Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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The morning after the surprising contents [of the documents] were revealed.
Contrary to the teachers who are busy with preparations, the academy students on the other hand are going to school in a very relaxed manner. It is because all the lessons are put on hold. Perhaps it’s inevitable to have that extraordinary feeling/excitement before the day of the event. But it seems they were not idle after they have passed through the so-called national institute that is hard to get into.
Some people are calling out to their teammates here and there while some are intruding into the practical rooms in order to wait for their turn. Academy students who are not good at attack magic are going around the library, and you can hear them say “Not that, not this either” as they collect books that are likely to be useful.
…When I heard them, I thought to myself, “What were they thinking?!” but looking at this, maybe it is a good test since it respects the autonomy of the students. Though the teachers who prepared for a short amount of time cannot help but do their job.
……So right now, we are in the archives which mainly houses history books, a special building quite far from the hustle and bustle of everyone. In this room that seems to be completely unconcerned about tomorrow’s test, Gilbert-senpai and I are holding a group study session.
“Senpai, is it okay for us not to prepare for tomorrow?”
Senpai, who was poring over an open thick book about deadly weapons, tilted his head in confusion towards me, who was almost disqualified yesterday. Thanks to our almost opposite abilities, there are only the two of us since this morning. There’s no indication that other students are coming. Thanks to that, we are able to take our time in our self-study but . . .
“Aren’t the teachers doing the preparations? Even if we are sixth year students, we can’t be of much help.”
“No, that’s not what I meant.”
It is said that the more peaceful it is, the more you should worry about it.
While answering, Senpai’s fingertips were turning the pages. At a rate that will make you doubt if he is really reading.
“Tomorrow’s strategy, or useful countermeasures for magic. Everyone is doing it, that’s why I asked if it is okay for us not to?”
“There is no big effect even if we prepare all day long. Magical power is something that you accumulate for days… Meryl, draw a line here.”
With no time to be surprised at Senpai’s serious reply, the fingertip that was turning the page of the book of weapons pointed to my reference materials this time. Just like those wise men in the past whose names became well-known.
“That often appears in the written exams. You better mark it.”
“Wow! Thank you very much.”
Indeed, it is a long name that would twist anyone’s tongue. This will become a nasty question. While enclosing the word “Important!” with a line, I copied it one by one. Although it is a simple work, it can’t be helped since taking notes is the best way to remember for the exam.
“……Wait, why are we preparing for the written exam the day before the practical exam?”
“Since it is self-study, shouldn’t we use it in a meaningful way?”
Senpai gently smiled as he replied to me, who took a breath. When I looked at his tender golden gaze, it is strange to think that something is going to happen tomorrow. Even though I wouldn’t be able to fight at all.
Senpai returned his attention on the book of weapons and started to turn the pages. He seems to be reading properly if you look at him closely and it’s amazing. It was like what Monica told me before, “If you belong to that class, you can aim for the top.”
It seems he was paired with an inferior student like me… But as his lover, I feel guilty.
After that, he told me the parts that frequently appear during the exams and taught me in details things that are difficult to understand, and I was able to study for the next magical history test to the point that I could confidently challenge myself. Like what Senpai said, it was a meaningful self-study session.
* * *
A few hours later.
Hearing the familiar sound of the bell that signifies lunch break, we raised our face at the same time. Just writing a few paragraphs, Senpai laughed as he put away the thick book. A meaningful self-study is important, but we still need a break, yeah.
I was able to do my best so it is okay to invite him to eat, right?
The reference materials this morning are varied. I think I can boast the amount of writing I did. I worked hard!
……Nevertheless, the words I want to say to Senpai won’t come out of my lips. I am convinced that I understand the difference between our abilities but in the end, I still felt miserable after he showed me that I relied on his easy-to-understand knowledge.
Originally, I was sought for my “constitution” but yesterday’s documents revealed that I am just a poor student.
That’s why I was a little emotionally moved at the sight of the hand he always held out to me. It is warm and gentle as usual.
“Are you okay? Did you cram a lot?”
“I’m sorry. It’s nothing.”
At his anxious words, I hurriedly made a smile. Knitting his beautiful eyebrows while looking at me, Senpai doesn’t change. I know, it is rude to feel inferior to his eccentricity but I do.
“……Somehow, I feel like I’m going to like Senpai more each day.”
In desperation, I murmured misleading words that are not exactly lies. Senpai was startled for a moment and suddenly flashed me his enchanting smile.
“I am not that smart. I’m only four years older than you.”
So he has seen through my deception. But even if I am a sixth year student, I don’t think I would be able to stuff the same amount of knowledge in my brain like Senpai. I think it is better to depend on his kindness for now.
When Senpai happily said, “You are welcome to like me,” I shortened our distance once more and laughed.
* * *
Walking through the corridor that is a little different from usual and entering the door of the familiar cafeteria, a scene different from usual filled our sight. Although it is full of academy students like a sort of a battlefield during lunch, there’s only one-third or less today in the cafeteria.
“Most of the students bought at the shop and just stayed at the practical rooms.”
“Oh, I see.”
Although one should sit down and eat properly at noon, many of the academy students are really serious. Some people buy their lunch at the shop but when we talk about meals, most students buy at the cafeteria. The people inside the shop must be complaining right now. Well, in my opinion as a regular in the cafeteria, it’s nothing but luck that it is vacant.
Thank you for letting as spend a relaxing lunch break.
We finished our order in a matter of seconds and then sat down on our usual seat by the window. The number of people who have sat before us is really few.
“It would be easy if it’s always like this.”
“Now, now. We were given a vacant seat so it is selfish to ask more than that.”
Today I ordered pasta soup and Senpai ordered the fish daily special. I felt relieved when he chose the usual.
“…That’s right, Meryl. I’ll tell you just in case.”
As usual I watched the movements of his graceful hands, when I suddenly heard his serious voice. It was far different from his sweet voice when it’s just the two of us. When I corrected my posture, he smiled with a slightly apologetic expression.
“I am going to tell you about my past involvements… I mean, the “women I dated”. Of course, aside from Eliza.”
I didn’t know what to say for a moment. Something to tell me… In other words, he is talking to me as “his current lover”?
I twisted my tongue so my voice became strange. I felt annoyed at the heat that gathered on my cheeks.
“The first part is a ‘warning’. The women who were aiming for the Kralvane have information networks and connections but you’re different, Meryl. I gave them a warning before an idiot like Eliza made a move.”
I was told forthrightly but what he meant seems to be, 『The women I used to date were aiming for my “family’s social standing”』. Although I already heard this before, but is Senpai’s “background” the only thing they can see? If that’s the case, I bet they don’t have eyes.
“If ever they cause you harm, I will ruin them using my ‘family’s power’ that they love so much. Please let me know if something happens as soon as possible.”
I can’t detect hesitation or sadness in his voice as he clearly explained to me. Even though he liked them temporarily, to have to tell me such a thing… How does it feel? Why does Senpai need to tell me this?
“I like you.”
I know it is not connected to the flow of the conversation but I can’t help saying it. His eyes are staring straight back at me. His eyes looks sharp but deep inside, he is a gentle and a cute person. I like him. It’s frustrating but I really like him. I still don’t know who were the other women he has been with and I can’t win from them in a lot of ways but . . .
“I like you.”
Strongly, strongly, I voiced my thoughts. So that it would reach him.
Taken aback with my foolish declaration, Senpai cheerfully smiled thereafter, his cheeks slightly red.
“…I know. That’s why I also like you, Meryl.”
Reaching out towards the opposite seat, our hands connected.
I’m ashamed that I don’t suit him but I will not lose to anyone in terms of my feelings for him.
The day before the tumultuous practical exam.
I’m sorry to all the busy people but we were able to spend a calm time together.
We’re regulars of a small cafeteria. In other words, our seat can be seen very well.
I didn’t notice the eyes that are alight with a dangerous glint.