Short Chapter of Memory #1
I had always thought living as an adopted son of a noble had more disadvantages than merit. But I gave up many things to not disappoint the expectations from around me and also to not dishonor my father’s name. As a result, I was acknowledged by the general.
General asked me what I wanted to do from now on and I answered that I will follow the same path as my father. General patted my shoulder while smiling slightly then difficultly opened his mouth and said that he will do everything he can to support me.
His face at that time was certainly smiling but also looked slightly bitter. I didn’t know why he was making such an expression at the time.
Not too long after that, I ended up enrolling in a military academy for nobles. Many nobles gathered in this prestigious academy which had produced many warriors that left their names in the history.
At first, since these were people that enrolled out of their interest in warfare and martial arts, I had a small expectation that the students here would be a different bunch than the ones in the family. People in the family rigorously mocked me by calling me a ‘lowly child of a commoner’ whenever general wasn’t around. But I soon realized that these students were also the same brand of ‘nobles’ after all.
Raven: (….This place is the same.)
The gossip spread fast. Even those that didn’t treat me with discrimination started distancing themselves from me after finding out my lineage. But they also didn’t treat me lightly. They couldn’t easily mess with the adopted son of a kingdom’s hero, ‘General Cronwell’.
Maybe this was better for me. It became a good condition for me to only focus on my sword skills so I just had to spend my days quietly without getting caught up in any troubles, graduate safely, and then leave the family. That’s right…. I never thought I could get along well with these people in the first place. I merely had a miniscule expectation that maybe things could be slightly different.
But unlike my wish of spending the days quietly, the situation didn’t flow according to my favor.
Each year, something called the ‘mock siege warfare’ was held for the sake of preparing for an actual ‘siege warfare’. This was not only a place where students contested their strengths but also became a pride contest between families.
All students had to participate in the ‘mock siege warfare’. There was one rule that absolutely had to be followed and it was that you had to form up in teams of 3 people.
Many students from lesser families approached me first to offer me a place in their team but I refused because I could clearly see through their schemes of trying to benefit from the general’s name.
Raven: (All nobles are a bunch that is blinded by their greed for success and power. I wasn’t trying to get involved with anyone else before graduating…. Things had become troublesome….)
While I was worrying about participating, the day of the mock siege warfare had approached to next week.
Short Chapter of Memory #2
Ever since I was young, whenever my head felt complicated, I used to go out into an empty field and swing a weapon. Sword was fine and even a sturdy stick was okay. Focusing on swinging something helped me throw away useless thoughts.
And this was the time to throw away useless thoughts. Mock siege warfare was about to start next week and I was planning not to participate in that siege warfare.
Raven: (General will certainly be hugely disappointed. But I don’t want to team up with those kinds of people.)
It would be a lie if I said I had no regrets. I didn’t have much interest in spreading the family name. But I had a very strong desire to show my skills to the general.
Holding the blade that was lying in the corner of my room, I headed to the training field like it was a habit. The campus was quiet because there were no classes due to the preparation for the mock siege warfare. Those that already formed teams were busy practicing outside the campus. You could sometimes hear sounds of large and small explosions coming from far away.
I forcefully tried to ignore these but couldn’t help my gaze from turning. Even though I had determined to let go of my regrets, thoughts of forming a team even now ceaselessly rose up in the corner of my mind.
Raven: (Let’s throw it away.)
I determined again while putting strength in my hands holding the blade. They were all useless thoughts. I had to shake them off by swinging the blade.
Owen: ….I’m not saying that members aren’t important. Mock siege warfare has a very simple rule where the side that captures the other team’s base first wins. But you won’t be able to win by just trying to break through up front.
Owen: We should first divide up our roles…..
Zohan: So it means we’ll win if we just break through quickly right? Everyone moving together is better then. Why don’t you go build up some stamina if you have the time to come up with those kinds of stupid plans?
Training field was unusually noisy today. I could see three guys facing each other in the corner. Two of them were giggling as they started mocking the one other guy.
Fred: You, you must still think you are someone special…. Someone from a Felford family that had sunken low to the bottom is actually daring to order us around? How come? Did you want to become a leader at least in this place?
Zohan: Don’t get us wrong, we didn’t team up with you because we wanted to. It’s just that only ones remaining were so lame that we let you, who at least still had a family name intact to join us. We can’t have a girl or a commoner joining us after all.
Raven: (…Here they go again.)
I didn’t want to get involved. It was blatantly obvious that my future days will become agonizing soon as I got involved with those guys. I turned around and was about to go back to the campus when a guy from the Felford family who was getting mocked opened his mouth. It shouldn’t have been strange for him to be furious after all of this but he looked surprisingly rational and calm.
Owen: This is a training exercise that occurs inside a wide and complicated castle. That’s why we for sure need someone that analyzes the situation and gives correct orders. You guys won’t be able to handle such a task with your brains so I’ll….
Fred: You…. are you messing with us?
Even before the guy from the Felford family finished his words, another guy with a heavy build standing in front of him instantly grabbed him by the collar then held him up.
Fred: Know your place. I can end someone like you any time by putting in some words to my father. All you need to do is to just quietly and obediently follow what we say.
Zohan: Don’t step up when you don’t need to. Got it?
Raven: You guys must have so much leisure time to be playing around in this place. Stop being noisy and get lost. Before I call someone to kick you out.
I absolutely didn’t step up because I was burning with a sense of justice or felt pity for the guy from the Felford family. No, I initially tried not to step up. But ignoring this situation would make me no different from the other nobles. I just didn’t want to become like that.
Zohan: What? Who is this….? Raven?
Fred: Hmph, you must be feeling confident with your family name on your back. But you’re not even a noble in the first place….
Raven: How lame. Everyone here is equally a student long as they are here. Yet you are coming up with ranks based on family names….? Fine, since you like ranks so much, let’s take a look.
Raven: Does any one of your families rank higher than the Cronwell’s?
Long silence continued. Faces of the guy with a heavy build and the guy beside him twisted and reddened. Then the two guys quickly left the scene.
Zohan: Tch, you’re a mere commoner…..
Peace returned again to the training field. Guy from the Felford family carefully approached me then hesitated to speak for a long while. He then finally opened his mouth with much difficulty.
Owen: Thanks for the help, Raven Cronwell.
Raven: …..It was nothing. I just didn’t like those two.
I remembered my determination to not get involved with any nobles so I answered bluntly then took position on the other side as I raised my blade. Guy from the Felford family didn’t mind my attitude and opened his mouth again.
Owen: My name is Owen Felford. I heard that you still don’t have a team yet… Are you not planning to participate in the training exercise?
Raven: ….I won’t enter the siege warfare.
I had sought the training field to throw away thoughts about the siege warfare but ended up hearing a bunch about it instead. Owen didn’t even seem to get tired as he explained his strategies to me during the entire time when I was swinging my blade. His strategies were so meticulous and well formulated that they made me nod unconsciously.
Owen: I had my eyes on you ever since the last training. There are many parts of your movements that are certainly different from the others. A killing purpose strategy that aims for enemy’s weak points while making minimum movements as possible… you can’t learn that kind of strategy from a sword instructor.
Owen: To be honest, I don’t have much talent with the sword. So I prefer to use my brain instead. If you and I join our strengths it won’t be too difficult for us to lead the siege warfare into a victory.
Raven: ….What are you planning to do about the final team member?
It was a heartbeat of excitement that I haven’t felt in a while. Determination to not participate in the siege warfare had already broken down long before as I listened to Owen’s strategies. According to his plans, we certainly had a chance. But the problem was, we needed one more teammate.
Owen: There should be couple of people that still haven’t formed a team yet. So we should try to find…
Seris: Umm, I was just passing by and heard you guys talking by a coincidence~ really, by a coincidence…. So you guys are looking for a teammate right?
Owen and I turned our heads together from a bright voice that came from the entrance. We saw a girl with a gold blonde hair with a wooden sword leaning on top of her shoulder walking towards us while smiling brightly.
Seris: I also still don’t have a team yet. I did ask around various places but every one of them said they were already full! Can you believe that?
Girl had already approached in front of us and was waiting for an answer while looking back and forth between Owen and my face. Owen finally answered while sighing.
Owen: I’m sorry, Seris. But I have no plans to have a girl in our team. According to my plan, we at least need two swift….
Seris: I may not look it, but I’m a crazy fast runner.
Owen: who has the skills to break through enemy line in an instant….
Seris: I was around average in the test we had before. Compared to that, Owen, you were almost last right?
Owen: …Anyways, my answer is no.
Seris: What’s up with that? Are you looking down on me because I’m a girl?
Owen: ….It’s not because that… ehm, ehm….Anyways, no is a no-…
Raven: Fine, we’ll let her join.
Seris: My goodness… Seriously? Really?
Owen’s gaze was bothersome but this was because I thought that since the siege warfare was fast approaching it would be better use of time to practice our cooperation rather than to waste time trying to find a team member….This was the excuse I gave myself as I nodded.
Seris: Thank you so much! I won’t let you guys down! I’ll do my best! I’ll give it my very best!
Seris looked joyful as she grabbed Owen and my hand and smiled beamingly. She didn’t mind Owen complaining and chattered on for a long time while not letting go of our hands.
Short Chapter of Memory #3
I held my breath as I focused the on sounds coming from my surroundings. I started to hear enemy’s footsteps and they started to get closer.
Raven: Owen, it looks like they changed their direction.
Owen: Seris, how are things on your side?
Seris answered while urgently turning towards Owen.
Seris: It’s just like you said Owen, they are grouping up to attack us head on.
Owen: Seris, you stand by so you won’t get found out then come down to where I am when I give the signal. Raven, you block the front.
Raven: Leave it to me!
I followed Owen’s instruction and hid myself at a blind spot in the castle gate. Voices of the enemies could be heard soon enough. Voices came from somewhere very close.
Zohan: What? Isn’t this way too easy?
Fred: He was talking so big. This is their so called strategy?
Barton: Stop talking and focus.
Group that were laughing loudly started to tenaciously attack the front castle gate. Gate seemed to shake largely three or four times then finally broke down with a loud sound. This was the right time to strike that Owen had mentioned. I used the chance where vision was obstructed due to dust and attacked by aiming at the closest enemy’s feet.
Fred: W, what…? Where did he come fro…..
Enemy fell down on his back and rolled on the ground. My attack regrettably didn’t reach the enemy’s feet. But it wasn’t for naught. One of the enemies reached out his hand to raise up his fallen comrade. I kept silent as possible as I lightly struck the enemy who had his back turned on the back with my blade.
Fred: Zohan! Be care….!
Raven: Rule 3, people whose bodies make contact with weapons is treated as ‘dead’.
Zohan: Kugh… damn…!
Seris: Owen! Raven finished one off!
I could see Seris far away. She seemed to be shouting something to Owen quietly. Owen must have heard Seris’ voice because he started to send a hand signal that we had decided on during training. We’re attacking their base…. Seris nodded then started running towards where Owen was.
I had to buy enough time to make sure that those two heading towards the enemy base weren’t found out. I was wondering how to effectively draw attention then recalled what happened before in the training field.
Raven: Tch, how useless. I’m stuck hiding in the castle gate like a coward…
Enemies heard my mutter then exchanged gazes with each other while smiling. They took the bait perfectly.
Fred: Haha, once we beat you, others will be a piece of cake!
Barton: It’s over, Raven!
Two of them started swinging their swords at me in turns. Although these were training swords with dull edges, it didn’t change the fact that they were threatening. But it wasn’t too difficult for me to dodge the attacks coming at me consecutively. I deflected the attack coming in from my left with my blade then took a step back as I looked at Owen and Seris enter the enemy base and raise their flag.
Zohan: Where do you think you’re looking?!
Disqualified enemy grabbing my ankle and sword that enemy swung grazing by my cheek happened almost instantly. I lost my balance and started to fall backwards, as the sound of the trumpet signalling end of the exercise rang out.
Short Chapter of Memory #4
Seris: ….we won… we won!!!
Seris’ shout came from far away. I seemed to have slightly sprained my ankle but it didn’t hurt at all for some reason. Was there ever a day when the sky looked so clear? I smiled without realizing.
Seris: We won!! We won Owen!!! Raven!!!
Owen: I got it so stop dragging me.
I felt Seris and Owen’s voices coming closer. I brought myself up to sit then looked up at the two.
Seris: Raven….? Are you hurt?
Owen: Here, grab my hand.
As I grabbed Owen’s hand and stood up, I saved in my mind the sight of the broken castle gate, enemies angrily glaring this way and Seris carrying a flag and smiling brightly like a child.
Raven: Owen, it’s all because of you.
Owen: It will be an insult to my family if I can’t even lead this kind of battle into a victory. Thank you both for following up properly.
Seris: That’s enough thanking, let’s hurry up and go to the infirmary. You’re ankle is red, it looks swollen.
Seris worriedly went to other side of Owen to support me. She then grimaced as she glared at the group of enemies. I hoped Seris would just pass this over quietly but she seemed extremely angry for some reason.
Zohan: Hmph, losing to those nobodies…
Fred: It’s fine, winning in this child’s play wouldn’t have satisfied me anyways.
Barton: That’s right, they won’t be able to do anything after they graduate…. They might as well try ‘winning’ in this child’s play.
Seris’ steps seemed to slow as I expected. She stood in front of the enemies and became enraged.
Seris: Is that a thing to say after hurting someone with a cheap trick?!
Zohan: Cheap trick? Who? Us? Isn’t that something only a chick from a lowly family like you uses?
Fred: Yes, be honest. You just came here to nab a guy from a good family right?
Barton: If only thing you have to show for yourself is a pretty face then use it properly. Use your head a bit.
Seris: What do you mean by….
Seris’ voice started to quiet down. What I felt from spending a week with this girl was that she was always bold, confident and thought positively….an opposite person from me. But a girl like this was biting her lips as if she was furious and was about to turn around.
Raven: Such smooth words coming from so called high and noble families. Is that how your families taught you manners?
Barton: What? How dare a dumb commoner….
Raven: Aren’t you guys past the time to be acting like kids? Mocking us like this won’t change the fact that you guys lost to us.
Zohan: Shut up! Try saying that again, I’ll….
Raven: Well…. I can understand you guys being so angry. The day you guys will beat us won’t ever come after all. You guys can’t beat us even in here… so I don’t even need to mention after we graduate.
Group of enemies were grinding their teeth and looking towards my direction as if they’d jump at me at any moment. Seris pulled on my sleeves with a startled expression.
Seris: I’m fine so let’s go… alright? You need to get your leg treated.
Owen: Yes, leave it at that. We need rest for tomorrow’s exercise. Especially you Raven. You hurt your leg so you can’t overstress yourself.
Even Owen got in between me and the enemy group as he led me away. I still had mountains of words to throw at them but regrettably started moving due to Owen and Seris’ words.
Raven: How about you check who you’re up against before facing them next time?
Fred: How dare you!!!
Rage filled shouts came from behind us but we didn’t mind as we left the place.
Short Chapter of Memory #5
Seris: I…. I can’t….anymore….
Seris dropped to sit down and panted heavily. Owen grabbed Seris’ hand with a dissatisfied expression and pulled her back up but Seris dropped to sit back down and caught her breath.
After the day of the mock siege warfare, three of us usually met up and trained together. Ever since we finished mock siege warfare, Owen said that his ideal team had been so close by and started to refer to us as a ‘team’.
Owen: Here, water. Today’s training is over if you just finish one more set.
Seris: But…..that’s what you said before….!
Seris instantly gulped down the water Owen handed to her then got back up to barely finish one more set and dropped to lie down this time.
Owen and I looked at each other and shrugged then we went to sit beside Seris.
Seris: Owen’s training is…. Is way too strict…
Owen: You shouldn’t have teamed up with me with such a small resolve.
Seris: I didn’t think it would be like this at the time.
Seris gave a sidelong scowl at Owen then raised her body to sit and wiped the sweat off her forehead. She did always complain but Seris was diligently following Owen’s training routine. Owen’s training routine was difficult but it was structured methodically to fit individual’s strong and weak points so Seris’ skills were increasing day by day.
Seris wasn’t the first girl to enroll in a military academy, but instructors all praised her by saying they’ve never seen a girl this enthusiastic. But she also became a target of jealousy for some students at the same time.
Raven: Seris… why did you come to this military academy…. You could have had easier life…
Seris: Because I think that I should be the one who constructs my life.
Seris drew an unrecognisable picture with her finger on the ground as she continued speaking.
Seris: You would normally have to marry somebody picked by your household when you become a certain age right? I absolutely loathed that. What about my freedom? My will? Is a life where I cannot choose anything freely a life at all?
Seris: I thought about it carefully and concluded that kind of life was no good. Of course, life here is difficult too, but still….on the day when I fought together with you guys, I finally felt that I was alive.
Seris smiled like a child then looked back and forth between Owen and my faces.
Raven: (I understand now that….. not all nobles are greedy as I thought.)
My narrow-minded thought from when I first came here started to gradually change because of Seris. Maybe that girl’s positive personality was affecting me.
Owen: Then you have even less time to rest. I’ll have you enter special training course starting tomorrow.
Seris: What??? No way… I can’t…no, I won’t! Look, my legs are shaking this much already…
Owen: You’re overreacting. You should at least be able to handle one person’s worth to remain in our team.
Seris: Seriously… you’re too harsh….
Raven: (Although he sometimes spouts out harsh words as if they are nothing…. That must be his way of caring for his friends.)
Owen had a completely opposite personality from Seris. He was calm, rational and calculative but he gave an absolute trust towards people that he thought was on his side.
Owen: Don’t just sit there smiling like an idiot and take this.
Owen also handed me a note filled with very dense writings as he stood up.
Owen: Raven, you’re entering a special training course too. You should raise your strength whenever you can after all. Two of you, don’t waste any effort so that I can make use of you guys more effectively.
Seris: What’s the use if we die in the process?!
Owen: People don’t die from just this much Seris. Don’t worry, I’ll immediately call for a medic if you collapse during training.
Looking at Owen give a scary smile and starting to coach Seris’ training again, I raised my blade also.
Short Chapter of Memory #6
Seris: If only every day was like today~
It was a leisurely day without classes or training. Seris came to my room first thing in the morning and pestered me to go eat breakfast together with her. We filled our stomachs with a simple breakfast then were taking a stroll around the campus to pass the time.
Seris: Oh, it’s Owen!
We could see Owen with his arms full of books heading to the library. Seris ran towards Owen with cheerful footsteps.
Seris: Good morning Owen!! Where are you going? Library? You’re studying even on a day off?
Raven: They look heavy….
Owen: It’s fine.
Owen always had books near him. He didn’t let go of books even during training.
Seris: Wow~ you finished this many books in just one night? That’s amazing.
Owen: Most important thing in coming up with strategies is to widen your field of view. It’s easier to think flexibly if you know more, and you’ll be able to see sides that you couldn’t see before. So you two should do some reading when you have free time….
Seris: Ugh… nagger….
Seris covered her ears and distanced herself from Owen. Owen made two fake coughs then continued speaking as if he didn’t mind.
Owen: There were lots of books that I haven’t read before in this library. I’ll recommend one to each of you so try reading them.
Seris: I don’t like reading….
Seris hung onto me as her body became loose. She then snatched one of Owen’s books and started to examine its contents.
Owen: ….Recently, I’ve been thinking that I’m really glad to have come to this school, and met you two.
Seris: What are you saying all of a sudden?
Owen: When I’m alone, I somehow keep getting thoughts that how it would have been if I didn’t come to this place, what I would be doing otherwise. I probably would have been spending my days blaming my own circumstances and my family.
Owen: I also wouldn’t have met you two. And….
Seris: Owen… you were always speaking so bluntly but you’ve been caring about after all! Haha, I think that I was fortunate to have met you guys too!
Seris hung onto Owen’s back this time and placed the book she was holding back on top of Owen’s pile of books. My gaze unknowingly turned towards Seris face as she smiled joyfully.
Owen: ….No, it’s not that…. I was just saying that I would have regretted missing out on such useful chess pieces.
Seris: Chess pieces…..? That’s so harsh…
Seris pouted as if she was very disappointed at Owen’s words then turned the topic around and asked me.
Seris: Then how about you Raven?
Raven: My thoughts are the same.
Seris: Raven, even you too…. as chess pieces….
Raven: No, I meant that it was an unparalleled fortune to have met you two.
Seris who had been pouting again walked couple steps without saying anything, she then shouted in a loud voice as she hung onto my neck.
Seris: Wow…. Wow….! Raven… I’m so moved…!
Owen: You say such embarrassing words so easily. We’re here. Be quiet in the library.
Owen shook his head and entered the library, leaving behind me who was struggling because of Seris. It must have been just my imagination but it looked as if a smile that I haven’t seen on Owen before was hanging on his mouth.
Short Chapter of Memory #7
Seris: Shh, be quiet.
Seris silently followed behind Owen and approached right behind his back.
Seris: Even the expressionless Owen might make a funny face if he’s surprised. Raven, you want to see too right?
Seris put her finger in front of her mouth as she made a mischievous smile. She then carefully raised both of her hands above Owen’s head. Smile unknowingly formed on my mouth at how childish she looked.
Seris’s shout rang out across the quiet library. Thankfully, there was no one else using the library this early in the day. I eased my mind and turned my gaze towards where Seris and Owen were.
We couldn’t see any change in expression from Owen. Seris muttered with a very disappointed expression as she looked up at Owen.
Seris: What, you’re no fun.
Owen: Keep quiet in the library. Isn’t it also written in the entrance?
Seris: Alright, enough nagging!
Seris pouted and gave a sidelong glare at Owen then turned her gaze towards me. She was making a childish smile as if she had never pouted.
Ah… it’s that smile again. It was a face I’ve always seen but Seris’ smiling face felt good to watch every time. It had the power to make others smile along with her.
Raven: (She was smiling when I first met her, also when we were victorious in siege warfare, when we were training together and when walked around the school together, always…)
I was always seeking Seris’ face. And the moment when I realized this fact was…..for some reason today. Today that was supposed to be particularly no different than any other days, this moment right now.
Raven: (…why am I feeling like this now….?)
Why now….? I had no ways to explain. But it didn’t take too long for me to collect my feelings, my emotions and accept them.
Raven: (I see… that girl…I….)
I must like this girl. Seris was approaching me while smiling just like the days before.