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Chapter 4 – Class Summoning and Contract (4)

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I was washed. Every inch of my body was washed.

It was embarrassing yet comfortable, and before I knew it, I got out of the bath.

They seemed to have prepared clothes for me – a simple shirt and sturdy pants were put on me.

“What would you like for breakfast?”

“What do you mean, ‘what would I like’?”

“Do you wish to have your meal in this room, or would you prefer to join others in the dining hall? If you plan to go to the dining hall, it might be better to hurry and get ready.”

“In that case, let’s quickly head to the dining hall.”

Probably, the only time I can have a leisurely talk with my classmates is during mealtime. We’ll likely train together, but I’m not sure if there will be time for conversations.

Guided by Alcus, I went to the dining hall. Many of my classmates were there, creating a buzz. The atmosphere was calmer compared to yesterday, and that gave me hope that they might listen to me.

At least, that’s what I thought.

But I was wrong.

The moment I entered the dining hall, everything fell silent. Then, in hushed voices, they started talking and pointing towards me.

“The conceited little fish managed to show up, huh?”

In the midst of people watching from a distance, Kyosuke Takayama, who was known for his bad behavior even within the class, approached me with a smirk, accompanied by his cronies.

“It’s not like I was trying to be conceited…”

“No, no, you didn’t just go and act like a king without consulting us, did you? And you even made promises without our consent. If you had made one wrong move, who knows what would’ve happened to all of us?”

“Even I, in this situation, was considering cooperating.”

Takayama sought approval from the usually antagonistic Ichinari and Tsukihara.

Their triumphant expressions, without waiting for their response, seemed to indicate that the two were against my actions.

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“Even though I don’t like agreeing. I think there’s a problem with what Tsuyama did this time. It’s fortunate that the king was lenient. But this world is different from where we used to be. In the end, nothing happened, so it’s fine, but it’s annoying to be taken for granted.”

“I wish he had at least discussed it with us before taking action. I wonder why he did something like that.”

Ichinari and Tsukihara expressed their opinions.

Both of them looked at me suspiciously, but at the very end, the question I hoped for came. If they let me explain myself, they would surely understand.

“Well, you see…”

“You just wanted to stand out, right? Normally, you’re a loner and don’t get noticed. You thought it would be cool to challenge the king, right? Keep that self-satisfaction to yourself. Don’t bother us with it, you insignificant fool.”

Before I could finish speaking, he hit me. I should have been punched in the face, but I felt the impact on my back too. Just as I was realizing this and being blown towards the wall, I lost consciousness.

I woke up, lying on the bed.

My left cheek was swollen, and even a light touch caused a considerable amount of pain. Some kind of treatment seemed to have been applied as I could feel gauze-like material against my hand.

Though not to the extent of coughing up blood, the pain radiated through my body, suggesting some internal damage.

I struggled to sit up despite the pain and found Alcus standing beside me.

“How long was I asleep?”

“Just a short while. However, the dining hall is already closed, so we’ll have a simple meal.”

Alcus handed me a sandwich and soup.

Though not much for a high school student’s breakfast, it wasn’t the hard black bread and watery vegetable soup you’d expect from a story. It was a soft white bread sandwich with plenty of filling in the soup.

It probably tasted good, but the pain made it hard to enjoy.

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Thinking about the upcoming training filled me with melancholy. After all, I hadn’t been given a chance to explain myself.

Or perhaps, even if I had been given a chance, it might not have changed much.

That’s because Ichinari had called the king “lenient.” While he didn’t know everything about the situation, his words seemed to resonate with many.

In other words, most of my classmates didn’t hold strong negative feelings towards the kingdom.

It wasn’t just Ichinari, who was curiously interested in the first princess, but it seemed like the rest of the class had grown favorable due to the treatment since last night.

Honestly, until I reached the dining hall, I too was leaning toward bonding with them.

However, seeing Alcus, who had only healed the visible wounds and showed no concern for me, my feelings turned cold rapidly.

They probably didn’t intend to intervene in classmate conflicts, not even if it led to someone’s death.

In exchange, according to the contract, the kingdom wouldn’t do anything harmful to me. And if I asked, they would likely grant some of my requests.

I can only believe in myself now.

I have to protect myself.

The moment Ichinari, Takayama, and Tsukihara didn’t accept me, my position within the class had become virtually nonexistent.

There’s still Hirayama, who stands out within the class. However, considering Tsue’s attitude in the same group, it’s evident that I won’t receive any assistance from that direction.

If that’s the case, I have to protect myself.

I have to become strong.

To become strong, I have no choice but to undergo training, even if I’m an amateur and efficiency is far from guaranteed.

“Where is the training conducted?”

“I will guide you to the training grounds.”

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I no longer have the intention of showing respect to anyone.

Without reacting to this display of my feelings, Alcus started walking as if nothing had happened.

“You managed to show up with that expression.”

“It’s part of the contract.”

“Heh, even though trash like you won’t make any difference. Exactly.”

“Kyo-suke’s got a point. Even though you’d be blown away with a single hit.”

“That’s pathetic.”

Even when we got to the training ground, it was just Takashima and his gang causing trouble.

Normally, Ichinari would step in when things got this obvious, but this time, he was completely ignoring it.

I bit my back teeth and endured, trying to show I could bear this much provocation, and their laughter grew even louder.

But that’s all just talk until the training starts.

Once the training starts, we all do the same thing.

Regardless of gender, we’re handed blunted swords and start with the basics, even though we’re all supposed to be amateurs. Thanks to our skills, some look quite proficient from the start.

Though we’re in sync today, from tomorrow on, we’ll do training that suits each of us.

In the afternoon, we’ll return to the castle to learn about magic.

First, we determine which elemental magic we can use and then we’re taught the basics.

There are the fundamental elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and the special elements: Light and Dark, making a total of six.

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In this world, even one element expands the scope of tactics, and with two, depending on stats, one can manage with magic alone.

Having three elements is considered excellent, and with four, you’re respected.

On top of that, possessing a special element is valued in itself; just having one changes how you’re treated.

Among the classmates, there’s a mix of those with one or generally two to three attributes. I have both Earth and Water attributes.

There are also quite a few with four attributes. Every time this happens, the teachers – the ones who train us in magic – get all excited. The physical training instructors are called “instructors”.

But what was even more surprising than having a special element was Ichinari’s results, which seemed to astonish the teachers to the point of fainting.

In addition to the four elemental attributes, he had Light as well, which might be natural considering his status.

Moreover, Ichinari isn’t just a Hero; he possesses a skill called “Messenger of Light”. Apparently, he has the potential to become an exceptional magician.

Being a Hero alone gives him the potential to be a top-class swordsman. The buzz around him is that he might be the return of a true legendary Hero.

Most of our classmates seem to praise him, making it difficult for the training to progress smoothly.

The first day of training surprisingly ended before evening.

I thought it might be because it’s the first day, but apparently, it finishes around this time every day.

About three hours each in the morning and afternoon. Surprisingly light.

After training until dinner, we’re allowed to move freely within the castle’s premises.

There are dedicated maids who will guide us and inform us of places we shouldn’t go.

In other words, I’m free now.

“Tsuyama, show your face for a moment.”

I was thinking this and was approached by Takashima.

“I have things to do.”

“No, what you have to do is to become our toy.”

“Wait. It’s not that. I’ve just become a bit too strong. It’s a training session with some restraint. Will you help me?”

As he said this, he punched me.

There was no point in either affirming or denying.

But as he said, it seems like he’s showing some restraint since it hurts but isn’t enough to make me lose consciousness.

However, with such a massive difference in stats, this show of restraint only prolongs the torment.

By the time Takashima and his gang are satisfied and return to the castle, the sun had already set.

I felt so miserable sinking into the ground that I felt like crying.

But the thought of someone seeing me crying, even if it’s by chance, is frustrating, so I suppress my voice and cry in silence.

When my tears dry up and I return to my room, my classmates seem to have finished dinner and were freely exploring the castle.

They seemed to be having so much fun, as if on a field trip. Their stark contrast to me was disheartening.

“Oh… it’s Tsuyama.”

“You’re all dirty. You could’ve cleaned up a bit.”

“You got caught by Takashima and the others after training, right? Isn’t that unfortunate?”

“That’s right. Well, to be fair, if I were in your shoes, I’d probably want to die.”

“Maybe you should just die.”

As they pass by, I hear their whispers and laughter.

I thought they were giving me pitiful looks, but it seems it was aimed at Alcus.

I return to my room and take a bath.

This time, Alcus tried to assist me just like this morning, but I firmly declined and took a shower only.

After that, I had the exact same dinner as this morning and went to sleep.


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