14. I Don’t Care, So Let Me Go Home!

“Really, just what’s wrong with you?”

Hello, it’s Rururia. Though I’ve been belligerent about it from the start, I’ve become the Maiden of the Flower Scales. Every way I’ve tried to refuse has failed, and now I’m starting to feel like I’ll be a failure if I don’t give it my all.

“Good day, I am Rururia Talbot. Thank you for agreeing to instruct me today.”

Manners are the most important, right? Even if the person you’re speaking to just stares at you without introducing themselves, it’s still important to be courteous. And, well, if the famous heaven sent prodigy (sarcasm) deigns to teach me, then I’ll surely become more adept at magic, right? That’s what I’m hoping, at least.

“Huh? Did you really think that I’d do anything for you?” Solan snarkily retorted.

Ehh? You’re not going to teach me? Even though you came all the way over to the Knight Order’s training field? Then just why are you here?!

“…Well, then why are you here?” I asked plainly.

“…I came to speak with Lionel-sama.”

For some reason, it looks like he’d lost all his energy. Eh? What? Are his eyes watering? Did the Knight Commander – Lionel – threaten him?

“For now, why don’t you show me what you’ve got. You don’t even really need practice for something like affixing magic, after all.”

What a pompous genius! There are tons of things that us normal people can’t do you know?! Is this guy looking for a fight?! Do you want to get into a flashy squabble?!

He showed absolutely no desire to teach, instead planting himself down on a nearby bench.

Well, there’s nothing to be done. I don’t even want to learn from him. With that sour attitude, he probably won’t even show up for tomorrow’s lesson. If he doesn’t then maybe I can ask that knight from yesterday to show me instead. Hmm, yeah, I’d definitely prefer that.

“Well, then, I’m going to start practicing.” This said, I began silently practicing affixing magic.

Wow, it feels really good to move my body.

But what’s up with that guy? He’s just sitting in the corner sulking…well, whatever. It doesn’t matter anyway.

I feel oddly refreshed even though I’m getting all beat up like yesterday.

…Ugh, but geez, I don’t think I’m making progress at all!

Well, I’d give myself an A for effort. That should warrant a little break, right?

Meanwhile, for the whole hour that I’ve been training, Mr. Prodigy – Solan – hasn’t said a single word…it’s kind of amazing in its own way.

I sat on the bench next to his and sipped on the lemonade I’d brought from home. It was only slightly sweet, but very delicious. As I was drinking, I snuck a look towards Solan.

“…Why did…I mean, I didn’t…but for Irene…even so…” he murmured.

W-woah!?! Just what in the world is he mumbling about?!? He’s scary! S-C-A-R-Y!!

…Should I just ignore him?? I should just ignore him, right?? Is that okay?? Yikes! We accidentally made eye contact!! What’s up with those lifeless eyes?!? A-also, what’s with that black aura oozing out of him???

“…Now why is that? I…I do love Irene…”

Oi! Your magic is leaking out!! It’s denting the ground! It’s already wrecked that bench!! Have you lost control of your abilities?!

“Ahh…but why doesn’t Irene…love…me?”

…I see, I see. I’m getting angry again. I feel it starting to boil over. I don’t have anything to do with him or his murmuring, right? This training has nothing to do with it.

I moved closer to Solan, who was now rocking back and forth, his magic still overflowing. It was gouging out everything around him.

What’s with that magic around him? I wonder if it would hurt me if I touched it. It’s best to just ignore him for now.

“I…I…I…I DON’T KNOW!!!!” He suddenly shouted.

EH?!? This is bad!!!!!

I grabbed his robe with all my anger fueled might and slammed my forehead right down onto his.

“URGH!?!?” With a startled look on his face, Mr. Prodigy grabbed his head and crumpled to the ground. I let go of his robe, checking to see if his magic output had calmed down.

Good, exactly as planned. His magic is dispersing. I’ll headbutt him again if he loses control. My best friend Sara once told me “A magician can’t use their own magic if you rattle their head.” As expected, she was right…I’d have to make sure to tell her that her advice had come in handy.

“I don’t care what you do by yourself, but don’t cause problems for other people just because you can’t control your magic!” I yelled at him.

Tsk! Ugh, my head hurts!!! And my arms and legs got all scratched up too! All this before the festival…hmph!!

“I was just…” He began, mumbling some more while checking his wound.

Hey, Mr. Prodigy?? Wait, is he crying?! Knock it off! It’s like you’re trying to make me look like the bad guy!

“It’s not like I chose to be born with this much uncontrollable power!”

Ehh? Ahh, I guess that makes sense. No one could choose to be the kingdom’s strongest magician. Actually, he’s probably the strongest magician if we count the surrounding countries too.

“This world is totally UNFAIR!! Irene is the only one who really understands me!!! Irene is everything to me!!! If Irene doesn’t love me…then…then I!!!”

It’s like looking at my old self…how annoying. After being exposed to the world’s unfairness…all I could do was cry. I felt nothing but grief…unable to defend anything…so watching him cry just infuriates me…

“Hey, all that ‘Irene, Irene’ talk is annoying.” I grabbed him by the nape and dragged him to his feet. He had been so caught up in himself that when I shook him out of it all he could do was get angry with me. “The world isn’t fair. That’s just a given.”

His red eyes glared at me.

“Don’t just dwell on the problems. Resist the world’s unfairness.” I did my best to stomach these harsh words and glared right back at him.

He’s just consumed by anger, like anyone else would be. It’s just normal anger.

“Resist! Resist! Until the very last moment! Until you close your eyes for the very last time, you must resist!”

I probably don’t understand what it’s like to hold that much power. It must have been really painful to be called a “Demon Child.” How unfair that must have been. However, what I do know, I should clearly say.

“I might not understand your suffering, but I do know that for a woman, the most important part of love is not being clung to but protected. So, protect her.” I let go of his neck and he fell back into the bench with an exasperated look on his face.

Crystal-like tears fell from his eyes. Tsk, good grief…has he calmed down a little?

…Ah… ehh…I said some pretty improper things for a lady. I think that slightly aggressive style may have soured the mood a bit around here. Ugh, I can’t believe this. I feel cheated!!

“…Well anyway, it looks like the weather is taking a turn for the worse, so I’m going home.”

“…No, no, ehh? What??” Solan cried out as I hastily walked away.

Geez! This guy is such a baby!! Though, I prefer this to that gloomy attitude from earlier.

“What can I do for you, Solan-sama?” I asked, turning around.

“Ehh, erm, there’s nothing I want you to do…but are you really just going to leave after chastising me like you’re some kind of seasoned war veteran?”

I-I don’t know?? I’m a lady, the daughter of an earl, I don’t know anything about seasoned war veterans!!!

“That was the first time that I’ve ever been headbutted by a girl…”

Oh, come on, Solan. You’ve got a long life ahead of you. You’ll probably get headbutted a lot. Besides, just what are you expecting from me with those glittering eyes? Hey, could I gouge them out?

“This is…like throwing fists. It’s male friendship!” He sprouted suddenly.

“I’m a girl though!”

Hey, are you into this sort of play? Your face has relaxed a ton, Mr. Prodigy.

In an instant, he replied: “I’ve never been able to make any friends. Just what am I missing?!”

“Oh…it’s something like that. It’s alright, you don’t need to be ashamed.”

What on earth is happening?! Have you even been listening to me?! Why does no one around me ever listen?! Gah! I just want to go home!

What do I even say now? Solan must be trying to hide his embarrassment and hasn’t actually been listening to anything I’ve said. Wait, what’s with that look?!

…Don’t tell me. Does this troublesome guy actually think that I’m his friend??

Since we were ‘friends’ now, Solan skillfully cleaned and healed the wounds that his magic had caused. He even apologized for the trouble.

Look at that face. Honestly, he’s probably cuter than most of the ladies I know. I’m tempted to forgive him just because he’s so cute…but I don’t think I can. At least not yet. But he really is good looking…

After that, his demeanor did a one-eighty; even politely offering to teach me. Due to his lessons, I made quite a bit of progress with affixing magic.

If I keep this up, I really could become the Maiden of the Flower Scales. The Knight Order might even give me their seal of approval! The festival is only a little ways off. To think that someone like me – someone ‘magically tone-deaf’ – could come this far in only a few days…

W-woah, Mr. Prodigy is really amazing…

Unfortunately, the Knight Commander made an appearance in the middle of our training and said: “As expected of Rururia-jyou. It looks like you managed to tame Solan.”

Unbelievable! This was your plan all along, wasn’t it?! I know how vicious you are now, Knight Commander!

Then, at a later date, my brother visited me at the training grounds.

“Ah, big brother! I feel like I’ve been possessed by something terrible…maybe we should go to a temple…” I began.

“Before you do that, I’ve got you a present.”

…Lately, I feel like he’s been a bit cold to me. It might be because I made his career path harder than it needed to be.

Hey now, I see that grin.

He handed me a letter.

…Huh? It’s from Irene-sama.

Resisting the urge to rip it up, I opened and read it in one go.

Ehh, wait, what?

To summarize: ‘Solan’s become more honest, what happened?’ What did I do? I didn’t do anything besides headbutting him…so does that mean I should headbutt him some more?? I can’t guarantee that’ll work. If anything, a second headbutt might revert him back to normal.

Huh? There’s a P. S. too?

“Whoever Rururia-jyou declares to be her friend is the victor?”

…I didn’t want to see this!!