Shinichi spoke nonchalantly, but he was clearly rebuking them.
It just so happens that those sharp remarks of his just happened to land on Ryou’s weakness.
“Ahh, shut up, shut up already! Yeah, you’re right! I kept swinging my weapon like some big shot! And yet I never even thought about it! Because I gave a damn about was killing that bastard!”
He had lost his cool, but this outburst was truly how he felt.
He wanted to become strong, he wanted to surpass others, all because he had someone he wanted to defeat.
That’s why when he drifted to Garesto, he did what he could to gain real combat experience on the battlefield.
But there were some knowledge and position he couldn’t acquire unless he entered the academy, so he enrolled.
Even now he was Japan’s top ranker, but in the end, that was just the ranking inside a school.
His objective was still far away, so far away in fact it seemed as tough he wouldn’t be able to reach it.
And yet he actually ended up putting on such a shameful display and swung his weapon on innocent people.
“Now that it’s come to this, I’m actually shaking in my boots like some idiot! I’m so scared I can’t even look at the person I tried to kill properly! Now that I realize none of that was a dream, my knees just won’t stop shaking. If you want to laugh, then laugh. I was naive, too naive. Did I even want to fight in the first place?”
He had always only been looking at his goal, so it never even occurred to him that he had already become strong enough to hurt someone… Or at least, that was the case until yesterday happened.
The moment he realized that, those things he has been looking at until now suddenly became terrifying.
The lower-ranked students that couldn’t even serve as his rivals, opponents with inferior equipment, the raybeasts that could kill people.
He’s been swinging powerful weapons all this time without realizing that those weapons could kill someone.
He didn’t even dodge attacks that he could dodge because he had a high Resistance stat.
Has his goal surpassed this fear? Or were people on that level simply unfeeling? If so, then maybe it was hopeless for him.
Despite his strong determination that set him down his path, Shinichi’s words rattled him to the point that he even considered giving up.
“Are you stupid? Feeling like that is normal. If anyone laughs at someone for feeling something so natural, I’ll kill them.”
Shinichi didn’t lament over how pathetic he was being and became angry instead.
His words were harsh, but there was a sweetness and warmth behind them as he told him that he was right to feel this way.
“If there was anyone who was so unfeeling they couldn’t feel anything as normal as that, I would crush their hands and feet into pieces, dig up their trauma, and make sure that they lived their whole lives in bed.”
The next words that came out of Shinichi were plenty ‘terrifying’ already, but the way he said something like that so nonchalantly without so much as a change in expression amplified the effect.
“Are you consoling Ryou or threatening him?” Tomoe asked.
“Both, ha ha.” Shinichi said.
“Eeek!? H-Hey, can you at least stop making that scary smile while saying something like that? It’s so scary because you’re saying something so ghastly with such a normal face!” Tomoe said.
At first glance, a normal face that one that could find anywhere, but that common face was smiling a smile so terrifying it could make even demons from hell flee bare-footed.
Tomoe and Ryou were both used to terrifying raybeasts, but before Shinichi, they still trembled in fear.
“Ahaha, I get that a lot!”
Actually, this was the first time someone told him this face-to-face, so he was actually kind of happy.
But while Shinichi may be happy, Ryou and Tomoe were just confused.
“Well, enough about me, let’s talk about you guys. If you’re going to keep on fighting despite your fears, then I’m willing to teach you the next step – the next step to become stronger, that is. After all, neither your own efforts nor the classes are working for you anymore, right?”
They could neither refute it nor did the weight of their circumstances and their determination permit them to stop here.
“…I’ll do it.” Tomoe said.
“Tomoe…” Ryou said.
“You know why. I can’t stop here. Besides, I can’t stand running away after putting on such a shameful display!”
“…Hmph, well that’s true for me too. I’m not really expecting anything, but… Teach us, Examiner. Teach us that next step.” Ryou said.
The fear of almost hurting someone without intending to.
They wouldn’t be able to forget about it that easily, but just as they said, they couldn’t afford to stop.
Although part of it was because they hated to lose, they were able to make the decision to move on despite their fears. At long last, they were finally looking at Shinichi properly.
It was as though they were proving to him their determination with their eyes.
“Alright… But hmm… Which one should I go with?”
He bowed his head a little, looked at the two students meaningfully, and then smiled. Unfortunately, his eyes weren’t smiling.
It was strange that these two forgot something so fundamental.
“You two do realize that you need to do whatever I tell you to anyway if you want a grade, right, my assistants?”
“Kyukyukyu,” the fox laughed.
Leaving in the middle of an exam, attacking an examiner… For these two troublesome students, fulfilling the new role they have been given was their last hope of passing.
To someone like Tomoe who was barely hanging on, she really had no other way out.
As for Ryou, although he could afford a bad grade here and there, he didn’t want to be demoted because of something so shameful.
That’s why regardless of what they thought, they actually had no reason but to obey Shinichi.
“B-But you were the one who asked us!?”
“I knew it! Your personality is the worst! That fox on your shoulder too!”
As Master and servant alike laughed at the two students’ plight, not a whiff of care about their complaints, Shinichi turned around and walked away.
No matter how much someone complains, if the person they’re complaining to ignores it, then it’s meaningless.
That frustrated Ryou and Tomoe to no end, but they had to choice but to follow after him.
“…Must be tough.”
Shinichi laughed as he listened to their angry gait.
He didn’t find their reaction amusing, no, he just thought that the way they lived their life was really difficult.
It would’ve been a lot easier to just insist that they weren’t at fault since they had no control over their action, but there were people who just couldn’t choose that path.
Others realize that such excuses won’t make them feel better.
“You’re no good yourself, Master. I know you love stupid, clumsy kids like these.”
The master played the fool, and the servant laughed.
‘This is my master,’ she cheerfully thought.
By teasing them, stirring them up, and angering them, he is able to understand them.
Suddenly, Shinichi turned around, still smiling.
“By the way, are you guys any good at baseball?”