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    Loves Error

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    Benjamin Claudian. The name was unfamiliar to me.

    He appeared to be, at most, a first-year academy student, barely fifteen years old. Yet, his well-trained physique made it so it would only be right to call him a young man. With a tall frame nearing six feet, his attitude showed his contentment, seemingly aware of the breadth of his broad shoulders.

    His sleek, black hair, reminiscent of a raven, was trimmed short enough for me to assume that he’d have no trouble washing his back. Were it not for his amber eyes, akin to those of a tiger, I might have mistaken him for a member of the Hebei Peng Clan who had crossed over to this land.

    “…Yes, a pleasure to meet you. Glo…”

    “Benjamin Claudian.”

    “Young master Claudian.”

    I took his outstretched hand and shook it.

    Though I struggled with the unfamiliar pronunciation of his surname, which I had just heard, he seemed to understand that I wouldn’t be able to memorize it at once and saved me by correcting me.

    His hand clasping mine felt warm and firm. It felt as though a heated stone were laying atop my hand, leading me to wonder if he had mastered the Iron Sand Palm Technique¹.

    I released his hand. I could see it in his face. The curiosity, yearning, and competitive spirit, all present in their raw, unrefined forms.

    It was the gaze I had lugged with me in my past life, unable to conceal it even past the age of thirty. A look of comparison, assessing the strength of my opponent, whether they were worthy of being measured against me, and calculating what it would take to win.

    I knew immediately that Benjamin and I would become very close friends. Those itching for a fight needed friends they could take on without tiring.

    Benjamin Claudian was a first-rate martial artist. His body was well-honed, despite his young age, suggesting that he would be able to wield aura in the future. After allowing me ample time to study him, Benjamin extended his hand once more.

    “What?”

    “I would like to refer to your schedule, young master Ernhardt. It seems there’ll be a lot to learn in the future.”

    Without further ado, I presented the second page of the handout. “Ugh,” I heard Shayden swallow a groan beside me, but I paid it no mind.

    “Hm,” Benjamin looked at my schedule and tutted, then handed it back to me before walking away. Excitement surged through me, wondering if any of our classes would overlap.

    A few others craned their necks to see but didn’t initiate conversation, so I decided to postpone it for another day.

    * * *

    I submitted the completed handout to the division office and made my way over to the dormitory.

    There were a total of six dormitory buildings in the Cieran Academy.

    I had heard that each building served as a dormitory for first, second, and third-year male and female students, and that it was common for nobles to occupy the upper floors while commoners occupied the lower ones. This mindset of theirs, unable to tolerate the idea of having a commoner sleep above them, even if it meant they would have to deal with climbing up and down the stairs, was amusing to me.

    Well, wasn’t this a place where status dictated the height of one’s dais? The lower three floors of the five-story building were allocated to commoners, while the upper two were reserved for nobles. Considering the ratio of one to three, it meant that those on the upper floors used twice as much space as those on the lower floors.

    As I did not belong to a family of dukes or marquises, nor did I have any royal blood, I was assigned to the fourth floor.

    Besides, my first experience with multi-story buildings was in my own home, the Ernhardt mansion², where I had occupied the middle floor, just beneath my parents. So, there was nothing for me to feel awkward, dissatisfied, or happy about.

    The room I was allocated was fully furnished, with a bedroom, living room, dressing room, study, and bathroom, much like a private room in the main house. It wasn’t very spacious, but it was sufficient for one person.

    To be honest, I didn’t have high expectations for the study, but I was a little surprised to see the sword and training clothes I had brought with me fully displayed on the walls of the study.

    Four sets of uniforms that I hadn’t packed, along with the clothes I’d sent in advance, were neatly taken out and organized.

    I began to wonder if this was the reason we were advised to keep our valuables with us in advance, and I became curious about the dormitory room downstairs, especially since the inns I had stayed in in my previous life had never looked this fancy. 

    I wondered if this was what the guest room of the Honggyeong Establishment³ in Xi’An, which had burned to a crisp three days before I died, might’ve looked like.

    I opened the thick leather notebook that lay neatly in the centre of the living room table.

    The front page contained a calendar, a notandum, an academic calendar, and a map of the academy’s layout. Most of the notebook was filled with blank pages, devoid of any motifs, while the last two pages listed the names, office locations, and subjects of every professor in the academy.

    I looked at the calendar again.

    Today was a Friday, the first day of the second month. With the weekend ahead for rest and gathering the necessary supplies, the first week of classes was slated to begin on Monday.

    While it was possible to switch classes during this initial week, any absences from scheduled classes would incur penalties starting the following week.

    Meals were served three times a day in the communal dining room on the ground floor of each dormitory.

    After reading the written instructions twice, I changed into my training uniform. With the location of the training grounds now clear, I planned to collect my thoughts as I ran.

    Just as I was securing my sword in its sheath before leaving the room, I heard a knock at the door and opened it.

    It was Shayden Rose.

    The red fox of a boy walked into the living room with as much ease as if he were walking into his own room and sat down on a chair. For a moment, I stood at a distance, unsure of what to do. Then, in a wilting voice reminiscent of a salted cabbage, he motioned for me to come closer, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

    It was both audacious and remarkable how he acted as though we had been close friends for over a decade.

    “If you’re finished tidying up the room, Mika, take a seat.”

    “What’s the matter? I was just about to head out to practice.”

    “I know. You’re like an unruly foal who can’t sleep unless you’ve run for four hours a day. But there’s something I need to tell you in private before the school year starts.”

    “In private?”

    “Where else do you want me to say this? Think about it, Michael Ernhardt. You were already a celebrity before you even entered the academy.”

    “Hm?”

    “…Please don’t start asking me why. Not only have you climbed to the upper stages of sword expert at the mere age of thirteen, looking infuriatingly pretty while at it, but you’re also carrying around a head of flamboyant and fluffy pink hair. Although you’re particularly terrible at memorizing people’s names, the other freshmen this year, all fifteen years old except for you, have probably already mastered the noble almanac memorization tasks that were shoehorned into your liberal arts class, which were meant for commoners!”

    Deciding to sit down without a word, I stared at him in silence. Shayden pressed down on his temple meridians with both hands, furrowing his pretty brows. I refrained from commenting on how vicious it made him look before finally asking, “So?”

    “I understand that you want to take not only <Basics of Advanced Swordsmanship> but also <Basics of Magic and Principles of Equation>, and <Hunting and Camping with Alchemy>. So, I did some digging on the other students who signed up for those classes as well.”

    “Why?”

    “Why what?”

    “Why would you go to such lengths for me?”

    Shayden looked as though he had seen something truly bizarre, like an elephant wearing purple peacock feathers and performing a fan dance. He flipped open my notebook, jotted down a few names on the second page, and emphasized each syllable as he replied, as if wanting to engrave them.

    The language, composed of soft and gentle syllables, sounded just like a song, just as it had when I first encountered my father and mother in this land.

    “Well, obviously I’m doing this because you’re my friend, Mika.”

    I realized that there was no longer any need for me to intervene and simply complied with his words. It was only then that I remembered that it wasn’t necessary to weigh up the gains and losses of a child’s friendship or to nitpick over trivialities.

    I peered into the notebook, resolving to attend the Rose family’s birthday celebration the next time an invitation arrived.

    Shayden Rose’s writing was very similar to himself—a silky flow of words. He had written down three names with simple explanations beneath each. I studied the memo as if to engrave it in my mind, and as we sat close together, our heads barely touching, Shayden was able to read what he had written in a clear voice.

    “Right now, even I don’t know what the first-year students are like, as I’ve yet to meet them. All the kids I know, except for you, are pretty nice and docile. Most of the third-year students’ classes don’t overlap with the first-year students’, so try not to come off as too arrogant if you happen to run into them.”

    “Mn.”

    “You can just use formal language with anyone whose face you don’t recognize and greet them with a bow. It’s over your status to bend all the way to the waist, and it might even feel like a mockery to some people, so be mindful of that.”

    “Alright.”

    “…There are three people to watch out for in the second year. Rubere Antti Cieran and Lucilla Antti Cieran in the swordsmanship division. It’d be best if you don’t try to size them up with the same look you gave your teacher. You can tell from their surnames, right? They’re royalty. One wrong move, and you’ll be suffering for the next forty years.”

    “……”

    “…The only person in this academy with black hair and black eyes is Rubere, and Lucilla has brown hair and black eyes. If they ask you anything, respond as politely as possible. You’ll be seeing both of them in the advanced swordsmanship class.”

    I nodded obediently.

    “And in the magic division, there’s someone with light purple hair and golden eyes. His name is Edwin Kyadris. He’s the little brother of the grand sword master Wesley Kyadris, whom you already know, but his personality is total trash.”

    “Huh?”

    “They say he’s like three rabid dogs tied to one leash. I’ve never spoken to him myself, but be careful around him. He comes from a ducal family, so you can’t win against him with your status either. From what I’ve heard through rumours, he absolutely despises the swordsmanship division.”

    “Even though Wesley is his brother?”

    “That’s what I’m saying! I don’t know the reason, but regardless, avoid him if possible. He’s got a lot of followers, so it’s hard to get anywhere near him in the first place. As long as nothing happens, I don’t think you’ll get tangled with him. Try your best not to pick a fight with him. Don’t talk to him the way you talk to me, and respond with answers of over seven words. Got it?”

    “Huh? Yeah…”

    Why over seven words? Not knowing how to speak like a thirteen-year-old child, I shut my mouth, confused. Shayden Rose’s eyes sharpened immediately.

    As I tried to reassure him by practicing how to pronounce the three names elegantly and had dinner with him, I found myself unable to go to the training grounds.

    ¹ 철사장 – A martial art that involves hardening the skin of the hand by dipping it into hot sand, originating from Shaolin
    ² 소백작저 – The mansion of the son of a count who has not yet inherited the title. I don’t know how to translate that into English…
    ³ 홍경루 – I’m pretty sure the character for 홍 here is red and the one for 루 is a building with multiple floors, but for the life of me, I couldn’t work out which was the right one for 경… 귀빈실 is a room for distinguished guests

    translator’s note: RUBERE MENTION 🔥🔥🔥🔥 and now, a long note on their names
    Rubere’s name is spelled 루베르, which would more accurately be translated as Ruber (for those who have read lout of the count’s family, it’s similar to how Alver’s name was spelled Alberu in the fan translation). Both his and his sister’s name starts with 루, which could either be Lu or Ru as there is no distinction between the two. If possible, I would’ve liked to translate his name in a way that keeps the Lu, since he and Lucilla are twins, but there’s a specific way I want to spell his nickname in the future so I decided to go with Ru. Moving on, I might change the way I translated Rubere in the future, maybe going with Ruber or Rubert (or Ruberre…?)

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