Honestly, the first time I heard about his request, my heart was beating so fast it hurts.

He was this big guy that I only ever interacted with during the entrance exam, and of course, he was no big deal at first, yes, AT FIRST. I had plenty of fun with him in the duel, but then, he just declare to me his full name after finding the fight to his taste.

Galeo Howler he said, and thats when I knew he was someone I shouldn mess with.

I was, yet, not a person to care about big families but my environment guaranteed me to hear about them at least 10 times my whole life and so eventually, I had their names memorized. One of them was Howler, represented by a golden roaring lion symbol, which I guessed meant their great strength and vitality.

Anyways, back to the present, I was extremely worried about whether Id offended him somehow for him to do so. I mean, he couldn have noticed I was playing with him then, right?

With these worries, I picked up my weapon of choice, a simple wooden shortsword slowly. He picked a hammer and a shield? Not the Vikings way like last time, though I guess the Vikings can use both.

I then just sat down on the floor to wait for my turn, not paying attention to whatever he was up to. Some people also came by to wish me luck due to either pity or some hidden intent, which I kinda appreciated.

===

As it was our turn, we went to the door. Coincidentally, we reached it at the same time, which wasn my intention. I bowed to him with my hands extending towards the door, trying to gesture he should enter first.

”Tch. ”

Huh? Is he annoyed? Im sure that was the right thing to do, according to the book. Maybe I bowed too deep? Or did my hand overextend? Whatever it is, I sure hope I didn add fuel to the fire.

Following him in, my eyes were hit with a brief flash before a blue cubic room, devoid of life itself, appeared before me. The design was quite basic, with every tiles from the floor to the ceiling being square, accompanied by faint lights between them . As I looked around, a hand tapped on my shoulder from my back.

”Stop getting distracted, we don have all day. ”

”Ah, right. My mistake. ” I turned back, scratching my head with an apologizing look

”You seem like youve never been here. Speaking of which, our class has an odd number of combat students, so its always Mr. Aaron who duels with you monthly? ”

”Yes, he always brings me to a separate room for that. ”

”I see. Makes sense. ” Galeo nodded meekly to my words

Suddenly, a loud voice rang out of nowhere.

”3, 2, 1. Ehem, can you hear me? ”

”Yes. ” We both shouted

”Oh, by the way, I won be able to hear anything since the sound transmitter is having problems. Anyways, do take off your mana limiters before beginning the fight. Have fun! ”

Have fun? He sure has a good sense of humor. Can even pray for this poor students safe return.

I proceeded to roll up my sleeves, revealing a black cuff bracelet. This thing is called a mana limiter, as mentioned by Sir Aaron.

With how competitive and widespread a school like Astrea is, fights were bound to happen between students due to many factors such as personal grudges, and this was especially the case during the first years of the school, and it was to the point where the Disciplinary Committee couldn even stop half of the fights. The severity of injuries due to improper use of mana only made it worse, leading to the creation of this little bracelet, or so they said.

”Didn expect someone like you still needs to use that. ” Galeo widened his eyes at the sight of me taking off my bracelet

”Everyone is required to equip one, no? ”

”I was being sarcastic. ” He admitted bluntly

”Is that so? ”

”… ”

I then did some stretches, which felt incredibly satisfying. He, meanwhile, just stood in place with his eyes closed. Im not exactly sure what hes doing, but he did seem a tad more concentrated.

After 5 minutes or so, which felt like forever, he finally opened his eyes.

”You done? ”

He nodded briefly.

”Time to start I guess. ”

I stood up and went to shake hands with him, and he gave me his hand willingly, so I think our feelings are mutual? Maybe he just wanted a friendly duel, right? Right?

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