Chapter 2:

A Knight's Reality

Crest of the Strongest Knight

“Hey, did you hear?”


“The Oathbreaker dropped another one.”

“What? Really? Didn’t she just pair up with them two days ago?”

“Shh! She can hear you!”

Medrauta rested her head on her palm as she sat at her desk. Her face was adorned by a supremely bored expression. Though her classmates had been gossiping about her in what they thought were hushed whispers, the moment her gaze flickered toward them, they’d instantly stopped and moved away.

Useless shitheads. If you don’t have the guts to say that shit in front of me, then just shut the fuck up. Medrauta clicked her tongue in annoyance as she waited for class to start. Though she was annoyed, she wasn’t exactly upset. After all, this was a common occurrence for her.

Ever since she enrolled in Avalyne Academy, she’d hopped from one lord to another after she’d failed to resonate with all of them and racked up an invincible losing streak. At first, she’d picked her lords based on their skill and strength of their Crest, but nowadays, she couldn’t be bothered.

Every week or so, a lord would be drawn to her due to her status as the ‘strongest knight’ despite not having won a single match. In fact, this sort of thing had become something of a challenge for the lords of Avelyne Academy unbeknownst to her.

To them, she was like the legendary sword in the stone. Whoever managed to resonate with her would no doubt become one of the most formidable lords solely due to Medrauta’s prowess.

However, not a single lord has had any luck thus far.

“Alright, that’s enough chatter,” Eirlys, a knight instructor, announced as she entered the classroom, the click of her steel-shod heels against the hardwood flooring of the academy heralding her arrival even before the sound of her voice. “Everyone, get seated and let’s begin today’s class. We’ll be discussing the twelve foundational sword drills of Imperial Swordsmanship.”

Medrauta heaved a heavy sigh and turned her attention to the front of the classroom.

...Not this shit again. Is there seriously anyone in this class who doesn’t have them memorized already...?

“...And that will be all for today’s class. Please review the material over the week as we will be having both a written and physical examination before the weekend.”

After a grueling hour and thirty minutes of boredom, Medrauta heaved herself out of her seat, eager to head to the cafeteria and get something in her stomach.

But before she could even begin to make her great escape, she was stopped in her tracks.

“Medrauta,” Eirlys’ voice was normally gentle and befitting of her role as a trusted mentor for her students, but this time, her voice carried a certain icy edge that was both harsh and biting enough to freeze even Medrauta mid-stride.

“...Yes, Dame Eirlys?” Medrauta turned, facing the senior knight and meeting her eyes.

While Medrauta rarely deemed anyone worthy of her full attention, she was not beyond respecting her betters, especially when that person was Eirlys Innesheath, a legendary knight who was once known as the ‘Bloody Snowflower.’

Eirlys held Medrauta’s gaze, watching the other students trickle out of the classroom and meeting any curious gazes with her own icy stare, preemptively discouraging any eavesdropping.

It wasn’t until the two were alone that she finally spoke.

“I’m impressed, Medrauta.”

Medrauta raised an eyebrow wordlessly. If Eirlys wasn’t being sarcastic, then her tone certainly wasn’t conveying her emotions properly.

“I’m impressed,” Eirlys repeated. “At how many times you’ve lost. And in a row too. In all of Avalyne’s history, there hasn’t been a single knight who’s lost so many times consecutively.”

Again, Medrauta remained silent. While she held herself in quite the high regard, she knew her own faults. There was nothing she could say to defend herself here. After all, she did lose two-hundred matches in a row.

Instead, she simply held Eirlys’ gaze.

“Well? Nothing to say for yourself? Are you even trying to do anything about it? You were assessed as the strongest knight during the entrance examination. You have perfect marks in class and you’ve never lost a single duel against a knight. Yet, you’ve lost every match you’ve participated in.”

Medrauta sighed. That was the crux of the problem. While duels were conducted solely between knights as a method to resolve disputes such as fighting over the patronage of a noble, matches between knight-noble pairs were what truly counted.

“...I have no excuse, Dame Eirlys. I’ve tried to resonate with countless lords—”

“Ah, but that’s the problem, isn’t it? When a knight swears their oath, that oath is binding for life unless both the knight and the lord agree to forsake it. That alone is already a rare occurrence, yet here you are, having sworn and forsaken nearly two-hundred oaths. Do you not think it irregular?”

Medrauta bit her lip. As much as she wanted to protest, it really was irregular. A knight only ever forsook their oath in extreme circumstances. Strictly speaking, Medrauta’s ‘lord-hopping’ behavior wasn’t exactly viewed as socially acceptable by the majority of society.

“...Dame Eirlys, with all due respect, I had my reasons.”

“Perhaps you did, perhaps you didn’t. But that is not something for you and I to judge, Medrauta. The Round Table has decided that you can no longer switch between lords so frivolously...”

Medrauta nodded. That much she could understand.

However, Eirlys was not finished yet.

“...and that you must win at least one match before the end of the month, else you will be expelled from the academy.”

“WHAT!?” Medrauta’s eyes bulged as she exclaimed, her expression an amalgamation of utter shock and surprise, throwing away her facade of proper manners and decorum in a flash.

If Medrauta’s outburst had done anything to displease Eirlys, the senior knight certainly didn’t let it show on her face. Instead, she simply nodded gravely in response, her lips tight and taciturn.

In truth, Eirlys knew that this was not a decision that the Round Table had taken lightly. Normally, the only circumstances in which a knight would be expelled in the academy would be gross misconduct or a severe breach of the rules.

While Medrauta’s losing streak and tendency to abandon her lord after each loss was certainly out of the ordinary, it was far from behavior warranting expulsion.

“B-But that’s not fair!” Medrauta protested. “Among all the knights, I’m the only one who’s never lost a single duel! I... It’s not my fault that none of the lords are capable of resonating with me!”

Indeed, the reason behind her expulsion did not lay in her conduct, but rather in that simple fact.

“That’s right, Medrauta. It’s not your fault, but you know as well as I do: a knight who cannot bear a Crest... is no knight at all.”

Medrauta staggered backward as if she were physically struck by each of Eirlys’ words. Her words carried disappointment, but more than that, they weighed heavy with finality.

“I... I... !” Medrauta’s throat trembled. Her tongue was slack. She couldn’t form the words she wanted to speak.


There were no words that she could say in the first place. But at the very least, she did not want to disgrace herself before someone who she had looked up to.

Medrauta wrenched her eyes shut before tears could flow from them. Without even drawing another breath, she spun on her heel and barreled through the door behind them.

Her legs pumped furiously as she drove herself through the hallways, refusing to let a single tear fall from her eyes. It would not be right. She couldn’t show her weakness in front of all the other knights in the academy. After all...

...She was the strongest knight.

MyAnimeList iconMyAnimeList icon