Harriet began to cry．
I could deal with bullies, but I came to realize that I had no idea how to handle a crying kid.
I brought Harriet, who was crying in the hallway, to the dining hall and handed her some macaroons I had on me.
The way I try to appease a crying child seemed kind of like something an old man would do, so I felt rather embarrassed.
“I won’t eat things you give me! They’re dirty!”
“They aren’t mine, the seniors gave me those, you know?”
“You touched them! So they are dirty! Throw them away, get them away, I won’t eat them!”
Harriet was crying bitterly. What should I do, what should I do. This was like a grandfather who teased his grandkids too much because they were just too cute and accidentally made them cry. It was so much fun. Although it is true that I bullied her a bit too much.
It was like how old people would pinch a kid’s cheek for just being cute.
I was obviously in the wrong. Ah.
I was the one at fault here.
“Come on…. I’m sorry. Hey? My bad. Okay, I apologized. Don’t cry anymore. Okay?”
“Shut up! You’re always making fun of me, tease me, and bully me! No one ever did that to me. Not even my father, mother, and older brothers told me things like that, so why are you doing this to me when I didn’t do anything to you?!”
I sighed as I watched Harriet continue to cry.
“Hey, you made fun of me for being a beggar as well.”
“You’re a beggar, aren’t you?! So why are you teasing me for calling a beggar, a beggar?!”
Ah, I shouldn’t poke at her more. If I said something like “I called you an idiot because you’re actually an idiot” it would just make her cry even more, so I kept my mouth shut.
I remembered a different method.
“No, it’s not that I just teased you for no reason. I told you, you’re cute, right?”
I got a reaction from that. She looked at me as if I was talking nonsense．
Yes, it was true that she was hard to deal with but she was also pretty cute sometimes.
“Think about it. I never called you an asshole or anything, or did I? I just said you were cute. Calling someone cute is a compliment, so how was I teasing you? You called me a beggar, and yet I called you cute. When did I make fun of you? Huh? Wasn’t it you who made fun of me? Is calling you cute, teasing you?”
“You squeezed my cheeks and laughed at me!”
“No, I just thought you’d look cuter if I did that. It was really cute, you know? Huh?”
She stared at me while hiccupping. She seemed to be deep in thoughts. I wanted to say a few more things as followed:
“Aren’t you revealing your status just by saying that a low-class kid like me isn’t allow to touch your body? Aren’t we classmates? Huh? I don’t know about after our graduation, but right at this moment we both are simply Temple students. We’re the same, right?”
I was about to say that, but that girl was murmuring something. If someone like her told me something like that, she was sure to get into trouble with the teachers.
She thought for a while and then stared at me.
“……Don’t touch me with those dirty hands again.”
That was what she eventually mumbled quietly. Was she feeling better now?
“Okay. My bad. I’m really sorry. Now eat this and let it go. Hm?”
Her expression seemed to change a little as I kept the apologies going.
A bully who seemed like he’d never apologize for anything, was doing so at the moment, so her attitude seemed to change a little.
I mean, if someone like her came out like that, wasn’t apologizing the right thing to do? That’s how I felt at least.
“Here, I’ve never tried them, but they should taste good. Eat.”
She seemed to be uncomfortable as I kept pushing the macarons towards her.
“Ah…. Ah. I don’t…. I don’t want to…. Fine. I’ll eat them! I’m eating them! You are like my grandmother! How annoying!”
In the end, Harriet took the macarons and groaned as if she had no other choice but to eat them.
I really did seem like an old man. What? I wasn’t actually that old, but I really didn’t know any other way to soothe crying children….
So I really was too old!
After eating the macarons, she talked without looking at me.
“Didn’t it hurt when you got hit?”
“It hurt like hell.”
I recovered, but it really hurt horribly. Of course it would hurt if one were to get hit. Why was she asking something like that?
“Why did you continue to fight if it hurt that much? Why didn’t you just surrender? If you weren’t lucky enough to awaken your supernatural powers just then, you wouldn’t have been able to win.”
“So why didn’t you surrender? You said it hurt.”
Harriet didn’t seem to understand why I kept getting up just to get beaten again and again. Of course, I kept fighting because I knew I had supernatural powers.
“Well, have you ever felt like you absolutely didn’t want to lose to some kind of bastard even if it killed you?”
“He was that kind of bastard to me.”
He took over someone else’s duel with the excuse of wanting to educate his juniors, and even though his opponent was just a first year, he went on to beat him to a pulp no matter the consequences. It was neither honorable nor admirable.
I just didn’t want to lose to that kind of bastard.
That was the type of feeling I was going for. It was both similar to the truth and yet slightly different. Harriet pondered for a while, then smirked and spoke up.
“You’re going to die an early death.”
“I’m not dead yet though.”
It was now time for her to let out a “Hmph!” again to my bizarre answer.
Harriet, who had been munching away on the macarons for some time now, didn’t give me the response I expected.
“You were a litte….”
A little what?
Harriet, who had been mumbling to herself for a bit, suddenly rose from her seat.
“Hmph! I don’t know, you idiot!”
And after adding another “Hmph!” to her sentence, she quickly disappeared from my view.
Sometimes having such an easy-to-see-through character was good as well.
Just because I won that duel, didn’t mean things were over. My supernatural ability was still in its initial stage and I needed to get used to applying it to me. Self-Suggestion was just the starting line, my real goal was Word Magic.
So I headed back to the gym. Arriving there, I found the NPCs that usually appeared here. Cliffman and Ellen.
I hadn’t spoken to Cliffman yet, but I was familiar with him, because I always met him here in the gym.
Ellen was swinging her sword, but stopped when she saw me. I wondered if she had something to say to me, but she just stared at me.
Should I brag about my victory? Or should I thank her for offering to be my champion? I was thinking about what I should tell her….
Ellen pointed with her chin to something.
It was a basket filled with training swords.
“That’s not how you should fight.”
Was she preparing for another lesson?
Still, now wasn’t the time to ask to be congratulated on my victory, brag about my supernatural ability or thank her for the training.
No matter what happened, she would always stay the same, so my slightly scrambled mind calmed down. I won, but I felt more like I had just reaffirmed that I still had a long way to go.
It was still a long road ahead.
I grinned while grabbing a training sword.
“Hey, it’s going to be different from now on.”
I got severly beaten up.
I didn’t stop my training.
I woke up early and did some strength training with Adriana. She also declared that she would no longer assist me with her divine power anymore as there was no urgency in my strength gain.
That was when I realized how nice exercising was with her assistance. I felt like dying.
After that, my routine was the same as before. I made some food with Ellen and ate a bit before breakfast, then ate breakfast and went to class.
I didn’t get any more divine power recharges, so I didn’t really need to eat that much anymore, but I was exercising quite a bit, so I decided to keep eating a little something in between meals, albeit not as much as before.
Ellen was still chasing me around the gym, maybe a bit more than before, while I was a bit more timid in taking my revenge in the dining room.
Bertus, who returned to Temple and went straight to the classroom on Monday, was very surprised when he heard about the duel’s outcome from the other students. The one who explained the whole situation to him was none other than Cayer.
“Reinhardt, isn’t that incredible?”
As soon as Bertus heard his explanation, he turned to me.
“Although it was said that you had infinite aptitudes, for supernatural powers to actually be included in that.”
As if apologizing for underestimating my potential, Bertus smiled softly. Among those who felt rather uncomfortable that I was able to awaken a supernatural power, the one who felt the most uncomfortable was Heinrich von Schwarz, who once threatened to grill me with his power.
He was trying hard to not look my way, as if he didn’t acknowledge me, who had awakened a supernatural power in such a ridiculous way.
“H, honestly though, he was just quite lucky….”
Cayer muttered timidly next to Bertus, but Bertus just dismissed him.
“I see? I find it more amazing that he kept on fighting in the state he was in than his supernatural power though.”
“I, is that so….”
Cayer first told him that I was being crushed thoroughly before suddenly awakening my ability and winning the duel. In the end, he just described me as some lucky guy.
However, Bertus seemed to give higher value to the fact that I kept on fighting while being helpless than me winning with my supernatural power.
Bertus wasn’t particularly interested in the Royal Class’ talents to begin with. Even if they were outstanding, in the end, they were just kids. So, while he was surprised that I managed to awaken my ability, he was actually impressed by the fact that I kept on getting up even though I was completely crushed by that third year again and again.
He had more interest in intelligence and mental strength, than talent and brawn.
He knew that no matter how great the skill one owned is, it would be useless if one didn’t have the brains to use it, and even if one was intelligent enough, it would be even more useless if one didn’t have the mental fortitude to face the dangers in front of oneself.
Wait, wasn’t I getting better and better in his eyes? Erm, one second? Was I getting brainwashed here? Wasn’t it pretty problematic getting this much attention from this two-faced character I made? Wouldn’t I be an actual fool if I got deceived while knowing he would deceive me?
How could I, the creator, get led on by my own creation? Was I that pathetic?
Just when I was about to fall into a delirium.
Someone opened the door and entered the classroom.
It was Art de Gartis, who was the actual other party of the duel.
He came to the same place where he applied for this duel, although, this time, as the loser of said duel. Of course, his expression also seemed rather lifeless. Everyone watched the situation in silence as he approached me and bowed his head.
“I have lost the duel, so I will admit my faults, Reinhardt. In the future, I will not take any actions that would involve unreasonable demands or verbal abuse towards my juniors. I’m sorry. I deeply regret my wrongdoings.”
Seeing him apologize, I couldn’t help but feel exasperated.
A champion was just a champion after all. The price of losing a duel was not directed at the champion, so there was no need for them to pay said price.
That was why Mayarton, who actually trampled on me, didn’t come to apologize to me, because he was just a champion after all.
He should have come out of moral reasons, but he didn’t because of his stupid pride. He probably complained to Art about how he had no reason to go. Or maybe he couldn’t even ask him to come.
“Yeah. That’s enough.”
Art, who raised his head, looked at me and apologized again.
His expression held a plethora of very complex emotions.
He was forced to choose a champion because he was unable to overcome the pressure of his seniors and then he came here alone without bringing Mayarton with him. He seemed to feel guilty about all these things.
Just as Adriana and Redina said, Art wasn’t such a bad guy.
From what I could tell, Redina probably was someone who was loved by all her second-year classmates. I could only imagine how hard it must have been for her to be forced by her seniors to go educate the juniors.
Obviously, the third years must have ordered her to go alone. They must have chosen Redina on purpose, knowing that she wasn’t able to say any hurtful things to anyone. So this was nothing more than bullying.
Eventually, she went to do this alone with sorrow in her heart, having to do something, she absolutely hated, but came back after getting severely insulted by a first year student. I was the one who was so harsh to her.
From Art’s point of view, this would have been enough for him to see red. I fully understood. After all, they were just kids. I had already shown plenty of ugly anger and ridicule towards these children, but I didn’t want to stoop to the level of an idiot who would seriously hate those kids. Guys like Mayarton were seriously disgusting, though.
Art deserved to be angry.
I didn’t really handle this too well, but I wanted to make it up to them somehow. I had done a lot of bad things to them as well after all.
“I understand. I’ve done a lot of bad things as well. I’m sorry, senior.”
Everyone, including Art, was astonished at my words. Art looked at me for a while, before he opened his mouth with much difficulty.
“When I saw you persevering like that, I realized how shameful I was.”
An incompetent and ignorant guy like me was able to stand his ground and fought against a senior, while he couldn’t overcome his own senior’s unreasonable demands and had to give up his duel spot to one of them. And in the end, he had to watch me win.
Did he realize that it may take power to overcome injustice, but simply standing up to it, didn’t? He seemed to regret not being able to stand up to this injustice in the end.
After saying that, Art went back.
I felt compelled to apologize to Redina as well later.
Not long after, Mr. Epinhauser entered the classroom.
“You all should know that there will be a certain event starting next Monday, right?”
It had finally come.
The main event of the beginning part. The Victory Festival.