Troubling News from Mikhail
The patrons stirred as soon as Mikhail appeared.
「Hey, isn’t that Mikhail the Superhuman?」
「Yeah. The guy who crushed five Orcs alone.」
「The warrior from Jarazack.」
「An elite professor? What’s he doing in a run-down tavern?」
Mikhail was apparently famous.
「It’s not run-down.」the master muttered under his breath.
Not aware of the people’s reactions, Mikhail barged in and marched straight to a stool beside Hikaru.
「I didn’t believe it when I heard Professor Mille was reformed…」Mikhail said, eyeing Mille’s drinking cup. 「You’re binge drinking in the middle of the day! Nothing’s changed!」
「I’m not! This is my reward! Just one cup!」
「That’s your third cup, though!」one of the customers cut in.
「…Hikaru. This is for your own good. It’s not too late to study great swords…」
「Give it a rest, gramps. I told you I will not study great swords.」
The customers gasped as they watched Hikaru be rude to Mikhail. Even Mille caught her breath.
「H-Hikaru. Don’t pick a fight with Professor Mikhail. Nothing good will come out of it. He’s scary. He gave arrogant students hell, swung his sword around during class and destroyed a cabin, killed five Orcs while out on an off-campus training.」Mille said.
「Wow… you’re hopeless, gramps.」
「Stop calling me gramps. I’m a professor in the academy you attend.」
It would seem Hikaru hurt his feelings.
「Okay. As I have mentioned a number of times, the great sword is not for me. I must ask you to leave.」Hikaru said.
「It just feels creepy when you become polite all of a sudden.」
「Make up your mind, sheesh.」
「Great swords are more powerful than short swords. Gifted individuals should study great swords. This country can’t afford to waste such talent.」
「He’s right, Hikaru. You should listen to him.」For some reason, Mille urged him as well. If he had to guess, she just wanted to go back to goofing off.
「I’m not even a citizen of this country. I’ll live however I want.」
「Oh, come on. I’m begging you.」Mikhail pleaded.
「Hey, he’s begging to that kid!」
「Just how much power does a bartender hold?」
「He’s probably drawn in by the drinks.」
Onlookers were whispering to each other.
「I’m the one who got you in as a scholarship student. It’s kinda bad for my image when you’re not studying under me.」
「Oh, so you’re the one who dragged him into the academy.」Mille remarked.
「He didn’t “drag” me into anything. Please watch what you say, okay, Professor Mille?」
「Eek! You’re smiling, but your eyes are not!」
「Hikaru. You’re not manipulating Professor Mille through fear, are you?」Mikhail asked.
「No, I’m not. That sounds awful. I’m simply managing her health. Right?」
「I don’t think that “eek” just now was a “yes”.」Mikhail said.
The onlookers nodded.
「Well, if you really don’t want to study the great sword, then there’s nothing I can do. I concede. But one of the students said something troubling…」
「You mean one of your students?」
「Yes.」Mikhail replied with a sour look on his face.
「Professor! You’re here!」
Hikaru was about to ask Mikhail more questions, when the door burst open, revealing young, well-built men standing outside. They were probably the students Mikhail just mentioned. Hikaru realized not all of them were from Jarazack. One of them — a familiar face — was not hairy at all.
Roy “Yellow Tiger” Rumania. The guy from the Adventurers Guild. According to League, his family got rid of him by tossing him into the academy.
「Oh, you know each other, Hikaru?」Mikhail asked.
「Not really. More like I beat him up.」
Mikhail looked astounded.
「Professor! You used your recommendation quota on this coward?! I don’t believe it!」Roy protested.
「What do you mean?」the professor asked.
「When I, a member of the Yellow Tiger clan, came to talk to him, he sucker-punched me!」
「Can’t let him get away with that.」
Rage filled the men’s eyes.
「Hey, gramps.」Hikaru said.
「This is not my fault. You brought this upon yourself.」Mikhail replied.
「Well, you brought them here.」
「You’re calling the professor “gramps”?!」
Roy and the others stepped into the tavern, immediately surrounding Hikaru, Mikhail, and Mille. Mille was about to run with cup and pasta in hand when Hikaru grabbed her by the collar and pulled her back.
「Professor Mikhail! I don’t understand! Why did you vouch for this rude brat?! 」
「You’re from Rumania, right? Are you sure you should be studying under someone from Jarazack?」Hikaru asked.
「Th-There’s nothing wrong with learning from s-someone strong…」Roy answered.
He was stuttering. League, who was from the Green Ogre clan, struggled before arriving at the decision to study under the researcher from Kotobi. Roy should be having trouble as well.
Oh, that’s right. He got kicked from his home. So he cast away his pride and identity to become stronger.
Roy beat League to it. Not bad, Hikaru thought. He checked Roy’s Soul Board to find only one point on Strength and none on Weapon Mastery.
「I don’t mean to be nosy, but perhaps you should study magic instead of great swords.」
「You seem suited for it…」
「Sh-Shut up! Shut up!」Roy shouted, his face red. It appeared Hikaru had said something uncalled-for.
「How’d you know? You’re right. Roy has aptitude for magic.」Mikhail whispered in Hikaru’s ear.
「Then urge him to study magic.」
「The academy’s motto is Independence and Self-respect. Apparently his elder brother is a master of great swords and he wants to beat him or something.」
So he has an inferiority complex against his brother back at home.
「Let’s fight, you and me! A legit, fair and square showdown!」Roy exclaimed, pointing at Hikaru.
「I see no reason why I should accept.」
「Shut up, kid. You’re nothing but a dirt-poor bastard hanging out in this shabby pub!」
「It’s not shabby.」the master said sharply.
「I’m just telling it like it is. This place is the perfect example of a cheap and nasty place.」
「…Hey.」Hikaru said coldly.
「You can badmouth Professor Mille or Mikhail all you want, but I won’t let you insult this tavern.」
「Fine. You’re on. I’ll show you just how good the master is.」
「Ha! Bring it on! Let’s take this outside.」
Roy walked out triumphantly. Hikaru, Mikhail, and the other men followed.
「Are they having a cooking contest?」the master muttered.
「I don’t care! If something happens, I’m putting all the blame on Professor Mikhail! Master, one more cup please! I can’t go on like this.」
「Nice try taking advantage of the mess to get a fourth cup. No can do.」
「You have an agreement with Hikaru.」
「Why are you siding with him when I’m the regular customer?!」
「Just go out and watch them!」
The master drove Mille out of the tavern.