|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library|
Or, maybe I would have admired her to the point of worship as if she was a creature of a higher dimension. Yes, like that girl from that village —the Western Pioneer Village, I think?— who wanted work in my mansion.
Come to think of it, when I passed by that village again with Jill a couple of days later, the girl excused herself to do a daily routine. I followed her out of curiosity, only to be dismayed when I saw her sword-fighting with a boy of the same age using a wooden sword.
What’s more, even from my amateur perspective, I could tell clearly that Jill, despite being a girl, had the upper hand, and even the seriousness of their fight had me frowning. “Are they not going to hurt themselves if they trade blows so fiercely like that?”
In response to my concern, the big thing that acted as a referee —Bartho-what-his-name the Death Knight— spoke in a matter-of-fact tone that belied his ghastly horrifying appearance.
“Fret not! A little injury or pain is but an ordeal to improve the skills. It is that pain that forges the flesh and blood!” He babbled.
Yeah, I don’t think someone who has neither flesh nor blood can say that…
Right when I was thinking of such, Jill came walking to us after she wiped the ground with the boy’s face. Our conversation must’ve been heard by her.
“It’s all right. I’m sure Bartholomew will stop us if someone is about to get seriously hurt,” she assured before she added with a whisper, “…besides, I actually can use a little Healing Art. I can fix a simple injury in no time.”
Even after all the surprises she gave me, this one was the one that made my jaw drop. Practitioners of the Healing Art were much, much fewer in number compared to Magical Art practitioners, and there was no country that wouldn’t favor them highly. One would think it was due to their scarcity and effectiveness, but some countries even sanctify them as people who received God’s affection, a privileged status of its own right. The neighboring Livitium Imperial Kingdom was a textbook example of it.
Even much fewer were people who could practice both Healing Art and Magic Art in conjunction.
“Our mentor has asked me not to speak of it, so please keep it to yourself.”
This girl with her impish, mischievous smile, has no idea of how much of a rarity she was—quite literally, the God’s Favorite.
Obviously, our mentor told her to keep it a secret. If this girl’s existence was known, the chaos that ensued wouldn’t be as simple as a ‘fuss.’ A magician trained by the Grand Founder herself, a user of the Healing Art, and moreover the out-of-the-world beauty she possessed. As a child, she could be adopted, and as an unmarried woman, she could be taken as a fiancee. Perhaps, if they found out about her, even the Saintess’ Church might seek her to fill in the position of the Shrine Maiden Princess that had been vacant for a long time.
As I was thinking along that line, something crossed my mind. All of a sudden, I felt like I was missing something that was… simple. Something that even a child would know… something that, if I spelled it out, would be so painfully obvious…
“Say, Instructor Skeleton. I’ve been following everything you said, and yet I haven’t won even once, isn’t that weird?” The boy who had been dancing on Jill’s palm began to complain to the Death Knight.
“No, you are doing great! After all, you’re still too immature. However, that doesn’t mean you could resort to small tricks. First and foremost, train the basics! You must stretch the limits with every fiber of your being in the basics!”
“Hnng~ At least teach me how to defend, then.”
“GYAHAHAHA! How laughable. There is no need for defense. All you need is to strike faster than your opponent can strike!”
Seeing the Death Knight who brazenly taught a fairly extreme theory, the young boy who started training right away following those words in earnest, and my dumbfounded look, Jill only laughed wryly.
“Despite what he said sounds ridiculous, athletic people are all like that, and in fact, Bruno does get stronger.”
“I see. By the way, is he your boyfriend, Jill?”
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I dressed my question as a joke, and Jill simply shook her head.
“No, if anything, he’s like a rival to me. Bruno has always been prideful about his strength, but when I broke his spirit once, he came to challenge me like this endlessly.”
“I see now.”
I watched the boy (Bruno?) who was brandishing his sword enthusiastically under the guidance of the Death Knight and gave him a sympathetic nod. So, unlike the girl, the boy leaned more into getting fired up and saw Jill as a rival, is it?
That being said, he had a clear-cut standard, which was the sword, and since they were of the opposite sex the rivalry didn’t run deep… On the contrary, from how I saw it, he was also treating their duels as compensation for his wanting to have an interaction with Jill. How very heartwarming.
For better or worse, I was glad to see that my sister-disciple had established a harmonious friendship.
By the way… By that point, I had forgotten about the incongruity that haunted me. Since it was just a passing thought anyway, with no clear evidence backing it, I must’ve locked it out of my consciousness.
In the end, I came to realize the ‘Terribly Simple and Painfully Obvious Fact’ a few months later.
“I will see you off to the entrance of the forest.”
With Jill, her familiar Vier, and the irritating Death Knight in tow, we were making our way along a path in the forest. A carriage should be there to pick me up at the exit.
“After dining and sleeping together under the same roof for a week, seeing you off feels reluctant. But, we are going to meet again next year, right? I’m looking forward to it.”
“Thank you, Jill. I’m also happy to have such an excellent sister-disciple. Compared to you, our mentor doesn’t even bother to see me off…”
Thinking back at my mentor coldly scoffing at me when I said goodbye to her made my voice tinged in resentment.
“I’m sure our mentor found it hard to say goodbye, that’s why she was being dismissive.”
“Do you really think so? When that’s the very same attitude she had when she snatched my side dish this morning?”
“Aah…ermm…well, she’s being intimate because, uh, we’re family…?”
How cute are you, Jill, trying to patch things up for us— truly she must be such a good kid at heart. I was just trying to snide for a bite, and her mature attitude collapsed, revealing a demeanor befitting a girl her age behind it. Her attitude invited a smile from me, and at the same time, the word ‘family’ made me feel warm inside my chest.
That was when I felt like playing a prank on her and offered a question. “Say, Jill. What do you think are key elements necessary to win in a war?”
While Jill was taken aback for being asked so suddenly, the jolly undead behind her laughed hysterically.
“Wahahaha! I can answer that even in my sleep! To fully understand the forces of one’s own army and those of the enemy. To act with consideration for the environment of the battlefield, including heaven, earth, and the people. To reduce redundancy by accurately managing the rank and files. And, above all else, to fight the battle depending on the objective of the battle, whether it is to exterminate, or to impede!”
Not minding the Death Knight who carelessly spoiled all the fun, Jill craned her neck in a muse.
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“In other words, how effective a piece of information is to achieve the objective and how to favorably convey the information. You are also talking about the responsiveness of each personnel in operation.”
“Indeed. Well, there are also others of note, the importance of logistics for one.”
“Hmm~~ But, that is in the case of Military Arts, right? I think there is something that is much more fundamental that you’re missing.”
“Hoh. And what is that?”
My ears perked in interest when the Death Knight asked that question.
“To know who is your ally and who is your enemy. I think you need to clearly make the distinctions before you can do anything, no?”
“Hm. Well, by then it is no longer a question for a militant, but rather for a politician or authoritative figures.”
I found myself half-stunned. This is it. This is what His Imperial Highness meant, the basics for someone who stands above others!
I could feel endless admiration for the girl before me for finding that answer all by herself. She was by no means an ordinary person.
‘Who is your ally, and who is your enemy.’ As I recalled her words, I made a vow. As a ‘Family,’ whatever happens, I am her ally, and I’m sure Mentor is too.
That was when I noticed a bright light coming from behind a grove of trees.
“Well then, that’s enough for me. Also, Jill, and Sir Bartha…”
“Sir Bartholomew, take care, you two.”
“Yes. You too, Ms. Christy. Oh, and please take good care of Eren.”
“Good tidings to you too, Baroness!”
“Yes. See you next year. Take care.”
I waved my hand to the merry three and headed out of the forest. Just as I was about to get into the waiting carriage, I saw a wisp of red smoke rising from the forest.
(Goodness, that dogged old hag.)
With a wry smile, I stepped into the carriage. Now then, time to head back to the Imperial Capital and prepare for the transfer of control.