༺ A Slight Change ༻
Don’t you resent the Malevolent Star?
Oznia tried to understand the intention behind this question. However, reading the always expressionless face of Eon was more difficult than any magic.
“I’ve never thought about it like that.”
So Oznia simply answered with an honest emotion.
“It was scary back then… but now I know.”
“What do you know?”
Oznia looked at Eon with a serene gaze. Her voice was calm and gentle.
“The fact that he saved me.”
As if Eon had saved her himself.
As if he had done just that.
Only genuine emotions were conveyed through Oznia’s expression and tone.
Eon noticed it and seemed to be lost in thought for a moment, falling silent.
Oznia saw the complex and subtle expression on Eon’s side profile gradually fade, leaving only a trace of faint bewilderment.
As if he never expected to hear such words.
In the end, Eon briefly agreed with his usual indifferent tone.
Before they knew it, the day had completely brightened outside the window. Eon knew it was time to let Oznia rest instead of prolonging this conversation.
“I’ll let the other instructors know, so you don’t need to attend class today.”
Eon got up from his seat and walked towards the door. Just before leaving the room, he glanced back at Oznia.
And the door closed.
Oznia felt a sense of familiarity in his retreating figure.
She experienced an intense feeling that was difficult to describe in words, but the moment passed fleetingly.
It was an instinctive feeling that she could neither explain nor organize in her mind.
In the end, Oznia stared at the spot where Eon had left for a long time, unable to understand what she had felt.
As the weekend passed and a new week began, the Opal Black class students changed into their gym clothes and headed to the forest for their morning physical training curriculum, as usual.
Marian really wanted to know why they had to go to the forest when there was a dedicated training ground for the dormitory.
And as they walked through the forest, the Opal Black class students could finally see the traces of destruction from the night before.
“Did a giant monster rampage or something?”
Schultz nodded in agreement with Marian’s astonished remark, and Titania, an elf who cherished and loved the forest, spoke with a slightly fed-up expression.
“All the spirits have fled….”
There was some distance between the forest where Eon had been running around and the dormitory, so the path they were walking on wasn’t completely damaged.
However, the sight of thick branches mercilessly broken and leaves scattered everywhere due to the shockwaves from afar made Marian feel a bit frightened.
Even though it wasn’t the direct site of battle, the aftermath caused this much damage.
What on earth happened last night…? The students each had various imaginations in their heads.
Soon, the Opal Black class students arrived at the back mountain, which they mainly used for physical training.
Eon was already waiting for them there.
“You’re here. Let’s begin the class.”
Marian spoke with a slightly fed-up expression about climbing up and down the back mountain again today without fail.
“Instructor, the path is a mess, though?”
As she said, the hiking trail they often used was in a disastrous state due to the aftermath of last night, with thick trees broken, or uprooted trees flown from somewhere and fallen.
Eon calmly spoke in an indifferent tone after a brief silence.
“We can do obstacle running.”
At that remark, all the Opal Black class students lost their words.
One week after the start of the semester, Eon’s classes had undergone a slight change.
Over the past week, he had carefully observed his students and meticulously considered their shortcomings and needs.
As a result, instead of simply making all students run the same, he began to provide individually tailored lessons for each student.
However, this change was unfortunately not positively received by the students.
Gwyn did not go up and down the mountain as usual. To be precise, climbing the mountain was enough for her just once.
She was currently at the top of the mountain behind the school, wearing a weight on each arm and leg, a total of four weights, stretching her arms forward and maintaining a seated position with her legs.
Next to her, Batar was repeatedly accelerating and decelerating, going back and forth over a distance of about 15 meters. Unlike climbing the mountain twenty times, which allowed them to rest, there was no such limit for these two.
The two of them had to continue training until they reached the time set by Eon, and during that time, if their posture was even slightly disrupted or their speed slowed down, Eon’s scolding would immediately follow.
“Don’t move. Imagine your body has become as solid as a rock and hold on. Swordsmanship begins with the lower body. Your swordsmanship is not lacking, if anything, it’s more than enough. You haven’t grown eager to play just because you had two days off, have you?”
“Then endure it. And Batar, you no longer need to build more muscle. Too much is as bad as too little. What you need now is skill in moving your body. Let’s start with training to improve your reflexes.”
“If I improve those reflexes, huff! Will I be able to, huff! Destroy the forest like you, instructor?!”
“…That depends on how hard you work. And running isn’t just about leg strength. Do you only use your arms when throwing a punch? You tend to rely on power and neglect everything else. Focus on maintaining the correct posture while running.”
Eon corrected Batar’s posture and turned his gaze. It was to check on the other students climbing up and down the mountain.
Marian found it amazing that Eon’s voice, which didn’t seem very loud, could be heard so clearly from the ridge below.
However, there was no time to marvel at that. She was already struggling to catch her breath while climbing the mountain, and it felt like she was about to run out of breath completely. Of course, Eon would have helped her if it had been a truly urgent situation.
Just moments ago, Eon, who had been at the top, kicked the ground a few times and arrived by Marian’s side in no time. It was so fast that she could hardly notice it.
Eon walked leisurely beside Marian, who was panting heavily.
“If you walk like that, gasping for air, your knees or ankles will give out or break before you even complete the required number of repetitions. Posture is important even for taking a single step.”
“Easier, huff, said than done…! Huff, I’m already struggling so much from the lack of stamina… How can I possibly walk with the correct posture!?”
“That’s not a stamina issue, it’s your muscles. Frankly, it’s severe. There are many overall issues. Have you not exercised at all?”
“What kind of exercise would a noble young lady… huff… have to do?”
“It seems your grandfather spoiled you too much. But I won’t. Once you complete this round, I’ll teach you bodyweight exercises.”
This devil…! Marian held back the urge to yell those words as she struggled to take one step at a time.
In fact, it wasn’t because she was a noble young lady that she didn’t exercise. Titania, the elf princess who had a higher social status than a noble, skillfully climbed the mountain, and even Elizabeth, a royal, climbed the mountain calmly.
Moreover, Eon had personally cleared obstacles to make it easier for Marian to walk on a gentle ridge, but Titania and Elizabeth were climbing up and down the obstacle-filled ridge much faster than Marian from the beginning.
“Marian! Hang in there! Just a little bit more!”
“Marian, good job. I’ll go ahead.”
“Huff, huff… Ugh!”
Although she knew she shouldn’t think like this, they both seemed very annoying.
Thinking about it, Titania is an elf, and Elizabeth has dragon blood mixed in her veins, while I am a pure human. Isn’t it unreasonable to compare myself to those two from the start?
Marian comforted herself with those thoughts.
Desperately climbing the mountain one step at a time while gritting her teeth, Marian saw Saladin pass by her this time.
Unlike the two girls who had overtaken Marian earlier, he was panting as he climbed up and down the mountain. Of course, he was still climbing faster than Marian.
Nevertheless, Marian didn’t find his appearance that annoying. It was evident at a glance that he was pushing himself beyond his limits.
And the reason was all too clear.
Schultz was climbing the mountain right behind him.
“Marian, I’m passing by.”
“Please… don’t talk… just go…!”
Schultz, like the others, unintentionally hurt Marian’s pride once again as he passed by her, exchanging a brief nod with her and continued to climb the mountain following Saladin.
“Saladin, how about slowing down a bit?”
“Ha… Are you already tired? Then you take a break.”
“What? Haha! No way. I’m just worried because you look exhausted.”
“Oh, is that so? Then keep your mouth shut and keep running.”
Marian felt a slight sense of pity as she watched the conversation between the two.
‘Men, after all…’
From Marian’s perspective, the two seemed to have a sense of rivalry with each other.
And when men develop a sense of competition, they often become childish.
Saladin provoked Schultz, creating unnecessary conflict, and Schultz, already irritated by the difficult situation and Saladin’s provocation, responded even though it wasn’t his original nature, creating the current situation where neither wanted to give in to the other.
“You seem really tired? I’ll go ahead.”
“What? Don’t make me laugh. Who…!”
Schultz, whether conserving his energy by walking or not, overtook Saladin just before reaching the summit, and Saladin, enraged by the sight, mustered the remaining strength in his legs.
It was at that very moment.
Saladin failed to properly check the ground and tripped over a protruding rock, falling.
“Argh! Damn it…!”
Marian was startled by the sight, and Schultz, who had been walking ahead, turned around in surprise as well.
Saladin, who had fallen to the ground, couldn’t get up right away and clutched at his ankle. Apparently, due to the unstable fall, his ankle seemed to have twisted, and his face was contorted in pain.
At that moment, someone offered their hand to Saladin. Thinking it must be Schultz, Saladin instinctively pushed the hand away roughly.
“I don’t need- Ack!”
However, contrary to Saladin’s expectation, it was Elizabeth who had offered her hand.
Her palm was slightly reddened from being pushed away somewhat roughly.
Saladin’s face instantly hardened upon seeing her, but Elizabeth herself asked Saladin with an indifferent expression as if nothing had happened.
“Are you okay?”
Saladin, with a mixture of embarrassment and fear on his face, clenched his teeth and lowered his head when he saw no change in Elizabeth’s reaction. Then, he tried to get up on his own from the ground and said,
Soon after, Saladin began to walk with difficulty, limping on one leg.
Schultz tried to support Saladin after seeing him struggle, but Saladin, seemingly considering it humiliating, refused with a stern expression.
Eon silently watched the scene unfold.