Chapter 1 Depressing Days

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“Yo, Alto. I’ll be training you for today’s mock battle.”
“…”
“Hey, don’t ignore me!”
“Wha!?”

He suddenly kicked me, and I fell to the floor of the training ground.

Coughing, I tried to get up by putting my hands on the ground, but…
My head is stomped on and I fall to the ground again.

“Oi, oi, come on, get up. It’s a training session, you’re not supposed to be sleeping, are you?”
“Gosh…”

I managed to look up and saw Cedric, the aristocrat who always liked getting involved with me.
He looked very happy as he laughed at me with a large grin on his face.

Cedric wasn’t the only one laughing.
About half of his classmates had a look on their faces as if they were watching something hilarious.

The other half pretended like nothing was happening.
Incidentally, the teacher also pretended to ignore it.
There’s nothing more humiliating than having your opponent kick your head into the ground…
Yet, the teacher didn’t pay attention to Cedric or restrain him in any way, but instead, went on to teach the other students.

My combat mentor is… Cedric.

“Come on, get your ass up. Do you need a hand with that?”
“No… I’m fine.”

Cedric finally took his foot off my head, and I was able to stand up.

The next moment, however, Cedric swung his sword at me, who was unarmed.

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“Guh!?”

I quickly used my arm to block it.

It’s a training sword made of wood, so it wouldn’t cut, but it still hurt a lot.
The pain was so intense that I fell to my knees again.
Damn… bruises might be the lightest injuries I’ll get today.

“Oi oi, what’s that? What’s with the defiant eyes?”
“…”
“Thank you for the training, Cedric-sama… right? Come on, say it. Say it.”
“…Thank you for the training, Cedric-sama.”
“Hahaha, yes, you can do it! If you had been cute like this from the start, I would have been nicer to you.”

I, Alto Estenia, am a student at an academy that trains dragon knights.

With a dragon as a partner, they fly through the sky to defeat their enemies.
I came to the academy with a longing for such a hero.

The first month went by without a hitch.
But after that, a problem arose.

When I found Cedric forcing himself on a girl, I stopped him.
He didn’t take kindly to my interruption, and I soon became a target for his bullying.

Cedric is the son of a nobleman with great influence, there was no way I could defy him.
Once I tried to fight back, but…
My parents, who run an inn, were put under a lot of pressure, and as a result, I had to bow down to the guy.

Since then…
I couldn’t go against Cedric, I was forced to do whatever he commanded like a puppet…

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I continued to spend my days enduring his bullying.

Incidentally, my classmates either stood idly and did not interfere or took Cedric’s side and began to bully me alongside him.
Even the people I thought were my friends started laughing and joined in on the bullying.
I’ve never felt so hopeless as I did then.

Asking the teacher for help?

It was pointless.
The teachers are afraid of the power Cedric holds.
Besides, Cedric’s family has donated a lot of money to the school.
They couldn’t do anything to offend him, so they continued to turn a blind eye towards his actions.

If that was all, it would still be manageable.
However, from time to time, the teacher would join in the bullying at Cedric’s behest and it would get out of hand.
They were all corrupt.

…I wondered how long days like this would continue.

Maybe I should just drop out of the academy…
But I couldn’t give up on my dream of becoming a hero.

 

________________

 

The academy is a boarding school.
Each student is assigned a private room.

When I was in my dorm room, I could be completely alone.

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It was the only time I could be free, without Cedric bothering me.

I had a day off today, and I would really have liked to stay indoors…
Unfortunately, I had run out of seasoning and I would have to go into town to buy some more.

The private rooms are equipped with kitchens, so you could prepare your own meals.
Of course, there was also a cafeteria, but…
Cedric would cause trouble if I went there, so I tried to have my meals in my own room.

It was not just the condiments, but also ingredients that I was running low on… I didn’t have a choice. I would have to go outside.

Hopefully, I wouldn’t meet any Cedric goons.

I changed out of my loungewear and into my street clothes and went outside.
Fortunately, I didn’t run into Cedric.
I guess even Cedric wouldn’t bother me on his day off.

However, I couldn’t be too careful.
I couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t run into him somewhere, so I decided to quickly finish my business and go back to my room.

“Hmm?”

As I was walking down a street leading to another lined with stores, I suddenly saw a girl in an alleyway off the street.
The girl wasn’t alone, she was with a couple of guys.

Although the guys were giggling and laughing…
The girl had a difficult look on her face and seemed to be very annoyed.

It’s pretty obvious what they’re doing..
They are forcefully trying to pick up a girl, aren’t they…?

“…Not my problem.”

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I learned my lesson with Cedric.
Even when we do what we think is right, reality doesn’t always reward us for it.
Sometimes, it thrusts an unexpected betrayal at you.

I don’t want to make that mistake again.
I felt bad, but I decided to let the girl take care of herself.

It’s okay.
It’s not that bad of a neighborhood, and there are plenty of people around.
I’m sure some nice people will help her.
There’s no reason for me to take the risk of helping her.
There is no reason.

But…

Do I need a reason to help a girl in need?
Do I need to feel obligated to help her?

I want to move…
I have to move…
My legs are still frozen in place and I can’t walk away from this.

“Ah!”

Suddenly, the girl looked at me.

When she found me, she rolled her eyes like she was surprised…
The next thing I knew, her eyes looked as if she was asking me to help her.

“…Ah fine!”

I thought I learned my lesson from my past mistakes…
But I wouldn’t be a man if I were to abandon a girl here!

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