, she hit me!”
“Hey, she’s still sleeping, calm down.”
So many people had been left to guard the unconscious Ady, to prevent her from making a scene when she wakes up. The noisy boy, the one who took an elbow from Ady, had just regained consciousness.
“Why? She is out and tied up, there’s no need to be afraid.”
“Says the guy who was knocked down.”
“Uguu! I was careless!”
He grabbed Ady’s hair and lifted her head, clenching his fist with a violent smile.
“Look at this brat, getting cocky because I didn’t go all out. She is going to get it now!”
The other lackeys thought he was going too far. He didn’t fall because he was holding back; he was knocked out in an instant because he was too careless. And, if he punched her and Ady wakes up, things will become messy. Their goal was to restrain her for a short time, it will be easier if she continues sleeping. Just as another lackey was about to stop him…
“Hello… Anyone here…. Oh, there is.”
At this moment, a shadow appeared from the back of the classroom. The group naively thought that no one would come, so their reactions were slower than the intruder’s. When they realised their situation, they saw a silver bullet shooting out from a weird magic staff towards their face.
The intruder… Ernesti knew his ‘hunch was right’, when he saw the lackeys, or rather Adeltrud, who was tied to the chair behind them. All that was left was to dispose of the enemy. He drew Winchester without hesitation, and cast an intermediate wind spell at his left and right… Aero Damned. The projectile hit the two at the back of the room directly, and they were blasted away before they could even scream. Eru didn’t wait for them to land, before activating physical boost to enhance his agility and strike at the boy who was about to punch Ady. The boy panicked and attempted to block it, but he couldn’t match Eru whose speed had been enhanced. Eru cast a Sonic Boom with his staff while running, blowing the boy away.
Seeing three of his companions flying in an instant, the remaining lackey gave up attempting to understand the situation. Regrettably, his opponent wasn’t merciless enough to let this chance slip by. The lackey raised his staff unconsciously, but it was broken in half. The other Winchester swing back horizontally… That was the last thing he remembered.
After instantly knocking out the four lackeys like a whirlwind, Eru checked to make sure they were really down and ran to Ady. He cut the ropes on her and checked for injuries. Ady seemed to be fine, and her breathing was normal, so she was probably unconscious. Eru was relieved after confirming that Ady was safe, and proceeded to tie up the lackeys who were knocked out. Fortunately they prepared ropes… although they were not meant to be used on them. After making sure they couldn’t move, he looked towards the direction of the arena.
“There might not be much time left.”
From the commotion he saw on the way here, Eru could imagine the situation over there. Ady was kidnapped then Baltsar appeared before Chid, his actions were easy to guess. That’s why he was worried about Chid who was caught in the middle of all this. But he believed Chid would not give in so easily. Eru believed that if he hurried, he would be able to make it. That’s why he wanted to rush over immediately, but…
Eru looked at Ady who was on the floor and felt troubled. Should he feel depressed? It would be a hassle to bring Ady over, since she is taller than him. But he couldn’t leave her here like this. Uguu, he groaned and gave in, struggling to carry her in his arms. It was a challenge to keep his balance, but Eru used magic he was proficient with to compensate.
“I must make it in time…”
In order to reach Chid as soon as possible, Eru took long strides as he ran.
In a place known as the ‘duel arena’ within Laihiala Pilot Academy, two students had fought for over an hour. Although the battle was one sided, it didn’t feel like it would end any time soon.
After sparring for this long, Baltsar finally realised something was off. As he expected, Chid’s movements were sluggish because of his scheme, and his strikes landed true countless times. Even though it was a wooden sword, normal people would still have incurred serious wounds that would put them out of the fight. Chid’s movements became slower, but he showed no signs of taking serious damage. Chid might not be attacking because of the hostage, but his eyes were still strong. He was obviously waiting for his chance.
Why can this brat take so much damage? Why is he still standing!? Is he going to buy time for Adeltrud to escape by herself? Adeltrud is very agile, but there is no way she can escape, could it be…
Baltsar laughed. Chid didn’t know that Ady wasn’t just tied up, she was under guard too. This means that his plan is doomed right from the start.
Chid was startled when Baltsar stopped attacking. Baltsar laughter was unnatural, and he attempted to stomp out Chid’s hope.
“Archid, are you stalling for time?”
“I thought so. You think ‘that’ will come if you wait? I can only tell you it is all in vain, ‘that’ is tied up securely.”
Baltsar could hear Chid grinding his teeth, it stirred a murky joy within him.
“Well, I’m growing tired of this. It’s regrettable, but let’s end it, shall we?”
Baltsar flashed Ady’s hairpin and lifted his wooden sword. Chid tensed his face. To be honest, he was not in a good shape, contrary to how he looked. Although he was using ‘some method’ to minimise damage, it was still accumulating little by little. It will be hard to gauge whether Chid can endure an all out attack. But Baltsar has been sending out a strong message, ‘do not dodge’. Baltsar probably wants to finish this for real, his next strike will be at full power. Chid was not confident that he could withstand this unscathed.
The two of them put more strength into their stance than before. The spectators that were still around could feel that this was the final attack, and held their breath. As Baltsar was planning to launch his attack and charge in, someone intruded into the arena.
The figure leapt over the heads of the crowd and reached the front row. The arc of his jump was huge, and he was moving very quickly despite carrying a girl in his arms. His footfalls were silent, as if he was stepping on a soft surface. The eyes of the audience naturally fell on this petite figure.
The figure was Eru carrying Ady. Baltsar cast a sideways glance over and made a twisted face when he recognised them. Ady should have been tied up, and he even posted guards. Did he overcome these obstacles and break Ady out? What are the guards doing? More importantly, who is this silver haired kid? Baltsar’s head was full of questions, but no one was giving him answers.
Eru put Ady down. She had regained consciousness on their way here, and stood up by herself. The first thing she did was glare at Baltsar. Then she turned towards Chid, sliding her thumb across her neck with a violent smile. Chid relaxed his body when he saw Ady safe, and had the urge to smile. He nodded and complained to Eru who was standing behind her.
“Sorry, there were too many rooms.”
“That so. Nah, never mind.”
Chid smiled and raised his wooden sword. Nothing was holding him back. The time to counter attack was finally here.
Baltsar wanted to scream. He knew that this was the worst case scenario. But when he thought about it, the damage he inflicted on Chid remains, even though he lost the trump card of Ady as a hostage. He should take the chance and strike fast at full power. Baltsar put his thoughts into action and slashed at Chid.
But Chid displayed his outstanding agility. His sluggish movements earlier seemed to be an act. He stepped forward lightly, parrying the attack and bumping Baltsar back with a shoulder tackle to keep their distance.
Chid had expended a considerable amount of mana after dragging the fight for so long. But he had been going through tough training under Eru since he was young, and had enough gas left in the tank for one final attack.
“I will take back everything you owe me in one hit!”
Chid yelled loudly and activated the physical boost he learned from Eru. A wild surge of energy flowed through his body, and he sprinted forward with enough power to almost crack the floor. Before Baltsar could scramble and get up, Chid’s sword hit his stomach. The air in his lungs was pushed out, and the hoarse sound ‘hyaa’ escaped from Baltsar’s mouth as he was launched into the air. Chid followed with a series of air combos before he fell to the ground. Baltsar’s body was twisted unnaturally. Before Baltsar’s body lost speed and started to tumble, Chid followed up with a roundhouse kick as the finishing move. Baltsar’s body crumpled into a ball and rolled away before stopping in a heap several meters away.
The referee came to his senses after Chid took a deep breath and ran to Baltsar, finding him sprawled out like an old rag, his eyes white and mouth foaming. The result was obvious and the referee raised one hand to announced Chid’s victory to the crowd.
The unexpected ending made the battle before look like a lie. The audience couldn’t keep up with the rapid development.
Although Chid was as formidable as rumored, far beyond the capabilities of Baltsar, they did not understand why he was being overwhelmed for the past hour.
The spectators looked at the young girl running towards Chid. They weren’t stupid. They could link the appearance of her with the sudden display of strength by Chid. The answer was obvious.
The eyes staring at Baltsar turned cold. For Knighthood majors, although duels are a way to resolve disputes, the glory of the victor is sacred. If anyone defiles the duel with despicable schemes, it goes against the way of the knight. The crowd was unsympathetic when Baltsar’s lackeys carried him to the infirmary.
But Chid was badly injured, falling on his butt after letting out his victory cry.
“Chid! Hey Chid, are you okay?”
“I’m not doing so good, I took quite a beating.”
“Your clothes are all tattered… Why didn’t you dodge, stupid!”
“He kept waving that in front of me… I couldn’t dodge even if I wanted to.”
“…! Sorry, I was… too careless…”
Looking at Ady’s tears and depressed face, Chid stroked her hair and said with a smile.
“Don’t worry, this is all the fault of that idiot. And Eru, thanks, that was close.”
“I’m glad I made it in time. But enough about this…”
Eru retrieved the hair pin from Baltsar without anyone noticing, and handed it to Ady saying:
“You are all beat up, but it seems like there are no serious injuries.”
“Yeah, that guy was attacking recklessly because I couldn’t dodge and was boasting about his skills.”
Chid said sheepishly.
“I used physical boost and hard skin just before being hit to keep the damage down.”
“I see. You managed to pull off a dangerous skill there.”
“I could do it because I didn’t need to think about anything else… And it worked because he was so stupid. If he concentrated his attacks on my soft spots, I wouldn’t have been able to hold out for so long.”
“In other words, this guy lost because he was too cocky.”
As Eru nodded, the crowd started to disperse.
“I will settle the loose ends. Ady, can you please take Chid to the infirmary?”
“I understand. Chid, can you stand?”
“I’m fine, my injuries are mostly bruises, just let me take it slowly.”
Eru saw the twins off, watching Chid’s staggering figure as he and Ady headed towards the infirmary. Only Stefania was left in the arena.
“Is this okay? Your brother is badly injured.”
“… He is, but his actions warranted this punishment.”
Stefania looked refreshed and shook her head.
“That child… He resembles mother that way… About time he learnt his lesson.”
“It must be hard on you…”
Eru felt conflicted when he thought about Chid and Ady’s family troubles. But he shook his head and changed his mood.
“Can I leave the clean up to you?”
“Okay, I have to explain to my family anyway.”
Eru bowed to Stefania, who nodded in agreement and left. In the end, some of the audience were interested in this commotion and discussed the relations between Chid and the Serrati family.
A few days after the duel.
The disgraced Baltsar was warned sternly by the school and his family, and he was grounded at home after some deliberation. To reform him, Baltsar was sent to the Red Rhino Knights for training, the place of his dreams. It’s hard to say if this is a good or bad thing. But it is great for Eru and co who had one less thing to worry about.
One day, after school had peacefully ended, Ady spotted Eru who was reading in the campus garden. He is not a prominent person and it is not easy to spot his petite figure. But his head of silver hair was an easy landmark to spot when there are less people around. He sat under the shade of a tree, reading a thick book as usual. She didn’t even need to ask, it was a textbook on Silhouette Knights.
Ady walked to his side, but Eru didn’t seem to notice. When he is engrossed in a book, Eru will be totally absorbed and not pay attention to his surroundings. Ady sat down beside him, staring at his profile intensely. His blue eyes with long lashes gazing down at the book. His hair flowing down along his face, shining brightly in the sun. His lips tightly shut, reflecting his intense passion.
Eru is cute as usual…
Ady giggled ‘hehe’ happily and was preparing to pounce on him, but she was stopped by an image in her mind. The memories from the dueling incident.
When Eru rescued Ady when she was kidnapped by Baltsar, he had carried her princess-style to the arena in the middle of the crowd. She didn’t pay any heed to this as her mind was filled with anger, but when Ady thinks back, she discovered that it was a pretty embarrassing scene. Not just embarrassing, she remembered the joy of being rescued by Eru, and how it felt in his arms, Ady blushed from just being next to Eru.
Hya, I thought about that again…
Ady was glad that Eru didn’t notice her feelings. Her complicated feelings were making her hesitant to hug Eru like before. Ady was unhappy with how she was acting and forcefully hugged Eru. Eru calmly greeted Ady who pounced on him suddenly, and closed his book.
It might be strange, but Eru had been treated like a ‘soft toy’ by many others, since he was young and was used to being hugged. And Ady was the one who started the ‘hugging trend’, so it was no surprise to Eru, but he noticed that Ady wasn’t her usual self and tilted his head curiously.
Ady was troubled by her unexpected actions. Usually, she would stroke his hair while chatting with him. But when she hugged him this time, she could feel her heart thumping intensely, she couldn’t do anything else. Ady buried her head into Eru’s hair to hide her blushing face from him.
Wah… Why did it turn out this way! Oh no, I can’t lift my head.
Ady was too nervous and forgot that she could just let go. Eru was a bit surprised by her reaction, and decided to keep reading his book since she was not moving.
It feels like I am an idiot, give me some reaction!
In a way, this nonsensical anger calmed her down. Ady poked Eru’s cheek angrily.
“Hey, please go poke someone else’s cheek.”
Ady regained her normal demeanor. Eru felt more comfortable to hug than usual, and she started to caress his head. The two of them didn’t realise, but a few students in the garden were enjoying the sight of the pretty black-haired girl and silver-haired girl (?) playing around. That’s how their daily life continued, every day was peaceful.