“Next, let’s talk about why you keep losing to me…”
Frire’s head hurt even more when she realized that Shinichi already considered that topic concluded.
But then again, all he was really doing was proposing the simplest idea he could think of, and he also understood that she wasn’t in a position where she could just readily nod to his suggestion.
“Hmm, so what’s the reason?”
Frire too put aside Shinichi’s suggestion and listened to what he was about to say next.
The person who she’s been losing to all this time was going to tell her the reason for her consecutive defeats. She couldn’t not listen.
Just as one would expect from someone like her who put a lot of emphasis on fighting, she immediately changed gears.
“To sum it up, it’s because of the difference in our affinities and specialties.”
“I’m fundamentally aiming to receive blows and counter. That’s why I’m a good match against someone like you who likes to charge in with her sword. You’ve been losing like that a lot since we started our mock battles, right?”
She would release a powerful stroke, but then Shinichi would dodge it and knock her down.
It was only after their fifth or sixth battle that she was able to keep her distance from him like she did in their spar today.
“Isn’t it because you realize that yourself that you kept trying to get me to act?”
It was on their ninth battle that she started using that kind of tactic.
Considering they were fighting only in the morning for a limited amount of time, her being able to adapt this much was impressive.
Normally, it would take a while for a person to execute a countermeasure. Even if one could think up a plan, being able to execute it is another story, after all.
The growth she exhibited after every spar was indeed proof of her genius.
“I-I see! So that’s how it is! I wasn’t really thinking that hard about it, actually. I just felt like that was the best way to approach you.”
Unfortunately, Frire was not someone who relied on theory but intuition.
“…This is exactly why geniuses are so hard to handle.”
Shinichi became sullen and felt like glaring at her. You could say he was being jealous of her since he had no talents himself.
After all, Frire was actually pressing him despite his unfair abilities.
But he knew there was no point to it, so he sighed, shook his head, stopped thinking, and continued.
“Next, let’s talk about your specialty… Tell me, what is your specialty?”
“Hmm, if I had to give one, it would be high-speed air battles using exoskeletons.”
“And if I had to give one myself, it would be fighting one-on-one on land in hand-to-hand combat.”
When Shinichi said that so smoothly, Frire found herself wrinkling her brows.
Shinichi made it a point in their contract that they were to fight without using an exoskeleton.
Because of that their spar would naturally be a one-on-one hand-to-hand combat on ground.
“…Finally realized? I thought you’d be happier if I fought you seriously since you’re a battle fanatic. So I was already fighting you seriously when we made our contract.”
The boy smiled.
His smile grew even deeper when Frire’s jaws fell.
“I’ve heard a lot about victories being decided before the fight even begins, but you really…”
“If I don’t play a trick like this, there’s no way I could win. In the first place, it’s ridiculous to ask me to win against this.”
While Frire was face palming with an astonished look on her face, Shinichi showed her a combat video through his foster.
The girl in the video was dressed in armor and she easily cut down the bird-type raybeasts.
She moved so fast and sharply that she turned their numbers against them.
And just like that the kings of the sky were cut down and sent falling.
With a swing of her sword, she would cut down twenty to thirty raybeasts.
“I watched your videos, but I wasn’t about to fight something like this with just my body.”
That’s why he banned the use of exoskeleton. That’s how strong you are, he seemed to be saying.
This was an opponent Frire couldn’t win against in hand-to-hand combat, so she didn’t feel bad.
But her faintly blushing face gradually turned dicey.
“…I’m glad that you’re praising me, but you know, Nakamura.”
“How could you even think of fighting an exoskeleton with just your body?”
Frire told him to make sure never to say that again, and Shinichi’s eyes started swimming.
“The students have only seen the videos, but I heard you Earthlings could understand it if we liken it to fighting against flying tanks with just your body.”
“…R-Right, that sounds really scary.”
When she pointed out how impossible his way of thinking was, his head started to hurt even though it wasn’t hurting.
After all, he was someone who did that impossible feat as if it were a matter-of-fact just recently.
And if he were to tell her that he’s had such an experience, she would probably ask to fight him with her exoskeleton too.
When it came to her, conversations heading toward that direction were a bigger problem than secrets.
Moreover, when Shinichi fought it was within a closed space, so it was still doable. An actual air battle would prove troublesome even with wind magic given how fast that unit in the video was.
But of course, it’s only troublesome in the sense that he wouldn’t be able to catch up to the unit.
“It’s good if you understand. But I see… So the reason I keep losing is because I’m at a huge disadvantage.”
Frire didn’t know about what Shinichi was thinking, so she was happy to finally be able to say something fitting of a teacher.
She was surprised to find out that the conditions favored Shinichi, but with that she could finally come to terms with her consecutive losses.
“You sure are open-hearted. Normally, you’d get mad after finding out that you’ve been had.”
“The way you do things is fresh and interesting. And to be honest, I’m happy that you’d go so far just to win against me. When I was in the army, no one even fought me in the end.”
Although she was thinking back on her unhappy thoughts, there was still a carefree smile on her face.
She was glad that Shinichi would do everything he could to win against her even before knowing each other’s strength.
The expression on her face was so dazzling it wasn’t something one would expect from a teacher.
“I see. Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. We’ve cleared up your misunderstandings, so let’s get back to the real topic… About your relationship with Teacher Frank.”
“U, a, right… R-Right, of course. That was what we were talking about.”
The moment Shinichi spoke his name, Frire’s expression changed and she lost her presence of mind. Shinichi felt grimly happy at that.
“Can I ask you one thing first?”
Although her words were hesitating, the moment she resolved herself and responded, she felt like she saw a sharp glint in the boy’s eyes.
“—You’re at least capable of greeting him, right?”
“Seeing as how you’re looking away from me, I’ll take that as a no.” Shinichi took a deep sigh and muttered, “I knew it.”
The number of times they’ve talked could be counted on one hand, but Shinichi could still easily imagine it. Anyhow, since this was the case, they had to start from here.
“Starting right now, you’re going to be waiting for that brother of yours in front of the staff entrance.”
“The faculty of the technology class and the normal class are different right? You live in different places too. In that case, it’s important to meet as many times as you can in the one place where the both of you can be found. First, you need to greet him everyday. Your goal is to become good coworkers.”
“…But I’m his sister?”
She knew what he was getting at, but she found the objective to be strange.
Shouldn’t her objective be to ‘restore the sibling relationship they once had’?
“He doesn’t think that, though. Just forget about being his sister.”
“Listen, you need to stop getting your hopes up so much. Right now, you have no choice but to gradually improve your relationship, so you better put those delusions of yours of being like you were in the past to a corner of your mind.”
“You sure are frank…”
He was certainly helping her. His ideas were also sound. But the way he spoke sometimes drove her into a corner, so she found it hard to nod meekly.
But Shinichi was actually already being generous allowing her to still keep such thoughts at a corner of her mind.
“Even you don’t believe that this is a problem you’ll fix in a day, right? This is going to be a long battle. There’s no killing blow here that will allow you to win instantly. All you can do is to do your best and grind it out. At the very least, I can’t think of any other method than this.”
If jealousy and distrust has been piled up so high that it’s become a wall between them, then the only way to get past that was to pile up an even higher friendship.
In order to restore her brother’s trust, Frire had to be the one to make a move.
“So we start with greetings? Come to think of it, I only really get to meet him by coincidence. I have to start from there, huh.”
There was no way to instantly reverse their situation. That’s why they could only build their relationship up gradually.
Anyone could have realized this, but she couldn’t do even that.
“Alright. I’ll do it next time.”
After being shown the path, all that was left now was for her to execute.
Already, her expression was much better with her finally looking forward.
But her reply only earned Shinichi’s disgusted voice.
“What are you saying? I told you to do it now.”
“You have plenty of time. It’s not even seven just yet. He shouldn’t be in the campus still.”
Because of the days they spent together sparring in the morning,
Shinichi has more or less figured out when the teachers arrived at school.
Knowing that, he knew that even if they went back to the campus leisurely, Frire would still make it in time.
“I-I still haven’t prepared myself!”
“As if a person needs to prepare just to greet a coworker! Hurry up and go already! I’ll be hearing what happened after homeroom, and if you can’t do it, then we’re not sparring tomorrow!”
The unexpected threat left Frire in tears.
But Shinichi had to go this far since he knew she wouldn’t move otherwise.
But Frire wasn’t calm enough to realize that.
After all, Shinichi was the first person she found willing to fight her in the three years she spent in this campus.
Fighting was the one reprieve she had regarding her poor relationship with her brother.
When that was put on the scales against having to greet her older brother, it took her no more than three minutes to reach a conclusion.
“…Okay. Now that it’s come to this, I have no choice but to bet all my chips. I’ll do it with the resolve to die!!”
“…I know I’m in no position to be telling people this, but do you really have to muster so much resolve just to greet him?”
As Frire needlessly fired herself up, Shinichi sighed.
But what he didn’t know was that because of this, she would now regularly come to him for counseling.
After all, the more a person gives plausible advice, the more the person he’s counseling would come back to him.
It wouldn’t be until a few days later that Shinichi would realize that the deal he struck with her was mentally very taxing.