It was a spring day, just before my 7th birthday.
“Today is the Day of Darkness. We’re playing Kaidoro!” (Cops and Robbers.)
I announced during breakfast.
“I understand, Nii-sama.”
“I won’t lose to Aldo today. I’ll show him my true power.”
Seeing our excited faces, Father and Mother could only smile wryly. Little Clara was giggling beside us – how adorable.
After taking a break following breakfast, we headed to the training ground. Upon arriving at the training ground, we quickly split into Cops and Robbers.
El and Ashera Vs me. We’d tried various combinations, but this setup provided the best balance.
“All right! I’ll start as the Thief, is that okay? The playing field is within the training ground, and we have body enhancement. The Hunters count to ten seconds.”
“Sounds good, Nii-sama.”
“I won’t lose to Aldo.”
With a shout of agreement, I initiated my body enhancements instantly.
To maximize the distance between us, I started running in the opposite direction from El and Ashera.
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Ashera-nee, I’m going.”
They looked at each other and sprinted.
“Ashera-nee, go from the right! I’ll go from the left.”
It seems that they’ve split into two paths.
(I don’t intend to be caught easily.)
I leaped onto the top of a shed placed in a corner of the training ground.
The shed was easily over three meters high, and this leap was a feat that could only be achieved by enhancing the body.
“That height is impossible for me. Elphus, join me. Give me a shoulder.”
I ran across the roof of the shed, and the two of them ran below. El moved ahead of Ashera. As Ashera stepped on El’s shoulders, she leaped high.
“Aldo, get ready.”
Ashera descended from above.
I immediately changed direction and continued running. Ashera landed and promptly bounced back, chasing after me.
On a simple speed scale, it was Ashera, me, then El, and in terms of intricate movements, it was El, me, and then Ashera. In terms of overall balance and agility, I was the best, creating a triangular relationship.
(I can’t let Ashera catch me like this. I should outmaneuver her in the area with the wooden puppets.)
I hopped from the head of one wooden puppet to another, eluding Ashera. She had briefly caught up with me, but as we got closer to the area filled with wooden puppets, I started pulling ahead.
But just as I was starting to feel relieved, a slippery hand reached out from the side – it was El.
(This might be tricky…)
I found myself squeezed between El and Ashera, and it seemed like I was being cornered. Another hand extended from Elphus, and I somersaulted to evade it before landing on the ground and resuming my run.
This time, a hand reached out from behind – it was Ashera. I flipped and slid to evade her, squeezing past Ashera.
However, there stood El in front of me, and it seemed like there was no way out. I raised both hands, signaling my surrender.
All three of us were dripping with sweat as we took swigs of water from our canteens.
“Damn, you got me. The top of the shed was a safe zone the last time.”
“Ashera and I came up with a way to jump onto the shed together.”
“Elphus and I won with our brains, Bue.”
“Where’s the brain in that? That’s a pretty forceful brute-force tactic.”
“We combined our body enhancements, so technically, Aldo is the muscle head (lol) here.”
“Don’t add (lol) after ‘muscle head,’ please.”
“Fine, from now on, I will call you Aldo (lol).”
“It’s worse to put it after a name.”
“Aldo is the spoiled one.”
We laughed and chatted during our break, enjoying lighthearted conversations.
It seemed like someone had been watching us, and then two individuals who appeared to be knights approached.
“Hey, guys, could you include us too?”
“Garl, can’t you improve your choice of words a bit? I apologize, Aldo-sama, Elphus-sama, Ashera-sama.”
“Garl and Berett, huh? It’s fine, let’s play together. Also, I don’t like being treated too formally, so call me as you like.”
“Indeed, very well. Then, how about Aldo-boy, Elphus-boy, and Ashera-sama?”
“I’m fine with that, Garl.”
“I must address you as Aldo-sama, Elphus-sama, Ashera-sama.”
“Berett, you’re quite formal. Well, call us whatever you like.”
“In that case, I’ll go with Aldo (lol).”
“Alright, that’s enough.”
These two are Garl and Berett, subordinates of Ashera’s father, Halva. Garl serves as a cutting specialist in the Knight Corps, and Berett is a field medic. They’ve been approaching me because they want to further master body enhancement and have been training diligently every day.
“How about we form a team with the three of us and Garl and Berett?”
“Isn’t that a bit too much of a handicap?”
“Really? I thought it was just right… Well, then, should we impose some limits on Garl’s body enhancement?”
“No, it’s the other way around. With just the two of us, we wouldn’t stand a chance against the three of you.”
“Hmm… Alright. How about it, Berett, El, Ashera against me and Garl?”
“I think it’s just right.”
“I’m fine with that.”
“I’m okay with it too.”
“So, it’s settled then. I’ll be the thief with Garl, and Berett, El, and Ashera will be the guards. Guards, you’ll count to ten seconds.”
“Alright, let’s start.”
“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Here we go, Ashera, Berett.”
We continued playing Kaidro, rearranging the teams a few times.
“Ah, this is tough. It’s even tougher than the Knight Corps training.”
“Y-Yes… Aldo-sama, you all seem… fine…?”
“Today is a bit tough!”
“That’s true… it’s a bit tough.”
“Just a bit tough.”
“This isn’t just a bit tough… What’s going on at Lord’s estate?”
“Right. Garl, Berett, can you teach us martial arts?”
“I can teach a bit of knight swordsmanship, but…”
“I’m not good at knight swordsmanship… but I’m skilled with short blades.”
“Short blades! Great… Dual-wielding short blades with three-dimensional maneuvering… possibilities are expanding.”
“Once again, Aldo is saying something strange.”
“Nii-sama, what is three-dimensional maneuvering?”
“Gravitational forces and repulsion… it’s like electromagnetic forces, with magnets, I suppose. If we can reproduce it with magical energy, it might allow for wall-running and space kicks… incorporating dual-wielding… stylish combat!”
“Aldo is going to be away for a while like this. I’ll take a short break.”
“Nii-sama… I’ll take a break with Ashera-nee as well.”
“That’s right. We should take a break. It’s important to rest.”
While Aldo was still on his journey…
“However, this Kaidro game is quite well-thought-out.”
“That’s right. It trains the coordination required for suppression on the guard side, quick decision-making, while the thief side requires judging escape routes when spotted, managing captives, and personnel placement…”
The children’s games from Japan have turned into advanced military exercises in this other world…
After a while, Aldo returned from his journey.
“Berett, I’d like you to teach me the short blade.”
“As soon as he returns, he asks for this. Aldo, you should be more considerate of the situation.”
“Nii-sama, you’ll get scolded by Mother again.”
“Aldo-sama, it’s fine to teach, but we need to obtain permission from Joshua-sama and Rafina-sama…”
“I see. In that case, I’ll get permission from Mother, so can I start from tomorrow?”
“No, if we start from tomorrow, the Knight Corps has a mission…”
“Include that in the request to Mother.”
“Give up, Berett. Aldo-boy is serious.”
“Alright, I understand. If you can get permission…”
Dinner that evening…
“Mother, I have a favor to ask.”
Mother, after feeding Clara, turns her attention towards me. Clara, eating her meal… she’s so cute.
“Another favor? Lately, it seems like there have been quite a few.”
“Well, I’d like to learn the art of the short blade from Berett in the Knight Corps.”
“A short blade? Not a regular sword? Why?”
“Because it’s cool.”
“Eh? What did you say?”
“Because it’s cool.”
“Ah, just wait for a moment… Joshua, come over here a bit…”
Mother, accompanied by Father, went out into the hallway.
In the hallway, there’s a conversation between Raffina and Joshua.
“I’ve had something on my mind for a while.”
“What a coincidence. I’ve actually been thinking about something too.”
“Is it possible that Al is an idiot?”
“My dear Raffi, I’ve been pondering the same thing.”
“Haah… he’s 8 years old, and I was thinking of allowing martial arts soon… but a short blade…Haah”
“Looking at it from another angle, for a mage, mastering short blade techniques could serve as self-defense. The coolness factor was just too overwhelming, and I couldn’t judge it rationally.”
“Indeed, short blade techniques might be a good match for a mage…”
“After all, mages don’t wear armor to begin with.”
The two return hastily from the hallway.
“Ah, Al. I’ll grant permission for you to learn the short blade.”
“Mother, thank you very much.”
“Elphus, I can totally imagine the conversation those two had in the hallway”
“Ashera-nee, it’s quite a coincidence. Me too.”
And so, I was allowed to learn the art of the short blade. However, it was decided that it wouldn’t interfere with Berett’s duties, so the lessons would take place between breakfast and lunch, as usual.
With short blades as my starting point, I began to think about mastering dual-wielding next…