TL: I actually had this chapter since last week, but I didn’t get to run it through grammarly until now lol.
Flashback: Sue got a student to sit on one of Ash’s wolves to prove they are not dangerous. She planned to get the wolves to actively go up to the students to prove they are friendly, but Ash mistook her intentions for wanting to do bad things.
Chapter 102 – The duel and the student sitting at the same table
Sue did not really think deeply into things, but she thought that it was too much of a lost opportunity…… for so many wolves to idle there.
She called Ash inflexible because she felt he was being too passive to just wait for the students in the Academy of Light to accept the wolves.
The duel between him and Tegwyn which would happen soon. If the latter won, he would gain another shiny achievement in his glittering life. That was because he was fighting to protect the countless students in the Academy of Light, answering their fervent wishes by successfully fighting off the evil Beastmen who plunged the academy into chaos…….
And even if he lost, it was possible to control the narrative to garner sympathy. Even though it was not as impressive and bright as winning, it was still honorable.
Regardless of the results, he was a hero.
And what about Ash?!
If he lost it would be the righteous person defeating the evil Beastman at the end of a story; the Beastman that became the stone that paved prince Tegwyn’s illustrious path. If Ash won, then it would just end up making people feel that he was more terrifying and evil than before.
No prize money, no fresh flowers…… This fight was pointless for Ash. Ultimately, he was just someone who answered the crowd’s demands to fight a duel with Tegwyn.
Sue felt greatly dissatisfied for him. There should always be a goal for everything, right?! Why was it necessary to have a duel that had no real merit at all?!
The important things were being blurred, blurred! The young and honest wolf boy was someone who did not experience enough life events after all!
Ash was still confused over Sue’s words, but the latter was already smiling at Tegwyn with a slight bow: “Actually, I heard about the duel that’s going to happen between the second prince and Ash a few days ago. It isn’t really a good thing for me to jump out to spoil the scenery since everyone is looking forward to it, but there seems to be a misunderstanding here. In order to allow the second prince know that you wronged and bullied a good person, and not have a guilty conscience or whatever in the near future, I have come here specially to explain something….. I’m sure you’re not trying to provoke the Beastmen on purpose right?!”
“Misunderstanding?!” Tegwyn frowned. The important point was not about the misunderstanding, but the emphasis on Sue’s voice that he was bullying and provoking Ash…… If he insisted on forcing a duel, did it not appear like he was really trying to bully him?!
Also, he had to consider that the Beastmen were brought into this matter. Putting the result of the duel aside, if the idea that he was provoking another race was perceived as real, then it would be pointless no matter how good his reputation amongst the students was.
A successor to the Tobias kingdom’s throne who made enemies everywhere even before he was considered for the crown?
But he was someone who was trained in court politics after all. His best skill was to maintain his image in front of everyone. He hesitated only for an instant before he regained his calm and nodded politely with a smile:
“Of course. I’m not trying to go against a friend from the Beastmen race. But this concerns the Academy of Light’s safety after all, so I was a little too rash given the urgent circumstances…… Could you please explain the misunderstanding?!”
He insinuated this statement, ‘I will give you the chance to explain yourself, if you do not, then blame me not for becoming *rash* on behalf of everyone—‘.
“Certainly, certainly. I believe that Prince Tegwyn is definitely a good person. You will never do something like bullying a newcomer,” Sue sighed with admiration, “just who in the Academy of Light doesn’t know that you protect the students and teachers’ interests? Like helping out your senior female classmate with her tests, or teaching your innocent junior female classmate, and helping out the delicate female teacher by carrying her stuff……”
Everyone nodded as they listened to her; they had seen him do these things before, but…… why was it all girls?!
[The lordly me also helped out guys! Even though the number isn’t as many as the girls……]
Tegwyn barely held his smile as he tried to change the topic: “Please talk about that lovely misunderstanding?”
“It truly is a misunderstanding.” Sue sighed again: “I know. The reason why you would challenge Ash is probably that you think he had disturbed the school’s safety and frightened the students right?!”
“Of course, I—”
“Which is why this is the source of the misunderstanding.” Sue could not be bothered to listen to him and did not give him the time to give a speech: “Prince Tegwyn, I believe you know that the various chiefs from the Beastmen race would bring out their beasts if they go on a trip. This is the same thing for the members of the Tobias Royal Family. When any of you go out for a trip to other kingdoms, you would bring along several guards and ministers, right? ……May I ask, if you encounter an ambassador of the Beastmen race who brought along their beasts, are you going to be afraid of them like the ignorant children in the school?!”
“…… Certainly not!” How could a prince like himself have the pride to say something like ‘I am afraid!’ when she insinuated that he was?!
“Indeed! You’re not afraid because you know these things are common. And in this big Academy of Light, you’re not the only one who knows about this fact, right?! Just look at this boy sitting at our table, he was very brave to challenge the experience of riding a wolf, and even though he’s a little unused to the experience and hasn’t adjusted to it, it proves that he’s not afraid…… In fact, only the little boys and girls who have not seen enough of the real world would be afraid of the wolves, and they would speak to you about how bad they are. But most of the students in the Academy of Light are actually very open-minded!”
Tegwyn was secretly seething: “Oh?! But I heard that all the students in the academy are unhappy with Ash bringing his wolves?!”
He intentionally raised his voice on the word ‘all’.
“That’s too much, it’s nothing but a malicious rumor!” Sue expressed her anger, and she asked curiously and sincerely: “Prince Tegwyn, please tell us the person who told you this! I want to question that person!”
“Err…..” The rumor was spread everywhere in the academy, was there really a need to point out a specific name?! But Tegwyn was indeed unable to point a specific name out. No one actually spoke about it directly to his face, and he came forth because he wanted to answer to the public’s sentiments. But even if there was someone who came to him and told him about this issue, how could he push that person out to be the target? If it somehow went wrong, he might be hated instead……
“This is what I think. Ash is framed by someone. But it is also true that there are students who are timider, and we can’t expect them to be brave….. Alright. For those of you who are cowards, raise up your hands so that we know who you are. Then if you spot a wolf, you can quickly run to Prince Tegwyn or another person to take care of you.” Sue gave her thoughtful solution.
Under Tegwyn and Sue’s expectant gazes, the group of sightseers looked hesitantly at each other, and in the end, no one wanted to raise their hands up.
The students were indeed afraid of the wolves, but their fear was very reserved.
Everyone had their own small social circles that they exchanged feelings on. This was due to the reason of the students choosing their subjects freely. They would not be able to interact much if their courses were different, and at most they recognized each other if they stayed in the same dormitory, or know about some famous student because of their excellent grades and gathered around that person to take a look.
If there was one person who felt afraid and came to know that another in their social circle was afraid, they would feel a bond. Encouraging each other to be braver in their own clique was nothing to be embarrassed about. But if they felt afraid while others acted like they were not and even laughed it off, then the majority of the people would not be willing to lose their pride even to the bitter end.
This was one of those situations.
Their idol, prince Tegwyn, said that it was a common thing to see beasts traveling with the Beastmen’s ambassador. The little girl who looked like she was five or six did not appear afraid and even played with the wolves. While that normal student who rode on that huge wolf…… Uhhh, even though his actions were kind of disgraceful, he did express that he wanted to ride on his own volition?!
The students were a little hesitant — maybe their own small group felt afraid, but the others were actually calm and unafraid?!
Raise their hands up?! Stop joking. Raising their hands meant they were cowards and had to be taken care of. Anyone with a little pride did not want to lose their face. If they raise up their hands, thousands of eyes would gather on them, and they would become infamous in the academy overnight.
This was the same thing as how girls would apply to rest in the nurse’s office discreetly. None of them would go in front of the class and shout: “My goddamned time of the month is coming……”
Losing face was fine since everyone was human after all, but the lowest line to be drawn was not to lose it in front of everyone……
Prince Tegwyn waited foolishly for ten minutes before he realized what Sue’s plan was.
[F#&@……. Socks of the Elven king! I’m being led around the nose by her!]
Sue giggled: “Look! That is why this is a misunderstanding.”
“…..” Misunderstanding my foot!
Ash was very surprised. The innocent wolf boy did not expect everyone to accept him so easily. Was he mistaken as well?!
“Of course, it’s fine if you would like to continue the duel. Friendship first, sportsmanship second!” Sue continued to laugh: “But this attempt to drive a wedge between the humans and the Beastmen is too much. I need to investigate which coward spread the rumors and caused the friendship between the two races to nearly break!”
Crap! Now no one could not admit that they were afraid. This forced tag on their heads was pretty big…..
Prince Tegwyn nearly had tears streaming down his face…… There was no justice on his side now, and challenging a newcomer when he was one of the privileged students living in the Magic Tower was lame.
“It’s fine, let’s have a fight, I don’t mind. It’s been a while since I fought someone after leaving the tribe.” Ash was actually excited.
The duel finally started when the teacher came, but everyone was not as passionate about it as before.
Even though both duelists were strong with high-end specs, and it would be a great fighting experience…… this was really too different from what they initially expected!
No matter how much reputation Tegwyn had, he was just a student. The so-called advanced magician was certainly enough to live grandly amongst a bunch of newbies, but against Ash who had a vast amount of fighting experience and invincible in his clan to reach number one, the difference in strength was just like a child fighting an adult.
Ash did not even bother to choose the subject Brawling when he came to the Academy of Light to learn. The teachers were only about as good as he was, and their styles were entirely different. If there was nothing better to do, fighting a few rounds to test each other out was fine, but learning from them…… It would be a wolfderful waste of time.
Tegwyn already knew from the start that he did not stand a good chance against Ash. He came to the dueling stage only to get popularity and political points….. now that his goal had been turned into a misunderstanding, he could not shy away like a tortoise hiding in his shell and had to steel himself and continue fighting…..
The overseeing teacher announced the start of the duel. Tegwyn immediately conjured a Mana Shield on himself, but before he could conjure a few fireballs to harass his opponent and give himself time, a grey shadow streaked before his eyes. He was unable to see his opponent’s path at all. He felt a violent shudder on his body and was knocked back by a powerful impact. The mana in his body was shaken, and then the Mana Shield was shaken…… It was a one-sided bullying affair……
“This boy doesn’t know how to give the prince a little face.” Sue watched the competition outside the ring while she tossed a lemon candy into her mouth, while she rebuked Ash with a shake of her head: “Tsk. That’s awful! You should at least let that prince fight back a little!”
The boy who was forced to ride on the wolf did not have any expression on his face: “……”
“Do you think Tegwyn is going to be fine later on?! I mean, I’m not pointing to the physical injuries. I have absolute confidence in the quality of the school’s healing team, but this mental damage to his pride……” She asked.
“…… I think if you don’t speak with him later on, Prince Tegwyn wouldn’t really have a mental blow.” He said.
“Hey, Look at how beaten up he is right now. As a good friend of his younger brother, how can I not console him?! That’s so impolite and it’s lacking empathy!” Sue’s eyes were shining from excitement, and she looked like she wanted to do it.
“……” He looked up at the sky…… It appeared like Prince Tegwyn would not be able to walk out from the shadows for a period of time.
“But, really, what’s your motive for approaching me?!” Sue asked.
The boy jumped a little, and he finally changed his stoic facade and stared at her: “What motives could I have?!”
“How should I know?! But you don’t probably don’t need to choose basic Alchemy classes at your level, right?” Sue threw out an identity card. The face on the card belonged to the boy, an intermediate Alchemist…… “You entered the profession pretty young, huh, you’re quite talented! …… Staph looking at me like that, when I went for the cream-baked prawns, I accidentally picked it up. Why did you place it next to the food……”
The boy jumped up: “The cream baked prawns are placed inside my Ring of Space! How did you ‘pick’ it up? You’re stealing! Stealing!”
“Staph changing the subject!” Sue was angry.
“……” Who was changing the subject! The boy clenched his teeth, raging.
When troublemakers met, the dirtiest one would win!
The innocent boy was not as shameless as Sue, and after staring passionately at each other, he finally lost the battle: “Fine, the Alchemist teacher is my grandfather……”
“Oh~~~” Sue dragged the word and nodded, understanding: “From an Alchemist family background, I see.”
“Hmph!” The boy gritted his teeth hatefully, his face suffused with displeasure: “Of course I didn’t approach you on purpose. My grandfather didn’t want me to be proud, so I’m starting from the basics like any other student. This will make sure that I test my fundamentals again and prove that my license is gotten with my own abilities instead of going through the Academy of Light.”
“Then asking me about my broom is because of your grandfather’s order’?!”
“What do you mean by ‘order’! He simply made a request!” The boy thought Sue’s meaning was not wrong, but the way she said it was incorrect: “Besides my grandfather didn’t really talk much about it. He just wanted me to take a closer look at your alchemy works if there’s a chance, and perhaps they might be of use to me.”
“Hm, hm. I see.”
Sue did not really mind it too much. She was already lending a hand to the little kids, so the addition of one more was fine, and there was no need to nitpick over the Alchemy teacher’s little tricks.
This was not a novel where everyone somehow approached her because of her charm and pledged loyalty…… People made use of each other in order to get a deeper relationship.
In the modern world, ‘making use of someone’ would not be seen as a negative quality. These words were appropriately used and referred to use something or someone to achieve some kind of goal…… As an example, if Person X was in a horrible mood, he could get a good friend to have a meal, then vent his frustrations by pouring his heart out, was this not ‘making use’ of the good friend?!
Everything was actually fundamentally simple, and she did not want to think overly complicated about things. Even if the boy had some kind of motive, so what?!
If there was no special quality or interest in someone’s things, who would just approach a stranger for no reason?!
In conclusion, every relationship had a motive, and it was the true reason why people would approach someone.
“You…… are not angry?!” The boy felt uneasy and asked after a moment of silence. The anger in him subsided and he realized that Sue did not continue to pursue this problem.
“Why do I need to be angry?!” Sue asked back in confusion.
“But I…..” How did things turn around like this, was he going to try to explain why others should be angry at him?! The boy felt very conflicted out of a sudden.
She sighed quietly, not feeling the mood to console a youth and tossed out her broom cleanly: “If you want to research on it, just do it. Just spit it out instead of beating around the bush like a girl!”