The Deeds of Arrogant Noble Volume 1 chapter 2 part 6 

Battered, hands on the ground, Abel vomited up blood.
The highly abnormal scene. But this was by no means a rare occurrence.
Merely daily life. The perfectly ordinary daily life for Abel.
“Stop it. Any more is too much.”
“Just a little more… Just a little…”
“I see. So you still won’t stop.”
With Elka’s knife hand strike, Abel’s blood-red eyes lost their light.
She reaped his consciousness far more easily than twisting an infant’s arm. He had long since surpassed his physical limits, his magical power completely depleted. Abel had no means of resisting.
“Haa… Honestly. Is this really alright? Living out these days of self-questioning. ──Jella.”
“Yes sir, Lord Elka!”


The instant the woman called Jella chanted that, Abel’s body was wrapped in green light, his near-death state healing as if it were a lie.
“How many times today?”
“…Surely over fifty.”
“You’re really messed up. And I’m causing you trouble.”
“Whatever are you saying? If I can repay even a fraction of the debt I owe you with this power, I could ask for no greater joy.”
“As stubborn as ever. I told you to become a priestess so many times, yet you never bent your creed in the end huh.”
“I simply cannot agree with the idea of the church only granting salvation to those who can pay.”
“…Heh, you’ve changed. Well, I’ve no right to criticize others.”
Elka briefly glanced down at Abel.
His swordsmanship was nothing special. While he could use magic, he had no talent for it either.
Yet like one possessed, the boy ceaselessly pursued [power].
Seeing his reasons let Elka refrain from stopping him.
“─Had there been no [path], I could have cleanly told you to give up and resign yourself.”
Of course, Abel could not use attribute magic.
The only non-attribute magic he could use was a mere single spell.

However─through that one spell, a [path] to greatness opened up for Abel.

Or more accurately, one had opened up, unavoidably. It could hardly even be called a path.
A narrow, devastated thing one would unconsciously remove from their choices under normal circumstances.

[I’m glad… Really glad… I was always anxious about having nothing, but now with this─I just have to keep moving forward]

There’s a path leading to greatness.
Elka would never forget Abel’s smile then, as if possessed by something.
No matter what sort of thing it was, the fact that there was a path there was plenty for Abel.
This day also reaffirmed Elka’s own determination.
Abel would break. He would easily break without her guidance… That was her thinking.
Elka agonized. Agonized and agonized relentlessly.
To the point sleepless nights were commonplace.
She truly wished for Abel’s happiness.
Stop already, give up. Strength isn’t everything. There are countless other options in this world.
She thought to tell him that countless times. ──However,

“I couldn’t say it.”

Seeing those eyes filled with resolve and madness, her words would always vanish somewhere.
Elka knew “those eyes”. She understood. ──That words would be meaningless.
Abel wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop.
That was why Elka steeled her own determination as well.

The determination to walk that brutal path together─.

“Any time.”
It instantly vanished as if erased. A super-accelerated dash no ordinary person could even track with their eyes.
The horizontal slash unleashed from there.
Luke knew he couldn’t take that strike head-on. The overwhelming difference in physique that would never be overturned, in pure strength─he had no chance winning through that alone.
Therefore, what was demanded was overwhelmingly greater skill to surpass those. ──The fruits of training so intense one would faint, effortlessly realized by Luke.
Perfect timing and angle deflecting Alfred’s sword.
Such exquisitely beautiful parrying.

But that was also within Alfred’s expectations. Of course Luke could manage this much. So it was an action premised on being blocked.
In the next instant, Alfred delivered a merciless kick.
A strike deviating completely from the royal swordsmanship, focused solely on assailing the enemy’s opening.
But Luke twisted his torso to evade that kick.
And it didn’t end there. Without a moment’s delay, a sharp thrust assaulted Alfred.

(Splendid…! Not just minimizing himself to the bare minimum evasion against a surprise attack, but even counterattacking…!)

Alfred shouted praise internally, instantly dispelling those idle thoughts.
He had to go at this intending to kill. Anything less wouldn’t even make this a match.
Arching his back then flipping over to take distance while dodging Luke’s thrust, he also slashed up from below to above. But Luke blocked it as a matter of course.
“Uoohahahaha! Truly, swords are fun!”
Offense and defense reversed.
Luke closed the distance as Alfred raised his sword diagonally up. Blocking that, Alfred swiftly riposted.
From there, it was a relentless exchange of sword strikes.
Lightning fast. Gale force rapid. Not even a moment to breathe could be afforded in the barrage.
But─the only emotion in these two’s hearts was [enjoyment].



Kesagiri, do-uchi, counter, kick, rising slash, flowing parry, feint, tsuki, foot sweep to horizontal slash─.

Swordwork uncompromising for victory. While feeling exhilaration and nostalgia from the thrilling exchange, Alfred couldn’t help but feel a tinge of regret.
(Geez, I hate getting old.)
The back and forth swordplay that seemed endless was eventually brought to a halt.
“My win, Alfred.”
“I have lost. As expected of you, Sir Luke.”
Luke’s swordpoint was placed at Alfred’s throat.
“I wish I could fight you in your prime.”
“…Heh. I was just thinking the same, albeit from the position of challenger.”
“C’mon, you’re my master.”
Alfred thought long ago there was nothing more for him to teach.
Frankly, at this point it would be better to refrain from mock battles with Alfred.
Too much of the same opponent could lead to developing strange habits. But they still crossed swords because no one suitable to face Luke had been found, and a bit of Alfred’s selfishness.
An irresistible desire to directly feel Luke’s sword.
(Well, it’s about time I stopped. Plus I’m inadequate now. ──Really no good.)
When Luke awakened to attribute magic, Alfred had thought he might give up the sword. But that didn’t happen.
He could still watch Luke’s swordwork. The joy at that time is inexpressible.
That said, it was also a fact no one suitable to face Luke had been found.
As he pondered what to do,

─pachi, pachi, pachi.

He heard dry clapping.
Luke and Alfred both turned to look. ──It was Alice.
“So it’s true you savor swordsmanship. That was truly splendid.”
Alfred promptly bowed his head.
But on seeing her, Luke made no effort to hide his displeasure.
“Alfred, prepare a hot bath.”
“Yes sir.”
He tried to leave without another glance, but
“Ha… Ha…”
An unpleasant panting could be heard.
“I thought I told you to cut that out. Did you forget?”
Luke couldn’t resist.
“What? Going to get violent next? Use those honed sword skills to rip my clothes to shreds and humiliate me?”
“…That’s enough. Go home.”
The mock battle with Alice was just the other day. But already, Luke intensely disliked her.
More than dislike, she disgusted him so he didn’t want to get near.
That could be called an aversion to something incomprehensible.
“I think you should listen to what I have to say.”
“I don’t think anything you’d say is of value. So hurry up and─”
“─Our engagement has been settled.”
“Go hom… Huh?”
He dropped the towel he’d been using to wipe sweat with a potori.
Words Luke couldn’t comprehend. No, not that he didn’t understand the words themselves. His brain was refusing to comprehend this whole situation.
“What did you just say?”
“It’s not a lie. I heard about this from your father this morning and consented myself. Happily, you know.”
“Hold on a minute. My head hurts.”
Luke’s thoughts spun at high speed.

I met Alice just a few days ago at a party.
But why is this happening? It’s too soon. It’s way too soon.
The only reason something like this could happen is—

(—You, Father!!!!)

I immediately arrived at the answer.
(How did Father manage to make this engagement official in just a few days?! If it had remained just a discussion about a potential engagement, I could have handled it somehow! And why of all people is it this woman?! Uwaaaaaaah!)
Yes, if it had remained at the engagement stage, it would have been fine. It could have been managed somehow.
But once the engagement becomes official, the situation changes.
If you break off an established engagement, it tarnishes the other party’s reputation. Of course, the Gilbert family wouldn’t care about something like that.
However, Luke couldn’t tolerate the fact that he would leave a blemish on the Gilbert family’s honor.
“Why… why is this happening…”
“That’s… so mean… to make such a face…”
(Why is this girl blushing like that…)
“I feel a sense of destiny with Luke, who changed everything about me, but it seems you don’t.”
“That’s right. But there are three advantages to this.”
“…Tell me.”
Alice’s breath is still rough, and her cheeks are getting even redder.
Luke can’t understand it, and it makes him uncomfortable, so he looks at her with disdain.
As a result, Alice’s breathing becomes even more erratic. ──This is a repeating pattern.
“First, the Lonsdale family has a very high aptitude for magic. If you marry me, I think it’s almost certain that we’ll leave outstanding descendants.”
“Second, I’m an unparalleled beauty.”
“By having me by your side, you’ll gain a high status as a man. There’s something called status that can only be obtained by having a beautiful woman by your side, you know? Well, I guess women have the same thing.”
(….Is she seriously saying this with a straight face?)
“Lastly, if you marry me, you won’t have to worry about stress anymore.”
“Why is that?”
“I have confidence that I can fulfill any of your desires, no matter how intense they may be… Haa, haa.”
Luke, seeing Alice writhing and gasping in front of him, loses his strength and sits down on the ground.

Why did this happen?
Where did it go wrong?
Where did I make a mistake?

Even with Luke’s intellect, he can’t find the answer.
He’s just tired. So he decided to turn his gaze away from reality.
(Amelia recommended [Aslan Magic Academy] to me. It seems difficult, and I’ll have to work hard… Haha… Haha… Haa…)
“Luke, are you okay?”
Luke didn’t respond to Alice’s question.

In his study, Claude, with a slightly relaxed expression, waited to see when Luke would come running with joy. He was waiting nervously, wondering when Luke would run in with happiness, in anticipation of when that moment would come.

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