Disguising Myself as a Man to Become a Knight! - Chapter 4
Magic and Spirit Arts
Sheila had to cram before the first day of school, so after a day’s rest, her brother’s education began immediately.
Nonetheless, her brother was also very busy, so he wasn’t always in charge of her. However, Richard, the butler, did a perfect job of monitoring Sheila’s attempts to skip her work. When he threatened to rescind the offer of admission if Sheila didn’t complete at least some of her studies, she had no choice but to sit at her desk.
Today was her brother’s class for the first time in three days.
They sat side by side at a spacious table. Sheila was sitting with her head in her hands, while Felix was signing some kind of document. It was so formal that Sheila couldn’t decipher it, but it seemed to say something about the maintenance of a road in one territory or the reinforcement of a bridge in another territory. It was still a mystery why her brother was doing such paperwork.
Felix looked up from his papers, as if he sensed her eyes on him.
“It seems you’ve lost your concentration. It would be inefficient to continue, so let’s take a break.”
As if anticipating what Felix would say, Lulu brought tea and pastries. Baked goods with plenty of sugar had become Sheila’s favorite ever since they arrived in the capital. In the village, the only sweet treats available were fruit or honey, and even those were quite precious and extravagant.
A piece of pastry and a cup of tea were placed in front of Sheila, whose eyes sparkled.
“Today’s tea is made with lots of honey and milk, just the way the young lady likes it. Please enjoy it with blueberry pie.”
Sheila wasn’t familiar with the taste of black tea, as she used to drink only herbal teas. However, she thought that she needed to get used to it if it was mainstream in the royal capital, so she patiently drank it, but Lulu seemed to see right through her. She said that by sweetening it, the unique astringent taste would become less noticeable.
Holding the handle properly, she immediately sipped the tea.
“Delicious! It’s delicious, Lulu!”
“I’m glad you’re pleased.”
Lulu smiled modestly as she stood back against the wall.
“I can drink as many cups of this as I want….”
“No gulping because it’s improper. Since you’re so extreme, you could fill up on tea alone.”
Sheila was halfway through peering into her teacup, but before she could act, she was caught. She was unable to argue with Felix, who was tipping his cup so elegantly.
Regaining her composure, Sheila shifted her gaze to the blueberry pie. It was filled with large, shiny blueberries. Underneath that was filled with custard, and the aroma of vanilla tickled her nose. The golden brown baking and the multiple layers of the pie woven together were beautiful to the point of artistry.
“Urban pastries are a pleasure to look at.”
“Sheila also has such a feminine sensibility.”
“…. Sometimes I wonder what Felix thinks of me.”
When she muttered full of dissatisfaction, Felix suddenly lost his composure. He cut the blueberry pie into bite-sized pieces and brought them to Sheila’s mouth.
“I think of you as my lovely little sister. I can’t take my eyes off of you, both in the way that I’m afraid of what you might do and the way that you eat sweets with such relish.”
Unable to resist the sweet temptation that was flashed in front of her eyes, Sheila took a bite. Her anger didn’t last when she ate delicious food. Although it was frustrating to be so easily seduced by Felix, her mouth full of happiness made her face smile.
“Felix-sama, you’re not behaving yourself properly.”
“I can’t help it, it’s so cute how she gets into a good mood with just a piece of sweets.”
Despite Richard’s censure, Felix showed no signs of remorse. His gaze was fixed on his sister’s happy smile.
“I probably should’ve spent a little more time on etiquette lessons. It’s almost the opening ceremony, though, so it’s too late to say anything now. For the time being, in order not to cause unnecessary problems, just stay away from the nobles.”
In response to Felix’s warning, Sheila nodded her head while smacking her tongue on the pie.
Felix noticed the custard on Sheila’s mouth and gently wiped it away with his thumb. He licked the custard off his fingers while gazing lovingly at his sister, who ate it deliciously.
Richard was speechless and covered his face at the sweet atmosphere, as if they were lovers. The fact that Sheila was so nonchalant suggested that this was a daily occurrence for the siblings. There was no point in reacting to every single thing.
“Even so, Felix is amazing to be able to read such difficult documents. How can you learn so much? We didn’t have books in the village.”
In the village of Denan, there was no environment for studying. Yet, when she asked him a question about something she didn’t understand, he would answer immediately and explain it to her in detail. Thanks to this, even Sheila, who preferred to be physically active, managed to continue her studies, but it was still a wonder.
Felix answered as he proceeded to eat the pie neatly without crumbling it.
“I had already learned everything I needed to know before I went to the village.”
It sounded like nothing, but she thought he said their parents picked him up when he was six years old.
“You’re lying, aren’t you? You were a six-year-old kid and you’re telling me you’ve finished everything at the age of 15?”
At that time, Sheila, for example, was playing around without helping her parents. Even now, she was having a hard time keeping herself focused.
Felix smiled somewhat forlornly.
“… Back then, it was hard to say that the family relationship at the time was good. I always felt that I had to be better than everyone else.”
Felix always has this look on his face when he talked about the time before he came to the village. His profile was quiet with a hint of melancholy, and his eyes, hidden behind silver lashes, were translucent.
She didn’t want him to look sad, so she put her hand over Felix’s. Squeezing it, he looked at Sheila and eventually smiled softly.
“… That’s why I am glad to have lived in that village. Of course, it was an eye-opening experience for me to learn that commoners could practice magic. But above all, I learned that as long as you have the bare necessities of food, clothing, shelter, and a warm home, you don’t need anything else. I also learned the importance of taking it easy and relaxing.”
Felix’s smile warmed her heart. But there was something in his words that she didn’t understand.
“Is it strange for commoners to use the spiritual arts?”
When she tilted her head, Felix’s gaze turned serious.
“Well, Sheila has lived with it her whole life….”
He muttered, then put his hand on Sheila’s shoulder and met her eyes firmly.
“Listen to me very carefully. This is the most important promise you must make to me when living in the capital. You must never use the spiritual arts. If you really have to use it, use it secretly so that it won’t be discovered, or consult with me beforehand.”
“Hm, I’m not sure you’ll understand if I explain it…”
She didn’t understand why something she used to take for granted was forbidden. When she immediately asked him about it, Felix dropped his head in disappointment.
“Magic was originally reserved for the nobility. In order to produce children with high magical power, nobles have repeatedly married magicians from generation to generation. That’s why there are no common people with magical backgrounds. It’s impossible for them to control the wind or produce water.”
“But everyone in the village used magic, right?”
They made sparks to start fires and winds to fuel them. They made humus from dead leaves and branches to fertilize the soil. This was the reason why they never had a shortage of food or water, even though the village was deep in the mountains.
“That’s right. I too was astonished when I became a member of the village. I couldn’t believe that commoners could use magic. Magic is something that is exercised by collecting magical elements in the air, but spiritual arts have a fundamentally different mechanism. By relying on spirits, it is easier to collect magical elements, so it is possible to achieve greater effects with less power than with magic. To put it bluntly, this is too revolutionary. Isn’t that why the village forbade the practice of spirit arts in the presence of outsiders?”
“Come to think of it, that may have been so….”
“Did you never think about why such a rule exists? Even if you lived in that village, you should’ve known this level of knowledge. I can’t imagine what the future holds if I have to teach you that.”
Felix shook his head at Sheila’s vague response.
“Anyway, if this becomes widely known, the equation that the aristocracy has used to control the common people will no longer be valid. This country will be shaken to its very foundations. Various people will approach you, some of whom will try to take advantage of you, and others will try to marginalize you and eliminate you. You may be forcibly pulled into the center of politics. I want to avoid that. That’s why I forbid you to use the spirit arts. Do you understand?”
Sheila, who had been standing still for a while, drank a cup of honey milk tea. She looked straight back at Felix and nodded.
“I didn’t really understand it because it was too difficult, but it means that I shouldn’t use spirit magic except in an emergency, right?”
“… Yes. That’s right.”
Felix swallowed his comment that he had said that from the start, and everyone present followed his lead.
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