Section 3: After the Duel……
Grides-san’s knees fell to the ground.
Her complexion has turned a ghastly pale after using up all her mana, but she’s somehow still able to stay conscious. Is this because of her pride as a noble too?
[Grides]: “Haa, Haa…….my magic…….why isn’t it working……”
Grides-san tried to rise up. To stand on her own two feet and continue the duel. But she could barely lift her head. Once she fell back to the ground, both her knees and hands were planted into the dirt. At that moment…..this match became officially decided.
[Odette]: “T-That’s it!”
Odette-sensei broke in between us and formally declared the duel over.
[Odette]: “It is my personal judgement that continuing the battle would be dangerous for Grides Montifi. Therefore, this duel is Iris Calvafon’s victory!”
A hush had fallen over the crowd. However as our teacher’s echoing voice faded into the distance, all my classmates rushed over to me.
“Amazing, spectacular!! You beat Montifi-san!! What in the world did you do!?”
“What was up with that thing at the end? It mas like all her magic power suddenly disappeared……”
My classmates still haven’t gotten over their habit of bombarding me with a dozen questions all at once.
But for the time being, I shared in their excitement and high fived each and every single one of them.
Lou-chan rushed through the crowd and threw her arms around me. I had raised my arms to give her a high five as well, but with nowhere else for my hands to go, I hugged her back.
[Lou]: “I’m so glad you didn’t get hurt…..”
Lou-chan is more worried about my well-being than my win. I tightened my hold around her, rubbing my hands against her back.
[Iris]: “Yeah. I told you I would be alright. I had to keep my promise.”
Lou-chan’s body felt delicate in my arms. She’s smaller than she looks.
[Lou]: “Um, Airi-chan……thank you, for fighting for me. And thank you for winning!!”
[Iris]: “If I’m going to fight, I’m going to aim for victory. I didn’t want to have to see you leave.”
Perhaps only now realizing she was hugging me, Lou-chan suddenly jumped back away from me.
[Lou]: “Ah, s-sorry…… I hugged you…..”
[Iris]: “You don’t need to be sorry. Do you want to borrow my handkerchief?”
[Lou]: “Au, I’m okay! I have my own!”
Realizing she was crying again, Lou-chan hurriedly waved both her hands in front of her face after I offered her a handkerchief.
And despite claiming to already have one, she immediately began wiping her eyes with her cuffs.
When the voice came to our ears, my classmates naturally broke to the left and right to make a path.
Once everyone had moved out of the way, there stood Grides-san standing just outside the crowd.
Slowly she approached me with an unsteady gait.
Her gaze was focused solely on me, not offering Lou-chan or any of my other classmates a passing glance. So I stared back at her. In my head I was trying to come up with all kinds of responses I could use to counter her.
[Grides]: “…….it is my defeat.”
……but all of those lines went to waste. Once she had managed to make her way directly in front of me, she admitted to her defeat with her own mouth.
[Iris]: “…..then Lou-chan can stay at school?”
[Grides]: “Yes, just as we agreed.”
Grides-san then raised one hand into the air near her face as if she were taking an oath.
[Grides]: “I, Grides Montifi take back and apologize for all my previous statements concerning Lu Voux Konfiks. I hereby also swear that I shall hold no objections to her enrollment here.”
She then bowed her head to Lou-chan.
[Grides]: “Konfiks-san, I apologize for any discomfort I may have caused you with my past remarks. If words are not enough to settle any grievances you have against me, I can compensate with money or physical punishment as well.”
[Lou]: “No, that’s not necessary. Lu Voux Konfiks accepts your apology.”
Lou-chan raised up her own hand, mirroring Grides-san’s posture.
[Lou]: “Instead, cancel your previous remarks about Airi-chan.”
[Grides]: “Yes, of course.”
Despite the obvious pain she was in, Grides-san shifted in place to turn back to me.
[Grides]: “I apologize for any and all disrespect I have shown you.”
Lou-chan was so relieved to hear Grides-san say she let out a long sigh and deflated like a balloon. Her arm fell out of the air before stroking her chest.
The unspoken tension hanging over my classmates’ heads unraveled with her sigh, and many of them began holding each others’ hands with smiles on their faces.
[Iris]: “I forgive you.”
I was never angry about the things Grides-san said about me to begin with, so I readily forgave her.
But Grides-san didn’t take her eyes off me as if she were waiting for me to say something else.
[Iris]: “……hm? Was there something else Grides-san? Oh, am I supposed to raise my hand up like you did?”
[Grides]: “…….No, that won’t be necessary. You may not know this, so I will explain…..”
According to Grides-san, I’m now in a position where I can make various kinds of requests from her. Stuff like asking her for money, forcing her to cooperate with me, et cetera. So it seems like she’s stuck on the question of whether it is really okay for me to forgive her so easily without asking for anything in return.
[Iris]: “Yeah, I’m fine.”
I still haven’t touched the mountain of money I made from beating the carbuncle, and there’s nothing I really need any help on.
[Iris]: “But, if there is one thing I could ask……”
[Grides]: “What is it?”
[Iris]: “……I would like it if we could get along from now on.”
I doubt we’d ever reach the point where we would have another duel, but it is draining and not any fun getting into a quarrel with one another every time we see each other.
So if it’s at all possible, I would like it if I could get along with her, and she could get along with me.
That’s what I asked of Grides-san…..
[Grides]: “……I refuse. The fact remains that I have come to this school to better myself, not make friends.”
and I was firmly turned down.
[Grides]: “However I will no longer interfere with you. You have proven to me that you are not weak. As such, I have nothing else to say to you. Do as you like as much as you wish. Enjoy your time at this school.”
I could hear the resolve in Grides-san’s voice as she bowed to me once again.
[Grides]: “Now if you would please excuse me. Now that I am aware of my own immaturity, I cannot afford to waste another second.”
She then spun on her heels and tried to make her way off the field.
However as she did, Grides-san staggered in place, maybe because she tried turning around so suddenly she tripped herself, maybe because she’s still so low on mana, or maybe both.
[Iris]: “Whoa! Are you okay?”
I reached out just in time and caught her body before she could fall.
[Iris]: “Do you want to borrow my shoulder?”
I then wrapped my arm around her waist while moving her arm over my shoulders.
Grides-san’s face spun towards mine, and her eyes darted open.
……..huh? Wasn’t Grides-san older than me? Nobody ever told me how old she was, but I assumed she was about a year older than me based off the first impression she gave off.
[Grides]: “T-…….There is no need!! Please let go!!”
[Iris]: “No, but…..you can’t put a lot of weight on your legs at the moment right?”
But now that I’m looking at her up close, it doesn’t feel like she’s older. The same age…….no, she might be a year younger than me. She looks so young. Maybe it’s because that look in her eyes is different?
[Grides]: “They’re just a little fuzzy is all!! There is no need for any of this!! Please let me go!!”
Maybe it’s her makeup? I wonder if her sweat washed off what she was wearing and now I’m getting a good look at her real face.
[Litzreich]: “Oh ho, you have guts to be so blatantly flirting with Iris right in front of me.”
At some point while I was trying to figure out the mystery of Grides-san’s real age, Litzreich appeared all of the sudden.
[Iris]: “Flirting….. I wonder if Litzreich and I are seeing the same thing. We only just finished a duel a few minutes ago.”
But when I weakly responded back to her,
Grides-san’s body stiffened in my hands, and she gave me this amazingly strange look.