68.2 Even I get Frustrated
“Che, shine maidens?”
The man clicks his tongue. He then kicks me one more time with all his strength before running away.
The sound of his heavy footsteps grows distant. Afterwards, several other footsteps rush towards me.
“Ernea-kun, are you alright?”
Once I hear the worried voice from close up, I finally recognize it as being Ruiseine’s.
“Ye-Yeah, I’m fine.”
I rub my eye while somehow or another getting up.
“Uwaa, Ernea-cchi, you’re bleeding!”
Although the pain wracking my body makes it hard to see, Inea seems to be nearby too.
“What the heck happened.”
The third worried voice, this must be Kiiri.
“Eetto, I was at fault.”
Yeah, this is my fault.
The pain washing over my body helps me gradually regain my composure. The normal me would have never acted so disgracefully.
I’m impatient from completely being unable to defeat Gild-san. I’m despairing that I might lose Mistral. My irritation at the meager amount of time left until the deadline seems to have caused me to act unlike myself and perpetuate violence.
What just happened is obviously my fault.
I bumped into that man and wasn’t able to give him an acceptable apology. Afterwards, I assumed an attitude that looked down on an elder. All and all, I was at fault.
Ruiseine, worried at seeing me become silent, comes closer.
“Are you truly alright?”
She caresses my cheeks with her cool hands. Afterwards, a warm and gentle feeling washes over me, and the pain disappears.
It’s cure law.
My eyes finally clear up and I smile as I can faintly see Ruiseine.
“I will be treating Ernea-kun, so Kiiri, Inea, please continue going ahead.”
Ruiseine lends me her shoulder and has me sit on the side of the street before saying such to them.
“Alright—, we leave this to you, Ruiseine.”
“Very well, we’ll continue on.”
Kiiri and Inea smile with a “fufufu,” and wave as they then head to school.
“Sorry, I’ve made you worry.”
“Just what happened here?”
“Ugh, a lot.”
That incident was my failure. I’m too embarrassed to tell Ruiseine about it.
“My, my, well, well, will you not tell me?”
Ruiseine puffs out her cheeks and her mouth takes the form of a “へ”. Despite that, she doesn’t pursue the matter. Instead, she gently hugs me tight.
My whole body fills with a gentle warmth and the pain fades away. The feeling is so pleasant, I entrust my body to Ruiseine and close my eyes.
I reflect now after all this time about how I didn’t apologize to that man. Anyone who only saw what was happening from the middle onward would assume that man was at fault. I don’t think I’m in any position to be cared for even by a shrine maiden. If I should ever meet that man again somewhere, I’ll properly apologize to him.
Nevertheless, even though I thought I absolutely wouldn’t lose to that man, I somehow lost. As I am always having matches against Gild-san, I am only thinking about fighting. Right now, that brawl is occupying my mind.
I had a perfect grasp of his movements. Even though I had overwhelming physical ability, I lost. The reason, dirt was thrown into my eyes. Out of nowhere, my sight was stolen and I was one-sidedly beatdown.
That’s when I recall what Gild-san said to me before. When you have to win no matter what, you need to be underhanded. That man blinding me was absolutely a dirty hand. Except, there are no such rules in a fight. He was able to turn the situation around by doing such a thing. My being unprepared and being unable to deal with it was my problem.
Do I also need to resort to that sort of foul play? There’s no choice if I want to win.
Thinking, ‘Still,’ I twist the idea around in my head.
Is that really alright? Battles should be fought fair and squarely, shouldn’t they? Are my thoughts naïve? To begin with, what even is fair and square? Is throwing dirt into someone’s eyes no good? But there are also people who steal the sight of others using darkness magic. I don’t think using magic should be called cowardly.
Is attacking with deception bad? What exactly is a sneak attack? If I take my opponent by surprise with a sneak attack, would not taking advantage of that really be possible?
“No,” I groan out.
“My, my, well, well, is there still someplace where you hurt?”
Ruiseine misunderstands my groan and peers at my face in concern.
“No, I’m fine. Although, can I stay like this a bit longer?”
“Fufufu, we can remain like this until you are better.”
Ruiseine spoils me with a gentle smile and I sink back into thought. What is a dirty play? What is a clean technique? The current me really just can’t figure it out. But when I think about, I realize it.
I personally don’t care about what counts as a dirty play. I just don’t want to use hands that I consider cowardly. I don’t want to behave in a way that would make me feel disgusted with myself, regardless of whether it counts as a clean or dirty.
Except, will I be able to beat Gild-san by saying that? I have to defeat Gild-san no matter what. As I am now, I have no chance of defeating Gild-san by the end of the year. If so, should I really be avoiding plays that are unfair? Should I really do anything for victory, no matter how underhanded it is?
It’s just, I don’t want to act cowardly. If I do, I feel as though I’ll defile the Dragon Sword Dance Old Sleigstar taught me. In that case, I should fight with the Dragon Sword Dance. Or is choosing how to win not an option?
My heart sways from worry.
“You can do it. You can do it.”
Suddenly, I hear a strange voice near my ear.
“Ruiseine, what did you say just now?”
“No, I did not say anything at all.”
She tilts her head from curiosity at my question.
“You can do it, Ernea.”
There it is again. I hear a voice I never heard before. I feel a gentle breeze brush against my cheek, and I look up for no particular reason.
“You can do it. You can do it.”
Without my realizing, before me stands a lovely girl around the same height as Priscilla-chan.
T/N: No, Ernea, you may have bumped into that guy, but he completely overreacted. If anything, he should be apologizing to you.