The Deeds of Arrogant Noble Volume 1 chapter 1 part 1

Chapter 1: The Story Begins to Go Awry

 

  

My name is Alfred Deg.

I was formerly the vice captain of the kingdom’s knights, but that was long ago.

I’ve long since retired, and now I work as a butler for the Gilbart viscount family.

I’ve been at it for quite a while now but…I really think to myself. –I should have quit being a butler.

I don’t like them…nobles. Fundamentally, they don’t suit me.

You might ask why I became a butler then. Well, it was out of obligation.

Back then on the battlefield, I made a major judgment mistake and had many of my comrades killed following my orders.

I still see it in my dreams…the appearance of my dead comrades.

Even though the captain said it couldn’t be helped in that situation, that it wasn’t my mistake, I couldn’t forgive myself. So I quit being a knight.

I was told to become an instructor but how could I face them after getting my comrades killed with my incompetence?

After refusing to even become an instructor, I naturally lost my way but the previous head of the Gilbart family took me in.

He was a lover of novelties. Though a commoner without even proper speech, he taught me everything about how to conduct myself as a butler from scratch.

I disliked nobles even back then, but thanks to him my values changed a little.

But that was just because he was eccentric. The current head seems downright happy to look down on commoners like me as less than human. …No, looking down is normal for nobles.

Rather, the Gilbarts who just look down without committing any misdeeds are the better ones.

Well, this job doesn’t suit me but I learned the trick. Completely separating mind and body. Just steadily doing the work.

That’s all I need. I’ve spent quite a long time like that already, and today’s no different.

No different…or so I thought.

“Iiiiieeee!!”

Suddenly, this guy in front of me let out a scream as if in pain. His name is Luke Wizaria Gilbart, the eldest son of the Gilbart family.

The maids often talk about him, saying that he can handle anything with a calm face. In reality, this kid is unusually quick-witted.

But I can’t stand him. I don’t like the way he looks at everything with disdainful eyes.

However, on this day, something was different.

He seemed to be struggling desperately against something, something abnormal.

No matter how much I despise nobles, I won’t forget the debt I owe.

And before that, I can’t just ignore such an obviously abnormal situation.

So I asked.

“What’s wrong, Lord Luke?! Is it your health—”

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,n-no, it’s not that easy…”

…Apparently, it’s not a health issue.

Then what is it? I’ve learned almost everything I need to become a butler, but even with that knowledge, I can’t understand his current condition. …Or rather, it’s just sudden.

He has never spoken to me face-to-face before. He has never recognized me as a fellow human being.

He’s a kid who condensed all the nobles’ disdain into his eyes.

But now, how is he?

He still looks down on me with those same eyes. But… he’s looking me in the eye, trying desperately to convey something.

That single point is the only thing that makes me have a slight favorable impression of him. Well, it’s a limited evaluation due to how bad things were until now.

“I need… you… to teach me… sword.”

…What did he just say?

Teach him the sword? Did he just ask me to teach him the sword?

…Is he joking? Swordsmanship is something nobles, unless they come from a knight’s lineage, typically despise.

It’s a matter of course, and the Gilbart family is no exception. But… for him to ask me, who he should see as nothing more than a plaything, to teach him swordsmanship?

“What…? What did you just say now?”

It was almost a reflexive response.

My brain refused to comprehend words that seemed so unreal. Then, for just a moment, I felt like this kid looked at me as if it were the end of the world. …Must be my imagination, right?

“I need… you… to teach me… sword.”

“No, excuse me. Due to my old age, I misheard.”

“Haah… Haah… I see.”

Apparently, my ears weren’t malfunctioning.

That aside, what is this kid really? Why does he scream in agony like this every time? He’s even gasping for breath… But, well, whatever.

I’ll think about it for a moment. Probably, he’s underestimating swordsmanship. Swordsmanship isn’t something you can master overnight.

It’s not like studying elegantly at a desk like magic. You have to learn it with your body, getting covered in dirt multiple times. Even if his parents were fine with it, which they shouldn’t be, they would still scold him, saying something about being barbaric, and I would get caught up in it.

Well, he’s probably not serious. Just a whim of a noble, mere playfulness. If he finds it even a little troublesome, he’ll get bored and quit. Yeah, I’ve reached a conclusion.

“Understood. If you wish, I will take on that role.”

“…………”

…At that time, I really didn’t think much of it.

The next morning, he appeared as promised.

I was disappointed, to say the least.

If he hadn’t come, I could have avoided teaching him. But now that he’s here, I have to teach him.

–What a pain.

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Just in case, I got approval from the master yesterday. He made a really unhappy face but somehow permitted it.

I hand the brat a sword. A replica of course. It’d be a huge deal if he got injured.

“First, I will show you the [forms]. Please follow my movements and swing the sword the same way.”

Many who aspire to the sword dislike forms. The reason is extremely simple, they’re boring.

If I was really taking on disciples to teach the sword, I’d teach practical techniques first. Get them interested in the sword, then forms.

After all, you can’t avoid these [forms] that contain all the fundamentals.

But whatever.

My goal is to quickly get this brat to understand swords are boring things.

“C-Come on…hurry up…”

…What’s with him today, so emotionally unstable? Geez, hurry up? Even though he’s the one asking to be taught?

If I took on a disciple, first would be to temper that attitude…no, thinking about it is pointless. –Let’s get this over with quickly.

“Alright, here we go.”

–A few times.

Just watching those sword swings a few times, I couldn’t help but notice how abnormal they were.

Swinging a sword isn’t that simple.

Footwork, shifting your center of gravity, transferring power, timing, breathing…Only after gaining all those can you properly swing a sword.

That’s why if you make a novice swing one it’ll just be a messy motion.

Yet he…after watching me just once, he did it.

No, it may have been luck.

…I desperately denied that nearly intuitive sense.

We continued the forms for a while.

And it became something I could no longer deny.

–A monster.

That word floated through my mind.

“Young Master Luke. Pardon me but, do you have any prior experience with swords?”

That’s impossible…I already know the answer. I’m with him all day long.

Yet still I asked, in an attempt to somehow understand this incomprehensible existence.

“Do you really think so?”

He glanced back with utmost contempt in his eyes.

But I no longer cared about such things. They’re too trivial.

“Let’s continue.”

“…………”

Somehow suppressing my chaotic emotions, I continued the forms training.

…It seems that when humans see something they can’t understand, the emotion they feel is [fear].

I’m having feelings that I didn’t have even for the “Captain” who I couldn’t win even once in the end, with a kid who’s been holding a sword for a few minutes.

With each sword swing, his movements grew more refined. Monstrous growth speed.

This brat probably doesn’t know, but his starting point is already where an average swordsman only reaches after desperately striving. …Impossible. …No way.

And around an hour after we started this lesson that should have ended in minutes, I witnessed one of his swings.

That swing just now…was it better than mine?

It’s not that my sword has rusted. As his butler and guard, there hasn’t been a single day I haven’t held a sword even at this age.

Then in just an hour this brat who held a sword for the first time surpassed me?

I vaguely recalled the maids’ conversation.

Young Master Luke is amazing. He can do anything immediately. He must be a genius.

They frequently spoke as such. …No, that’s wrong.

I absolutely can’t dismiss him with such a stale word.

Monster, freak, deviant. Those words are more apt.

“Young Master Luke, let’s stop here today.”

“What…it’s over already? We just got started.”

“Yes. Today was the first time you held a sword. There is no benefit in rushing.”

“I see. If you say so.”

After seeing Young Master Luke to his room, I headed to meet with the master.

My feet naturally quickened and a grin leaked out unbidden.

“In just two or three years…he’ll surpass me in just two or three years…”

I must have a rather disturbing grin right now.

But hey, how could I not smile?

Distorted as it may be, I was the former vice captain of the kingdom’s knights. The number two in the country when it came to sword skill, you hear me!?

I’d held a sword since I gained awareness. And that me is going to be surpassed by a brat who held one for an hour at most?

“…Hehe. This ain’t good.”

Peerless talent that I can’t even feel envy or jealousy toward.

No mistake. He was born to swing a blade.

“Gotta see…where he’ll climb to.”

I was in the grips of an irresistible powerful emotion. –No, I was bewitched.

By talent embodying the devil’s whims.

Still riding that momentum I knocked on the door.


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