A month had already passed since Herbert received that letter from the future.
In a lot of ways, his life was wildly different from before.
For starters, he was now regularly attending his classes.
One might think that was a given, but Herbert had been neglectful of even such a thing. Funnily enough, if he was diligent about anything, it was about skipping his classes in favor of having fun. He would instead use his position as a son of House Unruh to: go to the theaters and watch from box seats; rent out taverns and call on some some dancers; or whatever else that might strike his fancy at the time.
At any rate, in trying to change his daily life, he was now attending school without being late. He was also actively participating in the lectures.
However, just because he changed his way of life for a month, that didn’t mean the other’s perception of him would change as well. In fact, Herbert’s school life and the way others looked at him remained mostly the same.
If there was anything that changed…it was the fact that he now regularly talked with Marlon, the person he asked to help him start-over. In doing so, Herbert found out that Marlon was quite the understanding fellow. Which made him all the more regretful of writing off Marlon before simply because the latter was of common birth.
It should go without saying that Marlon has heard of at least some of Herbert’s misdeeds, likely from from Nell and even Princess Isabela.
…even then though, Marlon sincerely listened to Herbert’s explanations. In other words, despite knowing Herbert’s past, Marlon did not dismiss the current Herbert.
For Herbert, that was a new response.
“You want to change yourself? In that case, count on me…well, I am your do-over assistant, after all.”
Herbert was starting to understand why the princess was quite pleased with Marlon. As well as why so many people wanted to be closer with Marlon.
Whenever Herbert and Marlon were having a friendly chat in a tea shop or something like that, people would first pass by normally, do a double take, and then gasp when the realization hits them.
Those people would then relate to others what they saw, that Herbert were being chummy with a commoner. The problem was, as it was spread to more people, the story became farther from the truth. Later on, Herbert found out that there was even a rumor about him and Marlon being a couple…but that would be a story for another time.
Of course, Herbert was trying to improve himself not just in school, but other areas as well. He had two major goals right now. First was to regain his father’s trust. The other was to prepare himself as much as possible for future events.
In order to accomplish both, he has also been training with Rodeo every morning and every afternoon after school. He has never missed a session since he began.
Combining that with a proper diet, his belly that had been as large as an orc’s has started to grow smaller. His face also got leaner. A bit of the face that could be said beloved by the gods was starting to make a return.
When it came to his magic, as to be expected, he had gotten quite rusty. There was quite a delay before he could cast a spell. Thankfully, he had been slowly getting to his level when people regarded him as a prodigy.
Herbert held his sword in an overhead position and then made a battlecry.
He might not be light and nimble yet, but his weight could be used to his advantage. His swing had more power to it than one made by a much lighter person.
“You’re being obvious. You can’t let your opponent know what you’re aiming for.”
While maintaining a stance where he could make an attack whenever the right opportunity presented itself, a shock ran through the hilt of the wooden sword he held.
The tip of Rodeo’s wooden sword had hit Herbert’s hands.
“If your opponent knows ahead of time what you’re going to do, they can make the most efficient moves to counter. The basics of combat, after all, is finding an opening and doing whatever you can to take advantage of it. Which is why concealing your own intentions is crucial in any tactic.”
Noticing Herbert’s loosed grip on the sword, Rodeo abruptly swung his own sword. Rodeo’s sword moved as though it was a live snake. In the next moment, Herbert realized he had let go of his sword.
Upon that realization, he immediately crossed his arms, all while turning his head around to search for where his sword might be. And soon enough, a strong shock ran through his arms and made its way to his head.
He had received an attack from Rodeo and got sent flying back.
While his field of vision spun, he finally found his sword: it was in mid-air.
Despite tumbling a bit, Herbert was able to land mostly safely.
He stood right back up. As soon as he did, his sword landed in the ground right next to him.
Without hesitation, he picked it up and, this time, assumed lower stance.
“Good, you’ve learned something today.”
Rodeo said so with a grin. Despite his face twitching a bit upon seeing the grin, Herbert boldly charged…only to meet a splendid defeat.
The two of them have been doing these mock battles everyday, and thanks to that, Herbert has been steadily improving. That said, his current skills were still far inferior compared to when he was young.
Much like the days before, their mock battle today ended without Herbert being able to land a single attack on Rodeo.
Rodeo never held back even during training. Or rather, Rodeo was the clumsy kind of man who always gave it his all and thus unable to hold back at all. Because of that, Herbert was unable to try out any kind of attack. Instead, he was solely on the receiving end.
Thanks to that though, he has remarkably improved the way he moved his body to dodge as well as the proper stances he should employ to fend off incoming attacks. Considering that he would also be using magic, especially spacetime magic, it wasn’t wrong to prioritize learning more about defense than how to attack with a sword.
Besides, training was the perfect time to learn how not to get beat up by an enemy.
After their sword-only training was over, it was time to proceed to the unrestricted mock battle. In other words, magic was also now allowed to be used.
“Ok, this time I’ll land an attack.”
“‘Land an attack on me first’…it’s been a month since I’ve said, and you still don’t seem to be giving up, young master .”
“But of course. And I feel like this’ll be the day……I catch you off-guard!”