“Well, that’s surprising” Arum claimed as he pierced Lux with his eyes alone.
Lux could feel his glare making shivers run down his spine.
Lux raised his face Arum as he muttered.
“At that time, I had blood in my head. Yes, you have indeed done a great job of wrecking the hell out of my emotions. If playing with them and making me lose was your purpose, I would probably give you an A+ or any better grade if that even exists.”
Arum spoke with rage in his words. It seemed that the after effect from that battle had yet to subside. Even Misty stood by the side with a daze and pursing lips not sure what she should say.
“But it is also true that the challenge that I had thrown at you was just a one-sided one. You had never accepted the challenge… Neither had anyone claimed the existence of it. Yes, the challenge to avenge my teacher with a victory in the duel was just an empty one. It was not enough… it could never be enough. I have to do much more to prove how great my teacher is.”
Arum turned back to Lux.
“And yet here you are, bending on your knees even when there was no promise. No need for you to apologize. Tell me what brought you to such a state?”
“No, I can testify. It wasn’t one-sided and it is I who should apologize to both you and your teacher.”
Arum raised his brows. The fact that Lux was apologizing to him wasn’t the only thing that came off as weird to him.
Certainly, Arum wanted him to apologize for disrespecting his teacher. But what was the need for him to be so serious about it?
One must note that Lux was bending on his knees when instead he could have just left a casual apology. Even when Lux had called out to Arum, he had a shout out his lungs causing himself to be out of breath.
Arum rolled his eyes.
“It was just a verbal promise. No one would blame you if you deny standing to it. More than anything, you should be more mindful of your position before doing anything funny”
Lux shook his head.
“I can’t do that. The duel was to prove whether you are worthy to attend the school or not. And you have already proved so after defeating my [Thunder Light Giant]. You were the victor and that naturally means that I am the vanquished. And yet in such a duel, it was I who had insulted the master and the people who ought to be recognized for bringing you up, the one who was able to defeat me. Mud had already been spurted on my reputation as I lost to you despite you being of common birth. Thus there is no way I can go back on my promises and let myself be further groveled into the mud. It might be a verbal promise but it had a lot of importance for me.”
But Arum pursed his lips.
“Aren’t you being a bit too specific?”
It seemed like, despite Lux apologizing to Arum, his disdain for Arum had not yet completely disappeared and was still affecting his way of speech. After all, years of superiority to the commoners wasn’t easy to shrug off just because of a single loss.
Arum glared pierced Lux all the more as a visible frown appeared on his face. No matter what he did, Arum’s anger was not quelled.
Under Arum’s piercing gaze Lux looked down a little and kept silent for a while being mindful of the situation.
Arum didn’t know what Lux was thinking in that head of his but it certainly couldn’t be anything pleasing. Even the apology seemed to be kinda half-hearted. Or so was what Arum had thought.
As Arum and Lux’s eyes met again it seemed as if Lux felt the need to speak up. His lips pursed but he continued.
“I had always believed that humans should attain only those positions in life that they had rightfully deserved. I have met many people in my lifetime who didn’t put mind to such a rule and used any means from bribes to threats in order to acquire positions and posts that they should have never deserved. And yet it is so hard to judge one’s deservings. I had always thought that the struggles of one’s ancestors, one’s talents, and one’s skills were the absolute measure; everything in their life including what they were born with and what they had worked hard on. I always thought that based on such measurements we can always find a suitable place for everyone to stand on.
That’s why I thought that you weren’t the right person to be studying in this academy. A human who had no ability who had no talents had come to this academy passing the exams through unfair means. That’s what I thought and I couldn’t bear it. This is the Beralt Magic Academy after all, where only those with the abilities of the clan of wizards should come to study, not a commoner like you. I judged you by the scores of your exam results which was only one aspect of your ability. I was wrong. I was looking down on you. I know that I have angered you too.”
Lux explained his first impression of Arum based on his own morals and values. He had indeed judged a book by its cover.
Lux bit his lips as he cursed himself and clenched his fists tightly in lamentation.
There was no lie in the impression of Lux that was riddled with regret. And with such an expression Arum’s impression of Lux improved as he nodded.
“I was stupid… really stupid. This apology is also my self retrospect. Please forgive me for my stupidity.”
Arum held onto his chin.
“But I am a commoner. There was no need for you to facilitate your relationship with me. And thus there was no need for you to apologize either. You would have no benefits in dealing with a commoner like me.”
Just because someone felt guilty doesn’t mean that he will always apologize. Many guilty men would pass away as guilty but never apologize for their own mistakes lest they would hurt their egos.
But, there was one big exception to all of this. That was when the offender saw some benefit in apologizing to the victim.
As such Lux had no benefit in apologizing to Arum.
‘Yes, I am a commoner. I am aware of that more than anyone else.’
There was no need for someone of Lux’s standing to keep his promises to a commoner like Lux. At least that was what Arum had learned about the ways the accursed world worked.
Even if Arum would pass it off as the nature of Lux that was too respectful and chivalrous, there was something that Arum found amiss in the situation. A hidden puzzle that he couldn’t figure out.
Arum didn’t know how much of a gap there was between the nobles and the commoners but there should definitely be a huge wall in between them.
Why would a noble bent on his knees in front of a commoner? Just because he was feeling guilty? The world didn’t work that way. By doing such funny things the noble would only bring about more trouble for himself if rumors were to be spread. People would soon begin to doubt his authority threatening his rule.
Such was the disdain for the commoners that the circle of nobility harbored.
‘He is just a kid,’ Arum thought. There was no other explanation.
Take the Carrera village’s tax collector for example. The man rarely visited the village very rarely only with the thought of collecting the tax in mind. Even he didn’t want to be among the commoners let alone someone from a wizard clan like Lux.
Wasn’t such a limiting visit proof enough that nobles hated to be with the commoners and didn’t expect anything from them?
It was one fateful day that Arum had realized from the other villagers that the reason the collector didn’t get involved with them was that he saw no benefit in us. The commoners existed solely to pay their taxes. There was no other identity associated with them. They were somewhat like piggy banks to them that generated money.
And it was on that fateful day that Arum had realized how cruel the world was… a world that distinguished by birth and blood… a world that gifted only a chosen few allowing them to grovel the others under their feet only using them needed and tossing them away otherwise.
Indeed, it was in such an accursed world that Arum was born.
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