The Taste of defeat (2)
I stepped over the branches and fallen leaves lying in the woods and slowly walked up to Gideon.
I stopped about five meters away from him and shook the hem of my robe to clear away the tangled weeds.
When we faced each other, Gideon showed a refreshing smile.
“Liesel. I thought it would be you.”
“Be prepared this year. I learned a lot of techniques for this day.”
“– You’ve got a little cut on your cheek.”
Gideon’s expression clouded, maybe because he noticed the cut on my face.
“This is nothing. I’ll just lick it and it’ll heal.”
“Don’t try to be tough. You should stop the bleeding right now. I’ll be waiting. Hurry up.”
“Injuries are an integral part of the practical test.”
“No. Not if it leaves a scar on your face.”
What is this leeway?
Is it kindness, or does he just not think I’m worthy to be his opponent?
He’s too much of a hero, and it makes me angry.
I’m even angrier at myself for not being able to hate him in the end.
Feeling frustrated, I pointed my sword at Gideon and shouted.
“Come forth, fire…”
But the chanting could not continue.
A chain of fire quickly wrapped around my sword, rendering it immobile.
I raised my head to see Gideon reaching out his left hand toward me.
Without even chanting, he had sealed my sword with a single finger.
I was so frustrated by this immense difference in power that blood rushes to my head.
Gideon walked toward me, shaking his head from side to side as I waved my hands, desperately trying to move my sword.
He let out a small sigh.
“Liesel. Be still.”
The fiery red chain that Gideon produced extended to the hilt of my sword and wrapped around both of my hands, restraining me.
The fiery, glowing chains were only hard, but not hot at all.
But now my hands are sealed with my sword, and all is lost.
(I’ll lose. I’ll lose again this year…!)
Gideon reaches out to touch my face, which is now red up to my ears with chagrin.
“Don’t touch me.”
Ignoring my words, Gideon quickly waves his right hand in front of my face. Immediately, water is splashed onto my cheek.
“I washed it off. It would be bad if any bacteria got into the wound.”
“I don’t care about that, let’s get this match settled first!”
He went on to take a handkerchief out of his pocket and gently pressed it against my cheek, wiping off the water.
“Liesel, the wound is more of a problem than the match.”
I can’t believe you said that.
I died in the first place because of the saint you’re supposed to be a lackey for!
It’s not the difference in magic ability that frustrates me, it’s the fact that I can’t compete with Gideon in anything, not even in personality or the size of capacity as a person.
Despite my frustration, I thanked him for the proper treatment.
Then Gideon laughed with a blush.
The man I’d once seen in a corner of the palace did not laugh like this. The corners of his mouth were turned up as if to distort his mouth, and his eyes weren’t smiling, and seemed to look down coldly at those around him. But now, when he smiles in front of me, his eyes are so warm and gentle that I can’t believe it’s the same eyes, and they are full of kindness.
He shouldn’t have been such a good person.
This gives me no reason to hate Gideon.
I look up at Gideon in front of me, feeling defeated in every way.
“… You are such a frustrating gentleman.”
“This much is obvious. And Liesel saved my life in the swamps of Baral. I owe you my life.”
No, no, to be honest, even if I hadn’t saved him, I don’t think anything would have happened to him.
“You’re kind to all, not just to those who saved your life.”
Gideon treats his schoolmates equally.
In fact, he lends a helping hand to those who are less fortunate.
He gave them the best paper notebooks, expensive robes, and magic books for the Academy of Magic. If there was a friend who could not afford it, he would give it to them.
One day, I saw Gideon buying a skirt for a school uniform.
I wondered if he had any interests that he couldn’t tell others about. For example: cross-dressing.
But the next morning, I found the same skirt delivered in front of a female student’s room. I knew the sender was Gideon, even though there was no sender written on it.
I was so frustrated.
I failed to notice that my schoolmate’s skirt was growing too short and she was having trouble buying one.
I asked Gideon, who had finished treating me and resheathed his sword.
“Hey, Gideon. You’re the one who gave Crystal the uniform, aren’t you?”
Gideon widened his eyes.
“What’s the matter, all of a sudden?”
“I didn’t tell you until now, but I saw you. You were buying a skirt.”
Gideon chuckled and shook his head.
“It wasn’t kindness. I just didn’t want Crystal’s skirt to get too short so I wouldn’t get to see her knees.”
“You act like a bad person when you’re really a very nice person.”
“No, I’m not.”
“It’s not just skirts. You give away reference books and pens to various students.”
When I said that, Gideon just shrugged his shoulders.
“That is as it should be. Everyone has a right to learn here.”
Oh, God. It’s really not fair.
Why is this man, who is supposed to be my enemy, being such a gentleman now?
If possible, I wanted him to be a fucking jerk boy.
And yet, he’s disgustingly good.
“Isn’t Liesel also working hard to become a royal magician?”
It’s true that students who aim for the top are aiming to work for the royal court.
You can get an unbelievable salary if you become a magician for the royal court.
However, I’ve decided not to join the royal court. The human relations in the palace are complicated and troublesome, and more importantly, if I go to the palace, I will meet the Crown Prince, Ulysses.
I still feel a sharp pain in my chest just thinking of his name.
I looked down and saw that the chain of fire wrapped around the sword had loosened considerably.
Gideon’s mind had slightly relaxed.
I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.
With a quick swing of my sword, I broke the chains.
I swung my sword over Gideon’s head as he opened his eyes and swung it down.
“Come forth, fire dragon!
“Come forth, water dragon!”
The fire dragon I produced from my sword went towards Gideon’s water dragon. I wondered when he had turned his fire sword into a water sword. I didn’t notice it at all, and I’m resentful of the difference in our abilities.
The dragons opened their large mouths and flew over Gideon and me, spraying water and fire.
Gideon’s water dragon was a little small, probably because he had created it in a hurry.
(This year, I might be able to win…!)
I clench my fists involuntarily.
“There’s a chance!”
Suddenly, a wall of water appeared in front of me.
As soon as it appeared, it quickly collapsed and I was drenched.
I wiped the water from my face with the back of my hand and opened my eyes to see Gideon right in front of me.
There was no chance for a counterattack. Before I could even open my mouth, an ice sword extended from Gideon’s hand and pinned my robe to a tree trunk.
The sword pierced the tip of my left sleeve, and although my body was not pierced, I felt a tremendous cold air on my arm.
“Do you surrender, Liesel?”
The water dragon came to my neck. It opened its big mouth and showed its teeth, ready to bite me now.
With one command from Gideon, it would bite me in the throat.
It seems that in the split second that I was distracted by the wall of water, my fire dragon had been knocked out.
As I was stunned, the water dragon opened its mouth wide.
It’s going to bite me! I immediately thought. The water dragon spat a furious amount of water at me, and I was drenched like a waterfall.
“Kyaaaa! It’s freezing!”
All thoughts were blown away by the sheer force.
I heard the sound of something falling at my feet.
Gideon was smiling fearlessly.
“It’s game over.”
In my confusion, I had dropped my sword.
The water dragon in front of me disappeared, and so did the sword that pierced my sleeve.
I was soaking wet, holding my head and almost crying.
I couldn’t get the first place again this year.
“Such a pathetic way to lose…”
I could only half-cry as I watched Gideon’s back as he walked away to report to his teacher that he had defended his seat at the top of the class again this year.
I was shivering with cold and regret.