Chapter 100 – Something Hoped For
In order to participate in the World Trophy, it was necessary to pass the final qualifiers that took place in each territory.
The Ardenfeld Kingdom would compete in the western final qualifier.
However, this was the part where the country had struggled at this stage in recent years.
The reason for this was that while other countries put great effort into preparation, Ardenfeld saw it as less important, since it was not related to the duties of a magician, and so they had been sending magicians as if an afterthought.
In the first place, in Ardentfeld, the Royal Magicians Order had traditionally put much more weight into magic research.
The current chief had been the first person in the world to succeed with time reversal magic, and many others also focused on their research.
And so I had often felt that if they only put more effort into it, they would have been able to see better results.
Four years ago, the three that had been sent were all defeated at the final qualifier.
And so not a single person made it into the main battle.
Due to these results, several newspapers had started to write about how the Ardenfeld kingdom was no longer a threat, or was ‘behind the times.’
Even though the empire was just calling in elves to help them win!
I won’t forgive them! I’ll beat them all!
“Very good, Springfield. That’s the spirit.”
Said my superior, who had also been chosen as a representative.
It was Ryan Archbulet, an Adamantite-Rank magician of the 1st unit.
“What you need in order to win a battle, is that burning passion. It is no wonder that you are a rising star that is being promoted at such a rapid pace.”
Ryan nodded with satisfaction.
“Now listen here, Springfield. We have unlimited potential. Just look at those bamboo plants that grow in the east. They continue to grow, undefeated by storms and snow, and raise their faces towards the heavens. Beautiful and strong. And so we must fight with everything we have, just like the bamboo. I know that you can do it. From today, we are all bamboo!”
Like Mr. Gawain, he fought with fire magic.
And he certainly had a unique point of view…
“That’s right! I’m a bamboo tree!”
I raised my fist into the air.
“Let’s begin! It is time to run, Springfield!”
“Yes! Let us run towards the sunset!”
It was my style to go along with anything, as long as it looked interesting.
Besides, I liked these kinds of passionate training methods.
Though, Luke was the complete opposite. He was calm and cool, and looked at us with incredibly cold eyes.
If only he would join in. It was so fun.
But when I told him this…
“I’ll never do it.”
He said, not allowing for any argument.
However, the three of us were going to be a team.
And so it would surely help with the mood, if we did it together.
Thinking this, I decided to put a certain plan into action.
“Hey, hey. Luke. If you do the bamboo with us, I’ll reward you with this special eggroll from my lunch.”
“I don’t want it.”
“Grr… Fine. Then you can have one. Just one of my fried chicken.”
“Do you want my hamburger steak?”
“I can!? Thank you! Yes!”
It was made by the head cook at the mansion that Luke lived in, and it was so soft and juicy and delicious.
This unexpected procurement filled me with great happiness. And it was only after lunch was finished that I realized something.
I had lost to the allure of the hamburger steak, that I completely forgot my original purpose.
Luke could do that.
Who else would be able to trick someone as intelligent, cultured, and wonderfully mature as me…!
This would not be easy.
In terms of his brain, he was on the same level as me.
And though I was reminded once again of my friend’s power, my mind went back to the taste of that delicious hamburger steak.
…I’m going to ask him to give me one tomorrow as well.
◇ ◇ ◇
And so our training for the World Trophy began.
Luke Waldstein was deep in thought as he sat in the waiting room of the Royal Magicians Order’s training ground.
(What is this bamboo…)
As a realist who calmly observed situations with objectivity, Luke could not understand overly passionate people like Ryan.
However, his expectations were not high enough to brood over it for long.
He understood that he would never see eye to eye with some people. And as long as everyone did their duty, then they should be able to have a friendly relationship without any problem.
Except…the person he cared about more than anyone, was also involved.
‘Let’s begin! It is time to run, Springfield!’
‘Yes! Let us run towards the sunset!’
She got along with their superior immediately.
Noelle had an active personality that made her get along with these athletic types.
During their time at the academy, she would even compete with those in the athletic club over who could eat more. And so he had expected this.
Still, he did not feel too happy seeing how well they got along.
(…I’m being stupid. Act like an adult.)
He knew that these feelings were foolish.
In the first place, as his father’s heir, he was not even in a position to be able to be with her.
Getting too close could end up hurting her. Besides, it was possible that it wasn’t even something that she wanted.
Being close by and watching over her was as far as he could go.
And so if she were to find happiness with someone else, then he had to give his blessing.
Because if she was happy, then he would be happy.
He wanted to become the kind of person who could really feel that way.
(I really am ridiculous…)
He thought, self-deprecatingly. And then the day’s training ended.
Luke returned to the Waldstein house, and was greeted by the elderly butler who wore a monocle.
“Welcome back, Master Luke.”
“Yes, thank you.”
They greeted each other and then headed to a room that was near the back of the second floor.
It was completely dark inside, save for the light that poured in from the gap in the curtains.
“How are things going?”
In the darkness, the words seemed to echo differently than usual.
“Everything is going as planned, Master Luke.”
The old butler nodded.
“Upon your promotion to a Magus-Rank magician, we will be able to take in a third of the powerful nobles within the palace. That being said, the condition was that the results must be sufficient to persuade those who are neutral.”
“Yes. That is fine. More than fine.”
Luke Waldstein said.
“I have finally reached this point. Finally…”
He said, as if tasting the words in his mouth.
He had hoped for this moment for so long.
This was the opportunity that he wanted.
To be promoted to a Magus-Rank magician at a record speed.
That was something that would silence everybody.
It would put him within reach of becoming the greatest magician in the kingdom.
And he would be able to marry whoever he wanted.
“However, Master Luke. Perhaps you should not expect too much… Even if you do break that record, it will not be easy to persuade those who are neutral.”
“I know that. Being a runner-up will not be enough. We will have to win.”
“It will be a brutal battle, where representatives from all over the world will show their worth. Many of them have trained especially for combat, just for this event. And there is even an elf magician with great power…”
“I cannot win. Is that what you are saying?”
His words were as cold as ice.
However, the old butler continued.
“Normally, I would not say such a thing. I truly believe that you are a brilliant magician without equal. However…”
He paused for a moment before continuing.
“Hasn’t the doctor advised against it?”
It was true.
His body had paid the price for fighting in that battle. The guardian in the dungeon.
He had been dealt a deep wound that even the best doctors could not completely heal.
“No one from this country was able to even reach the main tournament. And so it would be the greatest achievement to win. There is no better opportunity. If I don’t do something now, it will all end, and I will be powerless. That is what I think.”
Said Luke Waldstein.
“I am going. And I will win. That is what I decided.”