Who Killed the Hero? Volume 1 Chapter 3 part 3

Fragment 2
 

I think I was around one year old when I became able to read words. Around then, rather than picture books, I read my dad’s collection of difficult books.
 
Of course, I didn’t understand the contents. My dad was always reading books, so I just tried to imitate him. Even though they were precious collections, dad amusingly let a baby read them.
 
Rather than reading being fun, I think I enjoyed sitting next to dad and reading books together. Thanks to that, eventually I became able to understand the contents.
 
With that kind of life, by the time I was three I was reading books about magic.
 
Perhaps thinking it was dangerous, dad soon stopped me from actually using magic. But when I turned five, he allowed it and I used fire magic to completely char a teddy bear. I was severely scolded by mom for that. Although she is generally tolerant, in our home she was the most sensible person.
 

The story of me being able to use magic at such a young age quickly became a topic of discussion, and I was made to demonstrate magic at various places. It was like being a spectacle, but I was cocky about it at the time.
 
However, while I was praised “It’s amazing he can use magic even though he’s just a child,” I was also told “It’s dangerous that a child can use magic,” and I was clearly treated differently from other children my age.
 
Parents who thought it was amazing had high hopes for my future and tried to get their own children close to me. Parents who thought it was dangerous kept their children away from me out of unease.
 
Even as a child I noticed those distortions, and they also had a bad influence on relationships between children. I gradually distanced myself from other children and before I knew it, I spent my days reading books alone.
 
I liked reading books and learning new magic was fun. But if asked whether I had no expectations of others, I couldn’t be that detached.
 
The only one who I could talk to was Maria, but unlike me, Maria had no expectations of others at all, so she was able to build good relationships with people. It’s ironic.
 


 
When I turned fifteen, I still couldn’t get along well with those around me. Therefore I focused on academic learning and mastery of magic, and my ability as a mage had become quite high.
 
Dad was also happy saying “He’s better than me,” and there were probably only a handful in the world who could still teach me magic.
 
Therefore, there was absolutely no need for me to go to school. I thought I would just continue researching magic alone.
 
However, that wish did not come true. The headmaster of Pharme Academy, an upper class nobleman, pressured my lower class noble father to make me enroll in the academy.
 
It was to add clout to his academy by having [Solon Barclay as an enrolled student]. My father tried to resist but I accepted it. I didn’t want to impose on my father.
 

 
Academy life was as I had imagined. The class content was unnecessary for me and I finished reading through the academy’s library collections in a month. The other students looked at me with a certain amount of suspicion.
 
In short, I had nothing to do, but since I had enrolled I had no choice but to go to the academy. As a compromise between the academy and me, I only had to show my face there once a week.
 
This would make me seem even more disconnected from those around me, but even just going once a week allowed me to grasp the circumstances at the academy.
 
There was one guy I was interested in. Ares Schmidt. A commoner aiming to become a hero in earnest. Although the purpose of this academy is to train heroes, that has become pretense and there are practically none who seriously aim to be a hero. The only exception is Leon Mueller, the famous son of a count family, but in his case it would be more accurate to say he was recognized as one rather than aiming to become one. Although I don’t know how Leon himself thinks.
 
Amidst that, Ares openly stated his aim of becoming a hero without shame and designated Leon as his rival, striving in sword training. He is probably also receiving guidance in recovery magic from Maria. However, how seriously Maria is cooperating is questionable.
 
(What a foolish guy)
 
It was foolish for a commoner to come to Pharme Academy filled with nobles, and proclaiming an impossible ideal in this age is embarrassing.
 
And if he came to this academy without even understanding that, he would be an utter fool.
 


Around halfway through the first year, that fool stood in my way.
 
“Solon Barclay, please teach me magic.”
 
I immediately refused. Because it would be futile. The talent for being a mage is almost entirely inborn. This man completely lacks that aptitude. I wanted nothing to do with him at all.
 
Moreover, he tactlessly said “You seem not to have any friends either.” This made me harbor murderous intent. I almost used magic within the academy grounds.
 
What could he understand about me?
 
Barging straight into my inner space without any sense of proper distance is the act of a shithead.
 


 
A week passed, and when I went to the academy again, Ares spoke to me once more. His business was the same. To have me teach him magic. I drove him away with every abusive word I could think of.
 
But every time I came to the academy, Ares spoke to me asking me to teach magic no matter how much I drove him away. He’s a persistent bastard. He may be the first person to pester me this much.
 
Most people got fed up with my poor attitude and left me alone.
 
Then around a month later, I brought five magic books given out by the academy as textbooks. I had already memorized the contents so they were unnecessary for me.
 
When I went to the academy, as usual Ares came running to me. Still making that dog-like face, stubbornly clinging no matter how much I brushed him off.
 
I gave in. This guy has no ulterior motives. He is purely and innocently trying to learn magic in order to become a hero. For me to say but he has such an awkward way of living.
 
So I handed over the five magic books. I promised that if he could memorize the contents in one week, I would teach him magic.
 
The five magic books were material that magic user classes took a whole year to memorize. For a magic novice to memorize in one week would be quite difficult. Nearly impossible.
 
But for some reason, I thought Ares could do it. And if he couldn’t, that just meant my slight expectations were mistaken.
 
After handing over the spellbook, I pondered how to teach magic to someone with no talent. It was probably a futile contemplation. However, it turned out to be surprisingly intriguing. Looking back, it might have been the first time I had ever thought about doing something for someone other than my family.
 


 
A week passed, and when I went to the academy again, Ares came running to me.
 
“I memorized it!”
 
Looking at his face, it was clear he wasn’t lying.
 
(I see. He accomplished it.)
 
I was surprised, even to myself, at how little surprise I felt. Logically, he should have accomplished something very difficult, but I was expecting more from him than imagined. Those expectations had no rationale. It was just a wish that I wanted it to be so.
 
And Ares fulfilling that wish for me was a delightful thing, somehow.
 

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Immediately, in the empty classroom I had scoped out beforehand, I had Ares try to use magic. Of course, there was absolutely no reaction. Just because he could chant spells didn’t mean anyone could become a mage. It was important to examine at what stage individual differences emerge.
 
Whether the spells are chanted correctly, if there are any inconsistencies with the imagery of the spells, the principles of the world called mana, what exactly is it reacting to in the practitioner, and so on, there were many things that needed to be checked.
 
Until now, those things had been dismissed with a single word, “talent.” Those who could do it could, those who couldn’t do it couldn’t, that’s how it was.
 
I had thought the same way. However, if those fundamental parts could be solved, magic might be advanced much further.
 
On the days I went to the academy, I accompanied Ares in his magic training, and on the days I stayed home, I spent time on basic magical research.
 
One day, my dad said,
 
“Lately, you seem to be enjoying going to the academy.”
 
I thought about immediately denying it, but for some reason, I got tongue-tied and,
 
“Well, it’s not so bad.”
 
I said.
 
“I see. There are things you can only learn at the academy. It’s good that it’s turning into a positive experience for you,”
 
He seemed happy. He must have felt apologetic about putting me into the academy and perhaps had some concerns about my social interactions.
 


 
Ares had been training in magic for over a year and a half, but he still hadn’t achieved any results and had now entered his third year.
 
However, on my part, I had made progress in analyzing the fundamentals of magic and had become more efficient in using magic. According to my analysis, anyone could use magic, but their inherent affinity for mana varied, and those without talent needed to develop that aspect. However, it was unclear how much training it would take to become proficient. It was like experimenting for the first time. There was even a possibility that I might never become proficient despite a lifetime of effort.
 
I conveyed this to Ares, but he responded with a smile, saying,
 
“If there’s even a small possibility, I’ll bet on it.”
 
he replied with a smile.
 
He really likes fruitless things. I dislike fruitless things. No, I did.
 
It’s easy to ridicule something as fruitless, but fighting the fear that it may become fruitless while still progressing forward is the right thing to do, I came to think.
 

 
And then one day, a faint light flickered from Ares’ fingertip. It was a flickering flame so faint it could be blown out.
 
But that was the first time I had thought a fire spell was so beautiful.
 
It seemed to me like the light of hope of a person.


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