The first class was PE.

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Physical education, unlike practical training, was not about learning the art of fighting.
The purpose was to improve physical strength and reflexes through sports and other activities.
In other words, it was training our basic physical abilities….

Today’s class was an endurance run.
We ran in circles around the academy’s vast grounds.

There was no quota on how many laps you have to complete.
There was also no strict requirement to be higher than a certain speed.
The only restriction was that we had to keep running within the time limit.

Each class was 60 minutes long.
Excluding the preparatory warm up, we had to keep running for about 55 minutes.
Moreover, the students were not allowed to look at the clock, so they had to just keep moving forward with the anxiety of not knowing how much time was left.
It was both physically and mentally demanding.
I guess that’s why they choose to train us this way.

“Hey, hey, Estenia. You’re still running around here? You’re getting lapped.”
“Are you even running? You’re like a turtle.”

Physical education was held jointly with other classes.
The students who knew me passed me one by one, and as they did so, they made fun of me.
Even though Cedric was not there, my position didn’t change much…
While not quite bullying, being made fun of and ridiculed had become an everyday occurrence.
Maybe it was because of Justina, but my classmates didn’t really get involved…
The rest of the classes seemed to think that no harm would come to them, and their attitude was the same as before.

“Glare.”
“Guh…!”

Justina glared at them, and in a panic, they sped away.

“You’ve done it. You’re making fun of my Alto… I’m going to burn this place down.”
“Please don’t say that… huf, huf… I’m afraid you’re serious… Fuf.”
“Eh? I mean it.”
“Even more so… huf, hu… No, please..”

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I was sweating all over, out of breath and merely staggering alongside Justina….
Yet Justina kept a cool face and ran next to me without breaking a sweat.

“As expected… huf… Justina is amazing. You got some serious stamina.”
“No, I’m not that good. What’s more amazing is Alto. I can’t believe you can move normally while bound by dragon shackles… It’s hard to find someone like you, you know?”

This morning, after I asked Justina to train me…
She gave me what she called the dragon shackles.

A special training passed down among dragons…
It was a ridiculous item that increased the amount of gravity you receive by several to several dozen times.

I was now subjected to twice my normal gravity due to the dragon shackles.
My limbs were heavy, and my body felt like lead, unable to move freely.
Every part of my body was screaming that I was at my limit.

But I refused to stop.

With the dragon shackles still on me, I continued to run desperately.
To become stronger.
In order to be qualified to stand next to Justina.
For now, all I could do was train my body.

“Hang in there, Alto! I’ll be right next to you.”
“Ahh… please. With Justina… huff, huff… I think I can hang in there!’

Every time Justina cheered me on, my mind that was about to give up was inspired and my body regained its energy…
With my force of gravity doubled, I kept running for 55 minutes without stopping.

 

________________

 

The second class was practical training.
Each of us chose a weapon we were good at, and we paired up to fight a mock battle.

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My weapon of choice was a spear.
It was easy to use both offensively and defensively.

Justina, on the other hand, was bare handed.
She said that human weapons were too useless for a dragon.
By the way, she was teaming up with me as a matter of course.

“Come, you can start whenever!”

Justina readied up.
I got ready, too.

After a brief standoff…

“Hah!”

I took a step forward and thrusted out my spear.

However, due to the dragon shackles, my body did not move as I intended to.
In addition, I had no energy left after the endurance run.
I couldn’t make a proper thrust, and my movements became sluggish and pathetic.

Seeing me in such a lousy state, Justina…

“Wow, that’s awesome, Alto!”

For some reason, she was impressed.

“Why are you so impressed…?”
“Because, after all that exercise, it’s pretty impressive to be able to spear someone properly.”
“But it’s a helpless, sluggish thrust.”
“A normal person can’t even thrust a spear. Have you forgotten? Alto is under double gravity right now. In addition, after endurance running in such a condition. I think it’s amazing that you can even use the spear. Yeah, it’s really amazing.”

I can’t really feel it when people say I’m amazing.
I’m only able to move sluggishly…

“Alto has more physical strength than normal… Ummm, that’s unusual. Why is this?”
“Is that so? Not that I’m aware of…”
“I think you’re very strong. For a normal person, they’d stop in 10 minutes under the dragon shackles. But Alto hasn’t stopped yet, in fact, you’re still moving. That’s pretty amazing, right?”

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“Is that so…”

I dreamt of becoming a hero, so I never missed a day of training since I was a little boy…
After entering the academy, I kept moving my body as a result of being pushed around by Cedric.
This might have increased my physical strength in unexpected ways.

“Hmmm…! I think I’m getting motivated because Alto is so awesome! Okay, I’m going to go all out!”
“Yeah, go all the way.”
“…Eh? Isn’t the normal reaction in these types of situations something along the lines of, ‘give me a break’?”
“I’m the one who wanted you to train me. I’m not that disrespectful. And I’ll do anything to get stronger.”
“You’re as good as I thought you were, Alto! I’ll continue then!”

I continued the mock battle with Justina for the rest of the class.

 

________________

 

The third period was a lecture.
Although this was an academy that trained dragon knights, we also need to have the appropriate knowledge.
If you don’t have knowledge, you won’t be able to use your powers properly.

“This incident was the first time that people and dragons fought together… That is, how dragon knights were born. Later, this incident was referred to as the…”

The teacher was talking about history on the podium.

“Ooh… hoo hoo… hmmhmm.”

Justina, who was sitting next to me, seemed to be interested in history and was taking the class very seriously.

Although Almort was a country that lived with dragons…
It was not as if we had a complete understanding of each other.
The barriers between the race inevitably existed, and to some extent, they played on the other people’s understanding.

Humans are completely ignorant of dragons, and vice versa.
For this reason, the history of humans seemed to be interesting to Justina, and she nodded her head in admiration.

“But… this is also tough.”

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Even now, the dragon shackles were still in place.
I’m sitting and not moving, so the strain on my entire body was minimal, but…
The pressure on my fingers holding the pen was unbelievable.

It was as if you tied a weight around each finger…
You have to put a lot of strength into your fingers at all times.
If you relax even a little, you might drop the pen.

“…Alto, are you okay?”

Before I knew it, Justina was looking at me.
She seemed to be worried about class, but was worried more about me.

Seeing her concern, I smiled at her.

“Yeah, no problem.”
“But it’s really hard, isn’t it. Do you want me to release the shackles for the duration of the lecture?”
“No. I want you to keep doing what you’re doing.”
“But…”
“I’d be stronger if I’m shackled 24/7, wouldn’t you?”
“Yeah, right.”
“Then let’s keep it that way. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard, but I’ll give it a shot…”
“Fufum. Alto’s such a boy.”

I receive maternal glances from time to time…
We’re the same age, right?

Sometimes I feel like I’m mistaken.
That’s how sweet and gentle Justina’s expression was.

“Hang in there, Alto.”
“Yeah.”

In order to live up to Justina’s expectations, I’ll become stronger.
I’m going to be strong.

With a firm resolve in my heart, I took the class, bearing the weight of the dragon shackles.

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