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Pru and Formidable
Bell Rocks Translations
Edgar’s Chapter 2: The book of inferiority
“…Yes. I found out by chance, and I think there will a Karabinae training of her squad soon…”
“…How come someone like her, who disregards traditional etiquette, is allowed to participate in the training? Many people don’t want to see her there, including me… In any case, the Empire is nearing its end I tell you. Not only are lowly merchants posing as aristocrats, but now even women are posing as men…”
“…As expected, right? I don’t know why she’s so bold. I’m sure she knows that everyone can watch her whenever she’s training there, right? Does she have no shame? Or, is it because she’s enjoying the attention?…”
“…Exactly, it’s because she has that type of personality, that’s why she’s staying here to get all that male attention…”
“…When I think about her like that, my lower region heats up again. She seems like someone who’d jump at you even in bed. A wife has to be quiet and modest, but it will definitely be enjoyable to have her as a little plaything for a while… I don’t know who this girl’s husband’s going to be, but it looks like she’s going to give him a hard time…”
“…Well, it won’t be us…However, I also don’t mind having my way with her at least once…”
“…Nothing truer than that. But can you imagine? Having your reputation dropping so low that you’ll be tossed around for a bargain price…”
“…I’ve heard she’s very extravagant and arrogant, and that she will break your pride; I’m dying to see the day when this girl who’s pickier than a princess gets her nose smashed on that smug face of hers…”
Unknowingly, Edgar slammed the book he was returning on the bookshelf. It was hard enough to cause the shelf to shake, and the two cadets at the window looked back at him in surprise.
“How noisy. Get out of here.”
As one of them stuttered like a fool, his companion grabbed his arm. They did, however, appear to recognize Edgar given their whispers when they passed by him. Even after their disappearance, Edgar’s irritation stayed. It was because the feeling of embarrassment due to the fact that he reacted for no particular reason, captivated him. With this, Edgar convinced himself that he only responded that way because they were loud and that he wasn’t associating himself with the insults against Liloa.
Regardless, everything he had heard bothered him, despite his refusal to admit to himself that he had grown sensitive about Liloa. He pretended he didn’t understand their language. It’s not in Edgar’s nature to care about someone else, whether he knew her or not, or whether she was troubled or not, but for some reason, he’s become annoyingly conscious of her, and he couldn’t figure out why.
Edgar considered himself to be naturally gifted. He excels in everything, and even though he could be clumsy at times, he quickly becomes proficient in any field he sets his mind to. In addition, neither his appearance nor his origin had any flaws. He knew all too well that he was exceptional, and he lived content with it.
Although the last few years have been a dark phase for Edgar, such a short period of time hasn’t changed his fundamental self-esteem. So Edgar found himself in an unfamiliar and unpleasant situation as he suddenly wanted to conceal his existence for no reason…
“…Thank you for kicking them out first. I found them loud, too.”
The voice came from behind the bookcase. The moment Edgar heard the unmistakable woman’s voice, he immediately realised who she was.
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‘No, perhaps it’s because I recognize her voice. Aside from the employees, Liloa is the only woman in Lebrun. Also, an employee would never dare to speak to me in this manner.’
Edgar stopped his hand trying to pull out a book. He almost asked, “Why are you here at this time and what about training?” as he knew about Liloa’s schedule because of the men’s earlier conversation. Edgar hesitated and blinked his eyes rapidly. It struck him that Liloa was standing right in front of him.
‘Although there is a bookshelf between us, I might be able to see her if I pick out any book…’
He could see part of her clothes through a gap created by a short cover.
‘Cadets’ uniform… If it had been a dress, it could have been a visitor, but if it’s a uniform, then the voice is without a doubt Liloa’s… If so, I should just ignore her and leave. I had not planned on exchanging words with her yet.’
But now that they’d met, Edgar was frozen in place. It had only been a minute and he already wanted to be with her and talk to her. He got embarrassed as his desire was so obvious.
‘What did she just say?’
However, in the midst of his denial, his tongue steadily spewed out words.
“What do you mean thank you…”
When Edgar noticed that his voice had become very docile, he cursed inwardly.
‘Damn, what’s this pathetic tone?’
“Because if I was the one who tried to drive them out, things would have been different. It only would’ve become louder…”
Liloa sighed at the end of her sentence.
‘She doesn’t bother revealing her identity. On the contrary, she appears to plainly believe that the person she’s speaking to understands what she’s saying. Her implicit recognition appears fed up rather than arrogant… She probably judged it would be too exhausting to explain because her name is prominent but for no good reasons.’
Edgar, on the other hand, didn’t want to stay long, but his eyes already chased her moving form. Her shoulders brushed between the shelves as she searched for a book, and her hair, tied up in a ponytail, dangled lightly. Edgar’s chest jumped wildly.
“What were you going to say?”
Some of the books between them slipped out and were put back again. The sound of Liloa turning some pages filled the silence. She scanned some more pages, and then closed the book. Edgar moved his body slightly so that he couldn’t be seen through the gaps in the shelf.
“Hm well, I don’t know. I don’t really think about it too well before I say something. I just spit it out, you know? But to give an example… I might have laughed at the idiot who said he was sorry for my future husband, but then assumed the possibility of being with me in the next sentence. Or I could have mocked them for coming all the way here just to watch me train even though they said they didn’t want to see me. I probably would have had a field day with them as they gave me so many options.”
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Edgar felt strangely excited because Liloa seemed to be laughing.
‘She is more ordinary than I thought. Considering the extent to which her environment suppressed her, she has a cheerful personality. She’s not on the defensive and doesn’t approach strangers with hostility. It’s difficult for many people to survive this kind of treatment in Lebrun, but Liloa is doing it. Perhaps it’s because her generalisation is slow, she doesn’t pass judgement quickly, or she respects the other person as an individual…Yes. That’s right.’
“They should feel ashamed of themselves. And that’s what I would’ve made them feel.”
“Because they feel no guilt for disrespecting people. I’m perfect the way I am, I can perform all the tasks I’m assigned, but in the end, I’m incomplete because something will always be missing. Isn’t it rude to treat a normal person as an invalid?”
“Then they should be ashamed.”
“Isn’t it a bit absurd? The concept of shame has been changing all throughout history. Many people are still insensitive to the shame I’ve been talking about, but well, I think it can change over time.”
“Like how we started to wear clothes for purposes other than protection?”
Liloa was horrifically accurate. Edgar had considered the Ruwans to be lacking because they couldn’t breathe on the Central Continent, even though they were already whole. On such a subject, he was belatedly ashamed of himself from time to time. The ordeal was so shameful that he avoided Liloa when he first saw her. But now, Edgar wanted to ask her face-to-face instead of over the bookshelf.
‘Where in the world did you hear, read, and learn such a way of thinking?’
He wanted to know everything Liloa thought and said. But at the same time, he didn’t want to know the source of her knowledge.
“How can you say so?”
“Naturally, because I was born that way.”
Edgar didn’t understand what made Liloa so sure.
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‘What’s natural? I asked her how, so why can she answer with it’s only natural?’
But he didn’t dare ask why. Whereas Edgar was filled with confusion, Liloa was exuding confidence. Their worlds seemed so far apart despite the bookcase being the only barrier, as though Edgar would step into another world upon crossing the shelf.
‘No, it might not just be one bookcase.’
Edgar felt that he could only face Liloa after crossing the vast world between the numerous bookshelves separating them.
“Is that all?”
“There are natural laws… that’s why. I’m referring to it as ‘laws’ because of course, one should never say that people who exist are wrongful. Shouldn’t we admit that natural laws shouldn’t be broken, just as we’re ashamed of breaking our Empire’s laws?”
“Where did you…”
Edgar almost asked reflexively but quickly closed his mouth.
‘…Where did she learn such a thing?’
Since his time at the Imperial Clairaut, Edgar had been bombarded with similar questions. He conducted his own research and discovered the answers. So, Edgar was always the one to respond to such inquiries. As a result, when he became the questioner, he was placed in the same position as the old-school scholars, and his embarrassment increased even more.