Chapter 110 – A Steady Advance and Behind the Scenes
After getting through the important first battles, we representatives of the Ardenfeld Kingdom seemed to be carried by the waves of success.
For the second battle, each of us won without our opponents even getting close to us.
Even the people of the magic country were surprised, as they had not expected us to be this strong.
And more and more, the spectators began to call my name.
“Ah! It’s the small lady who is doing her best!”
“I’m not small!”
“Oh, the little Ardenfeld representative! I’ll be rooting for you next time!”
“Stop calling me little!”
But for some reason, in my case, their cheers always required that I protest a little.
It almost seemed that my short stature made them see me as some kind of team mascot.
Which was incredibly rude, given I was a grown woman with a striking figure! I could not forgive them!
“You did well, winning your way here, in spite of the heavy pressure. Both of you fought amazingly. I am proud to call you both my comrades.”
Ryan said as he patted us on the shoulders.
As Luke and I were younger than him, he had this mentality that he had to support us as our senior.
“I’m just doing what is expected of me.”
Luke said indifferently. And then Ryan grinned.
“Good! That’s my soul friend! I know that you can do it. No matter how great the trials that life puts in your way, you will stand against them! Now, let us run together, towards the sunset!”
Luke said cooly. But if anything, Ryan was just amused by his reaction.
It seemed like he was always approaching and talking to Luke. In spite of everything, I thought they were becoming close.
His communication abilities must be incredibly high.
How amazing. A special person.
It happened one day, while I was musing about such things.
“Senior Ryan is gone?”
I said, in answer to one of the staff who was helping with adjustments.
“Yes. Have you seen him anywhere?”
Apparently, they had something to say to him.
And since they were in a hurry, I decided to help look for him.
Luckily, I was able to find him without taking too much time.
It was a place to drink water, in a park next to the stadium.
“Senior Ryan. The staff were searching for you.”
I said, and then gasped.
He was looking at the ground, and at his feet…was a great puddle of vomit.
As I tried to think of something to say, he opened his mouth.
“Don’t tell anyone. Please.”
“I didn’t expect to be found by you, Springfield. That was quite the blunder.”
Ryan said to me, after winning the battle without too much trouble.
He had been calm, and it played out just like the other battles.
And while I was relieved to see that he was not shaken, there was one possibility that went through my mind.
“Could it be that this is not the only day that you have vomited?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because you seemed so normal. Even after I called you, you were so calm.”
“The rumors about your situation judgement were true, Springfield.”
He said with a chuckle.
“I’m always like that before a match. I get scared, and want to run away. What if I lose again? What if everyone rejects me.”
There was a brief moment of silence.
And then he chuckled.
“I’ve always had a negative mind, and a weak heart. I was always losing when I was younger. Out of all my older and younger brothers, I turned out the worst. My parents told me that every day. ‘You should never have even been born.’”
He sounded like he was talking about something that was nostalgic.
“I couldn’t help that I was pathetic. Why couldn’t I do things that my brothers could? Every time I was compared to them, it pained me, and I couldn’t bear it. But then I thought of something. Even if everyone else rejected me, I would not. I would work hard until I liked myself.”
Under the street lanterns, his words continued.
“Of course, that was not easy. I hated myself, and could only say words of self-deprecation. And so I started to focus on cheering for myself. Repress the negative feelings and try hard to praise myself. I told myself to work harder. ‘You can do it. Keep trying. You’re doing well.’ And then, things started to change. The gap between me and my brothers shrunk. And before I knew it, I had surpassed them… I was able to change by being positive towards myself. And then I realized something. Perhaps it was my calling to help others to be able to accept themself as well.”
“So that’s why you are so passionate.”
“Yes, that’s why.”
And then he said,
“For this final qualifier, I cannot count the number of people on my two hands, who have given me strict orders. ‘You must win. As the team leader, make sure all of you get through. Defeat will not be allowed.’ However, it’s okay to lose. I won’t reject myself if I lose. Even if I’m defeated in a battle, I won’t be defeated in life. I know now that that is the most important thing.”
He said, as if talking to himself.
“You too, Springfield. It’s okay to lose. No matter what anyone else says, I will support you. Even if the results aren’t good. I will take responsibility. So just go out and do your best.”
The pressure of representing your country.
The order that defeat was not allowed.
But even then, he was encouraging someone else.
He really was amazing, I thought.
And so I carefully ruminate over the precious words.
And then I looked up at him and said,
“You can lose too, Ryan. It doesn’t matter what anyone says! I’m your ally!”
For a moment, he looked quite surprised. And then…
He said with a smile.