Alto swung his great sword again, sweat splattering from his head.
“I have a sister, Celestia.”
Alto was a genius, or so Hakuto believed.
Not only Hakuto, but also the knights, everyone believed that he wielded the great sword so well due to his natural talent.
“As you know, Celestia’s talent is extraordinary, and she was always compared to me. I cried quite a lot of times when I was young.”
The knights’ hearts ached.
They were so disappointed that they had no idea of the enormous hardships and pain that Alto had to endure.
Some even wept.
Unable to tell anyone, he had remained resolute in his behavior, imitating the ideal image for a prince.
“It lasted a long time.”
The wild prince wielded his sword with sheer instinct.
Even when he was covered in blood and mud, even when the odds were against him, he was always calm.
The majestic figure of the warrior who handled the heavy great sword with all his might gained the admiration of the knights.
“The difficult and painful period lasted for a long time. In my immature childhood, I often felt feelings for my sisters that I should not have felt. No matter how hard I tried not to, even though I knew they were wrong, I could not stop the flood of jealousy, anger, and frustration I felt…. I could not stop the dark feelings.”
Hakuto had never seen any of these negative aspects from Alto.
He always led others in a noble and dignified manner, proudly puffing his chest out like a true noble. This was the image of Alto that everyone had.
“I cultivated an unconventional style of swordsmanship through real life battles with my life on the line desperately to be able to barely stand in Celestia’s league in terms of swordsmanship.”
Maybe it was just a monologue.
Perhaps it was because he was unable to tell anyone till now because of his position as a prince, that he was talking out now.
“Erika, though not as gifted as Celestia, is also extremely talented. She, too, is a genius. Compared to her, I had nothing. So, I trained my body excessively and entrusted its growth to the experience gained from real battles.”
If you looked closely, you could see numerous scars on Alto’s body.
Scars that would remain painful.
Some deep ones that would never go away, and some that still looked fresh.
“As a result, I almost died many times. A sword stabbed into my stomach, magic burning into my shoulder, illnesses that piled up… But that’s why I’m here now. I don’t think what I did was a mistake. I won’t let anyone tell me I’m wrong. Because of all of that, I have the confidence to call myself Celestia’s brother in front of anyone and everyone.”
Why he would go to such lengths was a question neither the knights nor Hakuto could ask lightly, but one that everyone had in mind.
“You are still young. You can ponder about your beliefs and the path you will be taking all you want. But if you find your… own answer, be proud of it. It is clear which one will be ahead and lead, not the one who walks with hesitation but rather the one who walks through the path he decided straight ahead, without any hesitation.”
These words were a reflection of Alto’s life and his unwavering beliefs.
“…I’ve talked too much. Tomorrow, I will call Lernoa and the other guards. I understand what Oswald is saying, but this achievement has your contribution, too, so why don’t you consider this as an experience and go with them?”
Alto did not speak again, but continued to swing his great sword.
Perhaps he was embarrassed that he talked so much about himself, which must have felt very unusual to him.
Both Glass and Alto, as well as the Black Knight, must have been so strong because they had overcome the… barriers that stood in front of them.
No, it was obvious from Alto’s words that he was still wielding his great sword while aiming for new heights, and that would continue to overcome the obstacles in his life.
As Alto spoke, I put more strength into my fists that were already clenched, sweat dripping down from them.
He left the training hall alongside a knight named Kelvin who was assigned to protect him.
“…… I’m just a little bit worried about something,” Hakuto said.
“Ha-ha, don’t be shy. If something’s on your mind, you can talk to me freely.”
Kelvin patted Hakuto on the back, easing his tension.
He took advantage of Kelvin’s concern and asked trivial questions that bothered him.
“Why was this Gerald guy dismissed from being a suspect so easily?”
“Oh, that’s it. I should have told you that beforehand…. He’s considered the leader of the underworld now, but it started out completely differently.”
Even after Hakuto thought about it, it was hard to believe it.
“The previous owner was a good man. He ran a martial arts dojo and a little gambling den. He was kind to children and to everyone in general.”
“Oh, he was a good man.”
“Yeah, but his son Gerald had been extremely strong since he was a boy, which made him a target of the gangsters in the red light district. They beat him up, and when he rebelled against the underworld thugs, he had become a prime target…. Gangsters attacked him again and again until he defeated enough of them to be called the ruler of the red light district.”
From what he heard, Gerald and his gang sounded like ordinary people to Hakuto.
“His father took care of the kids in the dojo, teaching them martial arts, and even Gerald just beat up anyone who attacked him. Well… he does go overboard, but his intention is not to rule the underworld.”
“I didn’t know that…”
Hakuto heaved a sigh of relief as his shoulders felt a little lighter, the weight from one of the questions he had disappearing.
“So, what are you going to do tomorrow?
“….I’m going to-”
A dimly lit, classy bar with minimal light.
Shiro, Hakuto’s father, showed up at the bar where Oswald worked.