「You woke me up so late, iya, evil, so evil!」
「What late, huh. It’s barely morning.」
In front of the horse-drawn carriage was the Academy, I crossed my arms and let out a sigh.
Although we had left a little before it became night, the sky has already begun to brighten up. It should be another hour before the sun finishes rising.
「Seriously──I am a student now.
Since I have a child’s body, I have a duty to devote myself to studies.
I’ll be in trouble if you don’t use your mind a bit.」
「Iya~a, don’t be saying these bad things.
Wasn’t it you who put Cheryl into such a state?」
「….Maa, you’re right.」
Chester’s mansion, it wasn’t so far away from the Academy.
At best, it would take 5 hours when using a horse-drawn carriage. It was a pretty short distance if one used the carriage as a means of transportation.
It was a distance that I could run in half that time, but──for a child and old man to run faster than a horse, it would have caught the eyes of many people.
It would only take around 5 hours when going one-way, and since the distance was enough so that we could go back and forth in a day, it wasn’t necessary to do it1.
….However, it was hard to say whether it was possible at this time.
Anyway, the weekly holiday was over and now it was the Academy’s weekdays. Since the date changed, it could hardly be called ‘getting back within a day’.2
It was also because the topic was brought up by the granddaughter──Cheryl was the cause.
Finishing a meal, spending the time leisurely, and finally going home──it was finally 7:00 in the afternoon before I got off my ass.3
But, the time changed to the next day already, to after 5:00 in the morning.
The departure was delayed 5 hours. What happened──there was nothing to say.
「Such an unmanageable child.
Has there always been this kind of condition?」
When it came to the topic of me returning, Cheryl’s reaction was terrible.
Although she didn’t cry or scream, there was a look as if it was the end of the world, and she grasped my arms and could not be peeled off by force….and so, I was down when that killing blow came. When I returned to my sanity later, I realized she fell asleep while crying during my apology….unforgettable.
It was as if I were going to be murdered, with the amount of noise that was made.
When sleeping, she was like an ordinary girl──apparently, turning back to an ordinary girl, it would take time.
「Unfortunately, it’s time that I leave.
But~a, it’s been like this. He’s extremely reluctant to separate from you, Cheryl.」
「I see….it seems to be a big deal, for you. I’m more tired than I would have imagined.」
Although Chester has to handle such exchanges daily, I still think that it’s great.
I wonder if that makes children stronger. This is a world not known to me.
「Now then, you should go before the princess wakes up. You must come over and practice with her again.」
「I understand. Since you won’t sleep, be careful.」
「Wha~at, if you look at the face of my cute granddaughter, then all your fatigue flies away~yo.
Ah….whatever, I’ll probably come back to pick you up during the weekend. I don’t know whether Cheryl can endure it until then.」
While waving his hand, Chester returns to his carriage. Although it seems that only I was tired this time….it’s hard on that old man too.
Watching Chester order the carriage driver to go back, I unintentionally let out a yawn.
Before class begins, I’ll take a short nap.
Yareyare, it’s hard to resist sleepiness after I’ve gotten this body. Although I could resist it in my previous existence, I wonder if this is due to a ‘growth period’. ….For the race called ‘Elf’, the growth spurt stops in the middle4, but as for the mind, it doesn’t necessarily grow.
….Is one hour of sleep enough? Thinking such a thing while enduring sleepiness, I dragged my feet towards the dormitory.
Time for lunch.
Due to the loss of sleep time from the vacation, I fought the sleepiness and cut the fried fish with a knife, all the while opening and closing my eyelids.
Seria and Shido were sitting on both sides of me, making fun of the state I was in, laughing.
Although they didn’t mind it so much, it was still disgraceful. For a child, the hours needed for sleep are unexpectedly longer than expected.
I slept just a bit over the time to get up, maa, with this it’s no wonder.
….However, aside from sleepiness, there’s also the problem of training on those days.
Chester’s doted on grandchild, Cheryl, somehow took kindly to me for some reason. He said he would pick me up during the holidays, but I hope he picks me up when it starts, or else it’ll be the same thing as this time, and I’ll be just as tired.
As I thought, this troublesome body is still that of a student.
Even if you can move from here and there freely, you should keep it within proper bounds.
While enjoying a chat with Seria and Shido, I thought of the current situation, and leaked out a sigh.
Although somewhat sleepy, I interacted with them as follows.
Cheryl will be added to this group someday, while I think such──Seria suddenly asked a question, and I stopped moving for a bit.
「Nee nee, Slava-kun and Shido-kun, do you have any dreams for the future?」
「….Dreams for the future?」
「Un. Such as, what you want to become. What you want to do, such thoughts.
For me, I want to become an actor. To act in a fun drama, making everyone smile!」
Towards the me who was repeating the words from such a vague question, Seria said these words with a big smile.
Future dream, huh.
Seria, her dream at 12 years of age is to become a drama actor.
Twelve years old for a human or elf, it doesn’t change. ….I, at 12 years old, what do I want to be. Do I have such dreams.
「I will definitely be an adventurer! Find an unexplored region or ruins that no one has ever gone to, and become a great adventurer!」
Shido, had been saying that he wanted to become an adventurer.
Very childish….but, it’s a great dream.
In his case, some effort──physical training──would be needed, so that by the time that the Academy was over, he should be able to run around the school.
I, now. What do I want to be.
Seria’s casual words, when put into a question like this, I hesitated on how I should answer.
「Like you said to Alma-sama, are you sure you want to be a scholar?
I’m a bit anxious. After reading all those Martial Arts books, doesn’t it make you want to become a Martial Artist?」
「I don’t remember. ──Certainly, I never wanted to be a scholar.」
….That reminds me, was such a thing said. I became slightly embarrassed, and bitterly smiled.
I was a human without any education. Thinking up a dream using my head, it wasn’t suitable for me.
Though when we are talking about aiming to be a Martial Artist, it’s a different feeling.
With willpower, anyone can become a Martial Artist if they practice a style. Being strong is secondary. Becoming strong, the thing a Martial Artist needs the most is a strong heart. This is what Master said, to me. (TLN: Yeah, at this point, it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘Master’ or ‘shishou’ or ‘Teacher’ when we’re talking about his mentor)
At this point in time, I could already be called a Martial Artist. My name is already acknowledged as a Martial Artist in my previous existence, aiming for a Martial Artist now・・・that is, it feels ‘different’.
Once, I did not have a「Future」, so it’s a bit difficult to answer.
Look deep inside of myself. Although it’s a casual saying, in my head, those words swirled around in my head while giving out a profound feel.
Thinking back, I don’t think I’ve dreamed of anything.
I never had the thought of wanting to become an actor or adventurer. There was no thought of wanting to earn money, and no spirit in me who wanted to go down in history.
──But, I wanted to become a Martial Artist.
Why was that?
「The best, I want to become.」
Yes, I already understood such a thing.
For me──being the strongest. To become the strongest man in the world.
This is what I muttered, from the depths of my heart. A simple thing.
The dream that I had in my childhood, I was still experiencing it.
「Slava-kun’s answer is unusual.
I didn’t think that you were interested in being the strongest.」
Shido was laughing at the unexpected.
I guess so. It was pretty unexpected considering my image that the class has of me.
「But, Shido, you have never had this dream?
Say, in any field, to be the best in the world──shining at the top, you’ve never dreamed of it?」
「Well──certainly. Now, I want to become the world’s best adventurer! tte~Think of it!」
──Really. Such a thing, all men dream about it once.
As for me, I haven’t abandoned such a silly dream.
Fumu….I remember how I started out in an unexpected place.
I wasn’t even that old when I incidentally grasped my fist (Arts), it was somewhat of a clumsy encounter.
「It is as such. I’m the same, for the dream I had once, and it still is a dream.
Kuku, it’s pretty simple.」
Why aim for the strongest.
What would one want to do once they reached that goal. These were my thoughts.
But still, it’s like this.
Rather than becoming the strongest for no reason, I want to become the strongest to do something.
A person’s actions may be the opposite of their purpose, it’s like this for me.
「Fu~n….I don’t really understand it.」
Shido and I look at each other and laugh, while Seria looks puzzled.
This is something only boys would understand, Seria understands this.
There are occasionally women who understand this kind of dream──if possible, I would love to meet and hear these stories.
It was satisfactory, the meal in my mouth was delicious.
With the background as Shido talking about his dreams for the future passionately, we finished the meal.
「Fui~, that was really delicious~」
While watching Shido let out a breath and rubbing his stomach, I easily collect my tableware, then I go collect Seria and Shido’s tableware.
There is still room before mealtime is over. (TLN: Lunch if you’ve forgotten….)
Although I don’t need to rush, there’s nothing lost if I do it.
「I’m really interested, why does Slava-kun want to become the best?」
With the sound of putting down tableware, Seria’s voice is mixed in.
「Didn’t you say that you wanted to become the best a while ago?
Shido-kun wants to become the best adventurer. I want to know what Slava-kun wants to be the best in.」
「Aa──you mean that.」
That reminds me, what I wanted to be the best in, I didn’t say it.
How to answer. I’m already considered weird guy, at least this was already established, so it’s unlikely that my reputation would fall.
It seems it will be troublesome if asked by Alma….perhaps if I give a vague answer, it will be fine?
「It’s like uhh….I vaguely know that, since this is a place teaching Martial Arts.
It’s like how Shido said, becoming the best in the world.」
「E? Me? Well yeah.
Don’t all men think of this at least once?」
While seeking agreement in Shido, I show a balled up fist.
「If it’s a man, once the time comes, no matter if it’s a human, a beastman, an elf or a Majin──he’ll definitely close his hand into a fist like this. By wanting to be the strongest, they are depicting the 「Cool Self」they want to be..
….But each and everyone, for a lot of reasons, like finding a different path, will open their clenched fist and try to grasp something new.
However, those who are martial artists cannot open their fists.
Be them fallen, defeated or injured, whatever happens, they cannot open it. Thus, perhaps they may only able to swing it.
──Maa, in the end, we are but children. Unable to throw away our first dream, hating to lose more than anyone else──that’s why it’ll surely be fun.」
The fist I hardened, I open it slowly.
Like an opened fist, if I am able to give up the two characters “strongest”5, I would be able to walk a different road in life this time.
But, thanks to it, there were many things I was able to catch with this closed fist.
Alma and Chester, recently Cheryl as well, and even this present life of mine──
I forgot to tell to Shido and the rest, but there’s one more thing.
One trait of martial artists that, even while I hate regretting things, I couldn’t achieve before dying.
「….Somehow, I don’t understand but it’s profound? I got it.」
It seems that he isn’t able to understand all that I said, Shido has a face with deep emotion.
Although he’s a boy, he is also a man. Although understanding it all is unreasonable, there shouldn’t be a reason for not being able to understand a little.
As such, I gave out a light laugh.
After what was said, Seria tilted her head.
I thought this dream only applied to men, since women don’t seem to be the same.
In the middle of the conversation, I coincidentally look at the clock.
The hand on the clock, it showed that meal time was to be over soon.
「Uah, after meal time, there’s class then recess….and the most troublesome, magic class.」
「But doesn’t an adventurer need magic as well? If this isn’t learned now, then you unexpectedly regret it.」
「I understand~a. Therefore I’ll do my best even though it’s troublesome.」
In truth, Shido is working hard.
Although the mouth isn’t good, head isn’t that good, the effort expended towards an aim is fantastic.
This will lead to a more successful future. Dreaming of acquiring good equipment, Shido’s mouth slightly warped.
「Shido-kun, do your best~.
Slava-kun, do you have anything you want to do your best in?
You want to become the strongest in Martial Arts right?」
While directing a bright smile towards Shido who was depressed, Seria set her eyes on me.
….If I say it honestly, recently 「Motivation」opportunities have been dropping.
「There have been some circumstances and now there are some travel restrictions.
….But, the thought of wanting to become strong, I don’t intend to be overtaken.」
Although there was no malice, I laughed at the painful words that were hard to listen to, and balled up my fist.
The fist that was balled up was strongly held and let out a creaking noise. Really, the thought of wanting to become strong, I won’t lose to anyone.
Now that 30 years have passed after the previous ‘I’ died, I wonder how the Martial Arts world6 has changed.
After graduating from the Academy, it would be a good idea to take a look.
I realized my ultimate goal, looking at my packed fist, with my canines exposed.7
The world is vast. Surely if a fool like Chester can enter, then I can as well. There’s no fun in it if all I do is think of it.
When the travel restrictions disappear──thinking about the bright future, I cannot help but break into a smile.
….But, this smile was easily wiped off my face.
「Ahaha~, is that so.
….Un. I’m sorry, Slava-kun.」
With an embarrassed face for some reason, Seria laughs.
──It was that moment.
「I got to hear Slava’s dream!」
The double door at the entrance of the classroom opens vigorously.
Excitedly pushing the doors open with both hands, it was an elf with long blue hair──it was Alma.
I’m sorry, were the words of Seria.
I understood it instantly.
「Iya~a, sensei forced it Slava. I didn’t think you thoughts about become strong.」
With a huge smile that encompassed her whole face, Alma compromises slowly.
──It was planned….!
Looking innocent, without changing expressions, Seria fully decieved me.
Lurking in the shadows of that question, I didn’t even dream that Alma laid hidden.
Certainly her aim of being an actor was valid. If one was at this age and could give such a performance, then one should go polish this ability.
….After speaking those words once, it’s very hard to retract them.
Getting an understanding over a long time, or using money or power──to take something back, there isn’t just sloppy methods.
Naturally, I was unable to use both methods. There is power, this is just like that──particularly Alma’s show wasn’t the good kind.
Alma who had compromised slowly walks to me, keeping me within her range.
Just like the first time I ‘invited’ her, however, the force was put out firmly in order to hold me in place, Alma holds my shoulder.
「But Slava, there’s no better method than the Shijima Style if you want to aim for the strongest.
Lunch time is coincidentally over. Let’s have a bit of exercise after a meal! Let’s aim to become the strongest together!」
It’s come to the point where I can’t escape even if I struggled.
I was convinced, only letting out a dry smile.
With Shido confused with this sudden situation, Seria puts both hands together while closing one eye.
Without any consent, I was captured by Alma, and dragged out of the classroom.
….I’ll get back at you Seria.
- TLN: Speedrunning ↩
- TLN: Cuz night -> Next morning ↩
- TLN: Says something about waist, most likely means getting up. ↩
- TLN: Middle as ‘adulthood’ for humans ↩
- TLN: Strongest has 2 characters in JP, which you most likely have inferred. ↩
- TLN: Murim, Jiang Hu, whatever you want to call it. ↩
- TLN: Dafuq, Slava is a beastman??!?! ↩