「Ahh! Alma-sama!! In person!! Are you really real!?」
「Fufu, such an energetic child. Aye, I’m real. Although I’m not certain whether or not there’s an imposter going around.」
An individual who not a single Elf would fail to recognize, the legendary Martial Artist. Since she was before us, Seria was instantly captivated.
Behaving like a girl befitting her age ⌈1⌋, she happily jumped into the embrace of Alma, who caught her without any difficulty.
As a father looking at my own child and seeing her so cheerful made me realize that she was still the little girl from my memories.
Before me, Seria was screaming loudly, her voice filled with excitement.
It continued like that for quite sometime until finally, Alma gracefully set Seria onto the ground.
Although Seria was a little reluctant to let go, she happily accepted being set down on the ground.
…Alma had always spoken in polite speech when we were together in my past life but…before my eyes is ‘Alma Shijima’ someone who’s speaking in a strong and dignified tone.
Did she become like this after I died? Or was she always like this and I simply did not notice?…My brain is starting to hurt thinking about this, maybe I’ve mistaken her with someone else.
「Now then, there are a few things I want to talk about, but first, what’s your name?」
「My name is Seria! Why is Alma-sama here in this place?」
「So, your name is Seria, it’s a good name. Well~ how is school going for you, little one~? Oh? And who’s this fellow?」
While chatting cheerfully with Seria, Alma noticed my existence.
Leaning her body down, Alma brought her face closer to take a good look at mine.
Reflected in my eyes were two familiar round pupils which gave me a nostalgic feeling.
I died while leaving her to feel unpleasantness, plus I’ve also said various ── I don’t know how to put it ── at any rate, I feel a sense of guilt from within…
At the current time, I was at a completely loss inside my head, not knowing what action to take.
It wasn’t necessary for me to reveal my identity to my very own daughter.
I was thinking that to myself, since Slava Shijima was someone whom she idolized. That said, whoever would believe me who was just an Elven child to be that person himself… it was very likely that she’ll brush it aside.
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For starter, the fact that Slava Shijima had died was undeniable. The dead can never come back to life.
The memories I harbored in my mind are definitely those of Slava Shijima while being Slava Marshall at the same time.
In a way, I am just a young boy whose name is Slava Marshal who was inspired by Slava Shijima in martial arts.
—It has been thirty years since the death of Slava Shijima. She must have come to accept the undeniable truth.
The choice of revealing who I really am is not a viable option. After all, I myself had thought that it was unbelievable, and so the best option was to avoid causing trouble.
…Although I gave that much thought to it, truth be told, the ties that I had in my past life hold no significance in this life.
Though part of me does want to tell her who I was. Thinking about it, future events further down my path to become the strongest will most likely cause a lot of trouble.
For example if I was to participate in a martial art event and win, the news will spread, people will seek me out for many different reasons which will take away my time from training, just like back then, which I was fed up with.
Then if I tell Alma my identity now–thinking about it a little deeper, this child would most likely think that I’m a fake. Sure she held me in such high regards, maybe it had to do something with the words I left her with.
The final moments spent with her, she must have interpreted my words in some ways and spread the name of the Shijima on the fighting stage…. it must have been very challenging for her with a small body. The thought about it brings pain to my heart.
Perhaps in the future I will make my story known–that will be by the time when I’ll be at the top of the martial realm. Only then will I be able to reveal who I am to Alma.
The feelings for my beloved child standing before my eyes cannot be shown, I intended to keep my identity a secret.
Alma, please forgive this selfish father. I’ve obtained a chance to start over. Thus, in this life, I must achieve the profound strength and be at the very top.
Yes, that’s what I’ve decided to do. Whether it’s right or wrong will depend on how I proceed forward.
There was no way she could figure out that I, her father, would appeared before her in the appearance of a boy so there was no need to be too cautious.
「Erm, well…nice to meet you?」
And so I used ‘nice to meet you’ because I couldn’t think of anything else.
Then without the slightest of doubt, Alma smile at me, just what I had hoped for.
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「Oh, nice to meet you, too. Are you a friend of Seria? What’s your name?」
As expected, the question which I wished to avoid being asked was spoken.
My name is the same one as my previous one–actually, it’s one that was ‘borrowed’ from my previous life.
If I tell her my name, it might bring back bitter memories. Or perhaps she will find it pleasant for the name of her master to be passed around even after thirty years have passed since his death.
At any rate, I don’t want to think too deeply about it. If possible I would have given out an alias but it’s regrettable that Seria was also present.
「My name is Slava Marshall.
I heard that the reason my parents chose it was because of your shishou, Alma…sama.」
Consequently, because I was nervous, I spoke what I think I should.
After all, I’ve decided to keep my past identity hidden and since my name was asked for, I answered truthfully.
Still, addressing her like that caused me discomfort, but I’ll bear with it in order to keep my secret safe, even if it pains me.
「…I see, my Shishou’s name…」
My daughter, how will you react? And the answer to my question, my fear, proved to be correct.
Her dignified and smiling face darkened a little looking over me. In her eyes, small amounts of tears started to form.
Even though it has been thirty years since…to think that her sadness still lingers. Although it might sound like a long time, but it is not the same for the elves, understandably.
When I, you master, passed away, just how long did it take for your grief to ease away–for her, Slava Shijima was also her father figure, and so there aren’t many who could sympathise with her grief. Nevertheless, even after all that time, it seems that she still needed more time to completely overcome the sadness within her.
Seeing the tears from one’s own daughter, the urge of revealing the truth surfaced as well–but I have to put faith in the path I’ve chosen.
Without excusing myself, I waited for Alma’s returned words.
「It’s a good name.
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That name belonged to the most powerful martial artist in history, the greatest of them all. And so to prove yourself to be worthy of such name, will you grow up to be a good man?」
Alma wiped her tears, and returned to her normal self.
…You’ve become strong, my daughter.
I, too, will not falter. I won’t stop until I reach the top.
But, I will get there much faster this time, I thought to myself.
The sooner the better since it means that I can tell her who I really am.
My desire to become stronger was strengthened because of this.
Although I said it with such resolve.
My goal is to become the strongest, the greatest, but I should never overestimate myself. My parents taught me such and didn’t forget to teach me that others’ evaluations of me is equally important. I’ll experience a lot of things in the near future… can’t help but feel slightly worried.
If I recall correctly, in my previous life, there were times when some created a religion with me as the center. I wasn’t sure how to cope with it back then and had to correct my style.
「By the way, Seria, Slava. Can you help me out a little? Which is the way to the principal’s office?」
Having recovered her posture, Alma crouch forward and looked into my face.
Come to think of it, I think she asked me something which I have yet to answer.
Fumu, the principal’s office huh?
Although I know where it’s located, it’s hard to give specific directions.
「Yes, but erm, well…let me show you the way. The layout of the academy is complicated, and so I don’t have the confidence to give you directions.」
「Is that so? Then please lead the way.」
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Since showing the way to the principal’s office is the most efficient way to avoid her getting lost, I put ‘The History of Martial Arts 13048’ inside my bag and stood up.
Alma accepted my offer and the color of joy appeared on her face.
「Yay, we’ll go together with Alma-sama~」
「Whoops, you’re so hyper Seria.」
Alma stood up, and Seria immediately jumped at her happily.
Just as swift as before, Alma caught Seria and carried her with one arm.
Even for a human girl in her 20s or so to catch the little girl ⌈2⌋, despite the fact that she doesn’t weigh very much, would have been challenging for her to do with only one arm. Alma, however, caught her and shrug it off like it was nothing.
Observing her closely, there was a strong and vigorous layer of magic power enveloping Alma’s body.
I see, she doesn’t seem to be lacking on her meditation.
To think that I would unexpectedly peek into my disciple’s growth, I nodded happily.
Although it was the nodding face of a twelve years old boy–it was fortunate that no one had become suspicious.
「Well well, since everyone is here, let us prepare to go to the auditorium.」
After I’ve finished guiding Alma, I made my way to the class slowly. When I arrived, the teacher, Finlay McGovern, told us what to do for today.
Looking around the class, teacher’s expression remained calm. After a quick glance around, I noticed that most of the seats that were usually empty had boys sitting there today.
Fumu. That’s remind me, there’s supposed to be some kind of meeting today in the afternoon.
It wasn’t something that interested me and so I ended up forgetting about it. At any rate, it was some minor thing and I shouldn’t have forgotten about.
Today, children who recently turned twelve were gathered and were to be guided by the teacher.
Somehow, I was selected as the class’s representative and I will be walking right behind teacher Finlay, in front of my classmates.
Anyhow, as the class’s rep, I have to do my job and make sure that the other kids walk in a straight line and do not cause trouble.
「Teacher, everyone’s present.」
「Ah yes, thank you, Slava-kun. Shall we get going now? Alright everyone, come along.」
After I finished checking off for absences today, I reported to the teacher that no one is missing.
After receiving my report, teacher took a final look down the row, and began to walk.
It was like we were a bunch of ducklings. When I began to follow, the rest of the class, twenty kids followed after. ⌈3⌋
Walking in single file, we were eventually merged together with other classes who were in the same age group, and steadily make our way to the academy’s impressive auditorium.
It is very safe here due to divine protection magics. Even if the heaven was to fall, no one inside would be harmed, or so teacher told us, but in reality, no one knows if that’s true.
In addition, there were many Elf sculptures here which were beautifully crafted.
When I was a human, I had the chance to visit this place but this time–I wondered if living as an elf affected my appreciations for the arts. Nothing to make a fuzz over, though I really do wonder.
When we were inside the auditorium, I took a seat in the area that our class was assigned to.
The auditorium had a very vast space that could hold several thousand people at once, in fact nearly half of it was already filled by the time we got here, and yet there were still plenty unoccupied seats.
So, I wonder what the topic of this assembly will be.
The principal was already standing on the stage doing some final checking.
The principal is an old elf that has grey hair and a white beard. There have been rumors that he had lived for a thousand years–for humans, he’s basically a walking fossil.
If possible I wanted to get out of here as soon as possible. Who knows, I might just get to my goal that much faster.
「Ahh, ahem. Can everyone hear me clearly?」
On the stage, the principal’s voice was projected to every corner of the auditorium with the help of magic stones called “Speakers” which were installed on the stage itself.
While I was busy being jealous of his blessed life, it seem that the rest of the student body had finished gathering.
The afternoon assembly was about to begin.
「Ufufu, it seem everybody heard me. All of you behaved yourselves considerably I see. Then, do you prefer this principal’s long story first or would you rather I get to the main topic of this assembly?」
While stroking his long beard, the old elf cheerfully spoke.
Oh dear, there are a lot of random stories the principal has to offer. Roughly, I recalled one hundred years ago, when I visited the academy, the stories from him took forever to finish. Back in those days, I could not find a good reason to refuse talking to him… even now I won’t be able to either. He’s an old elf who sought to study, while I am but a fool pursuing only strength. I probably won’t be able to take away anything from the stories anyway.
The principal’s decision is resolute and always wise no matter what.
For the children of this age, the naughty and impulsive. They won’t be able to take much from his stories either.
「Fumu, well then, please join us.」
Glancing away from the students, he stepped to the left side of the stage.
Since the left and right of the stage were designed for speakers to enter and exit, and so from the right, someone is going to enter the stage.
Now, who will be the honor guest?
Just as I was trying to guess who it might be, that someone made their appearance.
Swaying long, blue hair matching with elegant steps…
Not too long ago I saw the exact thing at a closer distance, now it’s just a little farther away!
….You’ve have got to be joking.
「Everyone, please welcome! Alma Shijima!」
「Thank you for the warm welcome.
….For those who don’t know, I am Alma Shijima. Starting today, I will be instructing martial arts to all of you, here at the academy.
–Through the use of martial arts, I hope to strengthen your mind through your body. It will be ten short years but I’m looking forward to teaching all of you.」
Immediately after, loud cheers started roaring in the auditorium.
‘For those who don’t know’—surely you jest. There’s probably no one here who wouldn’t know who you are.
Even if someone thought she was joking, they wouldn’t voice it.
….Moreover, teaching martial arts, huh.
….Ten years, I wonder if I can hide my identity for that long.
Under normal circumstances, it was already challenging to conceal my identity, now this…I let out a long sigh.