Chapter 168 – Epilogue 3
“It seems like your talk with Leticia went well.”
After some time, there was a knock on Gawain’s office door, and Chris Sherlock, captain of the 2nd unit entered.
As he had joined at the same time as Gawain and Letician, he knew about their relationship quite well.
He also knew that Leticia was pursuing Count Wilhelm, in order to get revenge for her master, who was once a Royal Magician.
And he also knew one fact, that even she did not know.
“Shouldn’t you tell her? How you were actually one of his students as well?”
“That is not necessary. I was a delinquent raised in an orphanage. She was the daughter of a rich lord. We were in different worlds, and she would not remember.”
Gawain looked out of the window as he recalled.
The time when they were both still children.
At that time, Gawain was known as a hopeless case.
He had no parents or money, and there were no adults who showed him any affection.
And so the fellow children at the orphanage were all he had.
He would do anything for his friends.
No matter who it was, he would not forgive the person who attacked them.
And if it was his friends that committed a crime, he would take the blame and punishment for them.
He was admonished and treated like a ruffian. And people started to fear him.
“Interesting. You have a gift.”
His future master said to him. He must have seen something, as from that day, he would talk to him every day.
He was a former Royal Magician, and invited poor children to come and learn magic at his school.
Gawain was not interested at first, but eventually gave in, and started to learn magic.
His master was a good teacher, and as he said, Gawain had a gift.
A gift so tremendously strong to surprise even a former Royal Magician.
Gawain quickly grew and surpassed the other children.
With the exception of one.
She was the daughter of a lord, a noble. And she had been studying magic for two years longer than Gawain.
A bright student who had been taught by private tutors at a young age, she was able to bring her abilities into full play. And Gawain secretly saw her as a rival.
(One day, I am going to defeat her and surprise everyone.)
Gawain would use any free time he had to practice and study magic.
His master smiled at how much he was improving.
“You really learn so quickly. It is remarkable.”
While he was quite capable, it was not as if he was a genius.
His master was just good at praising others.
“No. This is normal.”
He said bluntly, but it was just to hide his embarrassment.
He was actually happy, and it made him study even more vigorously.
It was probably also due to a sense of devotion to his master.
After all, it was the first time that an adult had acknowledged and praised him.
One day, he was called by his master.
“I want you to look after her. If something happens, you can help. I am afraid that I gave her a task that will be too much of a burden.”
He was talking about the girl that was his rival.
However, his master had a serious expression, and he sensed that there was something different in the way that he spoke.
It was as if he was saying something important, and that he could not miss a single word.
(Fine. I’ll help her then.)
He thought as he looked at the red sky above on his way back.
(I’ll do my best, and then he will praise me for my efforts.)
However, that would be the last time they would meet.
The next day, his master was dead.
And for the first time, Gawain knew the true meaning of sadness.
When he thought about it now, he thought that his master’s words contained the expectation that he would check up on her as a friend.
She was not the kind of person who actively tried to become involved with other people. Besides, her position meant that she was quite busy. It seemed like she had no friends or people to talk to that were the same age.
But since Leticia and Gawain had magic in common, their master probably thought they could get along.
However, there was no opportunity for him to talk to her once their master was dead.
After all, he was just a poor orphan boy, and she was the daughter of a nobleman.
Once the school was gone, there was nothing to connect them. Their worlds were too different.
(It was his final request. I have to do everything that I can.)
First, he had to become the kind of person who could help her.
He demonstrated his ability, and was adopted into the Stark family, who had been searching for a child that was gifted with magic. And like this, he entered a famous magic academy.
But as the school was filled with nobles, it was very uncomfortable for him.
“My family have been ministers for generations. I’m not like you, commoner.”
Many of the senior students would say such unreasonable and illogical things to him.
His classmates that were also commoners would be bullied, and so he would fight them, and be reprimanded by the teachers.
“This is the third time this month…”
“I have done nothing wrong. They attacked us first.”
Thankfully, he had more experience than anyone there when it came to fighting. And as long as he stood his ground for what was right and sensible, people started to accept him.
“Very good, Gawain…! The strength to not bend under intimidation! That’s why you are our child!”
“No, I don’t think it’s good to cause problems.”
“You shut up, dear.”
Even the Stark family accepted who he was.
Though, his father, who had married into his wife’s family, did seem a little uncomfortable.
Regardless, he continued to get stronger, and began to rank at the top of his class when it came to practical training.
Though, when it came to studying at his desk, he could not match Chris and Leticia at all.
He used this as an excuse to talk to and befriend them.
Of course, just as friends.
Leticia did not recognize the boy who was adopted by the Stark family, and he did not feel that it was necessary to tell her.
At the time, Leticia was a model student in everyone’s eyes, but she was walking down a dangerous path behind the scenes.
In order to learn of the injustices committed by aristocrats and the church behind the scenes, she was repeating illegal investigations and infiltrations.
“She’s the worst one here.”
“Yes, she is doing things on a different scale. Of course, we cannot be pointing fingers.”
Chris said with an annoyed expression as he looked at Gawain. They were currently on the roof owned by a certain nobleman.
“By the way, why am I being dragged along?”
“It cannot be helped. If something happens and she needs help, then I will not be able to do it alone. You’re the most brilliant one in the school, and so I have to rely on you.”
“You say that, as if you don’t already know that you are more skilled with such things.”
“No, it’s the truth.”
“You just lost once, that is all. Well, we can have a rematch if you want.”
“Wait. Leticia came out. She’s being chased.”
“…Very well. I will let it slide today. However, this will be the last time.”
“Aye. Of course.”
After that, Chris was dragged to these stakeouts by Gawain nearly every week.
Strangely, this relationship continued even after they joined the Royal Magicians Order.
Leticia dedicated her life to this obsession, and Gawain and Chris watched her back as much as they could.
When he looked back, that really was their youth.
Even if it was very different from the norm.
“It was fun in its own way.”
Gawain said with nostalgia.
“Yes. It was stimulating. It could have been worse.”
Chris said with a nod.
“Still, I always wondered why you went through such lengths.”
“Isn’t it normal? To help a comrade in need.”
“No, that was going too far. Well, I do know you long enough to realize what kind of person you are.”
If a classmate was being bullied to the west, he would go and beat up the bullies. And if an old friend needed money in the east, then would pretend to have been fooled by a scam, and share his money.
It was because he was such a person, that people said…
With both exasperation and respect.
That Gawain Stark was soft to those close to him.