Tyranny of Steel

Chapter 719: Dreams of the Past Part l

Chapter 719: Dreams of the Past Part l

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Mizuno Ai was in the middle of the library. She had just started attending the United States Military Academy, otherwise known as Westpoint, and was excited to see everything the school offered. Unlike most of the people in this academy, she was the daughter of Japanese immigrants who had spent most of her life in the United States.

What inspired her to join Westpoint? That would be the fact that her grandfather was a veteran of the Imperial Japanese Army, and had often told her stories of his valorous actions when she was still a young child. Sadly, the man had passed away years ago, but Ai honored the man by joining the military of her host nation.

Currently, she was searching for a table to read up on the latest material she had uncovered from her classes. Unfortunately, all the tables were currently occupied. She would either have to find somewhere else to study, or merge with another student. Logic dictated that she would choose a table with the least amount of people, so that they could not bother her while she engaged in her studies.

Luckily for her, there was a table with only a single person sitting at it. She immediately noticed that the young man sitting there had a dreadfully average appearance. For a beauty like her, he was clearly beneath her notice. If Ai had to admit there was one upside to the man, it was the extent of his muscles that were clearly defined beneath his uniform, though this was not unusual in Westpoint as it was, after all, a military academy.

This young man had a perfectly average face, albeit he appeared younger than he actually was. He had strawberry blonde hair and sky-blue eyes in a sporting military cut, and pale white skin. The man was engrossed in a book that turned out to be “The Prince” by Niccolò Machiavelli. This was not required reading, but was rather a personal pleasure.

Ai did not pay any more attention to the dreadfully average man than she needed to. Instead, she pulled out a seat and asked if she could sit down at the table he currently occupied.

“May I sit here?”

Julian did not even look up from his book, and silently nodded his head. There was only one reason a woman like Ai would bother him during his free time, and that would be because there was nowhere else to sit. It would be rude of him to dismiss the girl when he had no actual claim over the table, other than the fact that he sat in this very seat every day between classes.

Seeing that the man was the unsociable type, Ai thought nothing of it, and sat down at the table. She had her own studies to get to, and thus, she pulled out a basic book about military strategies that was necessary for one of her courses. Julian looked up slightly to see what the woman was reading and sneered before gazing down at his own book. This expression did not escape Ai’s vision, and she was quick to speak up on her behalf.

“What? Does it displease you that I am reading the required material for my class?”

Julian shook his head before responding to the girl.

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“No, I just find some of the text in that book to be antiquated is all. Alot of those tactics are designed to be used against a conventional force, which is not the enemy we have been fighting for the last twenty years. The probability of us engaging in a war against a conventional army during our years of service is slim, unless, of course, you intend to make a career out of being in the army.”

Ai was stunned by the man’s response. Why was he here in the military academy if he had no plans to stay in the Army for life? Despite his dreadfully average face, she had already found herself curious about the man. She instinctively asked him about his reasoning for attending Westpoint.

“If you don’t intend to make a career out of the military, then why are you here?”

Julian looked up from his book once more with a hint of displeasure on his face, before responding to the girl’s question in a slightly irritated tone.

“My reasons are my own, and I don’t know you well enough to discuss them…”

Ai was furious when she heard this remark. Why was this man so rude to her? She was young, pretty, and intelligent. Everyone had always treated with respect and kindness, and yet this man had shown her nothing but disdain since she sat down. She had half a mind to get up and leave. Yet when she realized there were no other tables available, she calmed herself with a heavy sigh.

This rude man clearly wasn’t worth her attention, and thus she quickly got back to work, ignoring him entirely. She would continue to study long into the evening, the entire time Julian was seated across from her, reading a variety of books.

He had long since finished the Prince, and moved another text, this one about the agricultural revolution and the innovations that were made during the era. Throughout the hours spent sitting across from one another, Ai did not witness the man once work on an assignment. She could not help but inquire about his odd behavior.

“Don’t you have some actual work to do? Why are you sitting here reading this nonsense?” ᴛʜɪs ᴄʜᴀᴘᴛᴇʀ ɪs ᴜᴘᴅᴀᴛᴇ ʙʏ had been several hours since the two of them last spoke, and Julian had entirely forgotten the woman was sitting across from him. When he heard her voice once more, he sighed in frustration. He could not help but question why this woman was bothering him so much. They had never even met before. He quickly voiced his frustration, which only caused Ai to become more irritated with him.

“Why do you care what I do in my free time?”

Ai was confused when she heard that this statement, and instantly questioned his words.

“Free time?”

Julian ultimately placed down his book and glared at the pitiful girl sitting across from him. He explained his situation to her like a parent scolding a young child.

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“Yes, free time. I have already completed this week’s work. Aside from attending my classes and Cadet activities, I am free to read whatever I choose in the library.”

Ai looked at the boy in shock. She initially thought he was just a rude and unruly student who was wasting his time. She could not believe what she had just heard, and quickly interrogated him.

“But… it’s only Tuesday?”

Julian immediately looked at the woman with a sense of disdain on his face and responded with a single word.


Julian was extremely effective with his time at university. Aside from attending classes and participating in all the required Cadet activities that were forced on him from the military academy, he spent most of his waking hours finishing his work.

Because he had spent his entire youth studying many of the topics that he was required to learn at university, he was able to quickly fill out his homework from simple memory. He usually spent Monday night finishing his week’s work, and the rest of his spare time in the library learning about things that interested him.

Naturally, he did not tell this stranger any of this, and simply left her with more questions. His general haughty attitude enraged Ai, and she finally stormed off. In her mind, she had better things to do than mince words with this rude man.

Julian immediately went back to his work, and no longer thought about the strange girl or why she was such a bother to him. He would spend much of the night in the library before returning to his room and getting precisely four hours of sleep.

The next day, when Ai was finished with all of her classes and her cadet activities, she returned to the library to see Julian sitting in the same exact spot, with a different book in his hands. Despite the fact that there were many open tables this time, the girl chose to sit next to him once more.

The moment Julian saw this, he became frustrated, but he decided to bite his tongue. He wanted to interact with this girl as little as possible, and as long as she kept her questions to herself, he did not wish to provoke her.

Ai continued to do her necessary school work and decided that she would compete with this strange man. If he could finish all of his week’s worth in one day, then clearly she could do the same. Until now, she had made sure to have ample spare time so that she could relax, as she knew the grind through Westpoint would be a difficult one. However, the sheer look of disdain this man had given her, as if she were some common pleb, inspired her to prove she was better than him.

Immediately after thinking this, Itami awoke from her dream, with an expression of shock on her face. She did not know why she was dreaming of her first encounter with Julian, but it instantly made her depressed.

She had not thought about that memory in some time and wore a bitter smile on her face when she realized she was initially interested in Julian because, unlike everyone else in her life who treated her as a prodigy; he looked at her as if she was beneath him.

She was unsure if she ever convinced the arrogant man that she was his equal, but the disturbed expression on Julian’s face when she sat down across from her made the woman giggle. After some time, she soon fell back to sleep. This time, she would not dream of the past.

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