༺ The Hero Didn’t Study (4) ༻
The Krasius family was one of the most prestigious martial families of the Empire. While they were a bit lacking to call the most prominent, it was a lineage that hadn’t been left out of the discussion about the most prominent ones of the Empire’s 300 years of history.
They were the Emperor’s direct vassals and members of the Imperial Council. That was the Krasius family, and it was the name that was upon Erich’s shoulders. Of course, the weight was somewhat less since he wasn’t the heir.
Nevertheless, being the son of a prestigious martial family had a significant impact on Erich’s career path. He received education within the family even before entering the Academy. Thanks to that, it was challenging to find an equal among his peers, including his upperclassmen. The only exception might be Rutis. After all, status, educational opportunities, and skill usually go hand in hand.
‘The match luck isn’t bad.’
While he wouldn’t lose to anyone, it would probably have a slim chance of affecting the outcome if a somewhat unlikely opponent emerged. It seemed like he would get a good score on the practical exam.
‘It would’ve been great if Louise was here.’
Watching his opponent being nervous seemed to have made him lose his motivation. Erich felt sorry for him, but the victor here seems clear. He might have been motivated if Louise were here, but she belonged to the magic branch, and she was busy preparing. It was a shame.
‘It can’t be helped.’
He’ll have to be satisfied with cheering for Louise during her match.
He grabbed the sword while thinking that when he saw a familiar figure entering.
He spoke, surprised. Fortunately, his opponent’s gaze didn’t shift, and it seemed like he hadn’t heard him. However, Erich’s eyes were stuck on the figure behind his opponent.
Someone he hadn’t expected to show up in the arena had appeared. He belatedly realized that the person next to him was the Principal. What was going on?
‘I’m going crazy.’
Erich bit his lips. Carl was looking at him with his arms crossed. Erich had grown accustomed to Carl after spending time together. After all, he’d spent more time with him after he came to the Academy compared to the time they’d spent together before Erich enrolled here.
Carl’s gaze didn’t make him nervous anymore. Their relationship had recovered enough to naturally greet each other when their eyes met. There was no reason for their relationship to be sour in the first place. It was just that the time had magnified the awkwardness.
But their gaze met each other’s when he grabbed the sword. Carl’s eyes, which were so similar to their father’s, looked down at him. Although the arena’s platform was higher, it felt like he was being looked down upon.
He grabbed his sword tighter. Being intimidated by someone who hadn’t done anything but look at you was embarrassing, especially when that person was your family.
‘How long will this go on?’
He’d heard numerous people saying in social circles that if he were half as good as his brother, he’d truly be outstanding. However, Erich was never upset by this comment. After all, the difference between them was so great that he didn’t even feel envy or self-loathing.
In the first place, those comments were praising Carl’s abilities and not belittling Erich. At that time, Erich hadn’t even enrolled in the Academy.
But things were different now. According to the Empire’s law, he was officially an adult. He’d even grown closer to his hyung, who’d always felt distant. He didn’t want to live in his shadow forever. He didn’t want to be a younger brother who shrank under scrutiny. He wanted to be a dignified noble of the Krasius family.
‘This is a good opportunity.’
Those eyes, which were similar to their father, felt refreshingly challenging. Being recognized by those eyes felt similar to getting recognized by his father.
Determination replaced the look of surprise in Erich’s eyes. His initial intention to do it in moderation was replaced with a strong determination to gain recognition. He would put admiration and satisfaction in Carl’s eyes, which seemed to be looking at a tool.
Erich could feel that his opponent was flustered. He felt sorry, but he had a reason to go all out now. If the opponent got seriously injured, he would apologize later on.
That day, Erich saw Carl nodding while making a satisfied smile.
* * *
I thought for a moment that maybe I might be some totem that made Erich go berserk, but it didn’t matter as long as it helped him. Was there such a hyung elsewhere in the world?
In any case, with newfound energy, Erich fiercely dominated his opponent and soon achieved victory. He was already superior in skill, and with the added determination, his opponent had no chance of holding on. Still, Erich’s skills impressed me more than I expected.
‘He has trained a lot.’
It was an appearance that befits the name Krasius. Well, there was no way that the patriarch would let his son stay behind while playing around, right? Nevertheless, it was rare to find someone at his age who can rival him. He deserved to be praised.
I didn’t want to clap since it might seem pitiful to the defeated opponent, so I nodded to Erich, who was looking my way. Seeing him grin, it seemed like my feelings were conveyed.
“As expected of the Krasius Family. Both brothers are outstanding, just like your father.”
While I was thinking of giving him a thumbs-up, I heard the Principal’s voice. His tone suggested that he had a connection to the family’s patriarch.
“Have you seen my father before?”
“Of course. He joined the military right before I retired.”
The Principal absentmindedly stroked his long beard, as if reminiscing about those days. However, something seemed off. If the patriarch had just entered the military when the Principal was about to retire, then it means that he reached the end of his military career by now. Yet, 20 years after that, he was still working as the Principal of the Academy.
‘He’s a veteran.’
A veteran who’s maxed out even his secondary job. As expected, magicians become more dangerous as they age.
“He was a quiet fellow who was poor at expressing his emotions, but he had a strong sense of responsibility and was surprisingly affectionate.”
“I’m not sure about the affectionate part.”
“Doesn’t he take good care of his people? I’ve never seen someone among his partners or juniors who hated Wilhelm.”
If the standard of being affectionate was maintaining his own power, I understand. The people of the Krasius family were known for taking good care of their people and loyalty. If one was a master who follows strict rules and thoroughly punishes wrongdoers, then they can be considered top-tier.
After the last sword duel was over, we moved to where the magic duels would take place. As magical duels had a lot of ranged attacks, using the same arena used for the sword duels often didn’t match the standards.
Since the duel arenas were different, they could have conducted both sword and magical duels simultaneously. However, there was not an abundance of medical staff, so they proceeded sequentially. If a sword duel student was undergoing treatment for a cut leg, it would be chaotic if someone in the magic duel also had a burnt arm.
And now, I was watching a sacrificial lamb that was pierced by the icicles which Lather had sent flying.
‘So that bastard was an ice magician?’
It seemed like he’d picked skills that matched his hair color.
“That was fast.”
“Well, there’s no way he’d be able to resist that attack from such a distance.”
Rutis and Erich, who’d finished their duels, were together. They had nothing else to do, so they probably came to see the magic duels. However, their goal was for sure, Louise.
As I looked around, it seemed like a barrier was set up that prevented other people from approaching. Having the Prosecutor’s Executive Manager and the Principal was already intimidating, but there were also members of royalty.
“Brother, over here.”
“Good job, Lather.”
Thanks to Tannian and Ainter, who were welcoming Lather, the barrier became even stronger. Even those who were not visible in the sword duel arena were inconspicuously joining. Anyways, the students seemed to be afraid at the thought of even stepping on their shadows, so they were doing their best to avoid us.
“Now, the only thing left is Louise’s match!”
Rutis’s words made me turn to look at him. I remembered the ridiculous discussion about sword vs. magic between Rutis and Lather.
Rutis confidently said that the sword was superior. But ironically, Louise was learning magic. At that time, I didn’t know what skill Louise had chosen, so I didn’t think much about it. But what the hell was wrong with this guy?
His having said that while knowing that Louise was learning magic or not having known what class the person he liked was taking were both a problem. If it’s the former, he’s crazy or brave. And if it’s the latter, he’s just a fool.
‘It’s probably the former.’
Let’s think of him as a prince of the Knight Kingdom, Armein, who went on a temporary rampage. I organized my thoughts that way to protect Rutis’s remaining honor.
It was scary how they were talking with each other but immediately turned their heads around as Louise’s duel began.
“Louise! You can do it!”
“Good luck, Louise!”
You crazy bastards, stop it.
I distanced myself from the five idiots. The cheers of the two loudest people echoed through the place more than the others, but the other three were cheering as well.
As that went on, the expression of Louise’s opponent hardened. Who else would be able to casually cast magic against someone cheered on by imperials, royalty, and the next saint? Even I wouldn’t be able to do that.
‘You poor thing.’
Even Louise seemed a bit embarrassed by the cheers as her face turned red. Still, she awkwardly waved her hand in gratitude. As she did that, the five guys began cheering even louder. And then she waved again…
‘This duel will be filled with nothing but wounds.’
It was truly a pitiful thing.
Rutis and Lather’s duel went on smoothly, except for the torn heart of the two sacrificial lambs. I also took note of students with a great future, so I was satisfied.
Not only that, but I was able to check Erich’s growth. So once this was over, I would probably be able to say that this had been a satisfying day.
That was supposed to happen, but…
The Principal seemed lost for words, and I just muttered in surprise.
What the hell was that?
No, damn it. Why?
The opponent had been one-sidedly hit with the magic that Louise cast. The other person hurriedly surrendered while in a shocked state.
It’s understandable. Louise’s magic was really peculiar. There was clearly one projectile, and then suddenly it split into three parts. One part continued flying straight, while the other two parts came from different directions, slashing in different trajectories. It was a sudden triple attack, and the opponent was so overwhelmed by this unexpected event that they went crazy.
As I turned my gaze to the Principal at his stiff voice, he also turned his gaze to me.
“Prosecutor’s Executive Manager, don’t tell me that this…”
“Yes, your guess is correct.”
The Principal, who was hoping for a denial, grabbed his head as I nodded. If it weren’t for the spectators, I would’ve run back to the dormitory without looking back and turned on the communication device.
Why was Louise using the Mage Duchess’s unique magic?
My vision darkened at the last-minute turn of events.