“Yeah, so five.”

 When I answered, Espada stopped moving again, making a seven with his fingers.(T.L.
Note: For the life of me, I can’t understand where the seven came from.
Also Seven in each hand? What kind of human has seven fingered hands? I guess it might be a Japanese addition method that was lost in translation.)

 That was the end of the day, but apparently Espada had said something to my father, causing me to have to attend his classes twice a week.

 It was hell.

The grueling content was certainly not what I would have given to a two-year-old.
In addition to the cruel training, he did it in a matter-of-fact manner, with that unsympathetic, machine-like face he has.

 What, is this guy an android or something? If he were a demonic beast, he might be a golem or an undead.

 I continued the class with that grudge in mind, but thanks to it, I can now read and write.
It was this that enabled me to learn about the rules of warfare, the system of the aristocracy, and even about the governance of the realm.

 Not that I’m not doing any of that as a two-year-old.

 I spent two years of my life studying, and by the age of four, I was imitating swordsmanship with a small stick.

 Well, it was fun.
I did judo in school and karate in middle school, so I love martial arts.

 I’d take my stick and hit a pole stuck in the ground, or one lightly waved by a cute maid.

Over here, Master Van!”

“Wow, you’re fast! You have good reflexes!”

“There’s our Master Van!”

 The maids move around laughing and waving their own sticks, and I am praised for tapping them.

 Playing in the parlor, huh? Am I just playing around with a maiko? (T.L.
Note: A maiko is a traditional Japanese entertainer, I will link a Wikipedia article if you are interested.)

 I’d give you 50,000 yen.

 When I turned around with a satisfied smile, I saw that Till had joined the game.

“I’m not going to be able to wave it right,” she said, holding the stick with an expectant look in her eyes while deliberately sticking it out where I could easily hit it.


 I swung the stick with force, but Till quickly dodged to the side and her stick slide away.

”Mufu! I win, Master Van!”

 You’re a child.

 I swing my stick around in anger, but I’m just a four-year-old.
I’m not a match for an active girl who just turned 14.

 The two older maids caught Till, who was running away laughing as I swung the stick around in a fit of pique.(T.L.
Note: Pique is resentment caused by wounded pride.)


“You don’t want to risk your life mocking Master Van, do you?”

 The two maids had serious eyes.
They emanated a somber and frightening air due to their crooked smiles.
Till was so frightened, it was as if her good mood from earlier was a lie.

“Come on, Van-sama.
We’ll hold her down.
Punish this fool.”

 Till became completely teary-eyed.

 I felt a spark of sympathy for Till.

“Okay, punishment.
I’ll take care of it.”

 I lightly spanked Till’s bottom and she let out a cute little “hiya”.
I was gentle with her, but she was pretty scared.

 Till was half-crying and half-apologizing, which made me feel a little guilty.

 Ah, swordsmanship is the best.
I’d like to do it every day.

 This is how I began to enjoy learning swordsmanship.

 Well, I only played with the maids for half a year, but after that, I was still dubbed a boy soldier.
It was then that I moved onto sparing with apprentice soldiers.

 Well, it’s less like a traditional spar and more like a chambara, each person gets a shield and a soft pole.
It’s gentler in that it only lasts until the first strike, where the striker is the winner.
Note: A chambara is a sword fighting movie.
Maybe he means that it feels more like play fighting than real fighting.)

 However, it’s surprisingly deep and interesting.

 In judo, it’s important to break your opponent’s balance, but it’s also important to secure a favorable balance for oneself.
Karate is all about timing.
You have to anticipate your opponent’s reach and make sure that your attacks are effective than theirs.

 In my opinion, those two things can be applied to swordsmanship as well.

 Even though I am dealing with an older boy, my opponent is only around ten years old.
He is tall and has long arms and legs.
When he holds a stick and swings it, the distance between us feels even vaster.

 But that disadvantage is nothing.

 He is a child, so his attacks are inevitably straightforward.
Children have their own specialties and habits, and if they do it over and over again, you’ll be able to grasp them and then counter them.

 At the age of five, I was able to fight on an equal footing with the apprentice soldiers.

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