Two months have passed since the start of the first term in Bertram Kingdom’s Royal Institute.
Since Rio was entering in the middle of the term, it was only natural that he became the centre of attention.
It was arranged for Rio to be introduced in the first home room.
“Starting today I will be studying together with everyone in this class. My name is Rio. Please take care of me for the next six years.”
In a flat tone, Rio introduced himself without hesitation.
“A transfer student in the middle of the term?”
“He doesn’t have a family name. He must be a commoner.”
“Why is a commoner entering in the middle of the term?”
“From what I heard, he’s the orphan who rescued Christina-sama from danger. Enrolling in the Royal Institute on His Majesty’s recommendation was his reward.”
“An orphan? And thanks to that, this kind of guy is enrolling in the Royal Institute?”
No applause came.
Instead, the sound of murmurings could be heard from the students who were evaluating him. Their eyes gathered on Rio.
A tinge of hatred surfaced, this seven year old kid already tainted the place for nobles to study.
As for the kids of high class nobles who served in the royal castle, they already knew about this beforehand.
Naturally they also knew that Rio was an orphan and were looking at Rio as if witnessing a strange animal. It was understandable since they all came from a privileged class.
As for Rio himself, he already expected that things would turn out like this.
With his facial expression completely calm and serene, Rio surveyed the entire class.
From the looks of it, he judged that there were over 100 people in the room.
Classes 1 to 3, each class consisted of 100 students1.
It was very clear that the population was divided by social status with a distinct wall between nobles and commoners.
The noble class was further hierarchized. School regulations dictated that discrimination based on social status and connections were not allowed but judging from the classroom’s atmosphere, it was clear that it was only a façade.
(Well by creating relationships during the time at the institute, once you graduate you will have a large number of connections. N…?)
Suddenly, Rio’s gaze rested on a familiar face.
The person sat in the far corner of the classroom.
Around her were students from high pedigree sending despising gazes towards Rio.
When her line of sight matched with Rio, Christina pouted her lips in displeasure.
It seems that she hates me quite a bit; Rio thought that while cynically laughing in his mind.
He also had no intentions to involve himself with Christina.
If she hated him, it will only be more convenient.
“Fumu, any questions? …so there aren’t any. Yosh. Rio. You can sit at that empty seat. Basically you can sit wherever you want but I recommend you sit there for now. That’s all.”
The lecturer standing beside Rio simply said so and urged Rio to sit. Rio who also preferred to not stand any longer in front of the class quickly moved to the empty seat.
Thus Rio’s life in the Royal Institute began.
There were four classes in a day with an hour for each class.
But problem arose in the very first class.
And that was math class.
“Well. Okay, let’s see. Rio the transfer student. Please solve this problem.”
Said the lecturer in charge of the current class. Each class had a different lecturer.
The one in charge of math class was a considerably young lecturer.
If it was in Japan, she would be around the age of an upper grade elementary schooler.
However she was actually closer to that of a junior high schooler but her appearance betrayed her.
Rio was asked to solve a problem that could be compared to a first grade elementary school problem in Japan which anyone could solve.
Unfortunately Rio did not understand what was written.
“E~~tto, sorry but I can’t read the numbers written.”
Rio could not read numbers.
And, following that was a moment of silence followed by bursts of laughter.
“Oi oi. Enrolling in the Royal Institute but not being able to read.”
“To share the same class with this lowly fellow who can’t even read numbers…”
“A~, that’s right. He didn’t take admission test.”
“I can’t accept such a lowlife. He’s also stupid.”
The class remembered he was of the same age and began to immerse themselves in a sense of superiority.
Their ridicule of Rio could be heard from all directions.
“I see, so you can’t read. You haven’t been taught that. …All right. I’ll give you extra lessons afterward. Please come to my laboratory afterschool. For today just listen to the lecture and if you don’t understand please ask.”
She said that while shaking her head at disbelief of Rio’s lack of education.
Rio then decided to accept the advice given to him and listened to the lesson.
A voice called out to Rio after math class.
Looking at the one who called him, he saw the perfect example of an Ojou-sama standing in front of a crowd of her fans.
Rio noticed that they were the group who were sitting around Christina.
“Yes, what is it?”
“What is it? Well, I’m sorry. What did you mean in the previous class?”
“Huh? No. What about the previous class?”
The girl showed an expression as if lamenting for Rio.
“What about it? It’s about you who can’t even read numbers. In this prestigious Royal Institute, especially when you’re enrolled in the same class as Christina-sama and myself, for a monkey like you to be mixed in it.”
Apparently Rio received a complaint from this girl. Sighing both in his mind and out loud, he gave an answer to the one raising the complaint against him.
“Sorry, but I’m illiterate.”
It was true that he was illiterate in this world.
These sorts of rotten people would only increase after knowing about this.
The kind of person who tells it to him flatly would be the most decent.
Up until now, thanks to the people from the privileged class, he developed some kind of stress resistance and gained more than enough of an understanding towards this world’s society.
“Since you’re entering in the middle of term, I had expected that you have already learned the four basic math calculations2 so I’m extremely disappointed.”
The girl was staring at Rio with disdain in her eyes.
“Really. I assumed you’d be a bit poor when compared to Her Highness Princess Christina and a daughter of Duke Fonsyn, but I still had some expectations from you.”
Apparently the leader of the group’s name was Roana.
Many students standing near Roana started agreeing with her.
“Not being able to read numbers made me laugh quite a bit. No, I already expected that.”
A boy spat out that line while pointing at Rio and looking at him with a ridiculing expression.
“Haa~. With this, my expectations for another class have been shattered.”
Said Roana sighing.
“First you should question yourself as to why you are even allowed to be sitting in this place. If you are aware of how blessed you are to be here, then burn it into your mind since it’s obvious that you don’t belong here.”
“Understood. Roana-sama. Thank you for your consideration.”
Rio said that while lowering his head.
Seeing that, Roana was left agape for a bit admiring his manners.
“Ara, it looks like you at least have some courtesy. All right then. You just need to be more diligent since it’s also my responsibility as class representative along with Christina-sama to help you. Besides, it’s a noble’s duty to lead the commoner.”
“Thank you very much.”
As if it was a natural thing, Roana said it with an expression full of confidence.
That must be her true feelings.
“As expected of Roana-sama.”
Her fans started agreeing with her immediately.
Suddenly, they noticed Rio was looking at them with a smirk on his face. Somehow it was like he was grateful that their self-esteem was lower than his own.
Rio already knew Roana’s fans had wicked minds.
“Next is history class but you also can’t read right? It’s frustrating that even with great effort, you’ll only be able to catch up a little bit. “
After saying that, Roana returned to her seat.
And before long the next lecturer came.
As expected, Rio could not write nor read the letters on the blackboard. As such he did not even attempt to open his notebook and spent the time trying to memorize the contents of the lecture.
And thus, the last class of the day was martial arts practice.
Training in martial arts and magic was done together, but for the elementary grade, the martial arts training was not too rigorous as it would be harmful to their bodies.
For the first year in the elementary course, students only needed to familiarize themselves with a wide variety of weapons and armour.
“Now, today we will be learning about different types of swords. We will do one set for 10 minutes and a sufficient break will be given afterwards. You will be practising the sword stance that I taught in the previous lesson. Then, let’s start with three sets. HA!”
After saying that, the students dispersed and began mimicking the sword stance with wooden swords in hand.
Upon finishing his instructions, the teacher came to a stop in front of Rio.
“Rio. Since your progress is behind everyone else, I will personally teach you the sword stance. Come here.”
Following the teacher’s instruction, Rio separated himself from the rest of the students.
“You, can you show me how you hold your sword?”
“Yes. At once.”
“Hmm, I see. Then, I will first check your stance. Try to hit me once with that sword. Come whenever you ready.”
Right after saying that, the teacher readied his stance.
Seeing that, Rio thought that it was a practical stance without any openings forged through experience.
In the meantime he was seeing if he could find any openings in the teacher’s stance.
Perhaps it would be an easy win if he strengthened his blow with magic by using physical and body reinforcement.
He began to feel uneasy due his grade not being taught magic yet.
But it was already known that he rescued Christina and Flora so it would not be unusual even if he showed his true strength.
In the end, he decided against using flesh reinforcement and physical reinforcement so that he could gauge his ability without relying on it.
Deciding to limit his ability, Rio readied his sword stance.
“Is that self-taught stance?”
Looking at his beautiful stance made the teacher wonder and ask Rio.
“I thought so because of how you hold your sword. I see. You have talent.”
Right after the teacher said that, Rio charged at him.
After closing the distance, Rio released a blow while also watching his opponent’s sword.
“Hou~. Good swordsmanship. You won’t strain your wrist like that.”
The teacher said that while reacting to Rio’s sword. Looking at Rio and holding his sword with one hand, he blocked the incoming strike.
As expected of a teacher with a sharp observation, by saying that it meant that Rio surpassed his expectations.
It was difficult for Rio to hide the full extent of his ability using only basic swordsmanship.
Well, it was fine if it was only that much.
But, he already determined to not go all out so he had to limit himself.
“Umu~. Good! Rio, you’re suited to become a knight!”
While warding off Rio, the teacher proclaimed with a smile. Nothing can be done about his hot-bloodedness. Honestly, it was a bit stifling.
“Unfortunately I am not interested in becoming a knight.”
“Why? That’s fine, your time here has just started. Don’t worry, I will train you the way a knight fights.”
Suddenly a sharp blow was released against Rio by the teacher.
“Hou~. Now how did you fend off that blow? “
“Wasn’t it that Sensei wouldn’t attack me…?”
“There is no need to abide to such rule! I know that you’re skilled enough. Good, once again.”
The teacher swung his sword again.
Moreover he was also trying to knock away Rio’s sword.
“In terms of power and speed, generally it’s a perfect score for basic ability… Extremely fine movements. …Well, this institute teaches this kingdom’s swordsmanship which is very different style. Where did you learn such a style? “
“From my deceased mother.”
Rio stated the most convenient explanation that came to his mind.
“I see… I’m sorry. You must be practicing it quite a lot.”
Rio answered back indifferently.
“Well your basic swordsmanship is very solid. To the point that you won’t experience any negative effects even if you learn this kingdom’s swordsmanship style. I’ll reshape your stance.”
It was decided that Rio would learn swordsmanship afterschool.
When he was about to return, Rio suddenly felt as if someone was watching him.
Looking over, he could see Roana and Christina.
When Christina and Rio’s eyes met, she quickly averted her gaze but Roana became rock solid with a look of disbelief.
He wondered if he was being watched the whole time.
It was not like it was a big deal so what was the matter?
Rio was slightly confused.
But since he had no time to worry about such trivial things, Rio continued his sword stance training.
1. Three classes per year, each consisting of around 100 students
2. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division