Jörg and I, facing each other in the fighting ground.
Father has appeared for five minutes, he should signal the beginning of the selection ceremony soon. The audience is oddly excited, predicting the result of the battle. Most of them has no shred of doubt about Jörg’s victory.
“Brother, I really hate you.”
Jörg stares at me with eyes full of despise. His words are drown out by the noise from the audience, only conveyed to me.
“What a coincidence. I really hate you too.”
Until now, we’ve only ever seen each other with severe displeasure. There’s no way I could like him.
“I always, always envy you, Brother. Since you were small, you could do anything. You could memorize how to read and write letters in two months, while it took me three years. You could learn to do calculations in two days, I needed two years. Within a month, you could memorize the spear forms, while it took me half a year. It has always, always been like that. I could never do the things you could in a blink of an eye. ‘If it were Kurt-sama’… everyone kept saying that, you know?”
It was a nostalgic talk. At that time, there were still some cuteness in this guy. The reason why I haven’t killed this guy until now was probably because I still had the memories of those times.
“Brother, you were loved by everyone. Father, Mother, Eris, Anna, Robert, every single and each one of them only looked at you. There was not a single thing that I could win against you. ….Until my spear talent awakened in me.”
When we were little, I could even win against Jörg in spear plays. It was likely that we were reversed due to the awakening of his spear talent.
“After I won against you in spear, the world was overturned. It felt so good. Everyone came to love me. They didn’t look at you, Brother, but at me. However, Brother, everyone was still gossiping behind my back, you know? How I’m worthless besides my spear, how there’s no future if Arnold family is in my hands… How they wished you would awaken your spear talent!! Nothing ever changed no matter how hard I tried!”
Jörg’s hatred turns into murderous intent. So that was the reason this guy dropped all his efforts, huh?
“Right now, it’s like that too! The Marquis, his daughter, they’re only engrossed in you! Even now, if I take just one step outside Arnold house, someone like me is a shit while everyone seeks for you! Just what do I have to do so that they see me and not you!?”
Jörg screams wildly like a child throwing tantrums. It’s pathetic at this point.
“How should I know? Why do I have to answer someone I hate?”
“How cold, Brother. Also, hating me is a lie, isn’t it? Brother, the only time you ever properly felt something sincere at me was when I attacked that brat inside the stable. Brother never has any interest in me. For you, Brother, I’m nothing but an insect. You’ve only been driving me away when I got close. In the whole territory of Arnold baronetcy, Brother, you’re the one who never notices me the most!”
He can say quite the strangest thing. I’ve just decided to leave my younger brother alone as long as he didn’t inflict more harm.
“What, do you actually want me to care?”
“Maybe I do. I always chased after you, Brother. But that is over now. I will become you. If I can snatch everything you care about, I can become you. I will get your village and your precious woman, and I’ll become you!” While saying this ridiculous thing, Jörg’s eyes show that he’s serious.
I see, he doesn’t seem to be joking. He actually told me all this fantasy-like speech earnestly.
“Jörg, you are you. Even if you take everything from me, you can’t become me.”
Jörg’s face twitches.
Then, I continue my words, “Moreover, I won’t let them be taken away. I will no longer lose against you. I won’t be defeated.”
I take a fighting stance with the naginata……. with Ginsen. When I do so, I can feel Tina’s warmth. In short, my current self is invincible.
“You’re acting strong, in spear! But, the spear is the only thing I won’t lose against you, Brother! Even though you won’t lose if using mana won’t break the rules!”
Jörg also takes a stance with the spear.
“And to begin with, what’s that weird spear, Brother? Is that the source of your confidence? If that’s so, it’s futile. That kind of petty trick won’t make you win!”
“You’ll understand once the fight starts.”
I don’t need to explain further. It will be conveyed in the middle of the fight.
Then, Father appears between me and Jörg who are glaring against each other. He opens his mouth.
“The selection ceremony shall begin soon,” he announces powerfully.
The spectators who have been making ruckus until just now also get silent.
“The first head of Arnold family piled heaps of deeds with nothing but his spear and attained his court rank. With a single spear, he made monsters and mana-wielding soldiers from enemy countries yield before him. Even after attaining his court rank, he continued protecting the people and defeating the enemies. Therefore, the head of Arnold family has to be the most excellent one in martial arts.”
I’ve listened to this tale so many times. I’m so fed up with it that my ears turned red like boiled octopus. For Arnold family, excelling in martial arts without using mana is the thing they boast about. That’s why they have this tendency to be prejudiced against mana. I can feel their aesthetics; they do not rely on it.
Just like how the First did it, you have to continue the practice in the future too.
For me, that kind of thing sounds utterly laughable. It’s better to use all of the power that you have.
“In this place, it will be settled with nothing but their self-trained bodies and their weapons! You will lose if you are unconscious or surrender. Otherwise, in the case where I judge that one of you gets a life-endangering injury, I will announce his defeat.”
Those are the rules. This time, both my naginata and Jörg’s spear will not be wrapped in the fabrics that will seal their lethal property.
“Now, Kurt, Jörg. Are you both ready?”
“I am well prepared.”
“I’m good too, Father.”
Father nods, then raises up his hand.
“Then, let the selection ceremony begin!”
Then he swings his arm down.
The duel of the selection ceremony has now begun. I decided to make the first move.
Jörg’s stance has a gap somewhere. He’s conceited, thinking that he can follow my movements just from looking.
Rather than dealing his hands in order to win, it seems like Jörg has the characteristic to greatly humiliate me. That’s why, in the previous matches, he had nothing planned; even his posture was a mess.
Both of us were taught in the basics by our father. It’s a given that Jörg has the bare minimum of a correct stance.
If I attack that gap, the winner and loser will be decided in an instant.
I step into my full power. The martial arts that I trained for ten years is accelerated with Sword Ability III.
This is just one simple thrust. The starting point of my spear. It’s the exactly why this is the best blow that will decide everything. By this, I can wield my full power without abusing Sword Ability III.
Ginsen travels with the speed that surpasses the wind-cutting sound.
“Jörg, be serious. I’m showing you my real ability.”
The blade of my naginata… of Ginsen, rips a wound in Jörg’s cheek. His blood softly flows.
Jörg cannot respond in the slightest. I ended it just by hitting him in one blow. I return to my stance after swinging my spear back.
“Wh-what was that, y-you disappeared just now, h-huh, what’s with t-that speed.” Jörg looks confused.
To his knowledge, my movements still belong to a mere human. Without spear talent, I can’t surpass the limit of an ordinary man. And yet, he’s now confused because I let him see a thrust that reaches a divine realm.
“I’ll say this one more time. Get serious. This is my real ability. I missed deliberately, but I won’t do it again,” I declare while thrusting Ginsen.
Jörg takes a step back.
There’s a reason why I deliberately made the miss: I won’t allow Jörg to have any excuse later. If I beat him with the previous blow, this guy will cry out that he was caught off guard, that I hid my true power before the actual match, and that his defeat was because he had no chance to show his true power as well.
I won’t forgive that. He will lose with his real ability, without fail. I won’t ever let him think that he doesn’t win because he can’t fight with full power.
“No way, Brother, your speed, y-you… you broke the rules! You must have used your mana. It’s weird! Right? Father!”
Jörg turns to Father, blaming me for breaking rules.
“No, Kurt hasn’t used mana.” Father shakes his head and denies it. He can use mana a little bit too, so he can tell if I use it or not.
As long as Father says that, Jörg has no choice but to believe it. His face turns pale.
“Jörg, you can just surrender. Your abilities are inferior to me; with your speed and weight lacking, do you think you can still win?”
“That was just a fluke. Obviously, just a fluke. Moreover, until now, I haven’t been serious at all. You’ll regret that you didn’t beat me with that blow.”
Jörg’s veins popped, and he clutched his spear forcefully. It’s the first time he ever made a proper-ish posture. But still, it’s a poor one. Indeed, he hasn’t been serious at all until now, but that negligence has only made his spear blunt.
“Yes, come with me with your full power. I will make you yield.”
This time, both Jörg and I run at the same time. I purposely respond to Jörg’s thrust. His spear clashes with Ginsen, then flipped.
I estimate the time when Jörg’s posture’s balance is thrown off, then I grip Ginsen and leave the center of the gravity to the front. In short, I promptly seize the next action.
I step into his territory forcefully. It would be good to ride on the momentum of stepping in, but that might kill him.
Originally, if he enters the interval of his spear, he can mow down or kick away, but Jörg’s ability isn’t high enough to do either. Jörg only becomes flustered, exposing his gaps awkwardly. I turn Ginsen upside down, then with the same posture, I strike Jörg’s torso with the blunt end. It’s a direct hit with a dull sensation.
Jörg falls to his knees, then vomits. It’s a clean hit to his vital spot. It must be painful.
I distance myself without giving the finishing blow. It’s Jörg, after all, he has no will power whatsoever. He should give up with this.
“B-brother, not yet. It’s not over yet.” Jörg props himself up to his feet by his spear, glaring with a pale face.
“You still want to do it? The discrepancy between our full powers is as clear as the day.”
Staggering, Jörg holds his spear while throwing himself at me. I lightly avoid it and make him miss, then hit the back of his neck with the back edge of naginata’s blade. Because it’s katana, the back of the blade is just a blunt weapon.
Jörg pitches forward to fall. This should finally be the end, right? And yet…
“B-brother, where are you, going?”
With a severe attack to his neck, I thought his consciousness would definitely grow dim, but Jörg gets back to his feet.
I was sincerely surprised. He shows will power to this extent.
“You can barely stand, right? Just surrender.”
“As if I’d lose! As if!”
He sends out his spear weakly again and again, but that kind of attack will never reach me. However, Jörg still continues to wield his spear.
“For me, for me, there’s nothing but the spear. If I lose even in the spear, I, I—–!!”
Jörg grits his teeth, still swinging his spear. He grits too strongly that his back teeth starts to crack.
Right now, Jörg is more serious than he’s ever been before. It’s the first time I realize I’ve been underestimating him. I’ve been thinking that he would give up after being shaken off adequately.
“Jörg, sorry. I’ve been looking down on you.”
Jörg’s thrust is repelled by Ginsen from below, turning his body into a banzai posture. Then, I brandish my naginata upwards… This isn’t a posture of wielding a spear.
“You cannot be stopped by a half-hearted blow… so I’ll be serious too.”
Then I swing downwards. Ginsen flashes in silver color like his namesake, making a big diagonal slash on Jörg, like a monk’s robe. Blood splashes around.
“B-brother. I, I always, towards you–”
While the rain of blood falls, Jörg tumbles down with vacant eyes.
Father announces the winner, while a flustered doctor comes running to Jörg’s side. The wound isn’t as deep as it looks, if he can stop the blood on time, he can save Jörg’s life.
When I look into the spectator’s area, a great half is rejoiced by my victory, while those who have been tailing over Jörg until now becomes really pale. I turn around.
“Kurt, go to my room ahead of me. I will follow you soon after checking Jörg’s condition.”
I bow towards my father and exit the stage. As I step down from the stage, Tina has been lying in wait for me.
Tears are welling up in her eyes as she jumps at me. I welcome her to my arms. Tina wraps her arms around my back strongly.
“Kurt-sama! I’m glad. I’m so, so glad that you won!”
With tearful voice, Tina tells me how glad she is, over and over again. She’s surprisingly worried over me.
This girl was surely anxious from the bottom of her heart. I’ve spent this one week only by cutting cabbages and awakening my earth magic. Moreover, she must have been anxious because she has been beside me all this time, looking over me repeatedly beaten by Jörg.
“Yes, I won. It’s thanks to Tina. Because you were here, I could win. With this, we can live our lives in that village from now on.”
Until Tina stops crying, I pat her back and let her do as she wishes.
Marquis Fernandes and Faruno arrives. With a bitter laugh, Marquis Fernandes gestures with his eyes and hand that he will wait for me, while Faruno looks at me and Tina with displeased look.
Alternate title: “Notice Me, Bro”.
I seriously think that if Jörg starts redeeming himself, he’s going to be my favorite character lol. He’s kinda pathetic, but I love flaws in characters as long as they end up good. And, looking at the development in this chapter only, I think it’s safe to say that he will. I’m looking forward to it.
The fight itself is kinda anticlimax with Kurt’s easy win but it’s not strange, considering the build up so far. Yeah, build up, guys, not jinxing/raising the flags for once. (lol)
Feedbacks please? It’s 50% longer than usual chapter, you’d better appreciate it. :T
And damn, it ended with Faruno getting jealous? I’m not sure I like this development…