All the apprentices could talk about during training was the match between Gorms and Doug.
“Hey, who do you think is gunna win?”
“Kaisar-sama was the teacher of not only His Majesty, but also Zephys-sama, the Captain of the 1st Division. If Doug is his disciple too, doesn’t that make him pretty strong?”
“Whoa, whoa, Gorms is pretty crazy too. He’s never lost in our dorm.”
Gorms was the strongest member of the Northern Dormitory.
By now, the apprentices had already started their sparring training, but Gorms had never lost, not even once.
He had the power and the physique, and his sword strokes were accurate and forceful. It didn’t end just there though. Gorms also carefully observed the movements of his enemies and would react accordingly. He didn’t just blindly rely on his strength.
“You know, I go to the same dojo as Gorms, and he used to rely a lot on just his strength, but ever since he entered this place he’s been thinking a lot more in his battles.”
“If a person with his body uses their head to fight too, people like us don’t stand a chance, huh.”
These boys knew well how powerful he was precisely because they had fought him before.
But they could also sense that Doug wasn’t all talk either. That was because he was an apprentice in the 1st Division.
Although outwardly all knights were supposed to be equal, the fact of the matter was that, besides the 18th Division, the 1st Division was known to be the most capable and powerful of all knights.
Captain Zephys held a lot of trust with the King, and the knights under him had both ability and character. Truly a group of exemplar knights.
Although Captain York’s 18th Division was the dream of all the boys, their real goal was actually to become good enough to enter the 1st Division.
As for Doug who was accepted into the 1st as an apprentice of all things, just that alone was proof that he was top class.
Incidentally, Gorms was with the 2nd Division.
It was a rumour amongst the boys that the 1st to 3rd Divisions were all chosen based on ability, meaning that Gorms was also plenty amazing.
“Anyway, let’s see how Doug performs in training.”
“Yeah. I’ll bet his running’ll be amazing.”
When running began, the boys found the rumoured transfer apprentice running at the end of the line.
He was pretty slow. Well, these two boys were pretty slow as well, but Doug was even slower…
“W-, Well… He’s probably saving energy for the match, so of course he’s not going all out here.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Looking carefully, Gorms was also in the middle. At the front was Remié running by himself.
It made sense that they were conserving their energy, but for the boys who were hoping for a show, it was just a tad disappointing.
Next to Gorms, who was running slower than usual, was Fii.
By now, she had grown strong enough to run with the other boys. Well, having said that, she was still coming in last though.
Since she was keeping up with Gorms right now, she actually was pushing herself a bit.
“Gorms, are you going to be okay? He’s really strong, right?”
“Oh. You worried?”
“Yeah. Cause you’re my friend,” she pouted, with an oddly strong emphasis on ‘friend’.
Apparently she was still sulking about being called an underling.
“Hahh. Stop taking everything at face value. Calling you an underling was just an excuse to fight him first. You probably don’t stand a chance, after all.”
Since Gorms took back the underling comment, Fii thanked him with a pleasant smile.
Let’s keep it a secret that Gorms was silently thinking,
‘Who on earth would want a guy like this as his underling?’
“Well, I knew what Gorms was thinking too,” boasted Slad.
“Liar. You were totally pissed too!” retorted Geith.
“By the way Heath,” said Slad, “are you gunna be fine running at this pace?”
It was usually Slad and Geith in the middle.
Naturally, where they were now. That’s why it was worrying to see Fii running like this. Even if she had grown a lot stronger since her early days, running like this was still beyond what she could handle.
Even Fii gave a troubled look.
“Hmmm. We only just started, so it’s not too bad yet.”
Meaning that she was aware that she would suffer later.
As for her expression, it was because she was looking at the person at the end.
And there, Doug’s eyes were staring right at her.
Slad and Geith realised too.
“Ahh. He’s completely locked onto you.”
“Geez, what does he want with me,” she sighed with creased brows.
With a guy like that, how could she return to the end of the line?
“Well, it’s because you’re in the 18th…” Geith said and pointed out the reality again.
“Does he really admire the 18th that much?”
Fii loved the 18th and found it a great place to be, but to be honest, she didn’t quite understand the dream of wanting to join it. The only reason Fii wanted to stay in the 18th was because she needed her papers as a knight and because there were people who needed her.
“Well, I think everybody admires them to a degree, but maybe Doug is especially fixated…”
At the very least, nobody in the Northern Dormitory had thought of challenging Fii to steal her position.
“Yeah. That’s why he joined the Northern Dorm to begin with, hey?”
Even Slad, who admired the 18th, found Doug’s obsession to be a little weird.
“Well, just relax,” said Gorms. “I’ll send him flying for ya,” he declared with a clenched fist.
After training ended, Gorms and Doug found themselves on the training grounds, pointing their wooden swords at each other.
“Hey, Transfer Student. You ready to lose?”
“I’m ready to fight.”
As usual, Gorms was wearing a condescending and villainous smile, but Fii and the others could tell that his eyes were serious.
As for Doug, his expression was level and serious, and he simply stared quietly back at Gorms.
The other apprentice knights stood around them expectantly.
Instructor Hislo had work and wasn’t here. Although he was strict with those who tried to skip training, he was surprisingly tolerant with things like this.
Although he would get angry if you went too far, it seemed that he considered challenges like this as good training as well.
Or rather, he had done it quite a bit in his youth, or so the apprentices heard from Hislo’s cohort.
Remié was the judge here―――although all it involved was giving the starting signal.
Actually, he was given this role a lot, possibly because of how soft he was.
With swords in stance, Gorms and Doug stood about 5 metres from each other.
Standing midway between them was Remié.
The match was finally about to start.
All the observing apprentice knights gulped in anticipation.
The moment they heard Remié’s voice, Fii and the boys were treated to a shocking scene.
Immediately after Remié shouted for them to begin, Doug had kicked off the ground and shot straight towards Gorms.
He was fast. So incredibly fast. From the moment he began, to the moment he stopped, he was fast.
Normally 5 metres was outside of one’s engagement distance.
But Doug had closed the gap in an instant. While Gorms was thinking about observing Doug, Doug’s sword had already begun homing in on his throat.
He was like a black wind.
Although Gorms was taken by surprise, he swiftly moved to avoid it.
Still, Doug’s thrust was swifter.
He left a well-placed stab into Gorms’ abdomen.
Having taken the full brunt of Doug’s attack, Gorms clutched his stomach and fell to the ground.
The strike had even taken away his consciousness. Doug looked down on the unconscious Gorms with the same subdued expression he held at the beginning of the match.
“Gorms was taken down in one hit!?”
None of the observers could hold back their shock, Fii included.