Another miserable scream. This time, however, Ayrin noticed one more person in the clearing after sliding down from the tree.
“Cartman…Teacher Cartman?” Ayrin said, a little uncertain. He looked at Carter even as he rubbed his fists and feet.
“…” Carter shook his head, a little speechless, then said, “I’m teacher Carter, not teacher Cartman.” Chater 16: You’re a monster
“I remember, you’re that teacher back at the registration.” Ayrin scratched his head in embarrassment and asked, “Why are you here?”
“I just happened by and saw you training.”Carter looked at Ayrin and asked, “Is it teacher Huston who asked you guys to train like this?”
Ayrin shook his head. “I only gave it a try because I heard teacher Minlur trains like this.”
Carter stared, his brows bunching together. He pondered for a while then nodded at Ayrin. “In that case, you might as well link it all together and treat it as a practical skill, it’ll be more beneficial this way.”
Ayrin stared blankly. “Practical skill?”
“A move that can be used in battle.” Carter said in all seriousness, “Physical strength and arcane power are both an arcane master’s weapons. To put it as simply as possible, you have to use means fair and foul, take advantage of everything that can be used in order to defeat your opponent. An arcane master who only knows to use arcane skills is definitely not one expert in fighting.”
Ayrin seemed to understand something from his words. His head nodded firmly up and down on its own.
“If you want to use the power of your body to bring the greatest damage to your opponent, the best way is to avoid getting hit by the opponent before you hit them yourself.” Carter continued in a gentle tone, “Speed can increase the force of the impact, an abrupt change of direction can dodge the opponent’s attacks. Moreover, you can rush in front of your opponent and catch them off-guard with an unexpected strike.”
After gesturing to Ayrin to make him pay attention, Carter suddenly launched himself, sprinted at lightning speed, then suddenly threw himself forward once near that giant tree Ayrin had been hitting earlier, rolled on the ground, then bounced up with alarming speed before smashing his fist on the tree trunk.
The hard brown bark split into pieces, countless dense cracks appearing on the shining white wood exposed below.
This wasn’t the end of it yet. Carter crashed against it without the slightest pause. A burst of violent shakes went through the entire giant tree, together with a tremendous bang. Innumerable tree leaves fluttered down like rain.
Ayrin stood there, thoroughly dumbfounded.
Carter’s entire movement smoothly blended into one whole, fast like a bolt of lighting.
There was previously almost no trace on the tree trunk, but now there were two depressions on it, one big and one small. Looking at the tree bark split open explosively, and the strips of wood sticking out, Ayrin was certain that if he were to be hit like this, his fate wouldn’t be that much different from that guy the Ximos had sent flying.
“Sprinting at full speed is so you can increase the force of impact, the roll on the ground can dodge your opponent’s attack and also catch him unprepared.” Carter quietly explained when he saw Ayrin stand in a daze. “This set of movements can train your body and also be used during actual combat. The most critical point is to make the roll and the bounce into one coherent movement. You have to use your entire strength and you can’t slow down. You also have to be careful when handling the timing of your punch. You need to use a punch to seize the initiative and shorten the distance between you and your opponent, prevent your opponent’s next action, but you can’t let this punch slow your ramming either.”
“I got it! Let me try.”
Ayrin nodded excitedly. He shouted, then once again charged toward that giant tree, swelling with bravery.
Carter’s eyes shrank. He couldn’t help but suck a deep breath in.
“Pa!” “Pa!” With two explosive sounds, Ayrin bounced up and landed a ferocious punch on the tree trunk, then his whole body crashed against it without the slightest pause.
Another exaggerated miserable scream rose all of a sudden, but Carter was now frozen, and an expression full of disbelief flooded his eyes.
Of course Ayrin couldn’t possibly compare to him in speed and strength, but Ayrin’s entire movement had been extremely smooth and cohesive.
There was simply no need for repeated practice. Ayrin fully grasped this set of movements in a single try. The difficulties he’d talked about seemed simply inexistent for him.
There was simply no need at all for him to explain things any further.
Ayrin’s movements would certainly become faster and more explosive as long as he continued this exercise.
Carter had personally taught quite a few students before, and he’d also seen some figures that could be described as geniuses, but almost none of them could compare to Ayrin when it came to learning speed and comprehension ability.
“What kind of monster is he, is it a coincidence or is that his nature?… What kind of mysterious bloodline does he actually have?” A fine layer of cold sweat emerged in Carter’s palms; his heart started to bang with uncontrollable violence.
Ayrin sat on the ground in pain. He asked, full of expectation, “Teacher Carter, is it like this?”
“Just like this.” Carter composed himself. “If you’re interested, properly keep practicing by yourself.”
“Thank you, teacher Carter.”
“No need to be polite, you continue your training.”
Carter’s silhouette flashed and shot upwards, becoming a blue shadow streaking among the giant treetops.
“Really awesome. Teacher Carter, you’re definitely an elite teacher in the academy too. But I’m guessing you still can’t beat teacher Minlur or that teacher Rui.”
“…” Carter was in the middle of considering whether he ought to try and teach Ayrin a few more things in the future while he skimmed among the clusters of trees. He almost stepped on empty air and fell down head first from the sky when he heard Ayrin’s words.
“Ah!” “Ah!” …
Scream after miserable scream rose continuously inside the forest of giant trees.
The curtain of the night once again enveloped Holy Dawn Academy. The forest recovered its serenity under the silvery starlight.
Ayrin was still drowsy from sleep when a dark cloud suddenly appeared in front of him.
Ayrin opened his eyes. He saw Belo standing immobile in front of his bed, looking at him with a very solemn look. He muttered, his brain still mushy, “When did you come back yesterday? I waited for you until really late but you didn’t come back, so I went to bed first… Why are you standing there looking at me, that’s really creepy. I’m not a monster, what’s so interesting about me.”
“You’re much more interesting than even the monsters inside the academy’s Beasts Enclosure. I really can’t see through you.” Belo gave Ayrin a serious once-over. The lenses of his glasses flashed under the sunlight filtering through the windows, as if a layer of ice had formed on them.
“What’s interesting about me?” Ayrin wiped the drool flowing from his mouth and sat up in a daze.
“I thought I came to the wrong room when I returned yesterday.” Belo gave him a glance and said, “Then I found out it was you after I had a good look, you were beaten up all swollen. I think teacher Huston wouldn’t have recognized you back then.”
Ayrin smiled in embarrassment when he heard Belo. He said, “I didn’t get beaten up by anyone, I became like that training on my own.”
Belo pushed his glasses and said, “Then, you take a look at the mirror now.”
Ayrin stood up, looking drowsy and confused. He looked at the mirror beside the bed and immediately thought there was a problem with his eyes.
His hands and cheeks were clear and white. There was simply no visible bruise.
He couldn’t resist shouting, “What’s going on?”
“Why’re you asking me what’s going on?”
Belo snorted coldly. “You were beaten black and blue when I came back last night, even teacher Huston wouldn’t have recognized you, but you’re like brand new after a little sleep. Also, don’t you feel your clothes have gotten smaller?”
Ayrin looked at the mirror and immediately shouted, “What, our Holy Dawn Academy uniforms cost so much, yet the quality is still so shoddy, they actually shrink after wash.”
“Shrink after wash?”
Belo stood up in front of Ayrin. “You carefully look again and see if they shrank? You were half a head shorter than me when you came here, now you look again.”
Ayrin examined Belo up and down, then he examined himself. He became petrified on the spot.
He realized he seemed about the same height as Belo now.
He finally came to his senses. His sleeves were clearly shorter, his clothes were clearly tighter, not because they shrank but because he’d grown much taller.
“You already grew from half a head shorter than me to around the same height in a matter of days.” Belo smiled at Ayrin, very interested. “Don’t you think you’re much more intriguing compared to the creatures inside the Beast Enclosure?”
Ayrin was at a complete loss for words.
He was certain this was the effect of old Ginns’ mysterious bloodline.
He was entirely awake now. In the places that were as painful as needle pricks whenever he touched them after his training yesterday, he could only feel a numb soreness now. That feeling of utter exhaustion was also thoroughly gone, replaced instead by thin strands of warmth.
He seemed once again brimming with energy from head to toe. On top of that, his physical power seemed to be quite a bit stronger than yesterday!
“Alright, stop staring blankly. Anyway you’re not arrogant at all, so I won’t ask protection fees from you even if you’re a bit weird.” Belo casually waved his hand when he saw the stunned Ayrin. “Hurry up and get dressed, get ready to leave.”
Ayrin subconsciously said, “Leave? Go where, what bad things are you planning this time?”
Belo only showed contempt for Ayrin’s conditioned reflex-like reaction. “Did sleep make you stupid? You forgot that today’s the match between our Holy Dawn Academy and Southern Monsoon Academy?”
“The Amazing Girl? You’re right, today’s the preliminary between our Holy Dawn Academy and Southern Monsoon Academy!”
Ayrin reacted immediately. He dressed up in a flurry of hands and feet; he very quickly discovered that the outer uniform didn’t have much elasticity, and now it was so tight he couldn’t even wear it anymore.
He asked Belo, a little anxious, “What should I do?”
“You can wear my clothes for now.” Belo casually threw two pieces of clothing to Ayrin. “You can just go find the dorms’ teacher and get your clothes changed.”
Ayrin firmly nodded with exceptional gratitude.
After washing himself at supersonic speed, he followed Belo out like a gust of wind. They casually bought some things to eat at the nearest canteen, then they dashed even while eating to where the match took place, the Holy Dawn Arena. Chapter 17: Team Southern Monsoon
The closer they neared the Holy Dawn Arena, the more suspicious Ayrin’s expression became. He couldn’t help but mutter to himself, a little apprehensive.
“What’s wrong?” Belo turned his head around and looked at Ayrin. “Ayrin, can’t you eat your sausage first before talking. Don’t you feel very ridiculous talking with a roasted sausage hanging on your mouth?”
In two or three bites, Ayrin finished the sausage he’d already gnawed halfway. White Blood Then he looked at the Holy Dawn Arena’s vast and lofty dome that was already emerging in front of them. He said, “Belo, did you remember the date of the match wrong? A confrontation like this between the strongest students of the two academies involves the honor between the two academies, it should be much more spectacular than the Beast Battling Exam, so there should be many spectators coming. Why are there so few people on the way?”
“The reason is very simple.”
Belo looked at the sparse flow of people on the street ahead and said, “It’s because the battle record of our Holy Dawn Academy is really too lame. Every time, what you want to see is your own academy giving a painful beating to the guys from the other academy, and then get qualified, but what you see every time is people from your academy get painfully beaten up by other people. When something’s too disappointing and feels too much of like a loss of face, of course there will be much fewer people coming to watch. For the vast majority of students, this competition happening only once a year is the greatest affair in Eiche. Countless students and even those who’ve already graduated will come in great flocks to watch their academies’ matches, but our Holy Dawn Academy is instead almost going to completely forget about this popular competition that’s all the rage in the entire kingdom.”
“The worse the battle record and the worse the strength, the more you should go to the arena and cheer for them.” Ayrin said, “This way the atmosphere is more imposing, and maybe their display will be a bit better too.”
“That’s your way of thinking. There aren’t many people like you who don’t know what shame is.”
“But the more shamed you feel, the more you ignore this competition, the less passionately you throw yourself into this contest, then the less likely your team will defeat the other academies, isn’t it?”
“What you say is smart, you’re talking about the important point.” Belo squinted his eyes. “Right now there are many guys inside Holy Dawn Academy that have a little talent like Hawthorne and managed to compact primordial arcane particles very early, becoming arcane masters. They’re all garbage who only know how to hide inside the school, acting cool and strong. What I think is, these wastes have now long forgotten the meaning of courage. I wouldn’t have come to this shameful academy if it wasn’t for Holy Dawn Academy having many formidable arcane skills you can’t find elsewhere, and its many fierce elite teachers.”
“Hey, isn’t that Moss? He came to watch the match too.”
Ayrin suddenly pointed his finger in front of them. Inside the sparsely populated crowd, the red-haired Moss was coming close to an entrance of the arena.
“Newer students will be more curious about the novelty of this competition, and they’re prone to be more hopeful about it. That’s why there are more first years and second years coming to watch. Isn’t it very normal for this guy to come have a look?”
“Let’s go and sit together with him?”
“Alright, we’ll sit together and beat him up!”
“…That won’t be necessary.”
“Courage is the gateway to every dream.”
At the entrance, Ayrin saw these words on every direction board in the blue Holy Dawn Arena, an arena that dwarfed him.
I heard from him before that he wouldn’t become a merchant that profits from war, but if he was in favor of the revolutionary forces’ believes, it is plenty possible.
Because he wouldn’t profit from it after all.
“I am unrelated.” (Rembrandt)
“Ah, I see.” (Makoto)
“Currently, that is.” (Rembrandt)
“Later, I will give you the documents pertaining the revolution that will be occurring in Aion. Well, if I had to summarize it, I would say, they are an amusing bunch of idiots.” (Rembrandt)
“Isn’t that no good then?” (Makoto)
“Umu, that’s right. It is no good. This is something that’s felt daily in the government officials of Tsige as well, but it is truly no good at all.” (Rembrandt)
It wasn’t me but Morris-san who nodded seriously.
Rembrandt-san emphasized that it was ‘no good’ twice, but is it that much?
I have not seen the government officials appointed in Tsige, but if they are people evaluated in this way, it is probably for the best that I didn’t meet them.
“Raidou-dono, do you know who Tsige belongs to?” (Rembrandt)
Rembrandt-san asks me while maintaining that tired expression.
Well, I at least know that much.
“If I remember correctly, a noble…I think it was the fourth prince.” (Makoto)
He is still young.
If I count the time since I heard this, he is probably 6 years old now.
“That’s right. The current king had given this land to this fourth prince he dotes on so much, soon after he was born.” (Rembrandt)
Tsige was gifted to a baby?
That’s pretty sad.
In that case, the king owned this town before that.
“So until then, Tsige was owned by the king, right?” (Makoto)
Is it a territory that is in direct control of the country?
Well, since it is a gift from father to son, there’s probably not going to be nobles who would take it away from him, so in a sense, it is valid.
“W-What is it?” (Makoto)
When I asked for a confirmation, the two of them simple stared at me silently.
Unable to take it anymore, I speak out, and Rembrandt-san did a small sigh and began speaking.
“This Tsige is the second most prosperous land in Aion. This is a number simply going by the payment of taxes though.” (Rembrandt)
It is certainly true that it is a lively place and it is in the wasteland as well.
The transit of people is intense, and I did know that it had power as a town, but to think that it was the number two town in Aion for their payment of taxes even when they are a remote region like this.
“The primary disadvantage is the distance it has from the capital, but in terms of population, economic scale, its location of being the entrance to the wasteland, being the ending point of the Golden Highway, and the adventurers’ quality; the worth of this town cannot be measured.” (Rembrandt)
“And the king has given the rights of this town to a kid that literally doesn’t have the ability to do anything.” (Rembrandt)
Now I understand the reason of why Rembrandt-san is dismayed.
Conferring the rights of Tsige to someone, means that the person who conferred it holds incredible authority.
Giving authority like that to a kid would only stir the people around into having disagreeable thoughts, and in the first place, it wouldn’t serve as anything good for that kid.
No matter how cute that kid was, this is not a correct decision for a father to his son.
To bring your fondness into governmental affairs is not good.
“And then?” (Makoto)
“A king that would do something as stupid as throwing away his own authority. Even though he is already in a complicated position where he has so many children that it is creating problems regarding the successor, he still did something as stupid as that. If he was aiming for that when he did it, then he is quite the schemer.” (Rembrandt)
“From the sound of it, he wasn’t aiming for it.” (Makoto)
“Even though he is still in good health, he easily relinquished a town that offers money to the country as if it were trivial. He did that, and yet, he didn’t place a capable and loyal subordinate as a set for this action of his. I can understand the emotions of the people that want to cause a revolution. At those times, I sended people disguised as aborigines and attacked him night after night.” (Rembrandt)
Just how pissed were you?
It is true that it was gifted to a child, but it is not like their everyday life would change.
“…Since then, the newly appointed government officials were all nobles that have been influenced by the mother of the fourth prince and has been changing constantly in that way. This type of people are not rare in the nobles, but they were all people that only sucked off this town as much as they wanted.” (Morris)
Morris-san complemented the explanation once again.
Well, that’s something.
The worries must have piled up at mach speed.
It truly affected the daily life of the people.
No wonder he wanted to punch him.
Well, it is not like Rembrandt-san himself is punching the king. It is simply his aborigin disguised people that are secretly punching him, so Rembrandt-san probably held back quite a lot.
If those government officials don’t know about what was happening to the king, it would simply be releasing stress after all.
“Petty officials that are crazy in the head, and idiotic generals, that have muscle for brains, were coming and going. It was a crisis that remained in the history of Rembrandt company. Seriously, there’s a limit to doting on your children.” (Rembrandt)
“A crisis that would remain in the history of the company?” (Makoto)
But I feel like Rembrandt-san is also the type who doesn’t have a limit when doting his children though.
“They tried to put their hands on my wife and daughters, and after receiving strange marriage proposals, I judged it had already surpassed the limit and did a few things. Anyways, they were noisy about raising the taxes and demanding money, you see. No matter how much you try being rational with them, talking with that bunch just doesn’t work. They always say: ‘Understood. Then, when can you ready the money?'” (Rembrandt)
I have dealt with people like that from time to time. The type of people that understand words but conversation is useless huh.
Those kind of people are annoying.
In my case, I could just have Tomoe and Shiki deal with them and ignore it, and it would be resolved later, but how do you deal with people like that in reality?
Anyways, tax huh.
I know that Rembrandt-san is a merchant that possesses incredible power in this town, but he was someone that could even participate in the decision of the taxes?
I feel like that surpasses the domain of a single company.
“Taxes, is it. But in that case, wouldn’t it be a lost cause if the government officials just decide for it to be that way?” (Makoto)
“If it were the usual, then it would be just as Raidou-dono says. But they are people as well. It is possible to indoctrinate our side’s thoughts into them. The most simple method is to entertain them.” (Rembrandt)
Entertain the government officials, hear their thoughts, request of them, and place your own side’s thoughts in them.
“Entertain, is it. Then the taxes were also dealt with at that time?” (Makoto)
“Omitting the details of it, yeah, that’s right.” (Rembrandt)
“It is thanks to master that Tsige only has to face the current amount of tax burden, Raidou-sama.” (Morris)
“By the way, what’s the tax currently?” (Makoto)
“The visible rate is 30%, counting the personnel and goods, 10%. In total, it would be around 40% of our income most of the time.” (Rembrandt)
Since he mentioned the other 10% is not visible, that means the residents view it as a 30%.
Even so, it is still a pretty impressive number.
If you gain 10, 4 of it would be taken and you would only be left with 6.
But from how Morris-san said it, it seems like even this is already good, so this place must be in the normal boundaries or lighter.
I wonder how much is the normal amount.
For the people paying, it would be best if it were closer to zero, but if that were the case, the community service would become worse.
“The nobles wanted to make it at least 70% though. If that happened, the town might dry to its death -even if it’s Tsige. This is simply my personal opinion based on experience, but once the tax surpasses half of the income, it only brings negative results.” (Rembrandt)
70% is just too exaggerated.
There’s no way someone would be able to live that way.
Even the desire to work would be gone with a 70%.
Moreover, what’s that about ‘at least 70%’.
Did they want to make it even higher than that?
But the topic about half being the limit, that Rembrandt-san speaks of, also sounds unreasonable.
“That’s terrible. But how were you able to turn that unreasonableness into 40%?” (Makoto)
“Simple. From the 70% that they want to take, we pay the other 30% from our own pockets as bribe money. It is not like we have become saints or anything. If the town dies, we wouldn’t leave unscathed either. And in the first place, I carry a considerable amount of responsibility for this town.” (Rembrandt)
When Rembrandt-san mentioned: ‘Carrying responsibility’, his expression turned complicated.