“You’re late, Julius Rosenberg!” That kind of voice called out to Julius when he went to the plaza at the back of the estate, where he always trained.
Julius held his head as if restraining a headache at the familiar voice.
“Good morning. As usual, it’s useless to ask you why you’re here at this time, isn’t it…… Your Highness?”
“Why am I here? I’ve told you the reasons many times before, haven’t I? I slipped out of the castle to match my training time with yours in order to win against you.”
Dudrick, the Crown Prince, was waiting for Julius at his training grounds.
Of course, he should be at the castle at this time and it wasn’t good for him to come to such a place.
However, sometimes other people would come to this place at the same time as Dudrick.
Dudrick, who considered Julius his rival, was concerned that he lose to Julius in terms of sword skills.
That’s why when he heard that Julius came here every day to practice, he would occasionally sneak out of the castle to challenge him. Of course, he didn’t come every day.
“….. Good job.”
Julius surveyed his surroundings and then lightly lowered his head in thanks at a single tree in the distance.
He didn’t receive a direct answer to his statement, but he felt a wry smile from the other side of the tree.
Dudrick was royalty, furthermore, he was the next king. Therefore, such an important person couldn’t possibility go out without a guard. He intended to sneak out of the castle to come here alone, but a knight guard was watching over him carefully.
Julius guessed that had happened and thanked the guard who was being pushed around by the Crown Prince. Julius’s felt that they should have stopped Dudrick from sneaking out in the first place.
“? What are you doing?”
“No, nothing at all.”
“You’re so weird, well it’s fine. More importantly, aren’t you ready yet?”
Dudrick said and drew his training sword from its sheath.
His movements were refined, this indicated that he wasn’t just all talk and had actually trained quite a bit.
“No, I can here to train.”
“Yeah? So it won’t be a problem. Battles are better than just training.”
“You really want to battle, don’t you?”
Julius sighed, drew his sword like Dudrick and proceeded to the middle of the plaza.
“Humph, today’s the day I won’t lose!”
“It can’t be helped, I’ll be your opponent. I won’t go easy just because it’s a match.”
“Of course, there won’t be any meaning if you go easy me and I win.”
Julius and Dudrick both faced each other in the centre of the plaza and positioned their swords.
“What’s the cue?”
“Same as always.”
“I understand. Then ──.”
Julius listened to Dudrick’s answer to his question, kept his sword in its position and took out a coin from his pocket with his left hand.
Then, he flipped the coin and it flew towards the sky.
The coin flipped in the air and started dropping in between the two.
The two held their swords in position and focused on the coin. They were careful of the other’s movement and didn’t move.
The atmosphere was tense, as if time had stopped. They just watched the moving coin.
Then the moment the coin fell to the ground ──
The two stepped forward at the same time.
Julius took the lead.
He aimed his sword at Dudrick’s right shoulder and thrusted his sword right at it. He wanted to take the drop on Dudrick so he aimed at the arm that held the sword.
“You’re too naive!”
Dudrick leaped to the side and avoided Julius’s attack, and swung his sword down with his left arm.
Julius predicted Dudrick’s attack the moment he thrusted and pulled back his sword onto an upright position. Dudrick’s attack hit Julius’s sword. However, Dudrick had put more force into the attack than Julius had expected, so he was blown backwards because he was too light.
Dudrick approached Julius, who was blown backwards, while continuing to cut down slantwise.
Julius blocked Dudrick’s swinging sword with his own.
The blades clashed together with a cling and they both tried to overcome the other.
“Don’t think you can win with power!”
Dudrick was stronger than Julius in terms of strength, so it was overwhelming disadvantage for him if the more weight was added from above while he was trying to block it.
He was gradually being pushed down and Dudrick, who thought he was going to win, roared out in victory. However, Julius lightly laughed in return…… He stopped putting force into the sword.
The force that was opposing him was suddenly gone, Dudrick lost his balance and began to pitch forward.
In that instance, Julius slid his sword upwards.
Dudrick managed to jump backwards in the nick of time and dodged the sword that was coming towards his stomach.
“Don’t take me lightly!”
Julius was the one who was cornering Dudrick this time.
Dudrick, on the other hand, swung his sword down while landing.
However, that was an act of desperation because he was cornered.
The sword that was swung at Julius, who was approaching Dudrick, cut the air and stabbed the ground.
Dudrick flustered and tried to pull his sword back but it was already too late, a sword lightly hit his neck.
“It’s my win.”
“Crap…… It’s my lost.”
Juliust announced his victory indifferently and Dudrick accepted his lost, his face showed regret.
“I still can’t reach your level?”
“No, it was pretty close today.”
“Enough, it seemed like you were still taking it easy.”
The two, who had finished their battle, sheathed their swords and talked to each other.
Julius comforted Dudrick, who was bitter about his defeat, but it was vexing for Dudrick to receive those words.
“Let’s take a little break and begin the second match.”
“We’re still going to continue?”
“Of course. I can’t leave with a lost. We’ll continue until I get a win.”
Dudrick was enthusiastic about a re-match, but Julius, who had an appointment in the afternoon, was troubled.
“That’s troubling, Your Highness.”
The two turned towards the familiar voice and a young lady was standing there angrily.
That was Dudrick’s fiancée, Lady Dearnet.
Her long blonde hair and dress, shone and reflected because of the sun’s rays.
“?! Lady Dearnet…… Why are you here?”
“It doesn’t matter. You promised me that you would take me to inspect the city today. Did you forget?”
Dudrick, who was surprised, was asked that by Dearnet, who informed him that they had plans.
Even though she said they were inspecting the city, they were probably talking a stroll through town instead of going there for official business.
Of course, when they visit town as the future king and queen of this kingdom, the aspect of official business would not completely disappear. He could tell that she was looking forward to it because she had been angry that Dudrick had neglected her.
She didn’t miss the fact that Dudrick spoke in a tone that indicated that he had just remembered about the promise when she had mentioned it.
“So then, why are you here, Your Highness?”
“The knight guard who understood your schedule, did the right thing and contacted me.”
Julius listened to Dearnet’s answer and turned his attention to the presence he had felt earlier. He felt a wry smile coming from that direction as usual. Julius concluded that the person who was hiding, or his colleague, had contacted her.
They had overlooked the fact that he had snuck out of the castle because he had a prior engagement, if not then they would have stopped him before he’d reached here.
If he thought about how long it took for her to get here he concluded the guards thought that Dudrick had forgotten his date with Dearnet and contacted her when he had snuck out.
Julius thought that if they went that far then they should have reminded Dudrick of his plans, but Dudrick, who considered Julius a rival, probably wouldn’t have listened to them anyways.
“Well then Your Highness, let’s go.”
“Wa-wait. I’m sorry I forgot about our date, so don’t pull me! Lady Dearnet!”
She continued smiling while grasping his free arm and dragging him away.
“Now then, good day to you, Julius-sama.”
“Have a nice day, Lady Dearnet.”
“Argh…… I’ll leave things as they are for today, but I’ll definitely beat you one day! Julius Rosenberg!”
“I look forward to it. Good day, Your Highness.”
He smiled wryly and sent Dudrick off as he was being pulled by Dearnet. Julius began practicing his sword swings.