I spent everyday living comfortably in the village and training myself. Before I knew it, I was already twelve years old.
Although there are slight differences between individuals, an elf’s mental age grows much slower during this time, and the elves consider it a big turning point during their lifetime.
♦ ♦ ♦
On the day of my twelfth birthday, we had a little celebration party for me, and that also marked the time when I started going to school full-time.
If I was a human, I would have already been going as early as four or five, at the latest would be at six years of age. But, this is the long-lived elven race. Among themselves, each individual has a very slow flow of time.
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Anyway, I had my celebration for my twelfth birthday and arrived at a defining moment.
At this age, I am allowed to do a wide variety of things, but the most important one of them all is the fact that I could attend school.
The reason for that was because I had difficulty reading the alphabet and so I thought it would be fun to go to school, however…this is a school for elves so a part of me was extremely concerned──
「Uuu…after Slava parts with us it will be so lonely….
When you have long holiday breaks, be sure to remember to visit home!」
「You’re exaggerating. But yeah, I will try to come home as often as I can.」
「I beg you, Slava. If Mama stays depressed like this, eventually Papa will fall into depression as well.」
Of all things they could have said, those were their words on my first day of school, but the general curriculum required me to live in a dormitory so it couldn’t be helped.
Although, I am not the only person who is loved──I thought that while I tried to think of some way to express myself. The capabilities I held far exceeded those of someone of my generation.
I had all of the combined fighting experience in my past life while also having been effectively meditating ever since the first year when I was reborn.
For that, I gave myself plenty of self-praise. After all, I achieved such great power at the age of twelve.
Of course, there was no one who knew of this. Besides, this power shouldn’t be carelessly shown to others either. Therefore, in order to keep it a secret, I would need to devise some sort of training inside of the dormitory. At least the benefit gained from shadow dancing had decreased greatly, so it was alright to stop with that training.
….But still, it’ll only be two or three years.
It was pointless to mention time when speaking about the long-lived elves. For the period of three years, as someone who was more used to human standards, I found that to be very long.
Regardless, during this period I would be learning and studying at an academic standard, I could learn how to read. It felt awkward saying that when a dead person was now inside the body of a young boy, but everything was alright.
Two or three years──if I needed to endure only this much, I somehow needed to overcome the inconvenience of training, I thought to myself.
At any rate, during the final three years of my past life, I was unable to move my body very much. Compared to that, I felt like I could breeze through the same span of time with no problem.
Or so I thought, while feeling optimistic…
「Uhhu, but for ten years? Not being able to spend time with Slava for ten years…Papa isn’t going to get lonely?」
「Of course I’ll be lonely. But, if Slava grows up splendidly in these ten years, Papa can endure it.」
Although I suspected that my ears heard that wrong the first time──ten years. It is going to be ten years alright.
During the last three years, I almost went mad just having to restrain myself from fighting and now you tell me that I have to endure this for another decade?
For example, an elf lives approximately ten times longer than a human, so putting it in simple terms, the sense of time for a human living one year is equivalent to an elf living ten years.
But it doesn’t matter how slowly ten years pass by, my body that is of an elf would stay the same, but my human mind would deteriorate.
「I wonder…ten years is indeed very long.」
「My, my, Slava is going to feel lonely like Mama as well?
It’s all right. Compared to your future life, this is going to feel like a blink of an eye.」
Those words from father meant nothing more than that, because it is “just” a decade for an elf.
….Hmm, this is what you would call a “culture gap.”
Although, in my past life, I did not understand its meaning coming from the young people, but…after living among a different race, I was able to feel the distinct difference in culture.
「Well, everything is fine. Go on and have fun, experience and feel the numerous things out there.
Papa is rooting for you~」
The feeling of his support had been received and I didn’t get the feeling of “it’s somebody else’s problem” in his words.
I looked back with a bitter gaze. It would be a mistake if one was to say that no child would feel lonely when leaving their parents’ home. I let out a sigh without hiding it──
♦ ♦ ♦
Behind me, the other children’s chatters could be heard while I was reading a book.
Unlike the village of Altor where I lived, this place was crowded with children.
Due to their long-lived trait, the elves do not have a lot of children, thus I gave it some thought about why there were so many children here.
That should be it. It had taken me a little more than a day on horse carriage from my elven village to this place, Mirafia National Academy Arufareia.
This school must be where the elven children in the country of Mirafia gather and attend, I thought.
Just like what I had originally predicted, I was now within this kind of place. I could not act too hasty here so I chose to study the alphabet by reading books to improve my skill.
I still had difficulty reading up until this point, but for a child to be able to read at this age might be a little eerie.
Plus, up till this point, I had been stealthily reading books, but now I would be studying with my head held high. That much should be fine.
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Well, but──during my past life, I loathed studying anything except for martial arts. However, this will only be for a short amount of time so I will not run away──
Since I am now in an environment where I have to study, with the exception of martial arts, this should surely be interesting. When I thought about all the things I’ve done throughout my entire life, I felt that there was nothing else to do but to give it my all.
Incidentally, the book which I was reading was about the recent history of martial arts.
…Well, it’s alright. Studying is very enjoyable, it can’t be help that I have to do something else beside martial arts.
「Slava-kun~, oh, are you reading a book?」
While I was reading a book under the sunlight shining between the leaves, I heard the voice of a girl.
I put away the bookmark in the middle of the pages and turned my head to the direction that the voice came from. There was a girl with hair of bright brown and a smile across her face. This girl approached me from behind.
Her age, in terms of human years, I would say, was no more than ten years.
A bright and friendly smile, it was a very girlish characteristic.
「Seria. …Umm, good day to you.」
In the academy where most students, who were strangers to one another, gathered, it was still possible for one to meet one or two of his friends every now and then.
For me, this girl named Seria was the first person I ever made friends with in this life.
Considering my behaviors and how I talked, it was understandable that it was hard for my classmates, the elves from the same generation as me, to approach me.
When I was in the midst of isolation, a single person proactively came and talked to me. It was this very girl who called out to me, her name was Seria Kufurun.
She is a very kind person, very cheerful and very popular among the kids. At first, I was very worried when such a bright person had came and spoke to me.
But before I realized it, I started to talk to her more often. Also, Seria—for someone at her age, was very bright minded. Well, a person’s way of maturing depended on the individual.
On top of that, due to her friendly nature, the other timid children in the class started to realise that I only know a little more than everybody else and they came to get along with me as well.
It was quite clear that my reply wasn’t going to keep this persistent fellow from coming over. On that day, we spent time talking and telling one another a few funny stories.
While the flow of time continued to pass slowly, our relationship progressed and we became the best of friends.
Whenever she talked about such things, the classmates also joined in without reservation, thus I was able to sail by my times as a student while also enjoying it.
…Each time the number of people surrounding me increased, I honestly didn’t feel bad for not training in martial arts.
「Ehehe~, may I sit next to you?」
「Oh, please sit. I wonder what you want from me today?」
「Nnn~ today’s a nice day. I think I want to spend it slowly with Slava-kun.」
Spending time with Seria is pleasant. As I recalled from the past, there was a time when I sat down like this and waited for time to pass by. How many years had passed since then, I wondered.
While I was thinking about the girl I considered as my own child, I got a feeling that I might already have a grandchild by this point.
I wondered what it would feel like to be playing with my grandchild. I wished that child would become a good natured person, unlike this bad shishou. I let out a bitter smile.
「Hey Slava-kun, what were you reading?」
When I was engulfed in calm thoughts, Seria casually broke the moment as she casted a glance at the book in my hand.
….Fumu. Although I was somewhat trying to hide the book….it is probably fine to show it to her.
As a side note, completely unknown to me, “Oji-chan” was what I came to be called. The senses of the children at this age were strangely sharp. However, it was not something I hated.
「This, it is a book that recorded the history of martial arts.
The people whom I hold in high esteem, I want to know what is written about them.」
With the bookmarked page still opened, I had to close it in order to show Seria the book’s cover. There, in plain text, the title of the book, “The History of Martial Arts 13048,” was written down.
The number, 13048, was from the calendar the elves used, which showed the latest version in years. In other words, this was the number of the current year. The history of the elves was much longer and more extensive compared to the human’s history which dated back a few thousand years. Only after buying this book was I able to understand the sheer amount of time.
「Martial Arts? Say, is it about Alma-sama’s feats and glory?」
Seria tilted her head and asked with a smile. I had a vision of seeing a question mark floating above of her.
Alma, the God of Martial Arts, and also Slava, her master, these were the names of two people whom no one in this world didn’t know about.
I was not able to get there and the first place in martial arts was handed down. It was ridiculous to feel uneasy about the fact ── however, I felt anxious about my disciple, the name of Alma. While acting in accordance with my wishes, she took on the Shijima name and due to her devotion to me, she also left behind my name.
Just how many months, how many years did it take you, and what did you do after achieving all these feats──
I had asked father quite a few times over the years but the answer, which I got was in the years the elves used, was rather confusing.
Really, it stirred up my interest and I wanted to know about the details. I started to forget that Seria was there but recalled it after a few seconds.
Up to this point, there was never a chance for me to obtain my desired information from other people, so I tried to get to the point where I could read fairly well. The information I wanted to know are contained within the books. The price for knowledge was expensive.
I came by it a few years back and by saving up my pocket money, I was finally able to get my hand on “The History of Martial Arts 13048”…which is now in my hands.
「Ah, I do not know all that much about Alma-sama.
It is one of the reason why I decided to study this book.」
「For a person to not know of Alma-sama, how very rare.
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Your name, Slava-kun, even though you bear the same name as the Shishou-sama of Alma-sama.」
That much I already knew, there was no use talking back so I let out a wry smile.
…After all, that was me. …Not a soul would believe it even if I was to talk about it. Everyone would roll their eyes and regard me as a strange child.
「Well, I want to continue reading this book, is that fine?」
「Mmm? Are you asking if I mind?
It’s alright! I’m happy by just spending time with Slava-kun!」
Just as I wondered when the flower was to bloom, Seria shows a cheerful smile across her face, and I opened the book to the page where I had left the bookmark.
The important names inside the book—they were.
Alma Shijima… I see, that child inherited the name Shijima after all.
Is a martial artist who succeeded the Shijima style martial arts that was revived by Iwao Shijima.
Since she is an orphan in the first place, she was raised as an adopted child by Slava Shijima (Slava Weser). As they passed time together, she becomes attracted to her adoptive parent, Slava Shijima, figure and came to study Shijima Style.
The different approach to increase magical power combined with the superior martial arts enabled the Shijima style to take down many other martial art styles.
In the recent years, it welcomed lots of newcomers while also trying to promote themselves. Iwao Shijima had started opening tournaments in various places and started to promote the style in the name of the founder, the purpose of these were to promote and encourage the small boys and girls into learning the Shijima martial arts.
When I looked at the results of her records in official tournament matches and found not a single defeat, I felt very proud. There are many experts who consider her to be the strongest martial artist in history. (Side note, the author is one of them too.)
However, she openly declared and insisted that the strongest martial artist to have ever lived was her one and only master, Slava Shijima. Because of this reason, the experts also hold deep respect toward Slava Shijima.
….Really, how successful was my daughter to be held in high regards even until now.
The little one whom I thought of as my own daughter, her growth completely exceeded my expectation by a great amount.
That child was serious, she followed my wish and must have learned the secret techniques of the Shijima style and kept it hidden.
I also forgot that Seria was watching again. Without hiding my smile, I continued to read the sentences.
Reading through the section where the sentences could only be labeled as overly praising, I could not help but let out grins—suddenly, something caught my eye and made me feel concerned.
「What is it? What’s wrong?」
Why was such an unpleasant thing recorded down? Yet.
Seria, next to me, asked me in worried voice.
I was not exactly displeased with it, however, one thing it brought to my mind were worries.
Regarding that, the answer can be found if I flip back to the previous page.
What concerned me was the overview of something written “in the recent years.”
With this kind of wording, it was as if she was still alive.
…If it’s like that. That means I am living in the same time period as the one person whom I thought I’d never see again, I’m so glad.
A legend is but a myth about things people cannot believe to be possible. For example, achieving something that is earth shatteringly or unheard of. I would feel the same about reincarnation if I hadn’t experienced it first hand──
Then like this, I might be able to get a glance at the face of my disciple who had attained greatness.
Such unexpected fortune. While I was terribly excited, I searched for a certain entry inside the book──
The current year was 13048. After doing the calculation, and if I got it all correct, the time of Alma’s birth was somewhere between 700 to 800 years ago, I could only say that it was expected for her, an elf, to have lived for that long.
After I found the (approx)year of her birth inside the book, I was full of joy.
12942~…following it was a stretched out line, which was not made of any numerical values. This meant that Alma was still alive.
This was a miracle, the heavens had allowed me an opportunity to witness the growth of my disciple with my own two eyes, I could not feel anything other than strong gratitude when I found out.
Based on her birth year, if I count backward it would be──
「Oh? That book──」
Looking at the book from over my head and Seria’s, a crystal clear and dignified voice came down toward us.
Long and beautiful blue hair that would make even the sea feel ashamed of itself. Eyes filled with gentleness but also containing a degree of sharp strictness.
This beauty could no longer be compared to any piece of artwork, it had transcended this world, I remembered who it was.
「Fufu, I feel a little embarrassed.
Seeing the book which was written about me, I have a slightly creepy feeling.」
Her face, it’s totally the same as the photograph which came with the book──
Although the age was overlapping, it was the unforgettable face belonging to my daughter. That, was right in front of me.
Alma Shijima. Records shown the year of birth was in 12956, still alive and well in the year 13048.
In other words, Alma right now is about 100 years old. Yet, she still possessed the appearance of a twenty years old human──
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This world which I lived in now, since the time of my death, only about thirty years had passed.
Subjectively speaking, the deep and emotional farewell I had with my daughter felt very recent, but now that I had witnessed my beloved daughter’s unchanging pretty and well appearance, I gathered myself together.
Although I had a preconception about her already being an old woman, this was beyond my expectation. I was reborn into the time not far from where I left it.
…Maybe a little too short, but……what do I do?
Alma grew up to be a dignified woman. However, I can still envision the old her clinging to me and crying not too long ago──
It was as if an actor who had just declared retirement came back to the stage one or two days after ── while feeling it was quite an awkward moment, I opened my mouth widely.