Hi folks! Welcome to your almost bi-weekly episode of Maou no Utsuwa.
This chapter marks the start of the Imperial Academy arc as we’re done with all the introductions in the prologue. We’re roughly at the 30% mark in the first volume. The project page is designed according to the listing in Syosetsu but please let me know in the comments below if you would like me to change it up.
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Chapter 1: The Classmate’s True Identity
Editor: Puissansa, Momielxai, Elhessan, Me3
Though she gathered looks from her surroundings, Hildegard Eizenberg paid no attention to them. Her blonde hair glistened under the sunlight as it fluttered in the wind as she moved confidently towards the Academy.
Walking behind her were the young subordinate nobles from the house of the Earl of the East. Following behind them were also several people from independent noble households who were her classmates and within Hildegard’s circle of friends.
However, not just anyone could stand in this row. For Hildegard, only those with skills were given that privilege.
Merely two months after enrolment, the Hildegard faction was established. Alias: Hilde faction.
The Hilde faction takes pride in being one of the largest factions among the middle school freshmen. To be exact, it was the largest faction in the entire middle school. In the first place, none of the other grades had formed anything that could be described as a faction.
This didn’t mean that Hildegard herself was after the numbers. Charmed by Hildegard’s beauty, many of the Hilde cliques that had formed within the Academy existed solely to watch her from afar.
As a result, the middle school freshmen established four factions,as expected.
The Hilde faction, Die faction, Oskar faction and Mary faction – From Class A to D, each had their own. Amongst them, the Mary faction was not actually a faction per se. It was more like a Magic Research Society or an association of like-minded people. However, the irrelevant third parties that called them the Mary faction found the situation somewhat amusing and thus, treated them that way.
The formation of the factions by the freshmen could be seen gradually spreading out to the entire middle school. This made the teachers anxious – would the strife for power amongst the influential houses be brought into the Academy?
The children themselves had no intention of engaging in something as grandiose as the adults’ power struggle. They did not want to lose to their rivals. It was nothing other than their sense of rivalry.
Reflected in Hildegard’s eyes, as she gallantly walked as the vanguard of the row, was a student walking from the back of the school building.
Possessing silver hair, the student would sometimes place his hand against the school wall while somehow moving his legs forward. His condition worried Hildegard.
「Is he injured, perhaps?」
「Pardon? Which student might you be referring to？」
At Hildegard’s voice, one of the students hastened to appear before her. He is Hildegard’s most trusted aide, Matthias Schneider.
「That person over there」
Stopping there and then, Hildegard pointed at the male student that was slowly moving along the side of the wall.
「… Ah, him」
「Are you acquainted with him?」
Matthias’s reaction seemed to indicate so.
「Yes. There’s no mistaking that hair color. There’s only one student in the entire Imperial Academy that has silver hair」
「Is he famous?」
Hildegard was searching for superior personnel. That Matthias – probably the aide closest to her – is aware of that student, strongly aroused her interest.
「Yes, but in a negative sense」
Immediately, Hildegard’s expectation was crushed by Matthias.
「What do you mean?」
「His name is Kamui Hohenfried」
「Ah, the Hohenfried family」
The feeble Hohenfried house is famous in the Empire. Upon learning that Kamui is a person from the Hohenfried family, Hildegard’s enthusiasm instantly cooled down.
「… I am not quite fond of indirect manner of speech」
Hildegard knitted her perfectly sculpted eyebrows. There was no leeway for Hildegard to enjoy herself in the conversation.
「My deepest apologies. When he was in the elementary division, he was bullied and had temporarily dropped out of school. Even the Hohenfried house disowned him at that time. After that, he was adopted by a different household and re-enrolled into middle school」
Gathering information in the academy. That was also Matthias’s duty as her aide.
「Bullied … That’s a pathetic story」
Hildegard never thought of pitying him. She strongly believed that a noble must be strong.
「Yes, it seems the situation has not changed even upon his re-enrolment. If the same is happening again, then I think would have been better if he did not return」
Matthias also held the same thoughts. He believed that Kamui staggering about was the aftermath of being bullied and spoke as such to Hildegard.
「You’re right … Let’s go」
She had no use for a weak student who was tormented by his classmates. Removing her gaze from Kamui, Hildegard began to walk again.
If one were to ask why Kamui was walking unsteadily on his feet…
「Ah, it hurts. That Auel. Good grief, is she not going to go easy on me!?」
… It was because he had just returned from training in the woods. In the past, Kamui was frequently brought into the woods, but now that he is no longer being bullied, it became a place that almost no one visited.
When Kamui realized that, he decided to use it as a training spot.
Since he did not really want to be seen by others when he trained, the center of the woods where no one approached was a convenient location for Kamui.
「But for me to lose to a cat. I’m too weak」
Kamui’s complaints didn’t cease. Training where your life is not at risk is not training. All the masters that were Kamui’s teachers, and from his territory, shared this opinion.
It was to the extent where Kamui and his friends thought they’ll die. There were also a couple of incidences where they were barely saved by healing magic.
The masters said that all of it was done precisely as calculated but for Kamui and his friends who had met death in the eye, that was simply unbelivable.
Thus, even after engaging in such relentless training, Kamui and his friends were worried because they did not feel that they had actually grown stronger. In truth, their abilities were more distinguished than the others in their generation but regretfully, it cannot be compared to the excessive strength that their masters had. Even if one became ten, it would still be incomparable to an opponent who is a thousand.
Therefore, Kamui felt down every time he trained.
「I wonder if Lutz is still alive?」
Once training was over for Kamui, it was Lutz’s turn and after that was Alto’s.
Kamui left that place and returned to studying. They would never allow others to simply spend their time watching them while they train.
If they slacked and didn’t show that they’ve matured at the Academy, they would be killed to a certain extent when they returned to the territory. Besides, they also felt guilty for leaving behind Ignaz and Maria, who were still training in the territory. At this very moment, both of them ought to be undergoing a whirlpool of Spartan education.
「Yosh! Let’s go」
Getting fired up again, Kamui continued walking, when a voice called out to him.
「Er, are you okay?」
With blonde hair that glistened under the sunlight and large blue eyes that grew even larger as she gazed at Kamui with her eyes wide open, his classmate, Claudia, approached. However …
「… I’m Claudia」
… Claudia was feeling a little sad that Kamui did not remember her name.
「Ah, that’s right. Claudia-san. What are you doing over here?」
「 The same goes for you, Kamui-kun. What’s wrong? Are you injured?」
「Ah, don’t worry about this. I’m perfectly fine」
If she truly didn’t care about it, Claudia wouldn’t have spoken to him in the first place.
「… If it’s alright, may I heal it?」
Given that Kamui’s attitude was excessively blunt, Claudia too became a little stubborn. No matter what, she wanted to associate herself with him and uttered what she shouldn’t have.
A voice could be heard rebuking Claudia’s verbal slip. Behind Claudia came Theresa who was trying to hold her back. Theresa hurriedly forced her way through between Kamui and Claudia. It was as if she was trying to protect Claudia from Kamui. In truth, that was her intention.
「Did I do something strange?」
Kamui was perplexed by Theresa’s glare and her conduct towards him. He had no idea why she was acting in that manner towards him.
「Please could you just fall back」
After having been remonstrated twice by Claudia, although still being considerably stubborn, Theresa withdrew behind her.
「It’s not a big deal」
「Well then, shall I heal it?」
「It’s fine as it is」
「It’s healing magic, right? I don’t particularly need it」
「About Theresa … Look, she’s just worried about me … I’m sorry」
Once again, Claudia spoke apologetically to Kamui, thinking that he had refused her treatment because he had been offended by Theresa’s attitude.
「Like I said, I don’t particularly care about that. If it’s about being healed, I’m just saying it’s fine since I can heal it myself」
「I left the pain as it is on purpose. The truth is, it’s no good if my movement falters because of this amount of pain. My training is still insufficient」
「Are you perhaps able to use healing magic?」
Even if he had let the pain be, Claudia still had some doubts, but more importantly were Kamui’s words when he had said he was able to heal himself.
Healing magic was something only a handful of people could use.
「Oh! Well, just the very basics」
Kamui also recalled that from Claudia’s reaction.
「Even so, you can use it, right？」
「What are you surprised about? Claudia-san, you use it too, right? 」
「Then, it’s not that strange if I’m also able to use it」
Responding to his blunder, Kamui tried to dodge the question by turning it upon her.
「… That’s true」
That coercive method was effective against Claudia. However, there was something else that Kamui had also forgotten.
「… Ah! Don’t tell me that you know the story about my past?」
「Are you unaware of it? It’s fine then. Can I go now? Though I said I don’t mind it but constantly being glared at doesn’t feel good at all」
Even after moving behind her, Theresa was still glaring at Kamui. As Claudia was in front, she did not notice it.
「Yes! I’m sorry!」
Theresa apologized after being scolded by Claudia. But that apology wasn’t to Kamui.
「… It’s fine, I’m going now. I don’t want to pointlessly waste my time in a situation like this」
「… I’m sorry」
Again, Claudia felt down when he said it was a waste of time.
「And it’s fine with the apologies. I’m not really particular about things like this so I don’t give a damn about most things」
「Bye. Yosh, let’s go」
Lightly rousing himself up and forcibly straightening his back, Kamui began to walk.
Nevertheless, since he was unable to endure the pain, his movements became awkward before long. Kamui forced himself to endure it as he kept on walking.
「I wonder what that was all about?」
Curious, Theresa asked Claudia, having witnessed Kamui’s condition.
「I don’t know? Didn’t he say it was training?」
「Is it training to endure pain? That’s a somewhat peculiar hobby, isn’t it? 」
「No, it’s a strange training, isn’t it?」
「Yeah, you’re right」
「Leaving that aside, I believe it’s better if you don’t affiliate yourself with that man」
「I’ve investigated that man. In the past, he was enrolled in the elementary division. However, it seems that he dropped out due to being bullied. A man as weak as him is not worthy of being friends with Claudia-sama」
Just like Matthias’s duty towards Hildegard, Theresa’s duty was the same. Although the amount of information she gathers is incomparable to Matthias’s.
「Bullying. Why was he being bullied?」
「I heard that that man is unable to use magic. Despite being a noble, he’s unable to use magic. How inconceivable! Even if he’s bullied, there’s no helping it」
「… But didn’t he say that can use healing magic?」
Hearing Theresa’s explanation, Claudia noticed an inconsistency in Kamui’s conversation.
「Huh? No, the cause of his bullying was definitely because he can’t use magic」
「Isn’t that strange?」
「Maybe he lied? Pretending that he’s able to use magic even though he can’t. which reminds me, didn’t he urgently ask you if you knew the story about his past? I bet he was flustered because he thought his lie was exposed」
Though it was true that Kamui was flustered, it was not because was he afraid that his lie had been exposed, it was because he had told the truth.
「I wonder about that. Well, what about that injury?」
「Perhaps he was bullied again?」
「 But he dropped out of school after being bullied and yet, why did he purposely return? Coming back again to the same academy …」
「Maybe he thought that it’ll be alright if he’s in middle school? That’s a foolish notion though」
Theresa’s attitude toward Kamui was quite harsh. Useless things did not need to be understood or objectively assessed.
「… Theresa, do you hate him?」
「I hate everyone who acts rudely to Claudia-sama」
「He wasn’t particularly rude to me」
「He’s impolite. I mean, what’s with his manner of speaking. That is the Empire’s–」
Claudia quickly interrupted Theresa when she made a verbal gaffe.
「… I’m sorry」
「Geez, it’s just like what Kamui-san said. We’re just constantly apologizing, aren’t we?」
「Yes, you’re right」
「However, if he really can use magic, I wonder how was he able to acquire it?」
Claudia didn’t believe that Kamui told a lie. If it wasn’t a lie, then how did a person who was unable to use magic became able to use it? No matter what, this bothered her.
「That’s why I concluded that he lied. And more than that, it’s impossible for him to use healing magic. Those who are able to use holy magic is extremely rare. Only people who are born with it can use it」
「It doesn’t seem like he knows that, does he?」
「I’m thankful for that. Please be careful. If people found out that you’re able to use healing magic, there’ll be an immediate uproar. I don’t even know how many out there could use healing magic at Claudia-sama’s age
Healing magic belongs to the holy magic category. Like the natural features of fire and water attributes, magic has its strengths and weaknesses. Compared to magic that just about anyone can use, few are able to master holy magic.
Holy magic was named as such because it is a skill bestowed by God’s profound grace, a skill usable only by those chosen. In other words, it was by the Church’s assertion that healing magic is holy.
Claudia is one of the rare few users of holy magic. Consequently, due to their rarity, users of holy magic often attract the attention of many. The names of holy magic users are renowned .
「You’re right. I’ll be cautious」
「However, there isn’t a decent person in our class, is there? If there were, Claudia-sama would have found allies. Isn’t it simply impossible?」
「Don’t speak ill of them」
「But that’s the truth. I’ve been observing the class lessons in these two months and there hasn’t been anyone who caught my attention. It’s not like I’m being haughty. I understand the inadequacies of my abilities to protect Claudia-sama. That is why, when I see those people who can’t even compare to me, I feel disappointed」
Theresa doesn’t know the reason behind why Kamui and his friends were always slacking in class. Practical training lessons, where they couldn’t even feel the T in the words “Life Threatening” were nothing to them. There was no need for them to make a serious effort in class. Rather, it was better for them to hide their abilities. This was what they had decided upon.
It did not apply to Kamui and his friends alone. Many of the students in Claudia’s class were commoner youths from remote territories. These commoners only thought of finding work after graduation so they did not slack. In the first place, there was no way that they could surpass Claudia in swordsmanship or magic when they had only just begun studying it. If there was such a person that could surpass Claudia, they must possess a degree of innate talent; but there is no one like that in a class filled with commoners.
The youths from the remote territories were the ones hiding their true strengths..
They were only obligated to enroll into the Academy; they hardly carry any intention of having their abilities acknowledged.
Particularly, these students that carried mixed feelings in their heart towards the Empire were completely hiding their true strengths.
Should an uprising occur and if excellent people were discovered in the remote territories, the Empire, (far from giving praise) would handle the uprising by crushing these excellent people. Their thoughts were radical to that degree since they have deep distrust in the relationship between the Empire and the remote territories.
At this point in time and still unable to perceive the masquerades of these students – Theresa is certainly still lacking, as she herself had confessed earlier.
「That may be so, but it’s not all about swordsmanship or magic. It’s about trust when it comes to people. I believe that is most important」
The same can be said of Claudia. Although she possesses special abilities with regards to magic, she too lacked the ability to gauge another person’s capabilities.
「That’s certainly true but … That’s why I’m in a hurry. You saw what happened earlier, didn’t you, Claudia-sama? The household of the Earl of the East has increased their allies during this short span of time. The other houses are doing the same. Compared to them, we… 」
Finding comrades. It was for that objective that she came to the Academy with Claudia, but compared to the faction that Hildegard formed and how it’s expanded, it was the same as doing nothing.
「It’s hardly been two months. Besides, do you think that the talents she has gathered in that short span of time are truly reliable? I don’t think so」
「Still … Wouldn’t it be preferable if we reveal our social status? 」
「What will come out of that?」
「Wouldn’t that gather the people?」
There was value in Claudia’s social status.
「… I wonder. With a low rank in the order of succession, no one would approach me when I don’t even have any supporters in the first place. For argument’s sake, even if anyone was willing, it would only cause trouble for their households」
「In that case, for what purpose did you come to the Academy, Claudia-sama?」
「To find someone who will become my friend irrespective of who I am」
「But, just for that…」
Even if they were to gather like-minded people, Claudia and Theresa had different views.
「Theresa, it’s not that I’ve never considered winning the succession race. For the sake of the Empire’s future, I wish for power so that I can prevent it from being exploited by only a handful of privileged nobles. Haven’t I explained this multiple times before?」
「The truth is I don’t really have to increase my allies. If I discover that there are sensible people amongst the influential families that will shoulder the Empire’s future, I will do nothing and instead, entrust it to them」
「For that reason, must we be aware of their hereditary disposition? That is basically who they are」
Finding friends and collecting information on potential competitors. This is the same thing that Kamui and his friends are carrying out.
「I don’t think they’ll show us their true self if they know who I am. That’s why I have to study at the Academy as just “Claudia”」
「… Understood. From hereon, I’ll cast aside any unnecessary thoughts 」
「Please do. It’s about time we head back. Being late will make the others worried」
Wrapping up their conversation, the two left.
In the shadows of the school building where the two just vacated was the figure of Kamui who should have left ages ago. By his side was Alto.
That was Alto’s first words after the two were gone.
「Sorry. It was a slip of the tongue. That aside, as expected of you, Alto. It was as you feared」
「Naturally. Their social statuses were too poorly concealed. Normally, wouldn’t you use something like an alias? If she thinks that nobody would notice with just that, then she’s an unimaginably stupid princess」
If Hildegard had Matthias and Claudia had Theresa, Kamui’s was Alto.
「What’s their objective? Although I can vaguely predict it based from their conversation just now」
「About that, it would be better if I explained that together with the other matters I’ve investigated. Lutz isn’t here right now, so let’s discuss this when we head back to the orphanage」
「You’re right. You still have your training after this, Alto」
「Ha~… I’m depressed. I’m not very good with swords」
When he heard the word ‘training’, Alto’s expression immediately turned gloomy.
Different from Kamui and Lutz, Alto was a brainiac. However, no matter what excuses he gave, the masters wouldn’t allow it.
「Even so, don’t you still need to protect yourself to a certain extent?」
「I know that. But can you really call that level of training as protecting one’s self?」
「You aren’t protecting yourself if you can’t even win against a cat」
「Even if that cat is actually far stronger than the common demonic beasts?」
That cat – though it was called a cat – was the embodiment of Kamui and his friends’ master. It was in that form in order for it to not stand out conspicuously in the Empire.
To be exact, it was no more than a doppelganger. Even so, there is hardly anyone in the whole Academy who could win against it.
「When you put it that way, doesn’t this mean that we’re done for? Also, doesn’t it ease up when it’s your turn? It should be slightly better compared to us」
「I’m aware of that. But it doesn’t mean that it’s showing compassion. Despite appearing like an ordinary black cat, I’m not even able to get a solid hit on it at all and I’m always forced to yield」
「I was also forced to surrender earlier. Well, it’s the usual anyway」
「Now, shall I go and prepare for the worst?」
No matter how much he complains, it doesn’t mean that training won’t happen. Alto fired himself up again and decided to make his way to the training.
「Good luck. I’ll head back to the orphanage for now」
「Yeah yeah, I’ll head back straightaway too once I’m finished. I’ll tell that to Lutz too」
Leaving Kamui, Alto walking towards the back of the school building.
「What does the Imperial princess wish to achieve by hiding her true identity? Geez, how troublesome. It’s such a poor move. I wonder if it’ll be better if it was just conveyed indirectly to everyone? Nevertheless, if we were able to perceive it, then I’m sure there are others who would have known about this for a while now …With this in mind, there’s a lot of guys in our class that we unexpectedly can’t make light of 」
Many of the remote territories regard the Empire with hidden hostility. Though they were part of the Empire, most of them were countries that had once been ruined by the Empire. Among the students that came from the remote territories were the prince and princesses from the ruined countries.
If they were in the same class as the Imperial princess from the Empire, they would surely have to keep whatever they thought in their hearts, and avoid doing or saying anything suspicious. To Kamui, and perhaps, also for the rest of the youths from the border territories, that was very troublesome.
Eventually, by the third month after the entrance ceremony, the opposite of her desires happened. Claudia lost many of her classmates who could have spoken their mind to her.