The following day, Friday.
I sluggishly got out of bed and stretched my body.
About 80% of my full condition had returned.
After washing up, I stepped out of my room.
As always, Amy was waiting for me, standing upright.
“Here are the shabby clothes you requested, young master.
I've prepared them as you asked, but…
may I ask where you'll be using them?”
“For club activities.
I'll probably return late tonight, so have dinner without me.”
I accepted the clothes from Amy and headed to school.
However, for “shabby” clothes, they were far from shabby in terms of material.
Perhaps it's like how wealthy people wearing luxurious t-shirts as pajamas?
Even when it comes to style, that trait is still in effect.
Arriving at the lecture hall, I took my seat beside Noctar.
Time flowed as usual.
I attended the morning lectures, had lunch with Noctar, and then listened to the afternoon lectures.
“Commit this topic to memory, as it will appear on the midterm exam.”
By now, I'd grown accustomed to the professor's lecturing voice.
It was so sleepy, almost like a lullaby.
These days, the professors no longer suddenly ask questions during lectures, which made it even harder to stay awake.
The lack of questions felt a bit awkward.
Today I had fishing club activities.
“Alright, everyone, have a great weekend.
See you next week.
Starting next week, practical evaluations will begin in earnest, so take care of yourselves.”
Once all the lectures had ended, the professor left.
The students hurriedly packed their bags.
Like yesterday, Aisha gave me a glance before exiting the lecture hall first.
Suddenly, I felt something was off.
Two weeks ago, on Friday, Aisha followed me when I went to the eastern forest to collect my first hidden piece.
Aisha is the next club president.
Naturally, she would have been active since the first semester.
Is it okay for her to miss the regular meeting that happens once a week?
Well, i'm sure she figured something out.
I brushed off my doubts and left the classroom as well.
Step by step, Aisha and I made our way to the front gate of the Hero Department.
Yesterday, there were many people outside, so I kept a five-step distance between us.
But today, since it was the last day of the week, there were fewer people around.
With her gaze fixed straight ahead, Aisha spoke to me.
“We'll take the carriage to the reservoir on the west side of the academy.
There's beginner equipment available there.
Oh, and did you bring a change of clothes?”
Yeah, that's right.”
“Just say 'yes.' The other way sounds odd.”
We maintained a distance of about three steps from each other and arrived at the stop in front of the main gate of the Hero Department.
I saw two familiar faces.
“Are you a member of the fishing club too?”
“Yes, that's right.”
It was Andrew.
It was Andrew.
Anyone with half a brain would know by now.
That Andrew was interested in Aisha.
The puppy love of a 16-year-old boy who wanted to make a connection with the girl he liked.
It's a scene I've seen a lot in creative works.
'But was there a setting where Andrew liked Aisha?'
In the original work, Andrew is a true narcissist with mysophobia.
There was never a description of him liking anyone, including Aisha, in any route.
'Sure enough, the story has changed.'
I silently sent my condolences to Andrew.
Aisha is cunning, rational, and smart.
She's a girl who knows she's pretty.
No matter how much of a magic genius Andrew is called, he's naive in human relationships.
In the original work, he was subtly ostracized.
Besides, don't people who think they're smart become even dumber when they fall in love?
'Unrequited love, huh.'
Hang in there, Andrew.
It's so obvious it won't work out that I can't help but feel sympathy.
I sincerely cheered for Andrew in my heart.
Lately, Andrew's mood was fluctuating wildly.
He even suspected that he might have bipolar disorder.
The cause was Theo Lyn Waldeurk and Aisha Waldeurk.
Both of them were from the Waldeurk family and his classmates.
Andrew had fallen for Aisha.
Of course, Aisha was the idol of the academy.
Countless guys loved her gentle smile.
Andrew knew that Aisha gave her gentle smile to most people.
He vaguely guessed that the smile she gave to him was no different from the one she gave to other guys.
However, that didn't matter.
The moments when he saw Aisha's gentle smile were incredibly blissful.
Holding his fishing rod loosely, Andrew reminisced about last Friday night.
At that time, he had been defeated by the damned orc and wanted to die from the feelings of self-loathing and helplessness.
But Aisha had smiled at him kindly and said,
[Would you like to attend a little get-together in my room to unwind after the practical evaluation?]
[I'm not really in the mood right now…]
[Andrew, I've been there too.
And I realized one thing.
It's much better to be with someone than to suffer alone.
You are a precious person.]
And thanks to her care, he returned to his usual self in less than an hour.
From that moment on, he fell for her.
It's said that men, at least once in their lives, throw everything away for a love that seems impossible.
That statement perfectly fit his heart right now.
And Andrew was confident that he could make Aisha's smiling face turn towards him alone.
'First, I'll start by encountering her more frequently.'
So he joined three clubs he never thought he'd be a part of.
He didn't expect Theo to be so annoying.
Aisha, who always had a gentle smile, showed various expressions in front of that guy.
Instead of jealousy, he was puzzled.
What am I lacking compared to that guy?
The Waldeurk family didn't scare him.
Though he was a commoner now, his future self was destined to become an outstanding hero.
An outstanding hero boasts a greater status than most nobles.
With that in mind, he wouldn't feel ashamed to court her.
And though he slipped up last week, he was still the ninth-ranked top student in his grade.
As Andrew pondered these thoughts, he glanced at Theo.
'…Why is he so good at this?'
Theo was effortlessly catching fish one after another.
“Max, am I doing it right by throwing like this?”
“···Yeah, that's right.
You don't seem like a beginner at all, Theo.
You're really good.
You could become a true fishing expert.”
“I'll pass on that.
Anyway, I think it's thanks to the teachings of a good mentor.”
Andrew's face twisted in annoyance.
I learned with him today, too.’
Andrew hadn't caught a single fish.
Theo had simply grasped Max's movements using [Observer's Eye], but Andrew had no way of knowing that.
A sense of inferiority welled up deep within him.
However, Andrew found relief in that emotion.
Inferiority is something you feel towards someone of similar caliber.
But really, Theo and Max?
The combination of the hero department's most notorious troublemaker and the timid guy.
They don't match at all.
With that thought in mind, Andrew was lowering his fishing rod when,
Suddenly, Max's fishing rod started to shake violently.
Even Andrew, who wasn't familiar with fishing, could tell it was extraordinary.
Max's impressive biceps swelled.
He then slowly pulled up the fishing rod.
A large fish hanging at the end came into view.
It was a moonfish, as long as an average person's arm.
it's really strong.”
Max exerted his strength to pull up the fishing rod to its limit.
The fishing rod bent dramatically, and
Max lost his grip on it.
The fishing rod flew towards Andrew and Theo.
However, it was Theo on the outer side who would be hit.
Andrew smiled at the impending disaster that would occur in just one second.
But, Theo dodged the fishing rod with nimble movements.
The fishing rod with the fishhook attached to it collided with Andrew's body.
In an instant, Andrew's clothes became a mess.
Andrew's mind went blank.
His obsession with cleanliness was triggered.
He wanted to wash his body and change into different clothes immediately.
However, Andrew didn't bring any spare clothes.
He wanted to only show Aisha his best side, so he didn't pack any shabby clothes.
The smell of water and fishiness irritated his nose.
He knew it was his fault for not avoiding it.
But at this moment, he couldn't help but resent Theo.
Andrew looked at Theo with undisguised anger.
“Change into these.”
Theo handed him a set of clothes.
They were quite stylishly designed.
“…I don't need them.”
“No, take them.
In a way, it's my fault too.
Are you injured?”
Theo asked nonchalantly.
“I-I'm really sorry, Andrew…
I stupidly let go of the fishing rod…”
Max, who had approached them by now, scratched his head vigorously with a flushed face.
Aisha was also looking their way with wide eyes.
Andrew lowered his head and admitted his defeat.
Theo had shown him mercy despite their constant clashes.
He was thoroughly defeated.
Yet, Theo appeared nonchalant, as if this was a natural occurrence.
“My arm hurts.”
“…Thank you, Theo.”
Andrew accepted the new clothes and thought to himself,
'Alright, I admit it, Theo.
You are my first true rival in 16 years.'
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