The price for upsetting the stone Buddha was great.
“Even weirder than before.”
Ellen pointed out that all the sword techniques I displayed were wrong. Then, she demonstrated the right way to do the technique in front of me.
“This is how you do it.”
Damn it. This was like getting hit by a boomerang. I was paying the price for poking at this kid to make fun of her. It really pissed me off.
As I clumsily followed her movements, she shook her head.
“No. That’s completely different.”
Ellen showed me the correct movements again step-by-step and told me to repeat them again. Of course, whatever I did, my moves were bound to look strange to her. I’m totally unskilled after all.
As a result, in exchange for making Ellen Artorius, who was like a stone Buddha, angry, she gave me specific training in swordsmanship.
The strongest person in my class was teaching me, so, in the end, this was a good outcome.
She was someone that wouldn’t have helped me even if I personally asked her.
However, she didn’t do this to help me. Ellen, who got angry after my server criticism and teasing, gave me lessons to do the same to me.
The result was good, but the process was strange.
I didn’t mean for this to happen, so I got more annoyed.
“Not like that.”
Ellen repeatedly told me “Not like this, not like that.” as if to retaliate for the lesson I gave her.
In fact, I should feel thankful right now, as the girl with the strongest talents in the world who was also busy with her own training went out of her way to help me with my swordsmanship training.
That was how I should feel.
I was angry. I was even more angry because I didn’t deserve to be angry. I was so mad, I had to change this up, and get back at her.
I was the the total incarnation of a hypocrite. I found it funny to tease others, but got annoyed as soon as someone did it to me.
A child was a child, so there was no excuse for that.
However I was a somewhat screwed up adult, so I was a bit twisted.
“Hey. I know you’re good at it. Uh. So if you’re giving me lessons, why won’t you teach me properly, huh?”
Facing my own ugly nature head-on, I became a little passive.
“So like this.”
Ellen demonstrated moves that were close to picturesque. When she looked at me with curious eyes, wondering why I couldn’t do it, it felt like she was poking at me thoroughly.
Yes, I was the perfect incarnation of a hypocrite.
See you later in the dining room.
I’ll get you later.
After that day, whenever we made something in the kitchen and Ellen cooked I would criticize her and nag while giving her instructions. And when I was in the gym, Ellen would give me extremely strict lessons while I was practicing my swordsmanship.
It was like we were instructing each other. If one were just to hear these words, one might think what we shared was a beautiful friendship.
However, I didn’t think what grew between us was friendship by instructing each other, but malice.
“Frickin hell, why don’t you know something as simple as that? Don’t you know what a measuring cup is? Or how to read a cookbook?”
In the kitchen.
“You have to move your arms by this much, to that degree, like this. Why can’t you do it?”
“Because I’m exhausted. It’s been a few hours, if I were able to move like that in this condition, that would be hella weird, man.”
“What about earlier?”
“…O, of course, I did better then! I was in better shape after all!”
“…If you thought that was better…. Maybe you need to suffer a bit more.”
“You’re oh so great, huh?”
In the gym.
Like this we were building up that chain of malice caused by our extreme instructions.
By the way, even though she always said it was annoying, she definitely had fun cooking. She seemed tired of snacks. I could see that she was doing what I taught here even though she wasn’t that good at it.
Technically, she genuinely seemed to want to learn how to cook for herself even after listening to my instructions, rather than just wanting to show off what she cooked to me.
I had to learn swordsmanship to increase my physical abilities anyway, so I did what Ellen told me to.
It wasn’t just swordsmanship training.
I also sparred with Ellen. When I rushed and stabbed my sword towards her, Ellen put her sword against mine and slid it outwards, and hit my solar plexus with her right shoulder.
As soon as I fell, Ellen put her sword against my neck.
This couldn’t even be called sword play anymore, it was just a one-sided beating. Whatever I did, she just sent me flying in an instant.
“Wasn’t that a body blow? That’s a foul, isn’t it?”
At my cheeky words, Ellen just tilted her head.
“There are no such things in a real battle.”
Those were some cruel words for a child to say, but she was right, so I couldn’t refute.
After that, Ellen taught me various forms of swordsmanship, offensive and submission techniques while practicing like that. Ellen knew a lot of things we hadn’t learned yet from the swordsmanship theory lecture.
It was true that it was more beneficial to train with a living partner than just stubbornly training swordsmanship techniques on your own.
I looked up her physical data out of curiosity. There weren’t any details, and a lot of her talents were redacted, but it did get announced in the classroom. It was like a simplified form of the status screen, so to speak. This was also used in the original.
Royal Class, Year 1, 2, Ellen.
[Strength 16.5(B)] [Agility 18.3(B+)] [Dexterity 20.2()] [Magic 23(A)][Stamina 15.3(B-)]
[Weapon Mastery][Magic Control]
It was very simplistic, compared to my status that the system displayed to me. Information that the physical scanner wouldn’t be able to grasp would not be displayed on it. For example, the rank of one’s swordsmanship or the skills one had.
Ellen had a lot of talent, but the list got reduced a lot by Temple, only leaving Weapon Mastery and Magic Control. Although she already had the comprehensive talent, Weapon Mastery, Magic Control was another one. It included the talents Magic Manipulation, Magic Sensitivity and Magic Growth.
Just by having these two talents, she was already far ahead of Bertus, and yet they dared to call her Number 2.
She wouldn’t even need a talent to be better.
Even when considering her physical abilities, Ellen far exceeded mine which were mostly ranked as F or D.
In the combat rank classifications, there is little change in the rank even if one’s numbers increased and one reached a higher rank.
In that classification system, Ellen was already at a ridiculously high level.
Having a Status of S Rank and higher was at the level of a superhuman. In the first place, that rank could only be reached by someone of master level or higher.
I didn’t know what her combat rank would be, but it would probably be above A Rank.
None of her classmates, or anyone from the Royal Class for that matter, possessed that level of physical ability.
Didn’t it seem like that bastard was just using this as an excuse to beat me up?
However, I also realized a lot of things through that.
In the end, swordsmanship wasn’t just about using the sword, but the whole body, including one’s fists and feet. There were even techniques that implemented characteristics of grappling that included performing faints with the sword to grab the opponent’s collar.
That was how I came to the realization that the arm that didn’t hold the sword was also very important, whether holding the sword with both hands, to deflect the enemy’s sword, to subdue the enemy empty handed or to catch the enemy’s blade.
There were so many applications that I couldn’t memorize all of them.
At the time, she flicked away my sword, she almost crushed me, not forgetting that strange action of pointing her sword at my neck…
…telling me that I was dead after subduing me.
“You’re heavy, man….”
Even if it was part of swordsmanship, don’t ride on me like that. During our spars, Ellen showed me many different ways how one could get beat up with a sword. This time she showed me something dumbfounding.
“……Are you making fun of me right now?”
“Are you now holding your sword upside down to beat me up?”
She was holding her sword blade and hit me on the head with the cross guard. When I saw that, I felt it was so ridiculous I almost froze. Was she insulting me?
Ellen shook her head.
“…It’s actually a way to use it. Against heavily armed enemies.”
“Is there really such a strange technique in swordsmanship? What if one ended up cutting their hand?”
“It won’t cut that easily.”
Ellen said that it wasn’t only possible because this was a training sword, but I didn’t trust her 100% on that. Anyway, as I already knew from first-hand experience, Ellen wasn’t on the level of having to learn swordsmanship like my other classmates.
Ellen tried teaching me her swordsmanship, including how to subdue an enemy, and told me to try it as well. In other words, she beat me up so much that my losses couldn’t be counted anymore, so in the end, she had no other choice but to explain it to me slowly.
She taught me how to deflect a sword, how to use my left arm without holding the sword, and finally something similar to toppling techniques to make your opponent fall, which seemed like they came straight up out of a martial arts game.
Still, I was starting to wonder if I could ever do these kinds of things.
“You’re too slow, and your motions are clumsy.”
Even while I was getting crushed under her, Ellen shook her head as if this wasn’t it either. No, well, if I were a real adolescent boy, I would be really excited to be in this kind of situation right now! This is really crossing the line!
Couldn’t she see that No. 5 Cliffman, who was standing beside us at the moment, clinging to his sword, was spying on us, wondering what we were doing? Couldn’t she see him swallowing hard?
Wh, why was she?
He, hey, hey!
She was looking at me as if I was just a little brat!
“Do it again.”
Not only me, but Ellen was also covered in sweat as she was sparing with me for a long time now.
I thought that now was the right timing. My opponent was extremely arrogant and saw me as just a child.
As a result.
“My arm will rip ooout!”
We were both focused on swordsmanship practice and the lessons.
The date of the duel was just after lunch time on Sunday.
And since Friday, Ellen was making me practice quit the strange things.
“Hold it tight.”
She slammed against the side of the sword I was holding while aiming forward.
The training sword, which escaped from my grasp, clattered on the gym floor.
“Every technique in the world is useless if you lose your sword.”
If you lose something that essential, you would end up dead.
“Your grip is too weak.”
My grip was so weak that I would lose my sword with just a single hit like that. Ellen tried to test my grip strength on Friday, so she slammed away my sword rather than just suppressing me, demanding that I held onto it tightly.
Not only did my hands feel tingly, the more we continued to train the weaker my grip became.
How long have we been doing that? When Ellen hit the side of my sword once again, the sword shattered.
As the sword got broken, my hand didn’t hurt, but did she really hit so hard that she was able to destroy a sword? Ellen looked at the broken training sword and picked up the remaining pieces.
“Training swords aren’t durable usually. They break easily.”
It looked like she already broke a few of them before.
“That’s what Temple uses though?”
“It would be a problem if the training swords had too high a quality.”
Training swords had no edge at all. It would be a big problem, if one were to ever get hurt by using these. And it seemed like they purposefully used poor materials because if it turned out too durable nothing good would come from that. Even if it didn’t have an edge, it could become a blunt weapon if one used enough strength.
“Don’t let go of your sword.”
“It’s not as easy as it sounds, okay?”
After the sword broke I plopped down on the floor. I couldn’t do anything anymore as my hands felt like they were about to break.
Grip strength was important.
As such Adriana kept on focusing on grip strength during her physical training. She continued training her grip, saying that a strong grip was essential in fighting with a sword.
Today, Ellen kept on testing if I would drop my sword or not by hitting it in different angles.
Cliffman also went back to rest, so it was just the two of us in the gym. Of course, there weren’t always just us three here. Bertus and Erich also came by sometimes to train.
Bertus had a strange smile on his face when he saw me train with Ellen. He didn’t say much about my planned duel, although he seemed subtly proud seeing what I was trying here.
He kind of gave the impression of watching his great subordinate No. 1 doing well even if left alone.
In addition, there was little friction between me and the other children as I was completely focused on training for the duel. Well, some of my hindrances had already been cleared up, so the other children probably didn’t dare to touch me.
Still, all of the kids were looking forward to Sunday.
It was the day when Reinhardt, the psycho bastard, would receive some true education. All those who hated my guts would come to see the duel.
“You will lose.”
Ellen suddenly told me. This girl hadn’t said anything up until now about my duel.
It would be weird for her not to know, why I was focusing on training like that all of a sudden.
Everyone told me that I was going to lose, and I knew that. Ellen also knew I wasn’t particularly confident about this either, so why was she talking about that so suddenly?
“Do you want to win?”
She even asked me things like that. I didn’t know what her intentions were, but seeing Ellen ask these kinds of things, did that mean that we grew a bit closer at least?
Do I want to win?
It would be nice if I were able to win regardless whether it’s possible or not. I would get three times the points as my reward after all, my friend. Ellen didn’t even look at me up to that moment, but then suddenly she turned her gaze directly at me. Her calm dark-blue eyes stared at me.
She really was picturesque.
“I know a method for you to win.”
What did she mean? No matter how much I thought about it, there was practically no way for me to defeat a guy with a high level swordsmanship talent as well as a sophomore. I had no idea what it was, but Ellen seemed to know at least one method for me to win this duel.
“What is it?”
“……Think carefully what a duel is.”
That was all Ellen said.
“Wait, what are you talking about?”
I grumbled besides her, asking what the hell she meant, but she kept her mouth shut as if she didn’t want to tell me any more.