The next day, early in the morning.
Finishing stamina and muscle training, Nicokel moved to the knight's training ground limpingly. Having decided to take a break from gaining practical experience, he didn't hold back from exercising.
The knights watched Nicokel as he sat in the arena with a blank face.
Finding all the apprentice knights still carrying out normal sparring matches. Nicokel closed his eyes and patiently waited for them to start training using mana.
Random thoughts began appearing in his head not long after.
'The situation in the southern border seems to have gained stability. The Verskein family has pushed back the enemies for now. But seeing the nature of the enemies, it won't be long before they launch an assault soon.'
The frown grew larger on Nicokel's face, an incomprehensible feeling rose within them.
'Why isn't the Duke Verskein launching an assault in such an advantageous position? Even if they can't conquer the enemy kingdom, it would be a huge success as long as they deal a heavy blow on the enemy.'
Nicokel couldn't help but feel disappointed at Duke Verskein's decision. He could tell the reason why Duke Verskein didn't launch such an assault, but he still felt it was a stupid decision.
Duke Verskein most likely didn't want to have any heavy casualties. After all, launching an assault on the enemy's land could lead to many deaths.
In Nicokel's eyes, it didn't make much of a difference. Instead, when the enemy's army attacks the southern border in the future, the casualty would spike up to be comparable to or even worse than what they could have suffered by launching the assault.
How can there be any kind of victory on the battlefield without sacrifice?
It was better to have a decade of peace and increase manpower than to be attacked every month and year, receiving casualties non-stop.
Nicokel felt like he was looking at the action of a novice commander. His expression grew colder to the extreme.
'Well, they have already lost their chance to launch a surprise assault. I hope at least Duke Verskein has a plan. Will he ask for the other duke's help or the empire itself?'
Nicokel had read books containing information on Duke Verkskein, his biological father. He was not an idiot, he knew to take action flexibly and cunningly.
Still, he was nothing compared to a battle-hardened veteran like Nicokel, who spent most, if not his whole life indulged in war.
'I will help the Verskein family win the war before leaving after dozens of years. Or I can lend them a hand if they were to find themselves in a pinch in the future.' Nicokel was someone who repaid the debt he owed to anyone.
Because of the Verskein family, Nicokel could get such a good place to grow in. He wouldn't mind helping them as long as it wasn't very dangerous.
Sensing the air in the training ground change, Nicokel breathed out all the distracting thoughts and concentrated.
'I can feel it...'
Before, with no mana perception, Nicokel couldn't sense or see mana, but now he could clearly see the knights exerting mana from the body.
From then on, the apprentice knights began performing more sophisticated sword skills. That appeared like a flashing of light, blurring into many tips.
'Ah...I always remember the mana-wielders back on Earth watching them. I should get serious now.' Nicokel's eyes immediately turned golden.
Thanks to his mana perception, Nicokel could understand a very small portion of how the knights wield their mana, even without activating his talent to its full potential. However, if he only relied on that, he would have to watch the knights train at least a hundred times to fully master it.
Which was over three months.
However, after activating his talent, Nicokel predicted that he might be able to copy the apprentice knight's techniques within a week.
Instantly, the world grew slower and duller.
However, the knights still moved beyond human speed, clashing their swords.
This time, the talent stayed activated for a long time. In approximately five seconds, Nicokel held his head in exhaustion. This was only possible because he didn't activate his talent at max power.
'That's unexpected, I thought I could learn all of the knight's sword techniques within a week, but it seems impossible. They are a lot more complicated than I expected. I should just keep my focus on mana manipulation for now, I can only take one step at a time.'
'Those sword techniques will take at least a month to learn. With increased mana understanding, the time required can cut a lot. Let's return to my room...' Nicokel got up and walked out of the knight's arena.
'Hmm...?' Nicokel tilted his head internally, seeing a familiar standing at the entrance watching his actions carefully.
"Nice to meet you, my name is Katlyn. Sorry for the rudeness I displayed in our first meeting." Katlyn bowed her head slightly while extending her hand.
Nicokel's face which was expressionless turned into a slight businessman smile. 'How nice of her. I was thinking of how to form a healthy relationship with them. But I guess they moved first, most likely due to my immense potential.'
"It's alright. Nice to meet you too, my name is Nicokel." Nicokel shook hands with Katlyn with no hesitation.
A slight frown appeared on Katlyn's face, it was to be expected as Nicokel's hand was still bandaged with stenchful medicine.
Realizing this, Nicokel pulled back his hand leisurely.
"Lord Verskein is returning soon, so we came to provide a congratulation and resources for the celebration." Katlyn began speaking with a soothing voice.
'Why the hell are you saying that to me?' Questions marks appeared in Nicokel's head.
"I know that much."
Katlyn began speaking carefully, considering Nicokel's every action.
"Young master, Nicokel. Your brother, Gelen Verskein is planning on issuing an official challenge to you. He will most likely make you give up something important."
Nicokel froze for a second, before revealing an annoyed expression. Irritation rose from deep within him for the first time in a long while.
Nicokel knew the meaning of a formal challenge. As long as the Verskein family approves of it, he will have no choice but to get tangled in an internal struggle of the family.
'He can practically take away even my rights as an heir of the Verksein family. If that happens, I don't think I might survive for long. Death of a nobody has nothing to do with the family.'
Nicokel began scratching the side of his neck, with his lips twitching upwards.
'My biological mother will help me, but still...Do I appear that weak? I can't let that slide, can I? For people like them, it's best to throw them so deep into the gutter that they can never crawl out of there.'
Killing intent began gathering in Nicokel's eyes, causing Katlyn to flinch in fright.
"I owe you for this information. Don't hesitate to ask if you ever need anything from me. And inform Miss Jane that I will visit her in the evening." Nicokel thanked her and began walking back to his room.
A deep shadow formed on Nicokel's face, highlighting the piercing gaze he held.
'I hate people who try to harm me. The formal challenge does seem like a good stage to show my strength though. I will show you how to screw people up the best way.' Nicokel slowly calmed down.
'Katlyn definitely came to form a connection with me. The Heirich merchant group could prove to be a better trading channel than I expected.'
A while later.
Nicokel quickly walked towards the library, vividly exhibiting his excited mood.
He had received a message from the head butler that he could enter the first section of the library, the moment he entered the mansion.
Nicokel couldn't hold himself back from diving into the subject of mana. And magic if he could later on.