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Chapter 7: Bloodline and Duel

It’s the promised time; I came with Tina to the mansion’s courtyard. My father and Jörg were already there, as well as their attendants.

“Kurt, Jörg. Let your power be seen. The selection ceremony comes next week. This is the last competing game. Proceed to fight with caution.”

Jörg and I stand up in the courtyard. We brought spears. The tip of those spears are wrapped in cloth to prevent bloodshed, but they are still lethal weapons.

“Brother, I’m in a slightly bad mood today. Don’t go easy on me.”

“I’ve never intended to do so in the first place, Jörg.”

On top of my head, I never recall going easy on him.

“Both of you, in your positions. The match will begin soon.”

The first generation of Arnold family excelled over his fellow soldiers, raking up deeds one after another just by a single spear, acquiring a nobility rank and territory with his own hands. Therefore, the head of Arnold family must be chosen from the one who shows the most excellent military prowess. A competition of martial arts where using mana is prohibited.

Then, due to that origin, the children born as Arnolds must train their spear arms thoroughly. The selection ceremony is a duel between grown up candidates for the next feudal lord position, the rite to crown the winner as the head of the family. For the sake of mutual skill improvement, Jörg and I are matched in a duel once every two months.

“Let the match begin!”

At the sound of Father’s voice, we move. Tina clasps both her hands in front of her chest, praying for my victory. This is only a match after all; there’s nothing to gain from winning this. However, the results of these pre-matches are more or less related to the psychological superiority for the actual selection ceremony.

“Here I go, Brother!”

Jörg swings out his spear. One strike, just with one hand, without putting some strength in his waist, without any decent weight transfer. It’s an excessively poor hit.

But, he’s fast. Unnaturally so. I can only think that something mysterious and invisible is boosting his spear. I focus all my nerves on calculating his trajectory, then diverting the spear with my both hands. My hands are numb. I used all my strength, but this power...


Still, I deflected it, barely. I won’t overlook the gap that I’ve created. With the shortest distance, I run up and launch a thrust.

It’s been 10 years since I picked up my spear for the first time, practicing every single day without ever missing one session. Those practices become my flesh and blood without fail. This is the one hit from all the muscle in my body work together perfectly in a spiraling motion, gathering all my strength into a single point. The strongest, fastest blow that my current body can pull out. And yet...

“So light, Brother.”

The spear that should have left a gap returns the hit in a blink. Jorg’s flippant yet troublesome spear catches up with my fastest thrust, flicking it off with ease. I understand that his strike left a center of gravity, making his spear quick to return.

But, too fast. He doesn’t use any mana, yet as if being supported by a “mysterious thing”, Jorg’s spear is unnaturally fast, unnaturally heavy.

“I see.”

I suppose it would’ve turned out like this. Using power in as a momentum, rising plenty of centrifugal force, then swings sideways. If it’s stopped, this strike will be blown off easily. However, Jorg stops that one with an unperturbed face.

“Brother, you’re so skillful... Beautiful form, polished martial arts, you’re really awesome. I can’t begin to imagine how much effort you’ve put into this.”

Jorg flippantly releases poking thrusts. They are flippant, but every single blow contains lethal amount of power. An irrational attack supported by this “invisible thing”. If I directly receive just one blow, it’ll be over. Deflecting, diverting, negating, I resist those attacks with pure skill.

However, Jorg continues to receive strike points, while I must extort the energy from my whole body. Rotating strength and stamina consumption between us are totally different. It’s becoming more unfavorable for me.

In this world, there’s an irrational power, working outside the boundaries of logic. Jorg has it, Father also has it. Their spears have irrational speed and strength. This is the power attained by the bloodline of Arnold family, the talent. A power I never stopped wishing for, and never be able to reach. For the sake of making up for this irrationality, I never fail to train, tempering my body, polishing my martial arts.

Yet, still...

“You’re awesome, Brother, really awesome. You can handle my spear with pure skill! But you know, it’s useless if you don’t have the talent! Brother... You’ll never reach me with that kind of cheap trick!”

Jorg proclaims his victory. He must have thought that my power has declined. My limit has come approaching. My breath is ragged, my concentration strength is also on its limit. The numbness in my hand accumulates, I no longer have the strength to grip. I couldn’t defend myself against another blow.

“Good job, Brother. I’ll happily take all the things you’ve built up.”

Jorg’s laughter turns deeper.

“The position of feudal lord.”

For the sake of that dream, I wield my spear everyday for ten years.

“The village you’ve built desperately.”

For the sake of my dream to become the best pastry chef in the world, I spent three years frantically working on the reclamation day and night, and finally the village took this shape.

“Your favorite girl.”

Tina who always supports me by my side. Whenever I feel like breaking apart, I can always put more effort since her smile is always there.

“Isn’t it regretful, my dear old brother who can do anything!? My wonderful, excellent brother. Just because of one talent you don’t have in spear, everything, every single thing will be taken from you!!”

Jorg wields his spear while being convinced of his victory. Don’t mess with me. I won’t recognize this. I don’t want to give up. I... I...

Along with my thoughts, the mana in me rages. My whole body is covered in faint green light. In that second, the sensation in my hands returns. My power is recharged. Gripping my spear tightly, I attack Jorg’s spear, sending it flying.

Father opens his mouth. “The winner, Jorg. Kurt, you used mana. You lost from breaking the rule.”

After I released the thrust in my trance, my father’s voice drags me back. Is that so? So I used mana, huh...

“Haha, Brother. You surprised me. Geez, using mana like that. Wanting to win so bad to break the rules, you are so finished,” Jorg speaks aloud, showing a grin out of nowhere.

“Father, Jorg, I apologize.” I sincerely bow my head, while my mind wanders elsewhere.

Father said that I used mana (maryoku/magic power), but he was mistaken. What I used was actually magic (mahou/sorcery). One in a thousand children will be born with mana. With mana, a person can strengthen their body and accelerate body’s healing as well as using earth-fire-wind-water power. They are blessed with the ability to hone suitable magic skills.

However, there will be one in a hundred children who has mana who can use magic. Magic is the very essence of that person, a unique power. That was the power that I used.

“Brother, in the real match, can’t you stop losing from a foul play?”

“I know,” I answer absentmindedly.

Father stops looking deep in thought and separated us up. What made me absentminded wasn’t the happiness from knowing that I could use magic, but because I was thrust by the unshakeable reality.


Tina runs up to me in a rush. As I realized that, my tears naturally flowed through.

“What happened, Kurt-sama?” Tina asks worriedly.

“Tina, can I cry it off a bit?”

As I ask the question, Tina embraces me tightly. I return her embrace.

The magic I have is “restoration”. It floats in my mind just like that.

Restoration: a therapeutic healing power, recovery heal, analyzed heal, transformation heal, destruction heal.

At that moment, I healed myself and regained my grip. To heal means to return something to its normal state. In order to do that, I must know the normal state of the healing target. Therefore, this magic grants the user the ability to see everything.

What I came to know was my own talent as well as how the irrationality of this world worked. I came to understand the secret of my father’s and brother’s absurd spear play. Even though I didn’t have the talent, I always expected that if I continued to put through the effort, a talent like theirs would bloom in me.

Thinking like that, these all-seeing eyes thrust the reality to me. That the trainings that I did for the last ten years were all for naught. That I could never use the power that supported the spear like father’s and Jorg’s for my entire life. And, that if only it doesn’t have to be the spear, I’ve always been more than capable to overwhelm Jorg.

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