Volume 4: Sword Dance Festival
Chapter 28: After School for the Contestants
–One day, after school.
In the third training ground of the Windstar Academy of Magic, the largest of all the training grounds, many students were working hard on their swordplay and magic, as the Sword Dance Festival was coming up.
Among them was Brad’s younger brother, Albert von Pistel.
He and his companion, Dino, were clashing swords and making final adjustments in a match-style practice.
Albert’s spirited voice echoed through the training ground.
Albert pushed Dino’s sword back with his might and at the same time, Dino staggered backward, losing his balance.
Alberto did not miss the opportunity.
The next moment, the tip of Alberto’s sword was at Dino’s throat.
The match was over.
When Alberto came down and made a gesture to remove the blood from his sword, the students around him cheered and applauded.
The crowd was made up of participants of the Sword Dance Festival, who had come to observe a potential winner, as well as Albert’s fans.
“That will be all for today.”
Albert glanced sideways at the spectators and told Dino.
“Um ……the Sword Dance Festival is coming up, do you really want to stop practicing already?”
“It’s over, don’t make me say it again.”
Albert narrowed his eyes sharply, and Dino took a frightened step back.
“I’m so sorry!”
He glanced at Dino and turned around, making his way towards the exit of the training ground.
But on the way…
“Albert-sama looks dignified today. It seems that his swordplay is quite sharp and polished. I wonder if Albert-sama will win the sword dance festival.”
“But Brad-sama has been stepping up lately. He even defeated a monster that Albert-sama couldn’t defeat.”
“It’s true that Brad-sama is doing his best as well. I’m also in the Brad faction. The brown skin similar to that of his majesty is truly mysterious and his face is just beautiful. I support him because he’s such a gentleman.”
“I get it. Brad-sama is kind to everyone, even “reforming himself” so he can be a better person to the poor and commoners. Speaking of which, I heard that he formed a guard unit from the people he saved in the square.”
“Oh my! I’d love to be a part of that.”
The students’ conversation reached Albert’s ears.
Albert smiled nobly at the students, but inwardly he grit his teeth.
Because the sword festival was close by, he was planning to train hard for a long time just as Dino suggested, but he had to interrupt his training because he was disturbed by the conversations of the spectators that he occasionally heard.
(Why is my brother being praised……?)
Albert shouted inwardly.
Until recently, his brother Brad had been ridiculed as a “black pig” and had only been his foil but before he knew it, people started recognizing him, comparing Brad to himself, and even appreciating his older brother more.
And I’m not just talking about a few people.
Not only the students of the academy, but also the people of the court and even the people of the country are beginning to reevaluate Brad.
I wanted to know why this happened.
Brad had always been a proud man. He’s been acting like he’s changed a little bit in the last few months, and people are getting won over by his act.
(…… I have to admit, he’s quite skilled.)
Albert shook his head and leaned on the wall after he left the training grounds.
In just three months or so, Brad has made a dramatic change from the bottom of the ladder, where he was mocked and called a “black pig,” to the top of the ladder, where he has gained control of the masses.
In the beginning, when he had started to attract the attention of the people as a “self-sacrificing reform” by investing his personal fortune in education and medical projects, Albert had thought it was too late to flatter the people like that.
However, the people are cash cows.
As Brad continued to invest more and more of the huge amount of money he had collected from somewhere, the people’s skepticism began to loosen, and finally some of them began to express their support for Brad. As a result, in this short period of time, Brad was able to win the hearts of many people.
Not only the people, but also the nobles.
Nobles are above the people in terms of status, but their stance and behavior is greatly influenced by the people’s mindset.
In other words, when Brad won the hearts of the people, the nobles were forced to reevaluate Brad when considering their course of action.
And after seeing what Brat had been doing recently, many of the nobles judged that Brad’s popularity was not just something on the surface, but something with substance. As a result, not only the people, but also the hearts of the nobility were moving in favor of Brad.
The same goes for the students of the academy.
Most of the students at the academy were favorably impressed by the change in Brad, as their parents, the nobles, were beginning to appreciate it. The ones who used to mock him, calling him a “black pig,” seem uncomfortable, but many of them are changing their attitudes.
(I guess this is all part of his plan…….)
He remembered the match in the courtyard
Even though Albert surpassed Brad in ability, it still wasn’t enough to defeat him. And that’s not all, Albert was almost defeated when he had mistakenly created an opening for Brad to strike.
Looking at his unfathomable intelligence, it seemed that everything was going according to Brad’s plan up to this point. What Albert had built up over the years, his brother was gaining in an instant with his brilliant mind. It was tremendous skill.
(And above all, that power ……)
The other day, a werewolf lord appeared in the square.
It was incredibly strong.
The skilled knights were defeated in a single blow and even himself was defeated by the incredibly strong monster. But Brad came along and defeated the monster in one blow.
The reason why the monster was defeated in a single blow might have been the fact that He and the knights weakened it a little bit, but there’s no doubt that he’s no longer the Brad of a few months ago.
(…… just like the older brother he used to know.)
Albert remembers his brother from childhood.
In fact, as a child, Brad was better than Albert. As a matter of fact, Albert was said to be worse.
Ever since he could remember, Albert had had a strong admiration for his older brother, and had followed him around like a chick following its parent.
In order to catch up with his older brother, he had been making desperate efforts in both swordsmanship and magic.
(Brother …… why have you changed?)
However, it would have been nice if the two brothers could have grown up together in friendly rivalry, but reality did not work out that way.
One day, Brad suddenly stopped trying.
It was probably before he entered the academy. Suddenly, he started skipping swordplay, magic, and schoolwork, and refused to work hard.
I don’t know what the cause was.
Albert and the people around him repeatedly asked him about the cause, but he just replied that it became too much trouble.
As a result, except for going to school, Brad became a recluse in his room, and before long, he took on the appearance of that “black pig”.
Albert was shocked.
He was shocked to see his brother, whom he admired so much, become so ugly and fallen, but most of all, he was shocked to see that his brother had so easily thrown away the position and honor that Albert had so desperately sought, just like a piece of trash.
It was as if he had been denied everything he had worked for, everything he was.
At first, Albert had tried to persuade Brad somehow. However, Brad never regained his motivation.
Albert gradually became disillusioned with his brother’s decline, and they eventually began to fight every time they saw each other.
The brother he used to know no longer returned. The brother he had longed for was gone.
That’s what I thought, but now…
(Why now, ……)
Why is he now regaining his motivation and showing signs of the brother I used to admire?
Whenever he thought about Brad, various emotions ran rampant in Albert’s mind, and his mind was severely disturbed.
No, the reason is no longer important. If my brother is going to stand in my way, I’m going to crush him with everything I’ve got.
(I’ll teach you at the sword dance festival)
It’s too late to get motivated now. He knew that while his brother was slacking off, he was several steps ahead of him.
But just when he had made up his mind…
“Can you really win?
I heard a voice.
It was the voice of a somewhat mysterious woman.
It was a quiet voice, but one that I could not help but listen to.
Albert looked around.
But there was no sign of the woman.
He frowned, wondering if it was an auditory hallucination, but as if reading his mind, the woman spoke in a lustrous voice.
“Did you see how he fought the monster in the square? Your brother has become incomparably stronger than before. It seems that the last time you fought, it was a draw, but now that he’s all matured, do you think you can beat him?”
She spoke to Albert as if whispering in his ear.
He looked around again, but there was no sign of the woman.
Albert’s eyes narrowed.
“Shut up, who are you?”
“It doesn’t matter who I am. More importantly, you really think you can’t beat your brother, don’t you?
Albert clicks his tongue viciously.
I’m not sure if she’s using some sort of magic tool or magic that speaks directly to the mind, or if one of Brad’s followers is playing a joke on me.
He said, ” Screw that! I know I can win. It’s true that my brother has become stronger, but his strength is only the result of a few months of training. The gods of war are on my side. Just watch, I’ll make my brother lick the ground.”
“Oh… then why is your mind so disturbed? You know the truth, don’t you? You know that you’re no match for your brother.”
The woman’s tone was filled with mockery.
“I said, shut up!”
Alberto finally raised his voice.
Along with the scream, magic power overflowed from Albert’s body. a strong wave of magic power shook the air.
The woman does not stop smiling even after the display of intimidation that would make an ordinary person tremble.
“You are just like a strong and intimidating puppy. I don’t want to fight with you. I just thought I could help you if you want to beat your brother.”
“Help me?” Albert furrows his brow.
“Yes… power. You have as much talent as your brother. It’s just that you don’t know how to use it. So I’ll help you.”
“Stop it. I can’t borrow power from someone or something I don’t know. In the first place, I can never lose to my brother. You must be one of those in my brother’s faction. Say one more trash word to me and I’ll make you regret getting on my bad side with your life.”
The woman laughed happily as Albert barked with intimidation.
“Oh… That’s scary. You seem to be very stubborn. I wonder if I should pull back for today. There are other things I need to do to get the show going. But if you need my help, just reach out to me, I’m always watching you.”
As soon as she said that, her presence vanished immediately as if she were a ghost.
I waited for a while, but I didn’t hear her voice again.
Albert took a deep breath as though he just finished an intense workout.
His mental strength had been drained greatly.
(What on earth was that?…)
Albert, who had survived a lot of hardships, should not have gotten tired as easily as he did now.
I thought that maybe one of Brad’s followers was playing a trick on me but that didn’t seem to be the case.
(I’ll defeat my brother without anyone’s help and maybe then, this uneasiness in my mind will disappear.)
Albert clenched his fist and made up his mind to do so.
In the third training ground after Albert left, his companion Dino Schwazer was still there.
However he wasn’t enthusiastic about training anymore. He was already out of his training clothes and was putting on normal ones and was already leaving the training ground.
(Albert-sama isn’t doing it, so I don’t see any reason why I should either. I guess it won’t be a problem if I go home.)
Dino snorted at the students who were training hard and left the training ground.
I don’t think I’ll do very well anyway.
Training hard won’t change my ability in a day or two and even if it does change, I can’t beat someone who’s naturally talented.
(Oops… Before I go back, I have to do my daily routine)
Dino suddenly thinks, and runs up the stairs of the school building with bouncy footsteps.
He came to the rooftop
From its spacious location, which was also treated as a ball room during the most recent night of Alyar, Dino looked down on the outdoor training ground no.1.
It was crowded with many students.
While other training grounds are basically not available without permission and reservation, the first training ground is always open to all students, so the threshold is low.
(Uhyo! Jessica-chan still has a pretty body! No, Mira-chan’s ass is irresistible!?)
Dino’s line of sight wasn’t the tough boys who were likely to be rivals at the sword dance festival, but the pretty girls.
After school, Dino made it a daily routine to watch pretty girls who sweat while training from the rooftop.
What’s more, he wasn’t satisfied with just looking at them and even used a spell to strengthen his eyesight, and stretch down his nose towards the girls who are struggling to train.
“Ah … If I win the sword dance festival, I wonder if I’ll be able to get a good woman! But I can’t win the championship, even by mistake!”
I muttered such a stupid thing and clicked my tongue.
“Are you going to participate in the sword dance festival?”
Suddenly, a voice called from the side.
Dino quivered and hurriedly turned his gaze toward the voice.
There was a male student there.
He was a boy of medium height with no distinguishing features.
If I had to put it in another way, I’d say he was ordinary in every way.
Dino was a member of nobility, so he would know.
“Hmmm… That’s right and you’re talking to Dino Schwazer, I’ve never seen you before, so I don’t know if you’re new or not, but you should watch how you speak.”
“If you’re going to participate at the sword dance festival, then you’re in luck.”
Dino makes a threat but the boy ignores it as if he didn’t hear it and approaches him with an eerie smile.
“Wha- what are you?”
Dino was shaken by the boy’s strange atmosphere and took a step backwards.
It was at this point that he finally discovered some features on the boy’s body that seemed ordinary in every way at first, but were far from ordinary.
First, the ears.
The ears on his head were clearly not those of a normal human. They were those of an animal.
Next are the teeth and eyes.
The canine teeth peeking out of his mouth were unusually sharp, and the eyes, with their amber color and black pupils, were sharper than those of the human race.
Looking at those characteristics, Dino guesses the identity of the male student.
“You… You’re a beastman? But a while ago…”
The moment Dino raised his voice in confusion.
The end of the male student’s mouth spread eerily as if it were torn, and immediately after that, a tremendous shock came to his abdomen, and Dino’s consciousness was blown away in an instant.