Chapter 43 – Training!
Five in the morning.
I had woken up two hours early, and rubbed at my sleepy eyes while sitting up.
The bed was so warm and comfortable.
Perhaps I could start tomorrow. A seductive option.
I was too weak willed, and so I curled up in my bed again and slept for another five minutes.
And then, with a stronger resolve, I finally slipped out of bed.
The morning air was chilly.
I washed my face with cold water, forcing the drowsiness out of me.
Really, I would have liked to sleep a bit more.
But if I did that, I would not be able to catch up with him.
And so I had to do things that I didn’t want to do.
I wanted to be the competitive person who can say, ‘I won’t lose!’
I changed into some light clothing and quietly slipped out of the house so that my mother wouldn’t wake up.
And in the still dim city, I ran.
“I see you’re training hard, Ms. Noelle!”
Said the newspaper man as I greeted him. And then I went about the special training regime I had decided on.
‘Training regime? Hmm. I can help if you want.’
Said Ms. Leticia. She was also a magician and someone I really looked up to.
And so I took the training methods that she taught me, and arranged them to suit me better. It was quite hard, and took a lot of effort to complete just once.
Still, I was sure that he was doing even more than that.
And so this was the least I could do for now.
I would catch up with him, but do things my own way.
I took a bath and recovered my energy with magic, before changing into my uniform and heading to the palace.
“You seem to be working really hard recently. What happened?”
“Nothing. I don’t know what you are talking about.”
I said evasively.
After all, it would not do to make Luke anxious. He might increase his own training, which would make it even harder to catch up with him.
I had to make him lower his guard, so that I could bridge the gap all at once!
This was the plan I had weaved together with my genius-level brain.
Hehehe. Even though Luke was smart, he will not be able to catch on to what I’m doing.
As for my training in the Royal Magicians Order, I also tried to do just a little more than what Luke was doing.
And during breaks, I would read books on subjects that I usually disliked and avoided.
I would be the first woman to become a Magus-rank magician.
It was such a grand goal that people would laugh at me.
But that was the person that I wanted to be.
So even if everyone in the world said it was impossible, I had decided to believe in myself.
“You. From today you are Bronze rank.”
It was during this time, when I was at my most enthusiastic, that Mr. Gawain said those words to me. And so I bowed my head and said,
My second double promotion.
Mr. Gawain said that it was because of the goblin king battle, as well as my efforts with the Potion Research Team.
“The team leader, the one with the glasses, was singing your praises. Apparently, no one has ever been as helpful as you were.”
It made me happy. It had all paid off.
They saw how hard I was working.
This was a great wind, pushing my sails towards a dream.
Bronze rank was 6th.
Magus rank was still far away, but it was a big deal that I went up two ranks at once.
I was rising at a speed that was behind only one person. And people were talking about me in the palace.
I didn’t have to ask who number one was, but it made me angry to have lost again.
But that was fine for now.
After all, I was turning into a person who could win.
And so I mentally clenched my fist in triumph. Mr. Gawain looked a little surprised then.
“You didn’t make a strange face like the last time.”
“Yes. You don’t remember? Your eyes rolled upwards and your mouth hung open.”
Apparently, I had been making such an unfortunate face.
Indeed, I remember being so shocked that I could not speak.
However, I was a sensitive young woman, surely he could have spared me such unnecessary information!
And so I protested.
“Sorry, sorry. But it shows that you have grown. A little, anyway.”
Said Mr. Gawain.
While I didn’t feel that different, it was good to know.
“I do have a goal now.”
“Yes. There is someone who I don’t want to lose to. But it’s so ridiculous, so I can’t give you any details, as you will just laugh at me.”
I chuckled with embarrassment.
“Someone you don’t want to lose to, eh?”
Mr. Gawain said with a serious expression.
“Your goal is to become a Magus-rank, isn’t it?”
Upon hearing those words, I froze.
“B-but how did you know…?”
“Well, it was quite obvious.”
I had been so careful that no one would know.
And yet, he had seen right through me.
But Mr. Gawain was much like me, in that he was the rough and ready sort. I doubted he could detect the subtleties of people’s hearts.
In other words…
“I’m very sorry! I understand that you must have been observing me very closely in order to understand the secrets deep in my chest. But right now, I just want to focus on my work as a magician. And so I am unable to reciprocate any feeling you…”
“That’s not it!”
Oh, it wasn’t it.
I had been so very sure that it was. But as I tilted my head, Mr. Gawain explained.
“You talked to Leticia about a training regime, didn’t you? And there have been reports that you’ve been working very hard with the unit training as well. They say that you always try to do more than Luke. And so the rest was easy enough to guess.”
He was the captain, after all.
I was impressed at how well he watched his subordinates.
He saw through me then…
“You must think me very foolish. That I would aspire to reach Magus rank.”
I chuckled awkwardly, trying to hide the fact that I was afraid of his answer.
I had to defend myself before I was hurt.
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
However, Mr. Gawain just looked exasperated.
“It is a good thing to have a dream and work towards it. It is not something for others to argue against. Am I wrong?”
“But…surely it is the kind of thing that would cause people to laugh and say that it’s impossible?”
“If people want to laugh, then let them. It just proves that your dream is big and interesting.”
He said with a grin.
“Besides, someone like you could do it. That’s what I think.”
As I had constantly been dismissed at my previous job, I had never thought that someone would say that to me.
So there were people who would cheer me on.
I was so happy that I laughed, and then Mr. Gawain said,
“However, I really am quite broke right now… Sorry, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for the reward. You’ll have it as soon as I get paid.”
He said in a troubled voice.
Not being able to end things on a high note was part of his charm.