Every morning at 5:00 AM, my body wakes up naturally.
This is a habit I’ve developed ever since I was a kid, so I could get up and finish my morning run.
After a light jog around campus, I headed towards the cafeteria.
My plate was filled to the brim with food.
The mess hall lady is really nice.
I would’ve just called out ‘Seconds please’ with a smile, and taken a large amount of rice if I wanted more though.
I learnt how to eat in moderation at home.
Mother always had to cook enough for father, myself, and my two younger brothers all by herself.
Anyways the school food really exceeded my expectations for what I thought it’d be like.
Its delicious, but I still think I’ll miss mother’s home cooking in about a month or so.
Although I already thought I was an adult mentally, I guess I needed to be away from home to realize this childish side to myself, huh?
I guess this means father sent me here because he thought that it would be a good experience for me, even if was only a little bit.
When I left the house, my father and my brothers sent me off themselves without showing too much concern.
I was only going to be gone for about three years, I didn’t want anything like a grand departure anyways, so that was fine.
Though mother was filled with tears in her eyes when she saw me off.
She also gave me a gift, saying that I should use it so I wouldn’t embarrass myself when I tried to make new friends
And without even saying ‘thank you’ one month ago, I left my house.
In retrospect, I’m feeling a little regret over that.
I think that if it was the me of now I could’ve said my thanks to her.
Since before I never even considered such things necessary.
Though now I can think clearly.
I guess this is what people would call a ‘growth in character’.
I don’t know if my mother’s gift had any effect, but I was still able to make a friend.
Honestly I didn’t think I’d be able to make a friend this quickly.
With that said, I think he’s the kind of guy that you could remain friends with for life.
If I could find at least one thing to cherish over my three years away, everything would be worth it.
Those were my thoughts as I traveled to the school.
However, my thoughts have changed a bit from then.
I want to find something I can devote my life to at this school.
Yes, I want that, but in addition to that I also want to enjoy my school life as much as I can, just because I can.
My friend’s name is Kururi.
At first I thought his figure tempering a sword was a little scary, but he actually turned out to be quite gentle.
I felt a lot of new feelings when I was with him.
When he finished eating the sheep with me, he even shed tears of happiness, though he didn’t eat as greedily as my brothers did as we grew up together.
I think it’s good to have a big appetite.
I often find him reading books.
If one were to judge him on first impressions, they would just think that he was the son of some unreliable nobles, but those rumours and reality are quite different.
His hands are similar to mine, in how they’re covered in calluses that could’ve only been developed by swinging a sword everyday.
Both his upper and lower body are well developed, while he also seems quite proficient with magic.
You know, sometimes I see the First Prince Arc around the school, and just by looking at him, I can feel that if we ever fought while holding nothing back, I would definitely lose.
I get the same feeling from Kururi whenever I see him.
He would be a formidable opponent if we ever had to fight.
Harbouring feelings like that towards friends might be rude, but I think he’ll forgive me for just this much.
I still haven’t met with the resident of apartment 1-3, but that’s okay.
I think that being able to meet with Kururi and my other friends was lucky enough.
‘The seasoning they used for today’s meal is a bit dark.’
I thought about such things as ate I breakfast.
The food Mom always cooked at home had a lighter taste, so I always ate my fill.
Oops, I’m reminding myself of her again, I’m going to get homesick at this rate.
Anyways, there’s another friend who I used to get a bad feeling from when I saw him.
He’s a friend who goes to Kururi’s apartment every day.
He suddenly asked if he could become Kururi’s apprentice, and I couldn’t help but be wary of a guy who suddenly draws near someone just because they said they ‘want to get stronger’.
He’s short, his body’s slim, and he has a high pitched voice.
With an appearance that could be easily compared to a woman, he suddenly blurted out that he wanted to be as strong as Kururi and asked to be his apprentice.
He gave off a bad first impression, so I didn’t want to get too close to him, the fact that he looks like he’s capable of magic is really bothersome.
But after a while, weirdly enough, when I got a good look at him his face reminded me of my mother’s.
My younger brothers took after my mom too, so it almost felt like one of my brothers came here to commute with me.
Unfortunately, because of him I’m often reminded of my mother.
After I finished my meal one of the mess hall ladies suddenly asked:
“Did you have a good meal?”
‘Of course’, isn’t the best answer here.
I’m thankful, but I’m not very good at speaking with people like them.
Once I left the mess hall the sun had already started to rise.
Just a couple more days until the entrance ceremony.
So like usual, let’s go to Kururi’s apartment today as well.
“Morning Vaine, wow you’re up early.”
On my way to apartment 1-1, I met with Kururi outside.
“It’s not that strange, I’m always awake at this time.”
“Well~ There’s a reason why I’m up. You see, I smithed an amazing sword last night! It’s probably my best work yet!”
His face looked really fatigued.
But more powerful than that was his excitement that seemed just to ooze out of him.
It was obvious just from the tone of his voice.
“You going somewhere?”
“Ah yeah, I’m going to go and test the new sword.”
The sword Kururi was holding was certainly a treasure.
I’m not really that interested in swords themselves, but I couldn’t help but get fascinated by its beauty.
I was even a bit jealous of him.
“Are you going to hunt demons?”
“Yup, to the west there are a few small monsters lurking about and since there’s no real risk there, it’s the perfect place to try this out.”
His face became brighter yet again.
He must really want to test it.
“Do you want to come Vaine?”
“No, I have my own training schedule to stick to.”
“Is that so… Sorry if it sounded like I was pressing you into it.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
After we finished our conversation, Kururi left with a little quickness to his steps.
I ended up in front of his apartment ten minutes later than usual.
I guess I’ll just sit in front of the door and wait for now.
“Did he forget his house key?”
My eyes were closed, so I didn’t even notice him until I heard his voice.
He was walking over here at a steady pace.
“You’re wrong, but now that you’re here let’s go start our training.”
Crossy tried opening the door to Kururi’s apartment.
“Oops, looks like Kururi-dono isn’t here yet, does this mean you were waiting for him outside?”
He sent a glance towards me.
Again, his face overlapped with my mother’s for an instant.
“I wasn’t, Kururi is out on an errand, so today we’re training in my apartment.”
When I said that, Crossy suddenly drew back.
His eyebrows wrinkled together all of a sudden.
“I can’t go to such a dangerous place! Its way too different if we’re alone!”
“Don’t shout so loud in the morning. My apartment’s structure might not be the same as Kururi’s but there’s no danger.”
“Not that kind of danger! It’s something else! Don’t take me to a strange place like that alone!”
His words are kind of harsh, aren’t they?
I wonder why he’s so wary. I’m going to help train him but that’s it.
“Nothing strange will occur, don’t worry.”
“Really? Swear that nothing strange will happen!”
“I swear. We’re only going to train.”
Crossy went silent. I guess he still doesn’t trust me, I can feel the distance between us.
“If something happens… I’ll die trying to kill you.”
“It’s impossible for you to kill me.”
“Shut up! Take me seriously for once!”
While grumbling curses and such we finally entered my apartment.
Now we can finally start training.
Like usual, we stretched our bodies first.
This guy’s motor reflexes aren’t half bad.
He’s also a quick study.
Although most people aren’t very flexible, after only a week he can already do all the difficult stretches, he must have a pretty good body.
For the final stretches I was going to help him out, but he knocked my hand away.
“Hey, watch where you’re touching!”
“I was just going to lean on you to help you stretch.”
With a little resistance, I was able to confirm all that I needed.
“You developed the bases quicker than I thought. Now we can start focusing completely on body building.”
“Really?! Then I’m counting on you, okay?”
Crossy said so happily.
He likes to train, I guess.
I guess I understand, I was also happy when father allowed me to hold a sword for the first time.
He’s probably feeling the same way.
If he’s really feeling what I felt, then if I do the same thing my father did with me, we’ll get closer right?
“First, we’re going to build up stamina through running.”
“…is what I was going to say, but since it looks like you’re progressing quickly, let’s do some special training.”
“Okay… wait what?”
To Crossy who looked a bit confused, I passed him a wooden sword from my bag.
“Its special training. It’s a house tradition that still works to this day.”
“Will it help me get stronger?”
“You’re a bit impatient, but yes as time goes on you’ll get stronger. Now, you just need to follow my instructions.”
“Okay… I understand.”
“Now, come with me to the garden.”
Clenching my sword, I headed towards the garden.
The moment I found out the dorm had a garden I chose an apartment on the first floor.
Once again I’m grateful I live on floor one.
Once we were in the yard I took off my shirt since it’d just get sweaty after this.
We’ll swing our swords and sweat together this way.
I have good memories doing this with my father.
“What are you doing?! I knew you’d do something strange!!”
Crossy cried out.
“You should take your clothes off too, and then we’ll start our training.”
“Like hell I will!!”
He screamed while swinging his sword towards my head, thankfully I was able to dodge in time.
To swing a sword that quickly without hesitation, as I thought he’s well suited for sword play.
“You swore nothing strange would happen!”
“This isn’t strange. I felt like we got off to a bad start, so in order to strengthen our bond we’ll work off a sweat together, this is just skinship.”
“That may be so, but I still want to wear my clothes!”
I don’t have any feelings of discontent.
I’ve already become friends with Kururi by sharing my favorite sheep, but I also wanted to become friends with Crossy, and make good memories together.
Kururi said it might be impossible to become friends with everyone, maybe he was right.
“Look, I won’t take my clothes off, but I’ll keep swinging the sword with you until you’re satisfied. Is this okay?”
It took me a bit to realize what Crossy had said.
Once upon a time, there was something my mother told me.
My home was one shared with my three brothers, where we devoted a lot of time to the sword.
Therefore we grew up without any people we could really call ‘friends’, but we didn’t have any ‘enemies’ either.
Born to the same house, we all chose to walk the path of swordsmanship.
“In the world there are many people who have a different mindset from yours, and just so you know, your mother here is one of them.”
So this was the thing that my mother talked about.
The words she said that day were resounding in me.
One more time, let’s give trying to be friends another shot.
I thought the people mother talked about might be humans that thought differently.
No, not ‘might’, but probably.
If we’re not both enjoying it, we might not be able to become true friends that enjoy each other’s company.
After looking at Crossy’s stern face, I couldn’t believe I just stomped over those feelings this entire time.
“Okay, then let’s start.”
“Leave it to me.”
“Well, once I start swinging, tell me if there’s anything wrong.”
Crossy started swinging the sword.
As I checked him over, I didn’t see any particular problems.
He wasn’t making any amateur mistakes.
If there was anything to point out, it would be how his thin body was.
Even his legs look a little thin.
I’m not sure whether this could be a problem or not.
At the very least I want him to put on some muscle.
I grabbed his thigh… it feels almost as thin as his arm.
“So you would do something strange! Touching someone’s inner thigh out of nowhere!”
“Try to gain at least 20 kg of weight.”
Calculating from his physique, it looks like he’ll need at least this much.
“Don’t worry, if we just increase the amount you eat every meal, you’ll be ready in about half a year. Oh, and how much do you weigh anyway?”
“Don’t just ask about someone’s weight like its natural!”