Great Wise Man's Beloved Pupil - Chapter 1.1
My family was just a normal household of four, living in a small town. My father was a drunkard who worked at a nearby tavern. But there’s no domestic violence or anything, he was just an ordinary man who goes straight to sleep when he’s drunk, regardless of whether it’s during the day or night. My mother was also an ordinary housewife.
However, I remember this one particular day when my father put me to sleep, his usual haggard face was unusually glowing. But being the sensible son that I am, I decided not to pursue that matter too deeply.
As a result of that endeavor, my adorable little sister was born. But sadly, she’s been ignoring her brother a lot lately. Perhaps she’s in her rebellious phase right now, since she would always turn her face away as soon as she makes eye contact with me. It is very upsetting.
Even so, she’s still my lovable little sister. I would be delighted if someone like Alfie becomes my brother-in-law in the future but the competition for him is somewhat on the high side.
Now then, my daily routine consists of either helping out my dad with his work or sneaking into the mountains that rise beside the vicinity of the town. To be precise, I’m just visiting a house that’s built deep inside the mountains.
By the way, usually, it would take at least 3 hours to reach this place on foot, even for an adult. But I can make it in about 5 minutes. I’ll explain the reason later on.
So today, I’m visiting ‘her’ house, and as usual, I also happened to pick up some ‘souvenirs’ on the way.
“Oy, I’m here to play.”
I knocked on the door that was attached to the base of a giant tree that seemed to be easily well over a hundred years of age. And then, I moved about 10 steps backward.
The door opened outwards with a bang, as what seemed to be a ‘little girl’ had jumped up and kicked it outside from within.
I already knew what ‘she’ was about to do, so I waited for the perfect timing before throwing a flawless roundhouse kick at the entrance. Our kicks collided as our legs clashed against each other in midair. A familiar shock ran through my body as I was blown away in the opposite direction. Without resisting the impact, we both spun in the air as we landed safely on the ground with both feet and almost at the exact same time yet again.
Immediately afterward we both took a ready stance, but after a few seconds, the little girl relaxed her posture and started laughing.
“Fumu, such a splendid kick as usual.”
“…. Can we just stop with this kind of greeting already?”
“It’s one of the few rare pleasures in this old woman’s life. Why don’t you just stop coming here if you don’t like it that much.”
I finally relaxed as well after that ridiculous exchange that had repeated itself countless times before.
“Good to see you again, Reese. Well, come inside for now. Let’s go have some tea.”
“Oh, I brought a little present for you today. You can cook it later.”
“Hooo~ what have you got for me today?”
I pointed my thumb over my shoulder towards the back as she peered over me. Behind me lay a huge bear that was nearly five meters in length.
“… Wild bear huh? Then today’s menu will be bear stew.”
“Oi oi! Isn’t this where you’re supposed to praise me for catching a big game?”
“This ain’t any different than hunting goblins for you.”
“But it’s not easy as goblins at all.”
“How would I know? At least, that’s not prey you would hunt as a ‘souvenir’.”
“Whatever, let’s not bother with minor details. Rather, let’s eat bear stew instead. Everyone at my place would be terrified if I brought this back home.”
“If you ask me, your very existence is more disturbing than that though?”
“Don’t be silly, I’m just as ordinary as any healthy child you can find anywhere.”
“How can a random healthy child be wandering around in a dangerous area like this?”
“I don’t want to be told that by a little girl who lives in a dangerous area like this.”
“Who’s a little girl? Even as of now I have lived more than ten times your entire life!”
“Then why don’t you look the part like a wrinkly obaa-san or maybe a hot chick with big boobs. I wouldn’t be calling you a little girl then.”
“…I can understand the reasons for the former but why the latter?”
“It just makes me happier that way.”
“Why did I even bother asking.”
By the way, these verbal exchanges were also a fairly common scene.
“So, why are you here today?”
“Well, for starters, I came here to take care of that big thing over there.”
“How dare you go around treating people’s houses as if they’re a garbage dump!”
“It’s fine~ we’ll enjoy it later anyway. And one more thing. There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
“Now that’s rare. Quite unusual for you to talk with others about your issues. Aren’t you more of the type to think things through on your own before reaching a conclusion?”
“I already got most of the answers myself, but I just need a final push.”
“… Well, what is it? You could say that I have known you for quite a long time, for me, it’s only just a moment though. Fine, let’s hear it.”
“Alright, let’s reminisce for a bit.”
“… Who are you talking to?”
I’m talking to my conscience within my heart.
“A scout from the capital came to recruit my friend to a school.”
“What? What do you mean? That’s way too short! Explain it in more detail.”
I gave a brief explanation of the situation while helping obaa-san make the bear stew. While she, on the other hand, suddenly snapped at me.
“You’re always asking too many things.”
“What? Now I’m the strange one here? What’s strange is your damn face! So infuriating!”
A teacup flew by my head.
As a response to the selfish request of this ‘loli hag’, I would like to elaborate a bit further while the bear stew was being prepared.
But first, let’s start with a small introduction
In the generations prior to my grandfather’s, ‘the school’ was a place where a strict, minor percentage of nobility were allowed to attend. However, a distinguished individual at that time declared; “The strength of a country lies within its people. The people are the precious treasures of a country”.
Following that, he made another declaration to change the schooling system, which eventually developed into what it is today. Thanks to this, the costs of education for all children below 12 years of age were entirely covered by the governing body of the country.
Thus, the basic level of education of the populace had improved as a whole. Which in turn also helped in discovering various human resources and talents that were buried inside city administration groups before.
But the government’s financial aid in education stopped at the age of 12, and only families with sufficient resources would be able to keep sending their children to school to pursue further education. So, from that point on, the schools ended up as a place limited for aristocratic children, similar to the generation before my grandfather’s.
Perhaps due to his excellence, Alfie was still able to attend the noble school in the town with all of his school fees waived. He was what you’d call a ‘scholarship student’?
People around him didn’t quite accept this commoner classmate very kindly at first. But now, by showing off those inherent superior talents of his, he had become the student council president of that very same noble school. This guy was on a fast road to success.
While I, on the other hand, am mostly busy helping out my father with his work, and during my spare time, I am taught many things by this hermit-like obaa-san who lives deep in the mountains.
Now that the introductions are finally over, let’s get back to the main topic.
It all started yesterday.