Chapter 16:

The Value of Teamwork

Second Chance At Life

Akimitsu rests his legs over the other and smiles.

“Why don’t we start introducing ourselves? Try to get accustomed to each other’s company. Tell us your hobbies? Dreams? Anything? You in the right, why don’t you go first?”

He points at one of the peasants.

“Me? I’m Tsubasa Kazetani! My hobbies are cooking and calligraphy! And my dreams?”

The boisterous peasant stands up.

“My dream is to become a hero! I want to become someone that people respect and look up to.”

I cross my arms, quietly scoffing.

His dream is a mere illusion.

I can’t wait to see the look on his face when that dream gets crushed.

“Your turn, lady. Tell us about yourself.”

My head turns away.

Neither of them are worthy to know about me.

But since we’re working as a team, I may as well introduce myself.

I’ll make it brief.

“My name is Eunice Winters. Yes, one of the founding aristocrats of Valera.”

That should be enough for them to be scared of me.

I bet they are trembling from their feet just hearing my name.

My presence will bring them down on their knees.

“Uh, what about your hobbies? Akimitsu said we have to share our hobbies!”

I glare at the peasant.

I almost forgot he’s a peasant, meaning he’s too dumb to comprehend my status.

“You simply can’t comprehend the things a noble has to go through. So what’s the point in telling you?”

“Because…Akimitsu said so?”

“I did say that.”

I roll my eyes and sigh.

“I like dancing.”

The peasant gasps, his eyes widens, and he approaches me.

“You can dance? Can I see it?”

“No. You. Can. Not. Now stay away from me,”

He whimpers and returns to his seat.

How obedient…

“Now Kaito-boy, it’s your turn!”

The talented peasant growls by that nickname.

I think it’s cute.

“My name is Kaito Yakumo. I value time a lot. I don’t have a particular dream or goal. I dislike many things.”

Wow, he sure sounds like someone to hang out with.

Our squad captain claps loudly.

“Good, good! Now that we know brief information about each other. Why don’t we start training?”

“Training?” The loud peasant and I speak in sync.

Akimitsu nods.

“Yes, training! It’s pretty simple. I’m the enemy, and you three fight me.”

He snaps his fingers.

Hordes of trees surround us, waving their branch-like arms at us, and the wind breathes behind our back.

The open battlefield makes it easy for us to maneuver.

Both peasants don’t hesitate and charge after our squad captain.

Despite their low status, they are excellent brawlers.

Their proficiency in hand-to-hand combat makes it hard for Akimitsu to simply land a good attack on either of them.

I cannot let them beat me like this.

The grass begins to crystallize, slowly traversing its way towards the target.

Both peasants notice the ground merging, the ice taking its course on the battlefield.

They attack in different directions, and my glacial spikes strike from behind.

There’s no escape for him.

Or I would think.

Akimitsu grabs the boisterous peasant’s hand and tosses him like a ragdoll.

His feeble body crushes my ice spell.

Then he evades the talented peasant’s swift strikes.

If this was a duel to the death, I’d summoned a sword.

But, I can’t.

This is merely a training simulation.

Regardless, I cannot let that peasant battle our squad captain alone.

I conjure an ice soldier that would imitate my ally’s movement.

It charges after Akimitsu.

No longer evading the attacks, Akimitsu chooses to block them.

His defense is still strong.

That other peasant hasn’t awakened.

It would greatly weaken his defense.

I notice the talented peasant hasn’t used any of his magick at all.

I’ve seen his skills.

They are admirable!

Perhaps he’s preserving himself?

No, that can’t be it.

He would’ve used it by now.

What is he planning?

Our squad captain pushes the peasant away with a single palm strike, an attack so devastating his body is flung into the air and towards me.

“Eunice, was it?”

He picks himself from the ground.

“Can you make any weapons?”

“But we’re training! We’re not here to—”

“You’ve already seen how skilled he is. You think he’ll let himself die that easily?” he argues.

He has a fair point.

“What kind of weapon do you want?”

“Something durable and quick to use…I’ll lead!”

Kaito charges forward, and I concentrate my powers to form two small blades.

It’s quick and effective.

I throw the weapons at him.

He catches them, and wastes no time slashing his target.

Akimitsu matches Kaito’s swift movement, carefully evading the daggers.

It’s like he’s toying with him.

Lightning emerges from the peasant’s body.

His aggressive pace increases at heights that make it difficult to dodge.

“I was wondering when you were going to use your magick, Kaito-boy!”

While he’s distracted, I start to freeze the ground.

This can be our winning factor.

And perhaps we don’t need that boisterous peasant after all.

“You’re going to be a problem!”

He vanishes.

“You did good, Eunice!”

He appears before me, his sudden appearance catches me off guard, and Kaito falls into my trap instead.

Before I gain the chance to do anything, Akimitsu puts his finger on my forehead.


The world fades into darkness.

What just happened?

I don’t know…

“Wakie-wakie, all of you!”

The three of us awake, sitting side by side.

“Unfortunately, none of you were able to beat me. But that’s okay! I was only evaluating your powers.”

He crosses his arm, grins, and shakes his head.

“And boy, oh boy…you three understood the concept of teamwork, but there’s room for improvement.”

“Starting with…Tsubasa! You need to be more careful; your recklessness led you to be the first to get knocked out, making you an easy target on the battlefield.”

The boisterous peasant takes his advice seriously.

He doesn’t argue, but simply smiles.

“Eunice, your observation and attempted coordination certainly proves your worth as a knight; however, your hesitation and silence led to your downfall. You can make ice as hard as rock, but what good would that do when the enemy can use it too? And you hesitated when Kaito demanded weapons. Do not trust him, or do you trust yourself?”

Has he been analyzing all of us during this simulation?

There are points I disagree with, but I choose not to speak at all.

It’s best not to argue with someone who is ten times stronger than myself.

“And lastly, Kaito-boy, your lone-wolf attitude and self-reliance correlates with Tsubasa. You’re a prodigy, and that’s great! But if you don’t use it to your advantage, what good are those talents for? They mean nothing in the end.”

He growls silently, his brows distorted.

I see he doesn’t agree either.

“Technically, you three should be exiled for not defeating me. But because you three know the basics of acting as a team, I’ll let this one slide!”

“What?!” Both the peasant and I shout.

“We were going to be exiled?” I cry.

“Yep!” he confirms, nodding, “your titles and background means nothing on the battlefield. You’re a knight the moment you step into war. Blood from your comrades will scatter across the land, enemies will grow grudges and study your magick, and so as a three-man squad, you appear more coordinated and less likely to be an easy target for the enemies.”

He smiles and gives us a thumbs up.

For someone who appears whimsical, his knowledge of battle is superb.

“Nevertheless, starting tomorrow, we’ll start our first mission.”

The boisterous peasant picks himself up and celebrates.

It’s ridiculous we have to work with him, but there must be a reason for this team to form.

I take Akimitsu’s words into consideration, yearning for the answer to come to me one day.