The Female Soldier Has Been Told to Infiltrate the Imperial Magic Academy - Chapter 35
Chapter 35: Talent
“… Quit?” Ian asked with a bemused look.
“Yes. Why are you so hung up on swordsmanship?” Razé didn’t know about his past so it made her wondered.
“Why are you sa- ah-choo!” Ian sneezed as his body began to cool down after standing in snow for a while.
Razé muttered, “I told you so,” and put a towel on his head and let him held the umbrella after taking away his sword.
She put on her hood and they started to walk back to the dormitory.
“Hey! What do you mean by those words just now?”
After entering the warm building, Ian kept asking for explanation but Razé ignored him and casted a magic to dry his hair and clothes. Blocked by the wind, Ian closed his mouth.
“Hmm. How about this, Ian-sama. First, go take a bath to warm your body. Your muscles are tense. You should take your time and soak in the bathtub. Relax, massage or stretch your body. I will go and take a bath too. We’ll talk afterwards.”
Without giving him a chance to say a word, she said, “See you one hour later!” and immediately left to the communal bathhouse.
Ian, who was left behind, was dumbfounded. But since he had lost the game, he thought maybe he should listen to her. He went back to his room to fetch his clothes and then went to the bathhouse. There were not many people there because it was a holiday morning.
He could feel his muscles relax as he soaked in the hot water. It made him realized that he had been negligent in taking care of his body lately. He took his time and soaked in the bath until an hour was almost over.
When he left the communal bathhouse, he saw Razé sitting outside waiting for him. She had dried her hair. Instead of braided bang, she had pulled it back and tied her hair in a ponytail. For a brief moment, Ian couldn’t recognize that it was Razé.
Razé took Ian to a roofed dojo. It was almost noon, so most of the students had left for lunch.
She sat on the corner of a step and took out a hot drink that she had bought earlier. Ian felt that her sequence of actions looked very natural. Well, it was not the first time for Razé to be in this kind of situation.
This reminds me of when Second Lieutenant Bahamut was a sergeant.
Bahamut was Razé’s subordinate and his specialty was lightning. He once complained to Razé about being powerless when the opponent used a lightning rod. With Razé’s advice, he had overcome his weakness by using electric shocks to destroy the opponent’s nerve and had become an excellent soldier.
“Okay, let’s talk. You wanted to ask about swordsmanship, right?”
Actually, she wanted to say, “You want to know how to be stronger? Think about it yourself!” But after watching him practicing hard, she decided to give him an advice. Even if she gave him a hint, it would be up to him whether he could make it or not.
Ian, who was sitting next to Razé, peeked into his mug and nodded his head. “… I’ve been told twice that I’m not suitable for swordsmanship.”
“Oh. Who said that to you?”
Her question made Ian felt that she was an outspoken person.
“My grandfather and the president of student council. You’re the third one.”
Razé let out a sigh of admiration. She hadn’t expected that there were others who would point out Ian’s mistake. And considering that even his grandfather had told him about it, that would mean he had been putting effort in swordsmanship for quite some time ago.
“After I’ve been told that I’m not suitable for swordsmanship, I’ve been practicing very hard. I thought I’ve made some improvement. But….” Ian clutched his fist on his knee.
“That’s true. You’re quite strong, Ian-sama.”
Ian glanced at Razé and thought, I don’t need you to cheer me up.
Razé shrugged her shoulder. “But if you say that you wanted to become a Knight Captain, then I don’t think you have the potential to improve your swordsmanship to that extend.”
Ian was disappointed by her assertive answer. In normal times, he would deny and said “How would you know for sure?” But after being defeated by her, there was nothing he could say.
“Ian-sama, your practice sword is custom made?” Razé had been curious about his sword since the tournament last summer.
“Yes. It’s longer than normal sword. It has a long reach and easier to handle.”
“No wonder. I’ve been curious about it.” Razé drank her ginger tea and continued, “Ian-sama, I think polearm suits you better.” Razé had given him the most important hint. “I’ve always thought so. When we learnt bojutsu during the practical class before, your performance really stood out compared to others. Why are you so obsessed with sword, but not polearm?”
Her words astounded him. Not sword, but polearm?
“Because knights normally use sword. A knight wearing a sword on his hip can protect his master at any time. Isn’t the Knights called the Emperor’s Sword?”
He thought it was a common sense. That was the image of a knight that he admired. He never doubted his dream. Razé’s words had taken him by surprise and it had never crossed his mind before.
“Do you really think that all knight must use swords just because they are called the Emperor’s Sword? The military is called the Emperor’s Gun, but some soldiers carry swords. Those are just pseudonym.
Regardless whether it’s a polearm, chain, brass knuckles or gun, it doesn’t matter as long as long as you have the strength to achieve your goal.”
“You have a point there, but….”
“No buts. I really think that polearm suits you better than sword. I’m absolutely sure of it. Polearm is longer and more difficult to handle so it might take some time to get used to it but your bojutsu skill was perfect. Have you learnt it before?”
Razé’s question reminded him of something. “Now that you mention it, I started learning bojutsu because my grandfather told me to.”
His grandfather had told him to learn bojutsu because it was easy to find stick anywhere and he could use it to fight during an emergency situation. He had always focused on mastering the swordsmanship, so he never gave it any thought.
“That’s why he said that to you. You’re not suitable for swordsmanship. Polearm suits you better.”
Ian could not say for sure, but he felt that Razé’s words sounded like something his grandfather would say. It felt like he had gotten the answer to the question that he had been asking for years.
“…I see. Polearm. Hmm.”
After thinking about it for a while, he wondered why he hadn’t noticed it until now. Perhaps there was no need for him to custom made his sword at all.
“Personally, I think a polearm has a much better advantage than a sword. Although it cannot be used at close range, there should not be a problem if you are good at hand-to-hand combat.
So, what do you think? Would you reconsider your specialised weapon? I think you would have much more potential compare to doing suburi in the snow.”
Razé took out a polearm out of nowhere. She could use her skill to teleport weapons or provisions that were kept in hideouts and warehouses scattered all over the country. She made a mental note to apply for a permission to bring dangerous items from the academy later. She locked the polearm blade to make sure it wouldn’t come out and passed it to Ian.
“Thank you.” Ian took it without any hesitation. Razé took out another polearm for herself and swung it lightly.
“Let’s practice a round.”
And so, the two of them trained using polearm in the dojo for a while. Just as Razé had thought, Ian’s posture didn’t look like a beginner. The length of his short polearm suited him well, and he could make good strikes. Since he already used to bojutsu, all he needed to learn was to get used with the blade tip and he would be unbeatably strong.
“How was it?” Razé asked him after they finished training.
Ian looked at the polearm in his hand and nodded his head. “It fits well.”
Sojutsu was not so easy to learn. Unlike a sword, it was a weapon that can be used in a wider range of ways. And the difficulty to handle a polearm was high because the blade was much farther from the body. Yet, in the practice match earlier, Ian had controlled his polearm without hitting his body at all. Razé might had uncovered an amazing talent.
“Can I borrow this polearm?”
“Sure. I also have a practice polearm. You can take that too. But remember, I know you want to train hard but if you overwork yourself, I’ll stop you.”
“I understand. I’ll practice here. It should be okay, right?”
Ian couldn’t see anything else other than the polearm. He was like a boy who couldn’t wait to play with his new toy. And his burning ambition could be seen in his eyes.
Razé burst into a smile. Rushing headlong with earnest effort could be considered as a talent too. She wondered if he would become a Knight Captain someday, just like his grandfather.
* * *
The day of the winter tournament had finally come. To get straight to the point, Ian had taken the first place for 1st Year. His family who came to watch the game was surprised when they saw he had changed his specialized weapon to polearm, but they were convinced after seeing his valiant figure. He really shone out during the tournament. Other students were also inspired by Ian’s rapid progress and realized that it was important to reflect on themselves from time to time.
“…Ian-sama, please don’t call me that.”
Ian had become fond of Razé after she taught him about the polearm.
“Then you should stop calling me ‘sama’.”
“…Ian-kun, please stop calling me master.”
“Okay, I’ll call you Razé-san.”
Razé was glad that they could find a ground for compromise and nodded to him.
In this winter tournament, Razé had lost in her second match. Of course, she had lost on purpose. Despite of her effort to stay low-profile, she had drawn attention when Ian had called her master. She really needed to avoid this title.
I’m glad the tournament this time ended successfully.
Razé decided to relax her shoulders for now while staring at Ian’s red hair absent-mindedly.
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