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46: The Protagonist and a Friend

 The day after the riot in the cafeteria... Chlust was shaking in his room at the dorm. Since that day, everyone would look down him. The nobles would call him a disgrace, while the commoners called him an enemy, their eyes full of scorn. Chlust didn't go to class, trembling had become the most he could do.

"Each and every one of them just doing whatever they want!"

Wrapping his blanket over himself, Chlust called out. At that moment, the locked door was forcefully kicked in. There, Chlust's big brother Rudel stood with the dorm's supervisor. Chlust had lost the key to his room once before, so he was using the supervisor's copy.

Rudel had tried to enter the room, but that reason prevented it from opening, causing him to take some rather forceful measures. The supervisor put in a word or two. After Rudel said he'd foot the repair fee, the supervisor nodded and left.

"... Chlust, get out here."

"W-what do you think you're doing? Out there? Don't just enter my room. You get out!"

In his confusion, Chlust ended up crying out loudly. Hearing that, Rudel... forcefully lifted Chlust up and dragged him out of the room. Going out into the boys' dorm yard, he tossed Chlust aside. He had prepared two wooden swords, and he tossed one of them towards him.

"Pick it up Chlust."

"So you too... you hate me so much? Each and every one of you comes to bully me..."

As he mumbled some complaints, Chlust didn't even try to look at Rudel. More than that, he was lightly shaking. Forcing Chlust to his feet, Rudel grabbed him by the lapels.

"From today forth, I'll be training you. I've already gotten permission from the academy and the house, so your resistance is futile... prepare yourself, Chlust!"

What a fearful Chlust saw was Rudel's serious face. His fear telling him he couldn't go up against that seriousness, something of a will formed to make him reluctantly take a stance with the wooden sword.

That day onwards, Chlust's days of harsh training began.



A few weeks later, in the renewed academy cafeteria, Eunius and his tagalongs appeared at the table Luecke and his followers ate. As Eunius boldly sat in front of Luecke, Luecke's followers tried to complain but stopped. His face was serious, and his atmosphere was clad in a spot of rage.

"There are a few things I need to ask. It seems this and that happened in my remedials..."

Cutting off Eunius's words, Luecke started into conversation.

"About Fritz? He punched Aleist's friend who was hitting on girls or something and Aleist beat him up so he's been hospitalized. At first, he just stepped in to mediate, but once he learned his friend carried no fault, he got serious... he's quite the immature one."

"Wrong! Not that... wait, Aleist punched Fritz!?"

Eunius bit onto the story with Aleist. It wasn't what he originally wanted to know, but he had some interest so he asked Luecke.

"It's famous, you know? He had intended just to tease. I'll repent, but I won't regret, is what that Aleist said, it seems."

"I see, that's cleared up my mind a bit... more importantly, why wasn't Fritz punished!? And then there's Rudel! Is it true he withdrew from the second term's individual tournament!?"

Luecke looked at Eunius' tagalongs, he found them looked around awkwardly. While they were talking about the events during his remedials, Euinus suddenly rushed over to him, or so Luecke concluded.

"You musclehead... It's your fault for being bound so long. With Fritz, he was acquitted in his meeting with princess Aileen who had snuck in. It's a real problem when an oblivious princess who knows nothing of the circumstances seriously hears out the boy's drivel. I feel sorry for Rudel, but this year, he's attending the minimum amount of classes and spending the rest of his time on his little brother... looking after Chlust."

Hearing that and unable to accept, Eunius slammed his fist against the table. The students in the cafeteria turned to look at him, but minding them not, Eunius continued on.

"He could at least go to the individual tournament! More importantly, what does the academy intend by acquitting Fritz? Did they think we'd just stay silent?"

"It's the princess' order... Princess Fina was against it, and the academy was as well. Neither of them has stepped down... there isn't a soul who accepts it. But Rudel's lost interest in Fritz... in that case, then it's a right opportunity to get Chlust back on his feet he said and argued and argued."

Luecke laughed as he spoke. While Rudel had no interest in Fritz' punishment, he was thinking of Chlust. Rather than staying scared of Fritz forever, he wanted to give him an opportunity to get back up.

"When Fritz heard he wasn't interested and flew into a rage, it was a sight to behold. So he put out a condition... in exchange for fighting Chlust, he'll get to fight Rudel as well. Ain't it a laugh?"

"I'm not laughing! If that's what's made Rudel withdraw from the individual tournament, there's no way I can laugh! Can't he at least do something about the second term tournament? He can't keep uninterrupted supervision of Chlust forever, right?"

Luecke felt Eunius's irritation at the fact he couldn't fight Rudel. It was an emotion Luecke couldn't understand.

"If it's a match, you can ask him anytime, right? Chlust is going to graduate this year so he doesn't have any time."

"You just don't get it... fighting in the arena before a full house. There are fights that can only happen in that sort of space... it's a chance you only get once a year"

Even after hearing that, Luecke couldn't understand, so he gave up on understanding. Even for Luekce, it was problematic that Rudel wasn't attending class. He had no friends he could talk about magic with. Rudel was a valuable existence who could respond to his jokes.

When Luecke joked around, no one would understand, and the man himself was seriously troubled. As Rudel was able to comprehend, for both Luecke and the people around him, Rudel was a precious treasure.

"You'll have to give up on this year. You've got Aleist, so it shouldn't be a problem."

"Wait, you're not taking part either?"

"Of course not. I'm busy with my magic research... it's not going as I hoped."

Luecke breathed a sigh as he thought over his experiments. Not Eunius, if it was Rudel, he'd be able to discuss it, he thought...



In the girls' dorm, Izumi seemed entranced by the katana Rudel had given her as a present. Pulling the blade in her room, Izumi's face flushed red. For someone who didn't know the circumstances, it was undoubtedly a scene to strike fear. Izumi's roommate called out to her.

"A present from Rudel? Even so, it's got no romance to it."

"Yeah, but it's a really, really nice katana. I can count on my hand the number of blades I've seen of this caliber. There's the fact that my house is a fallen one, but I really am happy. And while it seems it wasn't that expensive, this really is a nice find."

Izumi seemed delighted. While her roommate hadn't noticed it, the katana presented to Izumi was worth more than its weight in gold. While Rudel had managed to buy it with the money he saved in monster subjugations, it was a katana worth enough to build up a house.

"He said the blacksmith was a fellow oriental, so I'd like to meet him someday."