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    Loves Error

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    Shayden Rose behaved as though he had turned into a mother duck.

    Saturday morning, I woke early to meditate and ran a few laps around the training ground, only to return to the sight of Shayden Rose at my door, his temper flaring as he questioned where I was headed without even eating breakfast.

    After a meal together, Shayden and I ventured into the academy’s bookstore to purchase the necessary books and materials. We spent some time observing the landscape and geography of the academy, matching the roads with the map, before grabbing lunch together.

    Feeling a bit stiff, we engaged in some simple warm-up exercises on the training grounds in the afternoon, followed by some guided sparring, where I assisted him. Afterwards, we headed back to our rooms to freshen up. Later, after a shared dinner, we decided to take some time to ourselves and retire to our respective rooms.

    Dazed as I was, I simply did as I was told, but when I gave it a second thought, I realized I had never slept apart from my family since being reborn.

    And my current age was no more than thirteen, which meant that, by this place’s standards, I was deemed a child who wasn’t even old enough to make my debut in the social world.

    Moreover, Shayden was someone close enough to hear about my circumstances over the past couple of years through hearsay.

    Shayden, that little rascal, he must’ve been worried I would starve and lock myself in my room!

    How laughable yet comforting I found this ordeal. Just in case, I pondered it a little longer, but the conclusion remained the same.

    Thirteen. In my previous life, at this age, I would venture out to the market and pick fights with members of unorthodox sects. Despite the protection offered by my daopao, embroidered with the crest of the Namgung Clan, not a single person considered me a child after I turned ten.

    I couldn’t help but laugh. While I could attribute the cooing and protection from the members of Ernhardt County to being born as their first son, it was undeniably embarrassing to have all three meals taken care of by a child with whom I was only slightly acquainted.

    So, the first thing I did on Sunday was run a few laps around the training ground. Afterward, I went to wash up and meditate, waiting for Shayden’s knock at my door.

    I had breakfast with the boy, who came out with a head of dishevelled, hastily combed hair, before we took a walk in front of the academy’s central fountain. We strolled until we had digested our food somewhat, then went to the library to borrow the new edition of the Noble Register, published three years prior.

    After some early preparation and lunch, we ventured out to the training grounds. There, I assisted Shayden in guided sparring before teaching him a bit of the Boundless Heaven Sword Technique’s first sword form. The reason I did this was because I thought that in a land without even a trace of the Namgung name, I could, at the very least, yield such a thing to a dear friend.

    Having spent the weekend in such a manner, with a true friend by my side now, I felt reassured, as if I had gained an army of a thousand soldiers and ten thousand horses.

    Six in the morning, before the buildings had even lit up, let alone classes starting. I had so much fun running around the training grounds that I even began to hum the tunes of a song from my past life, a melody learned in my childhood before I had even turned fifteen, syncing it with my breaths.

    * * *

    In the beginner swordsmanship class were the twenty students I had seen before and three senior students who were repeating the class. Professor Maello Sanson arranged us in lines and instructed each of us to demonstrate the swordsmanship we had learned.

    Slightly doubtful, I proceeded with the forms of the Boundless Heaven Sword Technique. However, as soon as I finished the 30th form, I heard him say, “Stop.”

    And he began to adjust the postures of each student.

    “When using the Franz family’s sword technique, you need to pivot on your left foot. They say to extend your sword from right to left, but you shouldn’t strike straight. Instead, go from the upper right to the lower left… Yeah, don’t go straight. And from here, you should do it like this… Good, now turn your wrist. Right to here. Practice this movement.”

    “You’ve trained well. It seems that you’ve only focused on the basic sword techniques. However, your lower body, especially this part here, is unstable. Spread your legs a little more… Yes, that’s it. Now repeat forms five to eight in this stance. What? You’ve never tried it from the middle? Are you planning on stabbing in turns of north, south, east, and west even when the enemy is coming at you?”

    “What is this? Just because it’s called a sword technique that looks like a dance doesn’t mean you should actually dance. From what I can see, it looks like the Siren Sword Form, right? You have to emphasize that, as a sword technique that resembles waves, it should be relentless in its attacks. You can’t waver from this starting point. I’m going to demonstrate slowly, so practice again from the introduction linking forms one to three.”

    He had observed the simultaneous sword techniques of all twenty-three students, noting points of criticism for each individual form. Both his eyes and his memory were something to note.

    There was no way for me to ascertain whether this was the result of his upper dantian awakening upon reaching the unrestrained realm or whether he had always been a prodigious genius in the art of teaching.

    When it came my turn, Maello Sanson paused for a moment. Not because his eyesight was lacking, but rather because my swordsmanship was not of this world.

    He lowered his voice, making a commendable effort to keep it out of the ears of the surrounding children.

    “Michael Ernhardt. Did you develop this sword technique? Your demonstration is fluid, but there’s too much bloodlust at the tip of your sword. Such a sword technique can’t be created in a short period of time… The turn you make when you go from forms three to four—is that a technique for drawing your blade from right in front of your opponent’s neck bone?”

    “…I heard the original wasn’t so.”

    “The empire’s swordsmanship was originally designed for fighting monsters, so this height isn’t correct. It’s obvious that this technique has been adapted to fight humans, but… to my knowledge, the Ernhardt family hasn’t produced any knights for the past three generations.”

    “Yes, that is correct.”

    “…It would be best if you corrected such a peculiar habit. The same goes for the strange habits observed in the middle of form eight and the second half of form seventeen. Be sure to fix those.”

    The corrected students stood on one side of the training grounds, keeping a great distance from each other as they worked diligently to correct the areas that had been criticized.

    In my previous life, I had spent over thirty years killing people—vicious enemies, assassins who infiltrated the family, and demonic cult leaders who attacked in swarms.

    All those who tried to kill me.

    Only now did I become aware of the traces left on my sword, habits engraved by the countless strong and weak opponents it had once clashed with.

    The movements I made to erase the traces of sin that I had unconsciously carried over to this world—my present life—were long and slow, taking five times the normal breath. Memories cannot be erased, but habits can be corrected. I dispelled the killing intent that had seeped into my sword.

    A sword that saves, not one that kills. I adopted Shaolin’s Subduing Sword Technique as my objective instead of the Namgung Clan’s technique.

    I pushed, knocked down, and pulled at the invisible enemies in front of me, chasing only the breakthroughs between the paths of my indistinct sword. I practiced from the first to the thirtieth form, and then from the thirtieth back to the first. The transitions between forms were not smooth, but in those gaps, I found my breath.

    I continued through two more rounds before hearing the loud clap of two palms colliding.

    “Alright, class is over. Time to eat, everyone.”

    I stood there in a daze, unsure of where to go.

    In the central plains, when someone was in a state of enlightenment, they were left undisturbed for three to ten days until they achieved a breakthrough. It was hard to believe that I had been pulled out of my trance just to eat lunch.

    As I stood there, blinking, a heavy hand tapped me on the shoulder. It was Sanson again.

    “Your sword forms and techniques are good. This isn’t something that can be accomplished in a day or two, so let’s take things a little slower.”

    Ah. At that moment, I had another realization. Time was still on my side, and when the road was long ahead, I mustn’t be impatient. Rushing can lead to unnecessary falls, and falling can lead to injury. A sword is like a sulky child; if you try to pull it along recklessly, it will lose its way in a faraway place.

    I nodded, trying to loosen my expression, stiff with disappointment. Realizing that a simple nod wasn’t proper toward my newly acquired teacher, I said, “Yes, sir. I will take it slow and keep an eye on the future.”

    “Uh, sure. Your spirit is commendable. Enjoy your lunch.”

    I lowered my head to say goodbye, and as I raised it again, I happened to see the top of Benjamin Claudian’s head. He was standing idly, just like me.

    Curious as to what advice Sanson would give the boy, who already had the demeanour of a full-grown man, I tried to listen, but Sanson’s whispers as he patted his shoulder were too quiet, even when I used my internal energy.

    I walked side by side with Shayden Rose, who was waiting for me, and headed toward the dormitory dining hall.

    During our walk, I learned that the Rose family had been bestowed the title of Count three generations ago in honour of a great knight, and that the White Rose Knights of the Rose family were as well-structured as any knight training school.

    It was fascinating to discover that their sword techniques were more like the ever-changing plum blossom techniques of Mount Hua than the heavy sword techniques of Zhongnan.

    As I nodded my head, pondering whether all swords lead to one just as all streams lead to the ocean, Shayden laughed and opened up to me.

    “Until the winter before last, I thought I was a genius. Reaching the first level of sword expert at the age of thirteen is something to brag about, even among the White Rose Knights. But after seeing you in action, I began to doubt myself.”

    “No, I…”

    “But after today, I realized that I might actually be a genius after all. It’s just that you’re on a completely different level, but I can still play my rank card in this class. Who knows, I might even catch up with you once I get to intermediate and advanced swordsmanship. So, watch your back, Mika.”

    Shayden and I were about the same height. I was still thirteen and had a small build of five chi¹, and Shayden wasn’t fully grown either. The arm he draped over my shoulder didn’t feel heavy.

    Shayden was a genius. In my previous life, I had not become a second-class warrior until I was seventeen, so he was two years ahead of me. My mood dampened, and I felt like I was holding some kind of cheat card.

    Shayden didn’t bother to console me further, and I didn’t console him either. After all, it was only the first day of classes, so there was nothing to be disappointed about.

    Thanks to the dining hall on the first floor of each dormitory, it was a huge advantage to be able to eat right after cleaning up.

    The lunch menu was bountiful. A large piece of beef, the size of a child’s face, was served, along with a generous portion of vegetables, sweetly cooked beans, and mashed potatoes.

    Before me was also a bowl of slightly watery stew and white bread studded with bits of cheese. My mouth automatically opened wide, and I wolfed down the food.

    I swear, if I had known what would transpire during the <Basics of Magic and Principles of Equation> class on Monday afternoon, I wouldn’t have eaten so unwittingly. But as with all things, one can never foresee what will happen until it unfolds.

    ¹ Around 150cm. TMI, Mika is 155cm in the first year! He’ll continue to grow throughout the story.

    For those who aren’t in the discord server, I won’t be active for a while due to some turbulence IRL. I’ll try to squeeze in a chapter every now and then, but I can’t guarantee anything. This chapter was almost done, so I found some time to go ahead and get it over with~
    – Sincerely Mei, who is in a whole different city rn and has to struggle on a slow laptop instead of her usual PC…

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