Since my 9th birthday.
I had two new additions to my daily schedule: history lessons and etiquette classes.
The period between breakfast and lunch was dedicated to physical training and short sword practice.
However, on Earth and Water days, we had history and etiquette classes.
One day, during etiquette class, we were told something unbelievable.
It turned out that on my 10th birthday, we would be hosting a dance party at our estate.
Naturally, nearby nobles and those with close ties to our family would attend in large numbers.
Elaborate dances and basic etiquette were expected from us.
We had to learn dance and etiquette within one year, and the schedule was grueling.
We only had one class per week for etiquette, and dance was part of that curriculum. A year had 60 weeks, so that meant we had to master both etiquette and dancing within 60 lessons.
I couldn’t help but think, “This is going to be tough!”
I asked Roland to teach me the most challenging part first, which was dancing.
“Well, yes, it’s true. I wanted to prepare for dancing after we crossed over into the new year.”
“What kind of preparations are you talking about?”
“You see, Aldo-sama, dancing is not something you do alone. I know there is Ashera-sama, but you need one more person—a lady.”
“Part of the problem is that we’re not of the same age… That’s the trouble.”
As I pondered my options, El, quite unusually, interjected.
“Nii-sama, what about Marl? Would you consider asking her?”
I asked Ashera for her opinion on El’s suggestion.
“What do you think, Ashera?”
“I think that would be a good idea. I believe she’s a nice girl.”
“If Elphus-sama suggests it, then we should consult Tab.”
“I hope Marl can come.”
El appeared to have a strong interest in Marl.
On the day of the next dance class…
“Marl, thank you for coming today.”
“Thank you for having me.”
El seemed to stake his claim on being Marl’s partner, leaving her with no other choice. Marl’s presence was a relief for us as it allowed the dance class to proceed.
“Let’s begin the dance lesson today. I can teach you some of the basic steps, but for a more advanced dance, we will bring in an instructor. Please bear with me.”
Since it was our first day, we didn’t dance with partners yet but practiced several basic steps together. It was all about repetitive practice of the basics, and we would move on to learning the actual dances once our bodies got accustomed to the fundamentals.
This journey would be a long one.
Thanks to our physical training, we could endure fairly long practice sessions. However, Marl, being a regular town girl, struggled after just 30 minutes of steps. She was sweating and starting to show signs of fatigue.
“Marl, are you okay?”
“Elphus-sama, I’m fine.”
“I’m… just a little tired.”
“Don’t push yourself. Let’s take a short break.”
El was doting on Marl, and it was the first time I’d seen him act this way. He was hovering around her, showing great concern.
I tried to keep my focus on my own practice while they rested, and I noticed Ashera stifling laughter as she watched me.
“What’s so funny?”
“Why are you laughing?”
“Nothing, Aldo. You’re overthinking it.”
“You definitely laughed!”
“Alright, then. I’m nailing the steps, right?”
“You’ve got the steps…”
“What’s so funny, then?”
“It’s just how I look!”
“No, it’s your expression…”
“You look like a gorilla, flaring your nostrils… Pu!”
“Who are you calling a gorilla?”
She pointed at me!
Someday, I’d make her eat those words…
The afternoon was dedicated to our magic training.
As usual, Ashera had her own room for lessons in mana manipulation, magical alteration, and practical spellcasting. El and I practiced magic manipulation and magical alteration in the living room. However, Marl joined us for magic manipulation training.
After the morning dance class, Marl initially intended to return home with Tab. However, she noticed the lonely expression on El’s face. Seeing this, Mother reluctantly invited Marl to participate in our magic training.
Tab, excited at the prospect of receiving instruction from the “Ice Witch,” agreed to join the magical training.
While she couldn’t attend every day due to her work at the store, she planned to come for lessons on certain days.
Lately, our surroundings were changing rapidly. It seemed that it was almost time for Marl to start studying with us as well.
Our exclusive trio relationship was gradually evolving, and it brought about mixed feelings. It reminded me of the sensations I experienced in my distant past when I was just a student.
Speaking of being students, when El and I will be twelve, we are going to attend school. We have to choose one of three main departments at the Fosterk Academy in the capital: the Knight Division, the Mage Division, or the Commerce Division.
In noble families, young boys often attended the Knight Division, while young girls usually enrolled in the Mage Division.
Sons of merchants or lower-ranking nobles, especially those not in line for succession, often chose the Commerce Division.
However, there were exceptions, and it wasn’t uncommon for merchant’s daughters to enroll in the Knight Division.
Many noble families hoped that their children would become close to fellow students, aiming to be taken on as attendants or even as direct vassals of the Knights.
El hinted at his preference for the Mage Division. I considered going to the Mage Division as well because, as a Magic Warrior, the Knight Division didn’t allow for the use of short swords.
The Mage Division, on the other hand, seemed to offer more freedom for someone like me.
The school consisted of a three-year program, culminating in graduation at the age of fifteen, marking the transition to adulthood.
From there, each of us would follow our chosen paths. In contrast to El and me, Ashera had no intention of attending school.
Instead, she would continue her apprenticeship with Mom and aspire to inherit the techniques of Blue Ring. There were even talks of her becoming one of Mother’s subordinates, potentially joining a magical guild or research institute.
Late at night…
It won’t be long before I turn ten years old. When I reach that age, I should finally be able to receive the magic training I’ve longed for.
At that time, I want to fully dedicate myself to learning magic. To prepare for that, I need to finish a few things in the meantime.
First, I’ve already mastered wall running and spatial kicking. Now, I should focus on raising my skills with dual short sword combat.
It’s about time to conclude my training in wall running and spatial kicking, then go visit Berett to resume my short sword training.
I need to continue building my strength steadily, considering both what I’ve accomplished so far and what lies ahead.